Posts Tagged ‘play
Michael Schulman: Watching The Obamas Watch “A Raisin In The Sun”
On Thursday, the cast of the Broadway revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” was told that a “high-level official” would be coming to the show the next night. Who could it be? Kathleen Sebelius had just resigned—maybe she had more time for theatregoing? Word got out on Friday afternoon: the Obamas were coming to Broadway. By seven o’clock that night, Forty-Seventh Street had been partitioned off, and the Barrymore Theatre was swarming with security guys—not an unwelcome sight, after the Times reported that Broadway has had a tough time attracting men. This was not Obama’s first act of Presidential playgoing. In 2009, he and Michelle went on a date night to August Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” and the First Lady has brought her daughters to “Memphis” and “The Addams Family.” “A Raisin in the Sun” was more than a safe choice: it was an undeniably poignant one. It premièred in 1959, and made Lorraine Hansberry the first African-American woman to have a play produced on Broadway. The story follows a black family in Chicago preparing to move into a big, fancy house, despite resistance from their conservative white neighbors. (Sound familiar?) And its themes are as lofty and as loaded as Obama’s: upward mobility, the pain of progress, and, as Sarah Palin might put it (though Hansberry certainly did not), “that hopey, changey stuff.”
The lights went down, and the door to the street swung open. A stream of people, including the President, the First Lady (in black), and Valerie Jarrett, snaked through to the back of the house and then down the aisle. Ignoring the announcer’s pleas, the audience leaped to its feet—this usually happens at the end of the show—and camera flashes twinkled in the darkened theatre. The Obamas shook some hands and took their seats. It’s not often that a single member of the audience commands more attention than the action onstage, and in the initial minutes there was a jittery energy that distracted from the story. Denzel Washington got his usual entrance applause (and a few catcalls from the balcony). If it took a while to buy him as Walter Lee Younger, it wasn’t because Washington is twenty-four years older than his character: Obama’s Obama-ness somehow increased Denzel’s Denzel-ness. At intermission, the Obamas went backstage to meet the cast, as patrons flooded the bar.
Act Two was sprinkled with unspoken moments of meta-theatre. When Walter asks his son, Travis, what he wants to be when he grows up, the boy says, “Bus driver.” His father urges him to dream bigger, and the words “President of the United States” seemed to waft in the air momentarily. In the end, the Youngers take the house, defying the enmity of the “welcoming committee.” They are the change they’ve been waiting for. At the curtain call, the Obamas joined the audience in a standing ovation, and Denzel Washington tipped his fedora to the President, flashing his matinee-idol grin. Scott Rudin, the powerhouse producer, said, “I pretty much cried the whole time.” Bryce Clyde Jenkins, the thirteen-year-old who plays Travis Younger, was still beaming. “I was in school at 11:08 when my teacher, Miss Bernadette, pulled it up on the computer that the First Lady and the President were coming to the performance tonight,” he said. “I kind of jumped for joy inside myself.” Did he find it hard to concentrate onstage? “No,” Jenkins said. “We have a responsibility to the people who are in the show and the Obamas to put on a good show and treat them like they’re our last audience.”
You will have to have been under a rock for the past two weeks to have missed the feeding frenzy being engaged in by what passes as the other major political party and its enablers in the press. Between BENGHAZI!!! and IRS-gate, it seems that nothing at all of importance has been happening in the world.
The GOP and the press finally feel they have what they’ve been looking for: a political “mistake” by Barack Obama which they can use to cut him down to size. One has to admit, that the nation’s first black President has been quite scandal-free since his first Inauguration, in spite of the usual suspects’ best efforts. Obamacare was supposed to be his “Waterloo”; it now promises to cement a generation of Democratic dominance as citizens benefit from a new social program, one which will guarantee that they don’t have to choose between the rent and their health. Obama brought Osama Bin Laden to justice, something which the previous administration had no interest in doing. And of course, before he was even elected, he had the Reverend Wright “scandal”—a moment he used to give the nation a sorely needed lesson on race. The scandal-mongers have, quite frankly, lacked decent material with which to work.
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If it wasn’t for vcprez on Saturday most of us would never have known about our friend Kasai’s amazing talent ….. she was way too shy to tell us!
Kasai on Twitter
2:00: VP Biden attends a campaign event in Fort Worth, Texas.
6:30: VP Biden attends a campaign event in DeKalb, Texas.
7:15: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event.
9:10: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event.
11:00: First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a DNC reception in Los Angeles.
Michelle Obama appears on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”.
In case you missed…
Chief of Staff Jack Lew briefs President Barack Obama during Lew’s first senior advisors meeting as chief of staff in the Oval Office, Jan. 30, 2012. Participating in the meeting are, from left: Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett; Lew; Senior Advisor David Plouffe; Counsel to the President Kathryn Ruemmler; Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Counselor to the President Pete Rouse: Press Secretary Jay Carney; Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Nancy-Ann DeParle, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy; Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations; and Bruce Reed, Chief of Staff to the Vice President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Sun Times: While the attention is on the Tuesday Republican primary here, the Obama 2012 re-election team has been organizing in this state for months and already has 11 Florida offices.
…. Here are highlights of the Chicago-based Obama campaign on-the-ground organizing in the Sunshine state:
• 194 State of the Union Watch Parties ranging from Key West all the way to Pensacola.
• Held nearly 3,000 trainings, planning sessions, house parties, and phone banks.
• Held 4,500+ one-on-one meetings.
• Opened 11 campaign offices across the state, including in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
In November, Romney was rated somewhat or very negatively by 22 percent of independents.
In December, Romney was rated somewhat or very negatively by 29 percent of independents.
And in the new poll, Romney was rated somewhat or very negatively by 42 percent of independents — 20 points higher than two months ago.
Also: In November, Romney was beating Obama 47-34 among those voters. Now the numbers are upside down: Obama is beating Romney 44-36.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first act President Obama signed, fulfilling a campaign pledge.
The Act amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It gave legal support to Lilly Ledbetter’s 1998 equal-pay lawsuit – a lawsuit that the Supreme Court ruled against in 2007, by a 5-4 majority.
Lilly Ledbetter’s case had been largely ignored until then, but the decision made it “a rallying issue for the left … in their attempt to persuade the public that the Supreme Court was moving too far to the right”. (See more here)
The bill was re-introduced in Congress in January 2009. It passed in the House of Representatives with 247 votes in support and 171 against. The vote was nearly perfectly split along party lines…. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed the Senate, 61-36, on January 22, 2009.
President Obama had long championed this bill and Lilly Ledbetter’s cause and by signing it into law ensured that women like Lilly Ledbetter and other victims of pay discrimination could effectively challenge unequal pay.
By the way, here’s how professional left darling Cenk “Obama is a moron” Uygur (the pure ‘progressive’ who’s only 41, but ….. is a ‘former’ Republican whose hero was Reagan, who voted for George HW Bush and Bob Dole, who opposed affirmative action, was anti-choice on the abortion issue, supported Clarence Thomas, had a serious problem with feminism, attended Federalist Society meetings (an organization of conservatives and libertarians co-founded by the charming Robert Bork) and, to this day, is an Armenian Genocide denier – and opposed PBO from almost his first day in office and called on Democrats to vote against him in this year’s Iowa primary …. PBO got 98.5% of the vote, so that worked well) described The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act:
“Eventually the Democrats had a 60 seat majority in the Senate, they were unstoppable. And what did we get? Lilly Ledbetter. If you don’t know, that’s a minor bill that passed in the beginning of the administration … it’s a good bill, that’s why I bring it up … about women being entitled to equal pay. God bless. Incredibly easy victory.”
A “minor” bill?
Ooops, Uygur’s inner Republican slipped out. He should try telling Lilly Ledbetter it’s a “minor” bill.
Read Hoos Left on this fraud, fantastic: “A failed corporate lawyer and neocon with an enhanced opinion of himself and an ego as fat as his broad ass.”
PS Uygur is so progressive, he followed Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald’s lead by setting up a PAC pleading for donations for causes he, um, passionately believes in. And as Hamsher and Greenwald could tell you, these PACs can be very profitable 😉
First Lady Michelle Obama shows NFL PLAY 60 Super Kid James Gale, 11, historical photos from previous administrations on display in the Booksellers Area during a National Football League (NFL) taping in the East Wing of the White House, Jan. 30, 2012. At right is James’ mother Lisa Gale. The taping will air during the Super Bowl, Feb. 5, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Spare a thought for GOP Rasmussen, something has gone horribly wrong with their polls:
51% with Rasmussen?! That means PBO must be about 76%! Thanks Loriah.
First Lady Michelle Obama, Victoria Justice and NBA player LeBron James pose with event participants during Nickelodeon’s largest ever Worldwide Day of Play at the Ellipse, September 24
President Obama plays golf with former President Clinton at Andrews Air Force Base, September 24
Thank you QuietObserver 😉
President Barack Obama hugs First Lady Michelle Obama after watching her jump rope for a double-dutch demonstration during a taping for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) challenge and Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 15, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Vice President Joe Biden greets Earl Lloyd, the first African American to play in the NBA, in his West Wing Office, October 27, 2010.(Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)