Don’t Pass Up Passing Strange

Readers of this blog know that I like to go out on a limb and make predictions. Some come true (Jayhawks to beat Tarheels in the NCAA Final Four, Kansas to win the Final Four), others don’t (Tiger Woods to win a Grand Slam in the same year, David Archuleta to win American Idol).

Tonight, I’ll have my fingers crossed for a Leo named Stew, the star of Passing Strange, the Broadway show that has been nominated for seven Tony Awards. Back in April, I predicted that Stew and Company would take home at least one Tony. (See “Stew, Meet Tony,” April 17, 2008, https://astrologymundo.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/stew-meet-tony/)

Even though I have been talking up Stew in previous posts based on his favorable transits of tonight, II hadn’t actually seen his show, a musical meditation on what it means to be black in America, until yesterday. And boy, it knocked me out!

To discover his blackness, Stew travels to Amsterdam and Berlin and poses as a refugee from the ghetto, when in fact he has grown up in a comfortable African-American neighborhood in Los Angeles.

It’s a wild, rollicking ride with first-rate performers. This show hasn’t caught fire, but I still think it will (if not here, then overseas), given Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s meteoric rise on the U.S. political scene. (The use of the word “hopeful” is intentional. Although Obama has surpassed the number of electoral votes needed to clinch the nomination, he will not actually be the Democratic Party’s nominee until after the August convention.)

Stew is a light-skinned black who goes to live among Northern Europeans, while Obama’s mother was white. Both have asked themselves the question: What does it mean to be black?

Black entertainers, from blues singers to Motown’s greats to today’s rappers, have helped define American values and style. But the de facto segregation of whites and blacks in this country has allowed powerful media figures to define black identity, whether it be through blaxploitation films like Superfly and Shaft in the Seventies to the black sitcoms like Martin and Living Single that were hits on Fox TV before it went white (http://fun.familyeducation.com/television/african-americans/35259.html).

A case in point: While everyone was celebrating Michelle and Barack Obama’s playful victory bump of fists, I found myself asking: Is this their secret handshake or is this a black thing that I wouldn’t understand? The truth is, I don’t know the answer. Maybe if I were a regular watcher of Oprah, I would.

The fact is even though I work at the same company and live on the same street as African-Americans, our worlds rarely intersect. In my life, I’ve had a couple of good black girlfriends (especially back in the days of the Jackson Five), but not since college.

Until I moved to New York, I could have made the same statement about gay people. But through media and astrology, I’ve made some close gay friends. That’s what I love about astrology. It brings together people of different persuasions, all searching for the truth. Maybe my cosmic pursuits will bring me some black friends too.

Stew’s musical journey in Passing Strange raises some deep issues. I left the show, which essentially is a tribute to his mother, wondering: Who is Stew’s father and why is he never mentioned, not even in passing? As is the case for Obama and many other black men, it appears that Stew was raised by his mother, who devoted all her love and attention to her son.

Though it appears Stew’s Mom helped form his character (clearly this is a self-made man in many ways), astrologers and psychologists know that even when a parent is dead or no longer participating in the family, he or she still exerts a powerful influence.

Interesting that on Father’s Day, my ode to Stew turns into an essay on fatherhood.

I visited my Dad last month in Santa Fe. He makes his home in the veterans’ national cemetery there, though my medium Gretchen Clark in Lily Dale, N.Y., informs me that he’s happily eating popcorn and watching movies in the afterworld, a fitting pastime for a Pisces. We miss you, Dad!

The Stage is Set for Stew to Win a Tony Award

I’ve been on the road in New Mexico so I’m just catching up with the nominations for the Tony Awards, which were announced May 13.

I was gratified to see that Passing Strange garnered 7 noms, including best musical, best original score, best book of a musical, and best performance by a leading actor in a musical. Last month, I wrote that Stew, the Leo star of Passing Strange, and his collaborator Heidi Rodewald have a good shot at taking home a Tony or two (“Stew, Meet Tony,” Apr. 17, 2008). You can find the story under African-Americans, to name one category where it’s stored. 

There’s no question that the competition is keen. In the Heights, another funky musical, scored the most Tony nominations (13), while the classic musical South Pacific earned 11 noms. The Tony Awards ceremony will be broadcast on June 15. Whoopi Goldberg will be the emcee of the event. For more information, click here: http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/index.html 

I like the fact that Whoopi will be hosting the awards. Stew’s powerful Leo stellium falls in her seventh house, where she has got a powerful Jupiter/Pluto conjunction in Leo. Sure, her stellium in Scorpio squares Stew’s Leo lineup, but squares can be quite dynamic. Maybe Whoopi will be Stew’s good luck charm! Here’s her chart:

http://www.vegaattractions.com/celebrity/stars/whoopi_goldberg.html

Stew, Meet Tony

You’d think I would be licking my wounds. Tiger Woods came in second at the Masters after I predicted that he would win. No, it’s time to get back on the horse, says my Jupiter in Sag. Yeah, I’m feeling lucky.

Also, the thing about making astrological predictions is that people only remember when you get it right. I’ve gotten no feedback for striking out on my Tiger forecast, but dozens of e-mails from college kids in the Midwest who were amazed that my Kansas NCAA prediction came to pass. No one (except astrologers)  expects astrology to EVER get it right.

Here’s to aiming for the fences when you step up to the plate.  To wit: There’s this quirky musical at the Belasco Theatre in New York called Passing Strange starring a guy from L.A. named Stew. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times loves it, but the show hasn’t caught fire yet. For those tourists who come to town primed to see Wicked, Jersey Boys, or the revival of A Chorus Line, Passing Strange isn’t on the radar.

Stew (he goes by one name alone) and his musical collaborator Heidi Rodewald have cooked up a story that Isherwood has dubbed “a portrait of the artist as a confused young black man,” which the critic hails as “fresh, exuberant, and bitingly funny.” So why aren’t the crowds beating down the doors at the Belasco?

Maybe because they can’t find it. Located at 111 W. 44th Street, the Belasco is farther east than many popular Broadway theaters. But I can guarantee that theater goers will make the trek after Passing Strange, Stew, or both win a Tony.  A bold prediction, you say? It’s a month until the Tony nominations are announced and two months till the awards ceremony. No matter. The ephemeris (a listing of the planetary positions) says that Tony night, June 15, is a red-hot one for Stew.

Nothing’s 100% sure, especially not in astrology, but I’d say at the very least Stew is getting some prime-time TV time. Even in the unlikely situation where he walks away empty-handed, Stew will still have made the aquaintance of all those folks out in TV land.

Stew was born Aug. 16, 1961 in Los Angeles. We don’t have a time of birth. Actually, Stew looks like he should have been playing in a Greenwich Village coffee house that hot August night instead of emerging from his mother’s womb. He has that retro jazz thing going on, à la The Subterraneans. Daddy-o, this cat is cool!

Let’s look at the chart, which, thanks to Astrodienst, you can see here:

http://www.astro.com/cgi/chart.cgi?cid=41laaaa19347-s971800598&lang=e&gm=a1&nhor=202&nho2=11&btyp=24&mth=gw&sday=15&smon=6&syr=2008&hsy=-1&zod=&orbp=&rs=0&ast=

Right off the bat, we see Stew is a Leo. He likes to be the center of attention. He’ll steal the show everytime. He commands our attention. More than a mere artist, Stew is a revolutionary who can connect with the public is new and, yes, strange ways (Sun conjunct Mercury, Uranus, and North Node in Leo). Stew is an original.

But he’s kicked around a bit and fame and fortune are taking their time to find him. Why? That Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in the last degree of Capricorn. Talking about waiting around! That’s O.K. because if Stew takes care of himself — doesn’t eat and drink too much and watches his weight — he could end up like B.B. King and be the granddaddy of a musical movement (I’m not sure of the exact term to describe Stew’s “brew,” as Playbill dubs his oeuvre). The Jupiter/Saturn conjunction trines Mars in Virgo, giving him staying power. He could also end up pretty well-off, if he hangs in there.

Stew’s transits are fantastic on Tony night. The transiting Sun/Venus conjunction in Gemini sextiles his natal Leo stellium. Plus, transiting Pluto will have moved back into Sagittarius the night before the awards show, forming a nice trine with Stew’s natal Leo lineup. In addition, transiting Mars in Leo will be lighting up Stew’s Mercury and all those other Leo planets.

Now, Mars can be anger, as well as action, so I hope Stew won’t have to quote Spike Lee and say “We wuz robbed” come Tony night. I’m going to be an optimist and predict that Stew will be howling for joy.

Transiting Neptune in Aquarius is with the South Node and Chiron on Tony night, opposing Stew’s Leo stellium. Neptune, to be sure, can bring disappointment and disillusionment, particularly with the South Node in the picture.  But since Neptune rules music it could be beneficial for Stew. 

I’m going to view this Aquarius lineup as the possibility of too much partying after the show or some issues about credit. Maybe there will be some hard feelings if star of the show Stew doesn’t give Heidi Rodewald her due. You know how touchy folks get about not getting props in awards speeches. Nevertheless, pass the word —Passing Strange is destined for glory!