Wendy Wasserstein’s great play: Leigh Silverman on directing The Heidi Chronicles at the Guthrie

Playwright Wendy Wasserstein was the theatrical voice for a slice of women from the Baby Boom generation. In her most popular play, The Heidi Chronicles, the eponymous protagonist, Heidi Holland, moves around in time: from a high school dance in 1965; through feminist consciousness-raising, in the 1970s; and coming to terms with her life and career choices, in 1989.

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Diaspora soul man: Trumpeter Steven Bernstein returns to Minneapolis August 6

Steven Bernstein, an accomplished trumpeter, composer, arranger and bandleader, was set to head off to Europe last week, for shows with the sensational New Orleans pianist Henry Butler and their group, the Hot 9. They were booked for the Nice Jazz Festival, in France; and on Sunday, they played the North Sea Jazz Festival, in the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.Fortunately, before he flew to Europe, Bernstein took some time to talk with the AJW. The phone conversation, from his home in Nyack, N.Y., ranged over a variety of topics, including his Aug. 6 appearance with Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee, a rollicking brass band, at the Dakota Jazz Club.Bernstein, 52, spent most of his youth in Berkeley, Calif., then moved to the Big Apple at the age of 17. He soon became a fixture in the downtown Manhattan music scene, performing with John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards; with saxophonist Paul Shapiro in a group called Foreign Legion; and with Sex Mob, which covers pop songs, including themes from James Bond movies, and is still performing and recording. Continue Reading

OPINION | Living in the surveillance state

Glenn Greenwald had the scoop of the century, so far, with his reporting on the trove of documents taken by computer security systems contractor Edward Snowden from the National Security Agency (NSA). His stories for the Guardian newspaper in London greatly embarrassed the Obama administration by revealing the extent to which all of our cell phone metadata, e-mail correspondence and Web searches are being vacuumed up and stored by a military agency of the federal government.

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OPINION | A prayer in Jesus’ name to open the meeting

Prior to being hired by the American Jewish World, I worked at the Capitol in St. Paul. I was a writer for what then was known as the Public Information Office of the Minnesota House of Representatives, covering committee meetings and House floor sessions. At the latter gatherings, a member of the clergy opened the proceedings with a prayer. Often it was a Christian pastor who provided some inspiring words – and then concluded the prayer with something about “in the name of Jesus Christ.”

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