Jun 172017
 

Bill Cosby Mistrial

After several attempts, the jurors in the Bill Cosby trial failed to reach a unanimous decision forcing Norristown (Pennsylvania) judge O’Neill to declare a mistrial. The jury consisted of five women and seven men (four white women, six white men, one black woman and one black man).

Cosby was facing three charges of aggravated indecent assault in a case brought forth by one accuser, Andrea Constand. Dozens of women whose encounters with Bill Cosby were past the Statute of Limitations and could not be prosecuted, reported extremely similar rape methods used by the entertainer. Cosby lured the women he wanted to have sex with into one-on-one meetings, offered them drinks and drugged them. (In a prior civil deposition, Bill Cosby admitted that he obtained Quaaludes, a powerful hypnotic drug, to give it to women with whom he intended to have sex. Incidentally, an overdose of Quaaludes can cause coma and death.) Most of the women accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct reported losing control over their bodies, losing their ability to speak and waking up later, raped.

Immediately after the mistrial was declared, clearly relieved Bill Cosby thanked the jury and wished all fathers Happy Father’s Day. His wife Camille vented her anger at the judge, prosecutors and media in a statement read by Cosby’s spokeswoman.

The prosecutors announced that the case will be retried. Gloria Allred, the attorney representing many of Bill Cosby’s accusers, said she hopes that at the next trial the court will allow other women harmed by Cosby in the past to testify.

Andrea Constand – who was raped by Cosby – and her mother, Gianna Constand – to whom Cosby apologized for the rape of her daughter and offered to make amends by paying for Andrea’s education – were unmoved by the mistrial.

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Here is our take: women don’t talk about being raped. There is a huge social and self-imposed stigma accompanying rape. Being raped is perceived as a failure and a loss. Rape victims are often blamed for being raped. Rape victims are often seen as “damaged goods”. Most cases of rape are not reported. The prosecution of rape cases is rarely successful.

Here are statistics on rape in the United States provided by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.

According to various sources 1 in 3 women has been – or is – sexually harassed at work. A women promoted by her rapist will not report the rape…. (Why are we mentioning sexual harassment? Most of Bill Cosby’s accusers were lured into uncomfortable situations with him by career / business-related promises.)

Just to be clear, like the majority of Americans I too used to be a Bill Cosby fan. I didn’t want to believe that the symbol of American fatherhood could be a rapist. Still, if over 50 women came forward (permanently destroying their reputations!) and accused Bill Cosby of rape, Statute of Limitations aside: Bill Cosby is a rapist. (Over 50 women were brave enough to come forward, one wonders how many other women didn’t come forward!)

Bill Cosby is a terrific actor who made us all believe that he is a great man. As a human being, Bill Cosby is a predator who used his celebrity and power for sexual gratification assuming that his status as “America’s Favorite Dad” will keep him immune from prosecution. So far he’s been right. In the court of public opinion however – especially, female public opinion! – there is no doubt. His social / financial status, age and disabilities are NOT mitigating circumstances in a case of rape.

Cosby’s own past admission that he obtained Quaaludes to get “his way” with women of his choice confirms that all his accusers’ accounts of their experiences with Cosby are TRUTHFUL.

A mistrial? Give me a break! Even Fox News cleaned the house and got rid of Bill O’Reilly and his former boss Roger Ailes! Either some member of the Norristown jury is a major Bill Cosby fan, really needed money or is a rape-denier. Don’t believe me? Ask ANY woman!

Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Entertainment Editor, I. Sturm

 

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Mar 042017
 
“GOOD GRIEF” OPENS AT KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE ON SUNDAY

L-R: Carla Renata, Marcus Henderson, Dayo Ade, Ngozi Anyanwu, Mark Jude Sullivan and Omozé Idehenre in the world premiere of “Good Grief.” Written by Ngozi Anyanwu and directed by Patricia McGregor, “Good Grief” plays at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre through March 26, 2017. Photo by Craig Schwartz.
All Uses © 2017 Craig Schwartz

 

THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “GOOD GRIEF” OPENS AT CENTER THEATRE GROUP’S

KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2017, AT 6:30 P.M.

Ngozi Anyanwu’s Debut Production Will Play Through March 26

 

Currently in previews, the world premiere of Ngozi Anyanwu’s new play “Good Grief” will open at Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre on Sunday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m. Directed by Patricia McGregor, Anyanwu also performs in “Good Grief,” which runs through March 26, 2017. This is the first of Anyanwu’s plays to receive a full professional production.

The cast features, in alphabetical order, Dayo Ade, Wade Allain-Marcus, Ngozi Anyanwu, Marcus Henderson, Omozé Idehenre, Carla Renata and Mark Jude Sullivan. Scenic design is by Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, costume design is by Karen Perry, lighting design is by Pablo Santiago, sound design is by Adam Phalen and Kathryn Bostic is composer. Casting is by Meg Fister, Joy Meads is the dramaturg and Anne L. Hitt is the production stage manager.

“Good Grief” follows Nkechi (played by Anyanwu), a good Nigerian-American girl frozen in her own coming-of-age story. When tragedy strikes on an unplanned break from college, she retreats into her childhood home and reexamines the many steps she’s taken on the way to adulthood, from first crush, to missed connections, to the struggles of being a first-generation girl blending in to her suburban Pennsylvania reality.

The recipient of the 2016 Humanitas /Center Theatre Group Playwriting Prize, Anyanwu is an actress, writer, producer and director. She is a graduate of the University of California San Diego’s MFA acting program and also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre from Point Park University. She has performed at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, Barrington Stage, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and the Mark Taper Forum. Anyanwu is the founder and one of the original members of the 1st Generation Nigerian Project where she served as Artistic Director and wrote and performed along with several other Nigerian American female artists under the direction of John Gould Rubin (Bank Street Theatre, Women Center Stage Festival). She now serves as Co-Artistic Director of NOW AFRICA Playwrights Festival. She has directed “She Gon Learn,” by Lisa Strum for the Emerging Arts Festival and for the United Solo Festival. She has also served as assistant director at Intar (Unit 52) and under Eve Best with Old Vic New Voices.

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, programming seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

Tickets for “Good Grief” are available by calling (213) 628-2772, online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, at the Center Theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre box office two hours prior to performance. Tickets range from $25 – $70 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Blvd. in Culver City, CA 90232. Ample free parking and restaurants are adjacent.

 

 

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Nov 102016
 

Anti-Trump Protests Across The Country

From the East to the West Coast Americans took to the streets to protest the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election. Hashtags #NotMyPresident and #HeIsNotMyPresident took over Twitter.

Anti-Trump rallies were held in most States including California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, Virginia, Oregon and in front of the White House. There were prayers as well as fear, anger, disappointment and outrage across the Land.

In cities with Trump buildings the protesters made a point of gathering in front of them. In other places, people gathered in front of local landmarks. In many areas, streets, highways and freeways were blocked by protesters. Students at colleges and universities nationwide were exercising their right to protest.

At one point, in Los Angeles there were so many protests taking place simultaneously, the LAPD didn’t have enough manpower to control them. Hundreds of people brought 101 freeway (between Downtown L.A. and Hollywood) to a halt last night. According to latest reports 28 people were arrested in anti-Trump rallies in Greater Los Angeles.

There were Trump piñatas, masks and puppets as well as burnings of the American flag. The prospect of #CalExit (cessation of California from the Federal government) was raised.

L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti said in a statement:

“One of our greatest privileges as Americans is the right to free expression. Last night, thousands of Angelenos came together publicly to make their feelings known.

I understand that the results of Tuesday’s election are painful for many of us, and this kind of engagement can be a meaningful part of the healing we need after such a long and divisive campaign. But walking and throwing objects onto freeways is dangerous for pedestrians and drivers — and it puts a heavy burden on people just trying make it home to their families or get to work safely.

I am proud that the demonstrations in Los Angeles have been mostly lawful and peaceful, and that our officers are working with demonstrators to keep people out of harm’s way. Protests can, should, and must proceed in that spirit — and I urge everyone to look out for their fellow Angelenos and put safety first.”

Several days after the Election and the first meeting between the First Family and the family of the President Elect the nation remains bitterly divided.

UPDATE: Anti-Trump protests continue in many States, including California. A large protest is scheduled for Saturday 11/12/16 in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. (10,000 people are expected.)

There is nothing wrong with protesting. However the time for self-expression was the election. Continued protests, some involving vandalism of property (ours, not the President Elect’s!) and violence against police officers (our city’s, not Federal government’s!) are not only futile but senseless. No protest can change the outcome of Presidential Election.
Social activism, civic initiatives – both of which are peaceful – might moderate the impact of some federal policies on Los Angeles and California.

The time for expressing our preferences has ended once the polls closed. Now it’s time to get ready for a new era with President Trump at the steering wheel. We and the President Elect will have to make some compromises. It’s time to look for the positive and focus on values we can agree on. It’s time to move on.

 

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