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Elise Bryant shows why she’s “Queen of the Night”

The packed house was spellbound last night as playwright and actor Elise Bryant performed a reading of her autobiographical play “Queen of the Night” at the Takoma Busboys and Poets. Bryant weaves intensely personal stories of growing up in Detroit with the civil rights and labor movements, leavened with snatches of songs that the entire crowd sang along with. The event – part of the Bread and Roses series -- was sponsored by the Labor Heritage Foundation, and Bryant, who is retiring as LHF’s Executive Director at the end of the month, said that “The greatest gift you can give me is to join the Labor Heritage Foundation and support the next generation of labor arts!”

photo by Chris Garlock

Sing Out: Readers Write

“There is some actual debate about whether Brecht said the words himself, or whether he was quoting Mayakavski,” (Labor Quote of the Week 10/19), writes Paul Gottlieb. “Knowing a little about Brecht's theories from my reading, I would have to think that, at least in his later work, he would not find it to his liking to use his art as a hammer. He was more interested in audience self-discovery (opening people's eyes!), and, as I have read, in his later plays, fostered audience interpretation of the action he laid out on stage.”

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On this week's show, we talk with the director of the Workers Unite! Film Festival – Oct 27-Nov 12 in New York City -- and directors of some of the films that will be screening there. Plus: Ken Grossinger on his new book Art Works: How Organizers and Artists Are Creating a Better World Together; Ken will be in conversation with Bill Fletcher Jr starting at 5p on Sunday, October 29 at the 14th Street Busboys and Poets.

PICKET SIGN of the Week
Labor VIDEO of the Week

The Workers Unite! Film Festival opens Friday, October 27 in New York City. Click below to check out trailers for the films.

Labor SONG of the Week

The Sexual Harassment Prevention Song

Labor ART of the Week
Labor QUOTE of the Week

“At the end of the day, we’re all just workers in this country. We’ve all got a part to play. Your parts are much more important than mine. We send you strength and solidarity for a successful conclusion to one of the most important strikes in the history of mankind.”

NABTU (North America's Building Trades Unions) President Sean McGarvey, on the LA SAG-AFTRA picket line Tuesday.

LHF's comprehensive listing of labor's cultural events: music, films, theater, books, history and more...

Click here to add your labor arts event!

FILM: Living

Dryden Theatre, 900 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14607, USA (map)

2023 Rochester Labor Film Series (Info/tickets)

The story of an ordinary man, reduced by years of oppressive office routine to a shadow existence, who at the eleventh hour makes a supreme effort to turn his dull life into something wonderful.

PLAY: "Triangle: Scenes from a Prosecution"

Fri, October 27, 8pm – 11pm, Sat 10/28 3 & 8p; Sun 10/29 6p

Theatre 68 @ MCS Theatre 357 W. 36th St Suite #202 New York , NY 10018 (map)

$25; Tickets here

BOOK: Art Works

Sunday, October 29 ⋅ 5:00 – 6:15pm

Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA

Ken Grossinger, author of "Art Works: How organizers and artists are creating a better world together" in conversation with Bill Fletcher Jr. An inside look at the organizers and artists on the front lines of political mobilization and social change.

EXHIBIT: Memory in Cloth - Safety and Solidarity for New York City Garment Workers

Thru Nov 17, 2023

Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square S, New York, NY 10012, USA (map)

EXHIBIT: Collective Ribbon: The Interwoven Voices of the Triangle Fire Memorial

Weekdays thru Dec 16, 10am – 6pm

Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, New York University, 24 West 12th Street, NYC (map)

EXHIBIT: "We Are One: Honoring Immigrant Garment Workers"

Weekdays (thru Dec 1), 11am – 4pm

The Puffin Gallery 20 Puffin Way Teaneck, NJ 07666 (map)


Check out this week's Labor History Today podcast, The Triangle Fire: A new memorial, and ”Scenes from a Prosecution”. A talk with the writer, producer and director of Triangle: Scenes from a Prosecution, a new one-act dramatization of the criminal trial of the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory following the 1911 fire that took 146 lives in New York City. Plus, music and poetry by Bev Grant and Joe Glazer. The new Triangle Fire Memorial was unveiled and dedicated on October 11. 

October 27, 1951

The National Negro Labor Council is formed in Cincinnati to unite black workers in the struggle for full economic, political and social equality. The group was to function for five years before disbanding, having forced many AFL and CIO unions to adopt non-discrimination policies - 1951

October 28, 1965

The Gateway Arch, a 630 ft high parabola of stainless steel marking the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the waterfront of St. Louis, Missouri is completed after two and one-half years. Although it was predicted 13 lives would be lost in construction, not a single Ironworker died - 1965

October 29, 1929

Wall street crashes – "Black Tuesday" – throwing the world's economy into a years-long crisis including an unemployment rate in the U.S. that by 1933 hit nearly 25 percent - 1929

October 30, 1891

Tennessee sends in leased convict laborers to break a coal miners strike in Anderson County. The miners revolted, burned the stockades, and sent the captured convicts by train back to Knoxville - 1891

October 31, 1941

After 14 years of labor by 400 stone masons, the Mt. Rushmore sculpture is completed in Keystone, South Dakota - 1941

November 1, 2018

Some 20,000 Google employees around the world stage a wave of walkouts after the New York Times reported that the company had paid millions of dollars in exit packages to male executives accused of sexual harassment. One of the accused got $90 million. 2018

November 2, 1909

150 arrested in IWW free speech fight, Spokane, Wash. - 1909

The Gateway Arch was completed on Oct. 28, 1965; how many Ironworkers died constructing it?

LAST WEEK'S QUIZ: Gene Debs, who died on Oct. 20, 1926, advocated for "All of the above" ideas, considered "radical" at the time: an eight-hour workday, workman's compensation, social security, pensions, and sick leave.

"The worker must have bread,

but she must have roses, too."

Please CLICK HERE NOW to pledge your financial support to our 2023 program, which this year includes our annual Solidarity Forever Award, the Great Labor Arts Exchange, the DC Labor FilmFest and much more (check out our website for details!).

Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. 


Triangle Fire Dedication Ceremony streams live today (10/11)

Leadville Irish Miners’ Memorial to be unveiled Saturday (9/13)

Springfield (OR) Labor Mural dedication (9/8)

The ’63 March, 60 years later

Solidarity and song at the UALE/LHF Southern Women’s School (8/10)

Labor Heritage Power Hour: We Will Never Stop (8/4)

In DC, “Barbie” inside, SAG-AFTRA outside (7/26)

Labor Heritage Power Hour launches today (7/20)

"They stand on the wrong side of history” (7/19)

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