Our weekly assortment of blog hits includes Jane Pauley live!, tips from Startup Boot Camp, worries about the dearth of women on Broadway and Dame Helen Mirren, in the video below, explaining how Shakespeare’s last play can be a feminist statement.

  • Jane Pauley, AARP’s “Your Life Calling” Ambassador, will be part of a live chat at noon tomorrow, September 16,  “shining a spotlight on people who are reinventing themselves after age 50.” Earlier this year, Pauley highlighted professional knitter Betsy Lee McCarthy and Devin Jopp, Ed.D., of the small-business mentoring organization SCORE.  If you come to the chat, which also brings in other exemplars of reinvention, Pauley notes that “perhaps they’ll inspire you to pursue your life calling.”
  • As school systems scramble for  new federal Race to the Top funds, Lynn Parramore at New Deal 2.0 convened a virtual education summit.  “As the school year kicks off,” she observed, “parents, students, employers, workers — just about everyone with a stake in education — can see that our system isn’t working as it should. Yet we all know that education is the key to the future. What, then, is the single most important priority for improvement? I looked for answers in the realms of policy-making, public education and universities.” The roundtable includes the Roosevelt Institute’s Kirsten Bell; Maya Rockeymoore, President and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, and Vinetta Bell, special projects coordinator for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
  • Speaking of education, sometimes we need a little ourselves to push new business ideas forward. But we needn’t forget what we already know, writes Gina McCauley at WhatAboutOurDaughters.com. McCauley, one of the co-founders of Blogging While Brown, writes that after a weekend at a startup boot camp in Austin, Texas, she overcame her initial boredom-crossed-with-terror and was able to develop some good startup ideas, including her own boot camp for folks often not invited when the venture capitalists come to call.  “I met some new people. Made great contacts. Learned a bunch about the mythical world of startups (It’s not rocket science),” she writes.  “Most important, I can OWN MY EXPERTISE.” Among her long list of tips: Teamwork can be your friend, push yourself on stuff you don’t know — and “when in doubt, imitate others until you figure it out.”
  • Women are  making strides in film, but “Broadway has a long way to go,” says Deborah Savadge at OntheIssues Cafe.  First noting the encouraging rise of directors like The Lion King’s Julie Taymor, Savadge notes that  “The coming season is bleak for women trying to earn a living in the theatreScour a list of some 20 plays and musicals planned for Broadway this season. No female playwrights are included. Zero. Only two female directors and one female co-director are proposed. Of the 11 new plays and musicals, one, only one, has a female at the helm.Next season may be better, Savadge writes, with the upcoming move of Susan Stroman’s The Scottsboro Boys and the rumored opening Katori Hall’s Olivier-winning  The Mountaintop, featuring Halle Berry and Samuel Jackson.
  • On the bright side (and speaking of Julie Taymor), the film of The Tempest garnered raves at the Venice Film Festival for director Taymor and for star Helen Mirren (Shakespeare’s Prospero having been transformed to “Prospera” in this adaptation). Dame Mirren’s speech at the premiere, writes Melissa Silverstein at Women in Hollywood, went straight to the feminist heart of the matter: “Women have been punished for being in power, for being powerful for many centuries and I thought that was the remarkable thing about making Prospero into Prospera  … You can bring in that history of female struggle, and certainly in Shakespeare’s day and for many centuries before and after women of knowledge were punished for that knowledge.” Watch her below, and brighten your day.

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