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March 19, 2003 ...

Janowski helps create "Sheer Madness" at Studio Arena Theatre

By Glenn Gramigna

There was a time when going to the theater was a fairly passive activity in which one sat quietly and simply allowed oneself to be entertained. These days just about everything is interactive including even an evening spent watching actors go through their paces. Such is especially true of the play, “Sheer Madness” scheduled to open this coming Sun., March 16 at Studio Arena.
“It’s pretty exciting and more than a little nerve racking to be acting in a play like ‘Sheer Madness,’” says the production’s 46-year-old star, Lackawanna native Jim Janowski. “For one thing, there’s the fact that you have to learn four different endings because the audience gets to vote after the second act as to which ending they’d like to see.”
That’s right. Here’s how it works. Act One proceeds in conventional fashion as a murder mystery aunfolds in a beauty shop located in Buffalo. (Actually, the play was written so that the locale could be changed depending on where “Sheer Madness” is being produced.) A killing takes place in the shop in broad daylight. But, who did it?
After the dramatic events of Act One, the audience gets to ask questions in Act Two of the actors who are fully in character. Then the theatergoers cast their vote to determine what ending they will see in Act Three, as previously mentioned.
“Sure it’s difficult having to learn four endings,” Jim admits. “But, my character, the beauty salon operator, rarely gets picked as the killer. People have told me that it’s because my character is so likable that very few in the audience ever think he did it. I guess that’s a compliment. But, of course that means that if my character is ever picked, then that would be kind of a nervous time because I haven’t done that ending very often.”
Actually, Jim has survived and prospered through a number of those nervous times as a performer beginning with his very first appearances in his Steel City home.
Born into a large family as the son of a Lackawanna police officer, Jim first started performing to amuse his brother, Bobby who was seven years younger and seemed to enjoy his older brother’s act. Jim admits that he didn’t quite have the personal confidence to attempt to act professionally just yet. After graduating from Lackawanna High School in 1975, Jim became a theater and English major at Buffalo State College.
For more on this story read the Am-Pol Eagle....

Joey Reynolds show attacks Poles

from the Polish American Congress

Polish Americans came under a barrage of ethnic insults on a recent broadcast of the Joey Reynolds “Jewish Hour” on WOR Radio in New York.
The Anti-Bigotry Committee of the Polish American Congress was advised of the offensive program by some of the organization’s members who happened to be listening. The Committee then asked WOR to send it a tape of this particular episode and found it “even worse than reported” after playing it.
Those who use the term “Polack,” as their way of referring to Polish ethnics, were among Reynolds’ invited guests.
They howled in glee as they kept up with their degrading jokes and remarks. One of the guests even declared “Polish people are stupid.”
Reynolds hosts an all-night talk show that starts at midnight (EST) mostly with show business types as his guests. The first hour is limited to the metropolitan New York audience with the show going into network thereafter. The “Jewish Hour” airs once weekly in that first hour, generally Thursday or Friday.
In protesting the “prejudice and discrimination directed at our ethnic group” to WOR, Frank Milewski, who heads the Anti-Bigotry Committee, charged, “The commentary relating to us had one consistent theme: Polish Americans were described as an intellectually inferior ethnic group.”
He also noted that the Polish American Congress has many members who survived Hitler’s occupation of Poland in World War II. “The Nazis told them they, along with Jews and Gypsies were inferiors or ‘untermenschen.’ It seems incomprehensible that WOR would broadcast something similar in our time,” he said.
For the Anti-Bigotry Committee, what aired on WOR was “unprecedented.” In all the years of its existence, it reported, “We have never encountered a situation where a radio station offered its facilities to an ethnic group and allowed it to use them to denigrate another ethnic group.”
For more on this story read the Am-Pol Eagle....

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