Our staff is down at the moment, so submissions are closed, and a few other things are moving slower than normal for the wompus. That’s life in the small press lane.
We saw Selma in a downtown theater in Boston, today, on the day of the Oscars. When the movie ended there was a burst of applause from the audience, and not one soul stirred from their seats. We let the credits play out for a good long time before we finally straggled out. My only complaint with the movie is that it should have been longer. The story it tells is so trenchant, so deeply important and so fresh—fifty year old history—it deserved more detail. How the academy could have passed by David Oyelowo (who plays MLK in the movie) for a best actor nod is beyond me. And as for complaints about the movie’s portrayal of LBJ, I don’t recall anybody raising Cain when Mississippi Burning, or any number of other films concerning the civil rights movement in this country, slanted their view to white eyes. Why can’t we welcome one portrayal through black eyes, that for a change does not hijack the story with a white protagonist?
There is a lot of s$#% going on in the world at large right now. Let me just give a grateful nod to the people of Oslo, Norway, who turned out by the hundreds to make a “circle of peace” around a synagogue, organized by local Muslims in response to escalating acts of anti-Semitism in Europe. People of all stripes turned out for it. After services, outside the synagogue, the rabbi chanted Islamic prayers and the Imam sang Jewish prayers.
The way I felt listening to that story on the radio this morning, was the same way I felt when applause broke out in the mostly-white audience of Selma. Sometimes, for a fleeting moment, we behave as if we really do understand that we are, indeed, all one.
Here’s a little AWP teaser, for those of you planning on coming to Minneapolis in a few weeks: What do you get when you mix Cornelius Eady and his band, Zack Rogow, Christopher Shipman and his theater co-conspirators, Leah Umansky, and Robin Messing? You get a wompus of a cross-arts off-site! So save that Thursday evening, and join us for dinner, drinks and a hell of a good show. More details to follow…With love, sammy thanks to Grzegorz Wysocki for his photo of the synagogue in Oslo, Norway