Theater Review (Washington, D.C.): Special Performances of ‘The Originalist’ at Arena Stage

Edward Gero stands out with a brilliant portrayal of Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court Justice.

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In July 2012, I won a ticket lottery during my summer internship on Capitol Hill. The speaker slated at the closing lecture was the late Justice Antonin Scalia. To my surprise, Scalia devoted his hour to Q&A time rather than to a prepared speech.

Photo of Edward Gero and Kerry Warren in 'The Originalist'
(L to R) Edward Gero as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Kerry Warren as Cat in The Originalist at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 6-April 26, 2015. Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

I was struck by a couple of things about Antonin Scalia as I sat in the Supreme Court. He was very polite. Second, he seemed genuinely excited that all of us were interested in government and law, regardless of our backgrounds. He was also quite passionate about looking at the original meanings and contexts within the U.S. Constitution. “I am a textualist. I am an originalist. I am not a nut!” he exclaimed to us. Continue reading “Theater Review (Washington, D.C.): Special Performances of ‘The Originalist’ at Arena Stage”

Interview: Mark Tooley, Author of ‘The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War’

Mark Tooley provides an invaluable history lesson about the 1861 Washington Peace Conference.

Photo of Author Mark Tooley

Mark Tooley is the president of the Institute of Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C. This year marks his first visit to the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA. His latest book is The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War.

I don’t remember learning about the Washington Peace Conference in high school.

Even history and civil war buffs don’t know about it or, if they do, they know very little about it! Most history books devote only a few paragraphs. James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom, one of the best overall histories about the Civil War, [has] only two and half pages. It’s a neglected and forgotten topic. There hasn’t been a book about it specifically since the 1950s.

Why is it important? Continue reading “Interview: Mark Tooley, Author of ‘The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War’”

UVA Center for Politics Screens ‘Ball of Confusion: The 1968 Presidential Election’ – Now Airing on PBS Stations

Edward Nixon
Edward Nixon. Photo: Pat Cuadros

On the eve of Halloween, the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia hosted an advance screening of Ball of Confusion: The 1968 Presidential Election. The documentary is slated to run on public television stations starting this month. It’s the latest project of Larry J. Sabato, a professor of American politics at the University of Virginia. He is also the longtime director of the UVa Center for Politics and he has won two Emmy Awards for previous documentaries.

Prior to turning down the lights, the politics professor interviewed Edward Nixon, who shares a strong resemblance to his late brother and the former U.S. President, Richard. As he took his seat, the 85-year-old raised his hands and gestured with the familiar victory signs. His field is in international commercial trade, a venture that has taken him to China on many occasions. Mr. Nixon spoke to the audience about the difficulties of growing up during the Great Depression. His family endured because their business was a grocery store; they helped their community by letting people do small jobs at the store in exchange for food. Continue reading “UVA Center for Politics Screens ‘Ball of Confusion: The 1968 Presidential Election’ – Now Airing on PBS Stations”

Cromwell’s Situation Appears Uncertain in “Wolf Hall” with Looming “Crows”

In the end, it’s the king who is the most dangerous figure. Make your move Cromwell, before it’s too late.

Caution: This post contains spoilers from the fifth episode of “Wolf Hall.”

Damian Lewis as Henry VIII. Photograph: Giles Keyte/BBC/Company Productions Ltd
Damian Lewis as Henry VIII. Photograph: Giles Keyte/BBC/Company Productions Ltd

This coming Sunday, Masterpiece on PBS will air the final chapter of “Wolf Hall.” Take the opportunity to catch up before the big finale. The fifth installment of “Wolf Hall” from last weekend is aptly named “Crows” with a marked change in Thomas Cromwell’s (Mark Rylance) circumstances. He’s always had a few adversaries to contend with but this time they are gaining ground. It’s the first time in a while that the Machiavellian administrator is scrambling on a defensive position, rather than calling the shots. Continue reading “Cromwell’s Situation Appears Uncertain in “Wolf Hall” with Looming “Crows””

UVA Center for Politics Celebrates 2014 Emmy Win with ‘Out of Order’ Screening

On Friday night, local residents and students packed Nau Hall at the University of Virginia to view a special screening of Out of Order. The event was hosted by the UVa Center for Politics, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting the importance of education and civic participation in government.

Attendees seemed excited to be at the screening, some arriving an hour early to secure good seats. Indeed, the celebratory mood was fitting; the Center’s most recent documentary, The Kennedy Half Century, won the the 2014 Emmy Award for Best Historical Documentary from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Out of Order won the same award in 2013. Continue reading “UVA Center for Politics Celebrates 2014 Emmy Win with ‘Out of Order’ Screening”