Richard III

1st Mar 2019 - 25th May 2019

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All My Sons

15th Apr 2019 - 8th Jun 2019

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A Who's Who of Chimerica Close

Choon Ping | July 19, 2013

Nancy Crane and Sean Gilder in Chimerica. Photo: John Persson.

 

WOODY ALLEN

Woody Allen, born Allan Stewart Konigsberg (1935 – ) is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, author, playwright, and musician whose career spans over half a century. Allen has won four Academy Awards: three Best Original Screenplays, and one Best Director. Allen has been nominated a total of twenty three times: fifteen times as a screenwriter, seven times as a director, and once as an actor. He has more screenwriting Academy Award nominations than any other writer; all are in the Best Original Screenplay category. Allen has been married for over fifteen years to Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his previous partner actress Mia Farrow.

 

LANCE ARMSTRONG

Lance Edward Armstrong is an American former professional road-racing cyclist. Armstrong had won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005, before being disqualified from those races and banned from cycling for life for doping offenses by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in 2012.

 

MICHELLE BACHMANN

Michele Marie Bachmann, née Amble (1956 – ) is an American Republican member of the US House of Representatives, representing Minnesota's 6th congressional district, a post she has held since 2007. She is a supporter of the Tea Party movement, and a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus. Among other things, Bachmann supports the teaching of creationism in public school science classes, strengthened enforcement of immigration laws and the phasing out of Social Security and Medicare. She opposes minimum wage increases, the Environmental Protection Agency and same-sex marriage. She is pro-life and doubts that Obama is a US citizen.

 

HILARY CLINTON

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (1947 – ) is a US politician, who was the 67th US Secretary of State (2009 – 2013), serving under President Barack Obama. She was previously a United States Senator for New York (2001 – 2009). As the wife of President Bill Clinton, she was also the First Lady of the United States (1993 – 2001). In the 2008 presidential election, Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination alongside Barack Obama.

She has achieved many firsts:
• 1969: First student commencement speaker at Wellesley College
• 1978: First woman chair of the US Legal Services Corporation
• 2000: The first American First Lady to run for public office
• 2000: The first female senator of New York
• 2008: As Secretary of State, she was the first former First Lady to serve in a president’s cabinet

During her time in the Senate, Clinton strongly criticized the 2005 Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act, which aimed to impose harsher penalties for illegal immigrants. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives in December 2005, but failed in the Senate. Clinton called the measure "a rebuke to what America stands for", and said it would be "an unworkable scheme to try to deport 11 million people, which you have to have a police state to try to do”. She believed the solution to the illegal immigration problem was to make “a path to earned citizenship for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar for becoming a citizen”. Clinton said her work for her New York constituents could fall afoul of the bill since some of her constituents are undocumented immigrants. "I realize I would be a criminal, too. My staff would be criminal. We help people with all kinds of problems."

 

DALAI LAMA

The Dalai Lama is the equivalent of Pope in Tibetan Buddhism, with a varying history of spiritual and political power. According to doctrine, the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation in a lineage of tulkus or monks, thought to be the manifestation of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteśvara. The line of Dalai Lamas began as spiritual teachers; the 5th Dalai Lama assumed political authority over Tibet. The current Dalai Lama, the 14th, is Tenzin Gyatso. During the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso fled to India, where he established a Tibetan government in exile. He has since traveled the world, advocating for the welfare of Tibetans, teaching Tibetan Buddhism and talking about the importance of compassion as the source of a happy life. Around the world, institutions face pressure from China not to accept him. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

 

ZELDA FITZGERALD

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (1900 – 1948), née Sayre, was an American novelist, and the wife of The Great Gatsby writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was an icon of the 1920s – dubbed by her husband 'the first American Flapper'. After the success of his first novel, This Side of Paradise (1920), the Fitzgeralds became celebrities. The newspapers of New York saw them as embodiments of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties: young, seemingly wealthy, beautiful. Her marriage to Fitzgerald was an ominous gothic version of their wishful fairytale life; famous as the 1920s’ most legendary 'golden' couple, but infamous for their futile battles against the harsh realities of alcoholism, mental illness, infidelity, literary rivalry, and a marriage that their friend Ring Lardner described as 'Mr. Fitzgerald is a novelist and Mrs. Fitzgerald is a novelty'.

In 1930, at 30, Zelda was admitted to the Sheppard Pratt sanatorium in France; she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She moved from one psychiatric institution to another across Europe and America, finally dying in a fire that burnt down the Highland Mental Hospital in North Carolina in 1948.

 

CHE GUEVARA

Ernesto "Che" Guevara (1928 – 1967), was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.

Guevara remains both a revered and reviled historical figure, polarized in the collective imagination in a multitude of biographies, memoirs, essays, documentaries, songs, and films. As a result of his perceived martyrdom, poetic invocations for class struggle, and desire to create the consciousness of a 'new man' driven by moral rather than material incentives, he has evolved into a quintessential icon of various leftist-inspired movements. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, while an Alberto Korda photograph of him entitled 'Guerrillero Heroico', was cited by the Maryland Institute College of Art as 'the most famous photograph in the world'.

 

RUDY GIULIANI

Rudolph William Louis 'Rudy' Giuliani (1944 – ) is an American lawyer, businessman, former politician, and public speaker from New York. He served two terms as Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001. He was credited with initiating improvements in the city's quality of life and with a reduction in crime. In Giuliani's first term as mayor, the New York City Police Department, at the instigation of Commissioner Bill Bratton, adopted an aggressive enforcement/deterrent strategy based on James Q. Wilson's 'No Broken Windows' approach. This involved crackdowns on relatively minor offenses such as graffiti, turnstile jumping, cannabis possession, and aggressive panhandling by 'squeegee men', on the theory that this would send a message that order would be maintained. Giuliani supported protection for illegal immigrants. He continued a policy of preventing city employees from contacting the Immigration and Naturalization Service about immigration violations, on the grounds that illegal aliens should be able to take actions such as sending their children to school or reporting crimes to the police without fear of deportation.

During his mayoralty, gay and lesbian New Yorkers received domestic partnership rights. Giuliani induced the city's Democratic-controlled New York City Council, which had avoided the issue for years, to pass legislation providing broad protection for same-sex partners. In 1998, he codified local law by granting all city employees equal benefits for their domestic partners.

 

EARNEST HEMINGWAY

Ernest Miller Hemingway (1899 – 1961) was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He met the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald while they were living in Paris.

 

HILDY JOHNSON

Hildy Johnson is the main character in hit Broadway comedy The Front Page, which is about tabloid newspaper reporters on the police beat. Star tabloid reporter Hildy Johnson meets Earl Williams, a supposed Communist convicted of killing a black policeman, who had escaped from the gallows. Williams, a bewildered, harmless little man, convinces Johnson that he was not a Communist, and he had shot the police officer by accident; Williams was railroaded to help the crooked mayor and sheriff pick up enough black votes to win re-election. Johnson helps Williams hide, long enough to get the story printed. To do so, Johnson needs the help of his tyrannical, devious managing editor, Walter Burns.

 

HUANG XIAOMING

Huang Xiaoming (1977 – ) is a Chinese actor, singer, and model. He is often referred to as China's 'number one heartthrob'.

 

HENRY KISSINGER

Henry Alfred Kissinger, born Heinz Alfred Kissinger (1923 – ) is a German-born American writer, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. After his term, his opinion was still sought by some subsequent US presidents and other world leaders. A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a prominent role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, orchestrated the opening of relations with the People's Republic of China, and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, ending American involvement in the Vietnam War.

 

HENRY MILLER

Henry Valentine Miller (1891 – 1980) was an American writer and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of 'novel' that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is distinctly always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller and yet is also fictional. His most characteristic works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer (1934), Black Spring (1936), and Tropic of Capricorn (1939). He also wrote travel memoirs and essays of literary criticism and analysis. Miller is considered a 'literary innovator' in whose works 'actual and imagined experiences became indistinguishable from each other'. His books did much to free the discussion of sexual subjects in American writing from both legal and social restrictions.

 

MAO ZEDONG

Mao Zedong, commonly referred to as Chairman Mao (1893 – 1976), was a Chinese communist revolutionary, and political theorist. The founding father of the People's Republic of China, he governed the country as Chairman of the Communist Party of China until his death. In this position he converted China into a single-party socialist state, with industry and business nationalized under state ownership, and socialist reforms implemented in all areas of society. Politically a Marxist-Leninist, his theoretical contribution to the ideology along with his military strategies and his brand of policies are collectively known as Maoism.

From 1958 to 1961, Mao led a nationwide political campaign known as the 'Great Leap Forward', which aimed to modernise and industrialise the country, but which actually led to widespread famine. In 1966, his power in the party waning, he initiated the Cultural Revolution, a programme to weed out counter-revolutionary elements in Chinese society, which continued to his death ten years later.

 

AYN RAND

Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum (1905 – 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism, and rejected ethical altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral, and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting a minarchist limited government and laissez-faire capitalism, which she believed was the only social system that protected individual rights.

Although she rejected the labels 'conservative' and 'libertarian', Rand has had continuing influence on right-wing politics and libertarianism. The political figures who cite Rand as an influence are usually conservatives (often members of the United States Republican Party), despite Rand taking some positions that are atypical for conservatives, such as being pro-choice and an atheist. There is increased criticism of her ideas, especially from the political left, with critics blaming the economic crisis on her support of selfishness and free markets, particularly through her influence on Alan Greenspan (Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, 1987 – 2006).

 

MITT ROMNEY

Willard Mitt Romney (1947 – ) is an American businessman who served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. He was the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election.

During the campaign, Romney told a rally in Northern Ohio: “I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep — now owned by the Italians — is thinking of moving all production to China… I will fight for every good job in America. I’m going to fight to make sure trade is fair, and if it’s fair America will win.”

In the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney said he would not shy away from making tough choices in an effort to cut the US deficit. Those cuts, he said, included ending federal funding to the Public Broadcasting System – despite admitting that he likes Big Bird, star of PBS staple Sesame Street. The spectre of an unemployed Big Bird was too much for voters, who grew up watching Sesame Street. Before the debate was over, several Twitter accounts had opened in Big Bird's name, pleading for clemency. By the next day several images had surfaced of Big Bird apparently begging for mercy, searching for work or pledging his revenge on the Republican nominee.

During presidential debates, Romney also tried to show off his feminism-friendly credentials: he stated that, while he was governor of Massachusetts, “We took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our [State] cabinet. I went to a number of women's groups and said: 'Can you help us find folks?' and they brought us whole binders full of women”.

By the day after the debate, Tumblr pages had been created illustrating commentary on the phrase, tweets and original works of art had been produced and a Facebook page about 'Binders Full of Women' had received 274,000 likes. Amazon.com received a barrage of satirical reviews for binders, with thousands of users marking the reviews as 'helpful', moving them to the top of the review pages. A parody Twitter account that portrayed itself as a binder owned by Romney attracted 30,000 followers before the debate was even over.

Barack Obama referenced the phrase, saying at a campaign stop: "I’ve got to tell you, we don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women”. The Washington Post stated: 'Mitt Romney’s "binders full of women" comment during the second presidential debate did more than go viral; it put women’s issues back in the campaign spotlight'. On February 15, 2013, the game show Jeopardy! referenced the now infamous phrase with a category titled 'A Binder Full of Women' resulting in the audience and contestants laughing after host Alex Trebek read out the category. The clues were about famous or powerful women.

 

BRIAN SIMPSON

Brian Simpson (1931 – 2011), academic lawyer in legal history, legal philosophy, and human rights. Author of Cannibalism and the Common Law (1984) and Human Rights and the End of Empire (2001).

 

STONE ROSES

The Stone Roses are an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1983. They were one of the pioneering groups of the Madchester movement that was active during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band's most successful line up consists of vocalist Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary "Mani" Mounfield, and drummer Alan "Reni" Wren.

The band's relationship with the mass media has been vastly different to other self-endorsing bands. They often display no interest in promoting themselves, and many journalists have been confused, and sometimes angered, when their questions have met with complete silence from the four Stone Roses.

 

DONALD TRUMP

Donald John Trump, Sr. (1946 – ) is an American business magnate, television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump's extravagant lifestyle, outspoken manner, and role on the NBC reality show The Apprentice have made him a well-known celebrity.

Politically, Trump has registered at different times with both the Republican and Democratic Parties; he has made campaign contributions to candidates from both parties. At present, his political stances include being pro-life, against same-sex marriage and anti-gun control, whilst advocating the repeal of Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, anti-foreign aid, tariffs on Chinese imports, and US disengagement from Iraq and Afghanistan. He was the foremost exponent of the conspiracy theory questioning Obama’s citizenship ('birther theory').

 

WEN JIABAO

Wen Jiabao (1942 – ) was the sixth Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, serving as China's head of government for a decade. In his capacity as Premier, Wen was regarded as the leading figure behind Beijing's economic policy. From 2002 to 2012, he held membership in the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, the country's de facto top power organ, where he was ranked third out of nine members.

Since taking office as Premier of the State Council in 2003, Wen, along with President Hu Jintao, has been a key part of the fourth generation of leadership in the Communist Party of China. Soft-spoken and known for his strong work ethic, Wen has been one of the most visible members of the incumbent Chinese administration, and has been dubbed 'the people's premier' by both domestic and foreign media. Described as having a commoner background and a populist approach to policy, Wen's domestic agenda marked a considerable shift from the previous administration. Instead of concentrating on GDP growth in large cities and rich coastal areas, Wen advocated for a more balanced approach in developing China's hinterland regions, and advancing policies considered more favourable towards farmers and migrant workers. Internationally, Wen played a key role in China's response to the global financial crisis and subsequent stimulus program.

Wen has been described as a populist by most observers. His quick responses and visits to the scenes of various disasters, including the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, have earned him a considerable reputation as an approachable leader in touch with the experiences of the masses. Wen's public image has been criticized by Chinese dissident Yu Jie, who charged that Wen's rhetoric is insincere and empty. Dissidents such as Yu allege that Wen's parade of appearances on Chinese media is a carefully managed public relations campaign designed to distract people from real issues. They say that through use of Wen's charisma, the government hopes to showcase cosmetic solutions to much larger, systemic issues in order to placate public opinion. They also point out that Wen's words are rarely translated into deeds. On the other hand, Li Datong, a pro-democracy advocate, in an interview with the Associated Press, stated that "among the top Chinese leaders, who else speaks about democracy? Who else speaks about universal values and freedom?... Wen is the only one."

Wen Jiabao is married to Zhang Peili, who is a jewellery expert and has played a prominent role in the nation’s diamond trade. She rarely appears with Wen in public. According to a U.S. diplomatic cable posted in Wikileaks, Wen considered divorcing his wife due to being 'disgusted' by how she used his name to extract huge commissions in the diamond trade. Their son Wen Yunsong is CEO of Unihub, a Chinese networking company. Their daughter Wen Ruchun held shares of a Chinese jewelry company called Gallop. Wen’s mother Yang Zhiyun (also known as Yang Xiu’an) owns an investment in Ping An Insurance worth $120 million. In October 2012, The New York Times reported that Wen's relatives have controlled financial assets worth at least US$2.7 billion during his time as Premier. In response, a Chinese government spokesman stated that the report 'blackens China's name and has ulterior motives', and the websites of The New York Times were censored in mainland China. Wen personally wrote a letter submitted to the Politburo Standing Committee asking for an investigation into the claim and expressing willingness to make his family's assets public. Professor Zhu Lijia, of the Chinese Academy of Governance, suggests that this is Wen's last try to push the passing of the 'Sunshine' law, which requires government officials to release their financial information to public.

 

WALT WHITMAN

Walter Whitman (1819 – 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt depiction of sexuality. Whitman believed in a vital, symbiotic relationship between poet and society. In the preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, he writes, 'The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it'.