Wyshynski’s Weekly Reader: Brian Boyle’s tearful triumph

Wyshynski’s Weekly Reader: Brian Boyle’s tearful triumph
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Liv Tyler Named Face of Triumph Essence Lingerie

TYLER’S TRIUMPH: Liv Tyler has been named the face of Triumph International’s Essence range. She is to appear in advertising for its fall 2017 campaign wearing items from the Triumph Essence brand, photographed by the British photographer Rankin.
This is her first initiative with the brand as well as the first time the label has named a face after its range. Previous Triumph faces include Helena Christensen, Jessica Hart and Daisy Lowe.
The company’s Essence range is a premium offering with the season’s theme of “Opulent Art Nouveau.” Tyler will be pictured wearing styles designed in leavers lace, velvet embellished mesh and silk satin.
RELATED STORY: Liv Tyler Discusses Fashion, Belstaff and Film in London >>
Tyler said the Essence collection “special and has both a playful, feminine and chic style.”
Suzanne McKenna, global head of brand at Triumph, called Tyler “a modern woman in every sense, a mother and actress with a fierce sense of femininity that women across the world can relate to,” McKenna said.
Tyler is filming “Gunpowder,” a TV miniseries starring Kit Harington and Mark Gatiss and worked on Fritz Böhm’s “Wildling,” which features Brad Dourif and Bel Powley. She has teamed with brands in the past such as Belstaff and was

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The season of Russ: Westbrook’s epic tale of triple-double triumph

The season of Russ: Westbrook’s epic tale of triple-double triumph
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Saucony NYC Triumph ISO Running Shoe – Mens

Saucony NYC Triumph ISO Running Shoe – Mens


The Runners World Editors Choice Triumph ISO is the pinnacle neutral trainer and is truly engineered to make you want to run
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Saucony NYC Triumph ISO Running Shoe – Mens

Saucony NYC Triumph ISO Running Shoe – Mens


The Runners World Editors Choice Triumph ISO is the pinnacle neutral trainer and is truly engineered to make you want to run
List Price: $ 104.95
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Your Name Here Planner – Triumph Calendars

Your Name Here Planner – Triumph Calendars


The ultimate in personalization! Create a unique, personalized calendar for your customers or employees. Their name appears in the image and your ad copy shows below it on the outside front cover. 2015 Calendar. Choose from over 70 images. Mix and match mulitple images within your order. Top markets: insurance, healthcare, technology.
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Triumph: Life After The Cult–a Survivor's Lessons

Triumph: Life After The Cult–a Survivor's Lessons


The author of The New York Times bestseller Escape returns with a moving and inspirational tale of her life after she heroically fled the cult she’d been raised in, her hard-won new identity and happiness, and her determination to win justice for the crimes committed against her family. In 2003, Carolyn Jessop, 35, a lifelong member of the extremist Mormon sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), gathered up her eight children, including her profoundly disabled four-year-old son, and escaped in the middle of the night to freedom. Jessop detailed the story of her harrowing flight and the shocking conditions that sparked it in her 2007 memoir, Escape. Reveling in her newfound identity as a bestselling author, a devoted mom, and a loving companion to the wonderful man in her life, Jessop thought she had put her past firmly behind her.             Then, on April 3, 2008, it came roaring back in full view of millions of television viewers across America. On that date, the state of Texas, acting on a tip from a young girl who’d called a hotline alleging abuse, staged a surprise raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a sprawling, 1700-acre compound near Eldorado, Texas, to which the jailed  FLDS  “prophet” Warren Jeffs had relocated his sect’s most “worthy” members three years earlier. The ranch was being run by Merril Jessop, Carolyn’s ex-husband and one of the cult’s most powerful leaders. As a mesmerized nation watched the crisis unfold, Jessop once more was drawn into the fray, this time as an expert called upon to help authorities understand the customs and beliefs of the extremist religious sect with which they were dealing.             In Triumph, Jessop tells the real, and even more harrowing, story behind the raid and sets the public straight on much of the damaging misinformation that flooded the media in its aftermath. She recounts the setbacks (the tragic decision of the Supreme Court of Texas to allow the children in state custody to return to their parents) as well as the successes (the fact that evidence seized in the raid is the basis for the string of criminal trials of FLDS leaders that began in October 2009 and will continue throughout 2010), all while weaving in details of her own life since the publication of her first book. These include her budding role as a social critic and her struggle to make peace with her eldest daughter’s heartbreaking decision to return to the cult.             In the book’s second half, Jessop shares with readers the sources of the strength that allowed her not only to survive and eventually break free of FLDS mind control, but also to flourish in her new life. The tools of her transformation range from powerful female role models (grandmothers on both sides) to Curves fitness clubs (a secret indulgence that put her in touch with her body) to her college education (rare among FLDS women). With her characteristic honesty and steadfast sense of justice, Jessop, a trained educator who taught elementary school for seven years, shares her strong opinions on such controversial topics as homeschooling and the need for the court system to hold “deadbeat dads” accountable. (Among Jessop’s recent victories is a court decision that ordered her ex-husband to pay years of back child support.) An extraordinary woman who has overcome countless challenges and tragedies in her life, Jessop shows us in this book how, in spite of everything, she has triumphed—and how you
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Triumph: Life After The Cult–a Survivor's Lessons

Triumph: Life After The Cult–a Survivor's Lessons


The author of The New York Times bestseller Escape returns with a moving and inspirational tale of her life after she heroically fled the cult she’d been raised in, her hard-won new identity and happiness, and her determination to win justice for the crimes committed against her family. In 2003, Carolyn Jessop, 35, a lifelong member of the extremist Mormon sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), gathered up her eight children, including her profoundly disabled four-year-old son, and escaped in the middle of the night to freedom. Jessop detailed the story of her harrowing flight and the shocking conditions that sparked it in her 2007 memoir, Escape. Reveling in her newfound identity as a bestselling author, a devoted mom, and a loving companion to the wonderful man in her life, Jessop thought she had put her past firmly behind her.             Then, on April 3, 2008, it came roaring back in full view of millions of television viewers across America. On that date, the state of Texas, acting on a tip from a young girl who’d called a hotline alleging abuse, staged a surprise raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a sprawling, 1700-acre compound near Eldorado, Texas, to which the jailed  FLDS  “prophet” Warren Jeffs had relocated his sect’s most “worthy” members three years earlier. The ranch was being run by Merril Jessop, Carolyn’s ex-husband and one of the cult’s most powerful leaders. As a mesmerized nation watched the crisis unfold, Jessop once more was drawn into the fray, this time as an expert called upon to help authorities understand the customs and beliefs of the extremist religious sect with which they were dealing.             In Triumph, Jessop tells the real, and even more harrowing, story behind the raid and sets the public straight on much of the damaging misinformation that flooded the media in its aftermath. She recounts the setbacks (the tragic decision of the Supreme Court of Texas to allow the children in state custody to return to their parents) as well as the successes (the fact that evidence seized in the raid is the basis for the string of criminal trials of FLDS leaders that began in October 2009 and will continue throughout 2010), all while weaving in details of her own life since the publication of her first book. These include her budding role as a social critic and her struggle to make peace with her eldest daughter’s heartbreaking decision to return to the cult.             In the book’s second half, Jessop shares with readers the sources of the strength that allowed her not only to survive and eventually break free of FLDS mind control, but also to flourish in her new life. The tools of her transformation range from powerful female role models (grandmothers on both sides) to Curves fitness clubs (a secret indulgence that put her in touch with her body) to her college education (rare among FLDS women). With her characteristic honesty and steadfast sense of justice, Jessop, a trained educator who taught elementary school for seven years, shares her strong opinions on such controversial topics as homeschooling and the need for the court system to hold “deadbeat dads” accountable. (Among Jessop’s recent victories is a court decision that ordered her ex-husband to pay years of back child support.) An extraordinary woman who has overcome countless challenges and tragedies in her life, Jessop shows us in this book how, in spite of everything, she has triumphed—and how you
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Triumph Sports The Ultimate Tailgater Fitness Equipment

Triumph Sports The Ultimate Tailgater Fitness Equipment


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Triumph: Life After The Cult–a Survivor's Lessons

Triumph: Life After The Cult–a Survivor's Lessons


The author of The New York Times bestseller Escape returns with a moving and inspirational tale of her life after she heroically fled the cult she’d been raised in, her hard-won new identity and happiness, and her determination to win justice for the crimes committed against her family. In 2003, Carolyn Jessop, 35, a lifelong member of the extremist Mormon sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), gathered up her eight children, including her profoundly disabled four-year-old son, and escaped in the middle of the night to freedom. Jessop detailed the story of her harrowing flight and the shocking conditions that sparked it in her 2007 memoir, Escape. Reveling in her newfound identity as a bestselling author, a devoted mom, and a loving companion to the wonderful man in her life, Jessop thought she had put her past firmly behind her.             Then, on April 3, 2008, it came roaring back in full view of millions of television viewers across America. On that date, the state of Texas, acting on a tip from a young girl who’d called a hotline alleging abuse, staged a surprise raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a sprawling, 1700-acre compound near Eldorado, Texas, to which the jailed  FLDS  “prophet” Warren Jeffs had relocated his sect’s most “worthy” members three years earlier. The ranch was being run by Merril Jessop, Carolyn’s ex-husband and one of the cult’s most powerful leaders. As a mesmerized nation watched the crisis unfold, Jessop once more was drawn into the fray, this time as an expert called upon to help authorities understand the customs and beliefs of the extremist religious sect with which they were dealing.             In Triumph, Jessop tells the real, and even more harrowing, story behind the raid and sets the public straight on much of the damaging misinformation that flooded the media in its aftermath. She recounts the setbacks (the tragic decision of the Supreme Court of Texas to allow the children in state custody to return to their parents) as well as the successes (the fact that evidence seized in the raid is the basis for the string of criminal trials of FLDS leaders that began in October 2009 and will continue throughout 2010), all while weaving in details of her own life since the publication of her first book. These include her budding role as a social critic and her struggle to make peace with her eldest daughter’s heartbreaking decision to return to the cult.             In the book’s second half, Jessop shares with readers the sources of the strength that allowed her not only to survive and eventually break free of FLDS mind control, but also to flourish in her new life. The tools of her transformation range from powerful female role models (grandmothers on both sides) to Curves fitness clubs (a secret indulgence that put her in touch with her body) to her college education (rare among FLDS women). With her characteristic honesty and steadfast sense of justice, Jessop, a trained educator who taught elementary school for seven years, shares her strong opinions on such controversial topics as homeschooling and the need for the court system to hold “deadbeat dads” accountable. (Among Jessop’s recent victories is a court decision that ordered her ex-husband to pay years of back child support.) An extraordinary woman who has overcome countless challenges and tragedies in her life, Jessop shows us in this book how, in spite of everything, she has triumphed—and how you
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Triumph: Life After the Cult–A Survivor’s Lessons

Triumph: Life After the Cult–A Survivor’s Lessons


The author of "The New York Times" bestseller "Escape" returns with a moving and inspirational tale of her life after she heroically fled the cult she’d been raised in, her hard-won new identity and happiness, and her determination to win justice for the crimes committed against her family. In 2003, Carolyn Jessop, 35, a lifelong member of the extremist Mormon sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), gathered up her eight children, including her profoundly disabled four-year-old son, and escaped in the middle of the night to freedom. Jessop detailed the story of her harrowing flight and the shocking conditions that sparked it in her 2007 memoir, "Escape." Reveling in her newfound identity as a bestselling author, a devoted mom, and a loving companion to the wonderful man in her life, Jessop thought she had put her past firmly behind her. Then, on April 3, 2008, it came roaring back in full view of millions of television viewers across America. On that date, the state of Texas, acting on a tip from a young girl who’d called a hotline alleging abuse, staged a surprise raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a sprawling, 1700-acre compound near Eldorado, Texas, to which the jailed FLDS "prophet" Warren Jeffs had relocated his sect’s most "worthy" members three years earlier. The ranch was being run by Merril Jessop, Carolyn’s ex-husband and one of the cult’s most powerful leaders. As a mesmerized nation watched the crisis unfold, Jessop once more was drawn into the fray, this time as an expert called upon to help authorities understand the customs and beliefs of the extremist religious sect with which they were dealing. In "Triumph," Jessop tells the real, and even more harrowing, story behind the raid and sets the public straight on much of the damaging misinformation that flooded the media in its aftermath. She recounts the setbacks (the tragic decision of the Supreme Court of Texas to allow the children in state custody to return to their parents) as well as the successes (the fact that evidence seized in the raid is the basis for the string of criminal trials of FLDS leaders that began in October 2009 and will continue throughout 2010), all while weaving in details of her own life since the publication of her first book. These include her budding role as a social critic and her struggle to make peace with her eldest daughter’s heartbreaking decision to return to the cult. In the book’s second half, Jessop shares with readers the sources of the strength that allowed her not only to survive and eventually break free of FLDS mind control, but also to flourish in her new life. The tools of her transformation range from powerful female role models (grandmothers on both sides) to Curves fitness clubs (a secret indulgence that put her in touch with her body) to her college education (rare among FLDS women). With her characteristic honesty and stea
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Framed Die Cut – Triumph Calendars

Framed Die Cut – Triumph Calendars


Unique die-cut frame holds twelve monthly sheetsThe die cut areas create a dimensional look to the various elements – including your imprint2 themes to choose from2016 CalendarChoose from 2 designs – Motivations or ScenesFull color, 4/c process, imprint available at no additional chargeTop markets: retail, healthcare, insurance
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O’neill Men’s Triumph Casual Shorts

O’neill Men’s Triumph Casual Shorts


The O’neill Men’s Triumph Casual Shorts are a polyester blend, heavy enzyme silicone wash, standard fit short that are great for everyday wear.
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Ride Triumph Speed Triple Trailer

Ride Triumph Speed

Ride’s Triumph Speed Triple has the perfect attitude for the city, an aggressive presence, and true sportbike performance.
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ACT: Acquiring Character to Triumph

ACT: Acquiring Character to Triumph


Used – Author Andrew Carlisle’s “Listen to what he does, Watch what he says” has helped to teach many women how to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop with being able to spot the fakes. How does one obtain the blessings that God has in store for you? Believe it or not, you already hold the answers within! Allow Mr. Carlisle’s “ACT” to help awaken those dormant qualities hidden deep inside you by tilting your perspective inwards and helping you find your key to true hap

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Saucony PowerGrid Triumph 11 Road Running Shoe – Women’s – D Width Size 11.5-D Color White/ViZiCoral/Navy

Saucony PowerGrid Triumph 11 Road Running Shoe – Women’s – D Width Size 11.5-D Color White/ViZiCoral/Navy


RUN – Neutral Featuring a midsole made entirely of super-plush PowerGrid, the Saucony PowerGrid Triumph 11 Road Running Shoe for women is the answer to every runner’s prayer for a supremely cushioned yet lightweight training shoe. An updated saddle design provides more support while locking the foot to the platform, and the SRC Crashpad has been reengineered to incorporate grooves that provide an even smoother transition from heel-strike to toe-off. WHAT’S NEW? The Triumph 11 features a reflective screen print at back heel for enhanced visibility, more supportive overlays in the upper for improved fit and grooves added to SRC Crashpad help reduce lever effect for better transitions. Upper : Sauc-Fit, HydraMAX collar lining, ComfortLite sockliner, HRC+ strobel board Midsole : Full midsole PowerGrid, Impact interface, SRC impact zone Outsole : IBR+, XT-900 Offset : 8mm Weight : 9.3 oz (Women’s size 8) Size 11.5-D Color White/ViZiCoral/Navy
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Saucony PowerGrid Triumph 11 Road Running Shoe – Women’s – B Width Size 7-B Color Blue/Red

Saucony PowerGrid Triumph 11 Road Running Shoe – Women’s – B Width Size 7-B Color Blue/Red


RUN – Neutral Featuring a midsole made entirely of super-plush PowerGrid, the Saucony PowerGrid Triumph 11 Road Running Shoe for women is the answer to every runner’s prayer for a supremely cushioned yet lightweight training shoe. An updated saddle design provides more support while locking the foot to the platform, and the SRC Crashpad has been reengineered to incorporate grooves that provide an even smoother transition from heel-strike to toe-off. WHAT’S NEW? The Triumph 11 features a reflective screen print at back heel for enhanced visibility, more supportive overlays in the upper for improved fit and grooves added to SRC Crashpad help reduce lever effect for better transitions. Upper : Sauc-Fit, HydraMAX collar lining, ComfortLite sockliner, HRC+ strobel board Midsole : Full midsole PowerGrid, Impact interface, SRC impact zone Outsole : IBR+, XT-900 Offset : 8mm Weight : 9.3 oz (Women’s size 8) Size 7-B Color Blue/Red
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Writing a Life: Teaching Memoir to Sharpen Insight, Shape Meaning–And Triumph Over Tests

Writing a Life: Teaching Memoir to Sharpen Insight, Shape Meaning–And Triumph Over Tests


"This depth of attention to a single genre is unprecedented in books on the teaching of writing. Until now, for this depth, teachers used books written for aspiring writers and translated them into sensible classroom practice. Katherine brings writing and teaching together exquisitely in this beautiful book." – Katie Wood Ray, Author of "About the Authors""Smart teachers will read this book. Smarter teachers will use it as a guide. The smartest ones will read it, use it, and then return to it for inspiration, reflection, and, ultimately, for hope. In Writing a Life, Bomer takes us beyond the craft of writing memoir to the purpose and passion of this genre." – Kylene Beers, Author of "When Kids Cant Read – What Teachers Can Do"Writing a Life "has become my new Best-book-in the-whole world. Like a best friend, this book understands what I need without my naming it, and responds in ways that are as deep and as pure as the human spirit." – Lucy Calkins, Author of "Units of Study for Primary Writing" Memoir is more than writing down memories; it’s a powerful motivator for children to write and revise. Working with familiar material, students explore their lives, learn new and sophisticated elements of craft, and engage deeply with content to uncover personal and universal meaning. By teaching with memoir, you can help students exceed official standards for writing, both in class work and on tests, while also giving them a tool for making sense of their place in the world. In "Writing a Life," Katherine Bomer presents classroom-tested strategies for tapping memoir’s power, including ways to help kids generate ideas to write about, elaborate on and make meaning from their memories, and learn craft from published memoirs. She describes dozens of ideas for minilessons, teacher – student conferences, peer conferences, writing activities, prompts, and revision strategies. She then crosses the literacy spectrum to show how studying mentor memoirs can enrich students’ reading by building strong reading-writing connections. In addition, Bomer presents a curricular unit that prepares students for writing tests by systematically and explicitly helping them transfer the content and skills they develop in writing memoir to the demands of standardized assessments. Every student has a story to share. With "Writing a Life," you’ll have the inspiration, the strategies, and the materials you need to help them write it beautifully.
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Triumph Symphony-Mens Shirt with French Cuffs Blue Diamond Accent Men Cufflinks

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Triumph of the Will

Nobody’s perfect. While many people set out in pursuit of perfection, they often find themselves attracted to someone because of that person’s quirks and imperfections.

  • Although she was no raving beauty, Eleanor Roosevelt earned the admiration of people around the world for her political activism and her work on behalf of human rights. President Harry S. Truman referred to her as “The First Lady of the World.”
  • In the early part of her career, Barbra Streisand’s nose, wardrobe, and general kookiness caused many more people to pay attention to this woman who possessed a phenomenal voice, keen intellect, and a staggering array of talents.
  • Musicians like Stevie Wonder, Andrea Bocelli, and The Blind Boys of Alabama have managed to build major careers in spite of their visual handicaps.
  • In 2009, Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii won the top prize in the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

This year, two plays that received their world premieres from Bay Area theatre companies offered audiences remarkable performances built upon stories of distraction and disability. In one case, the protagonist was a familiar Bay area artist. In the other, the protagonist first appeared before local audiences in a workshop reading as part of a new works incubator program run by an arts organization noted for its proud history of producing new works by American artists.

During each performance, audiences learned how people challenged by a particular neurosis or physical disability can overcome the short-sighted perceptions of those who may have sought to block their personal and professional paths to success. As Molly Tobin famously said, “I ain’t down yet!”

* * * * * * * * * *

Throughout the two decades that Josh Kornbluth has been writing and performing monologues he has developed a a devoted following that admires his intellect, embraces his lovable stage persona, and simply can’t get enough of his work. During the two years that he hosted an interview show for KQED, he displayed a rare gift for combining the geekiness of genuine fandom with the ability to seek out truly interesting subjects and talk shop with them.

Woody Allen seduced legions of fans with his character of the stuttering schlemiel. Kornbluth, however, chose to polish his comedic shtick in the form of a hopeless schlub, a confused and often frightened manchild whose parents were Communists.

Some of Kornbluth’s monologues (Ben Franklin: Unplugged, Citizen Josh, Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?) have only been seen in live performance. Others (Haiku Tunnel, Red Diaper Baby, That’s Calculus: The Formal Limit 1 and 2, and The Mathematics of Change) have been filmed and are available on DVD. Love and Taxes is still in production.

In live performance, Kornbluth has always been a solo artist. This summer, however, audiences were treated to the result of a challenge thrown down by his friend, Patrick Dooley (artistic director of Berkeley’s Shotgun Players). Directed by Kornbluth’s long-time collaborator, David Dower, and performed on a simple but incredibly handsome unit set by Nina Ball, Kornbluth appeared in Sea of Reeds with his good friend Amy Resnick (cast as Josh’s personal trainer) and a chamber ensemble performing on violin, cello, piano, bass, and percussion.

2013-11-06-seaofreeds_poster.jpg
Poster art for Sea of Reeds

The gimmick which launches the performance is Resnick’s explanation to the audience that part of her job as Josh’s motivational coach is to get him to finish certain tasks at which he has become a notorious procrastinator. Jobs like making his own reeds for his oboe and performing a piece of music from Difficult Passages for a live audience. As Kornbluth explains:

“With Sea of Reeds, I will explore how Judaism and music both address (with great beauty) the deepest conflicts within ourselves and with each other. My hope is that, in taking on difficult subjects, such as the role of Israel in the contemporary world, we can use elements of both spiritual and musical practice to bring audiences on an unexpected journey — one that, with empathy and humor, engages with painful contradictions and opens doors, rather than slamming them shut.”

2013-11-06-amyjosh.jpg
Amy Resnick and Josh Kornbluth in Sea of Reeds
(Photo by: Heather McAlister)

Prior to the performance, Kornbluth can be found stage left making reeds for his oboe. Once the show begins, Resnick’s participation engages Kornbluth in several conversations (whether pushing him to explain things to the audience, impersonating Kornbluth’s friend, Rabbi Menachem Creditor of Berkeley’s Congregation Netivot Shalom, or re-enacting the scene in which the infant Moses was found floating in a basket by a woman with a thick New York accent).

Josh’s explanation of how he got involved with learning to play the oboe is, as usual, priceless. As he describes being mugged as a child and having his oboe stolen from him, he confesses that he waited a sufficient amount of time to tell anybody about the theft because he hated practicing on the oboe, everyone in his neighborhood hated listening to him practice, and he wanted to make sure his attackers made a clean escape — with his oboe

2013-11-06-joshclarinet.jpg
Josh Kornbluth with his oboe (Photo by: Heather McAlister)

Sea of Reeds can often seem like a glorified excuse to distract the audience long enough so that Kornbluth never has to play an oboe solo with a reed that he himself has made. But, as is so often the case with his monologues, the “excuse” leads to a much deeper conversation. In this case it’s about why an avowed atheist would consent to travel to Israel with a group of Berkeley Jews and get bar-mitzvahed at the age of 52.

Because he has always been such a powerful storyteller, audiences familiar with Kornbluth’s work won’t be the least bit surprised to hear him establish a logical connection between the Book of Exodus and an oboe (as it turns out, the Red Sea was originally known as the Reed Sea). However, when Kornbluth adds in the usual helping of emotional baggage from his youth and dysfunctional family, his new show becomes irresistible. The following clip contains some of the material used in Kornbluth’s new show.

* * * * * * * * * *

In August 2012, while attending some staged readings at the New Works Festival run by TheatreWorks down at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, one play was so vitally different and bracingly original that it stood head and shoulders above the others. Commissioned by the Philadelphia Theatre Workshop and further developed at the New York Theatre Workshop, The Loudest Man on Earth is performed in a jumble of three languages: English, American Sign Language, and Visual Vernacular.

As a result, audiences accustomed to attending performances that are heavily amplified suddenly find themselves leaning forward, acutely attentive to what’s happening on stage and much more involved than usual because they don’t want (and can’t afford) to miss anything. As Robert Kelley (the artistic director of TheatreWorks) recalls:

“At the first reading of The Loudest Man at last summer’s New Works Festival, something unique happened. Although there was no dialogue coming from the stage, the audience was hushed and breathless, completely mesmerized by a monologue from deaf actor Adrian Blue (a monologue delivered without a sound). It was a moment of exceptional, unprecedented contact between actor and audience, and I knew immediately that this remarkable play belonged on our stage. The Loudest Man on Earth changed forever my perceptions about how and why we communicate. Its underlying premise is that no single form of communication is better than another, and it proves that premise true in a funny, romantic, and deeply moving evening of theatre.”

2013-11-06-jordanspaghettibowl.jpg
Jordan (Adrian Blue) and Haylee (Julie Fitzpatrick) move in together
in The Loudest Man on Earth (Photo by: Tracy Martin)

Mr. Blue portrays Jordan, a theatre director who is deaf and not particularly interested in conducting interviews about his work. When an exasperated journalist barges in on one of his rehearsals and refuses to “reschedule” again, he and Haylee (Julie Fitzpatrick) finally meet. Although they might start off on the wrong foot, there is a spark and Jordan asks her to join him for a trip to the Museum of Modern Art.

Although Haylee has a limited command of ASL, a romance quickly starts to build. Within weeks, they have moved in together and become a couple. As Jordan and Haylee travel around New York City communication problems continually arise. An unfortunate encounter with the police on the night they move into their new apartment becomes a violent nightmare of misunderstanding.

A dinner with one of Haylee’s old college friends (and her boorish boyfriend) causes Jordan’s temper to flare when he feels disrespected. And yet, during an outing to the New York Aquarium with Haylee’s father and grandmother (a former marine biologist), the sweetness of Jordan’s communicative skills (including his impression of a puffer fish) impress the old woman when he helps her spot a shark that has been invisible to the others in their party.

2013-11-06-jordanshark.jpg
Adrian Blue, Julie Fitzpatrick, and Mia Tagano in a scene
from The Loudest Man On Earth (Photo by: Mark Kitaoka)

Written by Catherine Rush and performed on a unit set designed by Jason Simms that helps to keep the action fluid by shifting several skewed panels, the production has been directed by Pamela Berlin with a keen desire to draw the audience into the action. As Berlin explains in her program note:

“We who don’t speak in sign language assume that it is all in the hands. But signing requires that, first and foremost, you look the other person in the eye (the hands you take in through peripheral vision). There is also a lot of touching involved to get people’s attention, to make something clear. Signing creates an extraordinary intimacy between people. And an honesty. It is a wonderfully imaginative, pictorial, sensual, humorous language. A sign references a specific image in a graphically evocative way; the tip of a cap for boy, two tips of the cap for man, hands on top of a walking stick for English, a finger expressing a solitary winding path for loner. It is a language that expresses many layers of meaning and feeling.”

2013-11-06-hayleejordancouch.jpg
Haylee (Julie Fitzpatrick) and Jordan (Adrian Blue) quickly fall
in love in The Loudest Man on Earth (Photo by: Tracy Martin)

When Haylee (with the best of intentions) tries to find out why Jordan refuses to discuss his childhood, a chance meeting with his parents on the Coney Island Boardwalk opens up some old and deeply painful wounds — which leads to utter catastrophe. After Haylee falls off a kitchen stepladder and Jordan can’t hear the crash, she ends up in the hospital where, because he is not a blood relative, Jordan gets some pretty rough treatment from insensitive nurses and interpreters.

At various points in the play, Blue breaks the fourth wall to communicate directly with the audience through a series of signed monologues which demonstrate his love for Haylee as well as his fury and frustration with the day-to-day insults of being deaf in a hearing world.

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Adrian Blue performing one of Jordan’s monologues in
The Loudest Man on Earth (Photo by: Mark Kitaoka)

As Jordan, Mr. Blue delivers a powerhouse performance which will easily melt people’s hearts. Julie Fitzpatrick is a perfect foil for him as her character slowly starts to understand that some of their communication problems might actually be her fault. Cassidy Brown and Mia Tagano make the most of Tanya Finkelstein’s costumes as they take on a rapidly changing variety of small roles.

It’s rare to encounter a new play that manages to be proud and poignant, upfront and uncompromising, while opening its audience’s minds to possibilities they’ve never even considered.

To read more of George Heymont go to My Cultural Landscape
Arts – The Huffington Post
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