Brian Delate is an actor, playwright, and director who served as a draftee infantry sergeant in the Vietnam War. His play, Memorial Day, centers on a Vietnam veteran on the verge of suicide during a Memorial Day celebration. Delate stars in the most recent version of this one-man play in a three-run performance run next week (Oct. 2, 3, and 4) at The Drilling Company Theatre in New York City (236 W. 78th St.)
“This time, we are presenting Memorial Day with some subtle and powerful changes,” Delate told us in an email. “Earlier this year, a 20-minute version of the play was presented twice in Vietnam. The response was amazing. In fact, I’ve been invited to return to Vietnam to present the show in its entirety later this year.
“If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed that the Vietnamese veterans and civilians who attended the performance would have been interested in the American point of view. It was a life changing experience for all of us.”
For reservations, call 212-924-1154. Veterans receive free admission.
Posted on September 26th 2012 in Plays
The new documentary film, Radio Unnameable, has been making the rounds of the film festival circuit in the last six months, and is playing now through October 2nd at the Film Forum in New York City. The movie, put together by Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson, tells the story of New York City FM radio personality Bob Fass who has been palavering about music and politics for nearly five decades on WBAI-FM, the counter-cultural public radio station.
That includes plenty of air time devoted to the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War when—as A.O. Scott wrote in The New York Times—Fass’s “broadcast became a hub of organizing as well as a source of firsthand news reporting.”
The doc tells the story of Fass—who is still on the air—using plenty of audio from his program, along with film, photographs, and video.
“Mr. Fass narrates old war (and antiwar) stories with vivid clarity and impeccable timing, and his accounts are fleshed out by a Greek chorus of friends, co-workers and fellow travelers,” Scott said in his review.
“These include the singers Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie; Mr. Fass’s current and former wives; WBAI staff members: and pillars of countercultural mischief like Wavy Gravy, Ed Sanders and Paul Drassner. The case they make for Mr. Fass’s importance does not seem overstated.”
Posted on September 24th 2012 in Documentaries, Radio
Lem Genovese is a very talented singer/guitarist/songwriter who served in the Vietnam War in the Mekong Delta with the 1st Aviation Brigade and as a medic in the first Persian Gulf War with the 209th Med Clearing Company attached to the 1st Infantry Division. Genovese, who lives in Wisconsin, has been writing and performing his tunes about the Vietnam War since the early 1970s.
His latest CD, “Righteous Reconnaissance,” is a compilation of some of Genovese’s best work. There are fourteen songs—nearly an hour’s worth of music. In them Genovese accompanies himself on twelve- and six-string acoustic guitar and also shows off his skills on solo instrumentals.
The CD, from Vinh Long Delta Productions, is available from nearly all the on-line CD sources. For more info go to Genovese’s website.
Posted on September 19th 2012 in Music
George Washington University in the nation’s capital has been a leader in working with students who are veterans. The latest example: the University’s Veterans Campaign, in conjunction with the veterans authors of the book In the Shadow of Greatness, are holding Patriot Week through September 15.
During the week several military-focused non-profit groups will work to raise awareness of veterans’ issues on campus, as well as to put the spotlight on the military service of the post-Sept. 11 generation.
“In the Shadows of Greatness is a new book about military leadership and sacrifice to remember everyone who has paid the ultimate price and recognize the service of the post-Sept. 11 generation,” said Seth Lynn, executive director of Veterans Campaign and the director of GWU’s Center for Second Service.
All author proceeds from sales of the book are donated to veterans’ charities. During Patriot Week, each day will be set aside for an individual charity. The charities are The Travis Manion Foundation, Run to Honor, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, The Matthew Freeman Project, Semper Fi Fund, The Mission Continues, the Veterans Campaign, and Fenix281 Foundation.
“During Patriot Week we have two goals: inspire our fellow Americans through stories of sacrifice and service by our fellow veterans and their families and raise awareness about top-tier veteran non-profits that provide crucial support to these veterans,” said Josh Welle, a U.S. Navy LT and co-editor of the book. “We hope to create a groundswell of support for these promising veteran leaders, who will step out of the shadows of the greatest generation to hopefully become the next great leaders of our country.”
To learn more about George Washington University’s Patriot week go to shadowofgreatness.com/patriot-week
Posted on September 9th 2012 in Book News
We just received word that Karl Marlantes’s powerful 2010 best-selling Vietnam War novel, Matterhorn, is being released tomorrow for the first time in French with a slight title change: Retour a Matterhorn (Calmann-Levy, 610 pp., 22.90 Euro, paperback)
The publication in French is more good news about this brilliant, combat-heavy in-country tale told mainly through the eyes of a young Marine LT named Mellas. The story bores in on Mellas’s company of Marines and a seemingly never-ending succession of bloody combat action. The action is set primarily in and around the mountaintop fire support base that gives the book its incongruous title.
Marlantes, who went to Yale and gave up his Rhodes Scholarship (he later got it back) to volunteer for Vietnam, does many things well in this book. His characters seem real; his dialogue rings true for the most part. The action scenes evoke Vietnam War combat at its most intense—and its most horrible. Marlantes, who received the VVA Excellence in the Arts Award in August, is not shy about providing page after page of intimate descriptions of death and dismemberment.
As Sebastian Junger said in his New York Times review of the book, “Chapter after chapter, battle after battle, Marlantes pushes you through what may be one of the most profound and devastating novels ever to come out of Vietnam — or any war. It’s not a book so much as a deployment, and you will not return unaltered.”
Posted on September 4th 2012 in Book News