Berkeley Rep Blog

January 2011

Mike Daisey goes to Macworld

posted by Karen McKevitt on Mon, Jan 31

Last Friday Mike Daisey journeyed deep into the land of iPhones and Macbook Pro's -- the land of Macworld and Twitter headquarters to promote The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.

At Macworld he caught up with the journalist from Fortune magazine, who wanted to ask some follow-up questions, and he did a short interview that streamed live on The Unofficial Apple Weblog. (If you happen to find a link, please comment -- I couldn't find one!)

Mikemacworld Mike being interviewed on The Unofficial Apple Weblog at Macworld.

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Room for thought: arts funding during a fiscal crisis

posted by Karen McKevitt on Thu, Jan 27

Ax Berkeley Rep is looped into the national (and international) conversation about the arts, arts education, arts policy, and more -- and we want to share with you stories we find especially thought-provoking.

The LA Times “Culture Monster” reports on the Republican Study Committee’s proposed Spending Reduction Act of 2011. While the article focuses on the proposed cuts of the arts, the Act actually proposes cuts in many sectors.

Read the article in the LA Times, check out the Reduction Act’s two-page summary (pdf), and if you’d like to read more, here’s more info on the entire proposal.

In related news, the Huffington Post published this article about newly elected Kansas governor Sam Brownback’s planned executive order to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission. If he does so, Kansas will be the first U.S. state without an arts commission.

Do you think arts should be eliminated during a fiscal crisis? Tell us what you think!

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Join the Daisey dialogue

posted by Karen McKevitt on Tue, Jan 25

MD_SJ3_lr Mike Daisey’s show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, earned some money reviews this week (as did his other show, The Last Cargo Cult, a couple of weeks ago) from the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News and a few other outlets, but there’s also an interesting discussion going on over at Cult of Mac about the show, and an interesting blog post at KQED’s “news fix.” Feel free to join the conversation there, here, or even on our Facebook page. 

Photo of Mike Daisey in The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs by


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Mike Daisey's (finite) playlist

posted by Karen McKevitt on Mon, Jan 24

Here at Berkeley Rep, we always put a lot of thought into lobby and pre-show music. Not surprisingly, Mike Daisey does the same, and he and his director and wife, Jean-Michele Gregory, brought along their own “mix tape” to play in the lobby and before his two shows, The Last Cargo Cult and The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. Here’s the playlist:

(Nothing but) Flowers - Talking Heads
I Have the Password to Your Shell... - Barcelona
Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie - The Submarines
Everybody Loves You Now - Billy Joel
Bad Romance - Lady GaGa
Skullcrusher Mountain - Jonathan Coulton
Exodus Honey - Honeycut
Blood Makes Noise - Suzanne Vega

And, for the curtain call:
He Got Game - Public Enemy

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Tony Taccone in the first person

posted by Karen McKevitt on Thu, Jan 20

BerkeleyRep_Taccone5_lr Did you happen to catch Artistic Director Tony Taccone last Friday on KQED Radio's "Forum with Michael Krasny"? No? Well, you're in luck -- there's still time to download the mp3 and hear him talk about sending shows to Broadway, working with artists like Tony Kushner and Rita Moreno, creating new work -- and hear him field calls from passionate listeners.



Photo of Tony Taccone with Tony Kushner by Cheshire Isaacs.

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"It is almost impossible to imagine..."

posted by Terence Keane on Tue, Jan 18

MD_SJpre1_lr This Thursday, we begin performances of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. Mike Daisey’s monologues always comment on cultural trends and current events, yet no one anticipated that Steve Jobs would announce a leave of absence this week.

Mike wrote about this news in his blog today: "It is almost impossible to imagine Apple without him, and there's a palpable sense of loss and change as the tech industry struggles to know what this will mean for its future."

Read all of Mike's thoughts on what he calls "the best work I have ever created" by clicking here.

Photo by Ursa Waz

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Some money reviews for The Last Cargo Cult!

posted by Karen McKevitt on Fri, Jan 14

MD promo screen cap The critics agree: Only Mike Daisey can turn the recession into a hilarious, provocative, and incisive adventure story. Check out these money reviews!

"Scintillating... Daisey applies his robust comic style and challenging insights to the aftermath of the banking meltdown [and] plunges into thought-provoking looks at the artificial value of money and the 'pyramid scheme' of international finance... No other monologist rants as captivatingly." -- SF Chronicle

"Hilarious, provocative... Not only does he know where to find a story, but he knows how to tell is better than just about anyone... Sometimes laconic, occasionally folksy and full to the brim with killer-cogent observations... with rafter-rattling screams and strings of world-class profanity... Amazing!" -- San Jose Mercury News / Contra Costa Times

"His story has to do, among many other things, with a live volcano, and that's what he's like on stage. He erupts in ways that are frightening and so dazzling you just can't turn away... When Mike Daisey talks, I buy it. I completely buy it." -- Chad Jones'

Buy tickets now!

And check out these videos! Watch excerpts from The Last Cargo Cult and get the skinny on Mike Daisey's shows.


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Billie Joe hits the boards -- again

posted by Karen McKevitt on Thu, Jan 13

Berkeley_Rep_GreenDay_lr Did y'all catch Charles Isherwood's C1 article in the New York Times this week about Billie Jo Armstrong reprising his role as St. Jimmy in American Idiot? Fun read -- but if you only have access to the online version and not the hard copy, you'll miss the lively interview with BJA at the end. Here's our favorite question and answer:

Q. Did you do any special training in preparation for your current run?

A. No. I remember I texted Theo [Stockman, an ensemble member], and all I wrote was, "By the way, how do you act?" And the response I got was, "Ha, Ha, Ha." He goes: "Just be yourself. Just be honest."...

Well, just being BJA must be pretty freakin' rad.

Photo of Green Day by Phil Mucci.

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The Last Cargo Cult opens tonight

posted by Karen McKevitt on Wed, Jan 12


Mike Daisey’s critically acclaimed monologue, The Last Cargo Cult, opens tonight! By the way, do y’all know what a cargo cult is? No, it’s not the worship of a certain type of pants -- but that’s almost close. Cargo cults had been around for a while, but increased during World War II, when tribes in the South Pacific witnessed cargo arriving to Japanese and American military bases. The shipment of goods ended with the war, but tribal members engaged in ritualistic practices in hopes of attracting more deliveries.

In The Last Cargo Cult, Mike visits a remote island in the South Pacific whose inhabitants worship America and its goods at the base of an erupting volcano. He witnesses their rituals as the world’s financial system collapses, spurring a soul-searching assessment of what money means and who is paying the price.

 Here’s an enthusiastic response from Deborah Dashow Ruth, who attended Tuesday night’s preview:

“We didn't realize that tonight was Mike Daisey's first performance of The Last Cargo Cult -- and it was spectacular! An amazing tour de force. Totally unexpected, outrageous, and brilliant. He has the most amazing repertoire of facial expressions and an incredible range of voice tones. He just sits there, at that table, bringing an entirely different world to life from his chair.
As soon as the lights went down, I leaped to my feet for a standing ovation -- but at least 2/3 of the audience did so as well.
We're going to get tickets for The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, so we'll get to spend another two hours in the presence of this storytelling genius.”

Great seats for this week’s performances are still available. Buy yours now!

Mike has performed The Last Cargo Cult all over the country. Here's more praise:

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Who's this Mike Daisey guy, anyway? Find out!

posted by Karen McKevitt on Mon, Jan 10

Daiseymercury Want to read Mike Daisey's backstory? Check out this feature. Here's a snippet:

"His stories meander beautifully through one thing or another, mesmerizing his audience into believing they are on a quiet Sunday drive through a remarkable mind, when they suddenly find themselves on a wild roller coaster trip leading quite powerfully to the point Daisey wants to make."

The Last Cargo Cult starts previews on Tuesday and opens on Wednesday! Ready to join the cult?
Buy tickets now!

Photo of Mike Daisey by Kristopher Skinner.

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