Saturday, July 21, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Later in the day I went to an open house at the Cottage Living Idea House on Camp Street. This is a PRC project: a modular home that was constructed in about two days, but is completely historic in style. It is two stories, with some really amazing design elements, including a pantry with an old metal vault door, and a kitchen wall that doubles as a chalk board for to do lists. Three bedrooms, three baths. Listed at 595,000, and the proceeds go to restore homes in Holy Cross. This is the kind of thing people say can't be done.
And finally, I stopped into the CAC to catch the New Orleans Film Society's screening of Crazy Love, the documentary about Linda Riss and her crazy husband. It was actually quite funny.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
BY ANDREW STAUB
TIMES • shamrock writer
KINGSTON — The injuries that once made potential adopters cringe vaulted a dog named Thanos into local stardom Monday.
Thanos, a purebred 4-year-old pit bull from Pottsville, landed the role of villain Bill Sykes’ dog in the Performing Arts Institute’s production of “Oliver!”, outshining eight other tailed thespians in auditions held at the Wyoming Seminary Upper School campus on North Sprague Avenue on Monday.
The play will be presented at 8 p.m. Aug. 2 and 3 at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre.
From the moment director Bill Roudebush saw Thanos, he knew the dark brown dog that still bears the scars of past abuse fit the character perfectly. “It wasn’t even close,” Roudebush said. “From the minute he walked on campus, he had the part.” Because the actor who plays Sykes, 16-year-old Mike Radzwilla, Hanover Township, harbors a certain uneasiness around dogs, Roudebush needed to find a dog that looked the part of a ruffian junkyard canine but still had a sweet temperament.
Thanos proved he was a softy, licking those who petted him and gingerly taking treats or cheese from their hands. The lone sign of animosity came when Thanos uttered a soft growl when an approaching cameraman accidentally startled him. But at first glance, Thanos appears to be a dog suited to guard Alcatraz. Scars still linger where past owners lopped off the tips of his ears when he was a puppy and stemmed the bleeding from the infected wounds with fishing line, said Amy Eckert, of Pottsville, Thanos’ owner.
Before he was rescued from a cramped rabbit hutch four years ago and taken to the Hillside Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Pottsville, Eckert believes Thanos’ previous owners were breeding him to fight other dogs. The tips of his ears were cut off “to make him look meaner,” said Eckert, who works as a cruelty officer and owns Brierwood Boarding Kennels and Cattery in Pottsville. Those scars, Eckert said, made potential adopters pass by Thanos. Even now when other people pass Eckert and Thanos on the street, they avoid the dog, she said. “People wanted nothing to do with him,” Eckert said. But that wasn’t the case Monday, as people milled about Thanos; other dogs that Thanos had beaten even walked up to give him a good sniff or two.
“When I first saw him,” Radzwilla said, “I was kind of shaky toward him because he looks intimidating.” But after a few minutes with Thanos, Radzwilla looked comfortable feeding Thanos treats and scratching behind his ears.
Earlier in his life, Thanos was fearful of people touching his ears, but after training he has since learned that most people don’t want to hurt him, Eckert said. Now, Thanos spends time at SPCA events and nursing homes, working as a therapy dog. A last-minute decision brought Thanos to Kingston. Originally, Eckert just wanted to watch the auditions, but her friend, Sandee Ford of Mountaintop, convinced her to bring Thanos along. The rest was some Hollywood magic in Kingston.
As Thanos enjoyed the limelight — his new entourage pampering him like a star with a paw print on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — Ford couldn’t help but comment that Thanos’ life has certainly shifted for the better. “This is a fitting ending,” she said. Eckert looked on, as more bystanders indulged Thanos with treats. “Now,” Eckert said, “he’ll be a star.”
I'm putting together a fall tour beginning in October...and ending in November. Because of my work commitments, I've had to chop it down quite a bit for now:
Oct. 4: Octavia Books, New Orleans
Oct. 12: Booksmith, San Francisco
Oct. 13: Book Passage, Corte Madera
Oct. 14: Capitola Book Cafe, Capitola
Oct. 15: Powell's, Portland
Oct. 18: Wisconsin Library Association
Oct. 19: Chicago, TBA
Oct. 25: Astor Place Barnes and Noble, NYC
Oct. 26: NYC
Nov. 15: Prairie Lights, Iowa City
Nov. 16: St. Louis International Film Festival
I'm exhausted already. But I'm sure more dates are coming...
Sunday, July 15, 2007
And that's the perfect segue to this next bit. A group of people are planning a demonstration at the Cabildo tomorrow in Jackson Square, where GMA will be filming a closed-door town hall with John Edwards and a pre-selected representation of our town.
From the press release: New Orleans citizens, fed up with the resurgence of violent crime in their city, will stage a peaceful protest in front of the Cabildo on Jackson Square on Monday, July 16 at 6 a.m. to demand the resignation of District Attorney Eddie Jordan.
If you want more info, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org