Wandering Eye: The changing role of theaters, inside terrorist group The Front, and more

In a recent op-ed, the Guardian's Lyn Gardner questions the role of regional theaters in a changing society. Many theaters feature more social justice-oriented work in their programming yet continue to place their own survival above the welfare of their respective communities. Today, theaters often teeter on the edge between cultural institutions and sources of luxury entertainment for the privileged. It's a problem without a simple solution, it seems, but one that art institutions can begin to address by reconsidering their priorities. "If, in the race to survive, theatres don't really consider their changing place in society, what their purpose is in a very different world from the one they operated in just a decade ago, and how they can collaborate with others to add value to that purpose, then what's the point?" Gardner writes, "If a theatre's mission has become selling more tickets, more growth, empire-building or simple self-preservation, then that is a theatre that has lost the plot." (Maura Callahan)


ProPublica and Frontline have a blockbuster story about a forgotten terrorist group that has assassinated at least three journalists in America—and may have killed many others. "The Front" formed around 1980 by Vietnamese ex-pats who planned to re-invade Vietnam. They raised money in Vietnamese neighborhoods and they beat and shot critics who questioned where the funds went. Like the infamous Cuban groups Alpha 66 and Omega 7, they also had plenty of spooky ties in Washington. Reporter A.C. Thompson finds a lot of them, but not all. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


Today in "your tax dollars at work," Gawker highlights a growing political scandal in which Pennsylvania officials have been outed for sending a bunch of porn and racist memes to each other while they were supposed to be, you know, serving the Commonwealth. Click on the link for a look at some examples. Here's a particularly great part: These documents became available thanks to a "fuck you" from Pennsylvania's embattled attorney general, who is facing criminal charges. "Since all three branches of state government began moving against her over the past year, Kathleen Kane has released hundreds of sexually explicit or otherwise crude emails that had been sent or received by current or former public officials on their government accounts," the AP reports. Kane has threatened to release more, meaning this could get even better. (Brandon Weigel)

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