“In light of Donald Trump’s no good, very bad week of scrutiny and informational drip courtesy of Robert Mueller’s investigation, it may be time to have a look at the Republican crowd. In the event that Trump has not already resigned in disgrace, nor been tossed from office via congressional impeachment proceedings, who will step up to challenge 45 directly? Believe it not, the GOP’s general kowtowing to, and enabling of Dear Leader notwithstanding, there are a few experienced, well-known names in the mix…
Given that the last and only candidate in American history to successfully unseat the sitting president of his party in primaries, then go on to win the nation election, was James Buchanan, any Republican challenger is bound to have tempered hopes. But until, um… very recently, Buchanan was also ranked as the most unpopular POTUS in our great nation’s antiquity.
That record stayed intact from the Civil War through January 2017, and records are made to be broken.”
“Maybe the move shouldn’t have come as a surprise given management’s recent familiarity with dubious character trades, but for a number of Chicago Cub fans (including myself) it did. Last week, and five months before he is eligible to return from a Major League Baseball-mandated suspension for violating its domestic-violence policy, the Cubs tendered a contract to shortstop Addison Russell.
Yes, baseball is a business but the Cubs of this era have built a reputation for being the good, fun-loving guys – zoo days for the players at Wrigley Field, bullpen dances, “Try not to suck,” Anthony Rizzo’s 2017 Roberto Clemente Award, “#EverybodyIn.” The Cubs care about the community, each other, their fans. Not everything is about winning and the budget, right? For many female die-hards, however, as well as members of Wrigleyville Nation who belong to the LGBTQIA community, the team’s self-propelled narrative of moral rectitude is wearing a little thin.”
“Danai Gurira has built a Hollywood brand playing characters known for their physical and mental strength. In television shows such as AMC’s The Walking Dead, and blockbuster films like 2018’s Black Panther, Ms. Gurira commands attention with portraits of women who can love and be loved, while also kicking ass and making important decisions. Ms. Gurira has become an icon for the #MeToo era as women work to create safer, more powerful and public spaces for themselves, as well as a global HIV advocate. Who among us hasn’t fantasized about going full General Okoye on a street harasser?
Yet I confess that until recently, I was unaware of Ms. Gurira’s accomplishments as a prolific and celebrated playwright. Is there nothing this woman can’t do? I’m an excited fangirl all over again after attending the opening of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s newest production, a mounting of Ms. Gurira’s 2015 play,Familiar. With humor, sharp dialogue, physical comedy and, not incongruently, large helpings of emotional heft, the work engages questions of identity, family dynamics, and the immigrant experience.
All productions as successful as this one start with great source material. Familiar drops in on the Chinyaramwira family, Zimbabwe-Americans living in Minnesota. In climate and culture, the Midwestern locale couldn’t be more different from life in the African nation, and Ms. Gurira looks at a wide scope of contrasts with remarkable balance. For every obvious benefit of material wealth and comfort, the play argues, there’s a tradeoff. These various concessions are explored through the play’s philosophically diverse characters, and they are brought together through an enduring trope of emotional volatility: the family wedding.”
“A coup led by mostly middle-aged white men, whose largest accomplishments involve the drafting of bi-partisan proposals on immigration, infrastructure and budget which crashed right into the immutability of right wing fanatics. How boring. How uninspiring. How behind the times. The PSC is the liberal(ish) answer to the Freedom Caucus, without the organic, kamikaze courage of its convictions.
The Problems Solvers Caucus’ only fundamental creed is a cynical nod to transcendence of country over party, serving to reinforce the cultural trope of the white male savior. The only true road to sober, moral leadership runs right through the Caucasian male middle – ideologically and geographically. What a scam. I might enjoy watching the PSC’s floundering futility a lot more, if it didn’t carry with it millennia of painfully racist, misogynist, subjugated baggage.”
“Red Theater Chicago’s production of An Oak Treehas a lot of good ideas. Written as it were by Tim Crouch, the semi-improvisational script tackles themes of loss, guilt and the ways one might manipulate reality to manage overwhelming experiences. It also leverages a handy and creative metaphor for that exploration.
Featuring Gage Wallace as First Actor, or Hypnotist, the play’s action occurs a year after a tragedy for which the Hypnotist is partly responsible. The family-friendly practitioner of the occult has lost his mojo, a development he reveals honestly and exhaustedly to his latest audience. When the Hypnotist seeks volunteers to participate in his ‘act’ (word very carefully chosen), his eyes fall upon a man he does not recognize, but should. Without giving away spoilers, the actor who takes a seat upon the Hypnotist’s stage is intimately involved in last year’s tragedy, and the two characters begin a cerebral, transcendental verbal dance that slowly exposes their respective suffering.
Here’s the script’s creative rub. Second Actor, or the individual who raises his or her hand to be hypnotized, is played each night by a different performer. Per An Oak Tree’s press packet, ‘the second actor will discover the play and their role at the same time as you [audience members] do.’ Actors and actresses who’ve agreed to take on the role are announced the Tuesday before the production’s weekend performances.”
“The work begins promisingly, casting Shriner as a small-town, high school show choir nerd who loses her virginity to an elusive, emotionally unavailable boyfriend. While the man-child proves disposable, Shriner’s love for the sexual chase and experience becomes one of the “10,000 pieces” that compromise her character. Branded by her peers in Indiana, and into her undergraduate college years at Millikin University in Central Illinois as a “bad” girl of dubious morals, Shriner makes the (seemingly) conscious decision to let her freak flag fly.
But then a #MeToo reckoning is squeezed into a momentum-slowing fashion between its riotous setup and compromising denouement. While painfully authentic and emotional, the sudden pivot to a plotline involving a past sexual assault undercuts what is previously served up as a narrative of female agency. As a feminist writer who urgently believes that more complicated, messy stories for and by women are needed across the entertainment spectrum, it pains me to see the production’s structure as an inadvertent capitulation to the very patriarchy it critiques. The subsequent upshift to a final 10 minutes of sex comedy ends with Shriner’s proscripted, heteronormative conclusion. It’s not what we’re lead to expect and it feels like a cheat.”
“While it’s gratifying to see the authors call-out the ‘nativist fear’ mongering of Trump’s campaign swing in support of Republican candidates across the country, it’s hard not to flinch at the part about ‘the glowing report on the nation’s economy.’ As if that is any credit to the current POTUS or his policies. It’s particularly troubling to read this during the same week that President Obama, who in hard fact pulled the American economy out of a deep ditch in 2008 and placed it on a sustainable path Trump has not had enough time to fully destroy, is out there laboring.
44 is leveraging his earned leadership capital and personal charisma to articulate remarkable, abundant policy and humanitarian differences which divide 2018’s Democratic and Republican candidates. The Trump administration and his conservative sycophants have done all they can to erase the forward cultural and economic movement, the calls to basic decency, championed by President Obama. It’s galling when supposedly credible media sources assist that effort.
Deeper into their Times article, Herdon and Ember demonstrate an awareness that Republican ownership claims to a relatively stable economy are on a shaky foundation.”