May 26 2015

Join me in the English Countryside



“Without music, life would be a blank to me.”
- Jane Austen, Emma

Come join the music and the dancing as Lady Bumbleton hosts one of two annual balls, the highlights of the English countryside social season.

For several months now, I have been working as co-producer of and as an actor in The Nieces of Lady Bumbleton an English country ball to be held at Chamberlayne Actor’s Theatre (CAT) on June 12 and 13.

We’ve described it this way:

The Nieces of Lady Bumbleton is a unique blend of theatre, historical recreation ball and social evening. Guests are invited to attend a ball at the home of Lady Bumbleton, in the English countryside, and will be attending as participants in the evening. While there, they will witness scenes which depict preparations for the very evening which they are attending, and have the chance to interact with many wonderful characters. The balance of the evening will consist of a full program of period dancing, savory fare, and delightful entertainments. The event will hold interest for anyone involved with theatre, music, history, literature, costuming, dance, or the like.

Detailed information, including information about two workshops to learn the dance, is available on the CAT Theatre website.


In this production, I’ve worked with my good friend, the actor who played Sherlock Holmes in last year’s production of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. His is the inspiration and the design behind this event. I have learned far more about the Regency era and about English country dance than I ever might have thought possible.

Although, truth be told, for the brief period of time in college that I was an English major, I study British literature and read Emma for the class. Okay, so maybe I really read the cliff notes.

But I’ve been reading Pride and Prejudice, and I’ve watched several film adaptions of Jane Austen’s work.

Come join us and be immersed in this wonderful time in history. A time when things were simple, yet elegant. Join in the dancing and the merriment.

If I am to be honest, I would much rather act than produce. But I am also being honest when I say that I have loved this process and the idea of creating something new and exciting.

It has not been without challenges. The most pressing challenge, of course, is the sale of tickets.

I can wait whilst you go get yours.

I do hope if you’re in the general area that you’ll join us on one or both nights.

Yes, I know Moliere wasn’t British and that he lived about a hundred years before the Regency era, but he has a point.

All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.
- Moliere

Help make the world a better place.  Come dance with us.


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May 25 2015

I’m in this picture

Washington DC. Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., joins hands with others at the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial in the hands across America celebration 5/25. the Washington Monument is in the background.  © Bettmann/CORBIS

Washington DC. Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., joins hands with others at the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial in the hands across America celebration 5/25. the Washington Monument is in the background. © Bettmann/CORBIS

No seriously, I really am.

It was Sunday, May 25, 1986 and we held Hands Across America. I joined a co-worker on the National Mall. We were there not far from Coretta Scott King, pictured above. Looking at the picture I’m somewhere on the edge of the water, about halfway down the right side.

I’m the one wearing the Hands Across America t-shirt.

The event raised awareness and people all across the continental U.S. lined up and stood for hours for fifteen minutes when they announced that “we did it.” We linked hands across the continent.

At least they said we did.

Not far from where I am, President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan linked hands across the porch of the White House.

In the pre-Internet days, this how we did activism. We couldn’t share videos where we dumped ice on our heads, or put on funny red noses and take our pictures, or talk about what color bra we’re wearing or where we’re moving in three months Or something like that.

We did this without the power of the Internet. And it was pretty cool.

Hands Across America raised $34 million for local charities to fight hunger, homelessness, and poverty. Most of this was raised by the $10 fee we all paid to be a part of the chain.

We didn’t end poverty. But helped and, perhaps more importantly, we raised awareness. And we crossed political boundaries to do so.

Standing outside on a warm spring day wasn’t really much of a sacrifice.

rememberToday is Memorial Day, and we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Freedom that allows us to stand and hold hands on a Sunday afternoon.

We have our flag flying from the front of our house today. It is a flag that once flew over the U.S. Capitol Building in honor of my father-in-law’s birthday. He preserved and displayed the flag and the certificate that came with it. Because we had arranged for the flag to be flown in DC, it came back to us when he passed.

Today it flies in honor of those who gave their lives for this country.

But we also fly it in honor of those who were prepared to do the very same, but thankfully, for us, they came back home. Here in our household, they include:

My father-in-law, Leonard, who was with the occupying forces in Japan during WWII.

My father, Marvin, who served in Germany after WWII and was later called back to Korea.

My stepfather, Cecil, who served in the Pacific Theater during WWII.

My uncle, James, who gave his life to military career and served around the world.

My aunt, Lulu, a Navy nurse who was one of the first six women to be allowed to ride in a submarine.

My friend, Matt, a Marine who served bravely in the first Gulf War.

My cousin, Josh, who served bravely in the second Gulf War.

None of these died in battle, but they were prepared to do so. And on this day, we honor them as well.

The list could be much longer.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on this day in 1803 (died 1882). He said:

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.

I am thankful to live in the home of the free, because of the brave.



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