Jan 302011

Sometime around October of 2001 I got a phone call from my friend “ranney.” He was directing a musical with a young theater company in Tampa and he was having a hard time casting one of the characters. He had directed me in a musical adaptation of The Birds that he wrote while I was a student at the Polk Community College and he felt I was a good match for the part. I came in and auditioned for him, and a few days later I got the call offering me the role.

The show was Maxwell: A New Rock Musical By Joe Popp, and it was the first paid acting gig I ever got. It was also the beginning of my year relationship with The Jobsite Theater. I was very much an unknown factor in this production, and I had the extra baggage of being recently divorced with the need to occasionally bring my five year old son with me to rehearsal. “ranney” put his full support behind me, though, and he managed to convince the Powers That Be to give me a shot.

Ten years later and I’m still working with them.

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Jan 072011

I was going to write this in a tweet but there’s a little bit more detail than I could fit into 140 characters.

As I’m sure most of you have heard by now there is a new version of the Mark Twain novel Huckleberry Finn that has removed all references to the word “nigger” and replaced it with the word “slave.” They have also removed the word “Injun,” but I am unsure as to what they have replaced it with (I’m guessing “Indian”).

There’s a lot of folks who are up in arms over this and who want to raise the specter of Political Correctness or blame this on the Obama Administration.

Here’s some fact juice for you, sparky –

Huckleberry Finn is in the public domain. What this means, if you aren’t familiar with the term, is that it was written so long ago that the copyright has expired. This is why you can download all of Mark Twain’s work for free if you have an e-Reader. This also means that, because of the lack of copyright, anyone can publish the book and edit it to their heart’s content.

Which is exactly what one publishing company has decided to do.

If you want to read Huckleberry Finn with all the original language intact you will still be able to find a copy. The firemen have not come to take away your precious words, and Big Brother isn’t stepping in here to protect you from reading something that might be offensive.

NewSouth books thinks that there is a market in this edition, and they are putting their money into that belief. It may very well pay off for them. So, if anything, this incident is an example of our free market in action and nothing more.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go back to collecting tin foil for my new hat.