SitComs Not Always a Laughing Matter

Growing Up Fisher

Walter Brasch: The escalation of the laugh track has become the producers’ way to manipulate the audience to believe every word is a gem, every sentence uttered is golden.

NOAH?  Ah, No, Ah…

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Larry Wines: When we see Supreme Court cases in religious swaddling clothes, a movie may appear trivial. It isn’t. Hollywood drives culture, beliefs and opinions disproportionately, just as TV megachuch pastors do.

Creative Resistance Art Activism

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Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers: Art has added energy to advocacy — and it reaches people at deeper emotional levels, conveying what cannot be said with mere facts.

Arsenio Hall Can’t Be Dismissed

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Arsenio Hall brought the “edge” to late night when a tarnished Presidential hopeful came on the show in June of 1992—wearing sunglasses .

The Raid on Lawrence, Kansas

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Quantrills Raid: This bizarre moment should give pause to us all when we consider the small and the large of our own lives.

Love in Films, Fiction, and Life

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Love in Films: I sometimes think that in life we are meant to proceed by shrinking our egoism while broadening and intensifying our love.

Valentina’s Dream: A Russian Valentine’s Day Story

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Russian Valentine: Russian ladies enjoying courier-delivered roses will be members of online dating services with overseas “boyfriends.”

Hey Hollywood! Why Are There So Few Women Behind the Camera?

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Few Women Behind the Camera — For the past five years, only about 30 percent of character actors on the big screen have been women.

Pete Seeger Remembered: A Conversation With Lara Bergthold

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Steve Mikulan: When Pete Seeger died Monday, he left behind a legacy of tolerance, optimism and an unbreakable faith in the common man.

A Progressive American Culture Is What We Need

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Progressive Culture I envision would battle against our still dominant capitalist consumer culture.

Is There a Perfect Gift?

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Perfect Gift — Much better was the photograph of a Wisconsin barn from our children and their partners, framed in barn wood.

Hollywood’s Tea Party

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Blacks in Hollywood — For many people of color, going to 21st century movies is a soul-sucking exercise in seeing power through white eyes.

Nickel and Dimed: Working Class Heroes

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Ed Rampell: Since the collapse of capitalism in 2008 there has been a rebirth of left-leaning theatre, and Nickel and Dimed is one of this dissident theatrical wave’s finest, most compelling dramas.

A Pair of British Brand Names Back on the Boards

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Ed Rampell: Both the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum’s Merlin, Harbinger of Peace and Sacred Fools’ Watson and the Dark Art of Harry Houdini have succeeded in taking a new look at and breathing new life into characters who have been popular for literally centuries.

The Doors’ John Densmore Beats Drum Against Greed

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I will always fight for leveling the playing field, because I came from the 99 percent. I’m not in the one percent, but I have deep pockets and I know where I came from and I will fight for the 99 percent the rest of my life.

Exploiting Asian Girlz

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Scot Nakagawa: The song and accompanying video are intended to “parody” the popular sexual fetish for Asian women. Instead, it has the effect of making a bad joke out of a very problem with extremely serious consequences.

The Emperor Has No Clothes: Jay Z vs. Harry Belafonte

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Melina Abdullah & Hasira Ashemu: Most of us have fallen for his rap, hook, line and sinker. But it has always been the role of wise elders, to redirect us when we stray.

When Lady Liberty Wept

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Gary Corseri: And what freedom now in the Surveillance State; Where every thought was subject to review; And “newsmen” scurried to assess the threat.

Whose God Bless America Is It, Anyway?

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Michael Sigman: Over the past half-century, the right has used “God Bless America” as an all-purpose signifier of the God-given superiority of All-American values over those of the secularists, socialists, anarchists and malcontents of the left.

Midsummer Night’s Dream: But Seriously, Folks

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Ed Rampell: The Geers’ effervescent version of the Bard’s dream-like yarn is such rip-roaring good fun that it should suffice to say, that if you love yourself and believe you deserve to have a good time, get thee to a Topanga amphitheater.

La Dolce Fellini

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Ed Rampell: Nevertheless, even though the Supreme Court has struck down DOMA, I still give a big thumbs up to this DOMA’s Nine, which I heartily enjoyed.

“The First 70″ Benefits LA Progressive

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The First 70 is a about Californians banding together to enact change and develop solutions in the face of a glaring bureaucratic oversight.

Look Out Fans! NFL Players Gonna Get Your Mama!

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Dave Zirin: Maybe what’s happening to NFL players is best understood as collateral damage of a US society addicted to arrests and a player’s culture where they expect privileges that no longer exist.

“And Here’s to You Mrs. Benson…”

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Chuck Orloski: As Rome waged multi-front wars throughout the Mediterranean basin, there were probably quite a few Empire sport fanatics concerned about the health of Roman star-quality gladiators.

Impermanent Revolution: The Second Assassination of Trotsky

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Ed Rampell: This comedy, obviously, is much more concerned with its characters’ sex lives than, say, with a little thing like Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution (which I don’t believe is ever mentioned by name onstage).

Facebook Fills a Void?

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Michael Sigman: I found myself looking forward to my Facebook birthday experience with pleasant imaginings that meshed with the sweet anticipation of the vast quantities of sugar I would soon permit myself to ingest.

Lone Ranger Flops: Hollywood Gets What It Deserves

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Randy Shaw: Disney’s mammoth investment in a western originally based on traditional racial stereotypes—a white man with an honorable but terse Native American sidekick—speaks volumes to Hollywood’s current disconnection from real-life concerns.

The Blood Money Times

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Charles Orloski: Using Work-Speak, it was family’s notorious “Lean-Week,” my company paid bimonthly, and there was nothing to do except sit on back porch, listen to the Phillies vs. Braves game on A.M. radio.

Every Day Is the 4th of July: Mourning in Amerika

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Gary Corseri: O say can you see-saw from the Sands; Of Iwo Jima to the halls of Montezuma; And the beach near Petaluma, My country ‘tis of thee

Alcestis: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

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Ed Rampell: To paraphrase the Bard: Toga or not toga? Transforming a period piece or classic into a modern dress work with contemporary costuming, dialogue, references and, perhaps, themes is tricky business.

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