OK, so there are only a couple of tenuous connections between the youthful Treehouse Acting Company and the Carolina Actors Studio Theatre, which is older than at least one of the actors who performed in the Treehouse production last weekend. Both companies have produced A Tree With Arms and, since last month, both have performed exclusively at CAST’s new NoDa space at 2424 N. Davidson Street.
The Treehouse’s Tree, performed deeper into the CAST complex than last month’s Neon Psalms, reminded us of a key asset shared by the new 2424 spaces that a couple of other companies might covet. Not only are the spaces big — big enough to accommodate a trailer in Neon — they are tall. Tall enough to accommodate two treehouses and their warring gangs. Height will be desirable next month when CAST stages the regional premiere of August: Osage County, Tracy Letts’ powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning drama.
Not only is Osage about the wrangling of an Oklahoma family that stretches across three generations, it’s set in a house that’s three stories high. Or at least it was on Broadway, for when I saw it earlier this month in Ashland, Oregon, disaster had struck one of the three theaters at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, forcing the production to move to a different location. Instead of the Bowmer Theatre, Osage was resourcefully staged in a large tent that the Festival, in emergency mode, hastily built in a nearby park.
It was a little like cramming the height of the Broadway production into a space like Actor’s Theatre on Stonewall Street or CP’s panoramic Pease Auditorium on Elizabeth Avenue. Performers soldiered on bravely, brilliantly, but their world had been diminished — downsized from the scale of TV’s Dallas to All in the Family. Comparisons between the exiled OSF production and the one opening in NoDa on August 25 will be all in favor of CAST when it comes to set and scale.
Surprisingly enough, comparisons between CAST and Treehouse are not lopsidedly in favor of the adult company when I match up their two productions of A Tree With Arms. Back in 2004, when Allyn Points and CAST co-produced the Charlotte premiere of James Saba’s drama up at Clement Avenue, it ranked #3 on my list of worst shows that year, partly because the ongoing feud between Corky’s Team and Joel’s Team is so childish and absurd.
Check out these events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area this weekend— as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.
• Visual Arts Romare Bearden was born in Mecklenburg County but lived out most of his life in New York. Nevertheless, that doesn't stop Charlotteans from considering the artist one of their own — and with good reason. His paintings and collages are rich in color and quality. You can see some of his art, as well as works by other artists, during Jerald Melberg's Survey of Gallery Artists exhibit. more...
• Comedy Little is known of The Dysfunctional Figurines, except that it’s a brand-spankin’-new Charlotte-based sketch comedy troupe. Formed by Tom Olson, a former resident of L.A., the group’s inaugural show titled “Etch-A-Sketch” will take to the stage of CAST on July 29 and 30. They say it’s inappropriate for young audiences due to adult language and content — if you ask us, that makes it all the more appealing. more...
• Music You don’t have to be a house music fanatic to be familiar with the work of DJ/producer Green Velvet (aka Cajmere). His biggest hit — “The Percolator” — is one of the most ubiquitous party anthems of all time. And tonight, Dharma Lounge is giving you a chance to break it down to that classic track (and many others) when they usher Mr. Velvet into the Q.C. for a legendary turntable set. more...
• Festival Since the popular Japanese style lunch boxes offered at last year’s festival ran out, getting your serving of traditional Japanese cuisine is one of many reasons to get to this year’s Bon-Odori Festival early. The 27th annual Japanese festival offers cultural displays and entertainment, including song and dance performances, a formal Japanese tea ceremony, kimono fittings, martial arts demonstrations, origami and calligraphy. more...
• Music DJ Soulman emerged into the music scene as lead vocalist for the all American rap rock pioneers, Phunk Junkeez. But, it’s his solo career that has him currently energizing rooms of folks at clubs across the country. Check him out today when he drops by Chop Shop to spin. With Trichrome.
COWBOYS & ALIENS
DIRECTED BY Jon Favreau
STARS Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford
Paul Dano, the twitchy oddball from Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood, plays the son of stalwart Harrison Ford in Cowboys & Aliens, and the collective thought grasping moviegoers nationwide will be that Shia LaBeouf suddenly doesn't seem that implausible as Indiana Jones's offspring. That's not meant to be taken as a criticism of this new picture — it's merely an observation, the sort that increasingly pops up to distract audiences from the fact that there's not much of interest going on during the second half of this hybrid of two genres beloved by Old Hollywood (Westerns) and New Hollywood (science fiction).
CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE.
DIRECTED BY Glenn Ficarra & John Requa
STARS Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling
Just how likable is the new romantic comedy with the ungainly title of Crazy, Stupid, Love.? Likable enough that it survives not one but two absurd narrative coincidences that would cripple a lesser film. That's some pretty powerful mojo at work there, my friends.
DIRECTED BY Joe Johnston
STARS Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving
Even moviegoers suffering from superhero burnout might want to stand up and salute Captain America, which doesn't match the excellence of X-Men: First-Class but ranks ahead of fellow summer stablemates Thor and Green Lantern.
Longtime local music fans and collectors remember the days when “record shows” would come through town every other month or so. Vinyl LPs, 45s, CDs, DVDs, promo materials, geegaws and musical curiosities — you name it, the record shows had it, and usually at great prices. Considering the renewed interest in vinyl LPs, and their higher national sales figures, it’s a surprise that Charlotte hasn’t seen a record show for quite a while. Well, for those of us who love nothing better than looking through bins and bins of albums, CDs and the rest, and talking to other music fanatics about our own obscure tastes, the wait is over. The Carolina Record and CD Show takes place tomorrow, Saturday, July 30 near Carowinds. The show will run from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. at the Plaza Hotel/Carowinds, on Foothills Hwy in Fort Mill. Admission is free.
Yesterday, the GOP in the General Assembly, those endless promoters of freedom and limited government intrusion into citizens’ lives, rammed through one of the most extreme abortion laws in the nation. They did it by overriding Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a bill that she rightly called “a dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between women and their doctors." The law is called the Woman's Right To Know Act, but we refer to it as The Women Who Choose To Have An Abortion Don’t Have Enough Problems Act. Its primary sponsor was Rep. Ruth Samuelson of Charlotte.
How intrusive is this new law? Let us count the ways. Warning: This could get lengthy. Women in North Carolina who want an abortion — which, as we’ve said before and remind readers again, is a completely legal medical procedure — will have to jump through a series of very specific, government-mandated hoops, obviously designed to change the woman’s mind. She first has to hear a doctor's spiel about the fetus' probable gestational age and the medical risks of abortion. Then she must be told she could receive benefits for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care if she carried the fetus to full term. The doctor also is obligated by this law to tell her that the father is responsible for assisting in the support of the child, and that she can keep the baby or place it for adoption if she wants to. (Gee, really?) She must also be given a list of agencies that "offer alternatives to abortion," such as phony "crisis pregnancy centers," or CPCs, which are usually run by anti-abortion and/or religious groups — many of which have been caught giving women false information in order to keep them from having an abortion. And that’s not all, not by a long shot.
The state will also set up a website declaring that “The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique living human being." Which is fine, except that those are theological/philosophical theories, not provable scientific facts. In other words, if you're a woman who has chosen to have an abortion in North Carolina, you are now legally bound to have the religious right's views spoon-fed to you, whether you want to hear them or not.
And that’s still not all. Here is the "intrusive government" coup de grace: A doctor must perform an ultrasound on the woman. The Big Brother-ish, oddly nightmarish language used to describe this required process reveals a lot about the people who rammed this bill through, as well as their contempt for the women patients.
" .... the physician, shall do each of the following:
"(1) Perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman. [The price of the ultrasound will, of course, be added to the woman's bill.]
"(2) Provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting, which shall include the presence, location, and dimensions of the unborn child within the uterus and the number of unborn children depicted. The individual performing the ultrasound shall offer the pregnant woman the opportunity to hear the fetal heart tone. ...
"(3) Display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view them. [Doctors also have to fill out a government form designating whether the woman averts her eyes or not during the ultrasound — sorry, but that’s like something from Brave New World, or worse.]
"(4) Provide a medical description of the ultrasound images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or fetus and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.
"(5) Obtain a written certification from the woman, before the abortion (!), that the requirements of this section have been complied with ..." And it goes on.
So this, dear readers, is how the GOP lawmakers and their religious right-wing backers interpret "trusting people to make their own informed decisions without government intervention" — with nine pages of robotic-sounding, legalese gobbledygook that plainly inserts the state into the most private areas of a woman's life. Meet the New Bosses, even worse — much worse — than the Old Bosses.
Good news bikers on the north side: DavidsonNews.net is reporting that a new shop, the Spirited Cyclist , will open in Davidson sooner than later.
The Spirited Cyclist plans to open its third area bicycle shop later this summer, in a long-vacant storefront on North Main Street next to Davidson College’s Cats on Main shop. Local officials say the deal could bring new “momentum” to that end of downtown and to the block of storefronts owned by Dr. Tom Clark and Joe Poteat.
Ty Burns, a River Run resident for nine years, owns two other Spirited Cyclist shops, in Huntersville and Mooresville. He said he and his wife Kathy have long wanted to find a location in downtown Davidson.
“Davidson’s a passion for us,” Mr. Burns said Thursday. “We just thought it was a good opportunity.” He said the shop will aim for a wide market, selling everything from $100 children’s bikes to $12,000 Pinarello road bikes that you might see in the Tour de France.
It may be a little premature, but citizens in Western North Carolina are busy reminding folks about their fights to keep nuclear waste out of their area some 30 years ago, all while issuing warnings that the stuff could head their way any day now.
From The Macon County News:
From Remember the nuclear waste debates of the 1980s? Remember the panic after Three Mile Island, a nuclear power station on an island in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, Penn., which after a reactor core meltdown in 1979 released highly radioactive gas into the environment? Remember the protests and pickets? Remember how the consensus in the country regarding the clear dangers of nuclear power led to the cancelation of all new nuclear power projects for decades?
Some in Western North Carolina, those who are able to remember all the way back to those glory years of muscle cars and Reaganomics, may even recall Sandy Mush and a local protest campaign to keep nuclear waste from being trucked into our mountains and dumped here. Farmers, business owners and local governments all united in sending a big, loud “NO” to Washington officials who were considering locations in the region as potentially acceptable sites for a national nuclear waste depository. At the time, it seemed the protests had worked. Nationally, nuclear power was on the wane. Washington regulators turned their gaze west to sites like Yucca Mountain in Nevada as potential memory holes for the nation's toxic and ever-lasting nuclear waste, and most folks in Western North Carolina happily forgot that their own back yard had once been a prime candidate.
Mary Olson hasn’t forgotten, however. And Olson, the regional director for the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), an organization that advocates for a “non-nuclear future,” has some bad news: The past has come back to haunt us.
At a recent “Eco-Friday” forum at Franklin’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Olson informed the small audience that, with the current administration's resurgent emphasis on nuclear power as a means to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels and with Yucca Mountain having been abandoned as a viable nuke dump, all the old plans are back on the table and being seriously reconsidered.
“We’re back to where we started; it's the same story,” said Olson, a biologist and biochemist by training who has worked with NIRS since 1991. This week the first draft recommendations of a federal commission on nuclear energy are due out. Olson cautioned to be prepared for more flashbacks to come.
In a recent press conference, Mayor Anthony Foxx was pretty optimistic about the $55 million Congress has been asked to allocate toward the security set-up at DNC 2012 in Charlotte. After all, he explained, he made his pitch to members of both houses of Congress with the mayor of Tampa, Fla., whose city is hosting the 2012 Republican National Convention.
While he called the political climate in Washington “tough,” particularly when the topic is spending, Foxx said of the federal money, "We don't contemplate not getting it.” Of course, partisan bickering over raising the debt ceiling has only gotten more acrimonious since then.
On Tuesday, Foxx issued a formal statement on the debt debate consuming D.C. “I implore Congress to do what Charlotte businesses, parents, and every member of our community do every day,” it said. “Mourn the absence of better choices and make the difficult calls required to move us forward.”
The statement said: “If our nation fails to maintain the bedrock of its own full faith and credit, no one will remember the stand taken by Republicans or Democrats. They will not recall failed bills or negotiations. They will remember that, despite the known risks, our government failed to act.”
Since 9/11, convention sites have been designated as a “national security event” as a first step before receiving funds from Congress. For Denver in 2008, the money came in May before the late summer meeting.
In Charlotte’s case, Foxx said the money would be used for, among other things, bringing in between 2,400 and 3,400 additional police officers. He cited the need to protect the public as well as those attending the convention “in a world that’s every bit as dangerous as it was four years ago.”
But, the mayor also acknowledged that he’s “concerned about everything we need from the federal government.”
While the Charlotte host committee, city officials and the DNC staff inexorably march toward the 2012 convention, with plans taking shape every day, they are hardly operating in a vacuum. The toxic cloud emanating from Washington can’t be ignored.
Mary C. Curtis, an award-winning Charlotte, N.C.-based journalist, is a contributor to The Root, NPR, Creative Loafing and the Nieman Watchdog blog. Her “Keeping It Positive” segment airs Wednesdays at 7:10 on TV’s Fox News Rising Charlotte, and she was national correspondent for Politics Daily. Follow her on Twitter. http://twitter.com/mcurtisnc3.
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