contact us

 

           

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Blog

Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

If the shoe fits…. Review of Broadway's Kinky Boots, Lynchburg's Craddock Terry Hotel, and Charlottesville's The Local

Nickie Phillips

craddock-terry201109250148

Guest post by Demetra M. Pappas, JD, MSc, PhD1 This (rave) review is all about shoes, and more specifically shoe factories. I recently attended a performance of Kinky Boots Al Hirschfeld Theater, with music by Cyndi Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein (both nominated for Tony Awards, among the whopping, show stopping 13 Tony nods Kinky Boots has received). The musical (Lauper’s freshman effort in this arena), based upon a 2005 British comedic film of the same name, tells the (fact-based) story of a young man named Charlie Price (Stark Sands, also nominated for Best Actor) who inherits a reputable-albeit-failing shoe factory from his father – a family business that he did not particularly want.After a drag queen named Lola (the extraordinary Billy Porter, whom I predict will win the Tony, as he has done with the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards) saves Charlie from a mugging, breaking a high-heeled boot in the process, s/he complains at length about the lack of a product for (larger footed) men to be attractively (and femininely) shod in. Lola’s complaints about the shoddy turn into a plan between the two to create a niche market for soon-to-be well-shod drag queens, and save the Price factory.

DSC00928

I should say that both men acquit themselves admirably (as does Annaleigh Ashford, nominated for Best Featured Actress in her turn as a factory worker with wisdom, wit and a blooming romance with Charlie); however, Porter trumps straight man Sands by well-portraying both a man (Simon, when not in drag as Lola) and a woman. As I told a colleague, I applauded at the curtain call for Sands, but I unabashedly cried at the curtain call for Porter. I enjoyed Lauper’s music, and was riveted when she recently was interviewed by Stephen Colbert and told him that because her sister was a member of the gay community, that made her one, and enhanced her commitment to the show. The 59-year-old fosters aspiration, a girl who wanted to have fun grown into a force to be reckoned with. This said, some of the best moments were owned totally by Porter, such as “red is the color of sex,” and “I came for the adulation.” Stark gets full credit for a hilarious turn as a boot model in a pinch, but the show belongs to Porter. It also belongs to David Rockwell’s sets, for which he is nominated for a Best Scenic Design Tony. Shoe factories are quite the place to see and be seen these days, as I discovered while in Central Virginia, where I stayed at the Craddock Terry Hotel (1312 Commerce Street, Lynchburg, Virginia, www.craddockterryhotel.com, 434–455–1500). One of the “Historic Hotels of America,” Lynchburg’s Craddock Terry was a shoe factory itself, founded in 1888. The waterfront hotel is considered a key element of Lynchburg’s downtown revitalization, much as the shoe factory in Kinky Boots was viewed as saving a social and economic group in Northhampton, England (which I may put on this year’s UK itinerary this year, in homage). The lobby and room décor would give David Rockwell’s Tony nominated sets some serious competition (I found it difficult to simply enter and exit the lobby without looking at shoe displays, antique safes and the like.) The Craddock Terry is a boutique hotel who takes its historical roots very seriously, while providing serious fun to guests. (For example, breakfast is delivered in wooden shoe boxes.) One historical note is that there is a large red high heeled shoe announcing the presence (it is impossible to get lost) of the waterfront hotel. A colleague told me that it (along with another, displayed elsewhere on the property) was original to the factory, which she remembers from her girlhood some decades ago. There is a hotel dog, Buster Brown, a Wirehaired Fox Terrier (who movie buffs will recall as an “Asta dog” in the Nick and Nora Thin Man mystery movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy). The turn down service has a high-heeled shoe cookie that would make Kinky Boots’s Lola swoon with glee. And, in a first, the Craddock Terry has a “Chief Experience Officer,” Timechee Williams, who cheerfully accommodates eccentricities (mine happens to be full fledged milk for my morning dose of caffeine). Should Williams ever wish to venture forward, I suspect that the Kinky Boots cast and crew would be most welcoming indeed. Rounding out the “sets” of shoe factories is the Charlottesville, Virginia restaurant, The Local at 824 Hinton Avenue, 434.984.9749, which was established as a shoe repair shop, circa 1912, with a small apartment upstairs for the proprietor, in the Belmont area. In March 2008, the Local opened to provide a venue to showcase the abundant supply of small farmers, artisan cheese makers, breweries, distilleries and award wining vineyards located in Charlottesville and the surrounding area. A feature I particularly enjoyed was that the Local also uses lamps/stained glass and light fixtures from a local artisans (Vee Osvalds and Charles Hall, respectively, from McGuffy Arts), as well as reclaimed wood and artisanal chairs. There is also a rotating local art exhibition, with works for sale. The exposed brick interior would be as welcome on David Rockwell’s set as on the restaurant walls of the Local. (While this piece is focusing upon the dramaturgical opportunities presented by shoe factories, I note that the food at the Local is also splendid and locally sourced; the crispy shrimp with pickled ginger black sesame aioli, seaweed salad and local honey revealed that seaweed is not just for sushi lovers anymore and was a standout in a menu of standouts replete with flavor of imminent freshness and locally sourced ingredients.) When I first heard of Kinky Boots, I thought it would be, well, fun, to attend the theatrical performance written by the girl who just wanted to have fun. In retrospect, it has taken me down the road of shoes (and their factories) as dramaturgical (and culinary) construction, a most surprising path to walk.

Demetra M. Pappas, JD, MSc, PhD, currently teaches in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at St. Francis College, where she was named the 2011/2012 SGA Faculty Member of the Year. Her first book, The Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide Debate, (Greenwood Press: 2012) has been nominated for the 2013 British Society of Criminology Book Prize. She also writes about dramaturgy, culinary culture, visual sociology and criminal justice issues.