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In fact, many of the laws the ACLU cited to defend the group's right to free speech and assembly were the same laws it had invoked during the Civil Rights era, when Southern cities tried to shut down civil rights marches with similar claims about the violence and disruption the protests would cause.
Although the ACLU prevailed in its free speech arguments, the neo-Nazi group never marched through Skokie, instead agreeing to stage a rally at Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago.
Duquesne, who cheerfully volunteers that she was a male DJ, football player and high school teacher in her former life as Jack Eng, draws heavily on that teaching experience in portraying Mama.
“Even though it’s not in a school setting,” Duquesne points out, “she’s teaching a class.
Ken Yatta Rogers, originally cast in the role, stepped aside to become assistant director to Natsu Onoda Power.
Duquesne has mixed feelings about the sudden switch.
I especially liked ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ and ‘Stand and Deliver.’ But the first scene in all of those shows is the day where everything goes wrong for the teacher.” That’s how “Charm” opens as well.
’ When I heard someone say that in Gloria’s class, I thought, ‘That’s a really valid question.’ But she wanted her students to aim higher and feel better about themselves.
She didn’t want them to accept their current circumstances as normal; she wanted them to expect more.
‘Someday,’ she said, ‘you may have a table.’” But to B’Ellana Marie Duquesne, the 64-year-old transgender woman who plays Mama Darlin’ at the Mosaic, the whole idea makes perfect sense.
“There’s a whole underground industry of ladies teaching trans ladies how to stand, how to walk, how to shop,” Duquesne says. The trans journey is a long one, and you don’t master a new identity overnight.In 2012, the Chicago Tribune ran a feature about “Mama Gloria” Allen, a 66-year-old transgender woman who was teaching etiquette classes to transgender youngsters, many of them homeless, at an LGBTQ community center. After some hesitation, Dawkins did, and a year and a half after its Chicago-area premiere, “Charm” makes its District debut at Mosaic Theater this weekend.