There were five of us Court Gentlemen—me, Mike Bear, Matt Orr, Russ Townsend, Joe Arnegger and Leif Bjaland. Everybody thought we were terrific. At least that was what they kept telling us, “they” being Iain Webb, who runs the ballet, and Maggie Barbieri, who did the staging and was a famous Giselle herself.
Matt Orr and me as Court Gentlemen.
I thought all of us Court Gentlemen were pretty good, but I’d have to give the prize to Leif. You know Leif, he’s the conductor of the Sarasota Orchestra. He’s very big and has a tendency to command the stage, particularly when he stands right in front of me, blocking me from view. It was hard to get the focus off him. And when he starts with the gestures, well, I was kind of left in the dust. I think he practiced them at home. I tried to overcompensate but then started to look like I was performing a hula. And I do feel a little sorry for my Court Lady, Kimberly Stevens. She was busy using gesture and expression to convey one thought, over and over: “Get off of my train!”
Leif Bjaland and Emil de Cou.
The view from the wings.
His talk dealt with the current state of citizenship in Florida, and as you may have noticed, it’s not in very good shape. The New York Times considers us the most corrupt state in the union, and the decline of serious journalism and chronic over-gerrymandering have led us to a dangerous position. The Senator (or rather the Super Doodle) was also quite passionate about how offshore oil drilling is being rammed down our throats. “We must not let it happen,” he told the crowd, and I became an instant convert to the cause. Even more terrifying is the threat caused by Pakistan. It’s the most likely way a weapon of mass destruction will find its way into the hands of terrorists.
Dawn Sharp with Bob Graham.
Keith Fitzgerald, Caren Lobo
and Larry Eger
Any good news? Well, the Super Doodle really likes the Hyatt. He and his wife like to spend their anniversaries here as it holds many happy memories of triumphs in his political career. I hope they’ll be here for the upcoming Forum Truth speakers: Mark Thompson on Jan. 7, Hedrick Smith on Feb. 4, Cynthia Tucker on March 24, and Linda Greenhouse on April 14, who will tell us all the latest dish on the Supreme Court.