Join my crusade! Smoke Free Theater in Dayton!

I just heard back from Marsha Hanna, Artistic Director and Smoker in charge, of the Human Race Theater Company- she sees no reason to eliminate the final lighting of a cigarette in “Moonlight and Magnolias.”

I say it’s totally unacceptable and glamorizes a filthy habit.

I’ve proposed not lighting the cigarette- after all, the actors aren’t drinking real booze, using real guns- or having rain on stage when an umbrella and the sound of rain works.

Still no.

The scene could just as easily be played by any actor worth his salt, by just kicking his feet up on the desk, with hands behind the head. But, Marsha says the real character was a chain smoker. Well then, why didn’t he smoke at any other time during the play- which was the story of being locked in a room for a week to rewrite the script for “Gone with the Wind”?

Still no.

So- tonight between 7:15 and 8pm- I plan to be on the street in front of the Loft- with a sandwich board- and passing out ballots to patrons asking if they think a lit cigarette really is absolutely needed to end a side-splitting play.

If you’d like to join me in my crusade- I’d appreciate the company. I’ve sent an e-mail to the Board members I know- and am hoping the Board takes a stand for a smoke free theater production of “Moonlight and Magnolias” tonight.

Please feel free to add your comments below.

Or send Marsha an e-mail: [email protected]

Here is a link to a printable “ballot” like the jpg image above: Printable PDF of the Ballot against smoking on stage

THE PRESS RELEASE:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
29 Sept 2006

CRUSADE AGAINST GLAMOURIZING SMOKING IN THEATERS

DAYTON: They call themselves “The Human Race Theatre Company” and tonight they open their production of “Moonlight and Magnolias” at 8pm. Standing outside, will be a hastily organized group of protesters asking Artistic Director Marsha Hanna to kick her habit of having actors light up on stage- as the main character in this play does in the very last seconds of the play. The protest will run from 7:15 till 8pm in front of The Loft Theater, 126 N. Main Street Dayton.
Esrati attended a preview on Wednesday and thought the play was amazing, fantastically acted and performed and side-splitting funny, all up to the scene where the character lights a cigarette. “There was no reason to introduce smoking into the story- we had just witnessed a “week in the life” of this character- where he never once lit up, or mentioned cigarettes even though he was locked in a room with two other lunatics trying to re-write the script to “Gone with the Wind” says Esrati who is a strong proponent of making Ohio a smoke-free state. “The actor’s action glamorizes smoking for no good reason, and could easily be taken out of the play without changing the nature of the play- simply putting his feet on the desk and hands behind his head- with a sigh, would accomplish the exact same thing.”
Artistic Director Hanna, a smoker, disagrees, saying that the character in real life was a chain smoker. This isn’t the first time these two have had discussions about the need to light a cigarette on stage, Esrati has made the suggestion to explain to the audience in the introduction that they can use their imagination to see smoke, in the same way that they have to imagine it’s real booze in the bottles and stage guns aren’t real.
The peaceful protestors will hand out “Ballot” flyers to patrons asking them to weigh in on the necessity of lighting cigarettes on stage- and to consider asking health sponsors like Premier Health Partners, Humana, First Dayton Orthopedists, Inc and Health Care Interventions, to withhold sponsorship if the Human Race can’t quit smoking on stage.
30#

For more information – contact David Esrati, 937.361.1074 or [email protected]
He wrote about this on his blog: http://esrati.com/?p=145
You can reach the Human Race Theatre Company at 937.461.3823

Beam yourself to the Loft!

Just got home from seeing “Moonlight and Magnolias” at the Loft- a play, staged by The Human Race Theater Company.

It’s on through Oct. 15, 2006.

If you miss it, you are making a huge mistake.

Funny beyond belief, great acting, and amazing performances. I’m not going to say anything about the story line- but there wasn’t a single person in the room that wouldn’t tell you DON’T MISS THIS PLAY.

It’s one of those “It’s great in Dayton” things- if this was in NYC it would cost 3x more- and be much harder to get a ticket.

Only note: Marsha Hanna- Actors don’t have to light a cigarette in a play anymore than they have to shoot a real gun, or be in real rain on stage. With all that paper on the set- it’s a fire hazard- and some of us don’t want to smell that stink. Young people will see this play- they don’t need to see someone smoking.

The “Shuffle Ball”- Rhythm in Shoes this Saturday.

I have to be at a wedding in Columbus this Saturday, Sept. 23rd- but if I wasn’t- I’d be at the Rhythm In Shoes Shuffle Ball. Good times, great dancing, fun and DCDC will be there too.

Dayton’s prodigal mime and tap king, Nate Cooper will be there too- so if you don’t know what to do this Saturday night- head down to the Victoria for a good time.

Rhythm In Shoes » Blog Archive » What’s Next

Don’t miss Toxic Audio in Springfield Sept. 30

I saw them earlier this year at The Human Race Theater Company (I refuse to spell it “Theatre”) and they were amazing. I send a glowing e-mail to all my friends and those who went- agreed.

Amazing. Here is a link to the site and more info:

Toxic Audio Exploring The Boundaries of the Human Voice
September 30, 2006
Springfield Arts Council – Springfield, Ohio
Clark State Performing Arts Center, Kuss Auditorium 8 PM
300 S. Fountain Avenue in downtown Springfield.
tickets at 937-328-3874 (toll-free 866-PAC-TKTS), online at www.pactkts.com
Info at www.springfieldartscouncil.org

Just another thing to do in Dayton (and vicinity) on a Saturday night.

Terrified of terrorists?

To our fear driven President:

Drunk drivers kill more Americans than terrorists.

Poor health care kills more Americans than terrorists.

Cigarettes kill more Americans than terrorists.

Terrorists killed 3000 innocent Americans- you have killed well over 10x that many innocent Iraqis, and are approaching killing 3000 servicemen and women in your campaign of fear mongering.

You are killing our economy for the common man while making the rich- more rich.

You, sir, are the terror threat to democracy- because as the gap between the rich and the poor widens, we will be facing a more dangerous threat to America than terror- we will be facing lawlessness run amuck on our streets as the foreclosed and jobless take to the streets to fend for themselves- whilst you keep reminding us of the terrorist under the bed.

Our grand country was founded on dissent- yet today, it is unfashionable. Our country was founded on the premise of individual freedoms- but those are slipping away under your reign.

If all men are created equal- we must strive to at least give them a chance to have the same equal and basic access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness- in that, Mr. President, you are a complete and utter failure.

I fear you more than I fear any terrorist- unlike the terrorists, I know you have WMD’s.

What is GetDownDayton?

I stumbled across this site from a stale link on Nan Whaley’s blog- and find that we have a new publication in town. No easy RSS to it- so I probably won’t be following it closely- but, who knows- it may be a nice addition to the media market.

GetDownDayton – Contact
What is GetDownDayton.com?

GetDownDayton.com is your link to Dayton lifestyle. Our main goals are to make life easier, promote your events, and provide a venue to discuss, or vent about, anything ranging from the restaurant you were at last night, to your mom’s new (really small) dog.

It’s a fully searchable community internet portal. We have full bar and restaurant directories, with instant maps, numbers, and often links to stories about a particular restaurant.

We produce daily enterprise video and print reports on your events, and your feedback. We hope you visit the forums to talk about our stories, find new friends, and promote your events. We also hope you let us know of any errors in the directories, or if we’re missing something. These are constantly evolving directories, and we need you involved to make them perfect!

Live large and cheap in Dayton OH- or it was an amazing weekend

Greek Fest, Italian Fest, OSU beat Texas, Dave Chappelle has Erykah Badu out to Yellow Springs for a show- if you can’t find something fun to do around here, it’s on you.

Here are a few pictures:Dancing at the Greek Festival Everybody dances at the Greek Fest.

Dave Chappelle chats with his neighbors and fans at the AACW Blues Fest. Dave Chappelle talks with his friends and neighbors-

This doesn’t happen in LA or NYC people. That’s why Dave Chappelle chose to come home- and a whole lot of people really appreciated him on Sunday night.

September 11, 2001

I wrote how I felt that day- and sent it on its way.

Someone else forwarded it to the Dayton Daily News who published it with their name attached.

To this day- Osama Bin Laden hasn’t shown up on my doorstep for his ass whuppin.

Our country was the most united it’s ever been five years ago- unfortunately, I can’t say that today. The world loved us then- and today I can’t say they still do.

We’ve given up our liberties in the name of a false “patriotism”- and re-elected a man almost as mad as Bin Laden. Hopefully, this November, voters will send a message to the Republicans that their reign of fear is over- and we can start making real progress by bringing our troops back from Iraq, stopping the pillaging of our wealth by the privileged few, and try re-learning diplomacy (without using guns).

I still love this country-  here is what I wrote the morning of September 11, 2001 and sent on its way via e-mail:

September 11, 2001

To my fellow Americans,
Today, my country was attacked.
Not by warriors flying under their colors-
Or by armies of men fighting for what they believe –
But by faceless cowards, who think that what they believe in means a damn thing.
While many of us believe in a higher power- it is universally accepted that a higher power is a positive force. These idiots somehow think that what they do here on earth will bring them glory in the eyes of their higher power. They are mistaken.
Only madmen believe that acts of evil are somehow redeeming.
I grieve for those who have died today.
They weren’t warriors, they were innocent people with families, children, parents, friends- they were like you and me, they were Americans.
Many of us identify ourselves by what we do, what our color is, who are favorite football team is or where we hail from in our grand country. We are a diverse bunch, but when things like this happen- we must remember, we are all Americans.
We have our differences- but while some madman is jumping up and down with glee thinking he has stuck a mortal blow, we must all come together and reaffirm: We will not bow, we will not flinch, we will not change our way of life.
We are Americans and we accept all challenges to our way of life with dignity. We are not ashamed of what we do, we do not hide behind an imagined moral righteousness, we believe in the words of our pledge: liberty and justice for all.
We have faced greater evil by men more mad, we have fought the world’s battles and won. We have become the most powerful nation in the world not by anything other than our shared resolve to be a place where freedom is sacred, and the rights of the individual come first.
If this e-mail by chance ends up in the hands of those responsible for today’s act of cowardice, and I hope it does. I welcome you to my neighborhood. You will find the finest people on the planet. You can walk safely in the company of people from all races, religions and socio-economic status. And when you do- you can come and find me- and tell me to my face why you did this- and you can bring your sword, wave it in my face, tell me all the reasons why you think you had a right to kill my brethren, and then try your luck on someone who wasn’t sitting in an office, minding their own business, doing their small part in the play called life.
You may win, you may lose, but if I die, there will be millions more just like me who will take your challenge and in the end you will die, and no one will shed a tear.
You will go down in the annals of history as just another petty punk who thought you were more important than the rest of us sharing this planet.
Rest assured, that the more of us you kill, the more we will stand united in our belief in our way of life, and it will continue.
If you decide to show your face- be prepared to meet your higher power, because we are and will continue to be proud Americans.

My name is David Esrati, 113 Bonner St, Dayton OH 45410

You may add your name to the list and forward this- we will not bow, we will not flinch, we will not change our way of life.

Dr. Schuster should stick to medicine

What are downtown Dayton’s problems? Who will step up to solve them?
A Q&A WITH DR. BENJAMIN SCHUSTER
What are downtown Dayton’s problems? Who will step up to solve them?

Today’s Dayton Daily News has an interview of Dr. Benjamin Schuster by Jeff Bruce about state and future of Downtown.
Dr. Schuster has three ideas of what needs to be done:

  1. Tear down buildings and make more parking.
  2. Regional government.
  3. Hide the homeless.

With ideas like that- he should try running for the presidency- if morons in leadership positions are still in vogue, this doctor is prepared to be a giant.
Schuster was a patsy for the powers of Second and Main to “solve” their “problem” of an impressive collection of prime buildings for an urban conversion- the Lazarus building. Mead, Danis and Virginia Kettering needed another “Class A” building on the corner to solidify their holdings. They found their savior in an old man who had 8 million lying around- and liked a good seat for the symphony.
Don’t get me wrong- Dr. Schuster’s donation to the city was a grand gesture, however, the Schuster Center could have been placed in two locations that would have had greater economic development impact- to the North of Fifth street at Main.
The logic for the different location? By adding the halls of Schuster to the Convention Center, and being close to our zoning challenged Oregon District entertainment hub- we could have built a solid core of evening destination locations and been better poised to host large conventions. When combined with the existing Transportation center garage- the Crowne Plaza, the neon, we could have had the start of our own Times square like corridor from Main to Wayne on Fifth- if we had built the ball field at Fifth and Wayne – it would have been a year round powerhouse.
To top it all off – we would have been ADDING to downtown, instead of REPLACING.
The Lazarus building was an OPPORTUNITY for loft housing, it HAD a PARKING GARAGE it HAD ground level RETAIL space- and it had the historic character that “The Greene” will never match.
Tearing down buildings isn’t an answer. It wasn’t in the Sixties either. The buildings that the Convention Center replaced could have been concert halls- jazz clubs- dinner theaters- instead we have an impersonal windowless building which encourages people NOT to walk on the sidewalk- but instead to park and hide from Downtown in a skywalk.
Schuster does get that we need regionalism- but then he keeps talking about the Downtown Dayton Partnership and the Chamber of Commerce- two more independent fiefdoms in the milieu of minions “stewarding” our future. What we truly need is leaders who are willing to stop kowtowing to the loudest screamers – and that understand that to get more power as a region- we have to give up some.
I find Dr. Schusters comments about “screening” the homeless offensive. His eight million could have made a huge impact providing solutions for the homeless- a low-interest home loan program to help people not get their homes taken by predatory lenders, credit counseling, training programs, etc. Here is his quote in it’s entirety:

Absolutely. I’ll give you another example. We’re trying to entice businesses to come downtown. Every day when I drive to Kettering Hospital, I drive along Patterson Boulevard and I look at the homeless people. My heart goes out to them. I really feel for them, but what gets me is they’re lying on the streets, they’re lying against the building, they’re in groups, and we don’t even have proper screening, we don’t have any trees or bushes which can shield these people from people driving downtown, because they get the wrong perception of what the city is really like. As you get closer and closer to downtown, the picture gets a little worse in my opinion.

I’m sure he can still afford some trees and bushes if he really thinks this is the answer.
He must not vary his route in and out of Downtown either- since he says “There isn’t very much in the way of decent restaurants downtown.” I’ll be glad to take him to Coco’s, Blue Moon, Thai 9, Pacchia Prima, Café Boulevard, Thai 9, Jays, Benhams, Therapy Café, The Dublin Pub, Franco’s, Brixx Ice House, Yummy Burger, The Flying Pizza, The Pine Club, Old Hickory, Dominics, Tanks, or maybe it’s just his palette in food matches his ideas in renewal- only faux food out of plastic packages like “The Cheesecake Factory” and TGI Fridays count? (And I apologize to any independent restaurant I left out of my short list)- oh yeah, in case Dr. Schuster is afraid to go out amongst the homeless people- he can always have Dayton’s Original Pizza Factory deliver one of the amazing gourmet pizza’s- since he is in the delivery area- I highly recommend the Reuben, Chicken Cordon Bleu and the Pesto Pizzaz for starters.

If he wants to see more restaurants pop-up overnight here is the answer:

  • Eliminate the cap on liquor licenses in the Oregon District
  • Eliminate the zoning requirements for parking spaces within x distance of buildings in the district
  • Ease building codes to facilitate re-use of historic spaces (only require 1 handicapped bathroom instead of 2 for small spaces, allow less expensive sprinkler systems etc)
  • Build the Schuster parking garage just West of Gem City Records and North of Jays- with ground level retail, restaurants and dance clubs facing the rail tracks, and luxury housing on top.
  • Endorse the light rail system for car-less people moving around the core attractions downtown.

If Dr. Schuster wants to learn about solutions to Downtown’s “problems” (instead of being one of them) he should consider joining Grassroots Greater Dayton– a progressive think tank looking at innovative solutions to stop sprawl and create smart growth strategies. He might also try sitting down with some people who could “school” him on how we make all this work.
Tearing down downtown, either with words or wrecking balls isn’t part of the solution Sir Schuster.

Free websites that make dating in Dayton a little easier

So- you’ve tried Match.com, Matchmaker.com, Yahoo! Personals, Friend Finder, eHarmony, Jdate, Bikerkiss etc- all the personal sites have one major problem- they all charge money- and the person who might be perfect for you- isn’t on the one you are on- when you are looking- so- dating in Dayton doesn’t have to be expensive- it can be free!

Not that I’ve had a ton of success – but, I have made a few very good friends that way. So- I offer two ways to meet people that are free:

www.plentyoffish.com is a free dating site that is far from slick- but, it does have the advantage that anyone who is on it- can write you back (unlike most pay sites- where they leave people’s profiles up who aren’t paying and can’t respond). The search functions are mediocre- it does really awful things to pictures in the preview mode (think funhouse mirrors)- but, if everyone who was on a pay site in this town covered their bets with a posting on the free site- I bet we’d have more successful hook-ups.

The second site is for the hipsters- and is much more than a dating site. CraigsList.com is the bomb in major cities- attracting the literati and the forlorn to write some of the coolest freeform ads- unfortunately – although it’s been up in Dayton for a while- mostly people who have lived elsewhere seem to know about it.

It’s a great place to sell a car, rent a room, make friends, find a job- and it allows people to self govern the site- check it out:

craigslist: dayton classifieds for jobs, apartments, personals, for sale, services, community, and events

As always- be careful on these sites- don’t use an e-mail address that is traceable back to you- or to work (get a free hotmail, yahoo or my fave- gmail account). E-mail the person a few times- then meet in a very public place- and make it planned for a very short time- half-hour or an hour tops. Then agree if you’d like to meet again. Great places to meet are a coffee shop, the Dayton Art Institute, the Air Force Museum, bookstores, etc. Only give your number- once you are very comfortable.

And- please- if you are a woman- do not take your eyes off your drink at anytime- a friend was once date raped by someone she met on a pay dating site- by someone who seemed very professional and legitimate.

You won’t read about Craig’s list in the Dayton Daily News because they still derive a lot of their revenue from classified advertising- but, trust me- it’s a great resource.

And here is one more: OKcupid.com it’s free, seems to have half-way intelligent people on it- and is kind of fun. You take surveys to match you to potential mates. Have at it.