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Anthropology and a Lifetime of Observation

We didn't get it. Although my younger sister, at the age of three months, came down with some terrible illness. I've forgotten what it was, but it seemed that she might well die of it. The doctor who took care of her spent a lot of time with her, but he was also worn out with the flu epidemic, and he died I think of heart failure shortly afterwards.

So we felt that somehow or other the flu epidemic had an impact on us. You have an amazing memory. I wonder if such an amazing memory is tied in with the speed reading. What do you think? My mother certainly had a good memory. I think my father did. My father wasn't as interested in reading as my mother. But my mother had thought, when she became engaged to him, that he liked reading better than he did. In his family, of course, if Grandmother Colson caught her daughters reading, she'd always say to them, "Don't you have something useful to do? My mother didn't sew.

She had a sewing machine. She didn't embroider much. She left that behind her. She said trying to knit stockings in World War I was going beyond her. She didn't really like cooking, except she liked baking cookies.


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Her mother had been a very good cook, and sewed, made all the girls' clothing. But even as a girl, Mother had been impatient; when she was called by her mother for a fitting, she always used to say, "Just why don't you make it Mother Hubbard style? Mother talked more about her family than my father did. When I asked him about the family in Sweden, for instance, or Germany, he said that his parents hadn't talked about it and he really didn't know.

And when I asked my cousins later about it, they didn't know. And perhaps even some interest in genealogy, which is not bad for an anthropologist. Well, yes, and that's what I was thinking, very definitely. How about the house, the neighborhood? When we moved to Wadena, my parents rented a house from a man who had joined the army for World War I, and when he came back, they had to get out of it.

It had been a farm house. They also had a lot. We were always going to build there, but we didn't have the money for it. So we lived in this house. We moved in in , before my brother was born. He was born in the house. My mother lived there until , when we took her to the Masonic home in Minneapolis. So we were there for a long time. It was a smallish house. Remember, there were four children and two adults.

Sometimes there was live-in help, somebody who was always called "a hired girl," not a maid, in that place. And after my grandfather died, my grandmother and mother's younger sister came and spent the winter with us. And we all fitted in somehow. My father sometimes spoke a few words of German, but no.

When I went to high school, there was Latin. Incidentally, my mother had been a Latin teacher and taught Latin when she was a schoolteacher. She had taught Latin and history and English.

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My father had taught mathematics and science. So we never had a course in school that somebody couldn't help us with it. I think he loved math, and he loved Greek and Latin more than science. He tried, with his three daughters, to make us into mathematicians, and it didn't work. My poor brother had no chance whatsoever. By the time he was four years old, he could do the multiplication tables up to 16 times 16, and he became a mathematician and taught math finally at Ohio State.

Let's see, we had two years of Latin by the time I got into high school. My older sister was able to take German, but then the Depression hit, and they cut out the German, so I only had a chance at Latin. No modern language in the school then. I don't think I did very well at it. What is wonderful to me is that after all these years of doing nothing with it, she could pick it up and read it just like that.

I found Cicero a bad-tempered ranter, and I thought that Aeneas was a cad! Mother also then got a first-year Spanish course, and she and I tried to read Spanish together. Katherine got German because she was ahead of me, and Barbara somehow or other struggled through Latin. She didn't like it at all. She didn't do as well in school as the rest of us did. Oh, yes, my father did try and teach me a little Greek but, again, didn't get very far with that.

Katherine went to Macalester College, and she I think majored in social work. As a matter of fact, when she was a senior she was being a teaching assistant, and then after she graduated she couldn't get a job--that was the Depression time--and so she went back to Macalester; they gave her a fellowship. She was teaching some, and she did an M. Then after a few years, she married. She wasn't employed then until after her children were in college.

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Then she got a job. They had moved to Minneapolis, from the small town where they had lived, and she got a job with the state employment agency. She hated school, right through. She was sent to Cottey College for a year. Didn't like that because there weren't any men around. Then she went to the University of Minnesota for a year. Didn't like that and didn't do well there.

Then took a business course and started to work in a store, in the big Dayton's store in Minneapolis. Eventually he took over that plant and became the president. His younger daughter is now president of it. He died three years ago, I think. So Barbara never worked again, but she did a lot of things like working as a Gray Lady and so on, and she was very active in her church. University of Minnesota at that time--a man paid twenty-five dollars a quarter. Women paid twenty dollars because we didn't have as good physical education facilities.

But included in that twenty dollar fee, we got--let's see, we had tickets for some activities, for instance concerts and so on, or a play, and the daily newspaper, and of course the university health service. By the way, you might like to know that I skipped the sixth grade, and my parents--when the school wanted to skip my younger brother, my parents wouldn't allow that because they said they'd seen that it was bad for a child to get out of their cohort.

I quite liked the idea, but I was put in with an older crowd, of course. At that point, seventh and eighth grade had quite a number of people who had been held back, so I was young amongst older people, and I never really got on good terms with them. Well, it meant that I came through faster. I came through, and I didn't go to university for a year.

I think they thought I was too young. Besides, we were broke during the Depression. She got fellowship funding, too. Anyway, Katherine managed to stay in Macalester. But she got fellowship help, and she worked. She worked on the switchboard, and she did everything.

I should think that if you skipped a grade and you found yourself not in a congenial crowd, that that would have been reason--more reason, even--to be buried in your books. Yes, but we were all buried in our books anyway. The joke was if you came over to play with the Colson children, you were handed a book and said, "Here. There was a newspaper, one of the Minneapolis papers. And my father got several things, like, oh, Fur and Feathers or Fur and something. And my mother got--oh, goodness, there were all sorts of things around. Let's see, Mother had Harper's , which she gave to the library, and she borrowed The Atlantic from the library.

She didn't try, no, though she gave papers regularly, reviewed books and gave other kinds of papers, both for the P. Tell me your impressions of it. It had lovely stuff on the Pueblos and all that, archaeology, and Mayan and so on, which I think is probably what made me want to become an archaeologist. That was all there, but that wasn't what caught my eye.

It was the archaeology, the stuff on Greece and on Maya and on the Southwest. Were you able to follow up on that interest in the library? If you were reading, for instance, about the Indians? There wasn't that much. And I don't know that I was that interested in the Indians. I was interested in archaeology at that point. I started out thinking I'd like to be an astronomer until I figured out quickly that that required a lot of math. And then I got interested in being a naturalist. No, no, no, when I was in grade school and so on.

My mother was very interested in--oh, in nature. We used to go birding together, and she encouraged me to keep a wildflower book. No, she wouldn't have said she was a musician, certainly not by the time I was born. Before that, she used to go down to Minneapolis on the train for the opera. There was one week when the Met came to Minneapolis, and she always went down for the opera season. One thing she liked about the University of Minnesota was that she could go to the opera and to the other music things in Minneapolis. They said that was fine. Astronomy, that was fine. And when I said I was going to be an archaeologist, they said that was fine too.

And when I said I was going to the University of Minnesota and not to Macalester, they looked at me and said, "That's your life," and that was okay. She was a very interesting woman. She had been an actress and had toured with a repertory company. When we had Shakespeare in high school, she would make us act out bits of it, and she produced the class plays and things like that. She was really interested in literature and especially the drama. That was an opportunity to speak in public.

Do you think that was important for you? I was never much in the class plays. I did take debate in high school. And I worked on the high school newspaper. My older sister was the editor. She was much better at all this kind of thing. I was very self-conscious. I wouldn't have said I was modest. I would have said I was self-conscious and awkward. Before we go on, you asked about women.

The librarian in the town library, Jean Stuart, she had come from Scotland as a small girl, with her father. She had not had a college education, but she loved books and she was determined that children should love books. She was a friend of my mother's, too.

So when we went to the library, she was always suggesting things that we might like to read, and she also started having schoolchildren come as a class to the library in order to introduce them to it and to gather them together and get started on reading this and that. My first published article is something I wrote in third grade that she sent to a library journal. But she was the kind of person who always encouraged children to read and to think, and she would talk about women who had done remarkable things.

But she didn't have the college education or whatever you would expect. Oh, things came out in town years later. I think my mother had heard it from other people who came with the Scottish group who settled outside of town and then moved into town. It sounds like it was a fine town, but it sounds like in every way it's a very small town.

It was about 2, when I was growing up. It had a group of people in town who were interested in drama and did amateur plays and concerts. At the school, in the high school, a junior class play, a senior class play. There was a high school newspaper. But a great many things I didn't know until I grew up because my parents didn't believe in telling us everything they knew. You were responding to my question about whether there were mentors and people who encouraged you. I would say definitely Jean Stuart. But we always had books. My parents always gave us books for Christmas and birthdays.

And we borrowed books from our friends as well as from the library. Who could you have talked to about being a naturalist or an archaeologist or an astronomer? I suppose my parents. Maybe some of the schoolteachers.

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I don't remember it, though. You said that you were self-conscious. You sound like you had a real sense of yourself as a person at a very young age. Again, since we were all allowed to read and were expected to--remember, there were family dinners and suppers, and you talked at the table. You had discussions about politics and everything. We had a man who came and helped put down the wood and do odd jobs around the place. He lived about a block or so away.

I used to wander up there and have long discussions with him, and a Seventh Day Adventist minister wandered down and joined us. We used to have really good discussions. Indeed, when we had visitors, they sometimes thought we children talked too much and our opinions were given too much space at the table. This was at old Fort Wadena. They were doing some excavating there, probably one of the colleges or universities or the state historical society--and I remember picking up a piece of bone.

We were on a picnic with friends of my family. He was a doctor. Uncle Doc came visiting shortly afterwards, and I showed it to him. He said it was the lower end of a humerus. It may have been from one of the soldiers at the fort. It could have been one of the Indians from the area. There were Finnish children, who could still speak Finnish. They used to annoy other children by speaking to each other in Finnish in the playground, because we couldn't understand them and they could always understand us. But people--let's see, there had been a Scottish community, an English community, there was a Swedish, there was Norwegians, there were Germans, there were old Americans.

There was a whole mixture. There were a couple of Jewish families who were consistently Jewish. There were a number of families who, I think, in Wadena went to the Episcopal church, and certainly weren't practicing Judaism in Wadena. But it was known that when they went to Minneapolis they did go to synagogue, and things like that.

Then there were a number of families which I only realized afterwards had been Jewish originally, but were by then pillars of the Congregational church and never seen as Jewish in the town. No, there was a Catholic school, a parochial school, through eighth grade. My best friend when I was a child went to the parochial school. She lived about--we lived on this side of--here [demonstrating on a real or imaginary map], on this end of the block, and she lived over here, about a block away. Unfortunately, a block away from her in the other direction was another girl who was approximately the same age--she was a year older than I was--who also went to the parochial school, which I regarded as quite unfair.

There were no Indians. There was one Black in town, a man who worked at the hotel, shining shoes and so on. The only Indian--well, no, I'm wrong there. We thought Indians had better sight and they moved quietly, and when we found that he couldn't, we were very disappointed. He had probably grown up on the reservation.

On the other hand, my father's cousin was married to a man whose mother was Indian, or she was half-Indian. And a good friend of my mother's--oh, she was related to that husband--she was part Indian. She had also gone to college, and she was a poet. Got some stuff published.

There was another family in town where the wife was certainly part Indian, and the children were in school, but they were older than I was. It was known that they were part Indian. But somehow it pretty much didn't matter. So did you put together in your mind the actual Indians there and the fact that Pueblos were interesting archaeological subjects? Were far enough away. We'd drive through them on a Sunday afternoon. White Earth was not that far, probably about forty, fifty miles away.

There was archaeological work being done in the state by the University of Minnesota on early stuff, not particularly interesting in comparison with the Pueblo and the Mayans. I went back to school and took typing and shorthand. I had one year of typing as a senior in high school, but I did another year, so I got really good at typing, and I took shorthand. Then I helped my father, who was by then working in insurance. This was supposed to occupy me. And read anything I wanted to. My father had gone to Minnesota. My mother had had that one year there.

Two of my cousins had graduated from Minnesota. One of them I never laid eyes on because he was gone before I was old enough to know anything. The other one went on and did his Ph. So quite a lot of people went to Minnesota. Minnesota had archaeology, and Macalester did not. Also I went through school following my older sister, and I felt I'd rather be someplace where she hadn't set the standards. She was very, very good, all around. She was better at math than I was; she was better in English than I was. She really was first rate. Every summer we went to Winnebago to stay with my grandmother.

They had a big house. That was summer vacation. And sometimes we got a week at a lake. We borrowed or we rented a cottage. They had taken us down for a football game, and I wanted to go to the art gallery, so we went there. We went to the football game, and we got taken to a Chinese restaurant. We stayed in a hotel, and my younger sister and my brother--they loved that. First of all, they'd go up in the elevator and then they'd come down in the elevator and they'd go through the revolving door and then they'd go up in the elevator and come down and go through the revolving door.

You wanted to be an archaeologist. Had you read biographies of archaeologists or anything about the field other than your National Geographics? Oh, I'm sure there must have been something, probably about [Heinrich] Schliemann and all that. I assumed there would be some. There were, of course. No, not then probably, but they were working in the twenties. Oh, yes, there was a book I think by the wife of somebody who worked in Maya territory and also the Southwest, her experience there. I think she did some archaeology too. I lived in what were called cooperative cottages.

Our cottage I think had ten girls. There was a central dining room, and we took turns working in the dining room and the kitchen, which reduced our costs. I think it cost me about twenty-one dollars a month for room and board. I'm still in touch. I was last Christmas--with three of the women whom I knew there. Others are dead now. We were thrown together. We applied for entry into the cottages, and they put us where they wanted to. But after you had gone, then you could be in the same cottage--I was there all three years that I was in the university, before I got my B. Minnesota had a system which I don't think was particularly good, but at least it allowed us to get through fast.

For every grade point you had above C--let's see, a course was five credits, so for C, you would get five grade points. If you got a B, you'd get ten. If you got an A, you got fifteen. And they worked it out, a certain proportion, you could then cut the number of courses that you had to take if you had all these grade points, and that meant that I could do it in three years. My brother did it in three years too. And that meant, again, that I felt I had a chance for graduate school. But, of course, at the graduate school I worked as a secretary in the department. Yes, I took two years to do an M.

I think the spring of my freshman year. You had to do all sorts of other things too. So it was either spring of the freshman year or the fall of the second year. There I encountered, again, a remarkable woman, Ruth Sawtell Wallis, who herself was an anthropologist, a physical anthropologist. The reason I ended up as an anthropologist rather than an archaeologist is because my first chance to do field work was in anthropology. They did have archaeological summer schools, field crews from Minnesota, but they didn't take women.

Even if I pushed it, they wouldn't have taken a woman on the crew from Minnesota at that time. Jenks was one of these--he had started very well, indeed. He had done his original work in Wisconsin with the Ojibway--no, with the Menomanee [Indians]--on their wild rice growing. Then he went to the Philippines right after the U.

But by the time I knew him, he had become interested in archaeology. And I think he really lost interest in teaching. So, although I had to take some courses with him, he was not, as far as I was concerned, anybody from whom I could learn very much. But I had to do it in order to get the credits. Jenks had published an old-world prehistory chart, and you had to buy it and memorize it, because on his exams you had to spell everything the way he spelled it, and that wasn't the way it was spelled in most books.

I remember that about him. The only other thing I remember from his courses was from the one on the Peoples of Europe, and that was worth remembering. His course on the Peoples of Europe was like that. You can understand why I say I took his courses because I had to. Their only son--they had only one child, a boy, who at the age of seventeen went skating--they lived in St. Paul, and he went through the ice and died. It was a terrible blow, as you can imagine. Then during World War I, he got involved in teaching Americanization courses. He had a course on the People of America, which he was still teaching when I was at Minnesota, which was really Teddy Roosevelt warmed over: We're great, we're wonderful, we're this, we're that.

And the Peoples of Europe was very much the same thing. This may have pulled him away from serious scholarship. The archaeology that he did, he never really did himself. Lloyd Wilford did much of the work. Of course, the publications came out under their joint names. I read The Bontoc Igorot , yes, but I don't remember that he told us to. It's just that I was interested. For my honors thesis he suggested that I do the stone ages of Africa. I told him I wanted to do an honors thesis, and that was his suggestion.

But, again, he wasn't interested in the result. I'm not even sure he really read it properly. If you were a woman, and doing a thesis in archaeology, it was certainly going to be that way. I took introductory anthropology from Jenks. Then I moved on and I took courses from Wallis, and although he wasn't a terribly inspiring teacher, he was a scholar, you knew it; he really gave you good value. Ruth Wallis was not around the department much, but she stopped in, and they did have students to their house now and then.

Wallis was born in Maryland. He went to a small college in Pennsylvania, and then was one of the early Rhodes scholars. He planned to do classics at Oxford, discovered that he really wasn't prepared in comparison with the English students who had done classics all through school, but he heard a lecture. My memory says it was by Tylor, Edward Tylor, who is regarded as the founder of English anthropology.

He started anthropology at Oxford. He'd retired by the time Wallis got to Oxford, but he gave this lecture, and Wallis heard it, and decided he'd do anthropology. At that time, Robert Marett was the Reader in anthropology. There was nobody with the status of professor. Buxton was also there I think, and somebody else. Wallis had the three years at Oxford. Then he came back and did his Ph. They didn't have anthropology there, but he did go up to New York and sit in on Boas's seminar, so he did get some training from Boas.

He did some work at Carlisle, the school for Indians, where he collected some folklore from Indian students. Then he went to the Micmac [Indians] up in Nova Scotia. Eventually, years later, he and Ruth went back there for more research, and he wrote his book on the Micmac. He had published something on the Micmac based on his earlier work. He had also married. He got a temporary job here at Berkeley, and when that ended--there was nothing permanent--he went to Fresno.

I don't know where he taught there, maybe a very junior college. It was when he was there that he wrote articles for the Fresno paper on the different ethnic groups in Fresno. Yes, Armenians were there. And years and years later--this was after I came to Berkeley--an Armenian who had grown up in Fresno arranged for his articles to be republished as a little book on the Armenians. He asked questions about them, but I think it was probably about the background in Armenia.

I used to have the book. Probably I still have it--maybe. Anyway, from there he went to Reed College and then to Minnesota. Now, Jenks had originally been in the Department of Sociology at Minnesota, but when they saw that he was becoming sort of dead wood, the Department of Sociology arranged for him to be excluded into a department of anthropology. The university arranged this, and hired a second anthropologist. And Jenks and his assistant, Lloyd Wilford, who taught courses for Jenks when Jenks went south every winter--they were interested in archaeology.

Wilford was an archaeologist who stayed on at Minnesota for years after Jenks retired. Got a regular post. Psychology was in its own department. The Wallises were on very good terms with the sociologists, historians, philosophers, and psychologists, and also with the biologists. Downloads The Earth Incident: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse online. A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse Download The Owl and the Woodpecker book. Everything to do with owls - Detailed descriptions of different species, including photos and sounds.

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Although lightning didn't strike, Rick found Trump's "performance" entertaining. It was like doing The Wave at a pro-wrestling event, he recalls, something he can only explain by admitting Trump's non-pc boldness immediately elevated him beyond his lifelong outsider status and, for once, made him not feel ashamed of himself anymore.

Under Michael Michetti's tensely claustrophobic direction, Foxworth stealthily avoids making his character either a troglodyte or a monster, delivering a quietly compelling performance as the fiercely conflicted scapegoat paying for the crimes the misguided former leader of the free world, whose stance on immigration has in this future abyss dissolved into a horrific repeat of the Holocaust.

Although Rick objected to the orders passed down from on high, where detainees were taken in busses the guards called "taco trucks" to meet a fate far worse than deportation, his interviewer Gloria the solid Judith Moreland believes his crime was letting it happen without offering any resistance--something as a black woman living in America during this period in time she knows only too well. Schenkkan's script is sometimes predictable and the premise, as Gloria questions and Rick answers questions about his beaten-down life which so obviously formed his skewed belief system, often feels awkward and too convenient.

Still, the combined artistry of Schenkkan and Michetti guiding these two immensely talented performers helps make Building the Wall an urgently important call to arms. It is a disturbing warning about things that easily could happen if we, as Americans, do not stand up to the insanity and tyranny unfolding daily before our eyes and somehow right the terrible mistake foisted upon our nation and the world.

The immediately controversial Next to Normal instead featured a loud and stridently in-your-face multiple F-bombing rock score as it bravely took on the difficult and unflinchingly tragic story of a psychotropically-challenged suburban mom dealing with mental illness, a topic that trumps the problem of poor sappy Maria by leaps and bounds. Granted, the Baroness von Trapp faced the universally vilified Nazis, but whether she in real life suffered from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, delusional episodes, or cut her arms with a razor, was something ol' Dickie and Oscar would never thought of including.

Starting small, presented and nurtured in intimate workshops before opening off-Broadway in , the less-than PC musical soon won Kitt and Yorkey the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Score and, transferring to a Broadway venue the following year, it was nominated for a staggering 11 Tonys, winning three: Best Score, Best Orchestration, and garnering a decidedly deserved Best Actress in a Musical Award for my brilliant friend Alice Ripley as Diana, the tortured housewife living a life of sheer horror just under the surface of trying to face the world as the perfect wife and mother.

Beyond all these other surprisingly unconventional honors, Next to Normal then received the ultimate recognition, in becoming only the eighth musical in history to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. After playing to packed houses in a long Broadway run, it went on to enjoy a sold-out national tour and has since been presented in legions of productions both grand and intimate all over the world. East West Players has long been known for interspersing the tried and true and guaranteed safe with daring adult fare which pushes the boundaries.

This dynamic remounting of a truly arresting modern classic, under the direction of the venerated Nancy Keystone, presents the company at the very top of its game. He huffed and puffed and expressed his outrage at what East West had descended into before turning around and herding his disappointed womenfolk back down the patio steps, thereby missing a unique opportunity to open his mind and step for a couple of hours into the lives of people less content with life than he might be—or professes to be.

So much to learn, so sad to miss the opportunity of having such a brilliantly conjured outlet to learn it. Phillips is incredibly simple and gloriously understated as the alcoholic Brick, giving one of the most arresting and real depictions of this difficult character since the emergence of Paul Newman so many year before. Mozo is great at crawling under the nervous and sexually repressed skin of Maggie, a difficult task considering an actress must be shrill and annoying yet, at the same time, endearing enough for audiences to care about what happens to her.

Still, if there is any reason not to miss this exceptional revival of the great classic Cat, it is the indelibly memorable work of Harry Groener and Dawn Didawick as dying Pollitt patriarch Big Daddy and his long-suffering spouse Big Mama that is the heart of this production. Still, instead of shouting gruffly and chomping on a huge cigar, the not-so-big Groener as Big Daddy starts so gently and unobtrusively that when his anger and rage as his talk with his drunken unresponsive son emerges and soon after when learning his diagnosis hits, his performance is revelatory.

This production, however, which the Fiasco Theatre Company debuted off-Broadway at the Laura Pels Theatre in to great acclaim, manages to do just that. Under the truly visionary direction of Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld, this reinvigorated journey through the bewitched underbrush is meant to be extremely barebones, with 10 incredibly energetic and charismatic actors play all the characters, switching between them with lightning fast alacrity. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a real asshole: Set during the term of the Supreme Court, Edward Gero breathes life back in the old boy as though he were channeling the late jurist directly from his perch in purgatory.

In life, Scalia truly was a monster, pure and simple, without a single iota of Lionel Barrymoriness lurking anywhere beneath the surface. He was a tirelessly vocal opponent of affirmative action, marriage equality, immigration and abortion rights, a stridently and unmovable religious zealot who believed in everything our constitution stood for except the division between church and state.

In The Originalist, Scalia is approached by a recent Harvard Law grad who has been recommended to him as a possible law clerk. Cat Jade Wheeler is the exact opposite of her potential boss, a, African-American lesbian whose super-liberal views spark a rather orbid interest in the jurist, who admits to her that he occasionally likes having liberals around because it reinforces—in his mind—how right he is.

Right is the optimum word here. This reaction, it must be admitted, however, is formed within the politically-discouraged mind and Trump-poisoned pen of one of those lifelong bleeding-heart liberals, all right? What do I know. As objective as any critic tries desperately to be we, like Scalia, Smith, and Strand, we are only human. My personal opinion of Antonin Scalia is decidedly unforgiving. Antonin Scalia is dead. Antonin Scalia was a virulent and dangerous rightwing Frankenstein who wrecked havoc on our country, undeserving of such an obvious whitewashing no matter how well-meaning it may be.

Having been a theatre critic in LA for over 30 years I can guarantee, here in the land of the dreaded vanity production, there are about a dozen horrifically overdone plays—not to mention almost every black box velcro and tinfoil-costumed attempt to interpret Shakespeare anew—that I avoid like the bubonic plague. There are two reasons that led me to take my crusty guard down and decide to see this new mounting of Lone Star at the Zephyr: Eaglehart had played Roy in college in New Mexico.

So glad I relented. This Lone Star returns to its guileless and straightforward roots without the participants bastardizing it into an overlong sketch from the stage of the Ozark Opry or a long-lost episode of Hee Haw. Roy is still trying to find his way in this confusing civilian world as seen through weary eyes now jaundiced by war.

As his gaze wanders longingly out front at the lonely nightscape stretched before him, we too see it in his eyes, testament to an actor arrestingly comfortable in his own skin. Somehow, however, Fofi and this exceptional triumvirate of veteran Actors Studio-trained actors make it work splendidly, even crafting it so it somehow adds to the desolate, empty lifestyles haunting these go-nowhere characters.

These are guys who would vote for an obvious overly-coiffed conman nutcase with the brains of Ray just on the deluded off-chance that someone somewhere in power might understand their existence and strive to improve it—rather, of course, than find the initiative to fix it for themselves. When Corie comes of age and is given a file identifying her mother, she would normally be reluctant to reach out to her through her dense cloud of hatred and pain over being abandoned by Dee—were not for the fact that she herself is pregnant and in the same situation her mother endured a generation earlier.

Slezak is a perfect foil for her, as raucous and in-your-face as Cummins is sweet and almost endlessly cheerful, making the face-to-face meetings between the two the most riveting part of the play. Thanks to this slickly mounted and performed introduction to the work of an obviously gifted new playwright, we can all expect a great future for Louisa Hill. Actually bake a pie. What makes it all work, however, is the sincerity and downhome spirit of these two veteran actors and the insightful leadership of their director, Maria Gobetti, who just last month was honored with the prestigious Milton Katselas Career Achievement Award from the LA Drama Critics Circle.

Possessed of a feverish energy that would make Bobcat Golthwait seem stress free and a propensity to generate more perspiration than Chris Christie in a sauna, one must resist the temptation to rush the stage with a cooling damp towel and a bottle of water as Maratos instantaneously morphs from one intensely fucked-up member of his uber-needy family to another. His mother arrives at his home in an Uber, spiriting Goonie off to the party with him, but not without making her late by stopping off at Ross to return a microwave. Under the kinetic and imaginative leadership of director Jim Anzide, whose own sense of humor is a palpable presence throughout, Maratos is amazing as he transforms from his mother to father to two impossibly unwanted cousins—one schizophrenic and the other a bipolar agoraphobic—to his patient girlfriend and his innocent young daughter herself, who seems on the precipice of one day joining the family in a desperate need for therapy.

His performance as the people in his life who make him alternately snap at his kid and apologize to her profusely is boldly over-the-top, something few performers could get away with as effectively as he does. Edward Albee received his first recognition when his ground-breaking one-act The Zoo Story, written in , first grabbed New York by its theatrical short hairs in after debuting in Berlin the year before. It has remained one of his most celebrated works, the first signal to the world of the prolific genius which was to follow before his death at age 88 last September.

In , the equally prolific and artistically unstoppable Deaf West Theatre mounted their extraordinary version of The Zoo Story starring two of heir finest company stalwarts, Troy Kotsur and Tyrone Giordano, who signed the play's rushing explosion of ideas while speaking actors stood nearby, watching the story unfold as they delivered Albee's torrential dialogue. It was the culmination of a longtime respect and love affair between the playwright and Deaf West, which began several years earlier when the company contemplated mounting the author's notorious Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf starring Phyllis Frelich.

That production never came to be, but the relationship it fostered remained. In , working under a commission from Hartford Stage Company, Albee created a prequel to The Zoo Story called Homelife, exploring the moments before Peter heads to what he hopes will be a quiet corner of Central Park where he can read a book and smoke his pipe in peace. Instead he meets a troubled stranger named Jerry, who insists Peter stick around so he can tell him what just happened to him during his visit to Central Park Zoo. Now called At Home at the Zoo, Deaf West was a logical company to be awarded permission for the LA debut of the expanded work--not only with the blessings of the author, who insisted on personal approval in granting rights for all his works, but even with Albee himself talking about being in attendance.

Unfortunately, the tenuous financial times postponed those plans and now that the production has finally come to fruition in collaboration with the Wallis, Deaf West and director Coy Middlebrook have had to make magic happen without its creator nearby. Albee would have been mighty proud. What Homelife brings to the story is a clear reason why Peter Kotsur, who reprises his arresting turn in the role becomes so intent on defending his masculinity as he and Jerry the phenomenal Russell Harvard, who rocks the role until March 16 when Giordano takes over devolve from respectful pleasantries into a violent confrontation as each defends possession of the public bench they each consider their own personal property.

Kotsur voiced by Jake Eberl is brilliantly subtle in what at first seems to be the less complex role, as Peter tries diligently to communicate in the first act with his loving but sexually frustrated wife Ann Amber Zion, voiced by Paige Lindsey White , who is desperate to find some new excitement in their predictably complacent relationship. Ann loves her reserved book editor husband, their daughters, parakeets, cats, and the life they've established together in their comfortable upper-middleclass eastside Manhattan apartment.

Of course, only Albee could take their conversation where it goes, from a minute discussion about circumcision to Peter's eventual confession chronicling the bloody details of a suppressed brutal sexual encounter during a drunken college frat party. By the time designer Karyl Newman's slickly s New York flat revolves into massive backlit triangles of fall-like Central Park views, what makes Peter stick around and listen to the increasingly more delusional Jerry mesmerically voiced as in by Jeff Alan-Lee is explained for the first time as his tormentor delivers his infamous lengthy rant about his encounter with his drunken landlady's dog.

Middlebrook does an exceptional job staging what could be a painfully static two hours of Albee's familiarly complex dialogue and the performances are like something never seen before. There's a kind of expressive style, a remarkably innocent freedom and grace that identifies the performances of most hearing-impaired actors which beautifully accents and pays homage to the signature gifts of one of the last century's bravest and most thought-provoking wordsmiths. As she videos their comments, one by one the members of the diverse and eclectic ensemble relate who they are and how they—and we all—are connected despite our differences.

The members of QueerWise are not all actors but also writers, spoken word artists, social workers, and educators who commit their efforts to create and perform events such as this. The only solution is strapping on the wrist…what were you thinking? In offering this product for worldwide utilization, Monocorp can soon, of course, control the planet. With an infectious score that, as a character tells us with tongue firmly in cheek, runs the spectrum all the way from hip-hop to rap, this outrageously X-rated pop musical melds Arthur C. Clarke, Lady Gaga, and a North Beach-y peep show vibe with surprising success.

Yup, Future Sex, Inc. Even for those among us who run from sappy musical theater offerings, right now, as the world crumbles and burns around us, Finding Neverland could not be more gratefully welcome. Based on the and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan and the Oscar-winning film version, this grand-scale Broadway musical adaptation follows the relationship between playwright J.

After a New York run starring Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer, it has taken to the road without losing any of its high-tech visual marvels. The incredibly kinetic staging by director Diane Paulus and the spirited, charmingly cheery choreography by Mia Michaels are perfectly accentuated by an eager ensemble and a world-class production team on every level. Although sometimes creating such modern industrial-strength illusions can prove an easy way out, here it works as magically as, well, a healthy sprinkle of pixie dust itself.

Everything about Finding Neverland runs like a well-oiled machine, but without losing any of the momentary enchantment that can take us all, regardless of our age, back to the time when we first saw Peter Pan take flight and longed to help him get that shadow of his sewn back on and journey through the night skies with him to join the Lost Boys. The pedigree that came along with the announcement of this world premiere was instantly thrilling.

Still, this production is an astonishingly unexpected disappointment.

ARCHIVES: JAN - SEPT

Perhaps a big part of this outcome is the staging, with audience placed on either side of a long, slender playing space dominated by two huge seesaws. As we stare ahead directly into the equally confused faces of patrons on the other side of the action—not to mention, on opening night, two brightly-lit older gentlemen desperately struggling to stay awake in the front row—the gifted and quite courageously game quartet of players are surely directed to use the space. The result, however, is the boldly gorgeous visual designs by Jason H. Thompson are lost as projected onto the floor and the walls on opposite ends of the playing area, while conversations between characters are often staged so far apart that one begins to feel like a ping-pong ball trying to take in both actors at once.

Bringelsen further accentuates this divide by directing his performers to continuously make slow, motivation-free moves from one place to another, especially in the case of Kimberly Alexander as Liana, who repeatedly does so with sensually-charged balletic movements.

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