It's become tradition in the non-profit arts world that when longtime leaders step down, their jobs are split in two. The nature of the business seems to compel people to perform above and beyond the call of duty, at least in terms of time spent and money earned. That's certainly the case with Joyce Casey, who will retire from her position as Dobama Theatre artistic director on December 31. Starting October 16, Dianne Boduszek will replace Casey as managing director, and, starting January 1, Joel Hammer will be artistic director.
Casey started at Dobama 30 years ago and led the company through several collaborations with Karamu House, as well as many premieres, socially relevant plays and programs for young performers and playwrights, like the Night Kitchen program and the Marilyn Bianchi Kids Playwriting Festival. It was also during her tenure that the company began to pay actors and move to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library Arts Center on Lee Road. Her successors are veterans of local stages. Boduszek also has plenty of management experience, having been COO for AudioPack Technologies for the past 14 years. Hammer has performed and directed at Dobama, Ensemble, Cleveland Playhouse, the JCC and elsewhere.
California-based filmmaker Gail Buchbinder is planning to re-edit and expand her documentary on the life of the late poet/activist Daniel Thompson, Famous in the Neighborhood. What she and her new collaborator - an unnamed Academy Award-nominated documentarian - are hoping to rectify is the lack of film footage dealing with significant events in the poet's life, especially the Junkstock poetry festivals at Pearl Road Auto Wrecking. So they're putting out the call: Anyone who has old video of Thompson or events he was involved in, contact Barry Zucker at 216.291.3424.
Cleveland Public Library will host a talk and reading by Junot Diaz, who won the Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award for his 2007 novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The story, told in a Spanglish-riddled street language, is about an overweight kid's obsession with women and sci-fi, the curse that follows his family and life under a Dominican dictator. Diaz will read and discuss the book in the Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium of the Cleveland Public Library (325 Superior Ave.) at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 19. Free. For information, call 216.623.2881.
- Michael Gill