Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

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Setting the Stage for Summer Theatre

Robert Downes - June 14th, 2010
Setting the Stage for Summer Theatre
“There’s no business like show business, there’s no business I know.” That’s one of the tunes in the lineup of plays and musicals across the region this summer; but do you know what Broadway hit it comes from? (Hint: it involves a lady who can shoot the wings off a fly.)
If “the play’s the thing” for you, then there’s a robust season in store at theatres across Northern Michigan this summer. Here’s a sneak preview:

Bayview, Petoskey
• “Razzle Dazzle”: Petoskey’s theatre scene shifts to Bayview in the summer, kicking off with a roundup of Broadway hits from a professional company, Creative Edge Productions. This four-person show aims to hit all of the high points of Broadway’s top musicals at Voorhies Hall, July 1-3 and 6-9. Tickets $7-$25.
• “The Magic Flute”: Perhaps Mozart’s best-known opera, “The Magic Flute,” which premiered in 1791, is an astonishing mishmash of a ideas leading from chaos and superstition to the spirit of progress as told through a cast of characters from ancient Egypt at the Temple of Isis in Memphis.
“The libretto to ‘The Magic Flute’ is considered such a jumble of nonsense that it is as well to endeavour to extract some sense from it,” notes one critic, but that doesn’t stop audiences from enjoying it as the eighth most popular opera performed in the U.S. At Ross Stoakes Theatre, July 22. Tickets $7-$25.
• “The Wizard of Oz”: Thirty-six years before the debut of the film that rocked the world’s socks off, this play introduced the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Cowardly Lion and Dorothy (with her pet cow!) to audiences in a theatrical version at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway in 1903. The original play was adapted for the stage by author L. Frank Baum himself. Aug. 5-7 in John M. Hall Auditorium. $7-$25.

Cheboygan Opera House
• “Tom T,” a play based on Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” is a production of the Northland Players Children’s Theatre at the Cheboygan Opera House, June 25-27. Relive Tom’s shenanigans, whitewashing the old fence, the murder in the graveyard, and getting lost in the big cave in this musical reminiscence in two acts by Bruce Scigliano and George Krawczyk. Adults $6, kids $3.

Interlochen Center for the Arts
• “MacBeth”: Interlochen’s Shakespeare Festival brings “bubble, bubble, toil and trouble” to the Harvey Theatre stage with “MacBeth” on July 1-4 and 8-11. With the Scottish throne up for grabs in a time of war and upheaval, Lady MacBeth urges her husband to kill the king, who is a guest at their home that night. The repercussions of guilt and self-loathing result in the couple’s downfall in a psychological drama which has overtones of horror. Sculptor Bill Allen helps set the stage with original works based on Shakespeare’s vision. $26.
• “The Capitol Steps”: Washington D.C.’s bipartisan roastmasters should have plenty of material to work with this summer, given the tidal wave of environmental, financial and political events over the past year. Their song parodies take shots at both sides of the political aisle. July 3 at 5 & 8 p.m., $30.50.
• “Post Comedy Theater”: Comic, mime, juggler and master of many characters Robert Post brings his one-man show to Corson Auditorium for laughs as Burglar Burt, Chef Pasquale, stunt pilot Ace Wingspan and more. July 14, $17.50.

• “Aida”: Verdi’s grand opera of ancient Egypt gets an update in this high school theater presentation which features the Tony Award-winning score by Elton John and Tim Rice. “Aida” follows the love story of Nubian princess Aida and her nation’s enemy, the Egyptian captain Radames. Tickets $9-$24. Aug. 5-8.

Lakeside Shakespeare Festival • Frankfort
As you like it, indeed: Benzie County’s annual tribute to the Bard has a new home this year at the old Forest Hill ice rink in Frankfort. It’s an outdoor setting, nestled in the woods just north of town; bring chairs and coats. The Chicago-based company offers two plays this summer, both running in late July - early August:
• “King Lear,” the story of a befuddled oldster who divides his kingdom among his treacherous children, forsaking the child who really loves him. July 28 & 31 and August 3 & 5.
• “As You Like It”: a light comedy of love and mistaken identity. July 29-30 and August 4 & 6.

Manistee Ramsdell Theatre
• “Annie Get Your Gun”: This classic musical from Irving Berlin offers a hard lesson in the disparity between feminism and the demands of romance. Crack shot Annie Oakley is the star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, but her sweetheart, sharpshooter Frank Butler, can’t handle losing an upcoming match to a woman. Annie gets some lovelorn advice from Sitting Bull on “Doin’ What Comes Naturally...” June 25-27 and July 1-4. $19.80.
• “Year of the Census -- Or, Stimulate This!” Live radio show offers satire on everything from current events to popular movies and plays. July 23-25. $5.
• “Plaza Suite”: Neil Simon’s comedy of manners in New York’s finest hotel is composed of three acts with different players telling different stories, but all taking place in Suite 719. August 13-15 & 20-22. $13.20.

Old Town Playhouse
As the curtain rises on the summer season, it falls on TC’s Old Town Playhouse which wrapped up its year in May. OTP will be celebrating 50 years of great shows at its annual Black & White Gala, however, to be held Saturday, June 19 at the City Opera House. The event always features outtakes from popular shows of the past. Tickets are $95.

Riverside Shakespeare Productions • TC

• “The Taming of the Shrew” is literally all over the map this year, with productions in multiple locations in the Grand Traverse area.
As in the past, the main event will be held in Traverse City’s Hannah Park. Located along the banks of the Boardman River on Union Street just off downtown, the park makes a beautiful, natural setting for Shakespeare, with the river serving as a backdrop for the action. This tale of a suitor seducing a spitfire takes place July 23 at 7 p.m. and July 24-25 at 6 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
You can also catch the play in the following communities:
- July 16 - Waterwheel Park in Suttons Bay - 7 p.m.
- July 17 - Memorial Park in Elk Rapids - 6 p.m.
- July 18 - Fife Lake Village Park -
6 p.m.
- July 22 - Kalkaska Mill Pond Park -
7 p.m.

Traverse City Opera House
Perhaps the best musical ever ripped from the pages of the Bible is “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” offered by Miracle Productions at the City Opera House, June 24-26 and July 1-3.
This is a repeat performance for the company, which performed the show four years ago. It’s back by popular demand, with a youthful cast and Kellen Swift-Godzisz, as the Pharoah (Elvis character) reprising his role, as well as Jay Schumacher from Elk Rapids who was Potiphar in the previous production.
The story is that of Joseph, who is sold into slavery to the Egyptians by his jealous brothers, only to become Pharoah’s top adviser. Will Joseph seek revenge against his starving family when a plague strikes many years later, or will he be filled with the spirit of brotherhood? Only his coat of many colors can reveal that pattern of fate… Tickets: $15 - $30.

The Williamsburg Showcase Dinner Theater

• “The Sensational ‘70s” opened on June 10 at the dinner theater in Acme, just east of TC. The high-energy, singing & dancing tribute to the music of the ‘70s is directed by Dominic Fortuna, who’s spent the past year touring with a national production of “Grease.”
Running Thursday through Saturday through the end of August, the $39.95 ticket includes a three-course dinner with salad, entree and dessert. There’s also a full bar and cocktail service.

-- by Robert Downes

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