Eric Johnson Web Sat, 21 May 2022 06:58:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Eric Johnson Web 32 32 Peterborough Editorial: Summer and the outdoors are here to cure the pandemic blues Sat, 21 May 2022 04:17:48 +0000

Among the many unforeseen effects of COVID-19, people returning outdoors in surprising abundance were at or near the top of the welcome list.

When indoor entertainment venues closed over two years ago and overseas travel became taboo, people looked out the window and were reminded that leisure activities didn’t have to start and end. finish on a screen.

Bicycle sales are taking off. Camping reservations have exploded. Canoe trips had to be booked months in advance. Golf courses and tennis courts filled up. Just like the walking and hiking trails.

We’re reminded of all of this as summer arrives for its third pandemic season, kicked off by the May long weekend.

And for the first time since COVID hit, the Trent-Severn Waterway is open on time over the long weekend.

The TSW is not Peterborough’s, but that’s how it is. It stretches nearly 400 kilometers from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay through a number of communities that welcome the tourists it brings and use it as their own recreation area.

But Peterborough is the largest of those communities. And it’s the gateway to the Kawartha Lakes, the most scenic section of the waterway. And it’s home to the Lift Lock, a one-of-a-kind historical artifact and engineering feat that’s the route’s most recognized attraction.

Paddlers and boaters don’t really need the locking system. The annual opening is, however, a reminder that the water is there and waiting to be explored.

Put on Monaghan Road in Peterborough and head south and there is open water all the way to Hastings. From Lakefield Marina, head north to the open waters and scenic shoreline of Katchewanooka, Clear and Stoney Lakes with a single lock at scenic Burleigh Falls. Bridgenorth is the starting point that opens Chemong, Buckhorn and Pigeon lakes.

You are not a boater? Most of the same area can be enjoyed from the seat of a bicycle.

The PeterboRoutes cycling map offers eight fairly short and not too hilly routes that stay close to the city and immediate surroundings. First-timers can practice here before hitting the Peterborough and Kawarthas routes, well-marked rural routes on country roads and trails ranging from 45 to 100 kilometres.

Camping, whether you drive in and set up a tent or paddle to a site close to the wilderness, has become so popular over the past couple of summers that it’s been hard to find space. That’s less true now, especially if you can go mid-week.

The pandemic is easing, once again. Everyone is hoping that the predictions of a new wave in the fall will turn out to be wrong; there is no need to hope that interest in outdoor recreation will continue regardless – people can make it happen.

Late spring and early summer, once you get outside and look around, has a certain fall feel to it. The palette may be all green, but it ranges from almost bright yellow to forest that deepens, shifting from one scale to another as the leaves come out and then ripen.

The health benefits of being in nature – “forest bathing” has become a popular term – are well documented. The pandemic pushed many newbies into this healing environment for the first time and reminded others of what they were missing.

It would be a shame to turn around now. Summer is here. Keep heading outside, stay safe and enjoy the view.

]]> TJ Walker releases new single that features in upcoming Nashville-based country musical – Entertainment Focus Fri, 20 May 2022 09:14:53 +0000

T.Walker today (May 20) announces their upcoming second album half way to somewhere and releases her brand new debut single “With and Without You”, featuring TJ’s trademark guitar work which is now aided and abetted by his band, plus an additional horn section!

Walker’s 10-track debut album ‘The Long Game’ literally took the term ‘solo album’ to the extreme: not only did Tom write all his songs, sing and play all the instruments throughout album, but he also recorded and produced it in his well-equipped studio at home.

Not only ‘With and without you’ the first single from Walker’s new album, he will also be featured in a new musical titled “Thank God for Nashville”, which features an all-new original soundtrack and score and is set to be an exciting, melodic country rock musical for a new generation: a theatrical experience, all set in Tennessee’s capital, Nashville.

Credit: Thank God for Nashville

With and without you is part of the soundtrack to this thrilling and melodic country rock musical,” Tom explains, “and will be featured in a world premiere May 30 at The Green Note in Camden, which is hosted and commentated by BBC Radio 2 country music producer and presenter Baylen Leonard.

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May 20 Song of the Day: “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets Thu, 19 May 2022 19:38:00 +0000

America’s decline began on May 20, 1954 when Bill Haley and the Comets released “Rock Around the Clock”. Parents, clergy, teachers, and law enforcement lamented how the music was a communist plot; a bad influence on their children; how it was too sexual, how it created juvenile delinquents.

The criticism didn’t end when the teenagers grew up and became parents, criticizing the latest music, saying it was a bad influence on their children, how it was too sexual, how it led to juvenile delinquency and drug use.

It lasted until these teenagers reached adulthood and became parents… You get the idea.

Song of the Day “Rock Around the Clock” wasn’t even the first rock ‘n’ roll song, but it been the song that propelled rock into the mainstream. It was recorded in two takes as the B-side of “Thirteen Women”.

The disc had a modest success, but it was a year later, in 1955, that it became a hit. Ten-year-old Peter Ford, son of actor Glenn Ford, discovered the song and showed it to his father. Glenn Ford was filming “Blackboard Jungle”, a story of young delinquents. He passed the song on to the producers. The song ended up playing over the opening credits of Ford’s film.

Rock Around the Clock” became the first rock track to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It stayed there for eight weeks.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the song has sold over 25 million copies.

Intense Innovation: Jazz Clubs and the Evolution of Jazz Thu, 19 May 2022 14:21:41 +0000

In much of the public mind, the jazz club has a somewhat sleazy reputation. The smoky atmosphere after working hours, the bohemian atmosphere, the presence of night owls, gangsters – this stereotype is alive and well in popular culture. While it is true to say that jazz clubs were nightclubs – often of a very rudimentary type – that had music, the film noir imagery conjured up by the phrase “jazz club” obscures the reality of the extraordinary influence of the jazz club on the evolution of jazz, indeed of the music of the 20th century.

Given their origin, it is hardly surprising that jazz clubs have a reputation in public opinion as haunts of vice. The ban began in the WE in 1920 and lasted until 1933. Thousands of saloons were forced to close and mobsters saw an opportunity to manufacture, transport and sell alcohol, and create venues where it could be drunk. The speakeasy was born.

Prohibition did nothing to curb America’s thirst for alcohol, and huge profits were made by those who supplied it – especially if they also controlled the point of sale to customers. In mob-controlled Chicago of the 1920s, dozens of illicit drinking clubs sprang up and competition for patrons was fierce. By providing entertainment, you could attract more customers to your establishment, and jazz, with its dance origins, was the perfect music for the party atmosphere that clubs wanted to foster. To give themselves a competitive edge, clubs wanted to hire the best players, and hugely important figures such as King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were given a nightly platform to play and develop their music.

Although Prohibition ended in 1933, the jazz club format remained and became a mainstay of American musical life, popping up in every major city and even in cities around the world.

There is no doubt that working conditions were atrocious, especially for black musicians. Long hours in smoky environments, surrounded by drunkenness, in cramped playing conditions, treated like servants, often swindled out of their money by club owners or forced into punitive long-term contracts – but these were the only places where most jazz musicians could find work. However, as harsh as these conditions were, they provided a crucial element for the development of jazz: an environment in which musicians could play every night for many hours and develop their artistry, craftsmanship and physical endurance.

Twenty-two sets per week
It is difficult to assess the length of playing hours in a typical jazz club at this time. The great Benny Golson told me that as teenagers he and John Coltrane stood outside the open window of a jazz club in Philadelphia listening to Charlie Parker, who played five sets of forty-five minutes, 10 p.m. at 2 a.m. This was not uncommon and, at the very least, a band would play three sets per night.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the typical band commitment to a club was at least six nights a week, three sets a night, and two matinees on Saturdays and Sundays from 3 to 6 p.m. This meant that in a typical week, a jazz band played twenty-two sets of music, each set lasting at least fifty minutes. Until the late 1960s, it was in this environment that the most important innovations and developments in jazz took place and were exhibited.

The sheer length of time performers had to perform each night required great physical endurance and ensured the development of powerful instrumental and vocal techniques. The informality of the environment and long playtime encouraged experimentation, and those who came specifically to listen to the music were rewarded by seeing the music evolve right in front of them – in the 1950s you could watch the Miles Davis band with John Coltrane and Bill Evans plays literally inches from you and for several hours, for a relatively modest expense.

Jazz personalities, and the music and styles they created and invented, were associated with specific clubs: Duke Ellington with the Cotton Club in New York in the late 1920s, Count Basie at the Reno Club in Kansas City in the 1930s, Charlie Parker with the clubs on 52n/a Street in New York in the 1940s, Thelonious Monk at Five Spot and Miles Davis at Café Bohemia in the 1950s, and Bill Evans and John Coltrane at the Village Vanguard in the 1960s. And many key live recordings from the 1950s were made in the clubs – Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans and John Coltrane at the Village Vanguard, Thelonious Monk at the Five Spot and Miles Davis at Plugged Nickel.

New York state of mind
If I was offered a trip in a time machine, the period I would choose would be New York in the mid-1960s, because there in the clubs you could see musicians from all jazz eras happen every night. It would have been entirely possible in New York at the time to see Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor all performing at different clubs. You will be able to witness the full range of music from its origins to the avant-garde.

From the late 1960s, the number of jazz clubs declined as rock music dominated popular consciousness and jazz was no longer seen as economical for club owners. With the loss of this environment came the loss of the platform for extended play and the ability to experiment over a long period of time. Surviving jazz clubs moved to a two-set-per-night format and prices rose. A night at the Village Vanguard, Birdland or Ronnie Scott’s Club doesn’t come cheap these days.

As I write this, I look forward to performing in “New York Frame of Mind”, a three-night, three-set-per-night series with the legendary Dave Liebman – who himself began his career playing in New York jazz clubs in the 1960s. – and with my longtime colleagues my brother Conor and guitarist Mike Nielsen. At Bello Bar in leafy Portobello, we will try to emulate the atmosphere and philosophy of the New York jazz club of the 1960s, with its long playing time and the opportunity for the public to experience the atmosphere intimate environment in which jazz originally developed.

Liebman himself says:

The jazz club of that time was to jazz what the concert hall was to classical music. The ability to play multiple sets of music on successive nights has an effect on the music that cannot be duplicated in any other way. For musicians, they have a chance to stretch, experiment and develop the music over a long period of time. For the public, they discover the intimacy of the jazz club as well as the possibility of seeing the music develop in front of them.

Will we have the stamina over the three nights that our jazz ancestors had? I hope so! Are we going to create something unique for ourselves during this period that we can share with the public? Definitively!

The New York State of Mind concerts, featuring Dave Liebman, Ronan Guilfoyle, Mike Nielsen and Conor Guilfoyle, will take place on May 26, 27 and 28, from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., at Bello Bar in Portobello, Dublin 8. Buy your tickets here.

The St. Louis Blues were supposed to win that one, but the Colorado Avalanche defense stopped them Wed, 18 May 2022 19:00:00 +0000

For a myriad of reasons stemming from long breaks or unfamiliar game plans, Game 1 is usually identified as the one the team on the road is in the best position to steal. The adage that “a streak doesn’t begin until a home team loses a game” is generally true, and if the St. Louis Blues pulled a win out of their hat last night, there’s would have immense pressure on the Colorado Avalanche today. , as their final years of second-round playoff failures would become the focus of this series. Instead, the Avalanche picked up a win in a game they (almost) controlled from start to finish, and today St. Louis has to wonder if this was their best chance at winning a game. game in Denver.

The Corsi 5-on-5 chart reveals just how controlled Colorado was in this game after the first period as the Avs dominated the final forty minutes and counting, reaching a crescendo in overtime as they edged the Blues by a staggering number of 13-0.

You can dig into the Natural Stat Trick archives and find countless lopsided games this year that looked like this where the Avalanche comfortably won. Luck last night was definitely on the side of Saint-Louis. From our seats at the end where all the bases were scored, my friend and I scored 5 hits for the Avs, not to mention Erik Johnson’s missed golden opportunity in a wide-open net when the puck rolled on him and Blues goalkeeper Jordan Binnington just had his arm outstretched on the weak shot.

This game could very easily have ended 8-2.

Plus, while Ryan O’Reilly’s series opener was the result of hard work from the Blues and poor turnover from Cale Makar, he was immensely lucky to having the ping pong puck from O’Reilly’s leg to Brayden Schenn’s leg before landing perfectly. past O’Reilly who did a great job of fixing the problem, then covered a beauty to down the Avs 1-0 early.

If St. Louis can’t win a game where Colorado beat Binnington eight times while scoring just three goals, you can’t help but wonder what it will take to steal a game from a building where the Avs are. gone 54-9-6 in the regular season the past two years.

Avalanche Defenders Shine

Evan detailed the dramatic shift at the back before this series, and the opener proved it prophetic. The Blues were kicked out of the building at 5-5 primarily because the Avalanche defensive corps took control in Game 1, with Sam Girard and Josh Manson scoring game-breaking and game-winning goals, respectively. Aside from a first period where the Blues won a few lunge runs and got their sticks on angled pucks, the vast majority of their 5-on-5 shot attempts were limited to corners or bad angles. The outline of all unblocked shots from last night reveals the dramatic difference between the two teams in Game 1, as the Avs heatmap engulfs virtually the entire offensive zone, while the Blues were mostly forced into shots at low percentage hoping for a lucky bounce. .

On the attacking side, the backline was the driving force behind last night’s tremendous 5-on-5 performance, as Cale Makar, Devon Toews, Samuel Girard and Josh Manson all finished around 1.5 goals expected, with Both Eric Johnson and Bowen Byram. landing around 0.8 goals expected, while Makar’s 1.6 lead the team. Comparing that to St. Louis puts their dominance in stark contrast, as the Blues with the highest expected goal tally last night was Colton Parayko at 0.68, with Ryan O’Reilly being his only other team-mate to finish higher than 0.5.

If every game this round feels like last night 5-on-5 and the Avs can stay out of the box to hold off dangerous St. Louis special teams, the Blues have no chance of winning this. series. They got almost all the breaks they could have hoped for between 51 saves from Binnington, several Avs posts and the Blues’ first goal bouncing off two legs before landing in the perfect spot, and it still wasn’t enough. to achieve a victory. Despite all the hope that this year would be different with a healthier and deeper Blues squad, Game 1 looked a lot like last year’s four-game sweep.

Aaron Pritchett on the main stage of the new country music festival – Aldergrove Star Wed, 18 May 2022 01:00:00 +0000

BCCMA award-winning country singer and former Langley resident Aaron Pritchett is set to headline the 2022 West Coast Women’s Show.

The country music star, who first moved to Langley in the mid-1980s, shared that the area was then known as “the sticks”.

“But that lifestyle led me to live in the country and love country music,” said Pritchett, who recounts working at a gas station on Fraser Highway and 201st Street. And after work, Pritchett spent his nights performing at Gabby’s Country Cabaret.

He believes his roots in country music are strong because he “lives the life” in Langley.

The singer returns with all those fond memories, not too far away, performing at Abbotsford Tradex next month.

Pritchett is part of the 20th West Coast Women’s Show, which runs June 10-12. Returning after a three-year hiatus, the show will run alongside the Summerfest Country Music Festival, and buying a ticket for an event will get people free admission. to the other.

For show manager Robert Hallahan, being able to celebrate the festival again in person is a big relief.

He added that the festival is an important event for hundreds of vendors who attend every year. He thanked the sellers for being “faithful” and coming back after a long break due to COVID. The festival will feature over 200 vendors, of which around 15 are based in Langley.

For local entrepreneurs Sheri and Shay Gibb, the show is an opportunity to showcase their business. The mother-daughter duo run a boutique, Daisy Pink, which they opened in August 2020.

“Doing shows like the West Coast Woman’s Show absolutely helps us promote our brand to a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t know about us,” Sheri said.

Last year, the duo raised $1,000 for the Chilliwack Fire Fighters Charitable Society. Later in the summer, they will also participate in the student summer jobs program by hiring a young person for an eight-week internship.

“Daisy Pink is a firm believer in women supporting women,” Sheri said.

Another women-led business that will be participating in the show is Nuez Acres, an Indigenous business that sells organic skincare products.

“It (the show) is a great platform to connect with like-minded people, and a great way to showcase our products and our brand to the community and beyond. We are really excited to participate this year and look forward to the connections that will be made,” said Anthony Wingham, co-founder of Nuez Acres.

In addition to giving space to vendors, the festival will also support charities. Hallahan, who has been with the event since 2016, shared that the festival has supported several charities in the past.

Their charity of choice this year is Mamas For Mamas, a non-profit organization that helps mothers fight poverty. All proceeds from the raffle will be donated to charity.

For Hallahan, the charity holds a special place in her heart as her grandmother was a single mother.

“What they do is really special to me.”

On the musical side of the weekend, the festival lineup includes singer Nearly Neil who will kick off the show on Friday, June 10 at 2:30 p.m.

On Friday night, headliner Aaron Goodvin takes the stage and opening for Goodvin is Nicole Sumerlyn, a country musician.

On Saturday night, the stage welcomes Canadian country star Aaron Pritchett.

Vancouver singer-songwriter Tess Anderson, musician Ryan McAllister, roots/country band The Promised, singer-songwriter Chris Buck, vocalist Kristin Carter, Vancouver hard rock band Redwoods, The Heels and Nikita Afonso will also be performing over the weekend. .

Single-day tickets range from $5 for children, $12 for youth and seniors, and $15 for adults. There are also weekend passes for $25 and tickets that include the headlining concert.

Tickets also provide access to over 300 vendors, 20 food trucks, a beer garden, craft breweries and wineries, and 12 live music performances.

For more information people can visit

– With files from the Abbotsford News


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Round Rock ISD Appoints Cindy Hill as New General Counsel Tue, 17 May 2022 19:12:28 +0000

Round Rock ISD has appointed Cindy Hill as its new General Counsel.

Hill comes to Round Rock ISD with 35 years of legal experience in firms across Texas where she has advised and represented clients across the full spectrum of civil matters, with a particular focus on labor disputes, labor relations employees, education law and government contracts. She has also served as outside general counsel for school district administrations and boards of trustees, including the Fort Worth ISD, De Soto, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Aledo, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, Joshua and Lancaster school districts.

“I am very excited to join the Round Rock ISD family,” said Hill. “Supporting public education has been my lifelong passion and being able to work in the community has been my dream. I look forward to beginning to help the District continue its long tradition of excellence.

Hill received a bachelor’s degree in management and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

“Cindy’s extensive legal experience and knowledge of education law is an asset to Round Rock ISD,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Hafedh Azaiez. “I look forward to seeing Cindy become an integral member of our district’s leadership team as we continue to work to provide the best possible educational experience for our students.”

Hannabiell & the Midnight Blue Collective, Marco Woolf, Yaatri, MC Nelson, Ni Maxine, TC & The Groove Family – London Jazz News Mon, 16 May 2022 10:00:00 +0000

Jazz North has announced the new roster of artists for its touring support program, Northern Line, chosen by a jury composed of John Doran (The Quietus), Claire Umney (Jazz FM), Dennis Rollins MBE (trombonist), Sam Nicholls AKA whiskas (Music:Leeds), Santana Guerot (Band on the Wall), Harkirit Boparai (Le Crescent) and Lucy Scott (Sage Gateshead).

TC and the Groove family. Publicity photo courtesy of Jazz North

The artists are (texts provided by Jazz North)

Hannabiell and the Midnight Blue Collective (Newcastle-upon-Tyne): A high-energy Afro Fusion collective fusing powerful and upbeat Latin and African drumming, brass, vocals, Blues, Jazz, Afro-beat, Funk and Reggae to create unique sound and an invigorating party atmosphere that will have you on your feet.

Marco Woolf (Manchester): Influenced by Nick Drake and John Martyn, Marco Woolf’s music can prove just as complex to categorize, his lyrics introspective and insightful – earning him a reputation as a skilled storyteller – though thoughtful instrumentation is just as crucial to his compositions, clearly thought out to ensure a weight comparable to that of his words.

yaatri (Leeds) are an award-winning five-piece art-rock/jazz crossover band formed in Leeds in 2018. Their blend of intricate songwriting and ethereal soundscapes captivates the heart as well as the mind. Influenced by the momentum of Indian rhythms, the immersive timbres of electronic music and the energy of rock and roll, their music has a strong sense of purpose and journey.

Nor Maxine (Liverpool) is a neo-jazz singer-songwriter; a black woman navigating the modern world and exploring themes of home, identity, self-esteem and belonging. Ni Maxine’s message is clear: “I want to inspire young people who are going through (or have had) a similar experience to what I had, growing up and cultivating community. The algorithm divides us, but we are more powerful when we are united.

TC and the Groove family (Leeds), is a collective of 10 musicians whose music celebrates the rapprochement of cultures and the unity that music provides. Led by drummer Tim Cook, their gigs are powerful and dynamic, exploring grooves and genres from the UK and around the world, including afrobeat, breakbeat, jungle, jazz and highlife.

Nelson Idama aka mc nelson (Liverpool) is a rapper and producer who fuses jazzy instrumentation with sharp social commentary and a Scouse sense of humor. With a commanding stage presence, Nelson embarked on his first UK tour with Punch records in 2018, since then he has performed alongside hip hop legends such as Slum Village, Ghostface Killah, the Pharcyde, Pharoah Monche and many others.

All six bands will perform in a Northern Line Showcase at the Hull Jazz Festival in November 2022.

LINK: Northern Line Homepage

The ‘real significant change’ in Carlton’s style of play that allows the Blues to play better football Mon, 16 May 2022 02:06:58 +0000

Carlton cemented their place in the top four after Sunday’s win over Greater Western Sydney and Michael Voss’ troops are looking more and more like the real deal.

The Blues have now won their last three games on the trot to take their tally to seven in the first nine rounds.

However, their triumph against GWS was one of the club’s best of the season. Carlton entered the clash as an underdog, having lost key forward Harry McKay during the week and faced a fiery Giants side looking to dispatch Leon Cameron in style.

But the Blues exploded out of the blocks with the game’s first four goals and crumbled in the final term to kick Majors five to one.

Voss said the club were looking to focus on the process but described Sunday’s game as a “meaningful” win.

“We spent a tremendous amount of time figuring out that how we want to do it is probably even more important than the wins,” he said.

“So we managed to stay in that space and I think we had a pretty measured approach week to week. Whether we won or lost, we tried to keep the environment really consistent.

“But also, you need flags in the ground, you need reference points to be able to build on, and that’s why I guess yesterday was important.

“There were things going on around us that we had to take into consideration, but the way we handled it and the importance of the win made it a really great day.”

The clash at Giants Stadium looked set to follow a similar trend to the start of the season, but Carlton’s dominance in the final quarter proved that processes were improving at Ikon Park.

Voss’ men desperately came close to losing games against Hawthorn and Port Adelaide in Round 3 and 5 respectively, despite holding big leads earlier in the game as they crumbled in the second half.

However, Voss did a lot of work to address this issue, and the results were evident in Round 9.

“We built,” he said.

“I think the difference between the start of the year and even the last three weeks is that we’ve been able to replicate our intensity and stay on task much longer.

“At the start of the year, our best was clearly significant and I walked away from every game (saying), ‘just stick with it a lot longer and stick to our method and our system. ‘.

“Our method of fighting was pretty consistent and that was a point of difference for us, but we were breaking our system on both sides of the ball, both offensively and defensively, we just couldn’t hold it long enough.

“There has been a real significant change in the last two or three weeks. So when you start to get a bit more solid, it always gives you a much better chance against the top teams.

Despite the strong record, the Blues have only faced two top-eight teams (beating Richmond and losing to Fremantle) and will face their next big challenge against Sydney in Round 10.

‘Queer Country’ explores the origins of a burgeoning music genre Sun, 15 May 2022 17:44:38 +0000

‘Deaf Utopia: A Memoir – and a Love Letter to a Way of Life’
By Nyle DiMarco
around 2022, William Morrow
$22.99/336 pages

‘Real Biz’
By Sara Novic
circa 2022, Random House
$27/388 pages

In the 1970s, while I was driving the T in Boston, a man tried to get my attention. He seemed to be talking animatedly with his hands. Knowing nothing about sign language, I thought he might be drunk. I ignored him, unfolded my white cane and got off at my stop. I’m legally blind, but I have some vision. But, I don’t always recognize the people I’ve met.

Later that day I learned that the guy on T’s name was Fred and he was deaf. He had seen me at a party and waved hello. Fred, I’m so sorry for my rudeness!

Then, aside from the sad deaf character in the novel and film of the same title “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”, deaf people, like queer people, were largely not present in books, movies, television – nowhere in pop culture. Except as victims, villains, or metaphors for loneliness or deviance.

Fortunately, after decades. it changes. As Troy Kotsur said of “the deaf community, CODA [children of Deaf adults] community and the disability community,” when he became the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar, “This is our moment.

Today, people who are deaf and disabled, queer and non-queer, from models and artists to filmmakers and authors are creators and icons of pop culture. Two of the most lively, entertaining and moving books currently being published are written by Deaf creators.

“Deaf Utopia” is a fascinating memoir by Nyle DiMarco with Robert Siebert. DiMarco, 32, is proudly deaf and queer. His parents and grandparents are deaf. He knows how to keep your attention. His stories range from his first kiss with a man to auditions with reality TV executives (who want him, a deaf whose native language is American Sign Language, to “use his voice”) to heartbreaking tales of being abused by his father. DiMarco is an activist, producer, actor and model. In 2014, he became the second male winner and first deaf contestant on Cycle 22 of “America’s Next Top Model”.

In 2015, DiMarco, along with professional dance partner Peta Murgatroyd, won the Mirrorball Trophy on Season 22 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” His acting credits include roles in “Difficult People” and “Switched at Birth.” DiMarco, a Gallaudet University graduate and Washington, DC resident, was the executive producer of the Netflix docuseries “Deaf U.”

Growing up, he and his twin brother Nico had “got a taste of the cruelty of hearing people out to the deaf when childhood bullies laughed at our signature,” DiMarco writes.

As with homosexuals who were made fun of as children, DiMarco, as he grew older, realized that bullying could “take more harmful and sinister forms: blatant oppression and discrimination.”

He learned from his mother that in 1995, five years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, his grandfather was denied an interpreter while in the hospital. When he had surgery, his family didn’t know if his “life was in danger,” DiMarco writes.

The deaf community is not immune to homophobia. In his youth, DiMarco was told the story of a handsome, acclaimed deaf sprinter. After marrying a woman, having two children and living the life of a “perfect” family man, he committed suicide.

Years later, DiMarco discovered the legendary athlete was gay, when he met the sprinter’s European deaf male lover. The athlete told his lover that he could not go out.

“I was wondering how long it would take me to see him again,” the athlete lover told DiMarco, “I never did. Shortly after, he killed himself.

Despite these sad stories, “Deaf Utopia” is far from being a depressing one. It’s filled with moments of pride and exuberance from DiMarco’s mother when he and Murgatroyd were presented with the Mirrorball trophy when asked to executive produce ‘Deaf U’.

Coming out, DiMarco had to deal with homophobia and being excluded from the queer community because he is deaf. He’s met plenty of “cool” gay people at LGBTQ events and he spoke in American Sign Language at the 2016 Human Rights Campaign Annual Dinner.

Still, “my new gay acquaintances heard and didn’t know ASL,” DiMarco writes.

But he didn’t give up. With time and patience, DiMarco taught ASL to hearing queer people, and hearing LGBTQ people began to include it in their conversations.

“Deaf Utopia” has an entertaining dish on what it’s like behind the scenes of reality shows. But it’s not a celebrity reveal.

The memoir is an exhilarating mix of stories from DiMarco’s life and intriguing tales from deaf culture. Just take one thing that “Deaf Utopia” made me realize for the first time: silent films, without spoken dialogue, were accessible to deaf people.

If you hear, you’ll probably be surprised by a sobering story about deaf history: Alexander Graham Bell was instrumental in banning sign language, the native language of deaf people, in schools for the deaf.

If you love reality shows, dancing and parties mixed with queer and deaf culture, “Deaf Utopia” is the book for you.

“Real Biz” is the dazzling new novel by Sara Novic, a brilliant deaf writer. Like DiMarco, Novic, author of “Girl at War” and “America Is Immigrants,” is proud to be deaf.

“Being a member of the deaf community has been a source of great joy in my life,” she wrote in an “author’s note,” “it has made me a better writer, thinker, parent, and friend.”

Schools for the Deaf have been vitally important to Deaf culture, language, and community.

“True Biz” takes place at the fictional River Valley School for the Deaf. Riverdale risks closure. The main characters of the novel are February Waters, the headmistress, and two teenage students Austin and Charlie.

February is a CODA (child of deaf adults). She and her hearing wife Melanie love each other. But like many marriages, their marriage has its constraints. February has to take care of everything from teen sex to the impending closure of Riverdale.

Austin is a proud deaf teenager. His family has been deaf for generations. Nothing comes to rush his life until he meets Charlie, a new student.

Novic is a master at creating characters that stick in your heart. Charlie, who is deaf, will touch your heart the most. His divorced parents are hearing. His parents won’t let Charlie communicate in American Sign Language. Charlie attends mainstream schools where she doesn’t meet any deaf people. Her mother insists that she have a cochlear implant.

When she fails academically, Charlie is sent to Riverdale. Adapting is difficult for her because the students of Riverdale communicate with ASL. She must quickly learn to sign. February asks Austin to help her fit in.

You’ll miss and root for these characters after reading this page-turning novel. You’ll want February and his wife to stay together and good things to happen to Austin and Charlie.

“True Biz” is an American Sign Language idiom. In English, it means “seriously” or “for sure”.

Seriously, read “True Biz”.

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