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Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of In the Context of Love, a newly released novel that deals with love, family secrets and sexual violence. She is widely published in print and online.  

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CHRISSIE HYNDE: Rock N’ Roll but No Role Model

by Linda K. Sienkiewicz

Chrissie Hynde, rebel rocker from The Pretenders, has stunned feminists (along with most sensible men and women) by claiming it was her fault when several bikers drove her to an abandoned house and sexually assaulted her. She says she brought it upon herself for trying to play nice with guys who have “I (heart) rape” written on their t-shirts: “Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility.”images-2

Many women view Hynde as a heroine and a feminist, but there are things about her that never set quite right with me. Consider the lyrics to “977” from “Last of the Independents”:

He cried because of me
He hit me with his belt
But his tears were all I feltimages-1
When I saw my baby cry
I knew he loved me

When you try and cut me down
And push me back
If I attack your attitude
I rise up to the challenge ’cause
I like to taste the sugar of your violent mood

I think most people would agree that love is not hitting your lover with a belt, and violent moods have nothing to do with sugary sweetness. Her recent statements about rape have convinced me she isn’t worthy of my admiration for anything other than some good tunes. Continue Reading »


Luque PhotoLuis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.

How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Donald

by Luis M. Luque

dtimagesDonald Trump is a man, a human being. So we’re told anyway. Whatever he is, Trump is also a myth, a legend, a reality TV star, a corporation, a misogynist, a prognosticator, a Twitter feed, a brand, a bully, a braggart, a boor, a ratings bonanza, a bombastic billionaire buffoon blinded by ego, a bloviating blowhard for the entertainment of the blogosphere, a bumbling big-mouthed businessman blundering back and forth between banks and bankruptcy, and perhaps most surprising of all, a serious presidential candidate—at least in the minds of people fooled by what they think sounds like blunt talk about important issues.idtmages-1

A friend of mine believes Trump is a Democrat masquerading as a conservative Republican, that, in other words, he’s a troll, a living showcase for some of the GOP’s worst excesses—jingoism, racism, arrogance, lack of concern for the most vulnerable—and as such, my friend believes, Trump is herding voters toward the more sensible, or least harmful, political party. How I wish it were so.

I see Trump as an old-style tent revivalist minus religion, a carnival barker who barks only in superlatives, “I’ll build the biggest and wall ….” “I’ll get the best deal from the Chinese ….” “Hillary Clinton is the worst secretary of state ….” Trump uses an old playbook in new ways, all for his personal glorification. It’s a wildly successful playbook, but those taken in by its two basic schemes tend to regret briefly and forgive themselves too soon for being fooled, before they immediately begin falling for the next charlatan (Ben Carson? Ted Cruz? Rand Paul? Mike Huckabee?) to pick up the old dog-eared copy and wrap it in a shiny new cover.

The two basic schemes of these old-style fear mongers are nativism and populism. Nativism is probably one of the oldest effective political tactics we know. It consists of blaming an Other, usually an Outsider, for most of a nation’s problems. Continue Reading »

Michael BarryMichael Barry is a writer who lives in Boston, MA. He received his B.A. in Financial Economics from St. Anselm College and his MFA in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine. Check him out at MichaelBarryWriter.com.


by Michael Barry

A lot of things have been said about Justin Bieber since he jumped onto the music scene and into tabloids. Not that truth and myth are all that different anymore. I have been a fan of the music though not so much the person. I find it hard to blame him though, for how things have gone down. It wasn’t hard to predict.

jbimages-1So when I saw Bieber break down on stage last night it wasn’t exactly a new thing. Anybody remember Selena crying on stage, or in that music video? This isn’t really new ground for anyone involved. Plus the obvious VMA publicity machine. The perfect place for temper-tantrums and quasi-cries for help. MTV: The celebrity good Samaritans.

And as I watched Justin cry and heard that Selena had already left, I couldn’t help thinking that it is probably so much more than them, that this could be a cry for help from someone who has nobody to cry to. Justin Bieber might actually be hurting. It’s hard to recognize that these people have feelings, but anyone who watched the “Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber” could tell how uncomfortable he was being piled upon like that. There’s a pretty simple explanation: he cares. Continue Reading »

Michael BarryMichael Barry is a writer who lives in Boston, MA. He received his B.A. in Financial Economics from St. Anselm College and his MFA in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine. Check him out at MichaelBarryWriter.com.


by Michael Barry

zimagesIn a recent UK Cosmo interview promoting the upcoming release of We Are Your Friends, Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, and director Max Joseph were put to the test in a game that had them recognizing song titles by listening to each song’s intro. A pretty fluff interview, but that’s neither here nor there. Things started off well as is expected, but get this steamy faux pas; Efron couldn’t remember the name of a High School Musical song. On no. How dare he?

HSMimagesThe comment sections of every gossip column erupted with former fans who haven’t grown up over the last decade deriding Efron for his heartless miscue. Everything from Catfish comments to countless drug accusations ensued. zeimages-1A few compassionate souls saw fit to come to his defense, but basic grammar checks leave all parties suspect. That Efron knew it was from High School Musical instantly and could sing the words didn’t matter to trolls and malcontents. Even his seemingly on point assertion that “There’s like three movies of songs guys” didn’t stave off haters. Continue Reading »

Tracy McDowell, Ryan J MacConnell and Jenna Leigh Green in the NYMF 2015 production

Tracy McDowell, Ryan J MacConnell and Jenna Leigh Green in the NYMF 2015 production

TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA played a SOLD OUT run at the New York Musical Festival, drawing national and international media, including on people.com.  Ken Davenport’s Producer’s Perspective blog listed the show as one of five ‘that stand out’ at NYMF and PLAYBILL sited it as one of the ‘Top Ten Shows to See’. Broadway World spotlighted it as a PhotoFlash feature; Best of Off Broadway listed it as a Best of Fest.

The show has earned enthusiastic reviews (“Everything I wanted it to be”; “Gloriously camp and relentlessly energetic with a scandalously good cast…You will shout with glee and love for this good-natured endlessly entertaining show”). BACKSTAGE described it as “a dark comedy with surprising depth.”

NYMF Opening night party: cast and crew

NYMF Opening night party: cast and crew

Announced in Theater Mania— Media madness has followed with stories about the show in the New York Daily News, The Nation, the UK Telegraph, Playbill, Broadway World, Hamilton Spectator, MediaIte, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Seattle Times, The Times in South Africa, The New York Times, the AFP in France and Asia and more.  Details and links can be found on our new website which tells the ongoing story of our show. Two Girls Go for the Gold!  Book, Lyrics and concept by Elizabeth Searle; Music by Michael Teoli.

MediaIte wrote: “The saga of Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding is being turned into the rock opera it deserves…That is insane and wonderful and it’s about damn time it willed its way into existence!…What is Tonya Harding if she’s not a diva? And what is a diva without her opera?…. This is beautiful and perfect, and you’re just upset that you didn’t think of it first.” Jamie Frevele, MEDIAITE

Check out our NYMF 2015 review and media quotes here.

PREVIOUS MEDIA & REVIEW QUOTES: tnkingBrilliant” Steve Almond, WGBH Boston “Absurdly FUNNY… surprisingly POIGNANT moments amidst the comedy and a ROUSING SOUNDTRACK.” Boston Phoenix.(photo: Barry Weiss)



Does anyone really believe that all cabinet members of the email era constantly turned over ‘all’ private emails relating to their job?  I support Elizabeth Warren for President myself.

But I oppose unbalanced outrage directed at Hillary Clinton.  Many former cabinet members including Colin Powell could be found in ‘violation’ of this new email ‘law’– which despite early reports did not exist as law when Hillary was in office.hcimages In October of 2014, when President Obama created a law that ordered officials to turn in any (undeleted) emails related to state business, Hillary Clinton was the only former SOS to actually turn in her emails: some 50 thousand. Do we now want cabinet officials to wear a wire 24/7 to make sure they never have a private conversation about their work life? I don’t know about Hillary, but I already feel weary of the Witch-Hunt tactics that will ensue if she runs again.  Hillary was speaking about international womens’ issues at the UN when she was mobbed by masses of reporters smelling scandal and pressing Hillary with questions on her email server.  One final question of my own: why is there always an extra level of scrutiny and bias and bile directed at her? (photo: time.com; GoogleImages)

Trading Places: BRIAN WILLIAMS and JON STEWART Switch Jobs? by Elizabeth Searle

jsmagesI feel bad about Brian Williams. Not that he didn’t seriously screw up.  But having seen him perform a genial professional-level Stand-Up Comedy routine at the Nantucket Film Festival, I understand why the natural-born raconteur with the movie-star looks has privately pined to replace Jay Leno.

fcmagesSo why not replace Jon Stewart instead? I feel bad about Jon Stewart too. No one can truly replace the comic genius who has in fact become the ‘most trusted’ and truthiest name in news. But Stewart in recent years has seemed to pine for a more ‘serious’ role in policy debate, delivering earnest speeches and directing the solemn documentary ROSEWATER.

In terms of actual interest in and passion for the News, Jon Stewart seems to me to possess more gravitas than starstruck Brian Williams. And Williams– who did stumble his stand-up act onto sacred ground when he puffed up his own role in a real military mission– has always had stars in his eyes.bwages-1

He climbed up the network news ladder partly on the strength of looks and charm rather than the kind of hard-won reporters’ chops that once elevated Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite– seasoned reporters with less glamor but more gravitas than boyish Williams– into anchor chairs.

On a practical note, NBC ratings would soar if Jon Stewart took the lead anchor chair. Brian Williams might fare less well in Stewart’s ‘hot seat’– but that’s Show Biz.

(photos: adage.com, Salon.com, fcm images; GoogleImages)


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