Just This One Chance

My job takes me all over central California as well as a bit of the south. Two places I pass by nearly every week are the Salinas Valley State Prison and the Coalinga State Hospital.

The prison in Soledad harbors some of California’s most violent and recidivist criminals, many of them members of prison gangs such as La Eme, Nuestra Familia, Aryan Brotherhood, and their street-level offshoots. Coalinga State Hospital inters some 800 plus of the state’s most violent sex offenders, held indefinitely under treatment under Jessica’s Law.

I’m always severely fascinated by those facilities as I drive by. It’s hard for me to keep my eyes on the road because I stare at the towers, the razor wire topped fences, the tiny window-slits, the isolated landscape. Continue reading

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Artistic License

castorfThis article appeared in my feed today. It recounts the conflict between the estate of the inimitable Berthold Brecht (administered by his daughter, I believe) and a German theater director well-known for his extremely liberal interpretations of the plays he directs. Brecht’s estate is known to be rather particular about the integrity of his plays as written, and Frank Castorf is known to very particularly challenge both the author and audience with his “scandalous” interpretations.

This article isn’t really going to be about Castorf’s production or the man himself. For one, I’m not familiar with the man’s work. For two, I don’t see myself making it over to Germany anytime soon. For three, I don’t speak German. For four, I’ve only this article and a few other articles that can be found online to inform me, and these are necessarily going to be less than the whole story – far less. Continue reading

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Sh*t White People Say

My white kids are home from school today with their white parents to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day.

Celebrate.

The word celebrate has been used a lot today, mostly on the news. But is that the right word to use? I don’t think so. Perhaps commemorate would be a better word.

I see precious little to celebrate, myself.

What? What does a middle-aged white guy have to say about MLK and race relations? Why am I sticking my hand up? Well, I’ll tell you. Continue reading

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The Young Sacrificed for the Wants of the Old

Happy Veteran’s Day.

Happy Remembrance Day.

Red Poppies, flags waving, pomp and ceremony to revere the sacrifices of men and women who fought and died, and those who fought and carried home visible and invisible scars wrought by man’s inhumanity to man.

I suppose today I go against the grain in some respects.  I recognize that I could lose friends over this.  So be it. Continue reading

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Will You Join in Our Crusade?

Anthony does write, to be sure.

But sometimes Anthony gets to sing.

Friday night will see the opening of our local production of Les Miserables.  We are a small town theater group, so what we’ve done is recreate the 10th/25th Anniversary Concert format.  We’re costumed, with a choir and 12 piece orchestra, and we’ve trimmed it down to about a 2-1/2 hour dramatized concert with slides and video to tie the story together.

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Happy F***ing Father’s Day

So, Father’s Day has come and gone.

Mine was very nice. I got the sweetest cards from my wife and my daughter, and of course a wonderfully funny and insulting one from my sons, because that’s how they roll.

And I did think about my dad.

He’s been gone six years now, a bit of an early exit at 65. It’s very bittersweet, because my feed was filled yesterday with wonderful tributes to dads gone too soon, or gone at a reasonable time, but missed nonetheless. Continue reading

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You Must Say It Right

Our local theater group, The Stage Hands, recently finished a two week run of The Laramie Project.

I had the privilege of playing the “Greg Pierotti” set of roles.  It was my first time getting back on stage in some seven years.  Over the last decade I’ve done more directing than acting.  I’m a bit of a control freak, so that probably suits me.

The treatment of gay people in this country is an issue that I have a heart for.  There are a number of people I cherish in my life who identify as gay, and their marginalization, while it is slowly easing up, is an insult to the basic freedoms we have as individuals in the U.S. Continue reading

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