Good girls inhale

Is new play Toke the Eat, Pray, Love of weed?

Baby boomer buds: Wee Dee (played by Tenaya Hurst) is on a mission to bring down harsh cannabis stereotypes

HERBWISE This is the image that could very well legalize weed in the United States, if not on the books then in our national subconscious: a be-curlered, white-bathrobed housewife ducking behind the backyard clothesline for a quick toke before her adolescent son comes to ask her to wash his gear for the Little League championship tomorrow.

Dee Dee Kirkwood thinks so. The playwright behind Toke places the image at the center of an opening scene in her semi-autobiographical play about a woman and her weed.

"It's all positives, there are no negatives about marijuana," chirped Kirkwood over the phone the day after the friends and family preview performance of Toke. "I wanted to focus my writing on making a change, helping cannabis smokers, and helping people come out of the closet."

Out of the closet? Kirkwood does put much truck in marijuana as a libido-enhancer, and noted Bay sexologist Carol Queen is slated to step into the pointy high heels of Toke's pot fairy character for the second two weeks of the play. Sexuality is in the air of Ashby Theatre as much as smoke, in fact — but Kirkwood's talking about an entirely different kind of self-realization here.

The climactic scene of Toke takes place after protagonist Wee Dee (get it!) has surfed the seas of kitchen table abortions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-having Vietnam vet first loves, radical European commune life, and a confining marriage to the father of her two children — happenings that Kirkwood's script manage to make touching and madcap in turns. The character is plucky, likable, fun, so it makes sense when her second hubby encourages her to take that indomitable Wee Dee spirit and channel it towards marijuana activism.

So she organizes an event. It's not important what the event is, because it's at the end of an already-wacky play and if you're not stoned by that point, it's not clear why you at a production called Toke to begin with.

What is important is that after Wee Dee has listened to the This is Your Life-style cassette tape of various blasts from the past wishing her well, she emerges onstage with a glittering, Beach Blanket Babylon-esque cannabis headdress. She announces "I'm coming out of the closet! I'm green!"

And boy does the audience cheer. Wee Dee is a hero.

Toke is Kirkwood's raison d'être. She doesn't consider herself a career activist, just wants to lead people to more morality-based look at marijuana's outlaw status, even though the unjust incarceration issue doesn't get much play in Toke. As a wife and mother, she wants others to share in the happiness that the dro has brought to her life.

And — if it ever makes it out of Berkeley's green hills — one could see Toke performing similar feats for weed that Eat, Pray, Love enacted on Middle America's acceptance of yoga and women traveling solo.

"If it ever makes it out of Berkeley" being the key phrase there, of course.


Fri/26 - Sept. 11, Thu.-Sat, 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m., $25

Ashby Theatre

1901 Ashby, Berk.



love it!

Posted by Guest on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 8:03 am

The new Eat, Pray, Love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Billiant!

Posted by Guest Sherry on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 8:56 am

So GOOD. Must go see it !

Posted by Guest on Aug. 24, 2011 @ 9:07 am

Awesome!!!! Way to go. Teres

Posted by Guest on Aug. 26, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

Ashby Stage is in Berkeley NOT SF.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 6:59 am

fixed above!

Posted by marke on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 7:06 am

"'It's all positives, there are no negatives about marijuana... I wanted to focus my writing on making a change, helping cannabis smokers, and helping people come out of the closet."

It's unhealthy to inhale any kind of smoke. Marijuana smoke is not good for human lungs. It's irresponsible to pretend otherwise.

Also, studies have shown that marijuana impairs the immune system. Anyone with immune-deficiency problems (and there are many in the Bay Area) should think twice about using marijuana.

There's no substitute for balance and intelligence in life, even when using drugs.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

It treats (not cures) peoples' anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and my friend with RA says her joints doing hurt enough to make her cry when she smokes/eats some. Medicinal qualities aside, it's a plant, not methamphetamines. If people want to ingest something, they'll find a way. If it's harmful (i.e. meth, coke, heroin), Darwin says "Let him die."

Too much of anything can't be good for you: too much meat, too much medicine, food too long in the microwave, etc.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

Interesting information...
From 2006 (nothing comes up more recently than this, that I see):

Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection

The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer.

The new findings "were against our expectations," said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years.

"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect."

Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

"From 2006 (nothing comes up more recently than this, that I see)."

- Jorge

Check out the study cited in the past below, from August 2009, on behalf of the state of CA.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

Okay, so now we're seeing images of how cool it is for women to smoke pot.

Remember when the tobacco industry put forth images of how cool it was for women to smoke? ("You've come a long way baby.")

Remember the ads in the 1950s touting the medical value of tobacco? ("More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.")

Anybody see a familiar pattern here?

Click here:

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 8:34 pm
Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

I was looking at that picture of Wee Dee at the top of the page. You know, you just have to love the rollers in her hair. They add nice color. I like them. Her dress is interesting too. A nice picture....and what might that plant be in front of her or on her? (LOL).

Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Aug. 29, 2011 @ 11:13 pm

You will use ANY opportunity, say anything, to spew forth your hateful, self indulgent solipisms. I have been doing 'hospice work' for about 25 years. I believe you have stated elsewhere that you have 'cared for' folks who were dying. I'm just glad that your 'comfort and words' were not my last experiences.
Forget all the other BS about marijuana, anyone who has any real life experience knows how beneficial this herb can be, preferably nebulised, for many chronic, acute and terminal conditions.
FULL DISCLOSURE. I grew up in England, smoking Hash, easier to get through Customs. For he last 15+ years I get paranoid smoking pot; think I'm supposed to try Indica; but when my shit finally hits the fan I hope for Papaver somniferum and ETOH.
Bottom Line. Ruthie, U R SKUM/SMEGMA/Whatever.
Next to Bottom Line; Bruce, Time, Steve, Whoever; BAN ME. Frankly m'dears I don't give a good godamn about no effing 'be nice to the german's' policy,.


Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 1:27 am

"I grew up in England, smoking Hash."

- Pat Monk, R.N.

Is anyone surprised?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 9:23 am

According to the study below, young people who smoke pot regularly are likely to develop cognitive problems later as adults.

The incoherent post above by Pat Monk is consistent with this finding.

You can't create successful political strategy if you're plastered on medical marijuana or medical marijuana.

Don't stone the messenger for delivering the message.

Click here:

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 30, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

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