Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Lewis Black
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Lewis Black

Kristi Kates - February 14th, 2011
Lewis Black’s Black Comedy
By Kristi Kates
He counts among his fans George Carlin and the recently-retired Larry King. His stature onstage is that of beckoning aggression - even as you might be a little taken aback by his in-your-face performance style, you can’t help but admire his steadfast determination to state his opinions on, well, pretty much anything and everything.
And he’s perhaps one of the best known stand up comedians performing today, venting in a comedic - and loud - fashion about everything from business to politics to pop culture.
As Lewis Black’s press release explains, “Lewis yells so his audiences don’t have to.”

Born in Washington D.C. (perhaps the catalyst for such comedic statements of Black’s such as “Republicans are a party with bad ideas, and Democrats are a party with no ideas”) and raised in Maryland, Black’s disgruntled personality surfaced early on. A colicky child who was easily irritated, he found an outlet in his early teens through the theater; he saw his first play at the age of 12, and decided to pursue a career in drama, acquiring degrees from the University of North Carolina and Yale Drama School. While at UNC, he first ventured into standup comedy performing, and found yet another productive venue for his skills... and his ongoing need to complain.
From North Carolina, it was on to New York City, where Black became a playwright-in-residence, overseeing over a thousand plays that took place on the stage of the West Bank Cafe’s Theater, including those by West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin and American Beauty writer Alan Ball in addition to his own plays.
But comedy kept calling.

By the late ‘80s, Black had left the theater scene for the most part, and had decided to pursue stand up comedy full-time. By the mid-’90s, his friend, Lizz Winstead, called upon Black to create a weekly segment for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. The segment was right up Black’s alley, as it was basically three minutes of him ranting and raving about whatever was currently annoying him - and it became one of the most popular segments on the show.
Connections are everything in the entertainment business - and with Black’s segment on The Daily Show a success, it wasn’t long before he was offered his own Comedy Central specials and series - by 2001, he’d won Best Male Stand Up at the American Comedy Awards, and had snagged a record deal with Stand Up Records, which released his first CD in 2000. Six more CDs would follow, as would specials on HBO, a spot in the acclaimed Comic Relief special, appearances on Larry King, Conan O’Brian, David Letterman, and Keith Olbermann, and a busy touring schedule.
Whew. Lewis Black had definitely arrived.

With all of that going on, you’d think Black wouldn’t have time for much else. but he keeps writing, and has dabbled in acting, as well, taking on roles alongside Robin Williams in Man of the Year and in the comedy film Accepted, among others.
And he’s balancing out his curmudgeonliness with his dedication to a number of charity organizations, including the 52nd Street Project, the Ron Black Memorial Scholarship Fund, fundraising for the Rusty Magee Clinic, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; he supports our military personnel (having become involved with the USO to tour the Middle East with Robin Williams), and is committed to ending gun violence. Returning full circle to UNC, he’s developing the school’s Carolina Comedy Festival to provide workshops and lectures for beginning writers, performers, and comics, giving back to one of the schools that helped him get his own start.
How he does all of this while still performing over 200 nights a year across the world remains a mystery. But Northern Michigan residents will get a chance to see this multi-faceted performer in his comedy role with his upcoming show at the Traverse City Opera House, where the show will contain “adult language and humor” - and plenty of Black’s trademark views of the world.

Comedian Lewis Black will be bringing his comedy tour to the City Opera House in Traverse City on February 18 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets $55/$40. For tix and more info, visit www.cityoperahouse.org, or telephone 231-941-8082.

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