Lost Note Productions had the wonderful opportunity to shoot a short film with Shine Creative for Baltimore’s Creative Mornings, a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. The short film will be debuted at next Creative Mornings at the Walters Art Museum on Friday, 8/22 at…
a peek back behind the scenes of the recent “Fail Cocktail” gathering for Creative Mornings Baltimore, shot by Shine TV; nicely done y’all (@Baltimore_CM and @KatieBoyts and @doobyscoffee and @drurybynum) #FailCocktail
“Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin - find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.”—Maya Angelou. (via hydeordie)
Plato believes that rhetoric is a way to alter the truth while Aristotle believes that rhetoric is an adequate mechanism of communication and a conventional way of finding validity (Yahoo.com: Plato vs. Aristotle par1). I, on the other hand, believe that rhetoric is just a fancy word for B.S.
On the night of May 14, a small group of dancers were smoking outside a fundraiser in downtown Manhattan. As they discussed the work of various underappreciated choreographers, attention was suddenly turned to a short redheaded woman who had just exited the event and was walking away. “That’s Gina Gibney?” asked Connor Voss, a startled young dancer. Yes, the group confirmed, it was. Mr. Voss watched Ms. Gibney round the street corner. “Fund me, please?” he said in her direction
and closes with:
The conversation turned, at one point, to contemporary dance’s audience. “How are we going to build a new audience?” Ms. Gibney asked. “It’s not enough to say what artists need in a performance venue—you also have to ask what audiences need.” Indeed, the lack of a devoted audience lurks behind DNA’s collapse and the field’s general insecurity.
For the most part, the dancers at Ms. Gibney’s community forum weren’t interested in discussing this. “I heard there would be some sort of resource center, and that was the most exciting thing to me,” said Alex, a young dancer in attendance. “I didn’t get a sense of what the offerings are … Will these things be free?” Someone else in the audience, prompted by a discussion of the proposed digital media lab, innocently mentioned that her fiancé ran a tech company: “There could be a partnership, definitely.”
Well, shoot, Gina, I’m with you. If no one there had answers to your question, I sure as heck do.
“A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?”—George Orwell; Politics and the English Language (via thatkindofwoman)
In honor of Independence Day and the release of Hal Hartley’s feature film adaptation, streaming on Fandor, here’s a look back at the original project that started it all. Fifty-plus playwrights, all considering the question, “What is my America?” and putting their answers into a virtual-theater time capsule.
"Center Stage announced that its acclaimed digital theater project My America has become a feature length film that will premiere on July 4, 2014, exclusively through streaming service Fandor, followed by a special July 9 screening at the IFC center in New York City.
Conceived and commissioned in 2012 under the leadership of Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah, My America is a digital collection of 50 monologues by some of the nation’s most innovative playwrights, including Marcus Gardley, Anna Deavere Smith, and Christopher Durang. The monologues confront complex topics in the American consciousness from race and religion to the nuances of The American Dream, and are performed by noteworthy actors such as Jefferson Mays (Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), and Tracie Thoms (Rent).
Award-winning director Hal Hartley, the filmmaker behind the My America shorts, has woven 21 of the original monologues together in a seamless blend of humor and poignant introspection on American culture. Hartley’s previous work has won numerous awards at both the Cannes and Sundance film festivals, and he has collaborated regularly with Fandor CEO Ted Hope (Producer: American Splendor, In the Bedroom) since 1989.”
Just in time for Independence Day, Hal Hartley’s feature film adaptation of Center Stage’s MY AMERICA project streams on Fandor:
"Center Stage asked a number of American playwrights, ‘What is your America?’ The responses, ranging from the political to the personal, form a tapestry of ideas. ‘Who are you, America?’ To mark its 50th anniversary, the prestigious Baltimore, Maryland theater Center Stage asked 50 writers to create monologues answering that question, then entrusted independent film icon Hal Hartley with filming the results. This feature version draws on 21 of those wildly disparate explorations. Their voices include a beauty pageant contestant who’ll never win a prize for brains; a U.S. soldier stationed in Afghanistan; a man talking about his crack-addicted sister and another whose selling of "ten dollars of pot" led to a life in prison; a minster whose views on gays differ from his congregation; a crusty dowager worried about her coddled descendants; and a 1960s-bred free spirit still flying the freak flag decades later. There is room for an absurdist historical lesson as well as an entirely sung baseball anecdote. By turns angry, comic, political and poetical, MY AMERICA is a smorgasbord of distinctive character snapshots offering plenty of virtuoso acting and idiosyncratic style." - Dennis Harvey
All but daring American theaters to put on more new plays by women, an advocacy group of female writers and producers released a list of 46 such works on Monday that have been recommended for production by dozens of other playwrights, dramaturges and artistic directors.
all well and good, nay thrilling and overdue even. but that’s *dramaturgs*, dangit, not “dramaturges.” cursed @nytimes stubbornness!
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) is partnering with theatre departments at Big Ten Conference schools to create a new playwriting and performance initiative. The group, known as the Big Ten Theatre Chairs, plans to commission, produce and publicize as many as five new plays in an effort to influence the national dialogue about women playwrights and the sorts of scripts needed by university theatre programs for performing arts education.
The group plans to impact the dramatic underrepresentation of women playwrights in American theatre. In a recent study cited in the The New York Times, it was determined that of the 20,000 playwrights in the Dramatists Guild and on Doolee.com, an online database of playwrights, there were twice as many male playwrights as female ones, and that the men tended to be more prolific, turning out more plays. To draw attention to this imbalance and support greater gender diversity in the field, the Big Ten Theatre Chairs plan to commission women playwrights to write the initiative’s first three plays.
The Big Ten Theatre Chairs also believe a need exists for a larger body of high-caliber plays with specific characteristics that make them effective tools for teaching theatre students. In response to this, they intend to commission the writing of plays that each feature up to eight roles, primarily for women actors, and predominantly for characters of an age that can be credibly played by college students.
Engagement covers a wide range of tactics, including but not limited to tools to enhance our audience’s experience, advertising, and patron feedback mechanisms. In recent past STC has used numerous web tools and specialized software to create fun and engaging promotions and focusing on distinctive, interactive content.
get ‘em engaged and keep ‘em engaged. that’s the mission.
apropos of @colmandomingo and WILD WITH HAPPY @centerstage_md
"Black and gay in Baltimore"
Larry Harris and Leonard Martin grew up around the block from each other but never knew it at the time, caught up as they were in regular childhood concerns and in keeping their heads down in the men-are-macho environment of West Baltimore.
By the time they met as adults — Harris a few years out of the Army, Martin jumping through jobs and still looking for his spot in the world — they were surprised at how much they had in common.
"It’s kind of crazy we lived down the street …" Harris said.
"… and never knew it," Martin finished.
Looking at each other on a recent evening on the couch in their tidy home in the down-on-its-luck Oliver neighborhood of East Baltimore, they laugh easily. It’s been years since Martin worried about Harris wearing clear nail polish in public, or Harris having to push Martin to worry less about what other people had to say. (Martin got over that at his own pace.)
"We came a long way," he said.
"Didn’t we, though?" said Harris, putting his hand on his fiance’s forearm.
These days, nearly 10 years into their relationship and just a few weeks before their wedding, Harris and Martin said they are finished finding themselves and each other. Now they’re too busy plotting out the rest of their lives together and avoiding those people from around the way who are suddenly “coming out of the woodwork,” asking for invitations to their ceremony.
"People keep saying, ‘I can’t wait to come. I’ve never been to a gay wedding,’ " Harris said. "And I’m like, ‘I’ve never been to a gay wedding!’ "
Today, in a city that is nearly 65 percent black and known for its native residents sticking around, Harris, 35, and Martin, 31, said they feel just like any other hometown couple.
In a city that, according to one study, has more African-American-led same-sex households, per capita, than any other city in the United States, they are just like many.
At Baltimore’s annual Pride celebrations this weekend, it will be easy for visitors to get a distorted impression of what being gay in Charm City means, they and others say. Thousands fill the city from all around the region, and cameras capture rainbow-fringed images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in revelry.
Truth be told, everyday life for gay people in Baltimore is far less flashy. Nights out on the town are balanced with work and kids, with responsibilities to financially struggling families, with quiet nights in or date nights at the movies, with wedding planning.
According to a 2013 study by the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law dedicated to research and analysis of LGBT communities across the country, more than four out of every 1,000 households in Baltimore are led by African-American same-sex couples — the most per capita anywhere in the country.
Of those couples, 38 percent are raising children, according to the study.
Maryland as a whole also ranks above all other states for same-sex black couples per capita, lagging only behind the District of Columbia, the study also found. Of all census-identified African-American same-sex couples in the country, a full one-fourth live in one of just four states: Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Maryland.
The reasons, say demographers, are varied. One is that, across the board, African-Americans in same-sex relationships tend to live in areas with higher proportions of African-Americans in general — like Baltimore — and not in areas with higher proportions of gays and lesbians.
"And that may not be entirely by choice," said Gary Gates, a Williams Institute scholar and one of the authors of the study. "There are socioeconomic constraints, and LGBT neighborhoods tend to be expensive."
Kalima Young and her wife, Francine Housier, who live in the Loch Raven neighborhood of North Baltimore, say there are other reasons, too — from lots of black LGBT people coming to the city for its universities and colleges and then deciding to stay, to Baltimore attracting people who want to live in a place where gay and lesbian black couples are less rare than in other parts of the country and more a part of the fabric.
The lives of LGBT people in Baltimore don’t end at the edges of Mount Vernon, they say, but extend into neighborhoods all across the city — in tony high-rises downtown, on family-friendly tree-lined streets near the county and on rougher, half-abandoned blocks where violence is rampant.
Still, that picture isn’t always portrayed. Well-heeled attendees of downtown LGBT events get noticed; so too, and for good reason, do victims of crime, like the transgender woman who was killed last week in Northeast. But there’s more to gay Baltimore.
"That’s what the larger community should see," said Young, 39, coordinator of the Baltimore Art+Justice Project at Maryland Institute College of Art, which maps intersections of art and social justice across the city as part of an online community dialogue. "It’s not just about Pride or the story of someone queer getting beat down."
Housier, an Army brat who moved around the world and landed in Virginia after college, met Young, a West Baltimore native, in 2005 through an online dating service. They spent four years going back and forth between Baltimore and Arlington before they decided to move in together.
The decision was easy, they said: Housier would move north. “It was something I was looking forward to,” said Housier, who would not disclose her age. She’d felt isolated as a black woman in Arlington, and loved Baltimore’s “quirky arts and culture” scene.
The couple now belong to an all-women gym. They host a book club and go to the farmers’ market and have parties at their house with friends.
"There’s both a community outside of here that we can plunge into and a community we can create here," said Housier, a human resources consultant for local universities, from the couple’s home.
Young remembers growing up and coming out in Baltimore years ago. At the time, there were four lesbian bars, a lesbian coffee shop and the LGBT bookstore Lambda Rising, none of which are still around, she said.
She still misses those things, she said, but also sees value in LGBT people in Baltimore today creating their own pop-up spaces as broader cultural acceptance narrows the need — and limits the success — of gay-only commercial ventures.
As Pride again rolls through Baltimore, many niche groups of local gay black culture will be on display, Young said — living out their lives through the “intersections” of their own identities. Butch dom lesbians. Young hipster club boys. And, of course, the ballroom houses — those make-your-own families of voguers, dancers and identity-performers that define Baltimore’s LGBT scene for many young people.
Of course, the couples — many of whom belong to one or more of the above groups — will be there too, everyone interacting but also carving out space to do their own thing.
"People are creating DIY queer spaces because they’re being crowded out [as] the existing spaces are becoming very male, mainstream queer-centric," Young said. The fact that mainstream queer culture doesn’t always reflect the diversity of the community is a shame, she said.
Harris, a credit analyst, and Martin, a real estate analyst, said they sometimes wish they knew more gay couples in the city — black or otherwise — though they’re starting to meet more. They also don’t know, for a few reasons, whether Baltimore will be it forever.
"Atlanta," Harris said, a smile peaking out of the side of his mouth. (He and Martin once produced a YouTube reality show called "The Queens of Baltimore," and Harris wants to try it again in Atlanta, which he considers the mecca of black reality television. But that’s a different story.)
"Houses in Baltimore are too expensive," said Martin, of another factor that might push them out. The couple wants to own a home one day, have room to raise a child. They might try foster care first.
"I always wanted six kids, but I’m too old for that now," Harris said.
For now, the couple is just excited about their wedding, they said, which they have pushed off for close to eight years so they could have it — legally — in Maryland.
"It is home for me," Harris said.
"All my family is here," said Martin.
Young, who knows and adores Harris from years ago when they both worked with HIV-positive and affected youth — it’s a Smaltimore world, after all — said she loves Baltimore for many reasons, and has no plans to leave. Still, she wishes people across the city had a better understanding of minority LGBT populations that are thriving here. She wishes misconceptions would drop away.
"There has been a very strong black queer culture in this country and in the world for a very long time," she said.
She wishes more LGBT organizations and people in the city would recognize that, would talk about poverty and class and racism, would branch out more. There is a lot of work being done to overcome challenges for the LGBT community in Baltimore, she said, but the focus is too narrow — too geographically restricted to the city center.
More groups need to “go outside of the gayborhood,” she said. “There will be gay people who come.”
“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”—Lao Tzu
Perhaps a rubric of sorts for theatrical writing? A dramaturgy to link character, action, intention.
I told Miyazaki I love the “gratuitous motion” in his films; instead of every movement being dictated by the story, sometimes people will just sit for a moment, or they will sigh, or look in a running stream, or do something extra, not to advance the story but only to give the sense of time and place and who they are.
"We have a word for that in Japanese," he said. "It’s called ma. Emptiness. It’s there intentionally.”
Is that like the “pillow words” that separate phrases in Japanese poetry?
"I don’t think it’s like the pillow word." He clapped his hands three or four times. "The time in between my clapping is ma. If you just have non-stop action with no breathing space at all, it’s just busyness. But if you take a moment, then the tension building in the film can grow into a wider dimension. If you just have constant tension at 80 degrees all the time you just get numb.
Written by George Kelly
In a New Adaptation by Jerry Patch
June 6-8, 2014
Nothing has prepared Philadelphia’s Fisher family for their daughter’s new beau, the totally irrepressible and utterly irresponsible Aubrey Piper. Bold braggart and charming chump, Aubrey’s the ultimate self-made man—and the biggest challenge a mother-in-law ever confronted.
Originally written in 1924, and immediately hailed as “the best comedy [yet] written by an American,” this landmark laugher gets a fresh new adaptation and a first hearing in our final Play Lab of the season.
Come early for the ever-popular Toast Bar, then stay after to share your thoughts and responses.
Play Lab: The Show-Off
By George Kelly
In a new adaptation by Jerry Patch
$10 | $5 for Members
5th floor Jay Andrus Rehearsal Hall
Fri, June 6 at 8 pm
Sat, June 7 at 8 pm*
Sun, June 8 at 2 pm
* There will also be a free open rehearsal at 2:30 pm on Saturday, June 7. Patrons interested in attending should contact the Box Office at email@example.com. Please arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the start time.
Play Labs are made possible by The Nathan and Suzanne Cohen Foundation Fund for Commissioning and Developing New Plays.
“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe their husband is about to return and need his shoes.”—Joan Didion
[O]nce upon a time, Cinderfellas evidently suffered right alongside Cinderellas, and handsome young men fell into slumbers nearly as deep as Briar Rose’s hundred-year nap. Just as girls became domestic drudges and suffered under the curse of evil mothers and stepmothers, boys, too, served out terms as gardeners and servants, sometimes banished into the woods by hostile fathers. Like Snow White, they had to plead with a hunter for their lives. And they are as good as they are beautiful. [But w]hy did we lose all those male counterparts to Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and the girl who becomes the wife of the Frog King?
Fractured fairy tale Wild with Happy stars one such Cinderfella. Get a quick glimpse into the history of male fairy tales in this neat-o article. BAM! Dramaturgy.
Have you ever heard Zora Neale Hurston’s voice? In addition to being an exquisite novelist and anthropologist, she recorded some songs for a past government organization, the WPA. According to Florida Memory:
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) - after 1939, the Works Projects Administration - was a work-relief program created in 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration that employed over 8.5 million people before its end in 1943. One of its programs was the Federal Writers Project (FWP), which included a Folklore Section. This section conducted fieldwork, recording songs, traditions, and stories across the nation.
The song above is called “Dat Old Black Gal.” To me, the “new shoes” mentioned makes me think of a new path—a change from the pain ascribed upon Blackness. It makes me think of an old Black spiritual where the lyrics include "travelin’ shoes Lord, got on my travelin shoes." And this journey symbolized by the need for new shoes could be thought of in a physical/emotional/cultural sense (i.e. The Great Migration), in an existential sense (i.e. contemplating the meaning of the journey of life, one’s identity beyond oppression) and/or in a theistic sense (i.e. shoes for the journey on “the narrow way”; how the “next” journey in life is going to heaven). But it is a railroad work song and often work songs were about getting through the labor but thinking of a future time when that labor would no longer be a reality or again, the next great journey. I feel as if some of these early Black songs like this one are pre-cursors to Afrofuturism.
The Florida Memory site has a bunch of audio recordings of her singing. It’s so thrilling for me to connect a voice to this talented genius who had great style, wisdom, and truly respected Black humanity by crafting stories of our complexities, imperfections and beauty so well. She was so ahead of her time.
WILD WITH HAPPY has gone into previews, so here’s one child’s account of grieving for a parent:
"In 2005, Essay Liu’s (劉梓潔) baffled- urbanite’s account of her father’s rural Taiwanese funeral spread across the internet. Liu was a copy-editor in Shanghai, then an editor for a Taipei-based glossy. She said she never considered herself an author until she wrote this essay on her blog. The essay won the 2006 Liberty Times Lin Rong-shan Prize, and was later adapted to a popular 2010 movie."
Considering this quotation and the work of so many playwrights, authors, artists, and other world-makers; and wondering whether instead our world is bound only by the limits of our imaginations, and not by our inability - yet - to utter it in language. Seems, rather, that language will follow when and where it must.
« The limits of my language means the limits of my world. »
“We [Einstein and Strauss] had finished the preparation of a paper and were looking for a paper clip. After opening a lot of drawers we finally found one which turned out to be too badly bent for use. So we were looking for a tool to straighten it. Opening a lot more drawers we came upon a whole box of unused paper clips. Einstein immediately started to shape one of them into a tool to straighten the bent one. When asked what he was doing, he said ‘Once I am set on a goal, it becomes difficult to deflect me.’”—Einstein said to an assistant at Princeton that this was the most characteristic anecdote that could be told of him. From Ernst Strauss, “A Memoir” (via historical-nonfiction)
no words, Einstein, no words for this at all. just, yes.
“One of the things Eliot sought explicitly to do in her fiction was to induce a reader to move beyond simple identification with people who are easy to comprehend because they are like us, and instead to feel with someone who is entirely unlike ourselves.”—Rebecca Mead on how George Eliot, who never bore children herself, knew so well what becoming a mother was like: http://nyr.kr/1s7TGS8 (via newyorker)
perhaps the acts of radical empathy made possible by fiction, or theater, begin just this way