Steve Earle’s Wal-Mart protest song. The Walking Dead’s Corey Brill’s protest song about his nickname “Porchdick.” They star in Leaves of Grass (film) and How I Learned to Drive (play), respectively. Both highly recommended.

Steve Earle’s Wal-Mart protest song

Steve Earle has a bone to pick with Wal-Mart. As of June 27, Steve was in Nashville recording a new album. But he did take time out to write an amazing protest song, in light of the recent threat by Wal-Mart to build a store in Chinatown, Los Angeles. Steve tells us that he’s never known Wal-Mart to be a good neighbor in any town. As a former Wal-Mart employee, I concur. Place went down the tubes when Sam Walton died; not long after his passing I determined to seek employment elsewhere.

I had the good fortune to briefly converse with Steve this spring when he performed at the newly-reopened Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA.

Athens has had its own problems in the recent past with the Wal-Mart corporation. About a year ago, citizens got word that Wal-Mart was considering building one of its uber-stores in downtown Athens. As if it didn’t already have TWO (2) locations in this relatively small town!  My source in Athens tells me things have been quiet lately; the hoopla seems to have died down. Let’s hope it has. Otherwise, Athenians may wish to call upon Steve’s wise & benevolent assistance! Thank you, Steve!

Watch Steve Earle’s video: from The official site of Steve Earle.

And for those of you who are not into amazing alt-country/blues/Americana, don’t forget that Steve Earle has excellent acting chops as well. His character on Treme met an untimely death last season, but you can still get plenty of Steve by watching him on the big screen. Which leads me to….

A MUST-SEE Movie: Leaves of Grass (2009). Directed by Tim Blake Nelson

It’s an oldie (or not);  limited release happened in fall of 2010 and it was also featured at the 2009 Toronto Film Fest. It yielded a perfect score (4 stars out of 4) on the Ebert Scale. I concur, sir. I concur.

Already I’ve seen it, like, 15 times. Can’t get enough of Edward Norton (who plays identical twins), Keri Russell, Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss, Melanie Lynskey and- of course- Steve Earle. And many, many praises to director Tim Blake Nelson, who also stars. His funny, thoughtful and provocative film sheds new light on something you may have never considered: there are Jewish people in the Dirty South. Shalom, y’all!

An organization I’m glad I checked out:

LA FPI stands for Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative

I became a member of the FPI! So should you.

Speaking of female playwrights….

A MUST-SEE Play:  How I Learned to Drive. Written by Paula Vogel and directed by Jen Bloom. Presented by the Santa Monica Repertory Theater, in association with the Santa Monica Little Theater.

Saturday, November 17, 2012 from 8pm to 10pm PST

The Santa Monica Little Theater

12420 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles 90025


This play won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize. And the complex issue(s)  it presents, namely the story of a (young) female/(older) male friendship which develops over the years into pedophelia, is perhaps even more timely today than when it was written. Fourteen years have passed since the play’s premiere, and women have come a long way toward stronger self-awareness during that time. And I believe there are many men who have come a long way toward understanding what makes us tick. This play will facilitate much needed discussion; hence the evening’s performance will be followed by a panel discussion including the director and various child and family therapists. The topic: the facts and gray areas of childhood sexual abuse and PTSD. Also to be discussed: the rights and responsibilities of theaters and audiences in regards to production, support and attendance of plays with this type of content, which is obviously a ‘hot-button’ issue for many people. Director and therapists will serve as facilitators for audience comments and/or questions.

For more info, visit the Santa Monica Repertory Theater’s website:

You can also watch fellow blogger Cindy Marie Jenkins’ video/blog as she interviews director Jen Bloom and female lead Barbara Jean Urich. It will give you a lot of background information about the play and also shed light on varied audience feedback, some of which may shock you!

Update 9/1/2015- The play How I Learned to Drive features Corey Brill of The Walking Dead, whose character has been given the nickname “Porchdick.” I met him after the play and he is actually a really nice guy, as he will also tell you in this hilarious song he made up about his new moniker…