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‘MiXtape’ and ‘The Full Monty’ enliven local theatre scene

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

By Carol Davis

Carol Davis

SAN DIEGO–Recently I wove my car down to the Gaslamp District to catch the tail end of Lamb’s Players Theatre’s miXtape, a little 80’s musical review written by resident Lamb’s actors Jon Lorenz (musical arrangements) and Colleen Kollar Smith (she also choreographed) and directed by another long time resident player and staff favorite Kerry Meads. The young (at least to me) bouncy and energetic cast includes Louis Pardo, Season Marshall Duffy, Joy Yandell, Marci Anne Wuebben, Lance Arthur Smith, Leonard Patton, Spencer Rowe and Michelle Pereira.

The musical journey that they, as an ensemble and individually, take us through include songs from U2, Duran Duran, Amy Grant, Huey Lewis, Poynter Sisters and a few I recognized; Madonna, Michael Jackson (especially the dance number they did) and Billy Joel.

They embrace Generation X to its fullest giving us a flashback to the 80’s scene including MTV, big hair, leg warmers, workout outfits (“Let’s Get Physical”), a Richard Simmons look a like and an odd combination of period dress (Jemima Dutra) that, looking back was rather nondescript. (I had almost blocked that out of my memory). Read more…

Commentary: USC campus police abet anti-Israel propagandists

September 23, 2010 2 comments

By Roz Rothstein

Roz Rothstein

LOS ANGELES — Along with many others, I received an internet notice about a September 19th meeting for people interested in promoting a state ballot initiative to divest state retirement funds from some companies that do business with Israel. 

The notice was entitled “Los Angeles Campaign Kick off and Petition Circulator Training to Qualify the Israel Divestment Initiative for the California Ballot.”  The event was to be held at USC where the USC Students for Justice in Palestine [SJP] had rented a room.  Judging from the notice, this was a general event for people interested in the divestment initiative. It was not limited to any particular group, students or otherwise. Community members were also invited to attend.
 
In fact, despite its billing, this event was not open to the public—certainly not to those whom the organizers thought might not agree with the proposal, as StandWithUs rudely learned.
 
As the CEO of StandWithUs, I felt it was important that someone attend the event to learn more about the divestment effort.  I headed down to the meeting with StandWithUs Senior Developer Gary Ratner.  We had no intention of speaking or disrupting the event in any way.  Our goal was simply to learn more about the divestment initiative and campaign strategies.
 
At first, everything seemed fine.  About 20 people were there when we arrived. As we walked in, a woman sitting near a table of handouts greeted us just as she apparently had greeted the others. But as we reached over to pick up some of the campaign’s literature, a woman already seated in the room suddenly stood up and loudly cried out, “NO. NO. They cannot be here.” 

Read more…

Obama to U.N.: Israel’s existence not a matter for debate

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

NEW YORK (Press Release)–Following is a transcript of remarks made by President Barack Obama to the General Assembly of the United Nations on Thursday, Sept. 23:

THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, my fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen.  It is a great honor to address this Assembly for the second time, nearly two years after my election as President of the United States.

We know this is no ordinary time for our people.  Each of us comes here with our own problems and priorities.  But there are also challenges that we share in common as leaders and as nations.

We meet within an institution built from the rubble of war, designed to unite the world in pursuit of peace.  And we meet within a city that for centuries has welcomed people from across the globe, demonstrating that individuals of every color, faith and station can come together to pursue opportunity, build a community, and live with the blessing of human liberty.

Outside the doors of this hall, the blocks and neighborhoods of this great city tell the story of a difficult decade.  Nine years ago, the destruction of the World Trade Center signaled a threat that respected no boundary of dignity or decency.  Two years ago this month, a financial crisis on Wall Street devastated American families on Main Street.  These separate challenges have affected people around the globe.  Men and women and children have been murdered by extremists from Casablanca to London; from Jalalabad to Jakarta.  The global economy suffered an enormous blow during the financial crisis, crippling markets and deferring the dreams of millions on every continent.  Underneath these challenges to our security and prosperity lie deeper fears:  that ancient hatreds and religious divides are once again ascendant; that a world which has grown more interconnected has somehow slipped beyond our control.

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Commentary: Bill Clinton’s offensive notions about Israel’s Russian and Moroccan immigrants

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

 By Ira Sharkansky

Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM–Another one of America’s presidential has-beens is causing a stir in the Holy Land. It’s not Jimmy Carter this time, but Bill Clinton. The unpleasant surprise from the mouth of someone thought of as a friend, reasonably bright, and socially adept is that the right-wing and settler-friendly Russian immigrants are a major barrier to peace; Moroccans are easily swayed by leaders and cannot be counted on to help, and it is the Ashkenazim that right thinking people of the world must rely upon.
“Wow” and “Oh My God” are the only responses that come to mind to the comments Clinton reportedly made in New York during a roundtable at his Clinton Global Initiative

Imagine an Israeli leader talking in public about the intelligence of African Americans.
Clinton and that imaginary foolish Israeli might be assiduous enough to find some data to substantiate what they say, but no politician (or perhaps anyone else) in their right mind should express such things, and certainly not in public.
Whether he knows it or not, Bill Clinton targeted for condemnation the two largest Jewish ethnic groups in Israel. There are Ashkenazim in the present government and among its supporters, but if any Israelis are most likely to be found in  the left wing parties that are out of the loop, it is the well-educated upper-income Ashkenazim who seem to fit Clinton’s description as the most preferred.

Read more…

Speaking at concerts

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

By David Amos

David Amos

SAN DIEGO–Recently, I was again involved in a lively debate on the subject of whether a conductor or a soloist should or should not speak to the audience before starting a performance. Opinions have varied from enthusiastic support, to comments such as “Never, a conductor should conduct and not say a word. It is not his place to verbalize what is obvious, and it detracts from what is to follow, namely, the music itself.”

My opinions on the subject:

I have conducted many a concert where I felt that not a word was necessary. Let the music speak and communicate on its own. At other times, however, even when program notes were available in the printed handout, a few well-placed comments were apparently well received. Many times after the conclusion of a concert I have heard from enthusiastic concertgoers who told me that whatever I said from the podium provided them with additional perspectives on the music which followed.

Let’s admit it: we, the lovers of classical music, are in the minority and have become a sort of cult. Yes, a healthy cult; we love what we hear and we hear what we love, but we also tend to assume that most other people appreciate what we love. Or at the very least, the ones present at the concert surely know the standard repertory, the artists involved, concert procedure and etiquette, etc. Not so. It may surprise you to hear me say this, but there are concertgoers who may attend a program announced as a rendition of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and if the orchestra switched the program and did nothing else but Strauss waltzes, they may not know the difference! I do not mean a few lost souls in the audience with a minimum amount of brain cells in action, but far more people than you may suspect. This is not meant as a reflection of peoples’ I.Q.s, but as an assessment of the information, sounds, and traditions which you and I may have accumulated through the years, which we assume that everyone around us also possess.

The classical music world has alienated many potential listeners with attitudes of indifference, snobbishness, and closed minds. Even performing artists and composers for many years presented their music with the unspoken message which conveyed, “Here is my music. Take it or leave it; I really don’t care!” In recent times, more composers, artists, and presenters are “changing their tune”, welcome the public, and are grateful for their attendance. There is a greater effort to promote public concerts, with the continuing and alarming dwindling of audiences. Fewer and fewer relate to our precious classical music. Read more…