Thursday, June 03, 2004


I am terribly disappointed by the state of Broadway these days. As an ardent fan of Stephen Sondheim, I am offended by the success of such shows as “Aida” and “Beauty and the Beast”. More and more it seems that the biggest hits are just movie knock-offs, Disney produced, and reproductions of old hits. While not all of these shows are bad in and of themselves, I am upset by the trend. Yes, I know that we have “Avenue Q” and “Urinetown”, but I am talking about a bigger picture. Why don’t more “independent” works thrive as they sometimes do in the film world? Where are the “Kill Bill” and “Lost In Translation” of Broadway? Musical theater, it seems, has become something akin to mainstream Hollywood, where there is no room for financial risk-taking and only a sure thing will ever see the stage. So please, next time you are in New York City to see a show, please give “The Lion King” a pass and look for a show that will test your understanding of the world and your definition of art.


It always disappoints me when intelligent people malign television by simply believing that it is all a load of crap. Sure, some of it is awful, showcasing the worst of human proclivities, but even some of the crap can be damn entertaining. I believe however, that sometimes television can reach the level of art. No, I would not liken a tv show to Picasso, but rather to the theater and literature. Some shows, though they may not reach the heights of great art, are no less important because they encapsulate culture and society in a way that many other forms of expression cannot. Even if one refuses to acknowledge the art in television, they must admit that it is a great force in our society, reflecting and sometime even shaping our world. So, enough of this stuff. Here is a list of some of the shows that I have loved over the years. This list hardly begins to cover all the shows I have enjoyed, but think of it as a cross-section.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: One of the greatest shows ever. Shamefully underappreciated.

The Simpsons: Simply one of the most wonderful cultural forces in America.

The X-Files: In its time I was really hooked.

Murphy Brown: A show that set a new tone in my mind for what was possible on TV. There is room for more than just family sitcoms.

Mystery!: I love a good who-dunnit.

Masterpiece Theater: Still sometimes turns out some of the best TV has to offer.

Friends: Say what you will, but it can be damn funny.

Jonathan Creek: I have always loved locked room mysteries and finally there is a show about them.

Charlie's Angels: I "discovered" this show a few years back. Though it is really firmly in the world of "jiggle" tv, I loved it. Camp at its best.

Six Feet Under: All I have to say about this wonderful show is that, for me, the last season finale was like a symphony.

The View: The one daytime show. Don't sell this one short. The women are smart and witty and discuss things that I really want to know about from war to shopping.

"Purity is Obscurity"

I have been asked why purity is obscurity. I did not name my blog this way as any kind of political statement or expression of my moral beliefs. In my first post I mentioned that I decided to start a blog while reading Ogden Nash poetry. "Purity is Obscurity" is the body of a poem by Nash entitled, "Reflection On A Wicked World". So, the name of my blog is really an homage to the artist, not a comment on the state of humanity.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Why oh why-o?

So many blogs, so little time. So why am I creating one? Partially because I am bored and partly because I was inspired. Flipping through a book of wonderful Ogden Nash poetry I realized that I wanted to create an outlet for the exchange of recommendations and discussion of the arts. Be it literature, rock, opera, or architecture; I love it all.

So, here is the place where I will post my ideas about great books, music, etc. as I discover them. Please feel free to express your loves and hates as well. Whatever you love, be it "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" , "The Manchurian Candidate" or "The Giving Tree" or whatever you hate; feel free to express it.