Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

THEATER REVIEW- FORGIVING JOHN LENNON When:Sundays : 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (ends May 22) Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays : 8:30 p.m. (ends May 22) Saturdays : 3 p.m. (ends May 22) Except April 24 Writer: William Missouri Downs The play explores intercultural relations, through a lens of interactions between an American married couple and a Somali national who is of the Muslim faith. The couple, who are both college professors, are both interracial and intercultural themselves-- Joseph (Benjamin Williams) is African-American and Katie (Leah Smith) is Caucasian and England born and raised. Asma (Yolanda Jack), the guest, is a poet who has lived in several countries, and has been brought to America for a performance sponsored by two colleges, including the one that the couple works for- A misunderstanding places her in their care for the evening, and thus begins the narrative. The title is a flip reference to the Vatican's official newsletter, L'Osservatore Romano, effectively pardoning John Lennon for making his meant-to-be-taken-ironically- "we're bigger than Jesus" comments in the late 60s that brought down condemnation from an assortment of parties, including the religious leaders of the time. The play takes place entirely in the living room of the couple's home, and the narrative is completely dialogue-driven. Most of the comedy-- and conflict-- comes from Asma's sharp observations about American culture, and dispelling many of the preconceptions that Joseph and Katie have-- despite being self-described liberal academics, there ends up being a lot they don't know about misunderstood minorities-- and even themselves. Some themes: the play lampoons how political correctness can intellectually and emotionally hobble even the most well-meaning of people, how professors that are supposed to be teaching people to be free thinkers are boxed-in by chasing down the holy grail of tenure status, how it doesn't take much for someone convinced of their open-mindedness and generosity can really be quite conservative and self-serving.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Sunday, April 03, 2011

DETROIT MEDIA PARTNERSHIP'S IDEAQUEST 2011 The two major Detroit newspapers (Detroit News and Detroit Free Press) are having a free contest on how the newspapers can better serve the Metro Detroit and Michigan communities. They started an online contest where people were given an open-ended solicitation to come up with ideas that both the News and the Free Press can potentially take on as real initiatives or policies. From content delivery to editorial content and coverage to supporting charity initiatives, "the sky's the limit" in the words of the promotion staff. This author came up with a pitch that would involve both newspapers bankrolling a charter school for urban Detroit school-age children, providing a quality education with a lean towards media-skills instruction that would prepare them for an eventual career in that industry. The "Media Academies" pitch can be found here-;topicseen#msg96 The link to Voting (preferably for the "Media Academies" pitch) can be found here-

The top Ten pitches voted on will enable the authors to make a live pitch to the contest's judges, including representatives from the Detroit News, Free Press, and the current Domino's Pizza CEO. The final top winners (one from the public and one employee of the Newspapers) will each receive a $5,000 cash grant and the idea will be formally adopted by the newspapers. Voting can be done once a day for the next two weeks or so.