Daily Archives: May 2, 2016

Am I Happy?

I have been in a really good mood lately. And thankfully it hasn’t been an out of control up, just a really pretty normal happy. I haven’t written for this blog in several weeks. The last post I wrote was the one during the panic attack, and I still posted that two weeks after I […]

Music Monday – “It’s Out of My Hands”

My tribute to my young friend Doc today reminded me of a song that I used as part of a talk to our youth group way back when Doc was in grade 11 (I think). She worked the computer to … Continue reading

Jockey Jim review in Arts-Louisville

Me melodramatic?!? Never!!!


 Rediscovering the Past

Gary Brice as JImmy Winkfield and Samina Raza as his wife Lyddy rehearsing play JOCKEY JIM. photo by Bud Dorsey

Gary Brice & Samina Raza in Jockey Jim.
Photo by Bud Dorsey.

Jockey Jim

By Larry Muhammad
Directed by William P. Bradford II

Reviewed by Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright © 2016 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

When the Kentucky Derby rolls around, most theatres in the Louisville area close up shop, the assumption being that audiences will be otherwise occupied with Derby Festival events. So Kentucky Black Repertory bucks the odds with a new production of Jockey Jim, a play that ties into the history of “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.”

Jimmy Winkfield (1882 – 1974) was one of the great jockeys in thoroughbred racing, winning two consecutive Kentucky Derbies in 1901 and 1902. It is his journey after those victories, however, that is the compelling story of Larry Muhammad’s script: a lucrative career in Russia before and during the Bolshevik Revolution; a rich life in Paris with his wife, Lydie de Minkwitz; and an ignoble return to the United States, confronting Jim Crow segregation.

The structure of the play is roughly chronological, although some nonlinear juxtaposition early on felt confusing and seemed to lack any real purpose. The real draw of Winkfield’s story is that a sharecropper’s son became such a cosmopolitan figure, hobnobbing with celebrities and living on the periphery of pivotal moments in 20th century history. It is especially intriguing that Muhammad shows Winkfield on somewhat agreeable terms with Communists and Nazis without calling into question his loyalty as an American. Much is made of the contrast in attitude toward Negroes in Europe as opposed to America, although the Nazis are openly racist, just highly pragmatic about Winkfield’s usefulness.

The scenes that play best find Winkfield struggling with the latter part of his life in the United States. As the title character, Gary Brice is a young actor playing the aging horse expert with notable grace and care. He sidesteps cliché with wisdom and observation and establishes the character’s dignity with confidence. As Lydie, Samina Raza lends the Russian heiress a melodramatic quality that pushes the envelope a bit, but it is a quality that speaks to the character’s background and how emblematic it is of the peaks in Winkfield’s life in Europe.

Ernie Adams gives Winkfield’s employer, the casually racist Beauchamp, an easy, vile authority that still allows for some small but significant shifts in the audience’s perception of his character. Marcus Orton and Joe Monroe provide scene-stealing comic energy as two of Jimmy’s buddies — ne’er-do-well knuckleheads who do little to develop the plot but inject worthwhile color into the mostly sober-minded material. Francisco Juarez does a fine job as Milo, the Hispanic jockey who rides Winkfield’s horse in the 1950s. In its inclusion and treatment of this character, Muhammad’s text is fully aware of yet another shift in opportunities for minorities in thoroughbred racing.

Winkfield’s European adventures are generally more serious in tone, with a host of supporting characters who are notably less developed. Francis Whitaker and Spencer Korcz are professional as Russian compatriots, two limited roles that never rise above narrative necessity in the text. Better impact comes from a charismatic Sidney Edwards and Tyler Madden as Josephine Baker and Paul Robeson. These characters exist only as brief thumbnails of the iconic figures from Winkfield’s Paris life, but the actors occupy that territory with the presence and glamour befitting the two famed entertainers. In the same mold, Patrick Alred is miscast as an avuncular Bing Crosby, but he does yeoman’s work in this and other small roles. Tom Pettey wisely underplays Von Oppenheim, the German officer who is Winkfield’s contact, proving it is best to not push too hard when wearing a swastika on your arm. Tom Luce, Owen Kane, and Tim Stone fill out the ensemble with skill.

Jimmy Winkfield’s story is certainly worth exploring, and Mr. Muhammad works hard to investigate its social ramifications. Winkfield’s position as a man without a country is effectively mined to investigate the subversion of African-American history in the 20th century. Jockey Jim restores Winkfield to his rightful place in history.

Jockey Jim

April 30, May 1-6, 8:00 pmTickets: $20 cash at the door

Kentucky Black Repertory
at the Henry Clay Theatre
604 South Third Street
Louisville, KY 40203

Another Missed Opportunity

I didn’t write or do much of anything in the blogosphere this weekend. I somehow picked up another flu bug and was extremely ill. I am feeling a little better now; however, I am very frustrated that every time I … Continue reading

NAMI Walks 2016

It’s almost time for NAMI Walks 2016!  I had a great time walking last May, and can’t wait to do it again on Saturday, May 7th.  NAMI relies on donations to provide programs for those with mental illness and their families.  One such program is the 10-week Peer-to-Peer course which I recently completed.  It was […]

Birthday Party

We had my two oldest girls’ birthday party yesterday.  They seemed to enjoy all their presents–particularly what we got them :)  We always try to get fun things instead of practical–the grandparents often take care of the practical stuff.   Like we got  the middle one a Doctor Who adult coloring book and Doctor Who earrings.  Everyone came but my sister’s family–her husband had a family reunion so they went to that.  But that’s okay.

I’m still waiting to hear from people about interviews for my story I want to do for Creative Nonfiction.  My friend has her emailed questions and has said she will reply–and I haven’t heard from anyone else.  I can write the article just with Jo’s input I think–It’ll just be more informal than I planned.  We will see.

Slept in this morning. Then spent time deleting old emails out of my school inbox–I got rid of everything from the fall semester that I didn’t think I needed any more.  It was a little trip down memory lame :)  I really bothered my professor a lot more last semester than this semester.  But I put that down to not having much confidence in myself in that class.  I have felt much more comfortable in this one.  I wonder what my summer one is going to be like.

FInally done with my antibiotic.  I’m going to keep taking the Zyrtec and see fi I can control the sniffles and such with it. I feel like a pill factory rep with all the meds I have in my bathroom.  I hate all the meds. But that’s just the way it is.

Hope everyone had a good weekend and a good start to the week.



Weekly Wrap-Up May 2, 2016

Mood Monday I felt l was getting better. More balanced. I was wrong. My depression worsened. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I was in a very dark place. While I have been hit with depression dramatically longer, they aren’t as frequent as they use to be and therefore catch me off-guard. The positive is that […]

The post Weekly Wrap-Up May 2, 2016 appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Weekly Wrap-Up May 2, 2016

Mood Monday I felt l was getting better. More balanced. I was wrong. My depression worsened. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I was in a very dark place. While I have been hit with depression dramatically longer, they aren’t as frequent as they use to be and therefore catch me off-guard. The positive is that […]

The post Weekly Wrap-Up May 2, 2016 appeared first on Insights From A Bipolar Bear.

Messy Interpersonal Situations

I didn’t have therapy last week because Sadie was off work.  It was sort of a test run for the every other week method, which we’ve tried unsuccessfully in the past.  This time around, I was finally feeling ready to try it, whereas in the past I was reluctant.  However, it was a really rough […]

As The Mood Swings

Rough night, courtesy of my sleep disturbance. I wrote about an hour then felt so sleepy and weary I climbed into bed. And scumbag brain kicked into high gear, smashing up all my little therapy voodoo mind tricks to calm down. I eventually took a melatonin. And an hour later I woke and by then the melatonin had worn off so…More tossing and turning. More nodding off, jolting awake. Up and down, clock checking, alarm dreading…The gray rainy cold gloom of the last three days does not have me leaping out of bed so it was a six snooze button morning…

The car didn’t go over 1k rpms, doing its flood and stall bit, so a normal ten minute trip to get my kid to school and get home took a half hour. Plus the smell of flooding gasoline was overwhelming. I was furious, because my dad acts like he handed me a damned chariot of gold, and R hasn’t done a fucking thing toward working out the problem in weeks. These people are gonna get me and my kid killed and I have every right to be agitated and pissed off yet they just invalidate me as a moody hysterical spoiled brat at every turn. I need to win the lottery and buy a real car. Of course, my idea of a real car is anything made prior to 1989. Though I wouldn’t turn down a Dodge Hellcat from 2015. Bet I’d hate it too, cos I hate this new automotive technology.

I am just in a hating mood. My allergies are kicking my ass, which they do every time I leave the fucking house. Yesterday I went nowhere and I was fine. Go figure.

Sunday was just a mellow day. At least until Spook’s devil girl friends showed up. I figured since it rained all day Saturday I’d let her play for awhile. Sooo much drama from that lot. Standard kid shit, telling on each other over every slight, asking for a bandage even though I’d just warned them they were gonna get hurt doing whatever they were doing…The demand for snacks and drinks. Then we’re cold, let us come in…So I let them come in, they demanded more food. I went to the bathroom and returned to find they’d ripped the cord right off her Frozen karaoke machine my mom spent a hundred bucks on. Not one of them bothered to apologize or tell me it was an accident. Devil girls got chastised, they decided to go pout outside, and my kid took her wrath out on me for running her friends off. Oh, and this was followed by one of the devil girls asking me to take them to the park and I said no cos it was so cold and she started crying like a toddler and her sister and my kid tried to guilt me for “making” the child cry. It was an epic fail on their part. I said, “Yep, I’m mean, I make kids cry.”

I went to do my mountain of dishes and left them to whine.

They left when it started to rain again and I thanked the sacred pegacorn. Of course, my kid wanted me to be her entertainment director which drove me nuts cos she’d just been entertained for four hours and I was trying to wash bedding and take out trash. She told me if I didn’t drop everything and play with her then I hate her. Drama fucking llama.

For my supper, since princess won’t eat real food, I, for the first time, made a sicilian roll. Former roommie and the donor both made one, but I never had. I found a recipe and ya know what…it turned out wonderful. Okay, so my meatloaf never looks perfectly formed and pretty but with the ham and melty cheese rolled into the meatloaf, topped with ketchup and a side of tuscan parmesan potatoes..Twas good.

Ten minutes after I was done I was like, that was a lot of work, fuck that shit.

Got my kid fed and bathed. Mood kept crashing. In spite of my elation at starting to binge watch Z Nation. Forget Walking Dead, I couldn’t get into that. This one I was sucked into and fantasizing about the zombie apocalypse. I mean, it’s perfect. I will either be dead, zombified, or all laws cease to exist so I can weapon up and start killing those fuckers. Win, win, win. Added bonus, no more psych meds manufactured so I couldn’t be med compliant and I might have a manic episode on occasion which would definitely raise my kill rate on the zombies…

No, I haven’t lost it. JUst some escapism.

I want to write. I need to go to the grocery store and clean.

I am gonna vegetate and hope the motivation magically appears.

Speaking of magical…I found this at the gas station the other day. Someone beat me to merchandising my pegacorn hybrid!

0430161717-00Though my pegacorns are anything but colorful and rainbow spewing. Gothicorns? Pegagoths?

Back to zombies. Life is too depressing. The zombie apocalypse seems like an improvement.