Chomsky at the Bit -- Noam Chomsky has been called "arguably the most important intellectual alive" by the New York Times and has published more than 30 books on politics, human rights, foreign policy and corporate media. Ubiquitous U2 frontman Bono describes him as a "rebel without a pause," and his lectures are standing-room-only wherever he goes. On Friday, Thin Air Radio is showing Power and Terror, a new documentary of Noam Chomsky's lectures and interviews in California, New York and his home base, MIT. The film couldn't be more timely: the 75-year-old professor of linguistics is most famous for his outspoken criticism of American foreign policy since the 1960s. Beginning with the premise that any violence against civilians constitutes terrorism, he challenges the Bush Administration to apply to its own actions the moral standards that it demands of Muslim extremists and others. Power and Terror will be shown Friday, April 25, at 7:30 pm at the Community Building, 35 W. Main Ave. $5 donation requested. Call Thin Air Radio at 747-3807. Free popcorn!
Local Color -- Peter Skinner comes from one of those Washington state families whose name was once synonymous with unbridled regional prosperity. At the turn of the century, the Skinner family owned the largest sawmill in the world, and to this day they still have substantial holdings throughout the Northwest. Young Peter was educated at the Julliard School of Drama and eventually wound up in Europe, where he studied painting and sculpture. But when he returned to the U.S. in the mid-1990s, he was appalled at how drastically the Northwest had changed. A fateful ferry ride from Seattle to Whidbey Island provided the impetus for Skinner to address his concerns in the form of a novel.
Skinner will be at Auntie's Bookstore on Monday, April 28 to read from and discuss White Buffalo -- the story of a painter who returns from Paris to inherit the third largest fortune in America, reunite with his childhood friend, Fast Eddie Rainwater, and woo "the most beautiful woman ever to wait tables at Denny's." It almost sounds like the plot of a movie, which is perhaps not a bad thing, as Peter's brother David was a producer for Sherman Alexie's screenwriting debut, Smoke Signals.
Et tu, Brute? -- As we were going to press, we ran across this little AP tidbit concerning the 2,756th birthday of Rome. Eschewing the usual ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins, several hundred "gladiators" celebrated by converging on the city -- some traveling by bus from France and Hungary -- attired in chain mail and animal skins. But why limit ourselves to just Gladiator? Can't Rome's heritage also be celebrated via homages to Caligula or Spartacus? Hmm. Maybe not.