In his song, “Trying to Find My Way Home,” musician and Iraq War veteran Jason Moon sings, “It’s hard to fight an enemy that lives inside of your head.” The College Democrats of Notre Dame sponsored a combination concert and movie showing in the LaFortune Student Center on Sunday to raise awareness about veterans suffering from that “enemy:” post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The event featured live music from Moon and excerpts from the documentary “On the Bridge,” a film directed by professor Olivier Morel that features the stories of Moon and other veterans with PTSD. College Democrats co-president Camille Suarez said she initially conceived the idea for the event after attending a January screening of the film at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. “After I saw the movie, I was so emotionally moved that I wanted to spread the word,” Suarez said. “Like Jason said, people need to just listen. Hopefully after seeing the movie, more people will listen.” At the event, Moon played three songs from his album and answered questions about veterans with PTSD. Moon said the public’s instinctive response of asking veterans about their experiences and trying to relate to them can cause more harm than good, and the best thing those who want to help veterans can do is simply to listen. Moon said Notre Dame can work to become recognized as a school that is veteran-friendly by taking steps to improve resources for returned soldiers, like providing a safe space for them to reach out to each other in dealing with veteran-specific issues like PTSD. “Notre Dame has a history of helping veterans through chaplaincy. Let’s extend that to the whole campus,” Moon said. Moon was deployed as a combat engineer through the Wisconsin Army National Guard in Iraq from March 2003 through April 2004. After returning from his tour of duty, Moon began traveling nationwide to play concerts for veteran and civilian audiences. In addition to local shows around Wisconsin, Moon travels around the country once a month to perform. He also founded a non-profit organization that works to help veterans suffering from PTSD. Moon said participating in the documentary was a challenging experience, but it ultimately led him to use his musical talent to help his fellow veterans. “At the time [making the film] was very difficult, and caused about six months of severe PTSD,” Moon said. “Originally, I agreed to do it because I thought it would be the last time I would have to tell my story, but then the music and the CD came out of it, and now that’s all I do. My plan kind of backfired.” Morel said he was inspired to make the film after hearing a National Public Radio piece about veteran suicide rates and PTSD. “On the Bridge” features the stories of six veterans and their experiences with PTSD. One of the six veterans, Jeff Lucey, committed suicide shortly after returning from Iraq, so his family tells his story in the film, Morel said. “He had trouble dealing with the morality of the things he had to do while in Iraq,” Morel said. “I think Jeff’s story is emblematic of what happens to many veterans when they come home.” In making the film, Morel said he aimed to raise awareness about PTSD and to show how veterans are working to educate the public about those who suffer from the disorder. “I made the film to try and make a difference. My angle was not to have them talk about the war or even necessarily about PTSD, but about the translation of trauma into public expression,” Morel said. “Many veterans are musicians, artists and writers depicting the war in a powerful way. One day we’re going to be aware of a cultural change that comes from the Iraq War veterans’ testimonials and creative expression.” Morel shared the story of a veteran who contacted him through the film’s website after viewing the movie’s trailer. The man said he had served with Ryan Endicott, one of the veterans featured in the film, and wanted to get in contact with Endicott. Morel said he sent the man’s contact information to Endicott, who was able to talk to the man that afternoon. After the conversation, Endicott called Morel to tell him the film had just helped to save a man’s life. “On the Bridge” has been screened at several film festivals around the United States, and won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at Detroit’s Uptown Film Festival. Morel said his favorite part of the filmmaking experience was forging relationships with the people involved. “The best thing was the wonderful friendships. The wonderful people I met are now part of my family,” Morel said. “I was not making the film about them, but with them.” More information about Moon, his music and his efforts to help fellow veterans can be found at www.jasonmoon.org. For more information about “On the Bridge,” visit www.onthebridgethemovie.org.
While most Notre Dame students scramble for their hats and scarves on snowy South Bend mornings, the men of Siegfried Hall will break out their summer wardrobes once again during today’s seventh annual Day of Man. The Ramblers will sport shorts, flip-flops and pink T-shirts to raise awareness of homelessness and fundraise for the South Bend Center for the Homeless. Senior Andrew Ritter, a co-commissioner of the event, said the Day of Man is a unique and rewarding opportunity for students to experience solidarity with people who lack basic living necessities. “We are more than glad to be cold one day for those who are cold everyday,” he said. “It is our way of standing in solidarity with them and bringing awareness to the fact that a lot of people are not properly clothed and are having to live outside in this South Bend winter.” Historically, Ritter said the event has been highly successful in terms of both student participation and fundraising, as well as in direct donations to the Center for the Homeless. Last year’s Day of Man brought in more than $5,000. “Siegfried usually has about 175 out of the 240 men in the hall participate, and their efforts go along way in raising money,” Ritter said. “Truthfully, though, we hope to increase [donations] this year in order to contribute more to the Center.” Junior co-commissioner Johnny Dang said aside from the tangible benefits the fundraiser provides for the Center for the Homeless, the event has an equally important effect on student participants. “[Participants] come to understand that during this time of year a lot of people who are homeless are struggling to find warmth,” he said. “This is one day where they will learn to appreciate the things that they have … and how fortunate they are.” Sophomore Taylor Roberts said he was initially hesitant about participating in the Day of Man, but he was ultimately satisfied with the experience. “You always question yourself when your cup is empty and you’re walking out in the cold,” he said. “But once you get your first couple of dollars, it really sinks in that you’re doing a good thing.” Despite the event’s benefits, Roberts said it is limited in terms of addressing the complexity of homelessness in a holistic manner. “I admit that I don’t think you can feel the full effect [of homelessness],” he said. “There are so many other factors including the lack of food, the lack of shelter during even harsher conditions and often mental and physical illness.” Though the Day of Man may not be an authentic proxy experience for homelessness, Roberts said it provides students with a new perspective on a real issue. “The event does signify a big step forward in realizing some of the hardships that the homeless do experience while also extending a hand and making a difference,” he said. Contact Michael Fernandes [email protected]
The Department of Academic Affairs within student government spent the past year as a liaison between undergraduates and Notre Dame administrators, and department director Maxwell Brown said a newly-developed mission statement has offered direction for the group’s future initiatives. “The Department of Academic Affairs is the official link between students and administration through articulation of resolutions and promotion of academics in and outside of the classroom to enhance the undergraduate-student experience,” Brown said. Brown, who is serving his second term as director of Academic Affairs, said several of last years major initiatives involved collaboration with the University’s Academic Council, a group headed by University President Fr. John Jenkins. The Council oversees the Academic Code, among other things, and Brown said he attends the meetings as a full voting member with speaking rights, representing the undergraduate student interests. As a result of one of the revisions to the Academic Code this year, Brown said students will now be able to take the first course of a minor pass/fail. “[This initiative] is really to allow students to be able to comfortably explore things, to encourage this intellectual exploration,” Brown said. “You can take a course pass/fail if you’re interested in it but don’t want to negatively affect your GPA, … and then you can continue [the minor] and use the first course even though you took it pass/fail. “That way, you can just take the four other courses required to complete the minor instead of having to do all five, when that might not fit into your schedule if you’re a junior or senior,” he said. Brown said the new legislature does not overly pad GPAs but instead provides students with a chance to safely explore the academic options available in a “highly competitive research and career environment.” Another key development was improving the advocacy for students put on academic probation, Brown said. “We’re working to make the academic system and the Academic Council as a whole more transparent [so] students know what changes are happening,” he said. “Overall, with these changes there is a lot more attention to advocacy for students and not only streamlining language to make it more efficient and effective, but also to really support the students and advance their interests.” The upcoming library renovation plans were another major accomplishment for the department, Brown said, which was committed to making sure “students’ voices are being heard.” “The survey that went out was extremely helpful … and we had a very effective response [from students],” Brown said. “The information really provided a positive framework to move forward, and it’s really been taken under advisement not only by the librarians themselves who are organizing the renovations, but also the architects who will actually work on it.” Brown said the survey showed student feedback on both the physical aspects of the library and the “intangible resources” available online. “This is one of the parts of the survey that was really interesting, [because] the students who were able to effectively use the [online] resources and meet with the research librarians found that to be overwhelmingly useful,” he said. “But then the other group of students had just never used them or not heard of them, so that’s something that’s really important for us to work on.” In additions to renovating the library building, Brown said the department is also planning to expand the librarian in-residence program in dorms. “The program brings a librarian to the dorms, someone who is available to help with research or answering questions about library databases,” he said. “We just want to help students become more familiar with and utilize the resources available them.” Brown said his department welcomes comments and suggestions from students on all initiatives pursued by student government.
This past weekend, Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry hosted a spiritual retreat for first-year students centered on faith, community and friendship, Senior Devree Stopczynski, retreat leader and this year’s student coordinator, said the fundamental themes of the retreat were friendship and community. “Through a series of talks, journal time, and small group discussions, the retreat explores the questions ‘Who am I?’, ‘What is friendship?’, and finally ‘How do I become part of a community?’” The retreat took place at Camp Amigo in Sturgis, Michigan. About 30 first-years and their leaders came together for the 24-hour jouney, Stopczynski said. Campus Ministry Assistant Director Regina Wilson, who attended the retreat, said the retreat aims to provide students with a positive and meaningful way to begin the new year. “We always hold this retreat as soon as possible after the school year begins because students get very busy with studies and find it hard to get away later in the year,” Wilson said. The religious getaway aims to ease any school stress while strengthening students’ connection with Christ and their Belles community. This was accomplished through interactive activities and retreat team stories, freshman Kathryn FitzMaurice said. “The retreat started with some get-to-know-you games,” she said. “We had about three talks throughout the retreat given by the retreat team on friendship, and community. They were all very relevant to our lives because they were given by students. They were easy to relate to.” For students, as well as the upperclassmen Campus Ministry Intern leaders, the retreat allowed fellow first-year students to personally connect and relate on multiple levels, Stopczynski said. “I definitely see spiritual and communal aspects within these opportunities,” she said. “When first-years come to campus, they may be very focused on faith, but it is usually the first time they are responsible for keeping a faith life, I know that was the case for me. I think this retreat and other opportunities within Campus Ministry provide first years with an outlet to keep faith life strong and to build a community with other faith filled individuals.” Freshman Paige Spears said a personal motivation for her included finding fellow students with faith as deep as her own. “I was trying to find people that had a faith like mine, a stronger faith, because when you walk around school, you really don’t see thepeople who love God immediately,” she said. “It was cool to see which ones had the same faith as me [and] find those girls in the crowd.” Companionship amongst the students enriched with her favorite exercise, which involved involving Belle-to-Belle honesty, Spears said. “My favorite thing we did was [an activity] where you had a booklet, and it had open-ended prompt like, ‘What I think of you is…’” Spears said. “You answer to [your partner] what you think of them […] and [the prompts] get deeper as you go. You just read these [questions] and you just have this really deep conversation with someone. It was awesome.” Through time together around campfire, singing and a taking spiritual walk, the girls were able to truly experience God’s presence in their lives, Spears said. “It was so beautiful and we were just emerged in nature thanking God for all he has given us … It was super effective and meaningful.” she said. Self-reflection following two weeks of hectic schedules allows for room in students’ lives for spiritual and collective exploration needed to positively impact their college experience, Stopczynski said. “I think the first years really enjoy knowing that they are not the only ones going through a change in terms of faith life, student life, and social life.” Stopczynski said. “They get to begin long lasting relationships with other women that have similar views, hopes, fears, and goals.” Students always voice a very positive perception of the retreat upon returning, and they appreciate the opportunity to share a piece of themselves with others they come to call friends, Wilson said. “The students understand and come to know Saint Mary’s is a place that is committed to nurturing faith, to building a community that is empowered by the Spirit and that they are known and valued for who they are.” Wilson said. “They come to build friendships, for many of them, that last throughout their four years.” Spears said these friendships would be rooted in God following the retreat. “God’s there, and we all believe in God. These girls are there for you, and if you ever need anything, you have a solid select group of 29 friends immediately.”
Saint Mary’s Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) hosted Debbie Riddle, who spoke Tuesday evening to promote awareness of stalking. Riddle’s sister Peggy Klinke was stalked by an ex-boyfriend, Patrick Kennedy, who murdered Klinke in 2003. Her murder led to a congressional briefing and declaration of National Stalking Awareness month celebrated every January.Riddle said the highest rates of stalking occurs between the ages of 18-24.“When we surveyed college-age women during a nine-month period, which is one year on a college campus, 13 percent of women surveyed reported being stalked,” Riddle said. “So when you apply those numbers to the Saint Mary’s population of just over 1,500 students, at a rate of 13 percent you would have 197 stalking cases. That’s putting 200 women in this room and labeling them as stalking victims.”Riddle said through her three-year-long relationship with Kennedy, her sister suffered emotional abuse.“The behavior is cyclical,” she said. “Women that are in an abusive relationship sort of learn to know the ebb and flow of this behavior; it is pretty predicable, but sometimes they don’t know what is going to set them off.“This is what Peggy lived with. Patrick was very good at removing Peggy from her social circle.”Riddle said the most critical time for women in abusive relationships is when they decide to leave. She said soon after Peggy left Patrick, he began to stalk her sister.“Basically [victims] are asking, what is my punishment going to be when we walk away from this? What will he do to me?’” Riddle said. “… She called me and she said ‘you are never going to believe this, you know what he is doing to me? He’s stalking me.’ … What he started with was 55-155 text messages, phone calls every single day. This went on for days; she wouldn’t answer her phone, she wouldn’t respond to text messaging. He began to follow her in his truck, sit outside her work, outside her gym.”Riddle said stalking includes noncriminal behaviors such as texting, phone calling, leaving music on someone’s voicemail and more — anything that instills fear in a victim.“The behavior will tend to escalate overtime; it won’t stay consistent,” she said. “It might start out in text messaging and end up in murder.”Riddle said her sister’s habits as she was stalked illustrate the profound psychological toll stalking may take on its victims.“No eating, no sleeping, hyper-vigilant, certainly wouldn’t stand in front of any windows, wouldn’t stand in front of a door, wouldn’t answer the door, wouldn’t answer the phone,” Riddle said. “She was very edgy. It seemed like everything scared her. She was afraid of everything. It was so painful to look at her and really not be able to do a thing for her.”Riddle said even after receiving death threats from Patrick, the police department was reluctant to deal with the case. Riddle shared details about her sister’s final moments spent trapped in her bedroom with her friend Rachel, in a violent confrontation with Patrick.“Peggy knew this was the end, and I think what Peggy felt was, ‘Thank God this is over. Thank God it’s done,’” she said.Riddle said telling her sister’s story helps her own healing process.“I started putting things together, people are coming in and out of the house and I sort of became the spokesperson of our family,” Riddle said. “Every time I told the story, it made my heart heal more and more. I can make the world a safer place for women like you.”Tags: BAVO, Belles Against Violence Office, Debbie Riddle, National Stalking Awareness Month, Stalking
Daniella Papi, a 2000 Notre Dame graduate and social entrepreneur, presented a lecture on the importance of language, perspective and learning in the context of international service Thursday night. Part of the Dean’s Fellows speaker series, the talk centered on Papi’s experiences in Cambodia and the lessons and perspectives she obtained from her years of service work.Papi, the founder of the educational travel organization PEPY Tours, said an important step in international service is reframing the language and vocabulary currently used to describe service work. She said words such as “villager,” “aid” and “development” often convey power dynamics and connotations that project an unequal relationship between communities and volunteers.“Our vocabulary needs to change,” Papi said. “If I’m a volunteer and you’re a beneficiary, I’m already in a position of power. Instead of it being, ‘Hi, I’m here to help you, in a language I don’t know, place I don’t know,’ it should be, ‘Hi, I’m here to learn from you.’”Papi said some of the problems within development work stem from the ways we learn about service work. Papi said simplistic fundraising tactics, such as televised pleas for donations, provide the public with the impression that development work has simple solutions to complex problems.“Our fundraising channels actually become our education channels,” she said. “It causes huge problems. … Often times, our efforts become solution-led instead of problem-led.”Papi said a fundamental problem in development work involves believing material agents, such as money or infrastructure, rather than human agents are the solution to development problems. Papi said her time working and serving in Cambodia helped her understand how many of the often simplistic solutions stemmed from a well-intentioned but often misplaced desire to provide a solution without focusing on the particular problem or community.“One of the things that I learned was that we shouldn’t be investing in things; we needed to invest in people,” she said.Papi said in order for more effective leaders to change and engage in meaningful service work, there needs to be a fundamental shift in mindset from intending to save a community towards wanting to learn from it.“The question shouldn’t be, ‘How are you innovating; how are you uniquely solving this world problem?’” she said. “It should be, ‘Who’s shoulders are you standing on? Who has tried to solve this problem before you?’”Papi said in order to take action and learn how to become an agent for service, people must engage in frequent personal development by becoming self-aware, understanding their culture and becoming open to learning. Papi emphasized that engaging in meaningful service work requires recognizing how personal and global development are intertwined.“If we are constantly focusing on ‘saving the world’ as an external things to ourselves, that is what is going to cause problems later on,” she said. “Personal development and global development are entirely interlinked. If we’re not willing to look at ourselves, we’re not going to change the world.”Tags: Danielle Pepi, Dean’s Fellows, International Development, international service, PEPY
In October 1998, Judy Shepard’s son Matthew was murdered in a hate crime. 17 years later, Shepard spoke as the keynote speaker for Ally Week 2016 to share a mother’s perspective on hate crimes and prejudice.On Tuesday night, Shepard spoke about the theme of acceptance and how it applies to members of any community that may experience discrimination, not just the LGBTQ community.“This is not just about the LGBTQ community — this is about everybody,” Shepard said. “This is not a new thing. Unfortunately, it’s something we deal with not in a positive way, so what we do now at the Matt Shepard Foundation is promote the idea that we should accept everyone for who they are. Not just members of the [LGBTQ] community, but everybody as fellow human beings because really, at the core of it, we are all the same.”In her victim statement, a statement read to the court by the victim or their loved ones so the court gets to know the victim during a trial, Shepard said she and her family started the Matt Shepard Foundation to solidify her son’s legacy.“While Matt was in the hospital, many people concerned about him began to send money to help defray medical costs,” she said. “As a family, we decided we would rather use that money to make something positive come from something so completely devoid of humanity. We have started the Matthew Shepard Foundation and are hoping that it will be helpful in encouraging acceptance and embracing diversity. It is one way we can honor our son.”Shepard said she does not understand why people struggle or refuse to accept members of the LGBTQ community for who they are.“You don’t tolerate people,” she said. “You accept them because they are who they are. You can’t change who you are. You are who you are, you love who you love and that’s just the way it is. How you choose to live your life is certainly up to you, but you are who you are and the idea that you can change any of that is, in my opinion, absurd.”Shepard said her son’s death was a direct result of the hate that had been normalized in society.“Matt is no longer with us because two men learned that it was okay to hate,” she said. “Somehow, somewhere they received the message that the lives of ‘the others, those people,’ are not as worthy of respect, dignity and honor as the lives of ‘us.’ They were given the impression that society condones or is at least indifferent to violence against ‘the others, the people.’”Even though progress such as the legalization of gay marriage has been made recently, the type of violence and discrimination Matt experienced remains prevalent, Shepard said.“When same-sex marriage became the law of the land — or should I just say when marriage, for everyone, became the law of the land — we began to feel pushback from places that did not want to honor marriage between same-sex couples,” Shepard said. “We’re facing actual, open discrimination now and we’ve taken many, many steps back when we thought we were moving forward … You can still be fired in over half the states for being gay.”Despite the remaining legislation discriminating against the LGBTQ community, Shepard said the 2009 Federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which carries Matthew Shepard’s name, offers some hope.“Before, [LGBTQ] was not a protected class and now it is,” Shepard said. “It’s the first time that any federal legislation actually mentions the gay and lesbian community as a protected class. It is also the first time that any legislation is actually progress in the [LGBTQ] community, so this is really a special thing.”Tthe most powerful way to combat this discrimination is through education, Shepard said.“We’ve become a SIC society — silent, indifferent and complacent,” she said, “For all those who ask what they can do for Matt and all the other victims of hate and hate crime, my answer is this: educate, educate, educate … It’s the key. Everything stems from ignorance. Fear, violence [and] hate stem from ignorance.”However, Shepard said no legislation will ever be as effective as sharing a personal story and urged the audience to speak out.“If you tell your story, then other people begin to understand what that story is about,” she said. “No one knows how to help you, no one knows what they can do for you until you share your story. It makes it personal, it makes it real. It’s so much more difficult to hate a person or discriminate against a person than it is against an abstract idea … Storytelling is how we change the world.”Shepard placed an emphasis on the importance of allies also sharing their stories and said she believes her son’s death contributed to expanding the ally community.“If he were here, I’m not really sure where we would be in the land of progress,” Shepard said. “I think what happened to Matt woke up the straight world about what’s going on to the gay community. Of all the mail we received, easily over half was from the straight community.”Shepard said her and her husband’s work as allies is their attempt to carry on Matt’s work for him.“Dennis [Shepard] and I feel like we are doing what Matt would be doing if he were still here,” she said. “If Matt were still with us, if what happened to him had not happened, then he would be doing this work … I would not be here, you all would not know who I am — it would be Matt that would be here, and that would be just fine with me.”Tags: acceptance, allies, Death, Judy Shepard, LGBTQ, Matthew Shepard Foundation
Updated Saturday at 1:53 p.m.The McGavick-Gayheart ticket will be required to forfeit 12 percent of the votes cast for it during Friday’s student government presidential runoff election, Judicial Council announced in a press release Friday morning.According to the release, juniors Gates McGavick and Corey Gayheart were “found to have supporters releasing confidential information from previous Judicial Council allegation hearings, as well as engaging in a continued pattern of unethical behavior,” which violated Judicial Council’s Election Regulations and Sections 13.4(e), 17.1(g) and 17.1(h) of the Student Union Constitution.The aspect of the Election Regulations the ticket violated, the release said, mandates that candidates are “responsible for [their] actions as well as the actions of [their] supporters.” Section 13.4(e) of the Student Union Constitution states that, aside from information included in Judicial Council press releases, “all other information pertaining to hearings and appeals shall be considered confidential.”Section 17.1(g), another section the ticket was found to have violated, reads, “Candidates may not be involved in or instruct others to engage in any unethical behavior as detailed in 17.1(h).” Section 17.1(h), the final section Judicial Council found the ticket to have violated, states that “Candidates are expected to behave ethically at all times” and states that examples of unethical behavior are “monopolization of limited bulletin board space, covering or defaming of any other candidates’ posters, insulting or defaming other candidates and harassment or misconduct toward any election officials.”According to the press release, “Judicial Council will not release the election results while there are pending allegations and appeals,” in accordance with Section 17.1(m) of the Student Union Constitution.“Our team is very disappointed in Judicial Council’s decision,” McGavick said in a statement emailed to The Observer. “We respect the confidentiality of the process and, as such, can’t share anything about the content of the politically motivated allegations. We wish we could, however, because they read like a bad episode of ‘House of Cards.’ We will be appealing the decision in the senate.”Senate called an emergency meeting to hear the McGavick-Gayheart ticket’s appeal Saturday afternoon, but a quorum was not met at the time the meeting started. As a result, the appeal was not heard, and the Election Committee’s decision of a 12 percent forfeiture of votes stood.This is the fifth instance of sanctions issued by Judicial Council in this year’s election, including one that requires the Kruszewski-Dunbar ticket to forfeit 10 percent of votes it receives in Friday’s runoff election.With the forfeitures in place for both tickets in Friday’s runoff election, it is possible that neither ticket receives a majority of votes to be declared winner. Should that be the case, the election will go to an electoral college system that is currently in place in the event of a tie, senior and Judicial Council president Matt Ross said, as there is currently no procedure in place for the event that neither ticket receives a majority in a two-ticket race.“What happens is, I have to breakdown the votes from [Friday], in terms of senate constituencies — that’s the term that the constitution uses — and I will then read off the votes based on senate constituency,” Ross said. “So … it basically turns into an electoral college, and then count the votes. Whoever wins, wins.”Tags: 2018 student government election, Judicial Council, sanctions, Student government
View Comments Christine Pedi NEWSical the Musical is a forever changing, complexly un-sanitized musical mockery of all the news that’s fit to spoof. NEWSical sets all of today’s biggest pop culture headlines to music, including news about Honey Boo Boo, Paula Deen, Anthony Weiner, A-Rod, Kim and Kanye’s baby North West and more. Off-Broadway is getting Kandi Koated. Sassy Real Housewives of Atlanta star and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Kandi Burruss joins the cast of off-Broadway comedy NEWSical the Musical beginning January 13. The housewife will play in the zany show through January 26 at the Kirk Theatre. Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on June 17, 2019 Created by Rick Crom and directed by Mark Waldrop, NEWSical also currently features Christine Pedi, Michael West, Susan Mosher and Tommy Walker. In addition to appearing on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta, Burruss was a member of the multi-platinum-selling R&B group Xscape. She has written and produced hits for Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey and Pink. She is also the writer of Destiny’s Child songs “Bug A Boo” and “Bills, Bills, Bills.” She won a Grammy Award for TLC’s “No Scrubs,” and was the first African-American woman to win ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year award. Related Shows Newsical The Musical
The Normal Heart takes a look at the challenges in trying to raise awareness during the early days of the AIDS crisis in New York City. The made-for-TV movie features stars including Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello, Denis O’Hare and Jonathan Groff. View Comments While we prep our DVRs for the May 25 premiere of Ryan Murphy’s HBO adaptation of Larry Kramer’s Tony-winning drama The Normal Heart, there’s one stage and screen icon that has something to say, first. Barbra Streisand released a statement to the Hollywood Reporter in response to a 2012 email from Kramer to Streisand that went public, which accused her of not having “quite the same burning passion to make it as you always claim.” Streisand was the first filmmaker to discuss a screen adaptation with Kramer, having held an option on the project for ten years following the play’s 1985 premiere and championing it even when she no longer held the rights. “I tried very hard to get it made,” said Streisand. “In the press, Larry kept speaking out against me. But I think it’s unfair to keep blaming me for the movie not getting made. I worked on it for 25 years, without pay.” Despite all that’s occurred, the Oscar winner reveals: “I’m glad it’s finally here.”