Motivation for Monday, 15 February 2016

The news over the weekend that Supreme Court Justice Scalia died, has put American politics into a whirligig of absurdity and hypocrisy.  Valentine’s Day, on Sunday, can often be viewed as a saccharin example of hetero-normative commercialism.  Oh gosh.  I’m trying to find some motivation for this day, this week, this month, this year.  Trying… super hard.  Here’s what I have.




If you want to be energized, watch this performance of Sojourner Truth’s famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech from 1851, by Alfre Woodard. I take great pride in the fact that I teach at a school founded in the same year, founded to provide women an education because The University of Missouri didn’t allow them to study there. Indeed to teach at a place created for all the ‘Ain’t I a Women’ is something very, very good.


Photo of the Week, 9 June 2013

Although I’m inclined to post a photo from the Vanishing Georgia collection, given the wonderful discovery of this archive through Melanie Kitchens-O’Meara, I thought I would share a photo of one of the lovely lady slippers here at The Mountain. What a great experience– performing, talking, sharing, and focusing on the unique communicative properties of performance. What a privilege it is to be invited to come to this special place.



Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011

I remember all too vividly the Saturday morning I found out Paul Newman had died.  I was overcome with grief for a man that I admired so very much.  On some level, I also grieved for the world– the acting world for the loss of such a remarkable craftsman; the philanthropic world for the loss of someone to whom much was given and much was given back; and to his personal world of family and friends for their personal loss.  Paul was one of the greats. 

His co-star and friend Elizabeth Taylor were certainly of the same fine ilk– excellent actors, breathtaking in their appearance, and humbling in their service to others.  The world lost another ‘great one’ this morning when Dame Elizabeth Taylor died at the age of 79.  From Maggie the Cat in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to Leslie Benedict in Giant, Taylor carved out one of the most legendary cinematic careers.  When her dear friend from Giant, Rock Hudson, became ill with AIDS, Taylor tirelessly spoke about the disease to raise awareness and funds to combat it.  She helped to create amFAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, arguably the most well-known research foundation on the disease.

CNN described Taylor as “the biggest star, and the biggest heart.”  Rest in peace, Elizabeth. You truly left the world a better place.


Rest in Peace, Freewheelin’ Gal

I know that most people may not be able to pinpoint a single song that is their favorite of the moment, let alone favorite of all-time.   I don’t have such a problem.  In college, I was introduced to the music of Bob Dylan.  In particular, a track from his The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album quickly became that song for me.  “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” is the song, and the reported muse for the song, Suze Rotolo, died Friday at the age of 67.  Not only was Rotolo a muse for Dylan’s music, she graced the cover of his second, aforementioned album.  The iconic image of Dylan and Rotolo walking down a snowy, Greenwich Village street seems a perfect accompaniment to the early 1960’s.

For a lovely reflection on Rotolo and Dylan, be sure to read Tuesday’s piece from NPR music.  It includes an excerpt from Rotolo’s A Freewheelin’ Time.


Congratulations Marty!

My neighbor is a Grammy winner! Well, not my neighbor now in Missouri. Well, actually, we never actually lived next to one another. Let me explain…

I grew up in Lebanon, Ohio. Lebanon is home to Woody Harrelson and his football teammate and classmate Marty Roe. Marty is the lead singer of the band Diamond Rio. Last night at the Grammys, Diamond Rio won the award for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album for The Reason. This is their first Grammy after 14 nominations. Diamond Rio made history back in 1991 when their single “Meet in the Middle” was the first debut single ever to reach #1 on the Country charts. Although Marty was making music in Nashville before my family moved next to his family, I’ve always considered the whole Roe family (Zane, Bertie, Marty, and Scott) neighbors.

Congratulations! I’m so excited for you all!