Tonight, at around 1045pm, my father conceded a Mayoral race to the incumbent Ed Palowski. I could write at length about the problems with this race, and about the admiration I have for my father for fighting as hard as he did (and accomplishing as much as he did), but I'll narrow it down to a few bullet points because there's a wider point I would like to talk about.
- 60-40%. That is just about the percentage my father held for most of the night as various precincts reported. It varied on either side of the numbers a few times, but averaged in around that (EDIT: Final is looking like 61-39%) 2/5ths of Allentown residents believed that the incumbent mayor (who was projected to win by at least 80-85% of the vote) is not doing a good job and that it's time for a change. This is the message my father sought to bring to the forefront during his campaign.
- 11.7%. My father raised $13,140 to the mayor's $112,135 (mostly outside money) in this race. (Source: Lehigh Valley Live) That's 11.7% of the mayor's total fundraising, and still he took 2/5ths of the vote. This is before final budgets have been published, I will update these numbers once everything comes out. Also it was pointed out to me that the last time Pawlowski ran, he raised almost a quarter of a million dollars, and he wasn't running for Governor. This time, while raising money for a Gubernatorial bid as well, he raised less than half of that? There's some money left over from four years ago that's going to come out in final budgets is my guess.
- The mayor ran an aggressive "Get Out The Vote" campaign throughout the day, driving voters to polls and knocking on doors, paying reportedly $100/day to do so. Something my father simply can not compete with.
However there's one thing that I will remember about today more than anything, and that is the power of the party line. You see, something I never knew, is that in some states, you don't have to read the ballot at the top, one of the first things you are asked is "would you like to vote for a specific party?" Press the democrat button and voila, your vote is tallied, you didn't even have to see the candidates. The same goes for Republican. Now whether or not you agree with a two party system, this already put my father, running as an independent, at a severe disadvantage, because any party-line vote excluded him without his name even being seen by the voter. This meant at every polling station we were imploring people to not vote party lines, and to read the ballot. Even if they voted party lines in the end, they needed to take the time to recognize each race and who was running. According to the mayor's wife (who was at my polling place all day, and, by the way, is an extremely nice lady who had wonderful conversation with me for the 13 hours that we polled together, and I wish her and her family all the best in the world) a large amount of voters take this option and vote their party line.
Now I grew up in a state where I don't remember this being an option, ever, sure you could vote all in one party, but you still had to fill it in as such yourself, and when I voted in New York State, it seemed to be much the same. The reason that this is a problem, is it does not support the American people it supports the American political machine, locking in the two party system even more concretely, and not allowing people to make up their own minds, issue by issue, candidate by candidate. It locks out third party options and essentially nullifies their races. However there's an even bigger issue, and that issue came to play in Allentown on November 5th.
Hey everyone, Waynflete School Crest
It is now November (duh) and that means it's the month of my favorite holiday. Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for me, has always been about reflection. It's about time spent with loved ones, be they relatives, or friends, about eating far too much food, and finding yourself generally happy and merry in the company of others. I have said for years that Thanksgiving is about the 5 F's and a B. Family, Friends, Food, Fun, Football, and Beer. But at the heart of all those things is love, camaraderie, community, and relaxation. I saw a post on Facebook earlier today from a friend who was trying a new project, and I've decided to try it too.
So every day this month, I am going to post one thing that I am Thankful for, but rather than have it just be about my life, I'm going to have it tailored to each day. Because I know the things that I am thankful for overall, but I'm hoping this project will help me remind myself of what I'm thankful for on a day-to-day basis. I think it will be a lot of fun, it will be a great way of lifting my spirits each and every day, and if you guys decide to read it, then yay! I'll be posting each one to Twitter/Facebook with the Hashtag #30DaysofThanks and if you all are inspired to do so, I think it could be a great way for people to remind others that life is wonderful on each and every day in some capacity, and we need to see those individual things just as much as we need to look at life on a grand scale!
So, without further ado. Here we go:
November 1: I am thankful for having been part of an educational community that cares enough to keep me, as a graduate, updated on school happenings, and will bring the new head of school to my city for a meet and greet with alumni. The tight-knit Waynflete community is something that has helped me personally and professionally, and I hope to stay connected to it for my life to come.
November 2: I am thankful for the discovery of CrossFit into my life. I went for a 3.5 mile run today, a run that usually finishes with me winded and exhausted, and today I finished it and felt like I could run 3.5 more. That is entirely thank to the 10 weeks I trained at CrossFit Fort Atkinson, and to the people who trained with me and pushed me along the way. They pushed me to be a better version of myself, and it worked!
November 3: I am thankful that I grew up knowing how to be alone. I spent all day with myself, organizing my thoughts, and relaxing. Too many times I hear my friends say that they don't know how to spend time by themselves, and that is unbelievably sad to me. The ability to be happy with my thoughts is something that I treasure greatly, and often find all the drive and focus I need to succeed in those moments alone. After today, I'm ready to take on the world again. I may hate it, but it works
November 4: I am thankful for the invention of vehicles that allow us to span great distances in short amounts of time. Today I packed a bag, walked to a bus station, and within 2 hours was in my dad's car just under 90 miles away. 100 years ago, that concept is significantly more complicated, and can not be planned on the day of. In today's day, if someone is sick, if there is an event, if you just are feeling homesick, you can go and see your loved ones, and that is something that I am so grateful for. I am a homebody, and the ability to go home when I want to or need to makes me feel a little less vulnerable in this big bad scary New York City World. Dad, Will, and I
November 5: I am thankful for a family that continuously makes me proud. Today my father lost a mayoral race to incumbent Ed Pawlowski. Projected to receive less than 15% of the vote, raising less than 10% of the incumbent's budget, and practically ignored by his opponent, my father was able to persevere and win nearly 40% of the vote in Allentown. 40%. No matter the nay-sayers, my father fought, and fought hard, and he proved that the little guy can make a statement and be heard, and I am so very thankful to be his son.
November 6: I am thankful for this wonderful, crazy, upsetting, glorifying, profession that I find myself a part of. Tonight reaffirmed why I do what I do, reaffirmed what I feel that I'm good at, and made me once again fall in love with acting, even without ever falling out of it. That's the power of this world, the power of New York City, and the power of a community so welcoming that they'll always give you a chance. Today I'm so thankful for this profession and for the amazing community of people that I find myself a part of by being an actor. If you're a member of the theatre community in some capacity, I am so thankful for you.
Dear New York City,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Ned Donovan, but you may know me better as that guy who hawked falafel all summer on the corner of 6th Avenue and 17th Street at The Hummus & Pita Company
. For visual reference, here is a picture of me in my work garments with my roommate’s cat, Lucy, on my shoulders.
Her full name is "Lucy Fur". I know. It's brilliant. Also I'm remarkably unphotogenic...is that a word?
Look familiar? No? Well then I can’t help you. But since this is my website and my blog, I’m going to give you some thoughts I’ve had about you since I became a very visible member of your city.
You see as an actor, I’ve made a living out of creating characters, becoming characters, and incorporating characters into the various roles I’ve played over the years. When I became the “Weekend Falafel Guy” for The Hummus & Pita Company (or as multiple heart-melting small children have said to me, The Hummus and Pi Taco) I didn’t quite realize how close you and I were going to get. I got to know you and your residents very, very well. I was given a job as the face for a company, handing out their fantastic product, for free, to the people of this city, and nothing brings out a person’s true character, like seeing how they react to something that is free.
A few caveats before we jump in. This is not a demonization of any specific person or persons, or any specific group of people; in fact, the types of people I have observed are refreshingly devoid of delineation by race, gender, class, nationality, sexual orientation, creed, etc. This is also not meant to belittle any of the customers of The Hummus & Pita Company (please don’t fire me, Dave, for writing this), I love this restaurant, the people are great, the food is unbelievable, the customers for the most part are patient, friendly, and exceedingly polite, and the company as a whole really does a great job. If you haven’t eaten lunch/dinner there, do yourself a favor and go.
Alright, now that I’ve done the prerequisite “don’t fire me” speech, here we go. In my observation, there are six different types of people walking your streets in regards to free samples, and I would like to offer other samplers out there some advice on how to recognize them, and how to deal with them.
I spent my summer holding a lot of trays that look like this...Did you get one from me?
Hey there everyone!
As many of you have probably heard, I am playing The Minstrel in Once Upon a Mattress at The Fireside in Fort Atkinson, WI! We are now open and our first week has finished and I can tell you that this show is AWESOME. Audiences have loved it, we've gotten people laughing so hard they've cried, and have raved about the show afterwards!
We're running from now until October 27th, with matinees on wednesday, thursday, saturday, and sunday, and evening performances on thursday, saturday, and sunday!
Be sure to come out and see the show if you find yourself in Wisconsin, and say hi afterwards!For more information, including dates, and tickets, please click here!
Success is such a relative word. How do you measure your own success? I was recently talking to my brother about this while I was delayed in the Portland Maine Airport. We couldn't decide how one measures success for themselves, and therefore if there was a scale upon which you could relate one's successes against another's.
It was told to me by a New Yorker while I was still in college that to be successful in the Acting field is to work. To work more than others. To consistently prove you are in the upper echelon of the field. That is the only way to success. Or so I was told.
That sounded exhausting to me. So I chose a different path. I forged my own. I decided right then and there that I would work hard, and tirelessly for me. Not for comparisons, and not for the sake of people telling stories about me, or for my parents to brag. I decided to work hard, every day, for me and me alone.
I was fortunate enough that after college, I was employed essentially straight from June 1st until the end of September. I used that time to focus my craft, cultivate friendships, and most importantly, enjoy myself. It's easy for me to forget that I do this because I love it. I feel truly alive in the moments where I remember that I am lucky enough to not have a job that I hate, that I'm able to support myself on my art, and that I'm able to be surrounded by some of the greatest people I've ever known.
Dear every teacher I've ever had,
I am sitting here, at my computer, a gainfully employed member of my chosen profession, and it is all thanks to you. Really, each and every one of you were not just helpful or instrumental, but pivotal in all my successes to date. 11 months ago, I had just graduated Ithaca College, and was preparing to head to my first post-graduate job at the Hackmatack Playhouse. That job lasted me a month, and I already had two more jobs lined up afterwards. All I could do was marvel at how well I had been taught and trained by those people who have dedicated themselves towards making the lives of children and young adults better.
From 1992 until 2008 I was wrapped in the protective, nurturing bubble of Waynflete School. There, the entire faculty and staff worked tirelessly with us to instill knowledge, values, morals, and an incredible thirst for learning. They were successful. Thanks to the efforts of the Lower, Middle, and Upper School Teams, all of my Homestation Teachers, and Advisors, I found myself instilled with self-discipline, and pushed to explore a wide variety of interests and subjects, and always given the time to listen to my (still annoying to this day) incessant chatter.
To those of you who scolded me, I learned the important lessons of humility, and embarrassment.
To those of you who praised me, I learned the ever-necessary lessons of self confidence, and celebration of accomplishment.
To those of you who challenged me to think and explore beyond my comfort zones, I learned the invaluable lessons of opening my mind to the world, challenging its mores, and inspiring others to reach together beyond what we ever could believe possible.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, THE BEATLES!"
Every performance, in his best Ed Sullivan impersonation, Dan Embree says those words, and I run out on stage with three other guys singing "She Loves You" for all I'm worth. In that first moment, the audience already has a smile on its face, and given how awesome this show is, those smiles never waver.
I am blessed to say I have spent the last 6 weeks (dear god, has it only been 6 weeks?) and have 2 more to go at this amazing theater in this lovely little town, with this AMAZING cast and crew of people I that I adore.
7 times a week, for two and a half hours a performance, I get to sing some of the greatest hits of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Roy Orbison, Procol Harum, The Troggs, and many many more. Along with the 7 other featured performers, 1 hilarious Emcee, and an unmatched 8 piece band led by my good friend Steve Watts.
This show is so fantastic, in every way, and if you have the chance to come out and see it, I highly recommend you do so. I'd never worked for The Fireside until this opportunity and I pray I get the chance many more times. This is one of the most interesting, beautiful, and downright different spaces I've ever performed in. First of all it's in the round, thereby making it different than 99% of the theaters I audition for. Secondly it's huge, with 700 seats, the audience can be massive, and yet since the audience is on four sides, no matter how many people are in there it always feels intimate. Third, they put on shows that I had never even considered for in the round staging. That is a testament to Ed Flesch's directing ability, and to the rest of the crew for their brilliant execution of what can be an extremely difficult style of theater. They do it simply, and easily, with a grace and calm that I am extremely envious of.
I'm rambling and just spouting praises at this point, but really, if you're in the Wisconsin Area, get your butt to The Fireside for this show. We run wednesday @130, Thursday @130 and 730, Saturday @130 and 730, and Sunday @115 and 5. Our last performance is Sunday the 24th of February.
Tell your friends, and if you have a chance to audition for, to see, or to recommend a Fireside show, do so, you will not regret it!
To learn more on the show, visit: http://www.firesidetheatre.com/2013_Season/Sizzlin_60s.aspx
Or check out some of the other cast members of this show!Bianca DenisMaggie McDowellJonathan Mouton
So guys, have you heard? Community is BACK!!!!
That's right! My favorite group of community college misfits will be back on our television screens on February 7th! I'm so excited I may poop. Or puke. Or something.
It is with great trepidation, however, that I approach February 7th, because something is amiss. I fear that the great and powerful 'Community' may be starting an uphill battle which is can't overcome.
This is not the first time the show has had to do this. Rumors surrounding the cancellation of Community have been circulating since the end of Season 2, and yet it came back and got itself a third season. And then just when everyone thought that was it, it's kaput for Community, they came out with an announcement of Season 4, premiering on October 19th, and the fan base breathed a collective sigh of relief. We then sucked all that air right back in when October 19th rolled around and there was no Community. Little did we know that it had been pushed back to the spring, we thought it was over, they had destroyed us, and we were left to wallow in our own tears. The light is back, and it is shining. But until that season premiere happens, we won't know just how bright that light shines.
Community is the brainchild of a brilliant television writer named Dan Harmon. Harmon has created an amazing piece of comedy which comments on just about everything possible, is self-effacing, self-aware (without being pretentious), and really too damn smart for its own good. This is all because Harmon is notoriously strict in his control of the show. The show has been sculpted, crafted, and given to us by Harmon, and he has held tight onto the reins the whole way. I am not sorry for that in the slightest. The show has so much heart because it doesn't apologize for what it is. It doesn't go out of its way to try and get a broader audience. It doesn't exist to appeal to anyone, it hopes that someone is willing to watch it, and it does what it wants. This is not the kind of show that Television Producers like to get behind, in other words. Where they wanted ratings and cash, Harmon wanted quality. He has been at odds with the producers since the first season, and so it is no surprise, that after three seasons, begging him to open it up to a wider audience base, they fired him
For the full text of the Dr. Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream" Speech, click here
On the occasion of today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birth, I listened to and read the I Have A Dream speech again. Every night here at The Fireside I have the honor of hearing a portion of the speech read aloud by the incomparable Bianca Denis
and every night I hear it as it applies today.
Because it still does.
Every night as she reads those ever powerful words, those words which truly go down as the spark behind the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's, those words which live in our history as one of the greatest moments America has ever known, I am reminded of today's Civil Rights Movement. Today there is a group of people demonized, and told they are less than. There is not segregation as there was in the 60's, but there is a group of people who live in constant fear of retribution. Who, in many states in this country, have to hide who they are so they don't have to worry about being fired over it. Who are told they are less than, are not worthy of equality to a group of people who are in the majority, and who have the historical superiority on their side.
The LGBT community is today's Civil Rights Movement.
Fifty years ago, a great American delivered a speech which stands as a great "beacon of light" in our Nation's history, and brought change and equality to millions of Americans who were told they were less than.
Fifty years later, our country is still pushing to fulfill the dream laid out by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However it has lost its way in its quest for recognizing what was at the heart of the dream he gave us. Freedom. Equality.
In my college directing class, a fellow student once said (in response to a question of what directors need to do to get a performance out of an actor),
"My high school teacher told me that being actor is being willing to stab your soul on stage in front of everyone day after day after day."
In response to this, our directing teacher (the absolutely incredible Wendy Dann
"Well be careful now, don't get cute with it, and certainly don't get romantic about it. Actors have a wonderful job, one that they are blessed to live every day and to be a part of, but it is a job. It is no more important than anyone else's, in theatre, or outside."
This was a very important moment for me. You see I love my job. I love everything about what I do. I wake up in the morning and I am proud to say that I am an actor. I am proud to say I am a member of the theatre community However in my experience, there is a love and praise for actors, but that love, and those praises are not extended to the millions of other members of the theatre community, the ones who aren't going out on stage every night. This offends me. There is an entire side of the theatre community that is happy to let themselves go unappreciated, and under-loved by most, and they do so with a smile, and with a passion for their job that I can only respect and feel admiration for.
During my time in a BFA Musical Theatre program, I was so surprised to see this problem perpetuating itself as soon as people arrived as freshmen. There were many who treated BFA Performance majors like they had a right to the school that the other theatre majors did not. I made it my mission to have the class of 2012 be a true community, with cross communication and love across majors, and I am proud to say that I was not the only one who worked hard at this goal. Our class worked as a whole to break this stereotype, and we truly loved each other, regardless of major, regardless of theatrical position, regardless of intended career goals. We came together as a community, not as a group of segregated theatre artists.