Category Archives: People

One man-play about late Supreme Court Justice is Thorough(ly)good

A one person play. Haven’t been to very many of these, and was a tad skeptical after accepting an opening night invitation to a production about the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

How in the world would a one-man play keep my attention for 90 minutes? I doubted it was possible. But I was open to the idea, else I wouldn’t have left home for Olney Theatre Center as the rain fell that evening.

Curiosity is what drove me through that rainfall.  I wanted to see if I’d learn a little something-something new about the first black United States Supreme Court Justice. I had never seen a play about Thurgood Marshall. Never read a book about him either. Never have really done much study about him aside from Brown v. Board of education section in history books, and an occasional browsing of the Internet. Outside of that, my knowledge about this legal icon of the civil rights movement was paltry.

Didn’t know his first name was Thoroughgood before he shortened it to Thurgood.

Didn’t know he was married two times. Didn’t know his first wife died of cancer at age 44. Didn’t know they dealt with a few miscarriages.

I did know he went to Howard University because the University of Maryland law school didn’t admit tax-paying black folks because of their blackness. In place, ostensibly, was a separate but (not) equal facility for training black lawyers. Some tried to pass it off as good enough.

But it wasn’t. And Thurgood Marshall became a force of intention to change that by using the law as a weapon to achieve actual equal justice under the law instead of some oppressive, inequitable, pseudo-facsimile. After all, those words “Equal Justice Under Law” were (and still are) engraved into the front of the Supreme Court building.

The theater was cozy and intimate, and the actor who portrayed Marshall, Brian Anthony Wilson, managed to pull in this one-man-play doubter and convince her that even her (my) attention could be held for 90 minutes with one man talking the whole time.

And Justice Marshall’s theatrical mouthpiece reeled me in from start to finish. First he’s as an older gentleman, slightly lumbering and leaning on a cane, then memories spring forth along with a more animated, agile gait in tandem with lively words, Wilson-as-Marshall leads a trip back in time to his younger years.

Childhood in Baltimore.
College days.
Rejection by the University of Maryland School of Law.
Howard University Law days.
The footwork required to build what would become Brown v. Board of Education case.
Marriage and sacrifices.
His first wife’s death.
His second marriage and children.
Supreme Court appointment.

That’s a sketch of what the play covers in 90 minutes. However, there are so many events, solemn and defining moments, and slathers of good humor in between those lines. And a reminder, in my mind, that while the law can intentionally be used as a weapon to bring about justice for all, it can also be wielded, depending on the benched interpreter, as a weapon to roll back the march toward justice for all.

I hate to end on that depressing note, so I’ll end with a surprise:

As I left a post-play reception, I opened the doors on my way out of the main theater building.  Two people were also opening the doors in the opposite direction.
Well, whaddya know? One of them was “Thurgood!” Or Brian Anthony Wilson. And he consented to a selfie! 🙂

Lookie who I ran into on my way out of the building? Theatrical Thurgood!

Check it out Thurgood at Only Theatre Center!
By: George Stevens, Jr.
Directed by:  Walter Dallas
July 19-August 20
Tickets: $55-$70. (Prices depend on selected day/time.)

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Antonio Sabato, Jr. talks politics, a possible office run, what he thinks the U.S. Needs for unity

Interview with actor, model and entrepreneur Antonio Sabato, Jr. as entertainers geared up for party at MGM National Harbor the night of the inauguration to honor the military and their charities. Sabato stopped by the WTOP studios for a chat the night before the 2017 Inauguration.

Listen to the interview:

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Celebrating music and stories that changed America

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Museum of History and Culture opened with lots of fanfare in September.

Tonight… a two-hour star-studded show to celebrate what the museum is about. A conversation about tonight’s show with Tasha Coleman, Senior Manager of Counsel Relations and Special Initiatives at the museum.

A preview of tonight’s extravaganza

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QFBR: Measure of a Man

Person: Martin Greenfield; Maximilian Grunfeld
Thing: This book—Measure of a Man; a well made suit
Place: Pavlovo, Czechoslovakia; Concentration camps—Auschwitz, Buna, Buchenwald, Baltimore, Brooklyn… Various locales.
Idea: Grace makes an improbable life wonderfully possible.

Martin’s life started in Czechoslovakia. He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, but Martin says their faith wasn’t especially zealous. Life was good. They worked their own farm, took care of their livestock and even employed workers.

Then the trains arrived… and scuttled Martin’s family away. His mom, baby brother, younger sister and grandparents were sent in one direction. His other sister—taken away as well.

And then there were two. Martin and his dad. But they, too, were separated.

Martin never saw them again.

He survived Auschwitz, brutal marches through the snow, and Buchenwald, which is where Americans liberated them.

Martin’s main question through the succession of atrocities: “Where was God?”

His life took a few twists and turns after liberation–a stint in the Czech army, making a living as a cigarette runner, and meeting young ladies and having fun.

Martin was working as an auto mechanic when a letter arrived from the United States. He got someone to translate it, and learned he had extended family across the Atlantic.

Eventually, he settled in Brooklyn, worked for the suit maker GGG, a company with a client roster that included many high-profile Hollywood names.

Martin married, worked his way up the GGG ladder, and eventually purchased the company and re-named it.

Some have said Martin’s top-notch, made to measure suits are the best in the world. Repeat clients include U.S. presidents, Hollywood stars, athletes, and late night TV hosts.

Martin, whose family was almost decimated by hate, now runs the business with his sons. He notes how grace afforded the opportunity to create another family to love and nurture. Though there were MANY opportunities for death to smother him during World War II, it wasn’t able to snuff his existence.

After decades of hard work, opportunity, and success, and a bar mitzvah at age 80, Martin says he’s “left with nothing but gratitude for my life. Some things, it turns out, are beyond measure.”

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From bubble butt to Giant to TV powerhouse: Michael Strahan’s tips for happy living

Once upon time, his brothers and their friends called him Bob.

Yes, his name is Michael.
No, Bob isn’t an obscure, ages-old shortcut.

But a younger Strahan was a little fluffy around the edges, but didn’t realize it until one of their friends asked Michael if he knew why they called him “Bob”.

He didn’t.  So this friend, Anthony, told him.

Bob stood for “Booty on Back.” Anthony informed Michael it was because he was fat.

Wow. Kids can be cruel.

In his book Wake Up Happy, Strahan shares his road to transformation from that boy with the bubble butt to NFL star…

It was followed by another reinvention after he retired from football and slid into a television career. Don’t get it twisted… This dippy slide was peppered with bumps with lessons.

But no matter what, Strahan contends it’s possible to wake up happy. He shares 18 ways to do so that are supported by lessons from his life.

Here are three that stand out most:

“Rule #1: Help can—and will—come from the most unexpected places. Be open to everything around you.”

“Rule #3: Grit, desire, and discipline are free and the only equipment you need to start just about any endeavor you’ll set out to do.”

“Rule # 12: Listen to other people, but don’t take their opinions for fact. Have your own experiences. Draw your own conclusions.”

I recommend this book because Strahan isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with this read. He’s just sharing his man’s journey to happiness… Through bumps and bruises, pain, mistakes; and openness about the areas  he still wants to improve.

Seems it might be a tad cumbersome to remember 18 different rules for navigating life, but these rules could serve as handy reminders to stay persistent if you want to do more, achieve more.  It’s natural to  sometimes have doubts or feel stuck in doldrums, but it’s also possible to still live smack-dab in happy’s face even while yearning and working for certain aspects of the life you desire to fall into place.

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Ziggy Marley and ‘Fly Rasta’ tour swing through D.C.

ziggy on wtop
Click image for more on wtop.com

WASHINGTON — Even though Bob Marley has been gone 33 years, the reggae pioneer remains legendary within the genre. His influence lives on through his children and fans around the world.

One of his sons, Ziggy Marley, continues to make a stylistic imprint in the reggae realm and beyond. He’s won six Grammy Awards – three with The Melody makers, a group that included brother Stephen and sister Cedella, and three for solo projects, including his 2009 children’s album, “Family Time,” and for last year’s live album, “Ziggy Marley in Concert.”

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