Daily Archives: March 6, 2019

My newest addiction are throwback NBA socks, I may have a problem. Remembering the great John Candy, 25 years after his death. And the producers of Broadway’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” stupidly enforce legal rights against small theaters

Hi, my name is Michael, and I have a developing addiction.

Oh don’t worry, it’s not smoking, drugs, alcohol, gambling, or online porn. Nothing to get TOO worried about, I hope.

But there’s a company out there called Stance, and they make these incredible, beautiful, poetic throwback NBA athletic socks, and, well, I’m in deep, man.

For the past few weeks I’ve been scouring eBay and other sites looking for great deals on a Dr. J ABA Nets pair, or maybe Clyde Drexler Portland Trail Blazers circa 1992 pair. They catch my eye, and I swoon, like a sailor returning from leave and seeing his bride.

I now own about 8 pairs of these functional pairs of socks, that keep my feet oh-so-cozy in winter and spark conversation at my 16-month-old’s activities when, quite often, we grown-ups have to take off our shoes.

And yeah, more than once I’ve said to my wife “OK, I’ve bought enough, I’m good now.” I’m lying to myself and her.

It all started innocently enough, like all addictions do. Last year we were shopping at Foot Locker for new kicks for my 3-year-old, and I saw a “Clearance sale” type bin, and there they were, just beautiful: Red, white and blue, New Jersey Nets crew socks, for like $8. I had to have them. Then came another Foot Locker and some old-school Golden State Warriors socks.

Then some Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers ones, and some Seattle Supersonics-themed socks.

My latest purchases, which have me super-excited, are those Warriors throwback Run-TMC designed socks from the early 1990s, and these Dominique Wilkins Atlanta Hawks kick-ass socks (below, come on, those are pretty sweet, right?)

As addictions go, this one is pretty cheap (most I’ve paid for a pair is $12). And they do bring small joy to my life. I dream of one day wearing nothing BUT Stance socks, every day, for the rest of my days on Earth.

I don’t think I’ll ever go THAT crazy. But, you know, if I do, let this post serve as a warning sign.

**Next up today, while my generation is rightly mourning the loss of Luke Perry, the “Beverly Hills, 90210” star who shockingly suffered a stroke and died this week at age 52, there was another death on my mind this week, thanks to the electric Twitter machine, as Charlie Pierce calls it.

John Candy, the wildly talented, big-hearted actor from so many great 1980s movies, died 25 years ago this week. And heartthrob actor Ryan Reynolds, who I would not have expected this from, has put together a beautiful 2-minute tribute to Candy and his work, with of course clips from my favorite comedy of all time, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” (And also from “Brewster’s Millions,” an underrated flick with Richard Pryor and Candy).

A wonderful comedic actor, taken far too soon. In his honor, I’m gonna go out today and buy some shower-curtain rings.

**Finally today, I have really not wanted to see the new Broadway adaptation of “To Kill A Mockingbird” even though Aaron Sorkin, my all-time favorite TV and movie writer, is in charge of it, because I’m afraid of it ruining the book for me. Oh, I hear it’s fabulous, and my wife and mother are both excited to see it soon, but I refuse.
Well, now I have another reason to dislike it: The greed and lack of common decency of the producers, including mega-successful Hollywood dude Scott Rudin.

Check out this story from the New York Times about regional theaters all over the country having to shut down their “TKAM” productions because of threatened litigation by the Broadway people.

It seems there’s an obscure agreement from 1969 between the Lee estate and that says that if there’s a new adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic book on Broadway,

The estate’s lawyers sent several letters to Dramatic over the last few weeks protesting its granting of rights to a number of theaters. The letters invoked a 1969 contract between Lee and Dramatic Publishing Company, which sells theaters the rights to put on a play, that “blocks “Mockingbird” productions within 25 miles of cities that had a population of 150,000 or more in 1960 (the last census year before the agreement was signed) while a “first-class dramatic play” based on the novel is playing in New York or on tour.”

So basically, theaters in Buffalo, Oklahoma City and other cities around the country are barred from having their own little productions because the big, bad Broadway version exists.

This is absolute horsecrap. As is Rudin’s rueful quote about it:

“We hate to ask anybody to cancel any production of a play anywhere, but the productions in question as licensed by DPC infringe on rights licensed to us by Harper Lee directly. The Sergel play can contractually continue to be performed under set guidelines as described in detail in its own agreement with Harper Lee — and as long as those guidelines are adhered to, we have no issue with the play having a long life.”

Ridiculous. The Broadway production is making millions upon millions of dollars, and there is no freaking way anyone in another American city is going to confuse, or not want to see the Sorkin version, because they’re seeing their local community put it on.

I don’t care what was said or agreed upon on 1969, forcing these companies around the country to shut down their little productions is just wrong, and mean.

(Update: After a barrage of criticism about this short-sighted move, Rudin has sorta, kinda relented, allowing the regional theaters to put the play on, but only using the Broadway version of the script. Which of course is way too little, too late for most of these companies, since their casts and crew would have to learn a whole new play, basically. Grrr.)