“Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” Walt Whitman
Lovers Bill Duckett and Walt Whitman
HBO has begun offering the 2010 film “Beginners,” for which Christopher Plummer deservedly received an Oscar for best actor in a supporting role, at age 82 the oldest winner ever. He plays Hal Fields, a 75 year-old retired museum director who comes out of the closet after his wife dies. His lover Andy, played by Goran Visnjic, tells Hal’s son Oliver not to be threatened by the relationship. As critic Roger Ebert wrote: “Andy truly and deeply loves the old man, with a fullness that almost shames Oliver.” After Hal dies, the son finds the letter and photo he used to place a personal ad in an encounter column identifying himself as a gay man looking for a younger partner. The role for the Canadian actor is a far cry from his first major role as Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” (1965). Despite having terminal cancer, Hal embraces a gay lifestyle socially and politically and seems to have found true happiness.
Samuel A. Love and Ava Meux
Samuel A. Love and Ava Meux were on two radio stations to express their opposition to plans by The GEO Group to construct an immigrant detention center on property in Hobart formerly belonging to St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church. He took a note with him reading, “Don’t curse.” His lover, attorney Brenda Love, carries a similar note with her when she in court. Pressure by citizens groups has resulted in Mayor Brian Snedecor backing away from any support of the project. According to Post-Trib reporter Karen Caffarini, The GEO Group “has been dogged by complaints of sexual harassment, wrongful deaths and skimping on inmates’ health needs.”
In another black eye for the reputation of Lake County politics, a grand jury has indicted Lake Station mayor Keith Soderquist and wife Deborah, charging them with stealing money from the city’s food pantry account to support their casino gambling addiction. Former Gary mayor Scott King is representing them. The mayor’s stepdaughter Miranda Brakley, who previously worked for the city, also is also under indictment.
Anne Fritz and Corey Hagelberg spent Wednesday hanging a show at Gardner Center that will feature former IUN Fine Arts students. The opening is Friday from 6 to 9. One sculptor produced busts of professors Neil Goodman and David Klamen. We had lunch at Miller Bakery Café, where Corey’s artwork adorns the walls. I was almost floored when Ann mentioned having nine grandchildren; I can remember when she first announced she was a grandmother. Jackie Gipson called m beforehand and agreed to join us. She is interested into community projects, such as renovating the Palace Theater at Eighth and Broadway and enjoyed meeting Corey and Ann. When I picked her up, husband Floyd, a steelworker, gave me a big hug. We go back a long way. Jackie was my student in the 1980s and after graduating from Valpo Law School was a lecturer in SPEA for about ten years until, like Anne Balay, she made enemies in high places for being outspoken and unwilling to put up with departmental nonsense.
I got Frank Shufran to bowl in my place in order to attend a condo owners meeting. Our budget took a major hit because of all the snow removal bills so we’re hoping the late spring will reduce the number of lawn mowings (at $300 a shot) that we’ll need. We’ve also decided a major mulching is unnecessary since that was done last year. Ken Carlson is president of the condo association now that Bernie Holicky moved to Chicago; he is an old hand at the job and things went smoothly.
Henry Farag called to discussed possible changes in “The Signal: A Rhapsody” prior to the performance at Gardner Center in 10 days. He plans to mention going to nearby Jack Spratts for ice cream following dances, and I suggested he work in references to Cedar Lake Ballroom (where he first saw the Skyliners and other live groups) and the Palace Theater (where he gawked at performers in movies produced by Alan Freed. There was a nice article in the Post-Trib announcing that Henry and members of the Spaniels and Soul Stirrers would be on Lakeshore Radio.
Old friend Paul Turk reports that daughter Kat (above, with horseshoe crab carapace) will be interning again at the Virginia Museum of Natural History and announced: “She has formally declared geology her major, cementing (you should forgive) a choice she made back in the days when we found rocks from her pockets rattling around in the washing machine.”
The UConn daily newspaper covered Ann Balay’s leacture that was part of the Sexuality Studies Spring Symposia Series, although correspondent Carles Lopez Penalver identified her as being from the University of Indianapolis. Wouldn’t it be great if she suddenly had been hired by that college. Penalver wrote: “Balay offered a variety of stories that portrayed the harassment and violence gay steelworkers suffer. Brenda, a lesbian steelworker suffered from sexual harassment from a coworker multiple times, who would continuingly tell Brenda that she should try to be with a male. This coworker went to such extreme that he even attempted to rape Brenda, but was stopped by a third coworker.”
Huffington Post, which recently ran an interview with Anne (above, in Connecticut) and a story about her being denied tenure, reported on a three year-old boy who somehow got inside a claw crane machine filled with stuffed animals at a bowling alley in Nebraska. According to the Omaha World-Herald he climbed through the prize shoot and was “playing happily” with toys in the machine when discovered.
I am holding off sending my article “Steel Closets and Injustice in Academia: The Anne Balay Promotion and Tenure Case” out for publication in hopes of receiving a final resolution from IU President Michael McRobbie, to whom Anne wrote this appeal, the last step in a procedure that so far has been egregiously unfair:
“Most students I have taught love and support me wholeheartedly. Not because they're gay, and not because our political views match, but because I believe in them, and push them to think, achieve, and surprise themselves with the pleasure of learning. I have enjoyed teaching in Gary. It led to a book that is the accomplishment of my career, and . . . to moments where students became scholars, and I saw the joy of that in their eyes.
I welcome opportunities to have my teaching evaluated, and seek advice about how to improve. Just as I challenge my students, I challenge myself, and I'm learning that *how* you ask a question can be as important as what question you ask. If you study my student evaluations after my denial, you will notice that I'm trying to learn, even from this experience, and to grow as a teacher. Please consider giving me the chance to continue to do that at IU.”