Category Archives: Actor’s Bridge

You’ve got one more chance: Ordinary Heroes

Tonight at 6:00 PM, the last performance of a non-ordinary play – Ordinary Heroes –  will play out at Fisk College..  I saw the play on opening night, and although the stories stood out, there were seams showing.

I saw the play again last night, and brothers and sisters let me tell you, the play was as tight as Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn’s bassline on ‘Green Onions’.  Holy Cow.  The songs, the video, the dance, and most of all the stories brought it all home.

In case you haven’t read or heard about ‘Ordinary Heroes’, the play depicts Nashville’s role in the civil rights movement during the 50’s and 60s’.   Nothing’s made up.  The real honest-to-God, horrifying, hilarious, frightening, chilling, obscene, thrilling TRUTH.

One particular segment about fear, cross-cut between a white man and a black man, goes all the way to the bone.

There is nothing in the play unsuitable for children or your grandmother. In fact, they both should see this play.

Tonight, 6:00 at Fisk Chapel.   You really should do yourself a favor.

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Filed under Actor's Bridge, golden rule stuff, Race

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again..

ordinary heroesSee THIS play (Ordinary Heroes at Fisk Chapel every weekend night in February). Civil Rights Movement in Nashville in the 50s and 60s..It DID happen here. Apartheid: More than just a South African custom…

Buy or download THIS CD (Patty Griffin – Children Running Through). Soulful, harmonized, sometimes silky smooth, other times serrated. Ask the Scene…they’ll tell ya.

her alto sweeps from husky, whispered intimacy to a sky-shattering power that evokes freedom and majesty.

It’ll be on top 10 lists at the end of the year. Seriously.

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Filed under Actor's Bridge, music, the shiznit list

Rush Limbaugh is still an idiot, and other unrelated observations

Apparently Limbaugh is still addled by his prescription pain killers or maybe the blue pills have permanently re-directed blood flow to the brain for a lot more than four hours… I don’t listen to his blather anymore. There is no pretension of fairness and he is little more than a shill for the Bush/Cheney administration.

Having said that, he still should stick to politics and stay away from making sports commentary. His stupid comments about Donovon McNabb (nobody would laud him for his quarterback accumen if he wasn’t black) were belied by this FACT: Donovon McNabb led his football team (Philadelphia Eagles) to FOUR straight NFC Championship games. That ain’t chopped liver.

Now, Limbaugh has pronounced that the media and the pundits are dissing Rex Grossman (Chi Bears QB in the recent Super Bowl) because, gasp, he’s WHITE. Rex did something right because he got to the Super Bowl, but his performance in said Super Bowl wasn’t worthy of a high school pre-season game. If there had been armed duck hunters in the crowd, several of his passes would have been blasted into the Miami sky.

I’m not sure that Rush noticed, but the media has fallen all over itself offering accolades to the winning quarterback. Peyton Manning, if you haven’t watched any TV, read the front page of any Tennessean for the past month, or read any magazine, is a white guy. I guess he’s transcended his race.

Not for the first, nor the last time: Please somebody shut this fool up.

On another note entirely, Gail Kerr (my favorite Tennessee columnist) has echoed my call for Mayor Purcell to veto the ‘English First’ bill. I say echoed with my tongue in cheek because I doubt she reads my blog, but I am thrilled to be on the same side with a well-known writer who grew up here and loves this city as much as I do.

Finally, another Tennessean piece, rightfully, honors the so-called Ordinary Heroes of the Nashville Civil Rights movement. Not coincidentally, a wonderful play – Ordinary Heroes – is being performed every weekend this month at the beautiful Fisk Chapel.

The play is a wonderful counterpart to today’s article. I urge you to read the article AND see the play.

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Filed under Actor's Bridge, politics, tales of stupidity, the shiznit list

We could have been heroes, even ordinary ones, or SEE THIS PLAY: Ordinary Heroes

Ordinary Heroes

Here’s one of my favorite ‘jokes’…A middle class or upper class white guy proclaims: ‘Racism is pretty much over. We don’t live in a racist society’. Ok, it’s not all that funny, but here’s my punch line: We white guys (and women) don’t get to make that call. Our viewpoint is limited by our privilege and our racial solipcism.

Now, I’m not about white liberal guilt and chestbeating and sackclothes and ashes. I do want to ascertain the truth, even though I believe I can honestly say that things are better now than they were back in the 50s and 60s when I grew up in Nashville. We don’t have apartheid now, so that has to be marked in the progress column.

Which gets me to the real point. Unless your name is Barnes (as in Bill Barnes or Halberstam or Siegenthaler, and a few others), your parents and grandparents (like mine) accepted the social rules the way they were. I was told that ‘nigger’ was a bad word and that I would be whipped if I said it, but I was also told that racial progress comes slooooooowly and it was not my place to question that.

If you don’t believe that the echoes and the ‘stamping’ from our parents and grandparents who either went along with this or were the victims of this don’t have an effect on our lives now, I’m pretty sure you lack perspective. Once again..forget the guilt shit..I’m talking about how being told you CAN’t sit here, you can’t pee here, you can’t drink water from THIS fountain and you can’t live here, affected twenty, thirty generations of people, some of whom are still alive RIGHT NOW.

You can’t tell me that the effect of going along with this doesn’t still resonate in our lives, even though those days appear to be historical relics of bygone society.

Which actually, honest-to-God, gets me to my real point. Ordinary Heroes is a play about what it was like to be black in Nashville in the 50s and 60s and what some people did..some of them are lost names..some of their names adorn buildings and streets and despite the name of the play, some of them were anything but ordinary.

This world-premiere theatrical work is based on Nashville’s pivotal role in our nation’s fight for civil rights in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Through drama, music, spoken word and multi-media, the play explores the stories of the lesser known contributors in the struggle that was born in Nashville – the individual foot soldiers who made up the masses that followed storied leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., Kelly Miller Smith, C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, James Lawson, Bernard Lafayette and others. Based on interviews with living people who participated in the movement…

The play is going to be performed every weekend this month at the Fisk Chapel. Tickets are $15 and $18. The poster above has the other relevant information. Here’s a link to the website with the poster.

Final note: my alma mater, Lipscomb, is a co-backer of this play. I couldn’t be prouder, especially when I see something like this in the student newspaper:

Richard Goode, chair of history, along with Val Prill, dean of the college of arts and humanities, recognized sponsorship of the play as a step in the right direction for the university, given its historical lack of support for the movement. “When the movement was here, Lipscomb missed it,” Goode said. “You can’t change what happened in the past, but you can learn from it.”

Please go see this play. You WILL learn something.

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Filed under Actor's Bridge, friends and family, Race

Ordinary Heroes in your town – Actors Bridge* rises up!

This will not be the last time I plug this upcoming play/event (if you click on the link you can actually READ the cool poster). I’ve seen an early ‘read-through’ version of this play and cannot wait until the main event. If you are long-time or native Nashvillian, you may know a lot about the civil rights movement here in our town, or you may be surprised at how much you don’t know, but the stories in this play will make you cry, think, be angry, and inspire you.

From the Actors Bridge website:

This world-premiere theatrical work is based on Nashville’s pivotal role in our nation’s fight for civil rights in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Through drama, music, spoken word and multi-media, the play explores the stories of the lesser known contributors in the struggle that was born in Nashville – the individual foot soldiers who made up the masses that followed storied leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., Kelly Miller Smith, C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, James Lawson, Bernard Lafayette and others. Based on interviews with living people who participated in the movement…

I was a young boy growing up in the lily-white Green Hills area when the lunch-counter sit-ins occurred. At first it all scared me, but I knew somehow that the God I was raised with didn’t really think that much of apartheid, even though that same God was used to justify separation of the races and a slooooooooooow path to racial justice by many.

Another aspect of this play that thrills me is that my alma mater, Lipscomb University, is a partial backer of this play. Their name is up their on the poster. As much as I’ve wanted to charge them for the counseling bills I’ve paid for over the years, I’ve gotta give them some solid props for working with Fisk on this venture.

Please go see this play!

*My friend Vali Forrister (aka The Playwright to some) is a major force behind this play (co-writer and instigator). She worked with Aunt B, among others to create ‘Faith/Doubt’ last year.

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