If you're in the Philadelphia area during the next few weeks and you enjoy thought-provoking, charming romantic comedies about love and death, fantasy and responsibility, please come to the William Way Center (1315 Spruce St. — a block and a half from the Kimmel) and check out "Cakewalk."
An ensemble cast of eight talented actors and one blogger bring Tom Minter's delightful story to life. (I realize I'm biased here, but the cast really is terrific and this play and this cast deserve a bigger audience than they've been getting and so, well, I'm reduced to begging. Tickets are available through Smarttix.com.)
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Call it "Dysnomia" if you must, to me it will always be "Gabrielle."
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President Bush says he thinks America is in the midst of a "Third Awakening."
So what does Bush have against Dwight L. Moody?
The reference here is to the Great Awakenings — periods of Christian spiritual revival that have swept through America. Such things are obviously difficult to measure, but the agreed upon chronology is well settled and Bush has it wrong. The First Great Awakening was in the time of Jonathan Edwards in the early 1700s. The second was in the time of Charles Finney in the early 1800s. The Third Great Awakening came in the late 1800s, with the revivalism of Dwight L. Moody and the missionary movement. Some also regard the revivalism led by Billy Graham and the surge in Pentecostalism of the postwar years as a "Fourth Awakening," but by either count we should be on Awakening No. 4 or 5 by now.
Bush should know better. He hired Marvin Olasky as an advisor. Olasky's claim to fame is a book called "The Tragedy of American Compassion." It's probably the most dishonest, selective and deliberately misleading history of the Third Great Awakening ever published, but at least Olasky didn't claim that this period of revival never happened.
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If you are in the Philly area, then you probably already know about WXPN — the public radio station from U. Penn. that plays great music, commercial free. Thanks to the worldwide Web, you no longer need to be in the Philly area to enjoy XPN — you can listen online at XPoNential Music or check out the daily free picks from My Morning Download.
"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your counterrevolution."
Tucker Carlson balked, opting to stay seated for much of his half-hearted performance on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."
I don't like Carlson much — he has that combination of condescending-while-wrong that I find insufferable, and I pretty much agree with Jon Stewart's assessment of him. But I'll give credit where it's due: It took some guts for him to appear on the show, and he was a much better sport there than he ever was on Crossfire.
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For a better history of the "social gospel" movement and the Third Great Awakening, see Norris Magnuson's Salvation in the Slums.
Fascinating in its own right, Magnuson's book is even more interesting read alongside Olasky's. Both authors cite many of the same sources, but Magnuson includes the parts Olasky didn't like and therefore had to omit from his polemic twistory. The 19th-century founders of the Salvation Army, the YMCA, and the urban gospel missions didn't actually share Olasky's either/or notion of social responsibility or his confusion of subsidiarity and socialism.
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"Cakewalk" runs through Oct. 8. on Thurs., Fri. and Sat. nights with Sat. and Sun. matinees. And unlike the play I was in last year, this one has a happy, life-affirming ending (unless you're one of those religious right types, in which case you'll find this happy ending terrifying and rage-inducing — and come to think of it, the opportunity to annoy those religious right types is another reason to come see the show).