Looking forward to this conversation with Amber Bollman, Keith Wewe, and Terry Isner on Rob Kates’ / Kates Media: Video Production’s “Legal Marketing Coffee Talk (#PRIDE edition!)” sponsored by Jessica Aries’ By Aries. Thank you to Terry and to Greg Griffin, both of Jaffe, for devising and helping develop the idea. Thank you to By Aries’ Katelynn McGuire, as always, for the exceptional promotional support. 🌈 Don’t miss it, THIS Thursday at 3 pm ET.
Official show description: Legal Marketing Coffee Talk kicks off PRIDE month in style on June 3 with a full house. Host Roy Sexton chats with fellow LGBTQ+ legal marketing mavens Amber Bollman (Director of Client Service at Barnes & Thornburg LLP), Keith Wewe (Vice President of Strategy and Solutions at Content Pilot LLC), and Terry M Isner (Owner/CEO, Marketing & Branding at Jaffe ).
This promises to be a special episode, full of laughter, insights, hard truths, and maybe a showtune or two. Our panel will discuss what challenges LGBTQ+ professionals face in our industry, what secret superpowers set them apart, what inclusion and equity looks like from their perspective, and what our collective future may hold. Don’t miss it!
The pandemic pushed my theatre friends to increasingly innovative avenues of creative expression. My pal Kyle Kimlick – we were in Farmington Players’ Legally Blonde the Musicaltogether nearly ten (!) years ago – started an arts collective Four Horsemenwith a few of his buddies. Kyle’s day job is helping manage automotive marketing events, but somehow he and his cohorts found time to film a 60-minute thriller last year. And a pretty damn good one.
I made the mistake of watching Life the other night right before bed. Don’t do that. I’ve had creepy dreams since. That’s how effective the piece is. From their website:
Nothing is as it seems as a sinister force puts strain on the relationship between two best friends, bringing out the best and worst in both of them and revealing the true nature of their relationship.
The project that started it all! We came together on a whim and made this movie during the beginning of lockdown. We’re extremely proud of it. If you can look past the amateur quality of the camera and sound at times, we think you’ll really enjoy what we put together.
P.S. watch it a second time for an entirely different experience….
Kyle plays one of said best friends, and his real life BFF Eli Ansara portrays the other. They are named “Kyle” and “Eli” in the film respectively (natch). AND they directed and wrote Life, also respectively.
Like any good horror – think Stephen King, Twilight Zone, Hitchcock – the premise of Life is allegorical but based in a real-life dynamic. I suspect Kimlick’s and Ansara’s shared bachelor life is not dissimilarly grubby and devil-may-care as what is depicted in the film.
That said, capturing such a dynamic on film – notably guerrilla style – isn’t easy. Life succeeds at plumbing the natural love these two clearly feel for each other and, indicative of their generation’s sensibilities, doesn’t shy away from any homoerotic subtext in their otherwise heteronormative frat boy antics. That is refreshing.
I don’t want to spoil the twists but there is, yes, a supernatural component. Think Groundhog Day as channeled by George Romero or Sam Raimi. Morgan Gagnon has a nicely spidery turn as the potential mystical catalyst for the boys’ troubles.
But don’t be mistaken. The problems Kyle and Eli incur are uniquely their own. That is likely what I appreciated the most. The film both celebrates and skewers the man-boy impulses of their age group, noting that toxic masculinity begins at home, between obsessive online gaming and rec room bar aspirations.
The film is shot and edited in a compelling, grungy, skittering fashion. Blair Witch-esque but with a bit more élan. If I were to offer a critique or recommendation, it would be to trim a few minutes, primarily from scenes of the boys’ party antics. Those sequences do set up context for how primal their living situation has become, but ultimately they pull focus from the unraveling mystery of Kyle awaking every morning in the nearby woods.
The film is currently free to view on the Four Horsemen’s website and is well worth checking out. This arts collective is one to watch as they also promise offerings in poetry, DJ sets, design, and more. Pandemic has been good in some strange and surprising ways.
Experts agree that it is important to maintain – or even increase – marketing investments during economic crises, but law firm marketing professionals must make some difficult choices about which specific tactics to prioritize. With precious dollars to spend and the internal pressure amped up to drive new business opportunities, marketers need to zero in on the types of initiatives that will move the needle in the short-term without neglecting long-term brand health. Learn how top legal marketing experts recovered from previous economic crises. We will also discuss how to apply these tactics for your firm, plus more tips, strategies, and statistics by top experts – and how they have reached success again, stronger than ever.
Speakers: • Nadine Leighton, Head of Marketing, EMEA and APAC, LexisNexis • Roy Sexton, Director of Marketing, Clark Hill Law, Detroit, MI, United States
Beautifully written and consummately researched, Is Superman Circumcised? extends its analysis well beyond the character’s Golden Age origins and authorship to assess the full 80+ years of the Man of Steel’s pop cultural history.
Schwartz marries biblical, literary, and sociocultural scholarship effortlessly. This is a breezy yet substantive and profound read, deftly navigating real world and DC Comics in-universe history as well as religious and mythic iconography. The portrait of Jewish history, culture, and faith as channeled through the Superman mythos is comprehensive and revelatory.
As for the titular question, I won’t spoil any surprises. Rather inevitably, logically, and reasonably (for a character so ingrained in the public consciousness), Schwartz leaves his reader with an answer akin to what might only be described as … Schrödinger’s prepuce.
Highly recommend for both comics fans and casual readers alike.
Schwartz will be conducting an author talk at the University of Michigan on June 16, 3-4 pm. It’s free to attend via Zoom – register here: umlib.us/superman.
SUPERMAN is the most famous character in the world. He’s the first superhero, an American icon—and he’s Jewish!
Introduced in June 1938, the Man of Steel was created by two Jewish teens, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the sons of immigrants from Eastern Europe. They based their hero’s origin story on Moses, his strength on Samson, his mission on the golem and his nebbish secret identity on themselves. They made him a refugee fleeing catastrophe on the eve of World War II and sent him to tear Nazi tanks apart nearly two years before the US joined the war.
In following decades Superman’s mostly Jewish writers, artists and editors continued to borrow Jewish motifs for their stories, basing Krypton’s past on Genesis and Exodus, its civilization on Jewish culture, the trial of Lex Luthor on Adolf Eichmann’s and a holiday celebrating Superman on Passover.
Exploring these underlying themes of a beloved modern mythology, Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero is a fascinating and entertaining journey through comic book lore, American history and Jewish tradition, sure to give readers a newfound appreciation for the Mensch of Steel!
Roy is the author of Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero (McFarland ’21) and The Darkness in Lee’s Closet and the Others Waiting There (Aelurus ’18).
He has written for newspapers, magazines, websites, academic organizations and journals, law firms, tech companies, toy companies, and production studios. He has taught English and writing at CUNY, the City University of New York, and is a former writer-in-residence at the New York Public Library. When not writing he is the director of marketing & business development of a regional law firm.
Roy graduated magna cum laude from the New School University with a BA in English, majoring in creative writing with a minor in journalism, and cum laude from NYU with an interdisciplinary MA in English and social thought, focusing on 19th century British and 20th century American literature. He interned for Marvel Comics.
Originally from Tel Aviv, Israel, Roy grew up a voracious reader of everything from Israeli novels to British plays to American comic books. He taught himself English from comics and cartoons, which is why he’s comfortable using words like “swell.”
Roy lives in Long Island, NY with his wife Kim, a bestselling author and editor, and their two children. He has a penchant for caffeine, candy, and a quality-over-quantity wardrobe.
“In this episode of The LeXFactor, a lawfully good podcast, Lexicon Services Brand Manager Lauren Hoffman and CIO Brad Paubel are joined by Roy Sexton, Director of Marketing, Clark Hill Law, in discussing now that the world we live in is fully digital – what does that mean for using content marketing to drive a brand message when things like sponsorships and in person events are no longer available?
“Download this episode now to also hear discussions related to questions such as: Is social media finally accepted fully by all?; Social media used to be seen as this ‘other’ channel, delegitimized by its newness and its risk, so isn’t it an essential part of any brand conversation?
“Learn more about Lexicon’s holistic suite of practice management technology and services, which includes marketing services for law firms of any size, that liberate law firms to do more of what they do best – practice law.”
Kate writes, “May is ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’. I’m not sure I can remember a more important time to acknowledge this and have a real conversation about mental health.
“Luckily, I see a positive change in our firms; there is more of a willingness to have the conversation, continue the conversation, and show vulnerability when it comes to the topic of mental health.
“I have asked some of our marketing friends – Logan Tracey, Cheryl Foster, Roy Sexton, Tahisha Fugate, Jennifer Gessner Shankleton – to share how they are trying to avoid burnout and how they are looking after themselves. Burnout is an issue I’ve been watching closely (and providing data on). It is a very real topic for marketers right now. Put another way, self-care is critically important and these marketers capture this sentiment beautifully.
“These sentiments highlight good self care and positive mental health practices for us all to take in and replicate.”
Kate writes: “Roy is a shining beacon for all of us. His ability to share and show vulnerability with his work family is inspirational.” Thank you, Kate! My contribution to her article follows:
“I do feel like I’ve been burning the candle at every end possible. I’m not sure there’s any wick left! That said, I’ve also found this to be a strangely rewarding time because it has, at times, leveled the playing field, allowed us marketers to drive our firms toward digital tactics that actually work, and has afforded us a kind of singular focus one rarely gets in this career. But that comes at a price – low energy, neglected relationships, no exercise, spending far too much money at Amazon.
“I’m trying to ease back into balance and reclaim my time. Shutting down the computer at 5:30 or 6 instead of 7 or 8. Avoiding work email on the weekends. Taking walks with my husband. I’m also more forthcoming than I’ve ever been with colleagues and leaders about what I need for balance, and the response has been positive. By the way, THEY are feeling it too. But none of us are necessarily brave enough to be the first to say it out loud. Sometimes that is the best way to resilience – telling people how you feel. And if they can’t accept that or don’t want to, life is far too short to put your energy into a person or organization so selfish.”
Rob Kates and I had a delightful chat with superstar Greg Griffin of Jaffe. Rob and I also learned our mothers have the same birthday, and we heard from my mom Susie Sexton that apparently Robert Mitchum has been paying her nightly visits. 😳
Greg shared with us the joys of his new role at Jaffe, the importance of authenticity and listening in effective business development, his commitment to volunteering and fitness, and how he gave the Houston mayor a catnip (nee mint) mojito. Missed opportunity: he didn’t bring his adorable pup on camera!
This week’s Legal Marketing Coffee Talk guest is Gregory Griffin, who recently joined Jaffe PR as Senior Vice President, Client Service. Roy Sexton and Greg will discuss keeping conversation strategic when coaching attorneys on business development opportunities and how this pandemic has turbo-charged those efforts, and Greg’s exciting, new role at Jaffe to share his insights as a legal industry consultant.
Greg will also share his fitness journey as a half-marathoner and how his cerebral palsy has given him a drive to succeed and an empathy that fuels his extensive community volunteering. Recently listed by the Houston Business Journal as one of its ‘40 Under 40,’ Greg consistently gives back to his community, profession and others.
History shows that, when the majority in rule starts to feel that they are losing their cultural hegemony, they get ugly and they go on the attack, no matter what lip service they provide to the contrary. Even in some of my volunteer board service recently, I have seen it from others in ways that truly have shocked me.
My mother and I were having this conversation yesterday. The wonderful thing in this moment is that those who have been forced to live in the margins now have access to so many megaphones – digital and otherwise – by which to tell their stories and hopefully cement positive, permanent change.
One such example is Theatre NOVA’s latest “Play of the Month”: The W.I.T.C.H, a firecracker of a show, written and performed by incisive, chameleonic Morgan Breon and ably directed by Diane Hill with a keen eye toward economy of space, dance-like movement, and the rich language of the text itself. (THE W.I.T.C.H. stands for Wound Intervention Through Care and Healing.)
From the press release: “Theatre NOVA, Ann Arbor’s professional theatre with an exclusive focus on new plays and playwrights, presents a new play written specifically for the Zoom format each month (January through April) with their PLAY OF THE MONTH series. ‘THE W.I.T.C.H’ by Morgan Breon, the fourth offering in the series, will be performed live on Zoom on Wednesday, April 28 at 8pm and available ON DEMAND for Series Pass holders through the end of May 2021.
“‘THE W.I.T.C.H.’ shows the joys, pains, and struggles of Ms. Morgan, a newly hired Behavior Specialist at a Detroit public high school. When hope begins to crack open her students’ hearts and minds, Ms. Morgan’s office might just be the most dangerous room in the entire school. Directed by Theatre NOVA Producing Artistic Director, Diane Hill. Featuring Morgan Breon in a tour de force role as she portrays an array of characters in the public school setting including a behavior specialist, students, teachers and administrators.”
And that press release isn’t just hype. It is one of the most accurate descriptions I have seen in a press release about a piece of work in a long time. Morgan Breon in style and delivery is like this wondrous combination of Anna Deavere Smith and Zoe Caldwell. She is alchemic and transfixing. A one person show is never easy, let alone holding the audience’s rapt attention via Zoom for 30 minutes.
Like quicksilver, she depicts a host of characters – from teachers to multiple teenagers to school administrators – gracefully, sharply, rapidly morphing from one to the next, each clearly drawn and distinct. It is a remarkable performance, made that much more significant in service as it is to a message of inclusion and of the necessity for all of us to break down the fears that hold us back from authentic connection.
Note: the performance was followed by a talk-back about the play and the desensitization to trauma amongst youth experiences in and out of school. Interested attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and join the discussion.
Tickets are $10 each month, or $30 for a Series Pass, which includes admission to four plays for the price of three and the opportunity to view all four plays ON DEMAND if any of the live performances are missed. Purchase tickets online at www.TheatreNova.org. All proceeds benefit Theatre NOVA’s ongoing efforts to stay alive through the pandemic. This activity is supported in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Morgan Breon (playwright/performer) earned four degrees from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor—none of which are in theatre. She holds an: LLMSW, EdMA, BA Psychology and BA English. She kick-started her theatre career playing 15 of the 16 characters featured in Nilaja Sun’s, “NO CHILD” at Matrix Theatre Company. Morgan is an ensemble member of Shakespeare in Detroit and is an alumnus of Mosaic Youth Theater in Detroit, University of Michigan’s CRLT Players, and the University of Michigan Educational Theatre Company and has received awards for her plays “WAKING UP ALIVE” and “PORTRAIT OF A WISE WOMAN.” Morgan was a 2017 Mitten Lab Fellow, 2017-2018 University Musical Society (UMS) Artist in Residence, 2018 Playwriting Scholarship Recipient with PlayPenn Theatre in Philadelphia, PA, and a 2018 Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellow. Her docu-play “TELLING OUR STORIES” platforms the narratives of Black women in America, and a technology-infused version of the project was showcased at the 2018 TEDxDetroit Lab in collaboration with Metropolitan Museum of Design Detroit. The exhibit told stories through QR codes, and was entitled “smART: Telling Our Stories | Black Women in America.” In December, 2020, Morgan published “A Refugee of Me: A Collection of Poems and A Refugee of Me: The Workbook,” which uses poetry to guide readers into self-reflection and healing. Morgan credits Jesus Christ for her gifts of anything creative.
Diane Hill (Director) is a Producing Artistic Director at Theatre NOVA and was founder and Artistic/Executive Director of Two Muses Theatre, another nonprofit, professional theatre in West Bloomfield. There she performed in and directed many plays and musicals each year and did the work of technical director, publicist, sound designer, webmaster, and graphic designer for every production. Diane was a professor at University of Detroit Mercy and Oakland Community College, where she originated and designed the Theatre degree program. She has a Ph.D. in Theatre from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts in Theatre from the University of Michigan. She previously taught high school drama and music, where she produced and directed theatrical productions in the public school system (Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor) for 20 years. Diane has additionally produced and directed shows for professional theatre companies including Breathe Art Theatre Company in Detroit, Opus Mime in Ann Arbor, Jewish Ensemble Theatre in West Bloomfield, Tipping Point Theatre in Northville, and Heartlande Theatre Company in Detroit. Diane is an award-winning actor and member of Actors’ Equity Association and the American Guild of Musical Artists and has performed at many professional theatres in southeast Michigan, including the Fisher Theatre, Meadow Brook Theatre, Masonic Temple, Michigan Opera Theatre, Detroit’s Gem Theatre, Purple Rose Theatre, Tipping Point Theatre, Encore Musical Theatre, Croswell Opera House, Open Book Theatre, The Ringwald Theatre and Cherry County Playhouse. She was awarded a Wilde Award for her portrayal of Professor Vivian Bearing in “WIT,” a Rogue Critic’s Award for her work as Mama in “‘NIGHT MOTHER,” both with Breathe Art Theatre Project, and an Ann Arbor News Award for her work as Agnes in “I DO! I DO!” at Kerrytown Concert House. Diane also has performed leading roles in several independent films, television and radio commercials, and industrial films. At Theatre NOVA, she directed “CLUTTER,” “FOLLIES IN CONCERT” and “KILL MOVE PARADISE” (Council Cargle Award for Excellence in Diverse Storytelling) and has kept very busy this year producing, directing and stage managing several Zoom plays written especially for Theatre NOVA. Theatre NOVA audiences saw her play Olympe de Gouges in “THE REVOLUTIONISTS” (Wilde Award Best Production), Zelda in “THE HOW AND THE WHY” (Wilde Award Best Actress), Penelope Easter in “THE TOTALITARIANS,” Sherri in “ADMISSIONS” and Phyllis in “FOLLIES IN CONCERT.”