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The Grand Dark Conspiracy is about exploration of truth, finding it in alternative views and people who are brave enough to ask questions that most will not. We cover a wide array of topics, from History to UFOs to Alternative Medicine to Conspiracies to Ghosts to anything on the fringes of accepted reality. We attempt to shine a light in the darkness to uncover the truth often hidden from us.
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Leslie Stainton is the author of Lorca: A Dream of Life (Bloomsbury, 1998; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999), a biography of the Spanish playwright and poet Federico Garcia Lorca, which won the 1999 Society of Midland Authors biography award. Ms. Stainton has written for numerous publications and journals, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Opera News, American Theatre, Michigan Quarterly Review, The American Poetry Review, and the online journals Brevity and Common-place. Her essay “Getting to the Point” appeared in the award-winning 2006 anthology Freshwater: Women Writing on the Great Lakes.
Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Ms. Stainton holds a BA in drama from Franklin and Marshall College and an MFA in dramaturgy from the University of Massachusetts. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she edits the CASE award–winning Findings magazine for the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She is a past lecturer in creative writing at the University of Michigan Residential College, founding editor of Inside Borders, a two-time Fulbright award recipient, and the 2010 creative nonfiction fellow at the Prague Summer Writers Workshop.
Leslie Stainton's Works
Staging Ground: An American Theater and Its Ghosts
In this poignant and personal history of one of America's oldest theaters, Leslie Stainton captures the story not just of an extraordinary building but of a nation's tumultuous struggle to invent itself. Built in 1852 and in use ever since, the Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is uniquely ghosted. Its foundations were once the walls of a colonial jail that in 1763 witnessed the massacre of the last surviving Conestoga Indians. Those same walls later served to incarcerate fugitive slaves. Staging Ground explores these tragic events and their enduring resonance in a building that later became a town hall, theater, and movie house--the site of minstrel shows, productions of Uncle Tom's Cabin, oratory by the likes of Thaddeus Stevens and Mark Twain, performances by Buffalo Bill and his troupe of "Wild Indians," Hollywood Westerns, and twenty-first-century musicals.
Interweaving past and present, private anecdote and public record, Stainton unfolds the story of this emblematic space, where for more than 250 years Americans scripted and rescripted their history. Staging Ground sheds light on issues that continue to form us as a people: the evolution of American culture and faith, the immigrant experience, the growth of cities, the emergence of women in art and society, the spread of advertising, the flowering of transportation and technology, and the abiding paradox of a nation founded on the principle of equality for "all men," yet engaged in the slave trade and in the systematic oppression of the American Indian.