Hot Air: Impossible!

Storytellers

I confess: I fell in love today. Nah, don’t worry, we don’t have to keep this from The Loved One. I’ve already told her all about my new love. Or, really, loves.

Yup, I’m crazy about three people I met today recording this week’s edition of Big Talk. Joining me in the WFHB studios were the playwrights Gladys DeVane and Elizabeth Watford-Mitchell and the director Danielle Bruce. Their opus, Resilience: Indiana’s Untold Story, opens the weekend after next at the John Waldron Arts Center. They’re fully awash in the madness that is the run-up to opening night but they happily joined me to talk about their play, themselves, and the seemingly intractable dilemma of race in this holy land.

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(From Left) DeVane, Bruce & Watford-Mitchell

Resilience is the story — or, more accurately, stories — of dark-skinned people in Indiana, purportedly a free state when it was admitted to the Union in 1816. In reality, though, many Hoosiers were virtual slaves as slaveholders dug into a bag of tricks to “own” other human beings. Gladys and Liz’s multimedia production reveals the rich variety of black and brown lives that have come and gone in Indiana these last 200 years.

And, once again, I’m going to have a hell of a time trying to cut a 70-minute interview down to eight minutes for my weekly Big Talk feature on the Daily Local News. The good thing is you’ll be able to catch the entire, uncut chat right here on The Pencil after the feature runs in three days.

So, while you wait, make sure to catch last week’s tête-à-tête with IU Eskanazi Art Museum director David Brenneman and stay tuned for next week’s show featuring Betsy Stirrat, director of IU’s Grunwald Gallery. Betsy’s busy mounting a new exhibit at the Grunwald, entitled (Re)Imagining Science. It’ll feature works by research scientists and artists focusing on the subjects of their investigations.

[Big Links: The David Brenneman feature and the full-length chat with him.]

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Talk to you Thursday.

Now The Fun (Not To Mention The Worrying) Begins

For the second year in a row Major League Baseball schedulers have placed my beloved Cubs in Cincinnati for the Reds’ season ending series and so, like last year, I was there for the final game yesterday.

My boys (and, honestly, I can’t wait for the day when I’ll be able to type “my boys and girls” — trust me, that day is coming sooner rather than later) are now about to embark on the most promising post-season of my lifetime. After having won 103 games — that’s their first time over the century mark since 1935 and only the sixth time in their 140-year history — the Cubs seem a lock to bring home the World Series championship trophy for the first time since 1908.

That, kiddies, is the longest championship drought for any professional sports team in North American history.

Should they indeed win it all, they will be assumed into heaven en masse even as they tumble in celebratory glee onto to Wrigley Field grass after having dispatched whichever opponent (probably the Boston Red Sox, although I wouldn’t count the Cleveland Indians out to win the American League pennant.)

Sneak a peek at this little slideshow:

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Now, be patient with me as I chew my fingernails for the next four weeks or so: The Cubs open the playoffs Friday at home against either the New York Mets (you can bet Joe Varga‘s happy as a clam) or the San Francisco Giants.

Dreaming 

Well, sure, this old chestnut from the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha fits, doesn’t it? My beloved Cubs winning the World Series — impossible! But I can dream, can’t I?

The song became a cultural touchstone in the mid and late ’60s. Bobby Kennedy adopted it as the theme song for his hasty, furious — and, yeah, Quixotic — campaign for president in 1968. Acc’d’g to lore, Sen George McGovern, accompanied by a recording of the song by Andy Williams, intro’d Bobby at a campaign event. It was one of Bobby’s favorite tunes. Bobby asked McGovern after the event if the song was appropriate, inasmuch as it celebrates an unachievable goal. McGovern told Bobby all the idealistic young people in the audience were eager to strive for something even if it was…, well, impossible. Bobby nodded. “That’s what I think,” he said. And so the song was used at subsequent campaign events.

The song has been recorded by a dizzying olio of artists, including Frank Sinatra, Jim Nabors (“Gomer Pyle”), The Temptations, Glen Campbell, Cher, the Smothers Brothers (no lie!), Elvis Presley, Luther Vandross, and even Christopher Lee (yep, Dracula himself).

Y’know what? I agree with both George McGovern and Bobby Kennedy — it’s very nearly holy to dream of and strive for a goal that by all appearances seems absurd. Call me a dreamer.

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