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Which Countries Should You Definitely Visit?

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Many people consider traveling to be one of the most interesting hobbies. After all, learning something new about the world in which we live is very interesting. Also, traveling gives people adrenaline, as well as 20Bet New Zealand

In this article, we will analyze which countries are definitely worth visiting for those who consider themselves real travelers.

Portugal

This country is becoming more and more popular every year, but for now you can still walk in silence and see a lot of interesting things without crowds of tourists. To go for this, of course, it is best not in the summer. I absolutely agree with the rating compilers here. Portugal is so peculiar and interesting that without it it is difficult to say what the world has seen.

France

 Almost any traveler aspires to be here. After all, there are so many interesting and famous things in France, only UNESCO sites – 37 pieces, and there are still museums, cuisine … Of course, the country deserves to be on this list.

USA 

A huge country with diverse nature and famous cities, of course, important for travelers. Although it does not occupy high places on my list of priorities, of course, you need to go there to represent the diversity of the world.

Netherlands

 A peculiar country, with an unusual culture, architecture, and sights. I love Amsterdam very much and I recommend everyone to visit it at least once to feel how convenient a big city can be.

Italy

 Italy is the world leader in the number of UNESCO attractions and sites. You can also travel here for years and you won’t see everything. And it seems to me that everyone should visit Rome and Florence at least once.

China 

An unusual and original country, with a completely different way of life (compared to Europe) and culture, of course, should be on the list of a seasoned traveler. There is such a variety of nature and so many interesting things here that it takes a lot of time to understand and get to know China.

Spain

 A very bright and diverse country, in my opinion, one trip here is not enough, since many provinces are very different from each other, each of them is, in fact, a separate country. But you definitely need to visit Spain. For many, it is even more important than France.

Great Britain

 This is one of my favorite countries, there is such a variety of nature, sights, and places that you can travel here for years. But at least once you need to visit for sure.

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I hope that you liked this list and it was useful. If you have the opportunity, be sure to visit these countries, they are simply magnificent. Traveling brings a lot of new emotions and, as experts say, prolongs life. Travel is the only thing that really does not spare money.

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

SUNDAY DEADLINE —  As we go to press, the AMPTP has submitted it’s last, best offer to the WGAto resolve this strike; now heading into 145+ days. Strikes are meant to be settled, but the damage may have already been too much. Governor Gavin Newsom estimates a 5 billion dollar take-down for Hollywood and the state in general. As we mentioned last time, thousands of below-the-line workers have already been let go or furloughed during the strike and even if it is resolved by later-today, it will take a full 10-12 weeks for everything to be up and running again.  By my count, that’s mid-December. Stay tuned … it can only get better.

Rick Wakeman

WAKEMAN’S OPUS —(via Prog) Rick Wakeman has announced that he has released a massive 32-disc box set entitled The Prog Years 1973-1977, which features his studio albums from 1973’s The Six Wives Of Henry VIII through to 1976’s No Earthly Connection, plus his film soundtracks for 1975’s Lisztomania and 1977’s White Rock. You can watch a video trailer for the box set here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nER9BgLka1w

Each album is represented by four discs, either CD or DVD, featuring the original album plus rare live material, demos, alternative mixes and live film footage all from the era. These include live performances of Six Wives… and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth from Melbourne, a DVD of The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table performed on ice at Wembley, the full films of both. Lisztomania and White Rock, and more.

The Prog Years 1973-1977 also features a 60-page hardback scrapbook, 10 x postcards, 8 x full-size replica promotional photos and 4 x A3 posters, plus reproduction press kits for the relevant albums. The first 500 copies of this extremely limited box set will also come with a numbered certificate signed by Rick himself.

He may wear the cape and be a bit old school, but Rick Wakeman is the real deal. He rocked Yes and his solo albums were simply terrific. When Yes did The Apollo several years back, when Wakeman left the stage and went up and down the aisles with his keyboard strapped on, there was sheer joy. He’s amazing. Bravo!

SHORT TAKES — Robert DeNiro shilling for Uber? That’s what a divorce does to you. Actually, it should be great commercial, although it was filmed in London as opposed to NYC, which is odd. Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader was quoted in Deadline as saying: “Ouch,” he wrote. “Why Bob would do this is beyond my reckoning. But I haven’t seen it. If I’m lucky I never will” I’m sure he asked Driver-director Marty Scorsese …

Micky Dolenz, ACE Theatre

Micky Dolenz’s SRO show Friday night in LA (at the ACE Theatre)

ACE Theatre

was sensational and he debuted the live version of his new single, R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People.” Seen at the show were Randy Lewis; Roy Trakin; Tyrone Biljan; Ken Sharp and Nederlander’s Lisa White …

Savannah Guthrie

On Friday’s Today Show, Savannah Guthrie interviewed someone who told you how to pack during a move, quickly. They said to put all personal items in a lock box with a label saying to be moved by owner only. Savannah quipped that all the personal items in your nightstand belong there begging the question, what does she have in hers? … A report on NY1 about the ongoing migrant crisis in NYC called The Roosevelt Hotel – where the migrants have been housed – the new Ellis Island … Say what you will about NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen, but it’s been a key area in NYC for decades.

Film Center Cafe

For me, when the Film Center Cafe disappeared, it was a tragedy. And, remember the fabulous restaurant Memphis?  Here’s a great look into images from there: https://w42st.com/post/hells-kitchen-photographers-karla-james-murray-book-vanishing-mom-and-pop-stores/?utm_medium=email … George Clooney selling his Lake Como retreat he’s had for 21 years? Could go for 100 million … SIGHTING: PR-pasha David Salidor at Shalom Japan in Williamsburg Sunday night … Usher headlining Super Bowl 2024? Wonder where that choice came from as he hasn’t had a hit in 20 years …

Jen Psaki

Watched Jean Psaki on MSNBC Sunday. She didn’t bowl me over, but was good. She had stories on Rupert Murdoch and FOX and an interview with Hillary Clinton, who bashed Trump and Putin again … and HAPPY BDAY Mark Bego and Cory Robbins!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Sara Gore; Andrew Sandoval; Pat Prince; Mark Bego; Jim Clash; Cynthia Rowley; Barry Zelman; Christopher Gilman; Barry Manilow; Joel Diamond; Nancy Ruth; Teresa Knox; Gary Gershoff; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tony King; Donnie Kehr; Kimberly Cornell; Lush Ice; Barry Fisch; Eppy; and BELLA!

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Events

Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Live In Times Square

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For the 17th year, the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night will be transmitted live to numerous large screens on Tuesday, September 26th at 6:00pm in Times Square on Duffy Square (between 46th and 47th Streets). This year it will feature Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking starring Joyce DiDonato and Ryan McKinny in a new production by Ivo van Hove conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

A 17-year tradition continues as the Met once again partners with the Times Square Alliance to present a free, live transmission of the season-opening opera to the iconic screens of Times Square. This year’s simulcast of Dead Man Walking is Tuesday, September 26; house opens at 5:30 p.m.; pre-show begins at 6:00 p.m.; and the opera begins at 6:30 p.m. Attendance is free, and no tickets are required. There will be 2,000 seats available on a first-come, first-served basis at Duffy Square (between 46th and 47th Streets) and the Broadway plazas between 43rd and 44th streets and 46th and 47th Streets with additional standing room available.

The participating screens in Times Square include ABC SuperSign; American Eagle Times Square; Branded Cities’ NASDAQ Tower; and EXPRESS Times Square.  The live transmission to Times Square is made possible with the cooperation of the City of New York and the Times Square Alliance, with leadership support provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Based on Sister Helen Prejean’s memoir about her fight for the soul of a condemned murderer, Dead Man Walking matches the high drama of its subject with Heggie’s beautiful and poignant music.

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Ken Fallin's Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Dracula: A Comedy Of Terrors

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Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors, is now playing at New World Stage, 340 West 50th Street, until January 7, 2024 or beyond.

In this caricature you will find James Daly’s Dracula and clockwise: Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Arnie Burton, Ellen Harvey and Jordan Boatman who make up this amazingly talented cast.

You can read T2C’s mouth watering review here.

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Out of Town

The Innocence of Seduction Will Seduce You

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The Innocence of Seduction, now being presented in a World Premiere Production by City Lit Theater in Chicago, is the second installment in an ambitious trilogy of new plays by actor, director, and playwright, Mark Pracht, about the comic book industry and the individuals who created it. Although not as interesting a human drama as was the first play in the series, The Innocence of Seduction remains a fascinating glimpse into a little known aspect of pop culture history.

Frank Nall Photos by Steve Graue

The Innocence of Seduction revolves around a group of artists, writers and publishers who were producing the lurid, violent, and sexually provocative comic books which lead to a congressional investigation into the comic book industry in the 1950’s. The claim that comic books were corrupting our young people and contributing to juvenile delinquency lead to the creation of the Comics Code.  That was censorship solely at the personal discretion of  one man, Judge Charles Murphy. In a sad parallel to our current times, legislators back then sought to repress access to ideas by their children, rather than teach their children how to think for themselves and live in a world with opposing viewpoints.

The whole story is framed with narration by by Dr. Frederick Wertham, whose book, The Seduction of the Innocent, warned that comic books contributed to juvenile delinquency.  In Pracht’s play, Wertham, played with oily, Germanic smarm by Frank Nall, keeps things moving with a creepy comic book gestalt of his own.

Zach Kunde, Laura Coleman, Sean Harklerode Photos by Steve Graue

The first play in the trilogy, The Mark of Kane, was an excellent, character driven drama. That story was shaped by the personal ambition of artist Bob Kane, creator of The Batman, who stole the credit for all the key story elements added to Kane’s very basic idea for the Batman character by his writer-collaborator, Bill Finger.

John Blick Photos by Steve Graue

In The Innocence of Seduction, largely unchanging characters are dragged through the events swirling around them. That formula, called melodrama, has been around ever since the bad guy twirled his moustache as he tied poor Pauline to the railroad tracks. The focus is on the dilemma rather than character development.

: Robin Treviño, Sean Harklerode, Paul Chakrin Photos by Steve Graue

But it takes a long time to get to the central conflict between the creators of early comic art and their would-be censors. When we finally do get to the bad guys, in the person of a grandstanding senator, Robert C. Hendrickson, played with appropriate bluster by Paul Chakrin, and Judge Charles Murphy, the creator and administrator of the Comics Code, played with self-righteous indignation by the fine Chuck Monro, neither antagonist is given enough stage time.

Brian Bradford, LaTorious Givens Photos by Steve Graue

Pracht has no apparent interest in giving the opposing point of view equal time. So both antagonists are quickly reduced to one-dimensional cartoons. What is interesting, however, is that such simple mindedness is frighteningly close to today’s reality, when you look at the behavior of those who are leading the call for censorship in our own times.

Brian Bradford (lying down), Andrew Bosworth (kneeling) Photos by Steve Graue

The central figure in this story is William Gaines, Jr., a failed teacher who reluctantly assumes the helm of Educational Comics. That  company was established by his father, Max, who had created the first American comic book, Famous Funnies, in 1934.  Max, embodied by bellowing actor Ron Quaide, visits his son, William, like Hamlet’s ghost, haunting his dreams and stoking William’s feelings of inadequacy.  William’s passivity until the very end of the story frequently feels like a big hole in the action instead of moving it forward.

Sean Harklerode, Charlie Diaz Photos by Steve Graue

Realizing that nobody wants to buy the illustrated bible stories his father created, William rebrands the company as Entertainment Comics, better known as “EC”.  Their bread and butter would be stories with dark, twisted, graphic, sexually provocative and violent imagery. The artists and publishers in this story just see their work as innocent fun, until they run into censorship under the nascent Comics Code.

Zach Kunde, Sean Harklerode, Chuck Munro, Charlie Diaz Photos by Steve Graue

One of those artists is Matt Baker, played with sincerity if not complexity by Brian Bradford.  Baker was a closeted, black, gay artist, who drew the sexiest female characters in the industry. Matt has a clandestine affair with his bisexual publisher, Archer St. John, played with sensitivity by John Blick, while hiding his real sexual preferences from his long suffering lady friend, Connie, played honestly by Latorious Givens.  Despite the potential of the juicy ménage a trois, Pracht’s sketchy rendition of their interaction comes off as simultaneously simplistic and overwrought.

Zach Kunde, Chuck Munro, Sean Harklerode, Charlie Diaz, Paul Chakrin Photos by Steve Graue

Apart from that relationship, the production features a gaggle of really fine character actors who bring lots of individual color to their roles.  They include Laura Coleman as Gaines’ wisecracking secretary, Shirley; actor Robin Treveno, who is especially engaging as the good hearted publisher, “Busy” Arnold; Paul Chakrin as Senator Robert C. Hendrickson, who led the congressional investigation against the comic book industry; and affable Andrew Bosworth, doubling both as Max’s friend, Frank, and as artist Jack Davis, whose work would later define the look of Gaines’ greatest success, Mad Magazine.

Andrew Bosworth, Megan Clarke Photos by Steve Graue

However, for me, the shining star of this production is Janice Valleau as Megan Clarke. Ms. Valleau was a talented female artist trying to get a foothold in a male dominated industry, and the creator of a pioneering female detective character. Ms. Clarke is an absolutely riveting performer, full of heart, smarts, depth, and personal fire. See her while you can, as Chicago off Loop theater will not be able to contain her for long.

Andrew Bosworth, Robin Treviño, Megan Clarke Photos by Steve Graue

The set, lighting and projection design by G. “Max” Maxin IV is the best I’ve seen from him in this space. Beth Laske-Miller adds some nice, accurate period elements to a slim costume budget. Music composition and sound design by Peter Wahlback were a great enhancement of the foreboding atmosphere. Finally, Tony Donley’s program cover and poster art captured the tone of the story brilliantly.

As his own director, Pracht does a very good job weaving all the elements of his production together, and giving his work a fine showcase.

As with the previous play in the trilogy, you don’t need to be a comic book nerd to enjoy this tale of creative expression battling conservative oppression. The Innocence of Seduction will seduce you as well.

With The Innocence of Seduction, City Lit Theater continues a 43 year tradition of bringing intelligent, literate stories to the Chicago stage.  In conjunction with this presentation, they also are presenting readings at libraries across Chicago and the suburbs of works from the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, which have been identified as the “Top Ten Most Challenged Books” facing censorship in libraries and schools. That series is called Books on the Chopping Block.  If you live in the Chicago area, be sure to check for a presentation near you.

The Innocence of Seduction continues at City Lit Theater in the Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 West Bryn Mawr in Chicago, through October 8th. For ticket information call (773) 293-3682 or visit www.citylit.org.

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Out of Town

“speaking of sneaking” Spins It’s Queer Folktale Web Fascinatingly at Buddies In Bad Times Toronto

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Weaving and bobbing, drawing chalk lines with a focused gyrating audacity, a fascinating dynamic radiates out from the central core of an all-encompassing plastic spider web. The actor/playwright squats and shifts his black-clad body close to the ground, teasing us almost to enter the web, and maybe get caught in its arms. It’s a sharply defined space to walk into, fantastically intricate but straightforward in its plastic sensibilities, created with thoughtful intensity by set + costume designer Rachel Forbes (Canadian Stage’s Topdog/Underdog). It makes us feel that we are inside something intimate and intensely important as we make our way to our seats in the main theatre at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto to see and get enveloped by the unveiling of speaking of sneaking.

The new play, performed and written by theatre artist Daniel Jelani Ellis (Buddies’ First Stone), comes alive slowly, seizing the stylistic moment that takes its time connecting. Deep inside this queer Black man’s ultimate navigation through folklore and reality-based hardship, the play shifts itself inward, as directed and dramaturged with a fiery fluidity by d’bi.young anitafrika (Trey Anthony’s ‘da kink in my hair) with a strong sense of movement and momentum by choreographer Fairy J (Obsidian/Canadian Stage/Necessary Angel’s Is God Is), from his youth in one “Yard” to another “Foreign” place, Canada. The tension and engagement are as tricky to outsmart as a folktale spider, that weaves out captivating stories with wisdom, knowledge, and power. The formula engages, even when it loses some captivating focus along the way.

Daniel Jelani Ellis in Buddies’ speaking of sneaking.Production photos by Jeremy Mimnagh.

Yet, it is a compelling web that is woven, ultimately feeling important and personal throughout the intersectionalities of identity and culture, playing with the deep multidiscipline unpacking of complicated self-discovery drawn from his familial Jamaican roots and the complexities of gender, sexuality, and class that creep out of the “Yard”. The performance is vivid and vital, frenetic and feisty, combining aerial light-footedness with dance, poetry, and all that lies in between. It attempts with a true heart and unending energy to captivate, and Ellis, as the determined Ginnal, manages, maybe not at first, but eventually, to take us in and snag us, as the web he weaves gets more grounded in the complications of survival alongside familial expectations.

Surrounded by barrels of regret and disappointment in himself, Ellis needs to keep weaving and weaving, “for me, not for you!” He shifts himself around the space, throwing his arms off balance but fully in control, collapsing his past and future from a spider-framed creation from Jamaica to a video web call rubbing his feet and seeing the future for a few PayPal donation dollars. The playful but ancient guide, “Anansi” lifted up from an Akan folktale slides in to the perspective to illicit shouts of “That’s enough” to the symbolic quarreling married sky and earth, trying to weave a web that will keep the collapse from occurring.

Daniel Jelani Ellis in Buddies’ speaking of sneaking.Production photos by Jeremy Mimnagh.

These folklore spider tales, which I knew little about, long ago sailed their way to the Caribbean by way of the transatlantic slave trade, and became a mythical model about skill and wisdom, giving praise to Anansi and his ability as a spider, to outsmart and triumph over any and all powerful opponents through the wise use of cunning, creativity, and wit. It’s no surprise Ellis as Ginnal digs into these formulations and folklore, basking in the delicately crafted light designed by André du Toit (Stratford’s R+J) with a strong sound design by Stephon Smith (B Current’s Wheel of the Year Walks). It will take all that cunning creativity to unpack the complexities of culture, homophobia, and ideas of masculinity that are weaved into his Jamaican “Yard” and the family that celebrates unity and care from way over there.

Wrestling with the fraught and trickster dynamics of survival in this new “Foreign” land, the expensive city of Toronto, Ginnal struggles with empty barrels waiting to be filled with donations of a different kind, feeling guilt and shame each time the phone rings. The spider steps in, initiating a journey towards liberation and freedom, after leaving one home to find another. The web is a complex construct, sometimes captivatingly embodied, sometimes not, with Ellis shifting from one well-formulated character to another, generally drawing us in as he straps himself in from above for this aerial journey, bungee jumping and creeping towards a new sense of home and acceptance.

Daniel Jelani Ellis in Buddies’ speaking of sneaking.Production photos by Jeremy Mimnagh.

Anansi was seen as a symbol of slave resistance and survival, turning the constraints of those plantation power dynamics around onto the controlling oppressors. Ellis embraces that energy, as he finds his way to generate dancehall-infused formulations by igniting cunning online trickery of his own. Through a compelling examination of colonial imprints on queer Jamaican identities by all those involved, as well as utilizing Afro-Caribbean-Tkarontonian storytelling aesthetics to elevate the spider mode of behavior and performance, the details of the intricate interweaving of bodies and family transcend the battle for survival and shifts it all into the flight for authenticity and identity. It has been written that the symbol of Anansi played a multifunctional role in the enslaved Africans’ lives, inspiring strategies of resistance to establish a sense of continuity with their African past and offering a context and formulation to transform and assert their identity within the darkened boundaries of captivity. It’s fairly clear how that energy resonates throughout the piece.

As he asks for world peace from a bachelor pad base camp created by new family members by choice, the weaving in of Granny Luna to “Petty Labelle” offers itself up into the sky wonderfully, ultimately capturing us in its complex web. Groundwork Redux and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre‘s production of speaking of sneakingdelivers, working its magic, eventually, fulfilling the folktale form with chaotic care. Through a Black queer lens, with the support of Buddies, Obsidian Theatre, and the Toronto Arts Council Black Arts Program, this new weaving finds its way into our collective consciousness, navigating itself through portals of neo-colonial contexts and out of the escape room axe throw party that might have destroyed him. The archetypal Jamaican Ginnal and the mythical African Anansi, together, discover and embody something akin to survival and connection. And in the weaving of that web, we find a different kind of soul rubbed true all for our wonderment and enlightenment.

Daniel Jelani Ellis in Buddies’ speaking of sneaking.Production photos by Jeremy Mimnagh.

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