“SELMA” the Film and the Actualities by David Henderson

 “SELMA” the Film and the Actualities  by David Henderson

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the man who followed in the footsteps of Gandhi in bringing civil rights to a people, and in some ways went even further than Gandhi, is a towering figure in the recent history of the United States. For that matter, he ranks highly throughout the entire Western world, and perhaps everywhere on planet earth. His public denunciation of the Vietnam War contributed to the war’s end, but—coupled with his support for the striking sanitation workers of Memphis and his protestations of the larger issue of widespread poverty—it also resulted in a diminution of his popularity and a certain disfavor promoted by the corporate-controlled press, and it may have contributed to his untimely and mysterious assassination.

His widow, Coretta Scott King, his children, and the famous entertainer Stevie Wonder combined forces with a broad swath of an approving public and fostered a public holiday in his name that became a reality in the late twentieth century. Now, in 2015, a new film, Selma, is based on one of his most important achievements: his leadership role in attaining the Voting Rights Act. He coordinated a protest that would bring together various civil rights organizations, church and religious groups, entertainers, and professional organizations, along with a public from all over the United States and countries across the world to march in Selma with the ordinary citizen of that small Southern town. These people endured great brutality in the hands of local Alabama police and state troopers in order to complete their march to the state capital in Montgomery to protest before the State House their inability to vote.

On March 7, 1965, with a few hundred locals, Dr. King formulated a strategy that resulted in thousands of supporters joining the locals and, despite the murder of some, would result in a successful march to Montgomery over a two-week period. The number of marchers would swelled from 5,000 to 25,000, and they arrived in triumph to hear the speech by Dr. King that announced the Voting Rights Act that would become law in a few weeks—a verification of democracy that inspired the world. Continue reading

“Nous sommes Oedipus” by Jessica Slote

“Nous sommes Oedipus”

Theater Review: “A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations)” by Sam Shepard

By Jessica Slote

The setting is a modern slaughterhouse—a room of white tile—walls, ceiling, and floor. A man, his overalls stained with blood, is mopping up blood on the floor, his boots sticky with the stuff.

He speaks:“Was this the place you dropped me off? Could’ve been. Draped in mystery and confusion. The secret let out long ago. Maybe that was it. Full of fear as you were. Trembling—Running – Hauling me across your back. Flapping like an extra skin. You think I’d forget? Your breath, panting like a bull calf born. Day and night. Leaves and wind. Left for dead. Hanging from an olive tree. A baby human. Left for dead. Ripped by hawks and eagles. Remnants. Ribbons of pink. Strings- Small traces. A king! The story begins its curse right here. Begins to crawl. Naked traces – All”

So begins Sam Shepard’s “A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations),” an exploration of the themes coming down to us from Sophocles’ Oedipus: “destiny, fate, murder, exploitation, origins” as Shepard writes. He splices a contemporary story—a murder on a desert highway in his beloved American West—with the ancient story—a son who kills his father on an ancient crossroad, fulfilling a prophecy. Continue reading

Coney Island, Winter

Coney Island, Winter by Jessica Slote

 

Once you have had about as much as you can take—

peerless blue sky, infinity of horizon

once the sea burning with the sun burns itself onto your retina

clarity of the horizon burning into your brain

(you can no longer say no to this day of days; to surrender is mortal and divine)

sun and sea and sky and reflections and vastness of infinity the infinite horizon

burned on to

the back of your eye

shimmering flickers on the cave walls

of your dark skull

once you close your eyes hours later

the majesty of that light!

lives

on the small-screen cinema

of your closed eyes

(remorseless unknowing living light)

once all that has happened—

you cannot go back to your small dark apartment

and pay bills

(lying in a stupor, eyes closed, on the bed, by the window, by the garden,

the sea continues its discourse with the sun and its blue vault and the sand).

coney island

 

Pinocchio

Cuba si yanky yo

Pinocchio

What a so and so

Not in noho

but living in a hole

somewhere in soho

ho ho ho

 

-Steve Cannon 1.7.2015