Hello everyone. Again, I want to thank Crazytown for supporting me and my rambling madness. This week I had to find a new place to live. I found it yesterday and I will move in later today. All is mostly well in the world. But this blog may end up being shorter than normal. I hope that's okay with everyone.
For starters, I have good news. My play made it to the finalists - top 60 out of over 500. I'm so gosh darn proud I'm pasting the announcement below:
The Parish Players Producers and Play Festival Reading Committee thank you for your submission to the Ten Minute Play Festival for 2017. We enjoyed reviewing more than 500 entries. The selection of 60 finalists was a challenging task, indeed.
The committee is pleased to inform you that your entry was placed amongst the finalists. The plays that will be produced this year will be selected from the finalist list by directors. Even if not chosen for production this year, these works are re-entered in the finalist category for re-consideration in future festivals.
If your play is to be produced this year, you will be notified by email and the Parish Players website will list your piece on this year’s program: http://parishplayers.org/
Back to this week's play - here we've got it all - in a scii-fi.
Exploitation in mines - women miners are routinely sexually harassed. And they get very, very sick. And it's not only in South Africa, but in other countries, too. In the sci-fi, the workers are selected to be miners at a young age.
Drug abuse - the substance the Earthlings crave and the Uranians mine - orgasmic lube - has all the markings of addiction. This should be very straightforward. We see this in the relationship between the US and Mexico. The US consumes the drugs and pays for it - Mexico grows the drugs and then the US expects Mexico to fight a bloody war not to grow and supply drugs.
Of course, keeping your workers drugged (i.e. the pink leaf) makes it so they can't really fight back. The truth about zombies is less "Walking Dead" and more "MacDonald's worker." And I don't mean James Franco.
Ripe for revolt? And Italian, too. Fascisti! Via here.
Occasionally workers get pissed off and revolt. One of my favorite unions is the IWW.
If only the Dramatists Guild was that tough. By the way, after my play's reading in December 2015, our local Guild rep stopped talking to me. Good times, right?
I'm noticing this post isn't full of glamorous photos or sexy videos. All the sexiness is in the play, which you can read here: Chew the Pink Leaf
Thanks again for reading. Will have something better next week.
BRYAN STUBBLES is a playwright and sometime screenwriter as well as Crazytown's most eligible bachelor. His ten minute masterpiece Trump vs Kahlo available here. His one-act play The Wicked Life of Patience Boston had a reading in West Virginia in December as well. The Noose had a performance at the Great Salt Lake Fringe in the summer.
Brine Shrimp Gangsters will be published later this year by Smith & Kraus.
Because self care is important when the world is imploding around you. By Jennifer Anderson (actor/singer/fake news enthusiast)
Ladies and gentlemen of Crazytown, tomorrow marks a day of fear and mourning for the vast majority of this country. All of our efforts- physical, mental, political, spiritual- have not been enough to combat the shady ass shit that got a giant orange colored moth ball the highest office in the land. But just like death and taxes, Inauguration Day is upon us and we are left with the biggest insult to our collective intelligence ever: Donald Trump is our president.
However, just because it's happening doesn't mean we have to watch it. So as you're preparing to march in Washington or New York or any other city, take a few steps away from the madness with this list of more comforting things to do than watch Mr. Trump become President:
A New World Order? By Joanna Syiek (Director/Producer/Blogger)
Happy 2017! It's been a nice start to the year but seeing as the world is about to end...no, I kid. I will take any opprotunity to laugh at what's happening to this country when I can because a lot of it has been terrifying as of late. So I wish you all love and strength as we enter a new chapter, and the will to find the funny. It will help, promise.
All the ladies who truly feel me Throw your hands up at me By Alisha Giampola (writer/performer)
I visited the Whitney Museum this past weekend with a dear friend on her birthday. She's an artist herself, and as a writer, I deeply respect anyone who can create a picture to replace my thousand words. We stopped at one point in front of the same piece, by Annette Lemieux, titled Left Right Left Right.
Reading a bit about the artist and the piece, which was created in 1995, I learned that the piece used to be exhibited upright, with the fists (some of which are of famous activists and leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr.) shown right side up. Although, even upright, "several of the images are flipped, so that the same fist appears raised in opposing directions, and the use of photographs from various decades injects difference into what appears on first glance to be a unified front." Originally the work was meant to indicate (continuing in the words of the curated description): "that protests—and the political and ideological issues that occasion them—are more complex, encompassing contradictions and opposing views." However, in the wake of the recent election, the artist requested that her work be flipped upside down: “Lemieux’s gesture suggests a commitment to individual agency, the continuing power of protest, and a feeling, in her words, that the ‘world has turned upside down’,” the museum explained in a statement.
I think it's fascinating, and not unexpected, that the artist has found new and refreshed meaning in her own art. Originally questioning the unity of any protest, the artist now sees her own work as a statement about the continuing power of such protest, including her own ability to participate through her chosen artistic voice.
Meryl Streep stated last week in her powerful speech as she received a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes that an actor's "only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like." I daresay that is the only job of any artist. Writer, composer, actor, painter, sculptor. Artists everywhere have always been the empathizers of the world. We remind others to think outside of themselves even for just a minute. To remember how a mere breath, a tiny edit on a strand of DNA, a hair's breadth, separates them from a life immeasurably different from their own.
The Women's March on Washington is this weekend. There are marches planned all over the nation, and in several countries, but I am going to Washington D.C. with my husband and some friends. I know I'm lucky to be able to go directly to our nation's capital to peacefully petition and protest the administration there. If you are interested in attending, or standing alongside us in an affiliated march in your city or town, you can read about the Mission and Unity Principles of those participating here and here. If you, like me, are afraid of what the next few years of leadership in this country could upend, and especially if you (like me) are new to activism (I used to think that my only responsibility as a citizen was showing up to vote once every few years) - I urge you to join us! I am heartened to know how many of my creative, artistic, inclusive community will be supporting the march on Saturday, and if you're planning to go to D.C. may I suggest availing yourself of one of these helpful lists of what to bring/how to stay safe?
It's easy to be inactive when we see injustices in our world. It's a little harder right now, when so much injustice is happening every day, but it's still more comfortable to sit back, especially if you occupy a position of privilege, which I am very aware that I do. But I will say that choosing to be a part of this, to not allow my silence to validate the oppression I see, feels great. It feels active. It feels supportive of those who have the potential of being in a much less safe place four years from now than I will be.
It feels like there's a lot to take in right now: threats to the environment, our foreign alliances, the freedom of the press, healthcare and social safety nets for those in need, women's reproductive rights, the security of minorities, refugees, and immigrants...but there is a clear way to speak truth to power next weekend. And by power, I don't just mean You Know Who. This rally for him will be mostly Tweet-fodder (I can see it now: "Women rallying in Washington today: didn't see any tens, all clearly bleeding out of their wherevers. SAD"). But the Executive is not the only branch of our government, and Rome didn't transition from Republic to an Empire in only a day. For the first time in my adult life, I recognize an opportunity to remind those in positions of leadership who are supposed to be in Washington to represent my interests and the interests of all Americans that I am watching them. I am paying attention. I am remaining vigilant.
See you there, ladies.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The Women's March on Washington is the day after the inauguration, Saturday, January 21st, beginning at 10am at the intersection of Independence Avenue and 3rd Street near the US Capitol. This march is free and open for all (and not just women of course- people of all genders, colors, and creeds who are allies of women and the marginalized are encouraged to participate), but you are urged to register at the march's website if you are able, so a semi-accurate headcount can be used to ensure proper security and resources (more than 200,000 people are already expected).
2017 starts off with a resolution to read more books, starting with those books we didn't finish in 2016. By Owen Panettieri (playwright, lyricist)
Ah, a new year! The promise of adopting new habits, setting new goals and achieving new achievements. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to continue blogging this year. In the face of this incoming administration, I wasn't sure what I wanted to say about the world we're living in and what's to come. I find it all very stressful and couldn't see myself staying sane if I was going to jump into writing politically-minded posts. That's not to say I won't be involved or stay aware of what's happening in this country, but I just didn't want to feel like I had to comment on it as it was happening. So I was thinking I wouldn't actually blog for the winter, but then I never got around to actually telling anyone at Crazytown that was my plan, and suddenly it was time to start up again! So rather than leave people in a lurch, here I am!
2016 had been a very full and artistically satisfying year for me, but one thing that was missing was books. I haven''t make time in my day for books. I've felt their absence in my life. Having time to read has been an issue ever since I moved from Astoria into Hell's Kitchen over two years ago. I used to read on the train and now that commute has been considerably shortened. What I was spending a lot of my time on was web-browsing and reading online. I consider web-browsing the empty calories of reading. It occupies your mind until you're full, but it doesn't really provide you the nutrients you need. I felt if I could cut an hour of web-browsing out of my day and use that time for book-reading I'd be much better off.
Several friends have also chosen to recommit to reading this year and are doing Reading List programs to diversify the kind of books they're reading. I'm working off of BookRiot.com's list and also this other list that friend's have sent me - I'm unaware of the original source.
I decided to put my hour of reading time at the start of my day, since my sweet dog Lucy wakes me up for her morning walk LOOONG before I actually need to get up to start my work day. So now after we get up and go for her walk and giver her breakfast, I keep my computer closed and leave my phone out of reach and read for an hour in the quiet and stillness of my living room. I'm hoping to get through 3 books a month this way, but maybe I can stretch it to four. I enjoy taking my time with books, so we'll see how it goes. We're halfway through January and I'm 2/3 the way through book #2. (My sweet boy Josh is also doing the reading challenge, but reads much faster than I do and I expect by December he'll be through double the amount of books.)
The first book I choose for 2017 was Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, by Michael Schulman. This checks the box for both "A Book You Previously Abandoned" and "A Biography." Michael and I go a long way back. In the mid-2000's I was dating his roommate and we spent a lot of time together at their apartment. In the early morning hours of one memorable night, I came down with a violent 24-hour bug. I tried to make my way to the one bathroom in the apartment before throwing up, but I did not make it in time. Instead, I threw up on the floor of the living room, slipped in my own vomit, had both of my legs flip out from under me, landed flat on my back and then proceeded to throw up all over myself as I lie there. I can see it all happening again as I write this and I laugh at the absurd sight it must've been, but at the time it was just really gross. I remember thinking - as I dragged myself to the bathroom so I could continue to throw up into the toilet like a respectable human being - about how badly I left about throwing up on Michael Schulman's floor. Michael and I shared better moments than this one. We also performed in a Muppet Cabaret at Don't Tell Mama and that was a total delight. Evidence of me singing "Piggy's Fantasy" can be found here.
The vague sentiments of Reaganism translated into brutal policies that required putting certain groups back in their place. Blacks recognized this right away, and most women did soon enough. Ordinary white male working stiffs took a bit longer to see that they were targets, too. -- William Greider, 1982
Much of the post-election discussion has brought to mind the presidency of Ronald Reagan. His cabinet, like the current slate, was a rogues' gallery:
Secretary of State Alexander Haig was all too eager to assert control after the attempted assassination of Reagan:
What he says here is simply wrong: he's not next in line after the VP. He later advocated firing a nuclear warning shot to intimidate the Soviet Union. He resigned soon afterwards.
Interior Secretary James Watt was an anti-environmentalist, and was forced to resign after this hit the papers:
Interior Secretary James G. Watt, upset by a Senate vote barring him from leasing any more Federal land for coal mining, told a business group today that he was being advised on the issue by ''every kind of mixture you can have. I have a black, I have a woman, two Jews and a cripple.''
But we must go further back. Despite the evil of Reagan and his henchmen, there wasn't the same feeling of a country at war with itself. For that we have to go back further, to the Nixon era.
The divide was one which we would recognize today. Diverse college-educated urban crowds protesting, and white working-class suburbanites enraged at them, voting Nixon into office. Nixon's 'silent majority' is virtually the same demographic as that which put Trump into office.
As much as one tries to analyze this in terms of class struggle, it appears to be about culture. Start by looking at the city/country divide: the word civilization itself comes from civitas, 'city'. That is: those who rail against the liberal culture of the cities are rejecting civilization itself. Think back to the stereotypical Nixon supporter, railing against "the hippies." What did they hate about the hippies? For starters, they questioned militarism, gender norms, patriarchy, consumerism, and white supremacy. Yup, we've been here before.
What is to be done?
Historically, there are two strategies that work.
First, it's absolutely and annoyingly necessary to keep making noise. Protest everything. If nobody seems to care, move on to another topic. Even though most of your protests will go unnoticed, keep going! One of the problems you highlight will catch the public's attention, and you won't know which until it happens. Besides, public pressure is the only thing that will slow them down.
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. - Frederick Douglass, 1857
Second, watch for those in power to trip up. This administration in particular is rife with incompetents and fools, and the more they can be embarrassed, the more that must resign in disgrace, the slower they can move against us. If they won't resign, impeach them.
It has been asked: but wouldn't a President Pence be worse? No. Pence and his cohort are already in control, things will be no worse if the pretense is dropped. The difference is that a career politician like Pence, no matter how loathsome, is far less likely to get us all killed with a tweet.
It's slated to be one of the biggest moments in our history, and it proves that the democratic elements of our country still function the way that they were intended - they evolve, and become more inclusive as we grow and evolve. The Women's March on Washington is a call for our politics to catch up to our population, for our constitution to expand with our hearts, for our leaders to behave as such. by Liz Richards (writer)
For the past few weeks, there’s been a popular hashtag floating around my social media feeds. #WhyIMarch. I love this hashtag. It’s more than a beautiful rallying cry. It’s an opportunity to see who my sisters (and brothers) in arms really are.
I love to see their faces in their selfies, am brought to tears by their stories. Each of them is so varied, so original, so filled with hope; patriotism; and that healthy apprehension of the shifting political climate that will motivate us and make sure that our progress continues.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would put in my selfie with the hashtag #WhyIMarch. I’ve intended to post something every day for about two weeks, but haven’t found the right words, the right way to package what I’m thinking.
The thing about the Women’s March is that it’s not really about me. Yes, I’m a woman and I’m marching, for instinctively selfish reasons. If the Affordable Care Act vanishes without a replacement and federal funding is slashed for Planned Parenthood my access to birth control, STD screenings, annual exams, and general healthcare I need is dangerously limited. If the statements that Donald Trump has made and the beliefs he’s held about women across a lifetime – things that were merely amplified during his campaign – are allowed to become normalized, my value as a human being is diminished, not abstractly, but practically, through legislation he will cut down and uphold. If the EPA is gutted and climate change denied, my world becomes uninhabitable. My personal stake in all of this is what makes my vocal chords vibrate and my feet step forward. And this Saturday, my voice and my body will contribute to the largest post-inauguration march in history. But this is bigger than me.
This is bigger than any demographic. This is bigger than liberal or conservative, two loaded pieces of rhetoric that got us here in the first place, and that have to become antiquated if we have any intent to continue progressing. And we do intend to keep progressing. From all across the political spectrum, we should be standing and marching for one another. Because it isn't politics that's under attack but our shared values and our futures.
So here's #WhyIMarch:
I march to celebrate every American who has touched my life and shaped the kind of American I am. I march in defense of all perspectives and individual motivations, for every voice willing to willing to actively participate in the national conversation. I march to commemorate enormous progress my country has made in its short history. I march to protect the enormous progress we have left to make. And I march to make it clear that I won't stand for reverting even an inch of that progress. And I march to stand with 200,000 of my American sisters (and brothers) who will keep me moving forward.
How no other pair of men can possibly compete with Presidential love. by Alex Syiek (Writer/Performer)
It is no secret that the world is changing drastically in a few days. It is a depressing conceit, but ultimately, I believe we, as a community of artistic, social, active Americans, will make the most of the next four years. However, there is one thing I am going to miss most about our nation's highest (and second highest) office. Of course you know what I'm talking about. The legendary Obama-Biden Bromance. First heralded as a prophecy from the great Oracle of America (picture a giant eagle, with long flowing locks), this bromance is the bromance to end all other bromances. I mean, come on:
An election night embrace. Look at the longing in their eyes.
No one would have guessed when the Obama administration started that these two politicians would drop all worldly worries and enter into a full-on, HR-cleared, relationship. And let's be honest, it was a benefit for the entire country.
This entire crowd is not there for the basketball game. They're watching the real show between these two.
However, it should be noted that not everybody was thrilled with the development of this bundle of democratic love. One could argue that it got in the way of other obligations...
Biden gonna steal your man, Michelle. He gonna do it.
Yet, throughout all of the twists and turns of these last eight years, they fought to make this nation better for all Americans, even when they disagreed. Even when they faced tragedy. Even when the nation lost hope. They were heroes. Standing tall and together.
"Joe, pick a different pose. The crossed arms is my thing" "I just wanna be close to you, Mr. President."
And all of this came to a head last week, when Obama awarded his special love Joe Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in our country. With this act, Obama forever topped the game when it comes to bromancing. If y'all haven't seen it, the ceremony is amazing. Especially because it was a total surprise to Vice President Biden. Watch it here:
So many happy tears.
So thank you Obama. Thank you Biden. For showing us what love, trust, and friendship can be. You have been an inspiration, and will continue to be as we push on in the future. Because - I'm gonna be frank - there's no way Trump-Pence can live up to this.
Oof. It's so uncomfortable. Two people who do not wanna be there.
Happy early inauguration day, everyone. Make the best of this next year. Create, create, create.