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  • gilwilson 3:02 PM on April 30, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    “Swing” By Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess 

    By: Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess
    Narrated by: Kwame Alexander
    Length: 4 hrs and 8 mins
    Release date: 10-02-18

    This coming of age tells the story of two best friends Noah and Walt (a.k.a. Swing) as they make their Junior year in High School THEIR YEAR. All their lifelong dreams are going to be made real. From Walt finally getting to play on the high school baseball team (he may not be good, but he’s got heart) to getting Noah to finally ask out his lifelong crush.

    As their year progresses they find the ups and downs of life are not always easily dealt with and soon learn more about themselves than they would have had they just kept going as normal.

    My favorite part of this book is the use of Jazz music as their metaphor for life, from listening to jazz vinyl at the local thrift store to hiring of Walt’s uncles jazz band to entertain the party at Noah’s house, while his parents are on vacation. Everything is better with Jazz.

    I will warn you this book is a tear-jerker, so just have the tissue ready.

    Read by the author, this audiobook really stands out. Kwame Alexander’s delivery is perfect and will keep you in anticipation for the highs and getting those lumps in the throat for the lows. Great read/listen for all ages.

    Publisher’s Summary

    In this YA novel in verse from best-selling authors Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess (Solo), which Kirkus called “lively, moving, and heartfelt” in a starred review, Noah and Walt just want to leave their geek days behind and find “cool” but in the process discover a lot about first loves, friendship, and embracing life…as well as why Black Lives Matter is so important for all.

    Best friends Noah and Walt are far from popular, but Walt is convinced junior year is their year, and he has a plan that includes wooing the girls of their dreams and becoming amazing athletes. Never mind he and Noah failed to make their baseball team yet again, and Noah’s crush since third grade, Sam, has him firmly in the friend zone. While Walt focuses on his program of jazz, podcasts, batting cages, and a “Hug Life” mentality, Noah feels stuck in status quo…until he stumbles on a stash of old love letters. Each one contains words Noah’s always wanted to say to Sam, and he begins secretly creating artwork using the lines that speak his heart. But when his art becomes public, Noah has a decision to make: continue his life in the dugout and possibly lose the girl forever or take a swing and finally speak out.

    At the same time, American flags are being left around town. While some think it’s a harmless prank and others see it as a form of protest, Noah can’t shake the feeling something bigger is happening to his community. Especially after he witnesses events that hint divides and prejudices run deeper than he realized.

    As the personal and social tensions increase around them, Noah and Walt must decide what is really important when it comes to love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate.


    • Is written and narrated by New York Times best-selling author and Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award winner Kwame Alexander
    • Features a diverse array of characters and perspectives
    • Tackles the biggest social issues of today, including racial prejudice and Black Lives Matter
    • Is perfect for the classroom or community-wide discussions
    • Is a 2020 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
    • Contains original music

    If you enjoy Swing, check out Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess. ©2018 Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess (P)2018 Blink

  • gilwilson 2:58 PM on April 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    “Lady Death: Treacherous Infamy” by Brian Pulido 

    Lady Death: Treacherous Infamy
    Chapter 12 in the Coffin Comics Lady Death Universe.
    Story: Brian Pulido, Mike MacLean
    Interiors & Cover: Diego Bernard, Ceci de la Cruz
    Published by Coffin Comics December 2020

    Lady Death once wanted to destroy all life and leave Earth as a desolate graveyard. Luckily she has changed her evil ways and is a sort of an anti-hero helping mankind by destroying demons. Until now…

    Something has reverted her back to her evil self and she is on her way to destroy the Earth. Unless a group of supernatural super-heroes can stop her, including her children. This is Lady Death at her most evil self.

    The battles for mankind take place throughout the United States, picking up more powered individuals to defeat her and even some that come to support her cause.

    The artwork in this book is absolutely stunning, the writing will leaving you wanting more (which will be coming since this is an on-going arc in Lady Death’s story).

  • gilwilson 2:32 PM on April 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    “Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre” By Max Brooks 

    A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre
    By: Max Brooks
    Narrated by: Judy Greer, Max Brooks, Jeff Daniels, Nathan Fillion, Mira Furlan, Terry Gross, Kimberly Guerrero, Kate Mulgrew, Kai Ryssdal, Steven Weber
    Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
    Release date: 06-16-20

    Max Brooks is at it again, first he told us how to survive a zombie apocalypse, now he’s telling the harrowing story of a Bigfoot attack on an isolated “modern” colony. The story is told in a fashion much like the found footage horror films, such as “The Blair Witch Project,” “Unlisted Owner,” and “Paranormal Activity.” Instead of found film/video the journals of Greenlop resident Kate Holland are turned into a pretty cool horror/survival story. From the beginning the reader (or listener in the case of the audiobook) knows no one survives because the journals are said to have been found in the burned out ashes of what remains of Greenlop, but as the story progresses, that is forgotten and the reader finds hope.

    Greenlop is an experimental colony where a bunch of rich/progressive folks want to start a community that is 100% off the grid. Their food and supplies are dropped in by drone on a regular basis, their homes are solar powered and very modern. The even have wi-fi. This is all pretty nice until nearby Mt. Ranier decides to become an active volcano and blows. All wildlife flees and the colony is suddenly cut off from civilization. The volcanic explosion destroys all communication access, the drones stop coming and the colony must learn survival skills. Many are rich pretentious folk that couldn’t successfully camp out in a four star hotel, without a staff.

    Kate, is determined, she soon starts the greenhouse and begins growing some of their food. Her bordering-on-depression husband soon finds a purpose, by helping to clear the solar panels of ash from the volcano. Things seem to be going fairly well until the colony discovers wild animals are attracted to their compost. Could be bears or large cats, either way it is a danger to the people. Soon one of the colonists realizes there have been no wild animals in the area for several days.

    The culprit is soon discovered to be a “tribe” of Sasquatch. With all the wildlife gone from the area, due to the volcano, and ash covering everything, the Sasquatch begin a war against the humans for Survival.

    Instincts kick in and the colony prepares for war.

    The audiobook cast bring this book to life, making it seem even more like a found footage horror story.

    Publisher’s Summary

    The number one New York Times best-selling author of World War Z is back with “the Bigfoot thriller you didn’t know you needed in your life, and one of the greatest horror novels I’ve ever read” (Blake Crouch, author of Dark Matter and Recursion). 

    As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier’s eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined…until now. The journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town’s bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing – and too earth-shattering in its implications – to be forgotten. In this audiobook, Max Brooks brings Kate’s extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the legendary beasts behind it. Kate’s is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity’s defiance in the face of a terrible predator’s gaze, and, inevitably, of savagery and death.

    Yet it is also far more than that.

    Because if what Kate Holland saw in those days is real, then we must accept the impossible. We must accept that the creature known as Bigfoot walks among us – and that it is a beast of terrible strength and ferocity.

    Part survival narrative, part bloody horror tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction, this is a Bigfoot story as only Max Brooks could chronicle it – and like none you’ve ever heard before.

  • gilwilson 3:28 PM on January 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    “This Is Our Youth” By Kenneth Lonergan 

    “This Is Our Youth”
    By Kenneth Lonergan
    Narrated by: Mark Ruffalo, Missy Yager, Josh Hamilton
    Length: 1 hr and 41 mins
    Published September 25th 2009 by LA Theatre Works

    This almost could have been me. I was a teen in the Reagan 80s, and well smoking pot was the thing to do. I didn’t live in a big city, my dad wasn’t rich and well, I guess maybe this couldn’t have been me. I never got the chance to steal $15k from my dad when he kicked me out, Instead I joined the Navy. It’s official, nope not me.

    However I do know these people in this play. But first let’s talk about the actors in this performance from L.A. Theatre Works. This is Mark Ruffalo before he was the Incredible Hulk in those Marvel movies. In fact, this production is a reunion of sorts. The original cast from the off broadway original production got back together with the original director to do this show for LATW. I’m sure that when originally performed back in 1996 the actors were closer to the age of the teenagers they portrayed than when getting back together for this performance, but I can tell you that they seemed to fit right back in with those characters.

    Warren (played by Ruffalo) is kicked out of his rich dad’s house. To get revenge he steals $15,000 from his dad and heads to his friend, Dennis’ apartment. The two potsmokers decide they need to get the money back, but Warren has already spent a sizable chunk of the cash. Now they need to get back the money so they can sneak the original amount back into Warren’s dads house. The plan is to buy some cocaine and sell enough to make back their money plus the missing amount and do the rest themselves.

    While Dennis is out getting the coke, Warren gets a visit from Jessica. Jessic and Warren take another chunk of the money and party on the town, even renting out a ritzy hotel room. This just makes it harder to make the money back so the scheming begins.

    I strongly feel this play could be performed even today and still be relevant. If you want a cool theatre audio experience this would be a great choice. If you want to perform a play touching out today’s youth, this play would still be a great choice.

    Once again LATW has brought to life a play to the audio audience that will put you in the middle of the performance.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Starring Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hamilton and Missy Yager, the original cast was reunited for this exclusive L.A. Theatre Works performance of This is Our Youth.
    In 1982, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, three pot-smoking teenagers are resoundingly rejecting the 1960s ideals of their affluent parents. In hilarious and bittersweet detail, This is Our Youth follows 48 turbulent hours in the lives of three very lost souls at the dawn of the Reagan Era.
    ©2009 L.A. Theatre Works (P)2009 L.A. Theatre Works

  • gilwilson 4:05 PM on January 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    “The Explorers Club” By Nell Benjamin 

    The Explorers Club
    By: Nell Benjamin
    Narrated by: Jennifer Westfeldt, David Furr, Lorenzo Pisoni, Carson Elrod, John Getz, Martin Jarvis, David Krumholtz, Matthew Wolf
    Length: 1 hr and 56 mins
    Published June 15th 2014 by LA Theatre Works

    I did not expect this to be funny, I was thinking it was some sort of historical play from L.A. Theatre Works. Maybe it was in a way, but I found myself laughing out loud several times and thoroughly enjoyed this performance.

    The gist of the play is that it is the late 1800s and a group of snooty explorers have their lodge to go and smoke cigars and drink brandy, oh, and brag about their adventures. (This play also had me craving cigars and brandy.) The traditions are rattled when Phyllida Spotte-Hume wants to join. A woman? A woman in the he-man women hater’s club? It is hilarious when they send her out of the room to have cigars and brandy (one of the many times) and to discuss whether she should be allowed. She keeps stepping in talking about how boring the hallway is. This section of the performance had a very Monty Python feel to it and I found some great belly laughs during this scene.

    Phyllida has discovered a lost tribe and has brought a male representative to meet the Queen and to back her findings to get into the club. Well the native is allowed to have cigars and brandy, not Phyllida because she is a woman.

    Soon the mayhem begins with the native striking the Queen as she offers her hand to help the bowing native. Can the Explorer’s club survive? Well one of the members is out to find the East and West poles, so there’s that.

    Do yourself a favor and at the very least listen to this audio performance of “The Explorer’s Club.” A really good live performance would be preferred, but as with all other LATW productions, this one is the next best thing to being in the audience.

    Publisher’s Summary

    It’s London, 1879, and the hapless members of the Explorers Club must confront their most lethal threat yet: the admission of a woman into their hermetically-sealed ranks. But the intrepid Phyllida Spotte-Hume turns out to be the least of their troubles, in this hilarious farce starring members of the original Broadway cast.

    An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Jack Cutmore-Scott, Carson Elrod, David Furr, John Getz, Martin Jarvis, David Krumholtz, Lorenzo Pisoni, Jennifer Westfeldt, Matthew Wolf. Directed by Kate McAll. Music composed and orchestrated by Laurence O’Keefe. Recordings produced by Mike Croiter and Laurence O’Keefe at Yellow Sound Lab for L.A. Theatre Works. Includes a conversation with essayist, novelist, and cultural critic Eileen Pollack.

    The Explorers Club is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to enhance public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

    ©2013 Nell Benjamin (P)2014 L.A. Theatre Works

  • gilwilson 3:27 PM on January 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    “The Busy World Is Hushed” By Keith Bunin 

    “The Busy World Is Hushed”
    By Keith Bunin
    Narrated by: Jill Clayburgh, Hamish Linklater, Luke Macfarlane
    Length: 1 hr and 48 mins
    Published October 1st 2007 by LA Theatre Works (first published January 31st 2007)

    There is a lot unfolding in this play. Religion and relationships seem to be the biggest so I’m going to try to focus on those, however there are a few other topics/feelings/philosophy that I may touch on. Just keep in mind this is a very heady play. I’m probably going to revisit this one soon. Next time I may read the hard copy of the play rather than listen to a performance, but only because there is so much to absorb.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with this audio production. Of course it is an L.A. Theatre Works production, and I don’t recall ever hearing a bad production from them. The actors are always top notch and the production places the listener right in the middle of the audience. This time around the performance features two of my new favorite actors, Hamish Linklater (I became a fan of his after watching the series “Legion”) and Luke Macfarlane (I bacame a fan of his after watching “Killjoys”). I don’t think I ever thought I would picture them doing a love scene together, but surprises are good. Okay it wasn’t a love scene but rather an intimacy scene.

    This play is full of ups and downs on the emotional rollercoaster and very smart conversations on religion. Jill Clayburgh plays Hannah a minister researching the gospels. She’s working on a translation when she hires an assistant, Brant (played by Linklater). Brant notices her work needs some organizing, she doesn’t even have bookshelves, and is pretty much hired on the spot. A relationship between Brant and Thomas, Hannah’s son (played by Macfarlane). In what in actuality is really a pretty short play, some intense conversations about life, love, religion and purpose are discussed.

    My only problem with this play is that it was too short. I was left with a feeling of “Is that all?” But at the same time I enjoyed the conversations and the level of intellect those conversations covered in the play. I would say that there were at least 30 plays that could be developed out of the many topics this one play covers, and I just wanted more.

    Publisher’s Summary

    With wisdom, humor and insight, The Busy World Is Hushed examines the contradictions we find in our faith, our families, and ourselves. Hannah, a widowed Episcopal minister, is hoping to translate a long-lost gospel when she is challenged by both her scholarly assistant and her wayward gay son. But when family secrets are revealed, only the intercession of a stranger can help Hannah find peace.

    (P)2007 L.A. Theater Works

  • gilwilson 4:17 PM on January 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    “Stick Fly” By Lydia Diamond 

    Stick Fly

    By: Lydia Diamond

    Narrated by: Justine Bateman, Dule Hill, Michole Briana White, et. al.

    Length: 1 hr and 50 mins
    Published February 1st 2008 by LA Theatre Works

    In my latest trend of reading/listening to plays I’ve been trying to find some that are timely and have a theme that would reflect the current themes we’ve been forced too endure for the wreck of a year that was 2020. One of those themes is race relations. This play at first seemed to cover this but had a bit of a twist. The race relations are within a single upper-class African-American family. It wasn’t quite what I was looking for but it was entertaining none-the-less.

    One of the features of this performance that kept me going even though I soon discovered it wasn’t what I was looking for was that it was yet another example of the outstanding productions from L.A. Theatre Works. The actors are top notch and the production once again will place the listener in the middle of the audience in a great theatrical performance.

    I think one of the funniest parts is that one of the brothers (Flip) brings his girlfriend to the family home and before she arrives tells everyone she’s Italian. I got the feeling that Flip was a bit conscientious about the fact his girlfriend is white, so to prepare the family he keeps saying she is Italian when someone says she’s white. Flip’s family members are all highly education people and when the girlfriend arrives, they all speak to her in Italian. This makes for an awkward hilarious scene.

    As for the rest of the story, it finds that there is more to the family than the surface reveals. Strap in for the second half, that’s when all secrets are revealed and well I kinda wonder whether this family is strong enough to endure the devastating secrets. I won’t go into too much detail because of spoilers, and I really think this play needs to be experienced for one’s self not just a simple review/summary.

    Review: entertaining, funny, tragic and worth the two hours spent listening.

    Publisher’s Summary

    How well do you know your family? Your social class? Your race? Sensitive “Spoon” LeVay and his brother “Flip” see their weekend at the family home on Martha’s Vineyard as a perfect opportunity to introduce their girlfriends to their upper class African American parents. Instead they stumble into a domestic powder keg that exposes secrets of prejudice, hypocrisy, and adultery. This fantastic new play comes from the pen of one of the country’s most provocative new playwrights!

    ©2007 L.A. Theatre Works (P)2007 L.A. Theatre Works

  • gilwilson 3:06 PM on December 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    “Steel Magnolias” By Robert Harling 

    Steel Magnolias

    By: Robert Harling

    Performed by: Frances Fisher, Shannon Holt, Amy Pietz, Brittany Snow, Jocelyn Towne, Josh Clark, Jeanie Hackett

    Length: 1 hr and 51 mins

    Published January 13th 2016 by L.A. Theatre Works

    (first published January 1st 1988)

    I normally don’t re-read a book or play. Every so often I may re-visit a classic just to see how it (or I) has aged. Some of the time I pick up something new or intriguing that I missed before, especially if it is one of those classics we HAD to read in school, I missed a lot in those because most of the time I faked it or skimmed over it.

    I’m not sure if I would call this play a classic yet, but maybe it is, but I saw the movie (different ending than the play, fyi) and read the play back in college. I saw this on my list of plays I had made for myself to look over and kept passing over it, because, well, I thought I had got what I was going to get out of it already. I found out that was not the case. In the past I had really just taken it in as an ensemble cast and just thought this was a bunch of women in the south and how their lives were interlinked. It is that but really there is more.

    Having a son that has Type 1 diabetes, this time around I really focused in on the character of Shelby. I also have worked in a number of years now since first reading this play and the focus of the radio Shelby brings into the salon grabbed my attention. I soon put together how the two were related.

    The author of this play actually wrote the play after the death of his sister due to complications of diabetes while she gave birth. I found that early in the play when Shelby brings in the radio she is relatively healthy and fine, the radio works fine. Later as she decides to have a baby even though there are risks for a diabetic the radio kinda fades in and out. Finally the radio goes out. (stopping here due to spoilers). So with that all in mind this play came from a different angle to hit me emotionally that I wasn’t expecting.

    In summary; go ahead and re-read those stories, you never know how it will affect you the second or third time around.

    By the way, this was yet another great performance/production from L.A. Theatre Works. They really do put you right into the audience.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Within the walls of Truvy’s beauty shop are six women whose lives increasingly hinge on the existence of one another. Together, they absorb the passing seasons, just like the weathered wooden structure of the salon “home” that they share.

    An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production, starring Frances Fisher, Jeanie Hackett, Shannon Holt, Amy Pietz, Brittany Snow, and Jocelyn Towne. Additional voices by Josh Clark. Directed by Jessica Kubzansky and recorded before an audience by L.A. Theatre Works.

    ©1987 Robert Harling (P)2015 L.A. Theatre Works

  • gilwilson 5:10 PM on December 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    “Please Continue” By Frank Basloe 

    “Please Continue”

    By Frank Basloe

    Performed by: Tara Lynne Barr, Will Brittain, Jake Green, Taj Jegaraj, Rob Morrow, James Scully, Mark Jude Sullivan, Matthew Wolf

    Length: 1 hr and 53 mins

    Published April 4th 2019 by L.A. Theatre Works

    Well, it looks like I’m going to be closing out 2020 with a bunch of plays. Not a bad way to end a bad year. This time around it is “Please Continue” by Frank Basloe. This play tells the tale of psychologist Stanley Milgram’s studies/experiments on obedience in the 60s.

    The gist of the studies/experiments is that a student is told to administer an electric shock to a student when a wrong answer is given. The shocks become more powerful as more wrong answers are given. With the test subject screaming in pain in the next room, the actual test subject is told to, “Please Continue” if they hesitate on giving the next shock. These experiments really do expose a lot about the human psyche.

    This play also weaves in the story of Francis, a grad student assigned to Milgram who was involved in a gang rape of a 14 year old girl at his previous college. Francis was not named in the hearing on that case but he knows he took part. As he is conducting the experiments for Milgram his guilt is triggered and comes to the surface. He seeks out the advice from a local clergy who convinces Francis to seek out atonement not forgiveness. That is the big hole in this performance. We never really find out what that atonement is or whether it was the right advice.

    That lack of finality in the story really left me hanging in the story and pretty much ruined the entire play for me. Something was just missing. The performance and production were high quality, it’s just that the story was missing something, some closure. Otherwise it was pretty interesting to hear the outcome of the original experiments where other humans were prone to keep administering the punishment no matter how guilty they started to feel. I think this could have been explored more and just leave out Francis’ story. At one point in the play there is the statement where the men of Yale would of course keep punishing their fellow students, because they are self-centered seekers of power. (I paraphrased, but that’s the gist of it.) So was it human nature or just the nature of certain humans attracted to the idea of becoming a “Yale Man”?

    Publisher’s Summary

    Based on the true story of renowned social psychologist Stanley Milgram, Please Continue recounts the infamous obedience experiments at Yale in the 1960s. In that study, participants were asked to administer strong electric shocks to a subject who gave the wrong answer to a question, not knowing that the shocks were fake, and they were the real subject of the study. The play examines how the experiments gave insight into the nature of authoritarianism and individual morality.

    Includes an interview about science and ethics with Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a Professor of Education at the Rossier School of Education, a Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute, and a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program Faculty at the University of Southern California.

    Please Continue is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, bridging science and the arts in the modern world.

    Directed by Rosalind Ayres.

    An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring:

    Tara Lynne Barr as Margaret Hopson

    Will Brittain as James Sanders

    Jake Green as Saul Dashoff

    Taj Jegaraj as Harold Burden

    Rob Morrow as Reverend William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

    James Scully as Mitchell Halverson III

    Mark Jude Sullivan as Francis Dunleavy

    Matthew Wolf as Dr. Stanley Milgram

    Sound Effects Artist: Jeff Gardner. Script Supervisor, Nikki Hyde. Music Supervisor, Ronn Lipkin. Associate Artistic Director, Anna Lyse Erikson. Recording Engineer, Sound Designer and Editor, Erick Cifuentes. Mixed by Mark Holden for The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood.

    Recorded at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood.

    ©2019 L.A. Theatre Works (P)2019 L.A. Theatre Works

  • gilwilson 3:19 PM on December 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    “Of One Blood” by Andrew White 

    “Of One Blood”

    by Andrew White

    Narrated by: David Schwimmer, Lee Arenberg, John Cothran Jr., Judyann Elder, Arye Gross, Valerie Landsburg, Macon McCalman

    Length: 1 hr and 23 mins

    Published November 1st 2009 by L.A. Theatre Works

    So what is the difference between today’s civil rights movement and the civil rights movement of the 60s? I think the best answer is that today we are just tired of it. Years have gone by, voices have shouted, been shouted down and even silenced through violence but has anything really been done? Yes and No. At least now we don’t have separate water fountains, bus seats and schools, so yeah progress has been made. Has it been enough? I grew up in the south and know firsthand that up until the mid 80s racism was still the norm (that’s when I moved to the midwest U.S. and can’t provide the firsthand experience for what goes on now).

    I have lived throughout the south during the 70s and 80s (Montgomery, AL, Yazoo City, MS, Meridian, MS, et. al.) In Yazoo City, MS in the early 80s they still had seperate school buses for blacks and whites. Same pickup location same dropoff location, just different races allowed. I found this out by accidentally getting on the “black” bus my first day. One guy said I was on the wrong bus, but not in a threatening manner, but once I arrived at the school and was the white boy on the black bus, I was shunned by nearly all whites at that school from then on. In Montgomery, AL a black student (friend of mine) was called “boy” and physically abused by a science teacher, when we brought this up to the principal, he simply said he was sure we were mistaken. When my black friend left the principal told me that I should keep my northern attitude back up north while attending Jefferson Davis High School. We held a protest only a few kids showed up but it got nowhere. So yeah the civil rights movement of the 60s did great in the north but the south stays the same.

    To this day I shed a few tears and get lumps in my throat when I hear of all this still going on. This play I knew was gonna be sad, but it should be. In this play the author mixes some poetic moments with historical moments to create what really should be an eye opener. The three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner (2 Jews and a Black) weren’t rabble rousers, they were only talking with people and gathering evidence about a church burning. The folks in Mississippi simply saw anyone who worked with blacks and blacks themselves as creatures not worth living. There were numerous people that could have helped and saved these 3 young mens lives, instead the south is gonna south. This play not just covers their historical deaths, but also seeks to show them as simple human beings just wanting to stop the senseless violence in a non-violent way.

    I really think this play should be added as part of middle school or at least high school curriculum. The lessons learned are needed today, probably more so.

    There isn’t one person today that can say racism is dead. All you have to do is drive through the south or heck, even in the midwest we have idiots waving their confederate flags, knowing full well how racist that flag is. That flag represents a sect that wanted blacks to remain slaves and never be treated as human beings. That flag also represents a country that lost a war. That is not the only similarity shared with the Nazi flag.

    I heard a black comedian once say that the confederate flag is very useful, it tells him what businesses or homes not to enter.

    I will once again highly recommend this L.A. Theatre works production of this play. The actors make this reality even more real.

    Publisher’s Summary

    Of One Blood is a poignant and disturbing play about the infamous murder of three civil rights workers – James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner – in Mississippi in 1964.

    ©2009 L.A. Theatre Works (P)2009 L.A. Theatre Works

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