Jerry Manning, artistic director of Seattle Repertory Theatre, has passed away. That's the word going around the theater community today—independently confirmed by many people close to him—though the Seattle Rep has not announced anything yet. Many folks will have many things to say about Jerry—who had long-term health issues and underwent a recent surgery—but he was a real champion for local actors, both on and offstage, and had a intelligent, old school, east coast drollery that was like an oasis. And Lord knows he was patient: a downtown theater guy at heart managing the pressures of a big regional theater (which makes a person an automatic magnet for resentment and criticism) whose feathers, as far as I saw, never got seriously ruffled. A lot of theater folks are going to be hit hard by this news. Rest in peace, Jerry.
Today in vandalism: "More than 60 members of Teaneck High School’s senior class were arrested this morning after a senior prank that police said involved urinating in the hallways of the high school, smearing Vaseline on walls, flipping desks and littering the school with balloons and other debris."
Today in violence: "Maguire's death is the first time a teacher has been fatally stabbed in a British classroom, and the first killing of a teacher in a school since the 1996 Dunblane massacre."
Just wanted to make sure everyone (especially my colleagues in the reporting business!) is clear about the distinction between vandalism (specifically targeted property destruction) and violence: Hitting a window with a stick is not the same as hitting a person with a stick. Unless you think of people as the moral equivalent of property.
May Day! "Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets around the world to mark International Labour Day, including in Turkey, Hong Kong, Moscow and Jakarta. In Istanbul, police dispersed on Thursday hundreds of protesters who tried to defy a ban on demonstrations on the city's Taksim Square on the anniversary of clashes that prompted a nationwide protest movement... After giving a final warning, hundreds of riot police backed up by water-cannon moved in on protesters in the Besiktas district as they tried to breach the barricades leading up to the symbolic square, an AFP reporter said on Thursday. Rallies also took place across Asia, including in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taipei and Seoul, where the annual protest was expected to take a sombre tone in the wake of the South Korean ferry disaster."
Republicans oppose minimum wage increase: "Starkly different views on poverty and inequality rose to the fore again on Wednesday as Democrats in the Senate were unable to muster the supermajority of 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster of a proposal to raise the incomes of the working poor by lifting the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour."
Invasion by suggestion: "Vladimir Putin has called for Ukrainian troops to pull out of the south-east of the country, in a conversation with Angela Merkel on Thursday."
A short history of exploding whales: "Blue whales are the largest animals on earth. This one [in Newfoundland] has reportedly ballooned to twice its original size. In the process of decomposition, methane and other gases accumulate in the body of the whale. The buildup of pressure, plus the disintegration of the whale's flesh, could cause the whole body to burst... The world now knows that blowing up whales on purpose is best avoided. However, dead whales can still detonate on their own. In 2004, for example, the carcass of a sperm whale was being towed through the streets of Tainan City, Taiwan, when its belly burst, splattering blood and guts on nearby people, cars, and storefronts."
Fires in Cucamonga: "The Etiwanda fire raging north of Rancho Cucamonga was just 10% contained Thursday after having burned more than 1,000 acres, officials said. The blaze was first reported shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday and quickly exploded in size amid powerful Santa Ana winds, extremely dry air and unseasonably high temperatures. Wind gusts above 80 mph also grounded water-dropping helicopters and fixed-wing tankers, complicating the task of fighting the fire as it zigzagged along the parched brush- and chaparral-covered hillsides."
Some history of Cucamonga (whose name I've loved since hearing it in a cartoon when I was a tiny child): "American forces entered California in 1846, annexed it in 1848, and it became a state in 1850. Unlike the northern portion of our state during that era, southern California, and specifically Los Angeles, was described as a 'random collection of adobes rimmed by sandy wastes, wild mustard, and willow trees'... The Rains purchased the Rancho de Cucamonga from Tapia's daughter and her husband Leon Victor Prudhomme in 1858. Before his murder in 1862, Rains greatly expanded the vineyards Tapia had planted and imported brick masons from Ohio, via Los Angeles, to construct the family home, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places."
Rubber bullets banned in Catalonia: "A ban on the use of rubber bullets by the police force in Catalonia comes into force on Wednesday following a campaign led by seven people who each lost an eye on the streets of Barcelona. The latest victim, Ester Quintana, 42, was hit by a rubber bullet during a general strike in November 2012. Her pressure group Ojo con tu Ojo, along with Stop Bales de Goma, mounted the campaign after seeing its efforts for justice fail in the Spanish courts."