Geezer vs. GZA?

I haven’t been to see CLAY at the LCT. I don’t really think I need to. Not to be dismissive but, um, I can’t imagine what possible relevance or interest I might find in a young, healthy white dude (from Northwestern – Go You N.U.!) making a hip-hop show, in all earnestness, in 2008.  It is kind of like watching frat boys play Muddy Waters. And it is kind of embarassing that in this day and age that is the best that anybody can come up with for theater that supposedly appeals to young people. Maybe it does. I don’t know.

Anyway – I found this Lillian Ross Talk of the Town piece in the New Yorker to be a funny and quietly ascerbic comparison of the Greatest Generation and the Millenials.  There’s another side to the story though, one that I’m not quite articulate enough to fully cover. Maybe someone else can write – or has written – about it.

Bernie Gersten is a sewing-machine operator’s son from Newark who went to Rutgers for two years before shipping out to the Pacific for WWII. I don’t know the rest of his life story, but I’ll tell you this – the days are long gone when anyone from that background could break into the American Theater as a writer, director, producer or performer. These days unless you have a Master’s Degree or at least a really good undergrad program with professors working in the business and parents who are willing to subsidize you in NYC for 5-10 years, you can pretty much forget it.

And that’s a shame.

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