A grim but eye-opening comparison of gun death rates in the US compared to other countries…“In a nation where the right to bear arms is cherished by much of the population, gun homicides are a significant public health concern. For men 15 to 29, they are the third-leading cause of death, after accidents and suicides. In other high-income countries, gun homicides are unusual events. Last year’s Paris attacks killed 130 people, which is nearly as many as die from gun homicides in all of France in a typical year. But even if France had a mass shooting as deadly as the Paris attacks every month, its annual rate of gun homicide death would be lower than that in the United States.”

All it takes is ten minutes…“staying silent and privately grieving  —  isn’t enough anymore.”


A sobering look at a chilling pattern…“We turn now to this often-overlooked connection between domestic violence and mass shootings. ThinkProgress reports between 2009 and 2012, 40 percent of mass shootings started with a shooter targeting his girlfriend, wife or ex-wife. Just this month in California, a UCLA doctoral student gunned down his professor, prompting a lockdown on campus. But first, Mainak Sarkar allegedly killed his estranged wife in Minnesota, climbing through a window to kill her in her home, and then he drove thousands of miles to California and killed his professor. Last year alone, nearly a third of mass shooting deaths were related in some way to domestic violence. And the majority of mass shootings in this country actually take place inside the home. Just this past weekend, as national attention was fixed to the massacre in Orlando, a man in New Mexico allegedly gunned down his wife and their four daughters.”


While the gun culture of our country is woven into the fabric of our national psyche, deeply steeped in racism, violence, and fear, and inextricably tied to big business – the giant magnet under the iron seats of Congress –  here is how Australia did the opposite of what is happening in this country around gun laws…“Australia had experienced mass shootings before, but the Port Arthur massacre shook the nation to its core. Bryant, now 48 and imprisoned for life, was later assessed to have the IQ of an 11-year-old. He told investigators that he’d paid cash for firearms at a local gun dealer. The Australian government subsequently introduced the National Firearms Agreement — legislation that outlawed automatic and semi-automatic rifles, as well as pump-action shotguns. A nationwide gun buyback scheme also saw more than 640,000 weapons turned in to authorities.


Because prayers and a rainbow Facebook status aren’t enough…”2. Don’t Vote Republican.At least not this year, if you feel so strongly about it. Just keep in mind that you’re not allowed to be sad about the Pulse massacre when you’ve been actively promoting people who have been behind loose gun laws, trans panic defenses about bathrooms, and at least 200 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills this year alone. If you still feel your presumed tax break is more important that saving lives, then you need to admit that to yourself and do some serious reflection on the impact of your actions.”

Pack your picnic baskets and get to the FREE Griffith Park Shakespeare Festival starting June 25 with Richard III or the FREE Shakespeare by the Sea productions happening around Los Angeles County. With this year marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, be sure to catch plenty of Shakespeare starting with Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum lineup.  Romeo and Juliet set in East Jerusalem will kick off its 2016 summer repertory season.  Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum will also present a world premiere of Tom – the stage adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. For a dose of historical fiction rooted in the hostile politics of the 1960s, Home Sick will premiere at the Odyssey Theatre this weekend, and also playing at the Odyssey is Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape. For tweens and teenagers, check out The Blank Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival now running through June 26th.  At ICT. Tony-award winning comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang is now running. For some outdoor cinema in a truly spectacular location, check out Cinespia’s lineup at the Hollywood Cemetery. To dodge the heat, there are some fantastic art exhibitions around town including Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life at The Broad and James Turrell’s Light Reignfall at the LACMA.
NYC theatre-lovers can pack your picnics for the 54th Annual Shakespeare in the Park festival at Central Park starting with The Taming of the Shrew or Socrates Sculpture Park’s International Film Festival this summer. Another must-see is Arthur Miller’s The Crucible starring Saoirose Ronan at the Walter Kerr Theatre through July 17 and The Total Bent at the Public closes this Sunday. And be sure to check out the Hallett Nature Sanctuary – four acres in Central Park – reopening after a massive restoration project. The section has been closed since the 1930s. If it gets hot, check out Edgar Degas’s lesser known printmaking career at the MoMA or MADreads at the Museum of Art & Design kicking off Sunday, June 19th.