Tom Brady and the Politics of Hatred

Early-FoliageI imagine I became fond of watching and listening to sports in part, because I am an American male, and in part because I had Polio and could not really play them. Radio and television allowed me to imagine I was an athlete, to participate in some small, crucial way in the lives of able men. Anyway, I remember imagining that I, too, could be a heroic athlete, that somehow my Polio body could be transcended.

This afternoon I watched a few minutes of the Patriots game. When I tuned in, a Bills’ player was being immobilized, having experienced a serious neck injury. The Patriots had achieved an enormous lead and the injury seemed both heartbreaking and senseless.

Over the past few years it has become evident that American professional football (as opposed to soccer), in spite of its phenomenal popularity, is hugely problematic. Life changing physical injuries, head traumas, and incidents of domestic violence are much too common. Indeed, the sport seems to require and condone violence, sacrificing players and their loved ones on a regular basis.

I have followed the Patriots for many years and, over time, have come to greatly appreciate Tom Brady, who is unquestionably a hall of fame quarterback. This week, however, Brady appeared to come out put in support of his friend, Donald Trump’s, bit for the Presidency of the United States.  This in spite of Trump’s overt racism, misogyny, and hatred of religious and ethnic minorities, and those with disabilities or non-dominant sexual orientations. Trump has also demonstrated a long-standing dislike for Native America, and this week he reputedly agreed with a debate questioner that a Muslim should not be President, and said he would consider ways to rid the country of Muslims.

I have been trying to understand why Brady would publicly support someone who spews hatred towards the people he depends on for his life and career. After all, he is married to a woman, has Afro-American, Asian, and Hispanic teammates (some probably Muslim) who PROTECT him on and off the field, and works in Boston, an ethnically rich and diverse community. He clearly is entitled to his opinions. Yet, why would he publicly say suggest he agrees with Trump’s views? I am left wondering, “What is he thinking?” Perhaps he is as arrogant as many in the media seem to believe.

I’m offended, after all, I’m Native and disabled. I hope you are offended as well.

IPTN: Disability and Artistry

PlaybackOur workshop at the International Playback Theatre Network conference in Montreal provided an opportunity for directors, and individual performers, to think with us about disability, inclusion, and aesthetics. The time allotted to the workshop passed much too quickly as we engaged in a deep conversation about these difficult topics.

One  of the most challenging aspects of any conversation about theater and disability is making the distinction between theater for, theater by, theater to, and theater with. Still other categories have been suggested, perhaps in an effort to thicken our understanding of this thorny topic.

These distinctions have evolved to address the difference between theater practices that nominally include persons with disabilities, those provide programing to persons labeled as disabled, and those that seek to be truly inclusive. The latter may originate in group or individual work by disabled persons, or by ensembles of “mixed abilities,” in which the presence of disability is acknowledged, but normalized, resulting in an aesthetic that explores the differently abled body-mind as a vehicle for storytelling in myriad ways. Continue reading

Reblog: Why Music? Notes on Reciprocity

Rain:_St. Anthony's, PaduaThis morning I read the following post from Juliana Farha, posted on her blog, Two Worlds: Notes and Observations. The post, Why Music? Notes on Reciprocity, struck a deep note within me. Juliana writes:

Although she dreamt of learning the cello, my sister never played an instrument. She loved to sing but her voice wasn’t especially good: our annual duet of The Boar’s Head Carol at Christmas was as close to choral performance as she ever got. And yet Darya’s connection with music was so profound, her sense of the musicality of life with its singular and idiosyncratic rhythms so innate, she was one of the most musical people I’ve known.

Darya died of breast cancer more than three years ago, and in less than a month’s time The Forge in central London will host the premiere of Reciprocity, a half-hour chamber work based on her poetry which I commissioned from the exciting young composer Daniel Patrick Cohen……

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Dancing with Diana


Jennie read and reviewed the newly released book, Dancing with Diana. Here is a bit of her review:

“Thoroughly enjoyed Dancing with Diana.  I was appreciative of the way in which Diana’s story is interwoven with Alex’s story-I also deeply appreciated the first person narrative of a young man in a socially  and physically non-cooperative body.  For both, in the end, a story about being bullied. We are with him as he grows up and finds his authentic voice. A book in which there are multiple teachable moments within the pages.”

Amazons synopsis:

“The future Princess Diana dances for five minutes with a teenage boy in a wheelchair, an encounter that colors the rest of his life, though quickly forgotten by her. Alex’s story is told in counterpoint with Diana’s final day before her fatal accident in Paris. All day she tries to reach a friend in London, hoping to hear news that will bring a new direction to her life.”

Take a look at Dancing with Diana!

Dr. Maribel Alvarez on Drama and Myth

TracksEvery now and again a piece of theatre writing catches my attention, my history, and, perhaps, some reflection of my soul. The following post from HowlRound, is just such a piece.

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Kaite O’Reilly Writes Disability

Winter_EveningHere is a profound piece of writing from Kaite O’Reilly. In a blog post entitled, Answering back and returning the gaze: Alternative Dramaturgies, she speaks of her work playwrighting disability:

How do we ‘write’ disability? Is it in the aesthetic, the narratives, the content, the form, or the bodies of the performers? This paper seeks to introduce ‘alternative dramaturgies, informed by a Deaf and disability perspective’, exploring some of the dramaturgical developments I have initiated as a playwright working within disability arts and Deaf culture since 1987. Alternative? To the mainstream, hearing, non-disabled perspective, and by ‘alternative dramaturgies’ I mean the processes, structures, content and form which reinvent, subvert or critique ‘traditional’ or ’conventional’ representations, narratives, and dramatic structures in performance

Bardo and 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change

The folks at Bardo posted to update us on their collaboration with 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change:

“The founders of 100,000 Poets, Musicians and Artists for Change are enthusiastically rolling forward. Founders Michael Rothenberg (poet and editor of Big Bridge Press and zine, and Terri Carrion, poet, writer and associate editor and visual designer of Big Bridge Press and zine, have pages set up for all participating organizations. THE BARDO GROUP event page is HEREWe take this opportunity to thank Michael and Terri for their vision and their work.

Michael and Terri have written: 

“The first order of change is for poets, writers, musicians, artists, activists to get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. It will be empowering.”  MORE

Young Playwrights for Change Competition!


Hosting A Young Playwrights Change Competition – Omaha Theater Company at The Rose Theater

Young Playwrights for Change Competition!

            – Why We’re So Excited to Get to Host Again!

– Thinking about hosting a Young Playwrights for Change Competition for the first time?

– Thinking about joining us again for round two of Young Playwrights for Change?

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