Utah State Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck on CHARLOTTE'S WEB and BANNED

Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D) represents District 24 in the Utah House of Representatives. I can’t remember whether the incident with the runt at our farm occurred before, or after I first read CHARLOTTE’S WEB, but I do remember commiserating with Fern, the young farm girl who saved Wilbur from an untimely death shortly after his birth. In our case, the piglet in question was also small and struggling, and my Dad was worried that its mother would likely step on it as she attempted to nurse its siblings. I remember that my Mom warmed up our large gas stove, opened the warming drawer at the bottom, and placed the piglet near, if not right in it.  Alas, attempts to bottle feed and keep the tiny creature warm were to no avail, I don’t think it lasted much longer than a day. Luckily, Fern’s Wilbur had a much better outcome, and such an engaging adventure!  I do recall conversations my mother and I had as I was reading the book, about Fern and Charlotte, in particular.  Since I was young, I wasn’t clearly cognizant of what my mother was trying to help me discern, but I now realize that she wanted me to see the strengths of the female characters in the book; to reflect on how both Fern and Charlotte used their skills and intellect to reach a goal.  She wanted me to see how one can be creative when finding solutions to a problem; that as a girl, I, too, had the capabilities to excel in my own goals and dreams, and that I shouldn’t let others define that...

And the Banned Played On – 2014

May 3, 2014  |  8pm Jeanne Wagner Theatre @ Rose Wagner 138 W 300 S, SLC Running time 90 minutes Click here for Tickets or call 801.355.ARTS Our celebration of the First Amendment returns after a six-year hiatus.  Hosted by Kerry, Bill & (not) Gina from X96’s Radio From Hell Show and featuring these fine folks reading from banned children’s books: – Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker: THE GIVING TREE – Utah State Representative Joel Briscoe: THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ – Utah State Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck: CHARLOTTE’S WEB – Plan-B Co-Founder Cheryl Ann Cluff: BRIDGE TO TERABITIA (replacing Utah State Representative Jennifer Seelig) – Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis: JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH – Actor Anne Cullimore Decker: GREEN EGGS & HAM – Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill: ANNE FRANK: THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL – Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams: CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – Utah State Representative Carol Spackman Moss: HARRIET THE SPY – Salt Lake City Councilman Stan Penfold: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE Also featuring Bill Allred reading from ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, Kerry Jackson reading from BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE? and them both reading from WINNIE THE POOH. Plus a surprise performance!  (Added May 4, 2014:  Tyson Baker and Latoya Rhodes performed “That’s Not My Name” from Matthew Ivan Bennett’s DIFFERENT=AMAZING.) Script compiled by Michael Scott Johnson and Jerry Rapier. PRESS City Weekly  |  Gavin’s Underground  |  SLCene  |  Standard-Examiner  |  The Salt Lake Tribune  |  The Utah Review (preview) and (review)  |  Utah Theatre...

Utah State Representative Carol Spackman Moss on HARRIET THE SPY and BANNED

Carol Spackman Moss (D), a former educator, represents District 37 in the Utah House of Representatives. Harriet M. Welsch is a female protagonist for all the pre-teen girls who are faced with popular culture’s unrealistic body images, highly sexualized clothing, and stereotypical “girl” roles. Yes, Harriet is for some parents the antithesis of the obedient, cautious, feminine young girl (11-14) they are nurturing toward womanhood. But hooray for Harriet! HARRIET THE SPY, written in 1964, when I was already a young mother and before I became a high school English teacher, was a book I had heard about, but never read. I always wanted to know what made Harriet such a popular and sometimes controversial character. Well, I soon found out, after a marathon reading in two days of this 300-page funny, touching, and altogether fascinating book that I absolutely loved! Thanks, Jerry, for this opportunity. How could the spunky Harriet, an aspiring spy, be controversial? That’s easy. She talks back to her parents, even swears (mildly) at times. Always writing in her ever-present notebook, candid and often cruel comments about her friends, classmates, and teachers, she prefers pants to dresses, and wandering throughout her upper East Side New York neighborhood to the comfort of her home. She soon finds that candor can be cruel, especially when directed at those you profess to be your friends. Dishonesty, Harriet learns, is occasionally useful and even necessary to keep the social fabric intact. Harriet’s realization comes, not only from being ostracized by the friends who read her cruel comments in the journal she mistakenly leaves behind, but also from her beloved...

Utah State Representative Joel Briscoe on OZ and BANNED

Joel Briscoe (D), a former educator, represents District 25 in the Utah State House of Representatives. Before Judy Garland’s Technicolor trip down the yellow brick road there was the book THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, published in Chicago in May, 1900.  As wonderful as it is to see great stories on the big screen, as in all fiction-to-film translations, something had to be lost.  There was not room in the film to tell the story of the Queen of the Field Mice, or to visit Glinda’s palace in the Quadling Country, or meet Mr. Joker or the Hammer-Heads. Obviously my parents did not believe that L. Frank Baum’s book would have an “ungodly” influence on me as a boy, nor would they have agreed with the city of Chicago which banned THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ from all city libraries in 1928.  Santayana would not be surprised that more recently Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson tried to prevent the movie from being broadcast on public television because of “moral turpitude.” Does OZ promote ‘godless supernaturalism’ and undermine long-standing gender roles by depicting women in strong leadership roles, or, in the words of Professor Russel B. Nye, does it send a message “that love, kindness and unselfishness make the world a better place.”? I hope you will join with me on May 3 for Plan-B Theatre Company’s AND THE BANNED PLAYED ON as I read from the American classic for all ages, The WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ. Click here for tickets and info....

Holly Mullen, City Weekly – BANNED is Beautiful

For a good time, come here next Monday night. Plan-B Theatre Company’s annual benefit show, AND THE BANNED PLAYED ON is always a memorable event, and a donation to a great cause: Local theater with a cutting cultural and political edge in a city that can always use it. The evening features performances of scenes, songs and readings from professional actors/musicians that for whatever reason, have been banned from audiences at various times. It’s a big, fat celebration of the First Amendment, and who can’t love that? (It’s the first amendment for a reason, eh?) Besides, there’s a reception with a cash bar. Giddyup! Jerry Rapier, producing director of Plan-B, says he didn’t know what to expect with the first BANNED in 2003. “Six years later,” Rapier says, “I get regular emails from people sending me links to articles about bannings and censorship. I think it speaks to the intimate relationships people have with the books they read, the music they listen to and the plays they see. Somehow, such relationships can trump politics and religion. It’s exciting to see that. And it’s a helluva good time.” Also, a whole bevy of media types (including yours truly) and former Salt Lake City mayors and the current Salt Lake City mayor will be on hand to introduce the banned works. I actually get to introduce a scene by the late, great sex symbol Mae...

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