Anti-semitism’s devastating comeback: the terror of the “Bloody Rabbit”

Michael Freeman's fiction novel "Bloody Rabbit" explores how economic despair contributes to a rise in Antisemitism.

Michael Freeman’s fiction novel “Bloody Rabbit” explores how economic despair contributes to a rise in Antisemitism.


ORLANDO — The Great Recession brought terrible hardship to millions of people, and R.T. Robeson is no exception.
The Orlando man thought he had it all by his late 40s, but the recession took everything he had — his job, his savings, his home, car, even his cat. As he struggles to find employment, he also tries desperately to hold onto his dignity.
Things eventually turn around for Robeson: he finds a new, lower paying job, and a tiny apartment that is affordable on his new salary. But something else has changed. In a society that has seen its wealth and opportunities wiped away, there are some who look for scapegoats. In the minds of the most twisted among them, those scapegoats are easy to find.
Freeline Productions’ novel “Bloody Rabbit” explores the rise of anti-Semitism following a devastating economic crash — seen through the eyes of a man who now finds himself being targeted, and stalked, by someone who believes one specific group can be blamed for this ongoing economic misery: the Jews. Read more »

Freeline Media Review: Shen Yun Performing Arts

Shen Yun Performing Arts just did three shows at the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando, and are now headed to Fort Myers.

Shen Yun Performing Arts just did three shows at the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando, and are now headed to Fort Myers.


ORLANDO — Watching the performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts over this past weekend, it might initially seem like a straightforward celebration of Chinese dance and music.
In fact, it really represents something else as well: a history lesson, in a sense, even a history book on ancient Chinese culture. As the Shen Yun team notes in the program book, “Shen Yun’s productions draw their inspiration from China’s 5,000 years of civilization. Values such as compassion and loyalty, kindness and bravery lie at the heart of traditional Chinese culture.”
They added, “We believe this rich heritage is a precious gift worth keeping, and worth sharing with you.”
In a sense, watching a Shen Yun performance — the troupe just performed three shows at the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando — is also a political act. There were no political speeches given during the show, which focuses on the remarkable skills of a group of very talented dancers, mimes and singers — and no written political messages distributed to the audience.
But make no mistake about it, this is in many ways a celebration of free speech over political oppression. Because as the Shen Yun performers noted, this is a show that Americans have the luxury to watch and enjoy. The same production could not be performed, ironically enough, in China itself. Read more »

Freeline Media Review: “The Philadelphia Story”

Piper Rae Patterson stars as Tracy Lord in Mad Cow Theatre's revival of Phillip Barry's comedy of manners, "The Philadelphia Story."

Piper Rae Patterson stars as Tracy Lord in Mad Cow Theatre’s revival of Phillip Barry’s comedy of manners, “The Philadelphia Story.”

ORLANDO — On Sept. 1 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland, prompting Britain and France to declare war on Germany two days later — the start of World War II.
Poland would quickly fall to the Nazi aggression, and so would France, leaving Britain in a seemingly uphill crusade to stop the Nazi takeover of Europe.
The horrific scenes of war and brutality ravaging Europe were being watched from a distance by the United States, and while President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to provide as much assistance as possible to Britain, the American public had no appetite for joining the war. Americans watched the bombing raids on Britain, the fiery apocalypse across the continent, with no quick desire to having American soldiers endure anything similar.
For a nation still climbing out of the Great Depression, it would seem that Americans preferred pleasure diversions to confronting the appalling slaughter in Europe. And while Phillip Barry’s comical play “The Philadelphia Story” has nothing whatsoever to do with the war in Europe, it’s not that hard to notice subtle jabs of satire throughout the play about social elites, about the news media, and about those who had survived and depression and were now thriving financially.
At a time when Europe appeared at the start of one of the most horrific chapters in world history, the play notes, American elites were hardly worrying about the possible long-term impact of a Nazi conquering of Europe and what dangers it posed for us in the future. Read more »

Nonprofit group works to protect endangered journalists

The pen mightier than the sword? Sadly for too many journalists worldwide, the terrifying opposite has become true.

The pen mightier than the sword? Sadly for too many journalists worldwide, the terrifying opposite has become true.


It used to be that when there were discussions about protecting journalists, these talks were happening at the height of the great recession, a time when newspapers and print journalism were taking a major economic hit and reporters, editors and photographers were losing their jobs and careers.
With an improving economy, that’s no longer the main focus when the issue of “protecting” journalists gets raised. Today, the discussion today is about something far more radical, extreme — and dangerous.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. Although formed in 1981, their mission has taken on a new urgency in the past year — for tragic reasons.
Last week, CPJ set out new standards aimed at protecting freelancer journalists who are at risk of violence, even death, when they attempt to cover news in certain parts of the world, then deliver their reports to viewers and readers.
It is, the organization based in New York City, a huge endeavor to help protect them. Read more »

Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s new season: from Monty Python to elephants and piggies

The Orlando Shakespeare Theater's new season opens with the comedy musical "Spamalot" in September.

The Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s new season opens with the comedy musical “Spamalot” in September.


ORLANDO — It’s been said that variety is the spice of life.
Even William Shakespeare, in his play “Antony and Cleopatra,” wrote that “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety.”
Perhaps with that logic in mind, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater is touting its 27th season as quite likely to become one of its very best, and certainly one that offers a wide variety of topics — from Monty Python to Charles Dickens’ ghosts to elephants mixing with piggies, to — yes, of course — Shakespeare.
“Glorious musicals, re-imagined classics, bold new hits, and laugh-out-loud comedies,” is how the Orlando Shakes team is billing the 27th season, which launches on Sept. 9 with “Monty Python’s SPAMALOT,” the highly irreverent musical by Eric Idle. Read more »

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