From the Editors
Democrats, Democracy, Dramashop, Death Stars, David Mamet, 3 Doors Down - it's the newest issue of the Erie Reader!
On Monday, Jan. 21, Barack Obama was sworn in for his second term as U.S. president. For what it's worth, Obama, our first black president, was sworn in on a day we celebrated one of equality's greatest crusaders.
So it's no surprise that equality served as one of Obama's talking points. While we find ourselves in the 21st century, decades removed from the Civil Rights Movement and the battle for women's rights, the scales still remain unbalanced -- a topic explored in Dramashop's current production of David Mamet's "Race." In this issue, Ben Speggen reviews the edgy play, in which Shawn Clerkin delivers a stunning performance, something Speggen calls a must-see.
In what pundits are heralding as his most progressive speech to date, Obama addressed the nation on what lies ahead. According to petitions being submitted to We the People -- Your Voice in Our Government at WhiteHouse.gov, that future could be a Death Star. Confused? Upfront explains in this issue.
As people can now submit petitions to their government on the Internet -- funny or serious -- we're reminded of the age in which we live. With apps, like Instagram -- the focal point of this issue's Tech Watch -- people are capturing every moment of their lives and recording it via the Internet for all to see. But that instant access, those instant connections can be dangerous.
You've heard the story, like Jay Stevens says in the opening of this issue's Street Corner Soapbox. Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend has become one of reality's most troubling tales. Was he duped? Did he dupe us? How did this happen, and where do we place the blame? Jay searches for those answers in the unfolding story of the standout Notre Dame linebacker.
As Obama takes office for the second time, he's made one thing clear: he represents both those who voted him into office as well as those who voted for someone else or didn't vote at all. Some political analysts seem to think that because he's no longer under the pressure of re-election and has four years under his belt, Obama will make this term all about action and accomplishments, thus cementing his presidential legacy.
Experience and age offer certain benefits -- accumulated knowledge, a familiar sense of operation, and established connections. But youth has its perks too.
In this issue's cover story, Cory Vaillancourt reports on the Youth Movement in Harrisburg. Democrats Ryan Bizzarro, 26, and Sean Wiley, 42, were recently inaugurated and are now reporting for duty in the Keystone State Capital. Both serving as freshmen representatives, Bizzarro and Wiley have plans for Erie, and if this city is to move forward in the future, these two men are leading the charge through Harrisburg.
The political coverage in this issue doesn't stop there. The Way Rebecca Styn Sees It, local elections aren't far off. Some seasoned veterans have announced re-election campaigns, while newcomers are hoping to follow in Bizzarro and Wiley's footsteps to take office for the first time ever.
And as he rolled through The Flagship City, Sen. Pat Toomey sat down with Cory for a one-on-one chat at the Rose Garden Cafe. Their conversation is captured in this issue in a Q&A, the same format you'll find Matthew Flowers's conversation with 3 Doors Down frontman Brad Arnold, in light of the Mississippi-based rock band's upcoming show at the Erie Insurance Arena.
From politics to music, we have you covered in this issue. And from arena-rock to up-and-coming music and theater and fashion -- check out Alex Bieler's To-do List for Jimkata and "Blackbird" and Leslie McAllister's many shades of grey -- you guessed it, we have you covered.
While we might find ourselves in the dead of winter -- and quite possibly buried in a few feet of snow -- our city, region, state, and country are on the move. Before we know it, the skin-rippling winds will warm and the airs of spring will breathe life into the blossoming buds, and nothing would be worse than being caught in that moment thinking: wow, where did winter go, and why haven't we gotten anything done?