Broadway To Vegas



Copyright: September 3, 2017
By: Laura Deni


Millions of dollars have been raised to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. That is American and social media at its best. Now, don't close your eyes and relax just because you think your hard earned money has been donated to worthwhile charities.

Always remember to 'mind the store'.

One of the worst disasters the American Red Cross has had to overcome was due to a crummy money grab. During world War II the red Cross had comfort stations for servicemen overseas offering 'free coffee and doughnuts'.

Suddenly, without warning, when a soldier extended his hand to accept the 'free' doughnut he'd be informed that the price was 10 cents. Soldiers have held a grudge ever since. To this day children of World War II veterans remember how their fathers hated the Red Cross.

In explaining what happened to NPR Uri Simonsohn, a University of Pennsylvania business professor stated: "Price changes, people can adjust to. But this was different. Imagine, for Thanksgiving, you go to your parents' for dinner and after a nice dinner they say, 'That's going to be $10 per person.'" Simonsohn emphasized, "You would be upset."

The doughnuts and coffee had been free until the U.S. Secretary of War asked the Red Cross to charge for food which had been free after learning that British troops had to pay for their snacks.

Blimey. American servicemen got mad.

Even during the 1960's new Red Cross volunteers going through indoctrination would frequently see an instruction holding up a doughnut and hear - 'this is what caused the problem'.

During Hurricane Katrina Americans learned to neither count on their government nor organizations; to be as self reliant as possible with extra food, water, medicine because help from Uncle Sam and other agencies couldn't be relied upon for much of anything.

The National Guard was mobilized and quickly began saving lives. Photo: Army National Guard Photo by Lt. Z. West.
Disastrous Hurricane Harvey brought out the best in 99.9 percent of those in Texas and surrounding populations. Hopefully, the few looters will be caught and punished.

Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina were implemented by citizens exhibiting incredible community organization without benefit of organizational leadership.

Some of the first to open up their bank accounts were celebrities.

However, bean counters in suits need to keep track of the money.

Ask the Red Cross how they spend their money and the answers, are vague, misleading and confusing.

This past week NRP Morning Edition host Ailsa Chang interviewed Red Cross operations and logistics executive Brad Kieserman regarding how much of the money his organization receives will actually be spent on helping those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

A study released by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, concluded that the Red Cross had spent $124 million - one-quarter of the money donors gave for earthquake relief in Haiti in 2010 - on internal expenses.

Kieserman was questioned about the unusually high administrative costs.

"We are committed, I am committed, my team is committed to using our resources and donor dollars in a way that best helps the people of Texas," was Kieserman's opaque response.

Kieserman said that as of Wednesday morning the Red Cross had spent $50 million on Harvey relief, mainly on 232 shelters for 66,000 people.

Kieserman told Chang that he had no idea and indicated that the same would hold true for the chief fundraiser as to knows how many, how much it costs to put a volunteer downrange for a week and how many emergency response vehicles I have on the road today. When Chang pressed as to what percentage of donations are spent on internal administrative costs, rather than to relief Kieserman replied: "It's not something I would have any visibility on. I can talk about what it costs to deliver certain relief services."

NPR posted that their "questions were follow-ups to several years of reporting by NPR and ProPublica about shortcomings in the organization's disaster relief operations and misleading claims about its finances. NPR has asked several times in recent years to speak with Red Cross President and CEO Gail J. McGovern. Those requests have been turned down. Prior to this latest interview, NPR asked again. The organization said McGovern was unavailable."

The Houston Chronicle reported that city shelters are "overwhelmed" by the high numbers of Harvey victims. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is quoting as stating the shelters are "still waiting on FEMA and the Red Cross to provide the necessary supplies and staffing for all of the shelters that exist and those that may be needed."

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett told the Chronicle that while he "didn't want to throw anybody under the bus" he was emphatic that the Red Cross can't "get anything done."

Newsweek charged that The Red Cross has also made "inaccurate public statements about how its money is allocated. During a speech in Baltimore in 2013, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern claimed, 'We're very proud of the fact that 91 cents of every dollar that's donated goes to our services.'"

Newsweek referenced an investigation by the nonprofit news organization ProPublica and NPR, based on the Red Cross's tax documents, found that to be a falsehood. They showed its fundraising expenses have been as high as 26 percent in recent years.

The Washington Post has urged its readers to refrain from donating to the Red Cross in response to Hurricane Harvey, suggesting people give their money to churches and local organizations. stood by the Red Cross pointing fingers at other charities: "Donors may be tempted to bypass the Red Cross and support other charities. Invariably, though, those groups are just as imperfect. It’s best to understand both the expertise and flaws of each charity, push for improvements and support a range of organizations that collectively possess the expertise needed to help people in need."

Major corporations and mega star celebrities also supported the Red Cross.

The best method seems to be to let your head control your giving urges and, as much as possible, try to keep track of how your donation is spent.

Some donations have been highly specific.

Bedding items are one of the most in-demand items at shelters along the Gulf Coast. Last Thursday the CEO of MyPillow, Mike Lindell, posted that his company had just sent 60,000 pillows to Texas to aid in relief efforts.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS offered immediate donations. Photo: from wedsite Broadway Cares.
On August 31, 2017 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS awarded $155,000 in immediate and unrestricted emergency funds to local organizations in Houston and across Texas and the Gulf Coast.

"The grants will be awarded immediately online to ensure help gets to those affected by the storm, many of whom already face life-threatening odds, marginalization and stigmatization.

“These emergency grants will reach local organizations that might be overlooked by government and other hurricane relief initiatives and for whom our unrestricted grant can be put to work immediately on the ground,” Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Executive Director Tom Viola said. “The Broadway community reaches far beyond the few blocks of New York City’s theatre district and, once again, this community offers help to those desperate for refuge from the storm and with few places to turn.” The grants are to 17 local organizations that provide services for marginalized and underserved segments of their communities. According to BC/EFA, these organizations are often overlooked by government relief measures and hurricane relief efforts.

Six of the Houston organizations receiving emergency grants are already part of Broadway Cares’ National Grants Program. AIDS Foundation Houston, Covenant House Texas and Legacy Community Health will each receive an additional $10,000 grant; Brentwood Community Foundation, Casa de Esperanza de los Niños and Fundación Latinoamericana de Acción Social will each receive additional $5,000 grants.

Emergency grants will be provided to nine food banks across Texas that are providing help in areas directly affected by the storm and in places where those displaced have relocated. These organizations also provide resources to smaller community-based food pantries and meal service programs working in local churches and community centers.

Grants of $5,000 each will be awarded to Brazos Valley Food Bank in Bryan, Central Texas Food Bank in Austin, Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Food Bank of the Golden Crescent in Victoria, Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley in McAllen, Galveston County Food Bank, Houston Food Bank, San Antonio Food Bank and Southeast Texas Food Bank in Beaumont.

The Actors Fund will receive a $50,000 grant for providing emergency financial assistance and resources for those who work in performing arts and entertainment and are affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS also will award $10,000 to the The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston, which has sustained serious flooding and where dozens of national tours have performed and graciously raised money for Broadway Cares; and $5,000 to the SPCA of Texas for its work in Houston and with shelters and rescue organizations across the state to retrieve, save and reunite individuals and families with their beloved companion animals.

Leonardo DiCaprio. His Foundation donated $1 million. Photo: State Department.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has donated $1 million to the newly established United Way Harvey Recovery Fund which will go toward short and long term relief and recovery efforts.

United Way Worldwide said Wednesday that the national fund will distribute 100 percent of donations to recovery efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Rachael Ray donated $1M , through The Rachael Ray Foundation, to "help support various animal welfare organizations who are actively working in Texas and Louisiana to care for animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey including the SPCA of Texas and Austin Pets Alive!.

Social network Facebook said it will match every dollar raised on Facebook, up to $1 million, for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund, which is earmarked to support recovery and rebuilding efforts.

On Wednesday morning the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced Via Twitter, that the organization was donating $2 million to efforts to get the city back on its feet. The NRG Center, where rodeo honchos base their year-round offices, is being used to shelter and service victims of the storm and the massive flooding that resulted. Rodeo Houston runs from February 27 through March 18, 2018.

Ellen DeGeneres made several donations including $25,000 to the SPCA of Texas.

Supernatural star Jensen Ackles gave $50,000 to Random Acts. The Texas Tenors announced that all of the sales from their new single, Rise, will go to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. The Kardashian family donated $250,000 each to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Miley Cyrus a $500,000 donation to the American Red Cross, Best Friends, the Greater Houston Community Fund and other charities.

Tegna an American publicly traded broadcast, digital media and marketing services company headquartered in McLean, Virginia, which was . created when the Gannett Company split into two publicly traded companies, announced their Texas Cares initiative raised $1.15 million dollars in the first 24 hours.

The station group’s fundraising initiative, which spanned around all 46 stations in 38 markets, launched Monday, August 28. 2017.

“This is just the beginning. I want to especially thank Lowe’s Home Improvements who, during a Texas Cares telethon on WCNC in Charlotte, donated $500,000. I am incredibly proud of how our stations and communities have come together to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and serve the greater good,” said a release from Dave Lougee, president and CEO.

America's biggest owner of local TV stations, The Sinclair Corporation, which owns Channel 3 in Las Vegas teamed up with the Salvation Army for a Sinclair Cares donation drive. KLAS-TV in Las Vegas staged their own telethon.

CNNMoney's analysis found that 30 companies had donated $1 million or more by August 30, 2017. Verizon alone contributed $10 million on August 29.

Celebrities and major organizations donating specifically to the American Red Cross include:

The Walt Disney Company, owner of KTRK-TV(Channel 13 in Houston), and the station said Tuesday they would commit $1 million to the American Red Cross. In addition, Disney said they will match, dollar for dollar, employee donations to the American Red Cross and other organizations involved in Harvey relief efforts.

Hearst Corp., which owns the Houston Chronicle, is donating $1 million to the Greater Houston Red Cross. They will also match employee donations up to an additional $1 million.

Some of the celebrity donations include: Sandra Bullock: donated $1 million - Kevin Hart: $50,000 - Country star Chris Young, certain that his Texas home was destroyed and worried about his friends and family donated $100,000 - The Chainsmokers: $30,000 - Ellen DeGeneres: $25,000 - DJ Khaled: $25,000 - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: $25,000 - Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez: $25,000 each - Wendy Williams: $25,000

Numerous local Houston acts are staging shows to collect supplies including a Houston Drag Benefit Show featuring Kofi, Kara Dion, Dessie Love-Blake and several of the state's most well known drag performers. Money and items will be distributed to local charities. The benefit takes place September 9 at Rich's in Houston.

Rapper Bun B and music manager Scooter Braun are organizing a telethon scheduled to air September 12 on four networks.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced via Twitter, that the organization was donating $2 million to efforts to get the city back on its feet. RodeoHouston runs from February 27 through March 18, 2018. The NRG Center, where rodeo honchos base their year-round offices, is being used to shelter and service victims of the storm and the massive flooding that resulted.

Texans-Cowboys general manager Rick Smith approved the canceling of the last preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys scheduled to be played last Thursday night at AT&T Stadium after being moved from NRG Stadium.

The team announced that Texas Cowboys' owner Robert McNair and his family Janice, Cal and Hannah will make a donation equal to the money that would have been generated from ticket sales from Thursday's preseason game in Arlington to recovery and relief efforts.

J.J. Watt also proved he's a superstar when it comes to raising money.
Too many football players have given the sport the reputation that players are anything but honorable. Then there is Justin James "J. J." Watt.

He's an American football defensive end for the Houston Texans of the National Football League. On August 27, 2017, set up an online fundraising page seeking $200,000 in donations for victims of Hurricane Harvey, putting in $100,000 of his own money. In just over 24 hours, Watt’s efforts had raised more than $955,000, including $50,000 from new Rockets point guard Chris Paul.

Within days the Watt effort YouCaring had topped the $16 million mark.

Virtually no area of Houston escaped unscathed and that includes the famous Theatre District which is second only to New York in theatre seats.

The Alley Theatre, which was flooded in 2001 during Tropical Storm Allison required a $4 million renovation. A $46.5 million renovation was finished two years ago, and now the venue has sustained significant water damage.

"The Alley Theatre has been severely impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey. In order to keep our patrons, staff, and artists safe, the Alley has cancelled all remaining performances of Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps. All electricity, email servers, and phone lines remain offline," stated the release.

Alley Theatre @alleytheatre Aug 31. "Water is getting pumped out of Alley's lower Neuhaus Theatre & on way to rebuild. Thank you to all who have reached out." The box office is closed through Tuesday. Photo: Alley Theatre
"Upon initial inspection, Alley's Neuhaus Theatre, Mitchell Lobby, and basement dressing rooms suffered the most damage, with water rising past the high water mark of 2001's Tropical Storm Allison. The Hubbard Theatre and the Long Lobby remain intact without any damage.

"Artistic Director Gregory Boyd and Managing Director Dean Gladden will release further information about the season at a later date."

The Tony Award winning venue hosts two stages. The Hubbard is the main stage with seating for 774; the more intimate Neuhaus seats 310.

Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night, originally planned to open at the Neuhaus Theatre on September 15, will be relocated to the Quintero Theatre at the University of Houston.

Houston Grand Opera managing director Perryn Leech, who is also board chair of the Houston Theater District discovered that the Wortham Theater Center was "a big swimming pool." Also flooded - the basement, dressing rooms, the HGO costume shop and storage areas. Fortunately the staff was able to save the costumes for the upcoming productions of La Traviata and Julius Caesar immediately before the storm hit, but equipment such as sewing and washing machines were destroyed. The area will have to be renovated including the water soaked Brown Theater stage which will have to be resurfaced.

A.D. Players’ facility, located in uptown Houston, fared better than other venues and has offered to partner with other theaters to help "any way we can," executive director Jake Speck was quoted as saying. The opening of the theatre’s 2017-18 season has been pushed back a week from September 8 to the 13. The production is the comedy - ironically named Harvey. Preview performances will have proceeds going towards flood relief.

Personal losses also were felt. Alley Theatre‘s Dennis Draper lost his car and several staff members lost their homes.

Economically, the arts organizations anchor Houston's downtown area. All boast significant budgets. The Houston Symphony has a $33.9 million budget. Houston Ballet operates on a $33 million budget, while the Alley's annual budget rings in at about $18 million. They also are major contributors to Houston's arts economy and cultural tourism, which accounts for 9.2 million visitors to the city per year.

Smaller theatres, which may not have suffered as much water damage, are always financially under water. Having to cancel shows means lost revenue. Furthermore, residents struggling to regain their own footing, faced with repair bills not covered by insurance, no longer have discretionary income for show tickets.

With an estimated 500,000 cars totaled, many residents no longer have transportation. That will impact the theatre district.

On September 1 Gary Tinterow, Director of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston e-mailed indicating that some of the Museum's own staff has suffered serious loses. However, "our facilities have fared well, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our emergency team over the past week. We are now working hard to prepare the Museum for reopening, and to help our community return to normalcy.

"We will reopen the doors of our Main Campus on Tuesday, September 5, and hope that many will come to the MFAH as a place for reflection and renewal. Admission will be fully free through Thursday, September 7.

"For now, Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens and Rienzi remain closed, while we determine a reopening date. The gardens of both houses flooded, but the houses and their collections remain secure."

For all of the grief, heartache, and loss reported, one of the most entertaining interviews was conducted by Good Morning America with a man named J. C. Spencer.

When heavy furniture started floating from one room to another J. C. and Karen Spencer knew it was time to leave.

Karen Spencer being rescued on a Jet Ski. Photo: J.C. and Karen Spencer
The Houston great-grandfather called his local Chick-fil-A for help - ordering two grilled chicken burritos, with extra egg, and a boat. A regular customer, the manager of the fast food place recognized Spencer from caller I.D. and summoned her husband, who has a boat.

Spencer talked to Good Morning America about being rescued from their gorgeous high end home in the Ponderosa subdivision of north Houston.

Accustomed to making deliveries Chick-fil-A did the opposite - a take away - as J. C. was transported to high ground on the boat and a Good Samaritan served as Karen's Knight on a Jet Ski. A photo of her being transported out her flooded front door entrance went viral.

When interviewed on Good Morning America Spencer came across as remarkably intelligent, composed, knowing how to effectively tell a story on camera and even managed to get in a few PR plugs for Houston. That begged the question - just who is J. C. Spencer? He appears to be the head of Houston based The Endowment for Medical Research Inc which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit faith based scientific research, educational, Public Charity for Medical Research and Educational Research.

Spencer penned the book Expand Your Mind, Improve Your Brain with a forward by Robert k. Murray, M.D. PhD.

His recent postings include: Psychotropic Drugs Treating ADHD is a Domestic Enemy in which he explained: "An American Veteran’s national campaign against psychotropic drugs was forming in 2003. I was asked to design the campaign with Four-Star Marine General Raymond Davis. The declared domestic enemy was damaging the minds, emotions, and behavior of our children."

Another intellectual conclusion questioned: Do Statin Drugs Cause Neurological Disasters? Is there an Antidote for Statin Damage? He wrote: "A neuron storm of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, Huntington’s and other neurological complexities is sweeping the country. Is this neuron storm the effect of statin drugs? Some 32 million Americans pop statin drugs like expensive candy. Statins work in the liver to reduce the production of cholesterol. The question we must ask is, AT WHAT COST?"

The third example is: "Trehalose May Become the Sugar used to Diagnose and Resolve Tuberculosis (TB) New evidence reveals sugar signals increase cytokine production as macrophage receptor mincle (glycoprotein) binds to Trehalose."

It should come as no surprise that this extremely intelligent man with a humorous and creative streak knew that to obtain a quick flood rescue you call a fast food place ordering "two grilled chicken burritos, with extra egg, and a boat."

We know he got the boat, but Broadway To Vegas wasn't able to ascertain whether he got the breakfast order.

On August 29 President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump traveled to Texas where they received a briefing on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Melania was quick to post a statement which in part reads: "I want to be able to offer my help and support in the most productive way possible, not through just words, but also action."

Shortly thereafter it was announced that President Trump intends to donate $1 million with the news media to choose which charity receives the money.

On Thursday Vice President Pence, Mrs. Pence, and five Cabinet secretaries traveled to southeast Texas to meet with Hurricane Harvey survivors and survey damage. Peace also put on work gloves and helped remove tree limbs which had fallen onto a house.

Yesterday the President and the First Lady returned to Texas as part of the ongoing Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. On Friday President Trump signed a declaration marking today, Sunday, September 3, 2017 as a Day of Prayer for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Texas Department of Public Safety indicated that nearly 87,000 homes had major or minor damage and at least 6,800 were destroyed. More than 350,000 people have registered for assistance from the federal government, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). More than 37,000 people had also filed claims with the National Flood Insurance Program by last Thursday. Analysts say they expect that number to rise to about 500,000.

Recovery is expected to take years.

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an exhibition combining historical objects and ‘stills’ from the current Poldark TV series are on display at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Cornwall, England.

The exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of Poldark TV production company, Mammoth Screen, and the support of Andrew Graham, son of Poldark author Winston Graham. Andrew is an executor of his father’s literary estate and a consultant on the TV series starring Aidan Turner.

The exhibition illustrates many aspects of Cornish life during the Poldark era and reveals some of the history behind the Poldark novels.

Andrew Graham said; "I want visitors to the museum to see an authentic blend of historical objects from the 1800s but with a twist.

"I also wanted to acknowledge my father’s unique relationship with the Museum, where he left many of his original notebooks, showing his novels written in long hand, as well as the typewriter on which he wrote to his many fans."

On exhibition through February 2018 at The Cornwall Museum in Cornwall, England.


MUSIC CARES has announced the establishment of a relief fund to support members of the music community affected by the recent devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

Assistance includes basic living expenses such as shelter, food, utilities, and transportation; medical expenses, including doctor and hospital bills, and medications; clothing; instrument and recording equipment replacement; relocation costs; home repairs; debris removal; and more.

Music people seeking assistance can contact the South Regional MusiCares office at 615.327.0050 or toll-free at 877.626.2748.

The Recording Academy has also implemented a Hurricane Harvey employee donation program, which matches donations made by its staff dollar-for-dollar up to $20,000. Previous’ disaster relief efforts were also organized for victims of the Gulf and Nashville floods, as well as Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina.

AUSTRALIAN SINGER/SONGWRITER MISSY HIGGINS will perform at a fundraising event for L.A.’s Australian Theatre Company at the Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, September 10, 2017.

Higgins will sing at a gala reception following the 6 p.m. final preview performance of ATC’s world premiere comedy Grey Nomad, which opens for the press the following evening. An uplifting comedy about the baby boomers of Australia who travel in endless loops around Australia in their RVs, Grey Nomad is penned by Higgins’ husband Dan Lee.

As part of its fundraising efforts, ATC is raffling off a two-week trip to Australia, to be drawn on November 5 at ATC’s fall gala, that will allow the winner and their guest to experience the Australian “grey nomad” lifestyle for themselves.

Valued at over $8,000, the “Grey Nomad” package is provided by Tourism Western Australia in partnership with Qantas Vacations; Crown Towers Perth; Cable Beach Resort and Spa, Broome; Britz Campervan Hire, Broome; Rottnest Express; Red Sun Camel Trek, Cable Beach, Broome; Brian Lee Tagalong Tours “The Ardi Indigenous Experience”; and King Leopold Air day tour to Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm and Horizontal Waterfalls.

In Grey Nomad, two couples hit the road in their RV’s for an adventure along the West Australian coast and discover that there is much more out there waiting for them than they ever imagined possible. The production is directed by Iain Sinclair and stars Ros Gentle, Wendy Hammers, David Ross Paterson and Paul Tassone.


Get your Goth on. This year the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England pays homage to Northanger Abbey, which was Austen's parody of Ann Radcliffe's novel The Mysteries of Udolpho

Radcliffe is considered one of the founders of Gothic literature. While there were others that preceded her, Radcliffe was the one that legitimized the genre. Sir Walter Scott called her the "founder of a class or school".

At the age of 22, Ann married journalist William Radcliffe, owner and editor of the English Chronicle, in Bath in 1788. The marriage was childless and, to amuse herself, she began to write fiction, which her husband encouraged.

She published The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne in 1789. It set the tone for the majority of her work, which tended to involve innocent, but heroic young women who find themselves in gloomy, mysterious castles ruled by even more mysterious barons with dark pasts.

Stylistically, Radcliffe was noted for her vivid descriptions of exotic and sinister locales, though in reality the author had rarely or never visited the actual locations.

Her works were extremely popular among the upper class and the growing middle class, especially among young women.

The success of The Romance of the Forest established Radcliffe as the leading exponent of the historical Gothic romance. Her later novels met with even greater attention, and produced many imitators, and famously, Jane Austen’s burlesque of The Mysteries of Udolpho in Northanger Abbey.

As the theme book this year at the Festival there will be plenty of opportunities to follow Northanger Abbey's heroine Catherine Morland's steps. Every day attendees can show up at Waterstones on Milson Street to hear the book read cover to cover.

The Day of Dance is Thursday, September 14 where dancers will be in Assembly Rooms for "improver's workshop, so if you have completed a dance workshop with us in the past, come along and hone your skills."

Mr. Tilney: "Have you been to the theatre? To the concert?"

The convention invites Austen fans to "join us for the matinee performance of Northanger Abbey at the Mission Theatre on Wednesday 13th, and enjoy hearing music from Jane Austen's own music books with the Austen Trio in the Assembly Rooms on Thursday 14th."

The second Saturday of the Festival is Gothic Day, with talks on Northanger Abbey given by John Mullan and Lauren Nixon, topped off with 'Gothic for Girls' by costume historian Lucy Adlington- featuring supernatural stories and darkly dramatic readings from Jane Austen and Mrs Radcliffe, rounded off with an hour of improvised theatre- More Pride, More Prejudice!, in which Jane Austen needs help writing a sequel..

The night before the Festival officially opens fans can enjoy The Story of Pride and Prejudice with music by Carl Davis, specially created for 2017

The Jane Austen Festival takes place takes place Sunday, September 10 - Sunday, September 17, 2017 in Bath, England.

Nestled in the heart of the Bath is the Jane Austen Centre, a permanent exhibition that explores Jane’s time in Bath and the influence that this beautiful city had on her books, characters and personal life.

Jane was fascinated by Bath, mentioning it in all of her novels, as well as making it the principal setting of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

Together with its Regency Tea Room and Gift Shop, the Centre has become one of the most popular celebrations of Jane Austen ever, attracting thousands of visitors each year from around the globe.

The Jane Austen Centre’s exhibition has been created with the guidance of Louise Ross and Maggie Lane, two leading authorities on Jane Austen. It enjoys a reputation as one of the leading places to learn about English literature’s most beloved novelist.

The Jane Austen Centre is situated in an original period property, and visits are enhanced by knowledgeable guides in Regency costume. There are talks, activities and contemporary exhibits, including the opportunity to dress up in Regency costume and view an exclusive film starring Adrian Lukis who played Mr. Wickham in the celebrated BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.


Sen. Al Franken is serious about his fair food.
is a serious decision. "For those who may not know, picking which Minnesota State Fair food I eat is a proud Team Franken tradition. Yes, really," posted the guy who first gained fame as a comedy writer before spending over a decade performing in this nation's premiere comedy club - that would be Congress - is fiercely devoted to his Minnesota constituency and food served at the State Fair.

"There are a lot of things I love about the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Spending time with my family. Talking to neighbors, friends, and constituents. Seeing the sand art and grabbing some all-you-can-drink milk. We've got some great contenders this year. Nacho corn on the cob. Duck bacon wontons. Something called a pizzarito. I'm looking forward to seeing what wins."

Last week Franken guested on the Today show spending an entire segment eating an ear of corn.

Other "new foods" on the fair menu which Sen. Franken might try include: Bacon Fluffernutter, Bowl 'o Dough, Brown Ale and Onion-gouda Tipsy Pie. Deep-Fried Avocado, Sweet Corn Blueberry Eclair, and Swing Dancer Sandwich.

Because Franken has been a U.S. Senator since 2009 Broadway To Vegas assumes he already has an ample supply of antacid.

The Minnesota State Fair wraps up tomorrow, September 4.

THE INTERNATIONAL OCEAN FILM FESTIVAL has opened submissions from student filmmakers around the world to to submit works that inspire people to appreciate and care for the ocean by revealing its wonders through independent films.

Open to middle and high school students internationally, the contest offers prizes of up to $500 per category. The winning entries will be featured at the Festival’s 15th annual celebration March 8 – 12, 2018.

All submitted films must be five minutes or less in length, and done entirely by students, or groups of students. The subject matter must be about the earth’s oceans. The top finalists will be screened in a dedicated program during the Festival, open to all with free admission, on Sunday, March 11, at 10am. All submissions are due January 9, 2018.

DUBAI OPERA celebrates its 1st anniversary on September 7, 2017.

Their second season begins with a Trilogy consisting of a specially commissioned production of The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte. All three will be performed between September 7 -15 by Teatro Di San Carlo from Napoli.

Located in Downtown Dubai, UAE the Dubai Opera boasts a unique 2000-seat multi-format theatre, The iconic dhow-shaped architecture of Dubai Opera is a masterpiece of contemporary design, and a stylish tribute to Dubai’s trading, fishing, and pearl diving heritage. "Today, just like the dhow contributed to the progression of this dynamic city, so is Dubai Opera adding its beautiful mark to the growth, pride and quality of life in our city."

The Dubai Opera design offers the unique flexibility of a proscenium arch theatre, an acoustic concert hall, and 2000 square meter flat floor event space. This seamless transformation enables Dubai Opera to host a wide variety of performances and events including theatre, opera, ballet, orchestras, concerts, fashion shows, live entertainment, conferences, galleries and art exhibitions. Dubai Opera also boasts a number of spaces and venues, including a stunning rooftop restaurant and sky garden with views of The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa.

QUEEN VICTORIA owned the 1st Pekingese in Britain.

TODAY, SEPTEMBER 3 is National Welsh Rarebit Day and National Baby Back Ribs Day. Tuesday is National Cheese Pizza Day. Wednesday is National Coffee Ice Cream Day while Thursday is National Beer Lover’s Day. Next Sunday, September 10 is National Hot Dog Day.


SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY which opens October 3, 2017 at the Walter Kerr Theater resulted in tickets selling out in seconds and then being scalped for as much as $7500, has been extended from November 26 by 10 weeks, now playing until February 3, 2018. The singer is expected to perform a career retrospective of his songs, interspersed with readings of his best-selling memoir Born to Run.

MIKE LEICHNER 63, senior pastor of the Arc Church in the Wichita, Kansas suburb of Maize, has been named the 2017 Male Vocalist of the Year by the International Country Gospel Music Association.

Leichner spent his youth touring with his family, The Singing Ledbetters which was mentioned in the same realm as the Stamps Quartet, the Speer Family, and the Dixie Echoes. In the 1980s and 90s Leichner played guitar and toured with his brothers and wife Dee as The Brothers Leichner & Dee.

Other ICGMA winners include: Gena Roberts Hamilton named Female Artist of the Year. Band of the Year award went to Kevin Rowe & The Prodigal Sons while The Waymasters earned Group of the Year.

The International Country Gospel Music Association is the oldest of all Christian country music organizations, founded 61 years ago by Dr. Lindsey Thompson and Billy Holcomb to promote Country Gospel Music.

BIG NIGHT by Paul Rudnick.

Directed by Walter Bobbie.

It’s Hollywood’s biggest night and Mike is stressing. He is nominated for an Oscar. His transgender nephew wants his acceptance speech to be a political statement. His mother has a bombshell announcement. His boyfriend isn’t returning his calls. And Mike’s night is about to take an unexpected turn that will rock his world while the world is watching.

Master satirist Paul Rudnick once again uses his razor-sharp wit to cut through the heartache and reveal the hilarious in this profoundly funny World premiere about family and fame, the personal and the political, and standing up and speaking out.

Featuring Brian Hutchinson, Max Jenkins, Luke Macfarlane, Wendie Malick, and Tom Phelan.

Set design by John Lee Beatty. Costume design by William Ivey Long. Lighting design by Ken Billington.

World Premiere September 10 – October 8, 2017 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles.

BETWEEN THE LINES a new musical based on the best-selling book by New York Times bestselling authors Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha Van Leer. Music and lyrics by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson, book by Timothy Allen McDonald.

Directed by Tony Award-nominated director Jeff Calhoun.

What happens when the line between fiction and fantasy becomes blurred with reality? When the handsome hero in her favorite book literally starts speaking to her, seventeen-year-old Delilah thinks she has found the perfect escape from the challenges of her life. Is it possible to live the story you want, if it's not the story you're in? Filled with romance, adventure, and humor, Between the Lines, also explores another popular theme in a teen's life - what happens when happily ever after, isn't?

The cast for this World Premiere features Arielle Jacobs as the high school protagonist, Delilah, and Curt Hansen as Prince Oliver.

The design team includes Tobin Ost (Set Designer), Lindsay W. Davis (Costume Designer), Brad Peterson (Projections Designer) and Daniel Green (Music Supervisor).

Between the Lines will be produced by Kansas City Repertory Theatre by special arrangement with Tony Award-winning Producer Daryl Roth who has spearheaded this musical since its inception. It runs September 8 through October 1, 2017, at Spencer Theatre on the UMKC campus.


LADY GAGA stars at the Bell Centre in Montreal, OC on Monday, September 4. On Wednesday she's at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON. Next Sunday, September 10, finds her at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

GREEN DAY star at the MidFlorida Credit Union iAmphitheatre in Tampa, FL on Tuesday, September 5. Wednesday's show is in Orange Beach, AL at the The Wharf Amphitheater. Friday findns them in Austin, TX at the 360 Amphitheater. Saturday's gig is in San Antonio, TX at the AT&T Center.

STING Joe Sumner and The Last Bandoleros in a two nighter, September 5-6 at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia.

PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND brings traditional New Orleans Jazz to Sunset Center in Carmel, CA on Thursday, September 7.

ETHAN BORTNICK singer, pianist, composer will open the 2017-2018 Santa Fe College Fine Arts Department performance series on Sunday, September 10, 2017, in the 600-seat Fine Arts Hall at the Northwest Campus, in, Gainesville, Florida.

MATTHEW AND GUNNAR NELSON in their Ricky Nelson Remembered show September 8 at the PV Performing Arts in Rolling Hills Estates, CA and on September 9 at Santa Fe Station in Las Vegas, NV.


BERNARD POMERANCE Tony award winning playwright died Saturday, August 26, 2017 of complications from cancer at his home in Galisteo, New Mexico. He was 76.

Best known for penning the Tony Award-winning play The Elephant Man.

His first play, High in Vietnam, Hot Damn, was performed at the Interaction Theatre and directed by Roland Rees. Along with Rees and David Aukin, Pomerance helped to found the theatre company Foco Novo in 1972. The name was taken from Pomerance’s play of the same title, the company’s inaugural production.

Pomerance also wrote Quantrill in Lawrence and Melons, produced at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1984.

Pomerance was first married to the British writer Sally Belfrage, with whom he had two children. They divorced in 1983. Pomerance married Evelyne Franceschi on August 15, 2008 at the courthouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She died in 2015.

He is survived by his children, Moby and Eve; grandchildren William and Gabriel; and brother Michael.

SHELLEY BERMAN Grammy Award winning and Emmy nominated actor, comedian, poet and teacher died September 1, 2017 from complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 92.

He enjoyed a successful movie, television and recording career.

Trained at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, in the mid-1950s, Berman became a member of Chicago's Compass Players, which later evolved into The Second City. While performing improvised sketches with Compass, Berman began developing solo pieces, often employing an imaginary telephone to take the place of an onstage partner.

He made his Broadway debut in 1959 as part of the ensemble cast of the musical revue The Girls Against the Boys, which was a flop. He had a hit with his first solo live comedy album, Inside Shelley Berman, which included a memorable routine about an epic hangover. It earned a gold record for sales and a Grammy Award. It was followed in the 1960s by similar comedy albums Outside Shelley Berman and The Edge of Shelley Berman. Those album titled were referenced in the title of his 1980 Broadway solo show at the old Bijou Theatre, Insideoutsideandallaround with Shelley Berman.

He returned to Broadway in A Family Affair, which had a book by Kander and brothers William and James Goldman, and was the first show credited as having been directed by Harold Prince. In A Family Affair, Berman played Uncle Alfie Nathan, the legal guardian of a young woman planning her wedding.

Berman also appeared in numerous regional stage productions, including leading roles in Guys and Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, Two by Two, The Odd Couple, and I'm Not Rappaport.

He earned an Emmy Award nomination for playing Larry David’s father on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Berman was married to Sarah Herman from April 19, 1947 until his death. The two met while they were studying acting at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. In the mid-1960s, Berman and wife Sarah adopted two children, son Joshua and daughter Rachel. The Bermans were planning Joshua's bar mitzvah when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Joshua died on October 29, 1977 at age 12.

Berman is survived by his wife Sarah Herman, their daughter Rachel, and two grandchildren.

Neil Portnow President/CEO of Recording Academy issued the following statement: "Shelley Berman helped lead a movement that re-defined stand-up comedy in the late ’50s and into the ’60s. Not only an accomplished comedian, actor, and author, Shelley was among the new breed of comedians who made a significant impact through recordings. His album Inside Shelley Berman earned him a Grammy Award in 1959 for Best Comedy Performance—Spoken Word. Shelley will be deeply missed, but the influence he exerted on our creative community will remain forever. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time."

NANCY WELCH KNOWLES who donated $10 million to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the largest gift in the company’s history, died Saturday, August 26, Elmhurst Hospital, from natural causes at She was 86.

For years he had suffered from spinal deterioration, making walking extremely difficult.

From 1993 through 1999 she was a member of the Lyric Opera Board of Directors.

She was a Trustee of the International Shakespeare Globe in London, England, which houses the Nancy Knowles Theater, also known as “The Little Nancy Theater.”

Nancy Knowles was the President of The Knowles Foundation, which supports arts and cultural programs, higher education, healthcare, and speech and hearing centers.

“Nancy was one of Lyric Opera’s most enthusiastic and devoted supporters. Her smile, friendliness and her optimism will never be forgotten.” — Allan B. Muchin, Chairman Emeritus, Lyric Opera of Chicago Board of Directors.

"Nancy Knowles was an extraordinary woman, a consummate professional and an outstanding philanthropist," Anthony Freud, Lyric's general director, president and CEO, said in a statement.

She worked for a firm in the mining industry in Cleveland, and then came to the Chicago area in 1974 at the invitation of a distant cousin, Hugh Knowles, to join the electronics firm he founded. In 1979 they married. It was the second marriage for both.

An engineer and inventor who held more than 50 patents, his work on the miniaturization of receivers and microphones helped shrink the size of modern hearing aids. In 1978, he became the first American to receive the Alexander Graham Bell award for his work on hearing aids. Technology developed by Itasca-based Knowles Electronics is used in cellphones made by Apple, Samsung and Motorola.

About a year after they got married, Mrs. Knowles’ husband had a stroke. He died in 1988 at age 83.

After his death she became chairman, a post she held until the 1999 when a buyout firm bought 80 percent of the company for $530 million, with management and the Knowles family splitting the remainder. In 2005, New York-based Dover Corp. bought the entire firm for $750 million.

Born and raised in Fort Dodge, Iowa, the daughter of Catherine and Dr. Fred Knowles, a surgeon who developed the Knowles pin used in treating hip fractures. Her father had a love of culture and used to drive 100 miles to Des Moines to attend the opera, according to the Lyric. After earning a bachelor’s degree in languages from the University of Iowa, she started working as a Spanish translator for Fort Dodge Laboratories.

A marriage before Knowles ended in divorce. Her third marriage disolved in 2006. She is survived by Hugh Knowles' children Margaret and Katherine; a niece, Nancy Hill; eight stepgrandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.


Next Column: September 10, 2017
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Laura Deni

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