Author: Tom Robotham

The Heroin Problem Hitting Home in Suburbia

Ron* remembers vividly the first time he felt “the warmth of the opium embrace,” as he puts it. “I was 23 at the time,” the now-33-year-old Norfolk resident recalls. “I’d been doing a lot of cocaine and pills but had…

2017 Must-See Virginia Arts Festival Events

The 2017 Virginia Arts Festival will run from March 31 through May 28, with a wide variety of performances across our region in venues ranging from Norfolk’s Chrysler Hall and Virginia Beach’s Sandler Center, to more intimate venues. For a…

Virginia Arts Festival 21st Season

When Virginia Arts Festival director Rob Cross sat down with his staff to begin planning the 2017 season, he faced a daunting task. Last year, to mark the Festival’s 20th anniversary, he pulled out all the stops, with extra financial…

Left Side: A House Divided

In the weeks following the election of Donald Trump, a question echoed throughout the land: How could this have happened? To understand the answer, we have to go back about a year to a campaign speech Trump gave in Iowa.…

Left Side: The War Over Women

The military may have its own distinct culture, but it is made up of people who come from society at large. With this in mind, it’s clear that the goal of achieving gender equality in the military is part of a larger objective: raising consciousness about sexism in general.

The Virginia Stage Company Builds Community Through Theater

In anticipation of the fall season, we sat down with interim artistic director Patrick Mullins, who has been with VSC for 10 years, to talk about the company’s evolution, its upcoming shows and the importance of regional theater in general.

All the Region's a Stage

In short, whether you’re a longtime theatergoer or are new to the art form, there is much to look forward to in the coming months.

Left Side: Family Values

The USA is the only major country in the world that dos not guarantee paid family leave. That must change-but as part of a bigger picture.

Left Side: This Is Not a Drill—For Now

Earlier this year, environmentalists won a temporary victory when the federal government turned its back on a proposal to open the waters off Virginia to offshore drilling. “We heard from many corners that now is not the time to start…

Slover Library

A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life. ~ Henry Ward Beecher. When Norfolk’s new Slover Library opened earlier this year, the response from the community was generally enthusiastic. But not everyone was impressed. Some critics…

The Reality of Rape

When you hear the word rapist, what comes to mind? A wild-eyed stranger lurking in the shadows? That’s a common perception. But it’s at odds with reality. The fact is, most sexual assaults—approximately two-thirds, according to national studies—are committed by…

Left Side-Issues With Objectification

My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman. —Tony Porter, national speaker on the problem of domestic violence. Every semester in the classes on American culture that I teach at Old Dominion University, I ask…

Left Side-Reading, Writing ... And Religion?

Believing … that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god … I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment…

Left Side-Dollars for Defense

Whenever the subject of military-spending comes up, I’m reminded of President Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation. To my mind, it was as prophetic as George Washington’s, if not more so. Eisenhower could have focused on America’s triumph in World…

Leftside-Sex and Selfies

I remember vividly the first time I saw a naked woman. Well, a photograph of one, at any rate. I was 12 years old and hanging out with my friend Al one Saturday afternoon, when he said, “Come here, I…

Leftside - A Polarized Public

Let’s face it: When it comes to the subject of global warming—or climate change, to use the more recently preferred term—we’re caught in a polar vortex. I’m not talking about the streak of extreme cold we had this winter. I’m…

Leftside The Bland And The Beautiful

In 1848, a New York City landscape architect named Andrew Jackson Downing proposed the creation of a 500-acre park in the middle of Manhattan. It would serve, he said, as “the lungs of the city.” He and the man who…

Left Side Deadly Decisions

Whenever I think about the death penalty I think of Michael Dukakis. Remember him? In the 1988 presidential debates, he was asked how he would feel about the death penalty if his wife were brutally raped and murdered. Dukakis responded…

Left Side Media Mistakes

A number of years ago, The Virginian-Pilot ran a relatively brief article about the efforts of religious conservatives to insert creationism into school curricula, alongside the teaching of the theory of evolution. In an attempt to appear balanced, the reporter…

Left Side: Roll Of The Dice

On most social issues I’m a staunch libertarian. I firmly believe, for example, that both recreational drugs (see last month’s column) and prostitution should be legal. But whenever I contemplate the legalization of gambling I’m a little more ambivalent. Don’t…

All Potted Up-Left Side

When I was in my last year of elementary school, my science teacher stopped his lesson one day to warn me and my classmates about the dangers we’d face in middle school—“pot pushers” chief among them. “What these older boys…

Equality To Change Society? - Left Side

I can see merit in both sides of the debate on most social and political issues. Not so when it comes to gay marriage. To my mind, there is absolutely no justification for banning it. That should become clear to…

Gun Crazy - Left Side

In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, according to a recent article in The Christian Science Monitor, several states passed laws making it easier for their citizens to carry firearms. In South Dakota, for example, it is now legal…