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Midday

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It's Theater Thursday on Midday, and time for our weekly visit from theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom in the studio with her review of the new musical at the Everyman Theatre here in Baltimore.  Its subject couldn’t be more topical:  Los Otros  (The Others)delves into the complexities of immigration, cultural identity, sexuality, and coming of age.

It's a timely reworking of the musical that debuted at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2012, from Tony Award nominees Michael John LaChiusa (music) and Ellen Fitzhugh (book and lyrics), who joined Tom on Midday back on March 24 to talk about their new production  at Everyman.

Directed by Noah Himmelstein, with musical direction by Jon Kalbfleisch, Los Otros presents as a series of vignettes in which two Californians, Lillian and Carlos (played by Judy McLane and Philip Hernandez), recall moments from their past in which their personal experiences -- as a white woman and a Hispanic man -- are woven together with their feelings of both "otherness" and cross-cultural intimacy.

Los Otros continues on stage at Everyman Theatre until Sunday, April 23rd. 

Penguin Random House

Today, another edition of Midday on Ethics. Later this month, HBO and Oprah Winfrey will bring the story of Henrietta Lacks to television. The film, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” based on the best-selling book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot, premiers on April 22.

You may already be familiar with the story of Henrietta Lacks, who lived in southeastern Baltimore County in the early 1950s. She had cancer, and in 1951, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital did a routine biopsy. She died eight months later. But her cells live on, because without her consent, and without the knowledge of her family, cells taken during the biopsy were used, for decades, in medical research around the world.   In fact the HeLa cell line -- H-E for Henrietta and L-A for Lacks -- revolutionized medical research, and, by some accounts, has resulted in billions of dollars worth of medical breakthroughs. None of the proceeds, however, went to Ms. Lacks or to her descendants.

Could the same thing happen today? We’ll try to untangle the ethical questions in this conversation about Informed Consent. How much have standards changed in the 65 years since Henrietta Lacks was a cancer patient at Hopkins? What are today’s standards?

Dr. Jeffrey Kahn is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He stops by Midday regularly to talk about how ethicists help us frame the complex questions that surround stories like the extraordinary case of Henrietta Lacks.

Education Elsewhere

Yesterday, Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill allocating an additional $23 million to Baltimore City Public Schools. This comes after Mayor Catherine Pugh diverted additional funds to education in her budget. So is it enough to close the $130 million gap and avoid teacher layoffs? We’ll get an update from Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises

Then, a conversation with activists who use their artistry to empower young people. 

Photo courtesy Eric Gay/Associated Press

It’s Opening Day on Midday!

Later today, the Baltimore Orioles begin their annual quest for a playoff berth against the Toronto Blue Jays -- the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season -- while Oriole Park at Camden Yards celebrates 25 years. 

And after a record-breaking weekend in the women’s NCAA Final Four -- including one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history -- the men take the court tonight.   It'll be a face-off between the first-time finalist Bulldogs of Gonzaga (out of Spokane, Washington) and the Tar Heels of North Carolina, who lost last year’s final to Villanova at the buzzer.

Later this week, The Masters golf tournament gets underway in Augusta, Georgia -- without Tiger Woods -- and later this month, the spectacle that is the NFL draft comes to Philadelphia.   Plus, the NBA is closing in on their list of playoff contenders.

Mike Pesca, an NPR contributor and host of Slate.com's The Gist and Milton Kent, host of WYPR's Sports at Large, join Tom to sort out all the action.  And we take your calls, tweets and emails.

Photo courtesy NY Daily News

It's the Midday News Wrap, our regular Friday effort to make sense of the week that was.  

This was a week of unraveling and unveiling.  The Trump administration unraveled Obama-era rules on internet privacy and the environment.  The House Intelligence Committee, which is -- or was -- investigating Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible Trump ties to Russia, unraveled itself -- cancelling its public hearings amid loud calls for Committee chair Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. 

The New York Times and the Washington Post reported that Nunes met secretly with two or possibly three White House officials and then briefed the president about information that he had not shared with his own committee.  The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the same issues picked up the slack in what is, at least for the moment, a much more bi-partisan way.  It held ITS first hearing yesterday, which included dramatic testimony from a former FBI agent.   

In Baltimore, Mayor Catherine Pugh unveiled her first budget proposal, which calls for lowering taxes, while spending more on schools and police.  She also vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum wage in the city to $15 by the year 2022. 

Britain took its first formal steps to exit the European Union, and Scotland took another step toward exiting Britain…

To help us untangle these stories, Tom is joined in Studio A by a terrific panel of journalists:

Frances Stead Sellers is a writer on the national staff of The Washington Post.  She covered the 2016 presidential election for The Post and she is currently a journalism fellow at Oxford University in the UK.  She was a key member of the Post team that produced the best-selling biography “Trump Revealed…”

E.R. Shipp is here.  She is Associate Professor and Journalist in Residence at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication. She is a columnist for the Baltimore Sun and the winner, in 1996, of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, when she was at the NY Daily News. She also worked as a reporter and editor at The New York Times and as the ombudsman at The Washington Post.

And Andy Green is here as well.  He’s the Editorial page editor for the Baltimore Sun.

We also take your calls and comments.

Photo by Brad Trent

Judy Collins' unparalleled musical career has spanned more than six decades, and her best-selling interpretations of music -- from traditional folk ballads and the work of singer-songwriters of the 1960s to the American Popular Songbook -- have delighted and inspired audiences around the globe.  

At 77, Collins today maintains a rigorous schedule of concerts, including an appearance at the Columbia Festival of the Arts on Saturday, April 1st (details here). Over the years, she has also been involved with many other projects such as books, movies, and activism on behalf of causes near and dear to her.  

Her latest CD is called A Love Letter to Stephen Sondheim, a collection of ten of her favorite songs by the renowned composer, performed with piano accompaniment by Russell Walden. 

Judy Collins joins Tom on the line from her home in New York.

Photo by Richard Anderson

It's Thursday on Midday, and that means theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins us with her take on thespian offerings in the Baltimore-DC region. This week, she's here with her review of Twisted Melodiesthe one-man musical show at Baltimore's Center Stage about Donny Hathaway, a successful singer-songwriter of the 1970s best known for his duets with Roberta Flack. 

Written and performed by Kelvin Roston, Jr., and directed by Derrick Sanders, Twisted Melodies is an intense, emotionally charged play about Hathaway's brilliant but tragically short career.  Inspired by artistic genius but tormented by mental illness, Hathaway's poignant struggles are compellingly interpreted by the multi-talented Roston. 

Twisted Melodies' run at Baltimore Center Stage has been extended thru Sunday, April 23.

We begin today with Congressman Elijah Cummings. He represents Maryland's 7th District, which includes parts of Baltimore City and some of Baltimore and Howard Counties, and he serves as the ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 

Rep. Cummings is holding his 20th annual Job Fair on Monday, April 3, from 9 am to 2 pm at the Fifth Regiment Armory near the State Center complex in Baltimore.  

More than 40 employers plan to be at the fair -- interviewing candidates for various positions. Here is a list of employers that plan to attend.  And here is the complete agenda of job-search workshops to be held at the fair. 

Alec Ross joined Tom in Studio A.   Ross is an innovation expert and the author of the New York Times best-selling book “The Industries of the Future,” about the changes that economies and societies can expect over the next decade -- and what we and our children should do to prepare for the changing nature of work. The book is now available in paperback.

He’s also a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, where he advises the university on turning new research into start-up companies.     For several years, he was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s senior adviser for innovation.  

He also worked on the Obama campaign and transition team from 2007 to early 2009.

Alec Ross will be one of the featured speakers at Light City, the festival of lights and ideas that kicks off for the second year on Friday in the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore.  

He and Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, will be appearing together at Light City, a week from today. Their topic will be “A Path to the Future” for young people.

Medscape.com

In a dramatic political showdown last week on the nation’s health insurance system, the Republican-led House and a determined President Trump tried but failed to repeal and replace The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare. Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to withdraw his controversial bill, because of defections by both conservative and moderate Republicans, means the ACA remains the law of the land. But with opponents still vowing to bring the program down, are critical medical coverage and public health services still in jeopardy? 

Concerns were also raised this month by the Trump Administration’s proposed 2018 budget, which would boost defense spending and sharply reduce funding to federal agencies like Health and Human Services, whose budget would be cut by 18% next year. What would such cuts mean for the future of medical research, maternal health care and addiction treatment?

For now, Governor Larry Hogan's declaration earlier this month of a State of Emergency provides an extra 50 million dollars over the next five years to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic in Maryland, and help support the state's prevention, recovery and enforcement efforts. 

Today, it’s another edition of the Midday Healthwatch, our monthly visit with Dr. Leana Wen, the Health Commissioner of the City of Baltimore. She joins Tom in the studio to talk about the ACA going forward, the state's continuing battle against the opioid epidemic, and other issues on the front lines of public health.

Pressfoto / Freepik

When we think of school segregation, we tend think of that long, dark period in American history, before the landmark Supreme Court Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954, that refuted the notion that “separate but equal” schools were constitutional. For decades following the decision, schools became more integrated, opening their doors to students of color voluntarily and through court ordered busing programs. However, in the last 30 years school across the country have moved towards re-segregation.

Maryland has the third most segregated classrooms in the United States behind New York and Illinois. So, what does that mean for the young people we’re educating? 

Photo by Craig Schwartz

We turn to the world of theater and the premiere of a new musical at the Everyman Theatre here in Baltimore.  Its subject couldn’t be more timely:  Los Otros or, The Othersdelves into the complexities of immigration, cultural identity, sexuality, and coming of age.

In 2012, a very different version of Los Otros was presented at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.  Vincent Lancisi, the founder and artistic director of the Everyman, commissioned a re-write of the musical after that original production, and then held a workshop in New York so that the writers could make further revisions, which continued as the rehearsal process for the Everyman production got underway.

The man who composed Los Otros' beautiful music and the woman who wrote the lyrics and book join Tom in Studio A.  Composer Michael John LaChiusa is a five-time Tony Award nominee for work on and off-Broadway.  He’s won, among other awards, an Obie, a Dramatists Guild Award, and Daytime Emmys.  Ellen Fitzhugh has received Tony, Emmy and Drama Desk award nominations, and written lyrics with numerous film score composers, including the renowned Henry Mancini.

If Republicans in the US House of Representatives can’t pass their health care bill by Friday afternoon and send it on to the Senate, the President says he’ll walk away, and move on to other items on the Trump agenda.  Has Repeal and Replace morphed into Reveal and Disgrace?

Last October, FBI Director James Comey revealed he was looking into Hillary Clinton's e-mails. He waited until this week to mention that at the same time, he was also looking into allegations about collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.   Devin Nunes is the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee. He got to visit the White House this week! And then he said he’s very sorry about it.  Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch has made his pitch to join the Supremes. Chuck Schumer says the Dems will filibuster.  

 

Today, a conversation about Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Maryland is home to four of the nation’s more than 100 institutions. Last month, President Trump issued an Executive Order directed at HBCUs after meeting with nearly 100 presidents and leaders of those institutions. Some HBCU students and alumni criticized the meeting, calling it a photo op. Several HBCU presidents who attended say they were given little time to discuss their concerns and talk about strategies to help their institutions succeed. 

In 2015, following the uprising sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, there was a big spike in people expressing interest in mentoring. Now two years later has that interest been sustained? Few question the fact that when young people develop a close relationship with a caring adult, those young people do better in school, and they are able to navigate the tricky waters of adolescence much more effectively than their peers who do not have an adult providing a model, and interest in their lives. Kera Ritter is the President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, one of several organizations in Maryland connecting young people with mentors.

The US Senate.

Barbara Mikulski has been a social worker, a community organizer, a Baltimore City Council member, a Congresswoman for 10 years, and for the last 30 years, she’s been Senator Barb.  By the time she retired in January as the longest serving woman in the history of the US Congress, Senator Mikulski had earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for families, women, children, seniors and scientists.  She’d also earned the respect of her colleagues on both sides of the aisle, mentoring and helping to pave the way for other women seeking elective office. 

Senator Barbara Mikulski, now a Homewood professor of public policy and adviser to the president at The Johns Hopkins University, is Tom's guest for the hour today.  They'll discuss her remarkable career, her take on Trump, and her prescriptions for the Democrats as they navigate the vagaries of Washington without her.

Kathleen Cahill

Today on Midday, a trip down memory lane with Gil Sandler. You know Gil for his marvelous "Baltimore Stories," heard every Friday morning on WYPR during "Morning Edition." Now he has written and narrated a new radio documentary, Baltimore in the Great Depression: Stories That Tell the Story. The hour-long documentary, produced by Luke Spicknall, and with a contribution by theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, airs for the first time tonight at 8 pm, here on WYPR.

Ken Jackson, who hosts the Big Band show In the Mood every Friday night at 9 here on WYPR, helped choose the music for tonight's program. He is also with Tom in studio, as is Fred Rasmussen of The Baltimore Sun. Rasmussen started his career at the Sun more than 40 years ago as a photo librarian. He had a column called “Back Story” for a long time; he’s a contributing writer to the “Retro Baltimore” feature in the Sun; and he’s been writing obituaries for the Sun for 25 years.

The Great Depression in Baltimore, and across the country, was a time of unemployment, uncertainty, and fear. But it was also a time of hope, Sandler says. Be sure to hear his radio documentary tonight at 8 pm. But first, listen as Gil, Ken and Fred join Tom with their reminiscences of Charm City in the 1930s. 

Monica Reinagel

Today, another installment of our semi-monthly health feature, Smart Nutrition, with our regular guest, licensed nutritionist and blogger Monica Reinagel.  On this edition, Monica assesses a popular personal-health makeover plan called The Whole30 Challenge, in which folks are encouraged to spend at least 30 days not only cutting out the usual bad-diet culprits -- junk foods and sugar -- but also giving up some stuff that’s considered pretty good for you, such as dairy, beans and whole grains.  The creators of the program say it’s not a diet but a way to jumpstart a more nutritious lifestyle. So, does it work?  And more importantly, is it healthful?

Monica Reinagel, who blogs at nutritionovereasy.com as The Nutrition Diva, weighs in on the pros and cons of The Whole30 Challenge, and takes your nutrition questions, too. 

Morgan State University

Dr. Eric Conway is director of the Morgan State University Choir as well as Chairperson of the school’s Fine Arts Department. He joins Tom to talk about Morgan State University's upcoming production of The Wiz: Super Soul Musical, which opens next Thursday.

The musical hit Broadway in 1975. R&B singer Stephanie Mills starred as Dorthy. Diana Ross and Michael Jackson starred in the 1978 film adaptation. Morgan State's production features  the talents of Morgan State students and local singers and actors. 

photo courtesy Boston Globe

In this seventh week of the Trump Administration, Republicans in the House, the Senate and the White House continued to wrangle loudly over a health care plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. 

President Trump’s second try at an executive order temporarily banning travel from six Muslim majority countries and halting all refugee admissions was blocked, again, by federal court rulings in Hawaii and Maryland -- rulings the White House says it will appeal. 

Mr. Trump also unveiled his first proposed federal budget, calling for huge increases in defense spending and deep cuts across a wide swath of social programs and federal agencies, including the EPA and the State, Labor and Agriculture Departments.

And in Maryland’s General Assembly, amid partisan battles over paid sick leave and bail reform measures, the House of Delegates passed a revised version of Governor Hogan’s 43.5 billion-dollar state budget proposal, and sent it on to the Senate.

Joining guest host Nathan Sterner to sort out the week’s developments are three keen observers: Amy Goldstein, a national reporter for the Washington Post with a focus on health care policy, on the line from the Post’s newsroom in Washington, DC;  Michael Dresser, State House correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, on the line from Annapolis; and, in the studio, Richard Cross, a former press secretary and speech writer for Maryland Governor Robert Erlich and now a conservative columnist and blogger at rjc-crosspurposes.blogspot.com.  

photo courtesy washingtonwire.com

This is another installment of Living Questions, a program produced in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies that explores the role of religion in the public sphere.  On today’s edition, guest host Rob Sivak leads a discussion about "school choice" in Maryland.

Photo by Shealyn Jae

It's Thursday and that means it's time for Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck to join us with a review. This week, she joins guest host Rob Sivak to talk about "Trust," the new production now on stage at Fells Point Corner Theater in Baltimore until Sunday, March 19th.

Here's how Fells Point Corner Theatre describes this off-beat play by Steven Deitz -- one of the country's most prolific regional-theater playwrights:

"A rising star and a faded one. A radio DJ. A Bohemian. Guitar picks, pick-ups and wedding dresses waiting to be worn. In a fast-paced, grungy grind, how can anyone be trusted when temptation trumps all?  From the creative team who brought us previous year's productions of Other Desert Cities and Detroit, Director Michael Byrne Zemarel combines with the talents of Valerie Dowdle, Cassandra Dutt, Laura Malkus, Rachel Roth, David Shoemaker and Mark Scharf to bring you a play about rock'n'roll -- and the ones it leaves behind."

"Trust," by Steven Deitz,  is on stage at the Fells Point Corner Theatre in Baltimore until Sunday, March 19th.

AP Photo/Karin Laub

Kathleen Cahill sits in for Tom Hall today.  

President Donald Trump signed his first executive order on immigrants and refugees on January 26th,  less than a week after his inauguration.  It went into effect immediately, leading to chaos – and protests – at airports across the United States. That executive order was put on hold by the courts in February.  President Trump signed a revised executive order on immigrants and refugees on March 6th, set to take effect March 16th.

(Just hours after this broadcast, two federal judges -- one in Hawaii and the other in Maryland -- dealt separate blows to the revised travel ban.  As a result, its implementation has been temporarily blocked nationwide. )    

The revised order is aimed at travelers from a targeted list of majority-Muslim countries, including Libya, Sudan Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iran. This time around, Iraq is not on that list.  No new visas will be issued to people from these countries for 90 days. Like Trump’s first travel ban, Travel Ban 2.0, as it has come to be known,  puts the U.S. refugee program on hold for 120 days. That means refugees from all countries will be barred from entering the United States.  The question is: Will President Trump's latest travel ban do anything to make the country safer from terrorist attacks?

Kathleen is joined in the studio by two guests who have focused intensely on immigrant and refugee issues: lawyer Marielena Hincapie,  Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) in Los Angeles, and Bill Frelick, Director of the Refugee Rights Program at Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C.

Hincapie comes to our Baltimore studio straight from a hearing  at the federal court in Greenbelt, MD, where the ACLU and refugee rights organizations, including the NILC, have brought legal challenge to the travel ban. 

Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay writes about  flawed women, women who are broken, women who won’t bow to a man’s will, women who make mistakes, women who challenge the status quo, women who are just trying to figure it all out, women women who are difficult...

Roxane Gay’s latest collection of short stories explores what it means to be a difficult woman.  Roxane Gay is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. She is the author of several books including New York Times bestseller Bad Feminist, and her latest Difficult Women. She joins guest host Bridget Armstrong to talk about Difficult Women and her forthcoming memoir Hunger, which is set to be released in June. 

Simon & Schuster

*Helene Cooper will be speaking about "Madame President" on Thursday, March 16 at 6:30pm at the Maryland State Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped, 415 Park Ave., Baltimore MD 21201.For more information click here.

Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf made history in 2006 she became the first woman to lead an African nation. Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times Correspondent Helene Cooper chronicles President Johnson Sirleaf’s path to the highest office in Liberia in her new book Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

The book is as much about President Johnson Sirleaf’s life as it is about the culture that shaped her and the women who supported her.  President Johnson Sirleaf was born between two worlds at odds in Liberia. Educated at Harvard University, she was determined to return home to help her country--a decision that often put her in danger. When she was elected in 2005 the country had just come out of a brutal period of civil war. Now she’s nearing the end of her tenure and plans to step down peacefully, the first president of Liberia to do so in decades. Helene Cooper joins guest host Bridget Armstrong to talk about President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's legacy. Helene Cooper is the author of New York Times bestseller The House At Sugar Beach. The book is a memoir about Helene's childhood in Liberia. 

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

It’s Friday, and time for  the Midday News Wrap.

On Capitol Hill, two House committees voted Thursday to approve a Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act. Some Republicans say it doesn’t go far enough in repealing Obamacare. Other critics, including groups of doctors, hospitals and insurance companies, have called the proposed plan unworkable.

Rod Rosenstein, the current US attorney for MD, was in the hot seat on Tuesday during his confirmation hearing to become the nation’s Deputy Attorney General. If confirmed, he would lead any investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, now that A.G. Jeff Sessions has recused himself. He did that when he admitted to failing to disclose his meetings as a Trump campaign surrogate with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. 

As in other recent weeks, the news has been dominated by Donald Trump. In a Tweet early Saturday morning, Trump leveled an extraordinary claim -- accusing President Obama of ordering wiretaps at Trump Tower in New York. The White House has yet to provide any evidence to support the claim. They’ve called for a Congressional investigation. 

And in Baltimore, Police Commissioner Davis puts an end to undercover policing in the city, in the wake of last week’s indictment of seven police officers on federal racketeering charges. 

Joining Tom today for the Midday News Wrap: 

Julie Bykowicz. She’s a White House Reporter for the Associated Press. She covered politics, and the 2016 election, for AP. Before that she was a political reporter for Bloomberg and for 10 years was a reporter at the Baltimore Sun, where she covered state politics, city courts and crime, among other things. 

Fraser Smith. He's a columnist for the Daily Record. He's also a longtime observer of Baltimore, and was at The Baltimore Sun for many years. He is about to step down as WYPR’s senior news analyst. But you’ll still hear him on our airwaves as a WYPR contributor. 

Classical guitarist Junhong Kuang joins Tom live today in Studio A -- and plays some glorious music.  He is the 17-year-old winner of the 2016 Yale Gordon Concerto Competition at the Peabody Conservatory, here in Baltimore.

Kuang is a native of Chengdu, China. He began playing guitar at age 5. At 15, he was accepted into the Peabody Conservatory where he is working toward a bachelor of arts degree in guitar performance under the tutelage of guitarist Manuel Barrueco.

Already in his young career, Kuang has given nearly 100 concerts. And will give another one tomorrow afternoon, at 3 pm at the Baltimore Museum of Art as part of the Shriver Hall Concert Series.

That free concert is sold out, but you can hear Kuang's extraordinary musical talents by listening to his performance today on Midday.  Enjoy!

Photo by Jillian Edelstein

Tom's guest today is the acclaimed Pakistani novelist and essayist Mohsin Hamid.  He’s the author of insightful and quirky novels like Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

In his latest work, Exit West, he explores the complexities and punishing challenges of being a refugee.  With hints of fantasy and a trenchant analysis of the human condition, Hamid writes fiction that forces us to listen and essays that compel us to question the common wisdom.

Mohsin Hamid joins Tom to talk about his work, and the uncertain fate of refugees in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to those displaced by war, famine and political upheavals.

You can meet Mohsin Hamid on Saturday, March 11, at the Church of the Redeemer in North Baltimore.  The event will support the work of the Baltimore office of the International Rescue Committee.  It’s sponsored by the Ivy Bookshop, and it begins at 7:00pm.   For more information, click here.

Photo by Richard Anderson

Midday's theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio -- as she does most Thursdays -- with her review this week of The White Snake, on stage in the renovated Head Theater at the newly named Baltimore Center Stage.

Based on an ancient Chinese fable, The White Snake uses mystery and magic to tell a fantastical tale that's staged in grand-spectacle style, intertwining traditional and modern storytelling techniques.  

Two animal spirits -- White Snake and Green Snake, played by Aime Donna Kelly and Eileen Rivera, have taken human form as a beautiful woman and her sly servant. White Snake falls in love with a poor pharmacist’s assistant (played by Joe Ngo), but their relationship is condemned by a conservative monk (played by Peter Van Wagner), and their newfound happiness is threatened by tragedy. 

The White Snake was written-adapted by Mary Zimmerman, and directed by Natsu Onoda Power.  Nicole Wee is the costume designer,  Hana S. Kim is the scenic and projection designer, and  Jeff Song is music director.

The White Snake is at Baltimore Center Stage until March 26th.  Ticket and showtime information is available here.

Tony Juliano

 

Today a conversation about the racial wealth gap and why it persists. Nationally, Blacks have a median household income that’s 60 percent of that of Whites; in Baltimore that number is even lower at just 54 percent. That’s according to a report from the non-profit Corporation for Enterprise Development

For millions of people, home ownership is the key to building wealth. African Americans and Latinos are less likely to own their own homes. And when they do, because of years of redlining in communities of color, they’re valued a lot lower than houses in traditionally white communities.

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