Folksy, funny and tuneful, this lighthearted but spunky musical has been around since the early 1980s, pleasing audiences of all ages with its colorful characters and country/pop score. Set somewhere in North Carolina, it tells the tale of four men who work at a gas station and two women who waitress at the nearby Double Cupp Diner. (It’s okay: Go ahead and chortle.)
The show’s usual challenge involves finding good musicians who can also carry off the acting. Not surprisingly, Tennessee Repertory Theatre director Rene Copeland appears to have things well in hand. Up front and center is the multi-talented Martha Wilkinson, performing in her third production of the show and undoubtedly primed to rock the house. On guitars, piano, bass and kitchen utensils — and also facile with the scripted material — will be Brad Albin, Jeff Boyet, Brooke Bryant, Taylor Jones and Jeffrey Williams.
This upbeat choice as the capper on The Rep’s very successful season has surefire hit written all over it. There are about 20 songs, including humorous selections such as “Be Good or Be Gone,” “Tips” and “TNDPWAM (The Night Dolly Parton Was Almost Mine).” Expect toe-tapping — maybe even foot-stomping.
Beloved Hillsboro educator and former International Baccalaureate coordinator Mary Catherine Bradshaw has received an official letter from Metro public schools superintendent Jesse Register, finalizing her transfer from the high school she's served for nearly three decades. This fall, she'll be teaching at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School.
"I have had 27 excellent years at Hillsboro High School and I expect to have 27 more at MLK,” Bradshaw told Pith, but declined to discuss the transfer letter's contents and the official reason school administrators gave for the move — which sparked student protests, a Facebook page with nearly 2,200 members and strongly worded condemnation from at least one state legislator.
It's been suggested that Bradshaw, an outspoken proponent of IB and college prep, ran afoul of associate superintendent of high schools Jay Steele and his vision of a Hillsboro populated with career academies, which point students down high-demand career paths in a partnership with local businesses and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.The former teacher of the year's prowess as an educator didn't seem to be the source, because under Bradshaw's watch, the Hillsboro IB program became the only K-12 continuum in the state.
A leaked administrative transfer letter seemed to offer an alternate version of the events, but those familiar with the situation told the Scene it made little sense.
For now, here's a breakdown of the mayor's speech by the subjects he chose to discuss:
Total word count: 5,060
Intro/Outro: 290 (6%)
Education: 918 (18%)
Morale boost for public workers suffering budget cuts: 880 (17%)
Flood of 2010: 389 (8%)
Budget: 549 (11%)
Police: 202 (4%)
Libraries: 410 (8%)
Economic Development: 668 (13%)
Quality of Life/Public Health: 754 (15%)
Read the mayor's speech here (warning: PDF).
In a move that surprised no one, the State House passed HB 600, which tells Tennessee cities they can't adopt stricter non-discrimination standards than the state has. So, basically, if you're gay or transgender, tough shit. Republicans hate you.
But what's especially interesting is that nine Democrats couldn't bother to be on the side of good — Eddie Bass, Charles Curtiss, John DeBerry, Bill Harmon, Michael McDonald, Joe Pitts, David Shepard, John Tidwell, and John Windle.
The Democrats are big on unity lately. We're all supposed to stop playing, "You're not a real Democrat." But the truth is that this strategy always means women and minorities (in this case gay people and transgender people) are supposed to sit politely by and work for Democrats, even Democrats they might personally be uncomfortable with, while Democrats don't bother to work for constituencies they're uncomfortable with. That's somehow supposed to be "fair."
We're supposed to have unity, but Democrats can't even be united in their efforts to protect gay people and transgender people.
One wonders what happens when Democrats start supporting Democratic politicians in direct proportion to how well they've supported us. At the least, we now know nine Democrats who don't need the money of people who believe in non-discrimination.
In the strongest show we’ve seen this spring, local sculptor John Donovan gets his war on with This Ridiculous Fight — a deft, deliberate send-up of American saber-rattling culture that finds the artist at the height of his powers. Fight includes drawings alongside figures based on pre-Columbian and Chinese Han Dynasty-era ceramic sculptures, allowing Donovan to demonstrate his mastery of early ceramic techniques. From the glazed surfaces of his figures to the obsessive lines of his drawings, the work in the show is formally exquisite.
But Donovan’s warrior figures and their interchangeable armaments come complete with bunny-head-helmets and tunics emblazoned with Hello Kitty — and while they’re scrumptiously cute in and of themselves, they also pull gaming culture, G.I. Joe dolls and childhood war games into America’s history of empire and violence. While the show speaks volumes about the craft/art history of ceramic materials, it’s the artist’s understanding of cultural history, political history and the psychology of violence that makes this more than just another art show about art.
Donovan’s figures don’t translate such a broad, deep message when included in a group exhibit, but seeing a whole gallery full of the stuff is like bearing witness to centuries of aggression. The show reminds us of the William S. Burroughs quote, “America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting.”
The Tennessee Attorney General's office has issued an opinion that state legislation designed to negate local ordinances banning sexual orientation discrimination is not unconstitutional, but does that mean there's "nothing wrong" with the measure, as the headline of Tom Humphrey's Knoxville News Sentinal blog post suggests?
No, it doesn't, because the A.G. opinion (pdf) didn't address at all the potentially fatal equal protection problems that HB 600 may present. A.G. opinions typically respond to specifically posed legal questions — in this case two narrow questions about local contracting authority and retroactivity posed by Sen. Joe Haynes (D-Nashville).
Haynes didn't ask A.G. Robert Cooper to weigh in on the big elephant in the courtroom — the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the 1996 case Romer v. Evans. In that case the Court ruled 6-3 that a Colorado state law prohibiting local governments from outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation was unconstitutional on Fourteenth Amendment equal protection grounds.
HB600 has obviously been crafted to try to make an end run around Romer, avoiding as it does any specific mention of sexual orientation, and supporters have been careful in public comments to frame the bill as being about business rather than bigotry. We're not fooled, and if the thing is enacted we'll eventually find out if federal courts aren't either.
Many of the women of Magdalene are employed by its social enterprise, Thistle Farms, which offers a variety of natural, handmade bath and body products, available online and at 140 stores across the country.
National Public Radio will be highlighting Magdalene and Thistle Farms on several programs throughout the week. Here's the lineup, sent from Magdalene:
• Part I is Monday afternoon, on the drive-time news show, All Things Considered, and focuses on breaking the arc of prostitution and begins with law enforcement and recovery;
• Part 2 airs on Morning Edition on Tuesday the 26th and looks at two women who’ve been through the Magdalene program;
• Part 3 will be on Wednesday morning the 27th on Morning Edition and will explore the issue of recovery and feature cameos with Becca, our founder, as well as various residents and graduates.
• Additionally on Monday, Tell Me More, an NPR interview show hosted by Michel Martin, will interview NPR correspondent Jacki Lyden and feature clips from the story;
• On Thursday the 28, Becca and a graduate are to be interviewed on NPR's national day-time talk show, Talk of the Nation, with Neal Conan.
• Stephen Alvarez has also created a ten-minute video clip on Magdalene/Thistle Farms, which will be featured this week on NPR.org.
Nashville sports fans, you had one helluva Easter.
If you were so inclined, you could have eaten your Easter brunch and driven down to Greer Stadium. Despite the rumbling storms, it was a great day for minor league baseball. Former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke threw a couple innings for the Sounds in a rehab start as he readies his return from the DL and prepares to ruin my fantasy baseball team again. On the other side, pitching for the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Royals' farm club, was Jeff Suppan — like Greinke, a former Royals opening-day starter.
It was a rare sight: two guys with big league pedigrees battling it out in the bus leagues. Sure, the Sounds lost, but there are worse ways to spend Easter afternoon. Think about it: You could have been hanging with the family.
And if you timed it right, you could have hustled down to Bridgestone Arena for a glimpse of history.
George Takei, Sulu from Star Trek, heard about Tennessee's infamous "Don't Say Gay" bill and has volunteered a work-around.
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