Monthly Archives: October 2020


James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery dies in his sleep aged 90: Oscar-winning 007 legend passes away in the Bahamas after being ‘unwell for some time’

(Ryan Fahey’s and Jack Elsom’s article appeared in Mail Online, 10/31; Photo: Skynews.)

  • James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery died aged 90 at his home in the Bahamas 
  • Sir Sean is known for playing British fictional spy James Bond between 1962-71 
  • Sir Sean, who celebrated his 90th in August, was knighted by the Queen in 2000

James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery dies in his sleep aged 90: Oscar-winning 007 legend passes away in the Bahamas after being ‘unwell for some time’

  • James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery died aged 90 at his home in the Bahamas 
  • Sir Sean is known for playing British fictional spy James Bond between 1962-71 
  • Sir Sean, who celebrated his 90th in August, was knighted by the Queen in 2000

James Bond legend Sir Sean Connery has died in his sleep aged 90 following a long illness. 

Tributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-winning actor who passed away in the Bahamas and leaves behind his wife Micheline and sons Jason and Stefan. 

Sir Sean, whose acting career spans decades, is best known for his portrayal of British fictional spy James Bond who he played between 1962–1971.  

Sir Sean Connery, who is best known for playing James Bond, died today

He was often named the best Bond in polls on the subject. He was awarded an Oscar in 1988 for his part playing an Irish policeman in The Untouchables. 

He also starred in The Hunt for Red October, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock. 

Sir Sean was knighted by the Queen in 2000 and celebrated his 90th birthday in August.  

Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond described his friend Sir Sean as ‘the world’s greatest Scot, the last of the real Hollywood stars, the definitive Bond.’

Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli paid tribute to Sir Sean in a statement: ‘We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Connery.

‘He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words – “The name’s Bond… James Bond” – he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent.

‘He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.’

Hugh Jackman tweeted: I grew up idolizing Connery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace.’ 

From bricklayer to 007: Sean Connery enjoyed 50 year film career but he will undoubtedly be remembered as the first – and some say definitive – James Bond 

He enjoyed a long and varied film career spanning 50 years, but Sir Sean Connery will undoubtedly be remembered as the first – and some say definitive – James Bond.

His performance in Dr No in 1962 set the jobbing actor and former milkman on a path that would lead to Hollywood stardom and all its trappings.

Roles in Highlander, The Untouchables and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade helped seal his position as one of Britain’s best-loved stars, and his brooding good looks and distinct Scottish brogue won him legions of fans worldwide.

(Read  more)


(Maya Phillips’s article appeared in The New York Times, 10/30; Photo: Robert Cuccioli as a Massachusetts pub owner who fancies himself more in Eugene O’Neill’s “A Touch of the Poet.”Credit…via Irish Rep.)

Irish Repertory Theater’s ambitious virtual rendition of the O’Neill drama finds a family trapped by a father’s grandiose illusions.

It’s all Byron’s fault. Before James Dean and Gary Cooper and Heathcliff and Rochester — all the real and fictional men lounging at the center of the Venn diagram of “bad boys” and “sad boys” — Byron made such a career of drinking, lusting and gallivanting that he became a type. The Byronic hero: temperamental, hedonistic and romantic. “I am such a strange mélange of good and evil,” the poet once wrote of himself, “that it would be difficult to describe me.” Save it for your Tinder profile, bro.

Byron also embodied a masculine ideal defined by paradoxes. A man of society who scorns status. A virile lover made impotent by ennui. A dreamer plagued by disillusionment.

These contradictions sit at the heart of Eugene O’Neill’s 1942 play “A Touch of the Poet.” Irish Repertory Theater’s new online production, with its cunning use of technology and design — each actor filmed separately but sharing the same virtually rendered set — provides a hearty serving of digital theater that nearly matches the real thing.

But first, back to the sad boys. O’Neill wasn’t exactly known for happy plays, and “A Touch of the Poet,” one of his later works, bears that signature. A lengthy domestic tragedy about toxic pride and futile posturing in an American society that won’t validate delusions of grandeur, the play makes Byron its patron saint, heralded and prayed to and emulated as the “poet and nobleman who made of disdain immortal music.”

(Read more)

Visit Irish Rep for tickets.


One must be a great connoisseur and specialist in our art to differentiate the work of every co-creator of a performance and to judge it at its real value. But the crowd meets the actor face to face during the performance, and therefore it is the actor alone who receives plaudits and encouragement. The other co-creators who hide in the wings of the theatre often remain forgotten by the audience. (MLIA)


Don’t miss Jim Turner & Ellie Covan’s Unbirthday!
A Very Merry Unbirthday To Us
The Raising Cain Campaign Wrap Party
Field Marshalled by the Birthday Kids
Jim Turner & Ellie Covan
Friday, October 30, 2020 at 8:00pm EDT Virtual Live
Join Ellie and Jim for a hair-raising virtual mutual birthday Raising Cain wrap party. This one time special event includes a special edition Bingo competition and special surprise guest, Deb Margolin, who, with Jim, will perform a special teaser from their special show Switcheroo — they perform each other’s solo characters… very special. And, of course the raffle stops here! Winning tickets WILL be drawn! Have your cake and eat it too, but it’s up to you to bring it, too. BYOB, BYOC, BYOW, BYOFB, BYONS, BYO?….
If you can’t make it, we’re eternally grateful for your kind donations!
And don’t forget, this is free if you bought a ticket to any other event this month  you’ll receive the link soon!
Check out the whole shebang….
The Raising Cain Campaign
The Opening Act
Sat, Oct 17 – 2pm & 3:30pm
Can’t wait any longer for real live theater? Nancy Giles
hosts a socially distanced Raising Cain kick-off, in a paved paradise!
Scavenger Hunter
Sun, Oct 18 – 6pm
ChameleoNYC’s frequently educational yet always hilarious scavenger hunt will fire up your imagination &
engage your wits!
Sexy Clinico
Mon, Oct 19 – 7:30pm
Behold Dr. Carmelita Tropicana & Nurse Marga Gomez as they answer your most intimate quarantine queer-ies. 
StylePointe Retrospective
Tues, Oct 20 – 7:30pm
This exclusive event is a
tribute to the gifted
dancemakers & fashion
designers who bring so
much innovation & glamour to the DP runway! 
Boy Bar
Weds, Oct 21 – 7:30pm
Nora Burns & Connie Girl 
host a ‘live documentary’ on the infamous East Village drag club, featuring boy bar beauties, backstage betties,
& high-heeled high-jinx!
Thurs, Oct 22 – 7:45pm
Does sitting thru the debate seem like a daunting feat? Don’t go it alone! Grab a drink & check out this
aberrant instantaneous tweeting & drinking game.
Paved Paradise
Sat, Oct 24 – 2pm & 3:30pm
Contemporary ballet, hip hop, contemp South Asian and modern dance on a stage, in a parking lot, on the Lower East Side. Live! Safe! Remarkable! 
Sun, Oct 25 – 1, 2, 3pm
Take a walking tour with Peculiar Works Project thru the Lower East Side streets & experience real live theater, music, dance & more!
Wayward Cooking Show
Mon, Oct 26 – 7:30pm
Doyens Richard Bach &
Michael Howett shepherd a virtual Donor Dinner! Cook along or simply simmer in their brassy banter & scandalous stories!
CovidSex Encounters
Weds, Oct 28 – 7:30pm
Christen Clifford & Tom Cole host an evening of stories & performance about finessing sex during the pandemic… stimulating, educational, inspiring!
A Merry Unbirthday!
Fri, Oct 30 – 8pm
Jim Turner & Ellie Covan host their mutual birthday Raising Cain wrap party, w/surprise guest Deb Margolin, special edition Bingo, and the raffle stops here!
The Mini-Auction
Online all month! 
Something for (almost) everyone — theatergoers, foodies, body worshippers, collectors, and pet lovers… The holidays are coming!
Follow us!


(Shawn’s article appeared in the New York Review of Books, October 27, 2020; )

I wonder if anyone but me remembers that during the years after the end of World War II, there were a lot of US Army jeeps on the streets of New York. I was a very little boy at the time, and I remember being lifted up to sit in them by friendly GIs. And do you remember those photographs of the American soldiers as they were being hugged and kissed by the thin, desperate-looking Europeans whose cities they’d liberated? Do you remember those warm, sunny American faces? Those sincere, open faces? Those boys looked like gods or angels who had swooped down from the sky on their jeeps to save the terrified world. Everything they’d actually done during the war, everything they’d seen—the hand-to-hand combat, the firebombing of cities, the piles of corpses—it was all swept away in the glow of victory.

And for the next twenty years, we were dazzled by the never-abating, mind-boggling cascade of prosperity and consumer magic lifting up the middle class. Political speeches overflowed with generosity and altruism. Were people said to be suffering somewhere in America? Were people suffering anywhere on earth? Our politicians won votes by promising to help them. Americans seemed addicted to the feeling that their country represented goodness, decency, and kindness in a world where evil had almost prevailed.

Simultaneously, on the very same days that our generous politicians made those altruistic speeches, they huddled for hours with scientific geniuses, working out plans for nuclear war. They would often declare that they hoped they would never be forced to make the terrible decision to carry out those plans. Still, day after day, they carefully decided which missiles to build, they chose the targets and tried to estimate the number of people who’d be killed by each strike. And also at the same time—though this was less well known then—they made some plans that actually were carried out in foreign countries, governments to be overthrown, leaders to be assassinated, dissidents and rebels to be quietly disappeared.

I was seventeen when John Kennedy was elected president, and I was thrilled by his speeches promising the total eradication of poverty on earth and peace between nations, self-government, and economic growth across the globe. But as the decades passed, and I entered my forties, I became more curious about what my government was doing in distant lands. I read books, I talked to people, I even traveled, and I was astounded by the atrocities I learned about—unspeakable massacres perpetrated in my name, and for my benefit, and paid for with the money I’d provided in taxes. I realized that people like Noam Chomsky had been writing for years about all of these things, but the American public had refused to listen—they seemed to be asleep. I was desperate, frantic, to help wake them up. That was the only way the horrors could be stopped.

(Read more)


(Donna Ferguson’s article appeared in the Guardian, 10/25; Photo: JM Barrie, who shared a deep friendship with Robert Louis Stevenson. Photograph: Hulton Deutsch/Corbis via Getty Images; via Pam Green.)

Newly unearthed correspondence shows deep respect between Peter Pan and Treasure Island authors, who never met

They are two of the greatest writers in history and they were also the greatest of friends. But they never met, and the importance and intensity of their relationship has never before been fully understood.

Now, the lost letters of JM Barrie to Robert Louis Stevenson – missing for over a century – have been found in a cardboard box in a library archive and will be published for the first time in a forthcoming book. The letters reveal how ardently the young Barrie both adored and admired Stevenson, who was an older and more established writer. A year into their friendship, which was initiated by Stevenson, Barrie wrote to him: “To be blunt I have discovered (have suspected it for some time) that I love you, and if you had been a woman…” He leaves the sentence unfinished.

He also imagines in the letters that he and Stevenson are related and were descended from the same Scottish family, a fantasy that allows him to open up to the older man about the intimacies of his family life and his close relationship with his mother.

Treasure Island had already been published when the two authors began corresponding in 1892; 12 years later, Barrie went on to write his own masterpiece, Peter Pan, about a dangerous amputated pirate, a young boy and a journey to a far-off fantasy island.

He repeatedly fantasises in his letters about meeting Stevenson, who had left their native Scotland in 1879 and was living in Samoa to improve his health. In one letter, Barrie even writes a funny, self-deprecating playlet – never seen before – in which he imagines himself visiting Stevenson’s 314-acre estate, and Stevenson “glumly” saying to his wife about Barrie: “Perhaps he will improve after he has rested a bit.”

(Read more)


(Andrew Kleidon’s article appeared in the Door County Pulse,  10/23; Photo of Hallie Flanagan, Door County Post. )

A Quick and Decisive Blow to Progressive Theater

In fewer than three years, the Federal Theatre Project’s (FTP) Living Newspaper and Negro Theatre Units were making great strides in creating new work for a post-Great Depression nation that promoted social progress and racial equality, but they were not the project’s only branches to produce compelling theater for new audiences. 

When Hallie Flanagan was appointed to run the FTP, she set out to create a program with integrity. In producing new theatrical work for her audiences, many of which had never seen live theater before, it made sense to focus on creating high-quality experiences that spoke directly to those audiences. 

That approach included incorporating themes of social justice, desegregation, workers’ rights and housing reform. Flanagan was already known for being the first woman to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship and for creating Vassar College’s experimental theater program, so she was well versed in the potential of the art form to push societal change by speaking directly to the audience. 

In 1939, only four years after the FTP was established, Congress pulled funding from the program and put thousands of artists out of work nationwide after a series of hearings in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Citing material produced by the Living Newspaper project that promoted workers’ unions, as well as plays created by the Negro Theatre Unit that called for racial equality, the committee launched an investigation into the FTP on the grounds that communist sympathizers may have infiltrated it or that it may have been promoting socialist propaganda.

The FTP’s new works were not the only ones under fire by the committee. Close to 10 percent of all work produced by the project was cited as problematic, including classic pieces and works by Voltaire and George Bernard Shaw. The committee also deemed children’s theater productions unacceptable, including Revolt of the Beavers for its negative depiction of worker exploitation by anthropomorphized beavers. 

(Read more)

These broad-brushstroke accusations against theatrical literature would perhaps seem more fitting a decade later – during Joseph McCarthy’s rise to prominence – but they offered an early glimpse at just how broad the definitions of communist behavior would eventually become.

Congress ultimately pivoted to a conclusion that the average American would not find theater to be a meaningful use of taxpayer dollars. That seems to be a hard line to argue, considering that FTP productions were wildly successful, especially in areas with first-time exposure to theater.

The very nature of being government funded allowed FTP productions to be available to audiences at a very low cost, and often free, which meant that entertainment and progressive messaging was available to the people who needed it most. By defunding the project, the government dealt a blow to both the economy and the social welfare of the country. 

Some of the oldest theater in the world was written as social commentary that poked holes in the status quo, so it’s hardly surprising that when theater artists have the basics they need to create productions without worrying about their success or failure, the work they produce will reflect their place in the social hierarchy. Hallie Flanagan argued on the committee floor that the work the Federal Theatre Program had created was as American as it could have been, and that the program’s messaging reflected democracy. 

“Our Federal Theatre,” she said, “born of an economic need, built by and for people who have faced terrific privation, cannot content itself with easy, pretty or insignificant plays … We have been given a chance to help change America at a time when 20 million unemployed Americans proved it needed changing. 

“And the theater, when it is any good, can change things … Don’t be afraid when people tell you this is a play of protest. Of course it’s protest – protest against dirt, disease, human misery … Here is one necessity for our theater – that it help reshape our American life.” 

(Read more)