In PHOOEY!, a new children’s book illustrated and written by Marc Rosenthal ’71 and published by Joanna Cotler Books in July, an angry and bored red-headed boy who complains that “Nothing ever happens around here!” kicks a can and unknowingly sets in motion a silly series of events — an elephant escapes from a zoo, peanuts fly through the air, oranges are sent rolling in the street. Rosenthal’s big comic-style illustrations bring to mind children’s classics such as Babar and Make Way for Ducklings. Kirkus Reviews called PHOOEY! “a side-splitting visual romp” with “a retro comic strip and a classic slapstick premise.” Rosenthal has illustrated other children’s books, including The Runaway Beard. His illustrations also appear in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and PAW.
Deborah Fryer *93’s documentary film, Shaken: Journey into the Mind of a Parkinson’s Patient, profiles Paul Schroder, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his early 30s and underwent brain surgery in 2004 at age 43. The film, which Fryer, at right, produced and directed, follows Schroder into the operating room as doctors implant electrodes into his brain. The procedure at first pays off, as Schroder regains the ability to smile, fly-fish, and drive a car. But eventually he develops an infection in his scalp and the electrodes have to be removed.
The 30-minute film, which is now available on DVD through www.lilafilms.com/shaken.htm, has won a number of awards, including best documentary at the Scinema Science Film Festival, and best short documentary at the Annapolis, New York City VisionFest, and Roshd Inter-national film festivals in 2006. In August, Fryer’s film won an award for its “contribution to social change or a humanitarian effort” in The Accolade, an international competition. Shaken has been screened on Capitol Hill, in universities, and at Parkinson’s support groups. Fryer is expanding the half-hour film into a feature-length version that will address various stages of the disease and treatment options and will follow Schroder as he prepares for a second brain surgery.
Cornel West *80 addresses “the man” In his new CD, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations, Cornel West *80 provides music-infused political commentary with contributors including hip-hop and R&B artists such as Prince, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, and Jill Scott. In one of the 14 tracks on the CD, released in August by Hidden Beach Recordings, Prince sings “Dear Mr. Man” — which takes a critical look at economic inequities and government corruption — while West interjects with spoken-word commentary. West, a Princeton professor in the Center for African American Studies, says, “We tired of y’all spying on fellow citizens/we tired of ya’ll lying to justify war/we tired of ya’ll torturing innocent people.” Other issues included on the tracks are racial profiling and the “N-Word.” In “9/11” West equates America’s post-Sept. 11 fears to being black in America. He says, “To be a nigger in America is to be unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence and hated. Since 9/11 the whole nation has been niggerized.” West hopes that Never Forget educates young people who might be more inclined to listen to a CD than to read one of his books. “My books provide a readable education,” says West, “and my CDs provide a danceable education.”