BLAINESWORLD #1021 (Please send any comments to:

Section 2, part 2

(1) Len E. in NC: I recommend reading Dark Money by Jane Mayer especially the chapter on how the billionaires in NC bought the 2012 elections for the republican party in NC.
(2) Ginger H. in NC: Why America’s schools have a money problem
(3) You’ve been washing your hands wrong
(4) How to explain mansplaining
(5) Avoiding the dreaded middle seat may now cost you
(6) Choosing to Skip the Upgrade and Care for the Gadget You’ve Got

(7) Bruce R. in NJ: Do any of your readers know how to open one of those personal sentry home safes?   I lost my key and can’t get my  papers out.

(8) Debbie Hancock in PA:  Today’s Web Solutions: I help small and mid-size companies who are tired of all of the excessive high fees, long contracts and lack of personal service.  I am an all in one business solution helping companies reduce expenses and increase their client base by expanding their exposure and I can help you go mobile. I Provide Merchant Services, Web Design, Content Writing, Social Media Management and Advertising.

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Contact: Debbie Hancock 215-668-4334

(9) Paula L. in NY: Thanks so much for another great newsletter – I loved the popcorn – hood eating combination pic! Hilarious, and also checked out Wanderu, thanks for the recommendation!

(10) Debbie O. in NY: I am walking again in the Aids Walk NY this year, a 10k walk to raise funds and awareness about this disease.  I am striving to be a Star Walker again (over $1000.00 raised).  Please join me in raising funds for this worthwhile cause.  You can make a donation or join my team by clicking here:  I know that a minimum $25.00 donation is required on line.  If you would prefer to send a lesser amount, you can mail it directly to:  AWNY PO Box 7607 /New York, NY 10116. (Please be sure to include my name and team (Community Access) in the subject box so I can get credit).  Thanks in advance for your help.


Section 12A, NC events

(1) My Intimate Companion ~ My Body: A Movement Theater Performance

Sunday, May 15
5:30-7 p.m.
at Jubilee Community Church

Asheville-based Community Choreography Projects debuts “My Intimate Companion, My Body”, a movement theater presentation directed by Barrie Barton. Described as “authentic theater,” the performance interweaves personal story, movement and multimedia, creating a montage of human experiences that are both personal and universal.

“Whether we realize it or not, an on-going conversation is chattering away inside each of us about our bodies,” says CCP Artistic Director Barrie Barton. “Too much of this, too little of that, how do I look and I want that instead of this.”

My Intimate Companion seeks to capture those internal feelings, experiences and conversations into script and storytelling.

Through a 9-week workshop, 12 participants – men and women co-created the performance. The process includes movement exploration, improvisation, creative writing and conversation.

Barton explains, “The Community Choreography Project’s creative process is to harness the unspoken, the hidden, the unshared and transform it into the spoken, seen and expressed actions through the container of creativity, performance and community.”

Barton has served as Artistic Director of Community Choreography Projects since its inception in 2005. She has 30 years’ experience teaching, dancing, directing and choreographing work with the main goal of deepening every day conversations for both cast participants as well as audience members.

Tickets are available at the door for $10. The performance begins at 5:30 pm.

For more information, please contact Barrie Barton at

About Community Choreography Projects
Community Choreography Projects, led by Artistic Director Barrie Barton, is an open-call, performance art theater company that creates collaborative, community-based performances.

Barrie Barton brings a wide-open, liberating skill for creative expression to her role as Artistic Director of Community Choreography Projects, dance educator and community choreographer. Her work invites participants to artful play, exploration and expression through movement, stories, creative writing and choreography. Barrie believes that movement is a vital celebration of life.

(2) Dave E. in NC: To anybody thinking about going to the upcoming LEAF festival, I can’t recommend seeing this awesome band enough (they have a Sunday show). Caught SHOVELS & ROPE at this past weekend’s Oskar Blues Music Festival and was blown away. A little like a southern version of the White Stripes, only unlike the White Stripes (which was basically a one man band) both Michael and Cary Ann sing and tear it up on guitar, as well as on drums and percussion (they trade off). One of the best live shows I’ve been to in a long time.

And on an unrelated side note, don’t miss Michael MacCauley in his current outstanding performance as “George” (as well as the rest of the cast–especially his sparring partner, “Martha” portrayed by Callan White at NC Stage company in their production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) Amazing production. Clearly this was my Spring weekend of cultural re-awakening.




Section 12B, PA/NJ events

(1) Tickets on Sale for Delightfully Varied Summer Season at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre

West Windsor, N.J. – Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) Kelsey Theatre will offer something for everyone in its four theatrical offerings this summer. There’s a show for family audiences, one for rock music fans, one for patrons who enjoy classic Broadway musicals, and one for those who just plain love theater and the actors who make it happen. Kelsey Theatre is located on MCCC’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

First up is “Willy Wonka,” a musical based on the famed Roald Dahl book and made into a popular 1971 film starring Gene Wilder. Presented by The Yardley Players, dates and show times are Fridays, July 1 and 8 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, July 2 and 9 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, July 3 and 10 at 2 p.m. Join Charlie Bucket as he visits Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory, accompanied by an enchanting musical score that features songs from the film and new songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.  Tickets are $20 adults, $18 seniors, and $16 students/children.

The Reock and Roll Revue is up next, returning to the Kelsey stage with a brand new rock ’n roll tribute, this time to Jackson Browne, one of the most influential songwriters of the last four decades. The first part of the show will present music and history from Browne’s first four albums and then the group will perform his 1977 fifth album, “Running On Empty,” in its entirety. There are two performances only: Saturday, July 16 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 17 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for all.

In mid-summer, theatergoers can take a cruise with Kelsey friends aboard the ocean liner S.S. American when M & M Stage presents “Anything Goes.”  Dates and show times for this classic Broadway musical are Fridays, July 29 and August 5 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, July 30 and August 6 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, July 31 and August 7 at 2 p.m.  The show includes delightful tap numbers, campy jokes, and eminently hummable songs like De-Lovely, I Get a Kick Out of You, and Anything Goes, courtesy of the unforgettable Cole Porter.  Tickets are $20 adults, $18 seniors, and $16 students/children.

Last, but by no means least, is “The Kelsey Awards,” now in its sixth year, a lively mix of comedy, music and dance, plus an awards ceremony recognizing the 2015-16 season’s best work.  Fans can participate by voting for their favorites online.  (The first round of voting is June 27 to July 2; round 2 is August 13 to 18. More information is available by visiting ) Tickets are $16 for all.

Tickets are now on sale for all shows. Current subscribers receive a 20 percent discount on summer season tickets. Free parking is available next to the theater.  Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.

(2) Theater: ‘A Murder is Announced’ at Morrisville’s Heritage Center

Miss Marple, the famous little-old-lady sleuth created by Agatha Christie for both page and stage, once said, “In an English village, you turn over a stone and have no idea what will crawl out,” and that might be applied to more than one of the characters of “A Murder Is Announced,” the thriller being presented by Actors’ NET of Bucks County at the Morrisville Heritage Center through May 8.

Several characters are not who or what they seem to be in the bucolic English village of Chipping Cleghorn, especially at Little Paddocks, the ancestral home of Letitia Blacklock, a woman known for her kindness and generosity and a friend of Miss Jane Marple. Everyone in town is upset over a notice in the local newspaper’s personals column announcing the time and place of a future murder.

“Do you know, my friend, that each one of us is a dark mystery, a maze of conflicting desires and passion and aptitude,” wrote Christie on another occasion, and that’s an idea important to the involved plot of this mystery which Christie wrote first as a short story called “The Companion” and later expanded into a novel in 1950.  Christie herself didn’t write this play; that was done by Leslie Darbon who also adapted “Cards on the Table” for the stage from Christie’s impressive catalogue of fiction.

That catalogue belonging to the woman who’s been called the best-selling author in the world is well known to both Andrena Wishnie who directs this production as well as to Virginia Barrie who plays Miss Marple.  Both are enthusiastic Christie fans and own and have read multiple times the complete Christie output.

“My mother and grandmother were great Christie fans. In my family, one went from Dick and Jane right to Miss Marple. After the first time, and I’ve read some of them many times, you don’t read for plot but for style and because her characters were such fun, interesting people,” said Wishnie who’s been at Actors’ NET, usually as lighting designer, for eight  years.  She has directed elsewhere locally, often for high school productions, but this time in the director’s chair at Actors’ NET is a first.

“Here, it’s so nice to direct people who are on time and know their lines, and our young people in the cast are very enthusiastic and involved. It’s been so much more collaborative working with people both in the cast and in the production  crew who already knew what they were doing,” said Wishnie who, when she signed on, expected to be directing “Murder at the Vicarage,” one of the plays done during the previous Actors’ NET seasons and brought back as part of their anniversary celebration. Rights to that title were unavailable, and Wishnie suggested this one.

“This isn’t heavy drama,” said Wishnie, “and it’s more about watching Miss Marple twinkle her away around the story than heavy drama. I want to keep things moving so that people don’t notice plot holes or those red herrings Christie is so good at creating.”

Actress Virginia Barrie has been in other Agatha Christie plays, but this is her first time as Miss Marple.  She has high praise for all the various actresses like Joan Hickson, Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie whom she’s seen as Miss Marple on both the big and little screens, but she mentioned that she had read that Christie herself was not too fond of actress Margaret Rutherford who played Marple in a series of films in the sixties, all in glorious black and white, because Rutherford seemed too anxious to get laughs.

“Each actress brought something slightly different to the character, and I don’t think that there’s just one way to play her.  It’s so special for me to be this character because, as a child, I went right from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple, and I have all the books, some which I had to order from England,” said Barrie.

“I think that Miss Marple has a sense of humor, but it’s subtle, a cerebral sense of humor which lets her get along very well with Inspector Craddock.  She’s a sharp old girl, but she likes to keep her image as a passive, fluffy little old lady because that image is not threatening to anyone. But she takes it all in, and she has depth and is compassionate, even with the villain’s situation,” said Barrie who worked on Christie’s “The Mousetrap” last year at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre but was unhappy to have missed the recent production at McCarter Theatre.

Barrie has a theory about why Christie’s detectives, especially Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot maintain their popularity decade after decade: “They embody a time and place and atmosphere that is no longer and will never be again. Poirot is neat and fastidious, and you can depend on Jane to have insight and knit. I think their dependability is a comfort in our busy, overstressed world.”

There’s comic relief to this mystery in a character named Dora Bunner, a longtime friend of Letitia Blacklock with whom she lives. Bunny, as she’s affectionately known, is played by Laurie Hardy, who claims the nickname gave Hardy a key to that woman’s identity.

“Like a bunny, she looks around her,” said Hardy, “as if she’s lost or threatened. Psychologically, she’s just out there, a flit-brain. She’s in her own little world, and her attention is easily diverted. She doesn’t think before she speaks, and words, however inappropriate, just seem to pour out. She and Letitia have been friends since childhood, and she gets to celebrate a birthday during the action.  She’s a delight to play.”

And Hardy’s director added quite a compliment, “Anyone who saw Laurie earlier this year in the dramatic ‘August: Osage County’ won’t believe it’s the same actress.”


“A Murder is Announced”

When: Through May 8; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; matinee on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Where: Morrisville Heritage Center, 635 North Delmorr Avenue (Route 32), Morrisville, Pa.

How much: Tickets are $20 with senior tickets at $17; WHYY card holders and students with ID at $15 and $10 for children under 12; group discounts also available.

Contact: 215-295-3694.


Laurie Hardy and Virginia Barrie in “A Murder is Announced.” (Courtesy photo)

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