Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Long Distance Piano Player

Here's something just posted to YouTube -- a segment of a play televised live in England in 1 starring a young and handsome Ray Davies as a marathon piano player. (Full credits here.) The play is about a young fellow trying to make something out of an event in which he commits to playing non-stop for 4 days. There's a sleazy manager and a wife with some issues.

I saw a video of the black and white broadcast at a Kinks Fan Club meeting in the UK in the mid 90s and was quite taken by Davies' performance. The stage missed out on a major talent when he chose to stick to rock and roll as his major art form.

For a recent CNN interview with Ray, go here. In this one, he reveals that the shooting incident that left him recovering at Charity Ward Hospital in New Orleans made him think about ending his performing career. Thank dog he didn't and I get to see him next week at the Beacon in New York.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

E4S Cleveland Event: Waste Reduction & Recycling

The Village Green should be back up and running regularly shortly -- at least for another week. Spring break is just around the corner and boy, am I ready for it! In the mean time, Entrepreneurs for Sustainability just announced another event, this one set for Cleveland. I wish they'd do the same event in Akron, as waste reduction and recycling is an area in which all citizens can take direct action.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

8:30 am - 3:30 pm


  • Is your company looking for cost savings and other opportunities in your waste stream?
  • Are you ramping up a new or existing recycling program?
  • Is your organization ready to move beyond recycling to waste elimination or to set a zero waste goal?

Join E4S and the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District on April 8th to learn about waste elimination best practices, resources and to tour the Oberlin Allied Waste facility. The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District will provide participants with a hot off the press recycling and waste reduction resource kits.

Click here for more information and speaker details.

Registration limited, RSVP online or call 216-451-7755.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

E4S in Akron: Linking the Local Food Industry

Great news! E4S (Entrepreneurs for Sustainability) is expanding its Akron events calendar. Hope many of you can make it to this one -- it sounds really interesting and valuable. I will be out of town over spring break so I hope Terra Not Terror can cover this one for us:

New Akron Network Event

Linking the Local Food Industry
April 9th

Join us on April 9th for the first Akron E4S Network Event of 2008 and discover the opportunities for the local food industry in Greater Akron.

This is the first of six Akron Network Events that E4S is planning for the SECOND WEDNESDAY of each month in 2008. E4S Network Events attract leaders from business, government, academia and other institutions who want to put sustainable business practices to work and realize triple bottom line benefits (economic, environmental and social) for their organizations and the region.

On April 9th E4S is collaborating with the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy
to explore the possibilities for triple bottom line benefits in the local food industry. Farmers, food distributors, groceries, urban gardeners, chefs and companies who are pledging to purchase local food will be in attendance. Connect with customers and suppliers of the local food supply chain and learn about the exciting local food businesses and projects in the region. Are you interested in starting a new business in the local food industry? Do you want to purchase more local foods?

Discover the possibilities!


RSVP online or call 216-451-7755.

Request a Display Table:
If you have a business to business sustainable product or service, apply for a table by clicking here or call 216-451-7755.
  • $150 - Full Table
  • $100 - Half Table
  • The E4S Member standard rate is $50 off full or half table prices.

E4S Greater-Akron Network Event Sponsor


Saturday, March 22, 2008

From Broadway to Cleveland, a history of the Hanna Theatre

Just back from two days of the Akron Antiquarian Book Fair with more books than I currently have room for on my shelves. Time to do some spring book weeding!

Not all my purchases were antiquarian in nature. NOBS (Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society) invites local book-related non-profits to display their wares at the annual Akron Fair. Both Kent State and the University of Akron publish books that should be of interest to both local and national readers.

This year, I pounced upon From Broadway to Cleveland - A History of the Hanna Theatre by John Vacha, published by The Kent State University Press in 2007.

Built in 1921, this venerable theatre was a major venue for touring productions featuring the greatest stars of the American stage for decades. Glancing through Appendix B: A Gallery of Hanna Ghosts, one can only marvel at the vast array of performances available to Cleveland playgoers: Ethel and John Barrymore, George M. Cohan, Maurice Evans, Ruth Gordon, Uta Hagen, Helen Hayes, Bert Laher, Eva Le Gallienne, The Marx Brothers, Basil Rathbone, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Orson Welles, Ed Wynn and so many more are documented in this book.

Mae West brought her infamous stage production with the title of Sex to Cleveland in 1930. This was the play for which West was arrested for public indecency in NYC. (She eventually served ten days in a workhouse, making the most of her time there for publicity purposes!) A Cleveland Press reviewer is quoted in the book: "West and her love scenes go plenty far, causing spectators to go har, har....She plays a Merry Magdalen whom fate decrees must make of her love affairs a complete bust. It's a great thing for smokers, stag parties and so , but we'd rather see an honest-to-gosh straight burlesque show."

The Hanna also featured some of America's greatest black thespians, including Bert Williams, Ethel Waters, Canada Lee, Paul Robeson, Ruby Dee, Eartha Kitt and James Earl Jones. In the case of Bert Williams, his 1922 weekend appearance in Under the Bamboo Tree proved to be his last full stand. Following Cleveland, the show moved to Detroit where he collapsed on stage and died of heart failure at the age of only 46. A brilliant Vaudevillian who sang, danced and was known for his mastery of comedic pantomime, Williams spent his life performing as a black man in black face makeup. It is difficult to imagine the indignity of being forced to perform as a caricature of one's own race. From all accounts, Williams managed to transcend the imprisoning conventions of his time and reached out to audiences of all colors and beliefs.

This book is a rich trove of theatre history as is the Hanna Theatre, which stands to this day. In recent years it has been home to cabaret type shows rather than straight theatre. It is now undergoing major renovations and is to house The Great Lakes Theatre Festival. Although I don't believe in ghosts, I can imagine that all those great actors of old would approve of this theatre's return to legitimacy and the great classical playwrights whose names are listed above the proscenium: Ibsen, Aeschylus, Victor Hugo, Sheridan, Shakespere, Euripides, Moliere, Calderon, Goldoni, Goethe!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Akron Antiquarian Book Fair

It's that time of year again:

Akron Antiquarian Book Fair

26th Annual Akron Antiquarian Book Fair

March 21st and 22nd, 2008

Friday: 3:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

John S. Knight Center

77 E. Mill St.
Downtown Akron

Donation: $5.00

Convenient and nearby parking is available
(free after 6 PM and on Saturday).

Old & Rare
Readable & Collectible
Books, Maps & Prints

More than 60 dealers


First Editions • Children's Books • Americana • Maps • Prints • Illustrated Books • Mysteries • Science Fiction • Cookbooks • Civil War • Aviation • Art • Literature • Travel

For information: (330) 865-5831

Sponsored by Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society, Inc., a non-profit organization

Monday, March 17, 2008

Looking for Spring

No school today. Our building didn't have heat. What rotten luck -- another rehearsal vanishes from the diminishing schedule.

Rather than stress about it, I decided to head off into the cold sunshine -- with faithful Oberon the huskador retriever at my side -- to see if I could find some signs of spring.

When I was a kid, I had my own spring ritual. There would come a day in March when the snows were receding and the sky looked blue enough with sun poking through NE Ohio clouds, that lured me out in search of harbingers. I had my own secret place, in the wilds of Granger township that I visited every year, a wooded dell beside Granger lake beyond the cow pasture with no houses in sight. There I looked for trillium, bloodroot, and jack in the pulpit.

That old cow pasture is now full of McMansions, while the lake is surrounded by condominiums, and I doubt my favorite wild flowers reside there these days. But the sky above Akron had that look today, so we went for a long walk along the west shoreline of Summit Lake. Above you can see the waterfowl skirting the ice, our one resident blue heron is a long-necked speck in the upper right corner. Our first sign of spring!

Last year's vegetation, like an old grass skirt, edged the lake, providing a camouflage for ugliness on view once we got to the shoreline itself. There the hideous sights revealed themselves -- plastics on parade:

All manner of plastic refuse bobbed against the shore: plastic cups, packaging, food containers, and bags proudly displaying their various brands of consumables from diapers to cheap white bread.

I duly photographed as many items as I could before my hands grew numb with the cold. No bit of shoreline was left unmarked by human consumerism. We found a traffic cone, a plastic garbage bin, milk jugs, a tricycle, and various tires:

It was all too depressing. We had to watch our step along the grassy edge of the lake, as many people walk their dogs there, but don't bother to pick up the poop and dispose of it properly. What would it take to have a couple of Doggie Dooleys installed along the lake, I wondered to myself? And maybe even some public trash cans would help motivate the humans who visit here to dispose of their trash in places other than the lake.

Upon arrival home, I looked about for some more positive signs of spring. Brushing aside a winter coat of dried leaves, I found the following green bits working their way toward spring.

March 21st cannot get here fast enough for me!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Everybody's a Star -- the real story

We get so many visits to the Village Green from folks looking for more information about the Kinks song Everybody's a Star, I thought it would be helpful to post the actual track from Soap Opera for our Saturday night rock out.

This song was NOT created to sell a certain brand of sneakers. Everybody's a Star is the opening number in a witty and timeless piece of rock and roll theatre. The plot concerns a pretentious rock star who decides to trade places with a perfectly ordinary man, in order to get material for a new song. The rock star approaches "Norman" with the promise that he can make anybody into a star. The song cleverly makes reference to Shakepeare's "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players."

We all read lines and we all act a part
We all need a script and an audience to play to
No matter what you do or who you are --
Everybody's a star!

So our rock star trades places with Norman, living the ordinary life with an ordinary wife (Ordinary People) and a boring job in the city. He gets up in the morning to face the awful commute by train (Rush Hour Blues), puts in his hours at his dull job (Nine to Five), takes the same train home every night (When Work Is Over), and stops at the pub for endless drinks (Have Another Drink). He wanders home in the wee hours (Underneath the Neon Sign), his life a pitiful and drab repetition day after day. He day dreams of a romantic adventure (Holiday Romance) but even his fantasies end in failure and rejection.

At home, he sings a wry duet with his wife about how happy they make each other, but the reality is -- he cannot stand her cooking (You Make It All Worthwhile). A final flare up ensues:

After dinner Norman becomes depressed.

Norman's office got on my nerves to-day.

What do you mean? You are Norman!

(Shouts) I am a star!

You're not a star Norman. You're
just a plain ordinary little bloke and
even if you walked down the street in
a silver suit people still wouldn't
recognise you. You're dull, ordinary
and uninteresting! You're a drag!

Star rises from his chair and smashes
the dinner plates to the floor.

I hate this house and I hate you, but
more than anything else I hate those

Don't you touch those ducks Norman!
They were a present from my mother.
Look, Norman, I've had enough of you
and your ridiculous fantasies. First of
all you wanted to be a painter, then
you wanted to be an astronaut, then
a footballer and now you're playing at
being a rock singer. If you touch those
ducks I'm leaving! (Ducks On The Wall)

At this point in the show, we realize that there are several layers of fantasy going on here. The so-called rock star may have been ordinary Norman all along. Perhaps all the songs we'd been hearing were merely Norman's fantasies created to cope with his miserable life.

When I saw this show performed by the Kinks way back in 1975 at the Akron Civic Theatre, the audience became very distraught during the following song (A Face in the Crowd):

Our Star doesn't know who he is any
more. Is he the starmaker, the image
maker, looking for material or is he
just plain boring little Norman after
all? Perhaps he should accept that he
is a plain ordinary bloke and not try to
be something he is not.

(A) Face In The Crowd

I've got to stop faking it,
I've got to start facing it,
I'm going to take my final bow
Then I'm going to take my place in the crowd.
I know I'll get used to it,
I've got to stop acting like a clown.

I've gotta start facing up to what I really am.
I've got to realise l'm just an ordinary man.
I think that I'll just settle down
And take my place in the crowd.
I don't want to lie to myself any more.

It felt like Ray Davies who was playing the part of "The Star" was telling us that he didn't want to continue to be our star. That he wanted to live the ordinary life. The emotions were palpable -- I remember quite clearly standing up and shouting "Don't stop Ray!" along with all the other fans there.

But then came the final number (You Can't Stop the Music) with it's ironic reassurance that :

Singers come and go,
And stars fade away.
They vanish in the haze
And they're never seen again,
But the music just keeps playing on.

Themes developed in this musical have been continued throughout Ray Davies' writing career. In fact, in his latest CD -- Working Man's Cafe -- the song In A Moment takes me straight back to Underneath the Neon Lights. The metaphor of wakefulness in the odd hours underneath artificial lights is a recurring theme in Davies' lyrics. (See too: Artificial Light).

So think of Norman the next time you see that shoe commercial. If you really think that putting on a certain brand of sneakers is going to make you a star -- well, maybe in the sense that:

No matter what your occupation is
Everybody's in showbiz.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New play: "The Blogger" at CPT

This just in via NEOhioPAL -- a new play about blogging at Cleveland Public Theatre. Check it out:

The Dark Room is proud to present Cleveland playwright Greg Vovos's new play "The Blogger", directed by James Mango.
The Blogger finds that spreading his message to “the people” is no small task. Following the dictates of his audience, Vince skips out of rehab, leaves his wife and goes on the road in search of meaning and finds…Britney?! It’s a journey across America and then some.
Tuesday April 1st at 7:00 pm
at The Church @ Cleveland Public Theater
(look for the small church located just east of the Cleveland Public Theater parking lot)
6415 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, OH 44102
Along with this featured new play-in-process, we will also have:
scenes from "MacBushed" by Tim Tyler
a scene from "Unethical" by Margi Herwald-Zitelli
and "Rose Colored Glasses" by Pat Stansbury.
6:30pm - Writers and actors sign-up for open session
7:00pm - Readings begin
Suggested donation of $5 is welcomed at the door, but not required.
Come on down and enjoy The Dark Room--an evening of new work development and networking with friends and colleagues, co-presented by The Cleveland Theater Collective and Cleveland Public Theatre.
Derek Koger
Curator and Host
The Dark Room

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On with the show

Sure hope no huge breaking news stories go down this week, as I'm going to be very busy morning, noon and night with little time to post about political campaigns, sex scandals or the price of oil.

Yes, it's almost time for the spring musical -- let's hope spring actually shows up before the curtain goes up. See you all when time allows....

Monday, March 10, 2008

Earth Day Environmental Film Festival in Kent

Looking for something to do to celebrate Earth Day? Here's something to to mark on your calendar:

WHO: Standing Rock Cultural Arts is pleased to announce

WHAT: The 2nd Annual “Who’s Your Mama?” Earth Day and Environmental Film Festival
-Block Party, Main St., Downtown Kent, April 19
-Films at The Kent Stage, April 19 & 20

WHEN: April, 2008

WHERE: Downtown Kent and throughout Portage County
-Headline Event at The Kent Stage, 175 E. Main St., April 19 & 20
-Block Party on Main Street, Downtown Kent on April 19, 11am-5pm.
-Green Building Tour, Old Brady Lake School, Lake St. Kent, April 18
-Studio 425, 425 Gougler Ave, Sculpture, Film, and Poetry
-Films at Portage County Libraries. Locations TBA

-$10 one day
-$15 week-end pass
-$3 off for Students/Seniors


CONTACT: 330-673-4970





We are currently planning The 2nd Annual “Who’s Your Mama?” Earth Day and Environmental Film Festival to take place between April 16 and April 20, 2008. Many of the events and activities will take place at The Historic Kent Stage, 175 E. Main St. in downtown Kent.

The purpose of the festival is to celebrate Earth Day and bring a greater awareness to the idea of sustainable, ecological activities to a large number of people in our region.

We truly appreciate Mama Earth and would like to invite you to come join in the celebration!

There are 4 Main Themes.

1. Alternative Energy
2. Sustainable Agriculture
3. Conservation
4. Multi-Media Environmental Education (Films, Fashion, Dance..)

Here’s what has been planned so far:

-MAIN STREET IN DOWNTOWN KENT WILL BE CLOSED ON APRIL 19, between Depeyester and Water Streets for environmental activities and displays.


-A Solar Power Station will be set up to provide solar power for the event and run the DVD Projector for the films. Solar Trailer provided by The Wayne County Sustainable Energy Network and Habitat for Humanity.

-A Windmill Demonstration featuring AZ Renewable Energy

-A Pedal Powered Generator or “Energy Bike” will be on display as a demonstration for how to use human power to charge cell phone batteries or run a laptop. This is a collaborative project involving Standing Rock Cultural Arts, The Ravenna Athletic Center, and The Kent Roosevelt High School’s Environmental Science Class and Environmental Club.

-The Bio Bus, a biodiesel mobile eco-bus of the Portage Park District will be on hand. Staff of the Park District will lead a mask making activity featuring 200 years of Wildlife in Portage County.

-The Grease Machine, An F-250 Pick-up truck that runs on Waste Vegetable Oil from Ray’s Place restaurant will be on display.


-There will be a Local Food Challenge at downtown restaurants and eateries. Each chef, cook, or baker will be invited to include an item on their menu that uses local, and if possible, organic ingredients.
Participants TBA.

-Kent Natural Foods Co-Operative will be having an Open House on April 19, offering food samples and a member discount to the general public.

- Totally Cooked Catering will be providing sumptuous delectables that are locally grown and masterfully prepared to please the palette at The Kent Stage, April 19.


-The Portage County Soil and Water Conservation District will have a Rain Garden Display in the downtown area. Location TBA.

-Design with a Vision Architecture will offer a multi-media presentation on Designing a Green Building at the Kent Stage at noon on April 19.

-Green Building Tour presented by Builder’s Diversified on Lake Street in Kent. Tour begins Friday, April 18, 10pm.


-Storytelling with full blooded Native Cherokee, Edwin George. Time and location TBA.

-A Portage County Bicentennial Coloring Contest featuring Native Plants and Animals at the Kent Stage, April 19, 10-11:30am. There will be three winners drawn from a hat and each will receive a bicycle and helmet.

-The Portage County Recycling Center will have a vermiculture display. Children and the Public will have a chance to see what a Worm Farm is.

-Native Seed Planting. Master Gardeners of Portage County will have recycled containers, a pile of dirt, and a choice of native plant seeds for children to plant and take home.


-PBS's WVIZ Ideastream, is planning to screen the film they recently co-produce titled, "*The Return of The Cuyahoga**"*

-The Davey Tree Company is planning on screening a film they helped support called "The Return of The American Elm". Filmmakers Daniel and Catherine Smith will be present.

-A Panel Discussion on the theme of Conservation is to be held at the Kent Stage on Sunday, April 20.

-Elaine Mattern and the Filmmakers Daniel and Catherine Smith will lead a discussion about the film "The Return of The American Elm."


-A modern dance performance by SAFMOD, a Cleveland-based dance phenomenon performing work on the theme of Wildlife Conservation.


-A Fashion Show highlighting recycled clothing by Tragically Delicious Eco-Fashions


-Music by The Speedbumps, The Shiva Zoo, Hal Walker and others TBA


-“Sculpture and Poems from the Tree”
-Studio 425, 425 Gougler Ave., Kent
-Tree Sculpture by Jim VandenBoom (tree from John Davey’s land)
-Poems by Home Schooled, Holden and Davey Elementary and Maplewood Career Center Students


-A Green Item Raffle will take place at the Kent Stage on April 19. Items donated by local businesses.

-Local businesses such as Kent Natural Foods Co-Operative, Haymaker Farm Market, Design With A Vision, Builder's Diversified, Organic Roots Horticulture, EnviroScience, and Renewable Lubricants will be on display in the lobby of the Kent Stage and on Main Street between Depeyster and Water Streets.

-There will also be craft booths of earth friendly crafts.

-Standing Rock Cultural Arts is working in cooperation with the The Portage Park District, The Kent Parks and Recreation Department, The Ravenna Parks and Recreation Department, The Portage County Soil and Water Conservation District, The Portage County Recycling Center, The Portage County Bicentennial Committee, Main Street Kent and The Portage County Library District on this event.

-Standing Rock Cultural Arts has been awarded grants from the Ohio Arts Council (Arts Innovation), The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Environmental Education Mini Grant), The Kent Environmental Council, and The Sylvia Coogan Foundation for the 2008 festival.

-Current sponsors include The Record Publishing Co, The Davey Tree Expert Company, AZ Renewable Energy, Green Energy Ohio, Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA) and EnviroScience Inc, The Water Resources Research Institute of Kent State University, The Portage County Health District, Organic Roots Horticulture, H-W Organic Farms, Balanced Living Magazine, The Daily Kent Stater, City Bank Antiques, Design with a Vision Green Building Designs, The Portage County Local Emergency Planning Committee (PCLEPC), The Hoppin Frog Brewery, The Great Lakes Brewing Company, Abruzzos Wine and Homebrew Supply, The Master Gardeners of Portage County and more..

-We are also looking for sponsors who would like to be a part of this exciting and worthwhile event on April 19.

-Sponsors would receive free passes to the event at The Kent Stage, April 19 and 20, 2008.

Sponsorship Levels:

Gardener: Wood $100
-Listed in the program of the event:

Farmer: Bronze $300
-Listed on printed materials (posters, fliers, program):
-Booth Space at Event:

Solarian: Silver $500
-Business Card Size Ad in program (plus logo on printed materials)
-Booth Space at Event

Aquarian (Lead Sponsor:) Gold $1000
-Logo on 12' x 15' banner and all promotional materials.
-Booth Space at Event.

Champion Tree Sponsor: Platinum $1,500.00 +
-Top Billing on all promotional materials
-Booth Space at Event
-Mentioned on Main Stage at Event

In-Kind Donations such as solar panels or deep cycle batteries, marketing and publicity materials, and compact fluorescent bulbs are accepted and appreciated as well.

Checks payable to
Standing Rock Cultural Arts
257 N. Water St
Kent, OH 44240

Thank you for your time and consideration,

"Who's Your Mama?" Earth Day and Environmental Film Festival
Standing Rock Cultural Arts
257 N. Water St.
Kent, OH 44240

Current Schedule of Festival Events and Activities.

Check for updates.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Digging Out

Akron's main arteries are cleared. Residents all over the city spent quality time digging out of our driveways today, only to find that our neighborhood streets had not been touched yet. My short little avenue happens to be one of the steep slopes that is on the list of streets that get plowed, so all I had to do was tackle my long drive way.

I had to pay particular attention to the huge pile that was dumped by the snow plow at the junction of drive and street. The snow was deep and very heavy. Being in the risk category (over 40 and overweight), I took my time and didn't rush it. A good citizen had already taken care of the sidewalk in front of my house. Too bad there aren't more good citizens around, or at least one for each block in the city. The kids on their way to school tomorrow are going to face very few cleared side walks.

Most people start with their vehicles and then their driveways and by the time they are done with that, they are too tired or too busy to clear their sidewalks. So take care on your way to work tomorrow -- there will be many kids walking along the street instead of on the sidewalks.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Things to do during The Blizzard of '08

First thing of course, is document the event via digital photography. The next thing is to go back to your computer with full cup of coffee and read blogs for hours. Then when you feel you've finally got a good buzz on, get into snow gear and put in some shoveling time. My front steps had about a foot of snow on them. By the time I'd finished shoveling, the snow kicked up again and is going stronger on through the afternoon.

I've got some books to keep me company and good music in the background. Not feeling up to writing much myself, so here are some links worth visiting from the Village Reader:

Aphra Behn posts on "The god of the gaps" --

The gap which is usefully plugged by philosophy is narrowing as neuroscientists and cognitive scientists do their job. For example, we will soon know whether or not a moral sense is innate and why it might be that some people appear not to have one.

Renters have much to fear from the foreclosure crisis and you can read about it in Callahan's Cleveland Diary.

Beth at Fake Plastic Fish has another extremely useful link, this time to The Electronics Take Back Coalition. They are looking for stories of dead gadgets:

We would love to receive stories just like the one you documented on your blog, showing clearly how products simply can’t be fixed or upgraded, because of clear choices made by the product designers. Please send your stories to
PZ Meyers at Pharyngula comes up with an atheist's creed. The only problem I have with that is the tendency when confronted by a creed, no matter how individualistic the claim for its use, is for it to be taken up and pushed on to others. So read PZ's, get inspired, and write your own creed if you absolutely must have one.

Obtained via Phayrngula (a scientific cornucopia of useful links): read one man's live-blogging of a vasectomy operation here.

Lots of performing arts groups are canceling performances this weekend. NEOPAL has the scoop here. That's the NEOhio Performing Arts List, an invaluable tool for finding out about shows, auditions, workshops and anything remotely related to the performing arts. Find out how to join the list here.

A wonderful post on Pete Seeger at The Brain Police, including a video of Pete's performance of Big Muddy on the old Smothers Brothers show.

Blogger has been going nuts today -- perhaps because everybody's blogging since we are all snowed in.

Most searched for item on the Village Green blog? All hail the power of Converse sneakers' new advertising campaign. Or could it be the power of the actual original tune and lyrics? Regardless, everybody wants to know more about Everybody's a Star.

Oberon, the amazing Huskador Retriver, just went out into the path I cleared this morning. Note how much more snow has fallen in the past two and a half hours. Yikes!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday Night Kick Back -- Low Budget

Here's a song for our times from the greatest rock band ever.

Art takes time, time is money
Money's scarce and that ain't funny...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Voting for change

"Voting for change" is the current mantra. What does that mean, really?

It could mean a change from the Bush regime. It could mean a change of ruling parties. But I think it is more obvious than that.

It means voting for someone who isn't a white male. The Republicans can't offer that sort of change. All their candidates were whiter shades of pale, wearing different color ties and spouting variations of the same old conservative themes. Their debates offered nothing to liberate us from centuries of white male rule.

The Democrats began the primary season with a large group of white men plus one white woman and one black man. The voters went for change and the various white men fell to the side as the primary season moved along. The final two candidates represent a visual and a visceral choice for those of us who are not white men.

Intellectually, we are all supposed to be above all that. We are supposed to say we voted for our candidate because they are the best one regardless of race and gender, and yet-- if you are a member of a group that has been so long oppressed, you will view this as an opportunity that has never been available in in your life time before.

Oh sure, Victoria Woodhall was nominated by the Equal Rights Party in 1872, but had no chance of winning the power seat. Likewise, Shirley Chisholm a century later took on the quest for president to make a statement, but with no hope of winning. Jesse Jackson made some inroads in delegate counts in the 1980s, but we had to move into the 21st century to find ourselves with viable alternatives to white male rule -- who amazingly, are now facing off against each other.

I expect it may make some people uncomfortable to talk about this election in terms of race or gender. But we are kidding ourselves if we think racism and sexism are largely defeated. Likewise, it is obvious to me, as a white female, that I am very much drawn to the idea of finally seizing the ball from the team that has always controlled it and handing it over to a woman or a black man.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The numbers keep going up - post election notes

I began writing this post last night only to be dumped by the weather -- both my Internet and cable TV connections went down about 10 PM, most likely due to the ice storm that hit our state. So I enjoyed an old fashioned election night via listening to WAKR AM's Larry States.

Last night at this time, the counter in the right hand column of this blog had not yet reached half a trillion dollars. Today it has gone beyond that -- amazing how fast a billion dollars can be spent by our insane governmental "leaders." This is what I had written before the power went off:
Not talking about the election returns this evening, but the numbers of dollars spent on the useless War in Iraq. You can see them ticking away to the right of this post. We are fast approaching 500 billion dollars. That's half a trillion not spent on health care, education, low-income housing, science research, developing green technologies and so on.

Soon after I began this blog, I found the counter you see embedded here and at that time it was around 350 billion. But dollars wasted isn't the worst aspect of this war. It's the loss of life and not only soldier lives. Every Iraqi death creates more potential terrorists among the survivors. No wonder McCain feels the need to stay there for 100 years.
Woke up this morning to find that Hillary had taken 3 out of 4 states, doing extremely well in Ohio. I wasn't surprised. Most people I had talked to were voting for her, although they also expressed admiration for Barack Obama. Many folks continue to want both of them on the ticket.

In local news, we are thrilled that Issue 8 passed and that public transportation will not be diminished in Akron.

Saddest election story is the defeat of Louise Heydorn for county council. Full disclosure -- Louise is a colleague of mine. I can attest that she is an outstanding leader: bright, collaborative, science-minded and a diligent worker. She has been the only Republican on Summit County's council for many years and had been working to develop green initiatives for our county.

She was defeated by John Widowfield, a conservative endorsed by the local Republican party. I wonder if Heydorn was hurt by Independents and Republicans crossing over to vote in the Democratic presidential primary. I hope she picks herself up and runs again in the future -- come join the Democrats, Louise! We need women of your character and intelligence to represent us.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Hillary in Akron

Some pics from yesterday's rally. My Olympus Stylus didn't really pull this one off. Or rather, I didn't do a good job with it. The best shots were outdoors, but even those were terribly out of focus for the most part.

Inside, conditions defeated me. Every time I tried to take a picture, I had to wait for dozens of hands holding cameras aloft to shift and part until I could get off a shot. I noticed that some cameras were getting really nice close-up shots, but mine doesn't have the capability.

Enough of my photographic travails. The rally was full of females of all ages with a hard core group of "Husbands for Hillary" in tow. An old codger next to me said he was there to find out about Hillary's health care plan. "Kucinich was the one who had the real thing," he said to me. I agreed with him whole-heartedly.

I was listening in a detached analytical way to Hillary's stump speech for most of it, until she got to getting rid of No Child Left Behind and then I let out a big cheer. Ditto to ending the war in Iraq. I thought she did a nice job of laying out her points. She was clear and concise, and had a few tender moments with a tale of a young woman who lost her baby and her life due to lack of health care availability in a county in southern Ohio.

Both Senators Clinton and Obama have obviously studied the campaign rhetoric of their colleague, the junior senator from Ohio. We heard about fare trade instead of free trade and bringing jobs back to Ohio. One little request please, dear candidates -- make sure those jobs don't involve polluting the air, water, or soil.

I've taken some unscientific polls among people I know and trust here in Akron, Ohio. Women are going for Hillary in a big way. But so are some men, including one tonight who gave an impassioned impromptu speech for Hillary at the end of a local theatre group's meeting. I think he gave me the final push toward marking her ballot tomorrow. That and the following picture from the rally.

So who am I voting for tomorrow? I am going with my gender demographic. If anybody has a problem with that, then I ask them if they have a problem with 80% plus African Americans going for Obama. Because I don't have a problem with it. They are proud to at last be represented at the highest level. As are these young girls to finally see a woman competing for the ultimate leadership role.

And further more, if Obama wins the nomination, I won't have a problem supporting him. I understand the great excitement within the black community surrounding his candidacy. I feel the same way about Hillary's.

They both have flaws, and they both have strengths. They'd make a great team, but they'd have to get over a lot of ego for that to happen. So may the best person win and may we all pull together to defeat the Republicans at every level in the fall.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow, and if you are living in Summit County, please vote for Issue 8 to maintain the current level of public metro bus service for our citizens. That may be the most important of all your votes.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Huckabee fans in Montrose, Hillary at Garfield HS

Yesterday, driving along Route 18 in the center of Consumer Paradise (Montrose), I could not help noticing a handful of young college-aged males waving Huckabee signs and shouting slogans into bullhorns. It was the kind of sight that makes one shudder -- poor deluded youth! No cars were honking back at them. As I drove by, I gave them a crisply delivered thumb's down sign.

Hillary Clinton will be speaking at Garfield High School this afternoon. Doors open at 3:30 PM and she is scheduled to arrive at 5:30 PM. Since this is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Kenmore, I'm planning on being there. Would have liked to attend Obama's rally last Saturday, but it was the same day and time as a major school fund-raiser, so I wasn't able to be there.

I'm still on the fence in this election and have only a couple of days left to make up my mind. It is never wise to trust any politician to the point of emotional involvement, as they will
invariably let you down. Even our wonderful senator Sherrod Brown, made the wrong choice on voting to abolish habeas corpus for the detainees. Obama and Clinton are politicians, not anointed ones come to save us from the evils of the world. They each have messages that are crafted to gain votes, but in reality -- we have no way of knowing how effectively either will carry through will all the promises. So it becomes a matter of weighing what evidence is out there while tuning out the propaganda from either side.

There are still moments when I'm considering casting my vote for Kucinich, whose name will still be on the ballot. After all, his positions were always the closest ones to my own ideas of what government could be.

Other times I think I want this divided Democratic party to unite as soon as possible, so I lean toward voting for Obama. Yet every time I watch one of the debates, I end up wanting to vote for Hillary. And thus I remain -- Undecided.