ATLANTA, Ga., July 26, 2011 -- Four Gone with the Wind dolls she received on her first birthday stand as silent sentinels, while Duluth's Mandi Lee prepares to portray the author who created those memorable characters, continuing this weekend at Ansley Park Playhouse. The book was first published 75 years ago this summer.
Ms. Lee takes the stage at Ansley Park Playhouse through July 30 in the one woman show Mrs. John Marsh - The World Knew Her as Margaret Mitchell, written by Melita Easters, which has been extended after positive audience response.
Park Playhouse owner John Gibson says: "Atlanta audiences love this
play because they love anything about Margaret Mitchell and Gone With
the Wind, especially during this 75th anniversary summer of the book's
publication. Between the positive press and the receptive audiences, we
knew we had to extend the run."
An aunt gave Ms. Lee the dolls---Madame Alexander Scarlett, Rhett, Mammy and Bonnie Blue Butler----for her first birthday. They are still displayed in her family's Duluth home. At age seven, the actress also dressed as Scarlett while her younger sister dressed as Bonnie Butler for trick or treat.
Lee says: "I don't remember a time when I was growing up when we didn't watch Gone With the Wind at least once a year," She first attempted to read the 1,037 page novel while still in elementary school, but set it aside for completion in her middle school years.
Ms. Lee made her stage debut at age six in a production of Cinderella at The Talent Factory, a now-closed Duluth children's theatre company where she performed until the age of 14 when she switched to productions at Lilburn's Providence Christian Academy. She is a graduate of the prestigious Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts in St. Louis, Mo., where she had the lead role in several productions. She has also appeared in three small independent films.
The July show dates this weekend on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons include "Talk Back" sessions, which offer audiences the opportunity to interact with the actress and playwright, a feature which has been surprisingly popular, Gibson said. Amongst those attending earlier Talk Back sessions have been the author's first cousin, senior citizens with fond memories of having known Margaret Mitchell and a Morehouse Medical School professor whose medical school scholarship was paid for by Mitchell.
"Audiences just love being able to share reminiscences of Margaret Mitchell and asking questions," Gibson said. "Melita has a vast knowledge of her subject and answers questions in an engaging and entertaining fashion."
29 matinee has been designated a "Multi Generation" performance,
offering the opportunity for a family outing. Family members older than
80 and one child under 12 per ticketed adult or older sibling are free
for the performance. "These family friendly days will allow several
generations to enjoy a performance which is likely to spark conversations
and reminiscences within a family," Easters said. "This also
celebrates the grand story telling tradition of the South and the fact
that Margaret Mitchell honed her storytelling skills and learned about
the Civil War on the laps of elderly relatives on Sunday afternoon visits."
JULY 26, 2011 -- Being a lifetime newspaperman, and being in England recently, I was enthralled by the continuing saga of the Murdoch hacking scandal. The story just won't quit, and could end up with far larger repercussions than you might think. Mainly, it's a case of misplaced ethics.
The story unfolded differently each day in a downward spiral for the Murdoch forces. And big attempts at quelling the story, such as shutting down the 168 year old News of the World, brought nothing but continued agony for Murdoch.
We purchased and have saved the final edition of News of the World. It had former front pages with key stories from its past. Just reading these front pages tells a lot. The pre-Murdoch pages are filled with British history, presenting a sober, careful report of activities. But ever since Murdoch purchased the newspaper, the front pages show a sordid side of life, appealing to the lower common denominator. It shows the Murdoch ownership in a manner that perhaps the editors of this newspaper did not realize it would.
Give the British parliamentary system credit. Members of Parliament speedily moved the developments, first led by the Labor (and out of power) side. But rather quickly, cries for the Murdochs to "come clean" came from even the Conservatives, wanting to get to the core of the mystery. No one party wanted to be the one left out of seeking to uncover the overall truth. That may be because over the years, the Murdoch press has "bullied" these elected officials.
With people on all sides calling for the Murdochs to testify, at first the Murdochs said they would. Then they reversed themselves, only that same day to be hit by an immediate official summons from Parliament. And shortly they were before a committee of the Parliament, not good even at answering questions.
Sometimes the answers the Murdochs gave were difficult to believe. For instance, Rupert Murdoch's son, at one time said he was not involved, as the chief executive of the newspaper, with a payout of 750,000 pounds sterling ($1.2 million) to settle a case. Now in all reason, no matter how rich you are, can you imagine the top executive of such a company did not know more about the story other than a payout this large was made? Come, now!
Through this all, a distinguishing style of the Murdoch operations is that they often transfer executives around their global empire. For instance, when the news executive post in England was open last week, summoned was the replacement, the head of their television operation from Italy. And the recently resigned-under-fire publisher of Murdoch's Wall Street Journal was once their key news operation executive in London.
The point: these executives are bound to bring with them the core strategies of the company, which in Murdoch's case, seems to be to get the story at all cost and don't ask how you got it. That is the worry that is hounding not only The Wall Street Journal, but the Fox television network. What tidbit of negative elements will fall next?
Murdoch's far-flung world empire may be more on the line than at first it may seem.
One more element: the British prime minister, David Cameron, seems to be much more closely tied to Murdoch and the developing story. Pressure is mounting. He's back-pedaling. Will it bring down the current British government? Watch for new developments.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's underwriter is Garden Plaza at Lawrenceville, one of Gwinnett County's newest retirement communities. The 150-unit community boasts a full range of amenities, including an indoor swimming pool, spa facilities, fitness center, beauty/barber shop, Internet café, courtyard gardens and separate garages. The apartment homes (studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom) are leased on a monthly basis to senior adults 55 and older. The team at Garden Plaza is committed to providing extraordinary customer service. We believe our programs and services are operated at a level of excellence that exceeds our residents' needs and expectations. The action-packed recreational calendar includes outdoor excursions, as well as anything from movie matinees and shopping trips to educational seminars and live performances. Visit the Web site at www.lawrencevilleretirement.com.
Editor, The Forum:
I enjoyed reading about the American locomotive engine on display at the Southeastern Railway Museum. My dad worked for Alco, as it was known, as it moved into producing diesel locomotives. I'll always remember my visits as a kid to the immense plants where they assembled and tested these huge machines.
As an aside, a roommate of mine at Pratt Institute, Ron Ziel, has become the most noted and respected steam locomotive expert and photographer. He printed and assembled his first photo book in the bathroom of our apartment at Pratt which was published by Grosset and Dunlop in 1963 "The Twilight of Steam Locomotives"
Editor, the Forum:
read your article and saw the name Charles E. Gay, Jr. of Savannah, I
contacted Charles Gay of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, since he's
from Savannah and asked if there was a connection. His reply:
Now three letters about recent Channel Islands perspective
Editor, the Forum:
I enjoyed your piece on the Channel Islands. I have a 1741 map of the islands on the wall of my study, since my genealogical research shows my family came from Jersey. My seventh great grandfather, John LeCras (pronounced LeCraw), first appears in North American records in a 1701 marriage intention in Marblehead, Mass., having migrated here in the late 1600s. The LeCras name was prevalent on Jersey and shows up in census records going back to the 1300s. There are many folks on Jersey with the LeCras name today. I look forward to going there soon to visit all my cousins.
Editor, the Forum:
Thanks for reminding me of the joy of reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. My friend recommended it for a year before our book club finally agreed to add it to our list of selections and it was delightful beyond words.
I had no idea that the people of Guernsey suffered such privation and difficulty during the war. The book raised my estimation of the strength and determination of those people who remained on the island and managed to sustain their lives in spite of the actions of the German soldiers. The style of exposing the action through the descriptive letters of residents gave a different feel to the book, perhaps more intimate than a narrative description. By the end of the book, the reader experiences the loss of new-found friends.
Thank you also for describing the slower, "cooler" lifestyle of Guernsey in modern day. Even the suggestion of cool in this blistering heat is promising!
Editor, the Forum:
I especially enjoyed your report on the Channel Islands. I have wanted to visit there since I read the wonderful book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I always enjoy your columns and look forward to the news provided by the Gwinnet Forum.
Gwinnett Ballet Theatre (GBT) has announced the hiring of two new key staff members effective August 1, 2011. Jaime Robtison will be taking the role of artistic director, and Brandin Prettyman will become school administrator.
has previously led GBT to become an Honor Company of the Southeastern
Regional Ballet Association. Her dancers have won such honors as a Princess
Grace Award, a Bronze Medal at the Prix de Roma, and principal and soloist
positions at such outstanding companies as Houston Ballet and North Carolina
Dance Theatre. Two alumni have been cited by Dance Magazine as among "25
To Watch" for the years 2009 and 2011.
Prettyman is relocating from Chattanooga, Tenn. to take the position of
school administrator. Brandin has been involved with the arts for most
of her life. Her primary focus was the theater. She volunteers her time
directing children's church productions, and coaching high school theater
County Commission announces new policy on land purchases
County commissioners on Tuesday adopted a new policy that sets out strict
procedures for acquiring land. Board Chairman Charlotte Nash says: "Adopting
this new policy is the right thing to do. It clearly outlines the process
for making good decisions about land acquisitions and holds the Board
of Commissioners and County staff accountable for our actions."
1, the Snellville Downtown Development Authority became the owner of land
tracts formerly known as the "Spohn Property" in downtown Snellville.
The transaction followed a $697,450 purchase by the City of Snellville
aimed toward accelerating redevelopment of the Town Center. In a June
29 DDA meeting, closing documents were discussed, reviewed, and acted
upon by the six-person body. Financing was obtained and a pass through
agreement now exists allowing the DDA and City to approach potential developers
in a "two-prong approach."
the DDA quickly sold the former Snellville Police Department property
on 2795 Main Street. This came after the City suffered three protracted
and unsuccessful closings using bid procedures. That property was consequently
redeveloped into Professional Office Condos, adding jobs and tax revenue
Treasurer Cecil Sellers says: "We are simply putting pieces in place to accelerate quality growth in Snellville. I live and work here with my family, so naturally I'm optimistic." For more information visit www.SnellvilleDDA.org.
County to replace 12 miles of aging water mains in 15 areas
miles of aging water mains in 15 different subdivisions and along key
sections of residential roads in and around Snellville, Lilburn, Norcross,
Hoschton and Sugar Hill and over a mile of old, frequently clogged sewer
lines in Lawrenceville will be replaced under contracts approved recently
by the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners.
"The DVD Warm Springs I would like to share with your readers. (It stars Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon.) FDR's coming to Georgia brought this future president in close contact with those (of all races) not as privileged as he and Eleanor, as well as the in contact with the disabled.
"This DVD allows others to learn how FDR came to Warms Springs, Georgia, as well as to all that he and Eleanor were able to accomplish once they made it to the White House. One reason why the Social Security idea was high on his 'to do' list was because of what he learned in Georgia. The audio commentaries with Director Joseph Sargent and Writer Margaret Nagle is of most importance and equally worthy of listening to...several times!"
William and Ellen Craft were slaves from Macon who gained celebrity after a daring, novel, and very public escape in December 1848. The daughter of an African American woman and her white master, Ellen looked white and was able to dress as a southern slaveholder in trousers, top hat, and short hair to avoid detection by slave-catchers. Her darker-skinned husband, William, accompanied her by masquerading as her attentive slave valet.
They journeyed by train from Macon to Savannah, where they boarded a steamship bound for Charleston, South Carolina. From there they took another steamer to Wilmington, North Carolina, then a train to just outside Fredericksburg, Virginia. They boarded yet another steamer bound for Washington, D.C., and finally proceeded by train to Baltimore, Maryland, and on across the Mason-Dixon line into Pennsylvania. They thought their freedom was then secure.
The Crafts moved to Boston, which had an established free black community on Beacon Hill and a well-organized, protective abolitionist activity. William, a carpenter, founded a thriving furniture business. In 1850, however, Congress disturbed their peace by ratifying the Fugitive Slave Act, which made it a crime for residents of free states to harbor or aid fugitive slaves like the Crafts.
The ink had barely dried on this new bill when two bounty hunters traveled north from Macon to return the Crafts to slavery by persuasion or by force. They met with resistance and harassment from black and white Bostonians, who moved the couple around the city to elude their detection and recapture. Defeated, the bounty hunters soon returned to Georgia. The Crafts no longer felt safe, however, even in the northern states. In December 1850, just two years after they had fled slavery, they sailed into calmer waters in Liverpool, England.
During their 19 years in England, the Crafts pursued their intellectual development, raised their family, and established a livelihood. After reunions in Boston, the couple returned to Georgia in 1870. They settled outside of Savannah in Bryan County, where they raised money from northern publishers and antislavery friends to purchase 1,800 acres of land. They then launched the Woodville Co-operative Farm School in 1873 for the education and employment of newly freed slaves. Scandal erupted in 1876 when some of William's backers accused him of personally using funds intended for charitable purposes. He sued for libel to clear his name in Boston's courts but in 1878 lost the case along with many longtime allies.
Soon after, the school at Woodville closed from lack of funding. William struggled to maintain the farm in the face of increased debt, plummeting cotton prices, and increasing anti-black violence and legal oppression. In 1890 the Crafts moved to Charleston to live with their daughter's family. Ellen died in 1891; William died in 1900.
In 1996 Ellen was inducted into Georgia Women of Achievement.
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Intercamp Games: 10 a.m., July 28, Bogan Park, Buford. Competition between all the Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation summer campers.
Splash and Bash: 1 p.m., July 30, Rhodes Jordan Park Pool. Enjoy wacky games, prizes and cool treats. Regular admission fees apply.
(NEW) National Night Out in Lilburn: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Aug. 2, in the City Park Pavilion. This safety event is sponsored by Safety Smart Lilburn Inc. and the City of Lilburn, aimed at all residents of the 30047 Zip Code.
Duluth Open House for traffic improvement: 6 p.m., Aug. 4, at Duluth City Hall. Subject of the Open House will be the McClure Bridge Road improvements and the Irvindale Road Roundabout.
© 2001-2011, Gwinnett Forum.com is Gwinnett County's online community forum for commentary that explores pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.