The Spring Awakening of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Theatre Kids
One of the less inspiring things about the movement led by student
survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting has been
the conspiracy theory—proliferated in the swampy depths where such
things proliferate—that the students are actually “crisis actors.” It’s
a warped brand of trutherism that spread after Sandy Hook and has since,
as my colleague Eric Lach wrote this week, been
impossible to reason with. But that isn’t to say that the kids aren’t
actors. Cameron Kasky, the seventeen-year-old firebrand who started the
Never Again movement with his classmates, told Wolf Blitzer, “Well, if
you had seen me in our school’s production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ you
would know that nobody would pay me to act for anything.”
Taken aback, Blitzer responded, “ ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is a great—who
did you play, by the way?” (My question, too.) The answer was Motel the
Tailor, and Kasky, staying remarkably on-message, told him, “And I have
to tell you, what we’ve seen so far is a ‘Miracle of Miracles.’ ”
For former high-school-theatre kids, it’s a point of pride to see one of
our own elevated to civic hero. “All these kids are drama kids, and I’m
a dramatic kid, so it really meshes well,” Emma
one of Kasky’s compatriots, told Emily
(Kasky had just left drama class when the shooting began.) On Thursday,
the morning after Kasky asked Senator Marco Rubio if he would promise
not to take any more donations from the N.R.A. (he wouldn’t),
“Using my in flight chat to learn my Spring Awakening lines.” He was
referring to the Tony Award-winning rock musical from 2006, by Duncan
Sheik and Steven Sater. From the lines he posted (“can we at least
consider the fitness of the conjecture?”), it seems he’s playing the
lead, Melchior Gabor.
“Spring Awakening” had already been on my mind as I watched Kasky,
González, and their classmates show more moral clarity and vision than
we’ve seen in the gun debate for a long time. Based on the 1891 play by
the German dramatist Frank Wedekind, the musical shows what happens when
neglectful adults fail to make the world safe or comprehensible for
teen-agers, and the onus that neglect puts on kids to beat their own
path forward. The unregulated weapon, in the show, isn’t guns but sex.
Melchior and his classmates are burning up with hormones, but in a
repressive society that insists on ignorance over truth, sex is never
explained. It’s up to the kids to figure it out—badly. At the end of Act
I, Melchior and the object of his affection, Wendla, have sex, and when
Wendla becomes pregnant she has no idea why. “Why didn’t you tell me
everything?” she screams at her mother, who shuffles her off to a
In the musical’s final scene, Melchior visits the grave of his friend
Moritz, who killed himself under the weight of school exams and his
father’s expectations. “Moritz, my old friend,” he says, kneeling on the
grave. “Well, they won’t get to me. Or Wendla. I won’t—I won’t let them.
We’ll build that world, together, for our child.” He looks around at
“all these little tombs,” before discovering, to his horror, a fresh one
for Wendla. Attended by their ghosts, he sings
I’ll walk now with them,
I’ll call on their names.
And I’ll see their thoughts are known.
It’s hard to imagine watching “Spring Awakening” in Broward County, a
community where the living are indeed walking on for the dead. Like
Melchior, Kasky and his classmates have vowed to remake a world that
failed them—a role that no teen-ager should have to play, especially in
the wake of tragedy and trauma. We don’t find out what happens to
Melchior in the next scene, but I’d like to think that he goes back to
school and gives his Latin teacher the same look that Kasky gave Rubio
on Wednesday night—one that says that the world no longer belongs to the
grownups, because the kids have seen through the B.S. and know their
lives are on the line. (As for the kids in the town-hall audience, I
half-expected them to respond to Rubio with a lyric from the Act II
showstopper “Totally Fucked”: “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah.”)
As it turns out, Sater and Sheik began writing “Spring Awakening” in
response to the Columbine massacre. “I had heard that Cameron Kasky was
now playing Melchior,” Sater wrote me yesterday. “He has been so
eloquent and impassioned, alive with the force of truth—like Melchior
himself. I was just discussing that with Duncan earlier today.” (Sheik,
for his part,
“The Spirit of Wedekind lives on holding the feet to the fire of the
assholes in the @NRA and their cynical, small minded ilk!”)
“It was a real act of resistance, in 1891, when the angry young Frank
Wedekind first penned his ‘Frühlings Erwachen’ (‘Spring Awakening’),”
Sater said. “To this day, it remains the most scabrous indictment ever
written of adulthood. Of parents, teachers, and a clergy so invested in
their social prestige that they will sacrifice even their children to
protect it.” He went on, “Perhaps only Wedekind could have imagined,
among this ‘Columbine generation,’ a young hero, a Melchior, like Cameron Kasky, like Emma González, like Ryan
capable of standing so strong, of speaking the bald truth to the
ever-collected, if contorted, face of power. I know I am profoundly
affected to hear, in their simple demands, the play’s fierce original
spirit: ‘Why did you let them? You broke it. Fix it.’ ”
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February 23, 2018 at 07:12PM
A Boutique Five-Star Stay In Amsterdam: An Amsterdam Pulitzer Hotel Review
If you are looking for accommodations in Amsterdam that boast style combined with function, elegance mixed with fun, and relaxation while remaining family-friendly, then definitely check out The Pulitzer. The Pulitzer hotel brings all of the modern amenities you expect into a classic setting without infringing on the beautiful Dutch traditions that make the hotel such a landmark. Consisting of 25 interconnected canal houses (most of which date back to the mid-17th century), this beautiful property is an obvious winner for an unforgettable stay in Amsterdam.
The Pulitzer is the perfect home away from home. It provides five-star luxury in a boutique style hotel, and offers the perfect balance between hip/chic and pampered/relaxed; all the while, the staff looks after your every need, even before you think about it! There isn’t any of the “cookie-cutter” decor or services you might get at a chain hotel such as the Hilton or Sheraton because this property truly is one-of-a-kind. Nightly rates at the Pulitzer generally range between 250 to 300 Euro per night, but every penny is worth it as you’re sure to leave happy!
Each of its 225 rooms is designed in a unique fashion, designed in the hope that each one would showcase the traits of the original tenants who would have been families or small businesses. Whether it be music, literature, antiques or art, each room and suite has its own special flare that pays homage to the 400-year history of this property. Beyond the rooms, the service is far beyond what you would expect to find in almost any hotel in the city. From the bellhops to the front desk agents and from the busboys to the bartenders, each member of the hotel’s staff has an impeccable work ethic and helps to deliver that five-star experience you deserve.
There is also a phenomenal restaurant on the premises called Jansz, which delivers a fresh take on classic European dishes. A commitment to natural, simple ingredients places this restaurant as one of the most easygoing upscale dining experiences in the area. For a refreshing and organic coffee break or lighter meal, then stop in at the bright and open-concept restaurant, Pause. Pause is situated at a place inside the Pulitzer that offers stunning outdoor views and garden scenery, and it provides the perfect tranquil escape for an afternoon snack!
The entire hotel went through a period of significant remodeling and recently re-opened in the summer of 2016. A common favorite part of the remodeled renovations is the Pulitzer’s Bar, a cozy art-deco space with some great drinks, both old classics and new twists. The bar itself has very knowledgeable bartenders mixing up some truly unique cocktails, and there is a variety of seating to suit your mood or the size of your party.
Visitors also enjoy direct access to many favorite Amsterdam attractions from the Pulitzer. This property is located just a couple of blocks from the Anne Frank House, a ten-minute walk from Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, and a fifteen minutes walk from the Oude Church. Of course, a wealth of churches, museums, and relaxing cafes are located within an easy stroll from the Pulitzer’s quaint location on the canals.
Consult the Pulitzer’s dedicated concierge team to craft your personalized Amsterdam itinerary; they can help you with any type of adventure you have in mind. In fact, you may book a guided walking tour to see Amsterdam through the perspective of the locals. Additionally, the Pulitzer even has its own canal boat, lovingly named “the Tourist.” This 1909 style boat is arguably the best way to explore Amsterdam. However, if you’d like to explore the city by car, you may book your own personal limousine and driver who can direct you to all of the most exciting corners of the city.
Centuries of history coupled with an elegantly hip ambiance, melt-in-your-mouth food and impeccable service make the Pulitzer an absolute must for your next visit! In fact, the Pulitzer really is a microcosm of all things Amsterdam – and that’s what guests have loved about both the hotel and the city itself. Do yourself and your travel companions a favor and book in with the Pulitzer; it’s part of the quintessential Amsterdam experience!
Would you consider staying at The Pulitzer on your next trip to Amsterdam?[Image: pulitzeramsterdam.com]
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February 23, 2018 at 07:08PM
Oh, Shoot: Illustrations from the Biathlon Mixed Relay at the Winter Olympics
Edward Steed’s cartoons of the biathlon mixed relay at the 2018 Winter Olympics, in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
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February 23, 2018 at 06:36PM
Anbang, Owner of Waldorf Astoria New York, Seized by Chinese Government
Anbang purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York from Hilton in 2014 in a noteworthy deal. Now, the Chinese insurance giant has been seized by the Chinese government, and the company’s former chairman has been charged with “economic crimes.”
Over the last few years, the Beijing-based holding company made a series of high profile real estate purchases, including the acquisition of the properties like the Westin St. Francis and Fairmont Chicago. Anbang even attempted to purchase Starwood Hotels in 2016 but pulled out of the deal, leaving Marriott to purchase the hotel chain.
So now, the Chinese government technically “owns” the Waldorf Astoria New York. Anbang will be overseen by China’s central bank and a series of other government agencies for the next year.
Anbang paid nearly $2 billion for the legendary New York hotel, which has housed celebrities, presidents and other world leaders. The hotel has been closed since early 2017 for a project to turn 1400 rooms into apartments and refurbish other parts of the property.
The number of high dollar deals had the Chinese government worried, which lead to the takeover of Anbang on Friday. CNN reports that the Chinese government took control of Anbang because “illegal management and operation activities” were putting the business at risk. But, the authorities didn’t describe any details of the activities.
Anbang’s former chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was indicted by Shanghai prosecutors for “fraudulent fund-raising and improperly taking company assets.” Anbang had been the subject of an investigation since June 2017.
H/T: The New York Times
Featured image courtesy of Gordon Bell / Shutterstock.com.
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February 23, 2018 at 06:30PM
Strike Over, Air France Resumes Flights
Thursday’s Air France strike involving the carrier’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff has ended, and as of today, the carrier’s operations are slowly returning back to normal, according to a statement on its website.
The one-day strike disrupted the travel schedules of thousands of Air France passengers all over the world and will likely continue to do so for the next day or two, according to Michael Holtz, the owner of SmartFlyer, a global travel consultancy specializing in airlines.
“It usually takes an airline 24 to 48 hours to get back on track after a strike,” he said.
In the case of Air France, since the carrier anticipated the strike because workers had made clear that they would take action, Mr. Holtz said that the it likely held most of its planes in Paris, its home base. “Since the planes are sitting in Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, outbound flights from Paris should be up and running today or within the next day,” he said.
In-bound flights to Paris from long-haul destinations, however, could still be delayed for 48 hours, Mr. Holtz said, because the planes need to fly from Paris to reach those destinations in order to operate the routes. “Air France has a flight from Bangkok to Paris,” he said. “The plane needs to reach Bangkok from Paris, which takes more than ten hours, before it can fly the scheduled route.”
In fact, the carrier’s flight on that route is canceled today.
What should Air France’s customers do if the strike has affected them?
Passengers who have an Air France ticket issued on or before Feb. 19, for a flight operated by Air France or its low cost carrier Joon for travel on Feb. 22, can postpone their trip free of charge. If they choose to postpone their trip beyond Feb. 27, change their destination or origin or cancel their trip all together, Air France will issue a travel voucher that will be valid for one year; this voucher can be used for travel on Air France, Joon, KLM or Hop, another low-cost carrier, and is non-refundable.
But passengers who had their flight canceled because of the strike or had a flight delay of more than five hours because of it have the option to get a refund on their tickets. If they bought their ticket directly from Air France, they should go to the Refund section on the airline’s site to apply for one. But according to Air France’s site, if they bought their ticket through a travel agent or another source, they should seek a refund directly from their point of sale.
Fliers can find out about their rights as declared by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union by visiting the Assistance and Compensation section on the airline’s site.
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February 23, 2018 at 05:42PM
United Flight Skids off Runway After Being Diverted Twice
Passengers on a United Airlines flight experienced two diversions and a landing that took them off the runway in Green Bay, Wisconsin, early Friday morning.
United Flight 878 was bound for Minneapolis (MSP) from Houston (IAH) on Thursday evening. With a scheduled departure time of 7:40 p.m., the Boeing 737-900 didn’t take off until 9:33 p.m. Nearing its destination, the aircraft had to be diverted to Madison, Wisconsin (MSN) because of Minneapolis’ dangerous weather conditions.
After 45 minutes on the ground in Madison, the plane took off with Minneapolis in its sights. Radar images from FlightRadar24 show the 737 making multiple passes over Minneapolis. But again, the bad weather forced the plane to divert, this time to Green Bay (GRB).
When the plane landed at 3:15 a.m., the runway was so icy that the aircraft skidded about 250 feet off the tarmac, according to Tom Miller, director of Austin Straubel International Airport. No injuries of the 180 passengers or seven crew members on board were reported.
Just spoke to @KARE11 viewer Mike Henderson, on board United flight 878 headed for MSP, which slid off a runway in Green Bay after being diverted early this morning. Mike says everyone appears ok. pic.twitter.com/KobdVgHDMn
— Jeremiah Jacobsen (@jcjacobsen) February 23, 2018
“You couldn’t feel the brakes biting at all,” passenger Mike Henderson told KARE-TV. “And then all of a sudden bumpety bump, and we’re now sitting off in the weeds at the end of the runway.”
Passengers were offered the option of taking a bus to Minneapolis or waiting for a later flight from Green Bay. The FAA is currently investigating the incident.
Passengers waiting to get bags after plane headed to Minneapolis slides off runway at Green Bay Austin Straubel Airport. pic.twitter.com/vbAdPxCAaf
— Kristyn Allen (@KAllenWBAY) February 23, 2018
Featured image courtesy of Jacdec / Twitter.
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February 23, 2018 at 05:19PM
A Day at the Winter Olympics, in Pyeongchang
“They really shouldn’t have called it the Pyeongchang Olympics,” Jean Lee, a North Korea expert and a news analyst, told me recently, on our way to attend the twenty-third Winter Olympic Games, in Pyeongchang. “It sounds way too much like Pyongyang,” she said. The temperature was a bitter twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit when we arrived. The biting cold dictated the manner of dress: everyone was covered from head to foot. We cleared security (where my raisin bread was confiscated) and ambled along inch-thick burlap mats to the spectator area. Dozens of young people clad in orange parkas directed us with smiles and hellos. Peoples of all nations assembled, their attention fixed on the snowy mountainside.
We arrived just in time to hear the crowd roar as the American snowboarder Chloe Kim was announced victorious in the women’s half-pipe competition. A battery of cameras and microphones engulfed her father, who stood near us with other family members. He beamed as he answered questions. The area emptied as fans headed toward the bathrooms and concession stands where both “K Food” and “Western Food” were offered. (A more scrupulous copywriter, I thought, might have written just “W Food.”) Meanwhile, a warming house became packed to the gills with those seeking relief from the cold.
In the afternoon, we drove through the mountains to Gangneung Olympic Park, to the set of the “Today” show. Lee had been summoned to accompany the celebrity chef Judy Joo as she made churros for Kim, to celebrate her new gold medal. The U.S. speed skaters Mia Manganello and Jessica Kooreman were also there, standing backstage in their red, white, and blue jackets and their U.S.A. hats.
That night, we traversed winding mountain roads to Joo’s condominium near the Yongpyong Resort, where the alpine skiing events were taking place. Joo whipped up a delicious noodle dish and Korean mandoo, which we devoured before going to bed.
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February 23, 2018 at 05:18PM
Mexico’s Volaris Plots Central American Growth at Expense of Copa Airlines
A flight attendant shows off one of Copa’s Boeing 737-800s. The airline is facing new competition in Central America. Boeing
— Brian Sumers
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February 23, 2018 at 05:02PM
Dryguy Travel Dry DX Boot Dryer – Review
Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson’s backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou’s passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing — along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about
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February 23, 2018 at 04:47PM
Act Quick: Great American Award Availability to South America
If you’ve been wanting to get away to South America, AAct quick. American Airlines is showing great award availability on some of its routes from New York (JFK) and Miami (MIA) to several South American cities — including Rio de Janeiro (GIG), Buenos Aires (EZE) and Sao Paulo (GRU) — in business class at the sAAver level.
As reported by View From the Wing, American Airlines is showing great availability for not only one traveler but as many as four. So, not only can you get away, but you can bring the family or friends. Each of the tickets in business class will cost you 57,500 AAdvantage miles at the sAAver level plus taxes and fees. Alternatively, you could book with British Airways Avios or through Alaska Mileage Plan. Note also that some of the trips require a layover, and most are operated by an AA Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, featuring American’s best business-class product.
Here are some examples of the open availability we’re seeing:
New York (JFK) to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) for one person in April/May:
New York (JFK) to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) for four people in March/April:
New York (JFK) to Sao Paulo (GRU) for four people in April/May:
New York (JFK) to Buenos Aires (EZE) for one person in March/April:
Miami (MIA) to Sao Paulo (GRU) for one person in March/April:
It’s pretty rare that we see this much sAAver availability with AA on its routes to deep South America, so if you’ve been looking to book a trip, now is the time. For many of these routes, there are little to no fuel surcharges. So, you’re paying just the taxes on the ticket — or a bit more, depending on the ticket.
Note that if you’re able to snag one of these tickets and are traveling via JFK or MIA, you’ll have access to American’s new Flagship First lounges. If you’re lacking in American miles, remember you can transfer points from SPG to your American account. Plus, you can sign up for the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard which is currently offering a 30,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months of account opening. The card also gives 10% of your miles back every year, up to 10,000.
Featured image by Agustin Diaz via Unsplash.
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February 23, 2018 at 04:29PM