Hermans House movie posterTonight, a film will be screened at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art that may interest lawyers and many others who seek to examine the U.S. corrections system. (Jump to the bottom for times, tickets, etc.)

Herman’s House is a feature documentary that explores what the filmmakers understatedly call “the unlikely friendship between a New York artist and one of America’s most famous inmates as they collaborate on an acclaimed art project.”

The inmate is Herman Joshua Wallace, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison on a bank robbery sentence. While he served his sentence, though, he and a fellow prisoner were accused of murdering an Angola (La.) prison guard, which landed him in solitary confinement. Though claims have been made that he may be innocent of the death charge (including claims by a widow of the guard), he has remained in solitary confinement for decades.

The film opens with an artist forming and sanding a uniquely shaped object: Is it an egg? Perhaps a stylized womb?
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Bringing legal topics to life, either on the stage or screen, takes a special ability. On this Change of Venue Friday, I recommend to you two such endeavors.

The first is a terrific staging of the classic book To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

If you’ve never been to the Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert, it’s worth the drive. All of its shows are performed in the round, which lends them a sense of intimacy with the audience.

And this production is directed by the great playwright and actor D. Scott Withers. Performances run through June 30.

More information and a link to ticket sales are here.

And here is more information and history about the Hale Theatre concept, “believed to be the longest, continuously-operating center stage theatre in the country.”

Meanwhile, up in Phoenix, there is a documentary screening that takes us to more modern legal battles.

“Two Americans” screens this coming Monday, June 18 at the Phoenix Center for the Arts. It is being brought to Phoenix by No Festival Required (see what they’re up to here). More detail on the film is here and here.

Here is a trailer for the documentary.

The filmmakers state that opposing viewpoints will be displayed in the documentary, so I look forward to seeing how they achieve that. Here is how they describe their work:

“The life of a 9-year old child is forever changed when ‘America’s Toughest Sheriff’ arrests her Mexican parents for working at a local carwash. Fighting to rescue her parents from deportation, Katherine Figueroa becomes the poster child of a movement to oust Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio from office. Exposed by the media, Kathy’s family is challenged to overcome their fear of living in Arizona. But when Sheriff Joe uses his power to retaliate against the County Board, it’s the legality of his actions that is questioned. Now the Sheriff’s fate hangs in the balance of an FBI criminal probe.

“Enter the heart of an American family living in the shadows of a state that has criminalized their existence. Walk in the shoes of a public official who has won enormous political gains by incarcerating ‘illegals’ as he stares down criminal charges of his own. Kathy needs her family. Joe needs the power of his badge. ‘Two Americans’ will examine the very personal impact of U.S. immigration policies.

“In a Nation home to over 5 million American children who live in unauthorized immigrant families, Arizona has led the way in the emergent practice of using local police to enforce federal immigration law. But who wins when State laws deter employers from participating in the local economy, the labor pool evaporates, and 35% of the city’s population are viewed with suspicion? An American public that does not feel the direct impact overlooks these very troublesome consequences. This documentary will allow viewers to experience the issue from opposing viewpoints and draw their own conclusions.”

You can buy tickets at the door, or in advance here.

Have a great weekend, and I hope to see you Monday night.

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