John Steppling Playwright, director, screenwriter and teacher, Steppling was an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival and has had his plays produced in London, LA, New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Poland. Plays include The Shaper, Teenage Wedding, Neck, Dog Mouth, The Thrill, Wheel of Fortune and My Crummy Job. A collection of his work was published by Sun and Moon Press in 1999 (Sea of Cortez and Other Plays). He is a Rockefeller Fellow, multiple NEA recipient, and PEN-West winner. His last film credit was Animal Factory (directed by Steve Buscemi 2000). Steppling lives in Lodz with Norwegian director Gunnhild Skrodal, and teaches at the Polish National Film School.
JOHN STEPPLING now helms a new special Cyrano blog on the theater and culture, along with fellow wordplayers Guy Zimmerman, and occasional visits from Patrice Greanville and Phil Rockstroh. Check and be sure to join this lively dialog at VOXPOP . A treat for hard core theater fans of all stripes, or for anyone who enjoys unvarnished social criticism.
LET THEM EAT FAKE. Steppling takes a look (just a look) at Sofia Coppola's latest self-indulgent opus. We're told that it has something to do with the French Revolution.
CINEMA: BROKEN FLOWERS (2005) Directed by Jim Jarmusch. With Bill Murray. When Jim Jarmusch hit the scene with Down by Law (1986) I remember feeling a bit like the only guy at the dance without a partner. I didn't get it. It all seemed so posed and arch and, finally, cut off from the society around me.
Since then Jarmusch has evolved into the old grey mare of American indi directors. He still makes films that make me feel like I've been left at the altar. I still don't get it.
STATE OF THE THEATRE [Part Two] A dialogue between John Steppling and Guy Zimmerman. How do audiences today look at themselves? Is that even a fair question, I wonder. What do younger writers think about theatre? Do they think about it? I suspect one has to address, when speaking about this, the techno-culture and the effects of mass media ( a term we should analyze a bit more) and marketing.
STATE OF THE THEATRE [Part One] A dialogue between John Steppling and Guy Zimmerman. How do audiences today look at themselves? Is that even a fair question, I wonder. What do younger writers think about theatre? Do they think about it? I suspect one has to address, when speaking about this, the techno-culture and the effects of mass media ( a term we should analyze a bit more) and marketing.
CINEMA: BATMAN BEGINS (2005) Batman (the subject of this summer's Warner Bros blockbuster) was born (as it were) around 1939—same era as Superman and Captain Marvel — and has been the most durable of the comic book characters for the filmic world. Like most of them, he is, essentially, a vigilante. Comic books were aimed at lost and aimless teenage boys — the same ones who read (today) Joe Weider muscle magazines. The appeal of hidden gifts and abilities to a scrawny pimple-faced underachiever is obvious, but it doesn't really explain the iconic status of characters like Batman.
CINEMA: SPIELBERG'S WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005)ONE OF THE RECURRING THEMES of critical theorists like Adorno, Ernst Bloch and Herbert Marcuse, was that much cultural product, advertising itself as radical or progressive or even simply liberal (let alone revolutionary) was, under the surface, both reactionary and ahistorical. A petit bourgeois activism, at best. Steven Spielberg probably thinks of himself as a liberal --- and the far right press in the US certainly denounces him in this name. Such is the depressing rightward lurch of public discourse over the last twenty five years...