Approaching the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s death brings a new play?

What better way to recognize the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death this November than to toast to his accolades with theater reprisals? Well, not really.

For one month only, Bryan Cranston, lead star of hit TV show Breaking Bad will be playing Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way, a theatrical production at A.R.T in Cambridge, Mass. The portrayal of the new president on the eve of the assassination is a harrowing tale. LBJ, our stand-in hero attempted to guide us through a time of uncertainty, fear, and vulnerability; a time when many of us lost faith in those leading us (current gov’t shutdown eerily relevant); a time when our nation was divided about wars at home and unnecessary involuntary action in the East. This Texan politician very frankly led us back on our feet after turmoil and the death of a trusted figure.
This play is not just about the successor, Lyndon Johnson and the last few days of November 1963. Rather, it’s a story of the leader who started great things (Medicare, AmeriCorps, the beginnings of the Civil Rights Act) and the one turning these accomplishments into legacies. In all my research of the Kennedy administration, I’ve always come across literature describing LBJ as stubborn, old-fashioned, brute. But because the play shows a vulnerable side of Johnson on the crux of failure, I see him in a new light and can commemorate the leader who made his presidency possible.

The American Repertory Theater’s production of All the Way ends Oct. 12th. You can check out details here.


O’Reilly Killing Kennedy’s name

Anybody can write a book. But only Bill O’Reilly can sell five million copies of a subject that has been written dozens (understatement) of times before. Killing Kennedy is a creative nonfiction piece about the assassination of our 35th president, John F. Kennedy.

This continues O’Reilly’s presidential assassination-themed books, discussing conspiracy theories of Lincoln and JFK. I missed McKinley; I guess he wasn’t as interesting. Regardless, what makes Bill O’Reilly, Fox host, qualified to write a historical drama?

Stay tuned for another adorable actor, Rob Lowe to play Kennedy when National Geographic makes a TV movie of the same name.

Degree or not degree?

I’m nearing that age when you start to wonder what should I do with the rest of my life? The quarter life crisis. In a quest to find the right graduate school, this is what I’ve learned:

Apply to colleges with large endowments. Harvard really has a large petty cash fund.

Look at free unconventional learning models. Degreed helps you find free learning tools based on subject; this is where I found MIT’s The Creative Spark course.

Don’t be fooled by a graduate certificate program.

Teach for America, still healthy and strong, defers your student loans. The founder, Wendy Kopp recently spoke at BU’s 2013 commencement.

SNHU’s College for America acknowledges the workforce crisis and offers a competency-based, self-paced AA degree, the first nationally accredited program of its kind.

What we all should have striven for in our twenties: Greatness

Did you ever want a time machine to go back in time and invent the next big thing?

Meet 30 rising geniuses all under the age of 30… There’s travel journalists, a deli chef with Woody Allen’s own stamp of approval, ModCloth cofounder (my new fav. online store for vintage-inspired dress) and a mobile app extrardinaire. Be sure to check out the two Jersey selectees – a graduate from Princeton, Rusli and fellow Monty HS alum, Perry.

The dying arts

Do kids these days know who Coltrane is or Billie Holiday? Have they seen classic movies like Gone with the Wind or National Velvet? Do they appreciate art and literature; Tintoretto and Rembrandt or the likes of Fitzgerald and Steinbeck? 

What are the things we want to teach our children so they become more well-rounded individuals? I bet the list doesn’t include Gaga, Twilight, American Idol or Brad Pitt.

From an early age I’ve always enjoyed writing, as it came naturally. I’d read books on developing my craft, attended workshops with other creative writing students and was dragged along a few times to poetry festivals, which felt more like a renaissance faire with tents, swords and turkey legs. It was here at the Dodge Poetry Festival in high school that I was first exposed to the world of slam poetry and meeting of the [poet] minds. This festival held in my home state, Jersey welcomes students, teachers, musicians and wordsmiths to the Woodstock of poetry gatherings. I have to say, I’ve met some pretty cool poets – hippies thanks to Dodge – Naomi Shihab Nye, Coleman Barks, Amiri Baraka, Robert Bly, and Billy Collins.

The Dodge Foundation is doing a lot more than educating our youth, they are also helping to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. Along with J&J, the Dave Matthews Band, and Newman’s Own, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation supports the New Jersey Recovery Fund.

To me, poetry is not considered a dying art, but a topic I can add to my list of cocktail party conversations. I can speak freely on the abab rhyme schemes, soliloquies in Shakespeare’s works and the art of the haiku thanks to Dodge.

Joyce Carol Oates’ Glass Ceiling Remedy

Don’t worry all, the following post is PG and for the politically-correct minds, I excluded all profanities.

Earlier this month, Joyce Carol Oates wrote a satirical piece in The Onion about her brief stint sleeping with publishers to further her career. You are probably wondering who Oates is; famed Tinseltown ex or retired child star looking for the next comeback?

Joyce Carol Oates is an American author, a story teller, and novelist of over forty works. Her first story was published at age twenty six, detailing the tumultourous love affair of two characters and since then, she’s written novels under the pen name Lauren Kelly and Rosamond Smith. Currently she is a Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton. My favorite novel has always been We Were the Mulvaneys, an Oprah Book Club fave and possibly Lifetime-made movie, which paints a story of an American family’s rise and quick demise.

A few things I learned from Oates’ Onion piece is her incredible ease of sarcasm. Of course The Onion is full of cheeky humor, but reading the sexcapades of a 75-year old is quite different. Invest in your career; make connections, don’t be lazy, be curious and be awesome. Be an agent of change, but don’t sleep with them (agents). Find a way to recharge your writing (perhaps healthy doses of caffeine). Use innuendoes sparingly, especially the sexual ones and once a goal is set, do everything you can to reach it (while keeping your butt in the chair, as Oates says).

The Onion is great and I’ll be reading this story next: