Tuesday, August 28, 2012

419: Nigerian Email Scam


Remember when email scams seemed fresh and fascinating? Yeah, me neither. But I had a bit of nostalgia today for the Clinton era and it was triggered by an unusual source: SPAM email. I received a 419 email today.

Below is the copy of the email:


Hello dear,

Compliment of the day, it might surprise you to receive a message like this from unknown person, well situation has pushed me to write you using this medium, read carefully and reply if you wish to continue with me. I am Madam. Mary Jane Kalo, I lost my husband few years ago, my husband was dealing on precious metals (Diamond and Gold) to precise before he died of brain cancer.

Since the death of my husband, his brothers have been seriously chasing me around with constant threats, trying to suppress me so that they might have the documents of his landed properties and confiscate them. They have successfully collected all his properties, yet they never stopped there, they told me to surrender all bank accounts of my late husband, which I did, but I never disclose to them of a certain deposit (US$10.5Million) he made in one of the reputable bank which I will disclose to you if you agree to assist me complete the transfer.

The reason for contacting you is because my husband made the deposit in a suspense fixed account with a clause attached to it for onward transfer into a foreign account. I have requested for the immediate release but the bank insisted that I must present a foreign account as agreed with my husband, on condition this I seek for your assistance.

For the few days I left my country with my only son who is 7 years now, we have been in hotel, besides my son is very sick now and I have used almost the little money with me to give him treatment yet not responding well because the doctor said he is having typhoid and malaria and the money the hospital is demanding for proper treatment is not with me now, therefore, I am waiting for the completion of the transfer to enable me have enough money. I will be coming to your country once the fund is transferred, because I want to go into real estate business or if you know any business that is more lucrative you can advise me as you will be my business partner.

I am ready to give you 15% as your commission and 5% as additional if you incur any expenses during the transfer, making 20% you will immediately deduct from the total fund transferred into your account. After reading this mail if you deem it necessary to give me a helping hand, kindly reply so that I will send you the bank contact to enable you write them officially as my foreign business partner, also send the following as requested by bank:

1. Your Names: 4. Marital Status:
2. Address: 5.Occupation:
3. Telephone: 6. Age:

The reason is to fill the bank transfer form in your name. Please for the sake of my security and the transfer, try and keep the information completely from third-party, never discuss this matter with another person This is my number you can call me to verify +22998520796. I will send you my pictures and the deposit certificate when I receive your reply remember to include the required information above to enable me fill the form.

Thanks for your co-operation,

Madam Mary Jane



This is commonly and derogatorily referred to as "Nigerian Email scam.' While it's unfair to stick one particular country with a fraudulent activity, it received a lot of attention on NPR around the beginning of 2001. Remember those prosperous days? Surplus in the government, low unemployment, people throwing money around on ridiculous dot.com ideas, and e-mail. I had just graduated from Northwestern University.

In the summer of 2001 I was working 3 different jobs (managing editor, documentary director, and bureau chief for real estate magazine). They were all very good jobs and through some psychic mind trick I was able to manage them with ease. I started receiving these strange emails. It sounded too good to be true so I passed it along to my friend. He was suspicious but willing to open up an empty account just to try out this scam. A few days later I was listening to NPR when I heard about the 'Nigerian letter scam.'

Most news sites explained the story as followed:


Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud Overview

The perpetrators of Advance Fee Fraud (AFF), known internationally as "4-1-9" fraud after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes, are often very creative and innovative. 

Unfortunately, there is a perception that no one is prone to enter into such an obviously suspicious relationship. However, a large number of victims are enticed into believing they have been singled out from the masses to share in multi-million dollar windfall profits for doing absolutely nothing. It is also a misconception that the victim's bank account is requested so the culprit can plunder it -- this is not the primary reason for the account request -- merely a signal they have hooked another victim. 
  • In almost every case there is a sense of urgency.
  • The victim is enticed to travel to Nigeria or a border country.
  • There are many forged official looking documents.
  • Most of the correspondence is handled by fax or through the mail.
  • Blank letterheads and invoices are requested from the victim along with the banking particulars.
  • Any number of Nigerian fees are requested for processing the transaction with each fee purported to be the last required.
  • The confidential nature of the transaction is emphasized.
  • There are usually claims of strong ties to Nigerian officials.
  • A Nigerian residing in the U.S., London or other foreign venue may claim to be a clearing house bank for the Central Bank of Nigeria.
  • Offices in legitimate government buildings appear to have been used by impostors posing as the real occupants or officials.

The most common forms of these fraudulent business proposals fall into the following main categories:
  • Disbursement of money from wills 
  • Contract fraud (C.O.D. of goods or services) 
  • Purchase of real estate 
  • Conversion of hard currency 
  • Transfer of funds from over invoiced contracts 
  • Sale of crude oil at below market prices 
In the next stage some alleged problem concerning the "inside man" will suddenly arise. An official will demand an up-front bribe or an unforeseen tax or fee to the Nigerian government will have to be paid before the money can be transferred. These can include licensing fees, registration fees, and various forms of taxes and attorney fees. Normally each fee paid is described as the very last fee required. Invariably, oversights and errors in the deal are discovered by the Nigerians, necessitating additional payments and allowing the scheme to be stretched out over many months.

Several reasons have been submitted why Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud has undergone a dramatic increase in recent years. The explanations are as diverse as the types of schemes. The Nigerian Government blames the growing problem on mass unemployment, extended family systems, a get rich quick syndrome, and, especially, the greed of foreigners.
Indications are that Advance Fee Fraud grosses hundreds of millions of dollars annually and the losses are continuing to escalate. In all likelihood, there are victims who do not report their losses to authorities due to either fear or embarrassment.





Monday, August 27, 2012

Dating Apps: No Blks, Asians, Fatties?



Recently I completed a bunch of videos for MISTER, a new gay dating app. MISTER's goal is to be inclusive and to bring more people into the fold of online and app dating. It seems like a good mission. Personally I don't have any apps on my phone and have never had a desire to become a part of the app community. I began asking around and talking to my friends about their experience on phone apps. The general feedback I got was  that the phone app was like radar, it was addictive, and the interactions were frustrating, flaky, and some times racists/discriminatory.

I can imagine the allure of having a radar on me all the time and being able to flirt without the risk of face-to-face rejection. Hence, the apps were immensely addictive and compulsive. that's not so attractive because even having email on my phone has turned me into a perpetual email checker. When I'm bored, lonely, have a few seconds to kill on the subway as it heads over a bridge, I now have an instant reaction to grab my phone and see if I have any new messages. I can't imagine having a phone app and treating people like a video game. In fact that become one of the running jokes in the MISTER videos I wrote and produced. Here is one below:




Many of my friends also talked about feeling discriminated against if they were Black, a Latino who was too dark, Asian, or deemed as overweight in gay society (which could mean anything from morbidly obese to having over 2% body fat). It was disheartening to hear this.

We can do better. Technology is supposed to be a tool of unification. But as with anything that is for human use, tools can be used to construct or destruct. In the case of dating apps, many people feel like it has been to their disadvantage. It has only allowed people to stay more isolate and to not explore.

I don't have any personal examples because I'm not a part of any online or phone app sites. But I hope we can be more inclusive of others.


Monday, August 20, 2012

THE DECISION: 2012 Play Festival



I'm organizing/producing a reading festival on Nov. 10-12th (Sat-Monday). It's a theatre series for 10-minute plays based around the theme of 'Decisions,' the 2012 election, and the shift in the nation's landscape and our worldview. 

We're looking for a few great short plays. Plays will be judged by a panel of directors and producers. And then a decision will be made by first week of October. Here is the information. Please spread the word to others. 

This is a brand-new thing that I'm jumping into and we'll see how this turns out. But I think it will foster a lot of great debate, art, and dialogue among people after this election. No matter who wins, something has shifted and this is an opportunity to reflect, laugh, and change.


The Decision: 2012 Play Festival
Deadline: September 30th
WEBSITE: http://2012playfestival.tumblr.com/

After all the hype, hoopla and voting what do we have as a nation and a people? "The Decision" is a short play reading festival about what happens after this heated election but also where we will be or should be after this November election. The plays don't have to be about politics but should address some aspect of our culture, media, and our relationships with each other. 

We're looking for funny, witty, insightful, dramatic 10 minute plays. Tell us where we'll be in 2012 and beyond in our politics, media, and community. The festival will take place the weekend of Nov 10th-12th (Saturday, Sunday, Monday). They'll be a talk back after each night that will allow the audience to engage with the writers and directors.

Plays will be evaluated by a small panel of directors and producers. The top plays will be selected for the 3-day play reading festival at Three Jewels in the East Village. 

Guidelines:
-submit plays by Sept. 30th
-10 minute plays
- include your name and contact info on title page along with list of characters
-send synopsis of play in cover email
-E-mail submissions: 2012playfestival@gmail.com
-check for updates on the website: http://2012playfestival.tumblr.com/

If you know other talented writers or artists, please spread the word.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Romney/Ryan ticket = Obama re-election


When I heard that Mitt Romney had selected Paul Ryan as his VP running mate, I did a little dance. In my head at least. On the outside, a smile burst over my face. I literally exhaled in a giant sigh of relief. On the inside I was spiking the ball in the end zone and doing the funky chicken. I was leaping through fountains of champagne. I was reciting the 'hardest' Kanye West lyrics I could think of to the kitchen table, which was a stand-in for Romney.

BALL SO HARD!!!

"Suicide doors on the private jet/Ya know what that means: I'm fly to death."

I rarely write about politics on this blog. I know who I am voting for in the 2012 elections: Obama and any Democrat. Seriously. You got a Dem? Put on the ballot. It doesn't matter whether they're dead of alive. They have my vote.  There is no question about these last two elections and it's not because I'm Black. My confidence is based on having a pretty good memory of GOP policy in the 1980s and what it did to most Americans and what Bush's policies did to the nation and world at the turn of the millennium. But I respect other people's beliefs. Furthermore, I don't really have a desire to change other people's minds about politics.

But the Ryan announcement brought out the old news/politics wonk in me. I grew up consuming CNN and the NYTimes. My favorite show as a kid wasn't "The Simpsons." It was the British House of Commons "Questions to the Prime Minister" on C-Span every Sunday night. On more than one occasion my sister had some choice words for my turning the channel away from Sunday evening shows to sights of old cantankerous British men sitting on 1970s lime green shiny seats bellowing at each other in, often in sarcastic football cheers and shouts that followed surly exchanges...

Yayayayayaya...OHHHH!!!

I could wake up to that in the morning and it would still make me smile.  It's the low rumbling sound of democracy and discourse. It is the music of freedom and the bombastic boom bravado that each person has a right to in a free society.

And all these years of watching and consuming politics has given me an instinctive feel for certain political maneuvering. I don't always have that gut, instant reaction but when I do it's often right.

I remember being in my friends car in LA in 2000 when Gore announced Joe Lieberman as his running mate and me slapping the dashboard in frustration. My friend asked what my problem was and I blurted out 'GORE JUST LOST FLORIDA! AND THAT MEANS HE LOST THE ELECTION." Three months later on election night I just shook my head as the whole thing boiled down a fundamentally flawed campaign and bad decisions.

In 2008 I was driving back from Miami and listening to newcomer Sarah Palin on the radio. Without the visual, I just paid attention to her words and delivery. The gut reaction kicked in...

Small, mean, empty. Vicious 'bully' pleasure in attacking, but probably can't take it. 

When I got home the pundits were praising Palin based on how she looked and performed on TV. Everyone was ensorcelled by the instant image. She cast a 48-72 spell over the nation. But the delivery of the words stuck with me. Even on the radio, I could feel her smiling with delight at the small-minded mean jabs written into the speech. This wasn't presidential or even vice-presidential. This was a high school cheerleader with a platform to stick it to the 'nerds' and 'non-jocks.'

So the dance I was doing in my head over the Ryan selection was also another instant reaction moment. This time it was joy and relief. It has nothing to do with Ryan as a man.

I've only heard Ryan speak once on TV and my instant reaction was:
Nice guy.
Doesn't get out much.
Talks to people only in his circle.
Pampered Bureaucrat.

And there was another image that popped in my head when I thought of Paul Ryan: a hydroponic plant.

A living thing sustained by artificial means, growing in the basement, but utterly unable to handle the natural elements. Ryan's mind has been locked in the cellar of some conservative think tank, being fed history through an artificial tube, and mistaking the hot lamps of Fox News from the bright August sun of national presidential campaign that will be nothing short of relentless.

I don't think he'll managed the attack dog role with as much unbridled glee as Sarah Palin. And he seems like a clean-cut professional. But Ryan also comes across as incredibly sheltered and naieve in his opinion on how things actually work outside of his immediate life and existence. When you think about great leaders -regardless of the party affiliation- they've usually faced some huge challenge and were forced to go outside of their comfort zone.

Rich old white guy selects younger, whiter-looking Midwestern guy to appeal to...
Blacks? No.
Latinos? No.
Women? Hell no!
Older voters? Not with his budget plans.

The Ryan pick shores up the GOP base at the expense of all other voters. It's a catastrophic mistake that  almost gift-wraps the election for Obama. He just lost women and older voters and, without that, the GOP can't win any of the swing states. In fact, Dem politicians might be able to win a few House seats back on the Ryan pick.

Instead of the election being a referendum about Obama's middling economic performance, it will be about Ryan for a few reasons: 1) we're sick of talking about Obama and the economy 2) Obama's actual policies are very mild 3) most people still blame Bush for the economic collapse so Obama attacks on go so far 4)Ryan is the new story, the media will focus its attention on over the next month. And this is bad, awful, very terrible, not good news for the GOP.

Paul Ryan's politics represent the bottoming out of a delusional think tank fantasy. They are not only impractical but downright scary when applied to reality. He lists Ayn Rand as a hero. I loved Ayn Rand too. When I was 13 years old. I was immature, rebellious, and had no concept of social structures.  Ryan is 43. What's his excuse?

 To understand how bizarre and scary his 'deregulate social services' idea can be it takes a bit of a perspective. You have to go back to before Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid existed. You have to look at the poverty numbers for elderly and remember the stories of senior citizens eating dog food and dying from perfectly treatable disease because they couldn't see a doctor. To know what America was like before Social Security you need to just think about that seniors went from being at the highest risk for living in squalor to being relatively stable and middle-class within a few generations. This didn't happen by accident. This happened because Americans said 'that's enough. I don't want my mother to work her whole to be eating Purina One out of a can in a slum house. Do something!'

Government did do something. Tremendous and drastic to address a serious problem. And, for the large part, it has and continues to work. That doesn't mean Social Security is perfect and couldn't use tweaks. But deregulating it would leave people at the mercy of the financial market and trade. These are the same markets that bankrupted entire continents in a matter of hours in 2007. These same markets evaporated billions of dollars in college funds, endowments, and grants in a cloud of numbers. And these are the same markets that were bailed out, never apologized, rolled over, and continued making billion-dollar bonuses. These are the markets that Ryan thinks will 'fix' Social Security.

Of course, Ryan will be given better coverage this first week before people start really digging in. But then they'll turn and begin digging into his beliefs. This will be around September, which is when the public opinion will solidify about Rep. Ryan. October will be the debates and then November is the election. So pretty much there is one strong month that will focus on Ryan. September was the month that broke Sarah Palin. And September will be the defining month for Ryan and Romney. Dem operatives will probably let Romney/Ryan have their convention and post-convention bounce. Because that's as good as it's going to get for the GOP.

In September Bill Clinton, Obama, and every friendly Dem politician will be sprinting across the country talking about Romney's tax returns, Bain Capital, and Ryan's budget. Congressional Republicans will be be responding to tax return and economic fairness questions. These are not the questions the GOP wants to focus on.

GOP operatives are going to try to define Ryan in a strong light. But they've been trying to do that for Romney for the past year and look how far it's gotten them. What makes anyone think that image/myth creation work the GOP couldn't do for Romney with a 12-month head start, they can pull for Paul Ryan in 6 weeks?

Long-term the Ryan pick is equally promising for Dems. The GOP base is shrinking. It needs a desperate restart before it loses the next two generations of Americans. Ryan's pick is a crowd-pleaser for Fox News and a non-starter for most voters. The only thing they'll remember about him is his Rand-style budget that's a hatchet job on the middle class.

Congratulations Romney: you just made a game changing move. Unfortunately it's for Obama.

And although the White House is too cool and professional to admit this, I bet I wasn't the only one doing a touchdown dance in my head this weekend.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stop Being So F*#king Sorry: Why Apologies Don't Work


I was waking down a bright sunny New York street today and thinking about apologies.  The August sun was setting and the sky was a spectacular neon orange across the Hudson River. My mind wandered through the past week in the news. There have been a lot of 'sorry's and outrages this summer with it being an election year and also heavy with sporting events. The 2012 London Summer Olympics are in full swing. Athletes from around the world have been training their whole lives for a two week window to become recognized, famous, and medaled. 99% of them will go home empty and as anonymous as before. Most will never make it back to another Olympics. There is that agonizing post-mortem interview NBC has been doing with American athletes. When Americans are winning then it's fun exercise and honor. But when they're losing or doing something embarrassing, these interviews and the constant media attention becomes this very awkward dance of both apologizing and being defensive.

Over the weekend Serena Williams won the gold in women's tennis. She destroyed Maria Sharapova in straight sets and only lost one game in the entire match. Afterward she danced in joy and ended up doing an abbreviated version of the 'crip walk' which is a dance synonymous with the murderous street gang that spread drugs and terror across American cities in the 1980s and 1990s. Afterward the media focused on the crip walk and Serena both played coy, semi-apologized, and remained vague about what she was apologizing for, since she claimed she didn't know what dance she had done but that it might have 'offended' some people. I started thinking about when I've had to say 'sorry' in the past and when people have apologized to me.

Speaking only for myself, I've noticed that the source of my own apologies come from two main channels: 1. getting caught 2. feeling embarrassed about what I did as not being 'me.' It struck me that the reasoning behind my apologies has been -for most of my life - insincere at best and outright manipulating narcissism at worst.

The first source of apologizing is getting caught. In most cases the action I was caught doing would have continued either indefinitely or for at least a much longer period of time if I wasn't found out.  Most of the time, the capitulating act is something that both sides know is 'out of bounds' or questionable. But the 'guilty' party continues this act as long as no one notices it. If that's the case then being sorry isn't a matter of realization or transformation. I knew what I was doing was wrong. Apologizing becomes a salvaging act from having to confront the 'thoughts' behind the behavior. I'll say really quickly "I'm sorry' hoping to head-off any personal examination or reflection. The apology becomes a protective guard. If someone continues to investigate or pursue a line of questions I would often repeated in a more pronounced and exasperated tone "I SAID I was sorry!' How many times in my life have I heard that reflexive statement coming out of my mouth or being said to someone else.

"Damn, I'm sorry already!"

"Ugh, I'm said sorry. OKAY?!? '

"I apologized! What more do you want?"

 This usual ends the discussion. In some ways I've won. I got to engage in a 'questionable' act for a unspecified amount of time and then -when caught- quickly put up a defensive statement that's meant not to change the situation but to end the investigation into my actions.

And even better and more duplicitous apology I've found very sneaking its way into my speech patterns. It's the half-hearted 'qualified' contrition. It goes something like this:

"If that offended you, then I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry. I didn't know you were so sensitive."

"I'm sorry if I hurt you in some way."

In a few short, choice words I've managed to turn the guilt of the apology back on the victim. It makes the other person seem overly emotional and small. I'm especially taken with the qualifier 'if I hurt you in some way.' It implies that I don't even know how I hurt you, which means in some ways I'm the innocent one whose stumbled into an emotional trap of guilt.

If one has ever been on the receiving end of this type of 'apology with a qualifier' it feels very uncomfortable. It doesn't even feel like an apology and when I receive something like that I know that I can't pursue much further without starting hostilities. The apologizing party is pivoting off the 'sorry' and preparing to defend itself against any further statements or quickly change the topic to something else.

NEUROTIC 'SORRY'

Then there's the 'sorry that trips off people's lips a hundred times a day. It's a sorry that is completely illogical and has nothing to do with actually harming someone. In many cases I didn't even do anything.  It goes something like this...

"I'm sorry but I have a really stupid question." (said this on Monday to a teacher)

"He wouldn't let you in? I'm sorry."

"Yeah, you came out in the rain. Sorry about that."

"Sorry you missed your flight." (said by a person who is in no way involved in the airline industry)

People apologize to me all the time for the weather, for bad luck, for things completely out of their control. More and more I'm responding to these apologies with a sarcastic and light-hearted retort:

"You SHOULD be sorry for this rain! How dare you!!"

I have no idea why this 'sorry' seems to have increase a thousand fold since I was a teenager. It feels like there's some huge storm of self-hatred or a lack of self-esteem that is worming its way into our way of communicating with each other. Maybe I can blame it on the talk show culture of looking for an apology.

This is a slow death of 'I'm sorry.' The actual apology loses all meaning when used for things that are out of a person's control. To apologize for rain is as inversely illogical as congratulating myself for the sunshine.

'It's such a beautiful day. I'm so proud!'

 Someone might say 'what do you have to be proud of? What did you do?"

 I went out to eat with a friend last night and it turned out that the restaurant only took cash. I looked at that policy statement and frowned. My friend was quick...

"Oh, I'm so sorry."

"Yes, you should be."

We laughed and I withdrew some cash from my checking and everything was fine. But I was also aware that the apology was not only wrong but it stuck out from the situation, interrupted the dialogue, and didn't even fix the problem. It had nothing to do with the very simple issue yet it was an emotional reflex reaction. I do this all the time and I'll catch myself in mid-apology for some weather phenomena or late train.

PUBLIC APOLOGIES AND SCANDAL

In the news I've noticed these 'getting caught' apologies as the norm. Politicians, athletes, superstars don't just apologize in public out of guilt. The apologize comes after the 'mugshot' or the perp walk. Even better if the apology is mixed in with frowning faces and heads hung low. And some times this apology comes years after denial, defensive anger, outright rage at any questions.

I remember Nick Saban when he was the football coach for the Miami Dolphins. Halfway through his second season, reporters started peppering him with questions about leaving the Dolphins. He was outraged and appalled and said as much. The anger was so visceral that reporters would often withdraw their questions or apologize for having the audacity to be so dishonorable. Saban swore loyalty to the Dolphins and angrily shot down any questions about leaving. In retrospect, many reporters stated that they were asking this question because they had confirmed sources saying that Saban had 'feelers' out on the market and he was actively and surreptitiously trying to find a new job while he still was being paid millions for his current position at the Dolphins.

As someone who has worked in offices, I know how taboo it is to even use the workplace copier to print new resumes. It's an act that has to be done quietly because it's seen as wasting company resources (ink and paper) to create a document that's used to find another company. Essentially it's like using your wife's car to go pick up your mistress. If caught, it's not only seen as 'wrong' but tacky, boldly stupid, and mean. And all that is just for 'paper and ink.'

After the Dolphins' season ended Saban was scheduled to have a press conference and was a no-show. Instead the media was greeted by Wayne Huzienga, the Dolphins owner at the time. Huzienga had a prepared statement. Saban -through Huzienga- was offering a somewhat ersatz contrition. As Huzienga read the statement he also defended the honor of Saban who was -as they spoke- on a flight to his new multimillion dollar job at the University of Alabama. Saban had not only broken his contract, deceived the media over the course of months, and lied to his players. He had been downright mean and angry at his accusers. And then when his accusers proved to be correct, he was on a plane to another state. Huzienga -the boss who was paying him millions of dollars to improve his business- was left holding the stage on his own, explaining for his employees behavior. Years later, Saban has won multiple championships and is richer than ever. We live in an odd world.

Economically we're recovering from possibly the biggest and most-widespread financial disaster in human history. Spread out over every continent and in every country, trillions of dollars were loss and stolen by banks and traders. This act has lead to hunger, lack of food, energy shortages around the world, and severe human suffering. From agriculture and fishing, and all the way up to government budgets everyone depended on that stream of financing that was a combination of stock markets, derivatives, bonds, and funds. It's a very small group of people who work in these fields. The reaction to the crisis was quick and decisive from this elite group: give us all your money or we're going to blow this whole thing up. In a panic, most of the world obliged in fear. After the markets were back to turning a consistent profit most governments and reasonable people waited. Although there's no way to know what each person was thinking it's safe to assume that they were waiting for an apology or some sort of corrective measure or reform. Instead the second wave of reaction was just as swift as panic: shut up and be quiet.

When it became clear that there was going to be no massive arrest of Wall Street types, nor even an 'oops, my bad' a seething rage began to pulse in the blogosphere and amongst 'normal people.' Then -in scattered and disorganized form- there have been some mumblings of 'sorry' from business executives. Most often, this happens after they retire or switch careers. All of sudden they remember: oh yeah, I was supposed to at least pretend to be sorry.

OUTRAGE/APOLOGY FEEDBACK LOOP

Our media and social networking feeds on outrage. Facebook, twitter, and blogs depend on some scandal or injustice somewhere being thrown in the light. In an ideal world this light leads to revolution and social change in oppressed systems and countries. Most of the time, this outrage is really just the 'junk food' of the conscious mind. The mind is seeking guilt 'out there' to be corrected to avoid any internal change or adjustments.  It doesn't take long to find outrage at some hypocrisy or improper etiquette.

 Closeted gay Republicans, crip-walking American athletes, loud-mouth conservatives, and racist teenage rants on facebook don't effect my life any in significant way. The outrage I'm being goaded into feeling is really to force the offending party into a mea culpa. But here's the catch: the apology won't stop me from looking at other things to be outraged at; in fact, quite the opposite. The guilt-trip induced apology encourages further outrage. The apology feeds back into the loop of social blame and guilt. The more apologies are given, the less magnanimous we seem to become as a nation. The apology becomes like a sugar high for a little kid and as each high begins to fade, I go looking for another outrage with the hopes of an apology so I can feel smug and righteous.

In many ways, the apology is the worst thing that can happen in these public-guilt festivals. 'I'm sorry' feeds the beast of outrage and paranoia. And that's because the apology is coming out of fear instead of sincerity.

Fear-based apologies run the world and only increase a feeling of insecurity. Post-Cold War America is probably one of the most peaceful times in the entire planet. The proportion of wars and conflicts is much lower than any time in modern human history. America has no natural enemies to the north or south, and is surrounded by huge oceans to the east and west. Our friends are on every continent, our businesses are in every country, we make 25% of the world economy and are less than 5% of the population. America stands as a freakishly strong superpower of military, economic, and cultural superiority not seen since the Roman Empire. In fact, the so-called Roman Empire only had hard-control over a very small portion of the world. America's 'soft power' seeps through TV, internet, and every form of media that can be found on the planet. And yet, Americans purchase more guns and arms than the entire world. Our military mindset is unparalleled in fear which keeps us driving for new and faster ways to kill others and monitor them. Our politicians must reference strength at every turn, or else they are seen as weak. The American mindset has got to be one of the most bizarre cocktails of competitiveness, worry, anger, kid-like enthusiasm, sex-violence fixation, and apocalyptic fear.

How could anything work under these conditions in the long term? Apologies depend upon softness, atonement, patience, and dedication.

BETTER THAN 'SORRY': DO SOMETHING!

Sorry isn't good enough in this environment. In fact, it can be counterproductive. There has to be a better way to live than in half-hearted and defensive apologies. Fortunately there are many practices that strive for something higher.

In Buddhist practice we keep a vow book or keep track of our positive and negative actions. Throughout the course of the day, when a negative thought or action occurs it's possible to do purification with the 4 powers: foundation, destruction, restraint, and antidote. This is an effective method of correction that has been around for over 2,000 years. No where in the four powers does it mention being 'sorry.'

The first power is one of regret. It's not a regret at getting caught or being wrong, or falling to live up to some false and heroic image of what I think I should be. The regret is simple and mathematical: whatever I do, will be done to be in an exponential amount. The regret is kept at the basic level of karma arithmetic: this act I would not like done to me and now I have ensured that it will appear in my path some time in the future and cause me pain and suffering.

The second power is to go for help or refuge in something when in crisis. This could be Jesus, the US government, Buddha, a wise spiritual person, but anything that can offer some support against the decision which will cause me a lot of pain in the future.

The third power is now realizing that I have done something which will cause me discomfort, I will restrain from doing this act again for a specific amount of time. The fourth power is to do the antidote or the act which destroys the initial seed. Usually the antidote is the exact opposite of whatever was done so if it's a regret of stealing something, then the antidote would be to give generously to others. No where in the process is the requirement for guilt and contrition. The corrective actions are like a computer which is cleaning its hard drive or purging out a virus.

In "A Course In Miracles" there is a corrective process that also involves deep and continual forgiveness combined with an understanding of reality. The forgiveness is operating on the level of illusion that's only being created by the perceiver. So forgiveness seeks to wipe out the illusion entirely.

I would like for there to be a time when apologies mean something besides guilt at being caught or a distraction. Ultimately, contrition has huge power for all involved. Yet, if the intention isn't right, 'sorry' just becomes an empty mantra of contemporary culture.

All these thoughts ran through my head as I walked through the village and the sunset turned to night. I went to Washington Square Park and sat by the water fountain. There was a young woman who looked like an NYU student within the center circle. She was sitting on a stone bench by herself. I hunched my shoulders and slid into my seat, almost as if to apologize for taking up space on a huge bench. Then I caught myself: what am I sorry for? This is a public bench, I'm using it, she's using it. We're not disturbing each other. I sat there for a moment and ate some hummus from Whole Foods.

The hunch dissolved from my back and I looked around. A man was cussing out his dog in the southwest corner of the circle and yelling for some obedience. A vendor was screaming about $1 water and holding up plastic bottles. A lithely female voice was singing under the Arch on a microphone. On an adjacent stone bench a couple was making out. I felt like no one had to be sorry for anything and I was grateful. There was some serenity in people just being able 'to be' without apologies. Messy and loud, passionately displaying public affection, quietly reflective, high on drugs. The world just WAS and IS without qualifiers or contrition. And my thoughts melted back into the present moment, the food in my lap, feel of the recycled brown box against my legs.

I came home and begin fiddling with these thoughts. Of course now I realize that this essay is entirely too long for the Internet. Perhaps I am wasting people's time or being indulgent. I feel the need to apologize for being long-winded. Instead, I just sit here as I finish this last sentence.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Get What You Want: August 2012


This is Get What You Want: August 2012. 

There are 22 playwriting contests featured this month. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom because the 22nd is the Guggenheim Fellowship and the website to download information and application.


1.
New Jersey Repertory Company
Deadline: Ongoing

The New Jersey Repertory Company's mission is to develop and produce new plays for the American stage. NJ Rep has two intimate theatres. NJ Rep receives approximately 1000 scripts annually and 20-25 plays are selected for staged readings a season and 6-7 plays are selected for full productions. NJ Rep accepts unsolicited scripts year-round. Please limit your submission to one script per year, unless additional material is requested.


DETAILS

We currently cannot consider plays that require more than 4 actors. NJ Rep prefers plays that are previously unproduced and unpublished. We are currently only considering full length plays, please do not submit pieces that run under 75 minutes.

Submissions must include the following materials to be considered:

•  Synopsis of play
•  Character Breakdown
•  Production History and Relevant Press Materials
•  Musicals should include MP3's of songs

Please allow at least 12 months for notification. Electronic submissions only. You will be contacted only if your script is being considered. Please include an email address and telephone number for notification.

Email your submission to njrep@njrep.org. Please be sure to include all of the requested material in your submission email.

Thank you for your interest in NJ Rep!

2.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnatti

Deadline: October

We accept script submissions from June to October only. You may submit a complete script or 10 sample pages. Please include a cover letter, complete character list and synopsis with your submission. We look for: full-length plays only (no one-acts), adaptations and musicals; world and regional premieres; ensemble works; plays with music; multi-media works; and plays that address current social issues.

DETAILS

Please be aware that Ensemble Theatre’s stage is a full thrust with relatively no wing or fly space and limited backstage area; therefore, our space is not very conducive to plays that require significant scene changes or numerous settings and places that are not easily adaptable or implied.

Before submitting any material to Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, please read our mission statement and research our production history, which are located on our website. Considering the types of plays we have produced in the past, honestly assess whether or not your play would fit us.

Preferred maximum cast size: 8.
Response Time: 6-9 months.
Stage dimensions: 44’ x 46’.

Please email (preferred) script submissions toscripts@ensemblecincinnati.org.

If you do send a hard copy, you must include a SASE for our response and/or return of the material.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati
Attn: Script Submissions
1127 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202


3.
Ars Nova Play Group
Deadline: August 6th

We're looking to you guys to help us get the best possible applicant pool, so please tell all your best (playwright) friends and protégés to apply. You know better than anyone what makes Play Group awesome, and what makes an awesome Play Grouper, so spread the word. If you're one of our current members, you really better dust off those rolodexes because you're going to spend the next year eating pizza with with these people.


 All emerging playwrights are eligible for membership.
Here's a link you can pass on (or tweet, facebook, tumbl, instagram, be pinterested in, whatever) with all the details of applying: http://arsnovanyc.com/programs-off-stage/play-group-application and I've attached our full press release in case you want to pass that on, too, but I  trust you'll give livelier and more personal endorsements to your real writer-friends.
***
If selected, new members will be invited to join for a period of two years beginning in January of 2013. Play Group 2013 will culminate in a group-created production at Ars Nova in early 2014.

Additional information about Play Group is available here, and applications are available here. All applicants must submit one full-length play, a playwriting resume, two professional references and a personal statement. Applications for Play Group 2013 will be accepted beginning July 1 and must be emailed to playgroup@arsnovanyc.com by August 6 to be eligible for consideration. Applications will only be accepted via email.



4.
AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY
Deadline: Oct 5th

WEB:http://www.americanantiquarian.org/artistfellowship.htm
E-MAIL: cmcrell@mwa.org
PHONE: 508/471-2131

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS), a national research library and learned society of American history and culture, is calling for applications for visiting fellowships for historical research by creative and performing artists, writers, film makers, journalists, and other persons whose goals are to produce imaginative, nonformulaic works dealing with pre-twentieth-century American history. Successful applicants are those whose work is for the general public rather than for academic or educational audiences. The Society’s goal in sponsoring this program is to multiply and improve the ways in which an understanding of history is communicated to the American people.

The fellowships will provide the recipients with the opportunity for a period of uninterrupted research, reading, and collegial discussion at the Society, located in Worcester, Massachusetts. FUNDING: At least three fellowships will be awarded for residence of four weeks at the Society at any time during the period January l through December 31. The stipend will be $1,350 for fellows residing on campus (rent-free) in the Society’s scholars’ housing, located next to the main library building. The stipend will be $1,850 for fellows residing off campus. Fellows will not be paid a travel allowance.

5.
Yale Drama Series 2013 Playwriting Competition
Deadline: Aug 15th

The Yale Drama Series is seeking submissions for its 2013 playwriting competition. The winning play will be selected by the series' current judge, award-winning playwright John Guare. The winner of this annual competition will be awarded the David Charles Horn Prize of $10,000, publication of his/her manuscript by Yale University Press, and a staged reading at Lincoln Center Theater.


There is no application form or entry fee. Please follow these guidelines in preparing your manuscript:

-This contest is restricted to plays written in the English language. Worldwide submissions are accepted.

-Submissions must be original, unpublished full-length plays written in English. Translations, musicals, and children's plays are not accepted. The Yale Drama Series is intended to support emerging playwrights. Playwrights may win the competition only once.

-Playwrights may submit only one manuscript per year.

-Plays that have had professional productions are not eligible. Plays that have had a workshop, reading or non-professional production are accepted.

-Plays may not be under option or scheduled for professional production at the time of submission.

-The manuscript must begin with a title page that shows the play's title and your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address (if you have one), page count and (if applicable) a list of acknowledgments; a second title page which lists the title of the play only, a list of characters, and a list of acts and scenes.
-Plays must be typed/word-processed, page-numbered and instandard professional play format. A brief biography may be included at the end of the manuscript, on a separate page, but is not required.

-Do not bind or staple the manuscript.
-Send the manuscript to Yale Drama Series, P.O. Box 209040, New Haven, CT 06520-9040.

Submissions for the 2013 competition must be postmarked no earlier than June 1, 2012 and no later than August 15, 2012.

Do not send the only copy of your work. Manuscripts cannot be returned after the competition. If you wish receipt of your manuscript to be acknowledged, please include a stamped, self-addressed postcard.

ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS:
Electronic submissions for the 2013 competition must be submitted no earlier than June 1, 2012 and no later than August 15, 2012.
If you would like to submit an electronic copy of your manuscript please email submissions.yaledramaseries@yale.edu with your request.


Upon receiving an email request for submission, we will send an email reply to the sender requesting a secure file transfer form be completed which will allow the electronic submission.
Both PDF/Word document submissions are accepted. PDF submissions are preferred but not required.


6.
S.N.A.F.U 10-min Play Festival
Deadline: Sept. 1st

Colby-Sawyer College's sixth annual 10-minute play festival will be a production of eight to 10 short plays performed on Nov. 1, 2 and 3, 2012 in the Sawyer Center Theatre. This is an opportunity for playwrights to see their work as a professionally supported, staged performance in a 670-seat theater.

Plays need not be limited as to set requirements, costumes, lighting or cast size, but they must be no longer than 10 minutes. A general guideline is that one page of play script equals one minute of time in performance.

Plays slightly over 10 minutes may be chosen with a request that they be slightly edited and resubmitted. All entrants will be notified whether their play has been selected for the production.

The play submissions must be received on or before Sept. 1, 2012 to be considered.

 In the past, the panel of judges has chosen plays from student writers as well as from professional writers and others who are not affiliated with Colby-Sawyer College. All are welcome to submit.

There is no fee for play submissions. Please send submissions electronically as an attachment to mlovell@colby-sawyer.edu or mail a hard copy to:

Michael Lovell,
Fine and Performing Arts,
Colby-Sawyer College,
541 Main Street, New London NH 03257


7.
Looking Glass Writer/Director Forum


THE LOOKING GLASS WRITER/DIRECTOR FORUM, a semi-annual festival in which emerging women playwrights and directors present their interpretations of new and classic short works, seeks new short plays (running time 15-35 minutes) by women. The Forum is an established festival which has been in regular production at the same location since 2001. We charge no fee of any kind for the submission of scripts. We are dedicated to providing an expressive avenue for women's voices, and are not able to consider unsolicited works by male authors at this time.

DETAILS
There is no restriction as to style or subject matter, but we are particularly interested in pieces that explore the possibilities of the theatrical medium. a place where the dead and the living, the real and the imaginary, the rational and the fantastic, can all interact on a level field. Playwrights from all over the world are welcome to submit their plays, but preference will be given to those in the NYC area in the hope that they can participate more fully in the development and production process.

We require plays to include at least two good roles (no monologues, please), of which at least one should be female. The characters should relate to one another in some way, not just tell a story and make way for the next person (monologue in disguise.) Bear in mind that it is easier for us to cast roles in the 17-35 year old age range.

IMPORTANT SUBMISSION INFORMATION:

    Enclose a cover letter with your contact information on it.

Always put your name and address on your script.

Production history and biographical info are also useful. You should also mention if you have had a play produced at Looking Glass before before and if not, how you heard about us!.

We require you to submit an email (digital) version in addition to the hard copy.  Please send only one script per email and put the title of the play in the subject line. In the TEXT of the email, provide a brief synopsis, character breakdown, and approximate running time. (Word or PDF format ONLY.)

Please do not send submissions by email without an accompanying hard copy. Because of the new postal restrictions it is no longer practical for us to return manuscripts. We apologize for the additional  expense to you.

    We will accept up to three (3) submissions at once.

EMAIL scripts in Word or PDF format ONLY to: lgtlit@yahoo.com

MAIL hard copies of scripts, standard mail, to:
LOOKING GLASS THEATRE
422 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
Attn. Erica Nilson

Scripts may also be dropped off in person at the address above during office hours. Check web site for weekly hours. Hours always subject to change. Call 212-307-9467 to confirm. If no answer, leave a message!


8.
South Street Players
Deadline: Sept. 1

South Street Players (southstreetplayers.org) is seeking short (20 minutes or less), original, one act plays for its 2nd Annual Tri-State Theatre Festival. The NJACT Perry Award Nominated event will take place November 2-4, 2012 in Spring Lake, NJ.

The festival is an artistic fundraiser, with all proceeds going to SSP to help the group maintain its commitment to producing high-quality, extremely entertaining theatre experiences for the 2012-13 season… and beyond.

Submission Rules and Process:

Seeking original comedic and dramatic one-act plays from playwrights currently living in the Tri-State area only (NJ, NY and PA)

Plays must be 20 pages or less.  Submissions of longer than 20 pages will be declined for consideration.

Plays must be in standard playscript format.

Playwrights may submit more than one play, but please be sure your name and email address is on the title page of each script.

SSP is a family theatre – no excessive swearing, no nudity.

No royalties or payment will be provided to playwrights should his or her play be chosen for the festival.

Plays will only be accepted via email: southstreetoneacts@gmail.com

For more information, please email Rob Sullivan, Festival Producer, at southstreetoneacts@gmail.com


9.
HotCity
Deadline: Oct. 1st

HotCity Theatre of St. Louis announces a call for submissions of new full-length plays for the seventh annual GreenHouse New Play Festival, to be held in June of 2013.

Three plays will be selected for the Festival. These plays will receive a week-long (June 16-23) workshop with director, dramaturg and professional actors.  The workshop will culminate in a public reading followed by audience response sessions.   HotCity artistic staff will then select one script for a fully produced world premiere as part of the company’s 2014 mainstage season.

Eligible submissions must meet the following criteria:
--received after June 1, 2012 and no later than October 1, 2012
--require a maximum of six actors
--running time of between 75 and 120 minutes
--never before published
--never before professionally produced, no pending professional productions
--never before submitted to the HotCity Greenhouse New Play Festival

Submissions must include the following:
1) a half-page synopsis of the play.  This synopsis should focus solely on the plot and events of the play.  It should not include promotional verbiage or thematic content.
2) a half-page description of how the playwright feels that this script would benefit from the workshop/revision process.
3) a brief description of the script’s reading/production history, special casting requirements, and technical information (special or unusual scenic/lighting, costuming, sound or prop requirements)
4) a brief biography of the playwright
5) a complete copy of the script

Please Note:  All requested information must be formatted into a SINGLE ATTACHED WORD DOCUMENT with background information placed at the beginning of the document. Scans or pdfs will not be considered.

Submissions should be addressed to Chuck Harper and sent via email to: submissions@hotcitytheatre.org.  Approximately 20 plays will be selected as semi-finalists and playwrights will be notified of this selection by December 1, 2012.

To be selected, playwrights must be able to attend the entire festival and workshop week, which begins on the Sunday prior to the festival weekend. All travel and accomodation arrangements are provided by HotCity Theatre.

For further information about HotCity Theatre and the Greenhouse New Play festival please visit www.hotcitytheatre.org

10.
Republican Theater Festival
Deadline: August 30th

Forearmed Productions seeks one act plays for the Republican Theater Festival, November 2012, which aims to create a forum for a perspective not usually heard in theater.

Forearmed will select 3 new one-act or 10 minute plays by living playwrights that represent ideas related to social or fiscal conservatism,  issues considered part of the Republican Party, Libertarian or Tea Party platforms, or concerns of people of faith. Plays which have the ultimate aim of criticizing or satirizing conservative ideas will not be considered.

Deadline for submission is August 30th. The plays will be dramaturged, developed and rehearsed for a showing on November 12th, 13th and 14th.

Please send scripts or any questions to Forearmed Productions, forearmed@gmail.com.


11.
Virginia Premiere Theatre
Deadline: ongoing

Virginia Premiere Theatre, a professional company in residence at the Kimball Theatre in Williamsburg, VA, is seeking new, full-length plays to develop and produce.


DETAILS

Play requirements: 7 or less characters. Not considering short one- acts, full scale musicals or published plays. We are considering "pocket musicals" or plays with music. Playwright must be willing to refine script in proactive ensemble approach. We are particularly interested in plays from abroad. Artistic considerations focus on plays of inherent social value, plays with a unique voice and plays with inherent theatricality. We prefer not to review plays that resemble television or film scripts. Send synopsis and letter of inquiry.


12.
Cayuga Community College: Harlequin Production
Deadline: ongoing

Harlequin is dedicated to producing new, unpublished works and has a strong track record in this endeavor. We do fully staged productions not staged readings or script-in-hand. At this point there are no monies available for playwright-in-residence type programs, yet a fair royalty payment is offered to the playwright. The playwright will own all rights to their work. A three-camera live recording is made of each production. This recording is NOT broadcast or sold but is strictly for an archival, instructional experience. A copy of this recording is available to the playwright free of charge.

DETAILS

Harlequin does NOT produce Musicals, small cast, geriatric or children's theatre. Nor do we usually produce "High School angst" plays. All male casts, verse dramas and safe "community theatre" type shows also are not considered

We prefer: cast size of 7- 14, characters in their late teens to 30's, "edgy" works. Looking for themes and characters that college-aged students can relate too.

Scripts may be submitted either electronically or hard copy (although I will admit a preference to hard copy). Solicitations may be made electronically with a synopsis before the expense of a hard copy is incurred.

I will admit that I am miserable about replying to the playwright. However I will also state that I have NEVER produced a play without contacting the playwright and working out the necessary permissions and payments.

Please send submissions to:

Bob Frame, Producer
Harlequin Productions
c/o Cayuga Community College
197 Franklin Street
Auburn, NY 13021-3099

E-mail: framer@cayuga-cc.edu


13.
CAP 21 Writers Residency
Deadline: August 31st

Applications are now being accepted for the January 2013 installment of the tri-annual CAP21 Writers Residency.

The CAP21 Writers Residency is offered by CAP21 as an opportunity for a concentrated time and place to be artistically productive in a focused atmosphere while remaining in NYC. It will take place for a 1-2 week period (Jan 7th - 18th) depending on the needs of the writers. During the length of the residency, selected writing teams are provided a beautiful studio space at CAP21 in New York City, complete with a piano and wireless internet, between the hours of 10am and 6pm, Monday through Friday.

One goal of the residency is for the writers to refine their new musical and move it forward to production. Other goals include beginning work on a new project, as well as working on multiple projects. In addition, the writers are able to network with each other, in the interest of forging new relationships and collaborations. Furthermore, CAP21’s Artistic Director will meet with each team and discuss the goals of the project. “CAP21 takes great pride in offering this residency, in the heart of New York City, and in supporting writers to create a fresh new canon of musicals,” says Eliza Ventura, Artistic Director of CAP21.


Download instructions and application at http://www.cap21.org/cap21/company/new-works/


14.
Drama Ministry: Christian Themed-Plays
Deadline: ongoing

Drama Ministry is an online collection of Christian-themed plays for use in worship services and church events.

DETAILS

To submit a script for consideration, email an electronic copy toservice@dramaministry.com or send a typed script to the following address:

Drama Ministry
2814 Azalea Place
Nashville, TN 37204


15.

City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting
Deadline: August 15- Oct 31 is submission window

The City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting furthers the Company’s mission to identify, acknowledge and award excellence in dramatic writing. Up to fifteen playwrights will be selected from among the hundreds who annually submit their ten-minute plays to the company for special recognition.  The winning play will be produced in the annual Summer Shorts festival, for which the playwright will earn royalties, be invited to Miami for the festival and to take part in the CityWrights Professional Weekend for Playwrights.  Transportation, hotel, the Weekend and a cash prize will be awarded up to a value of $2,000.00.  Finalists will receive free tuition to attend CityWrights, and may be considered for production in the Summer Shorts festival and other programming. City Theatre National Award scripts will be submitted to the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival. The Summer Shorts Festivals are produced annually in Miami in the month of June.

City Theatre Play Submissions Rules and Information;
Please review the criteria thoroughly before sending your submission to City Theatre. Plays will be accepted yearly from August 15 – October 31. Scripts won’t be considered sooner or later!

With the mission of developing and producing original short plays by established talents and promising new voices, City Theatre is looking for wonderful ten-minute plays for our annual Summer Shorts festival and other programming. Having produced hundreds of plays, we know what we want; scripts that are lively and timely, hilarious and thought-provoking, poignant and dangerous. We look for plays that span style and genre. We will consider bilingual scripts and ten-minute musicals. We have no restriction on the age range of the characters. In other words, for us to consider a script for production, we are seeking compelling plays that rise above the ordinary.

Each playwright may submit only one script - send us your best!
No scripts will be returned - save postage. No SASE required.
Each script must be no more than ten pages long. We start counting when the actual play begins. Please remember to submit scripts with page numbers.
Previously submitted plays, children's shows, and any unsolicited longer one-act or full-length plays are not accepted and will not be returned.
City Theatre will consider previously produced works, but there must be a production history included with submission.
Manuscripts must be typed and individually bound or stapled. Title page must include name, address, email address and phone number. We will accept electronic submissions provided all of the contact info and production history is included.

The volume of scripts submitted prevents us from providing feedback or criticism.

NOTE: City Theatre will only contact the playwrights with scripts the company is interested in producing.  Playwrights with scripts in consideration will be contacted in February-March.

Deadline - Submission Postmark Every Year by October 31st.

Address Submissions to: Susan Westfall, Literary Director`
City Theatre,  444 Brickell Ave., Suite 229, Miami, Fl 33131
Susan@citytheatre.com
www.citytheatre.com


16.
Sante Fe Performing Arts Playwriting Contest
Deadline: Sept. 1st

Santa Fe Performing Arts Playwright's Competition was developed to support American Playwrights. The competition is not merely a competition of words, but a venue for recognition and a demonstration of appreciation - truly a celebration of the writer's contribution.

DETAILS

SFPA and many other theatre companies around the country with similar programs, support playwrights and ensure the future of American Theatre. Without the writers, the actors would have nothing to say. Submissions are limited to unproduced new American plays andmust be postmarked by the first of September of each year.
Send play synopsis and character break-down. Full scripts upon request only.

Send Submissions To:
Santa Fe Performing Arts
Post Office Box 22372.
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502

17.
IATI Theater
Deadline: Aug. 10th

IATI THEATER'S PLAY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IATI Theater’s Play Development Program, The Voice of the Authors, grants playwrights the opportunity to develop a new, never-before produced play through a community of cutting-edge theater artists and under the patronage of IATI Theater’s commitment to ground-breaking theater. No submission fee.

The 2012-2013 program will consists of two main components: Pal Playwrights Panel: An added component to this year's program. Monthly meetings—whose attendees are the playwrights accepted to the program and IATI Theater’s artistic staff—will be held to discuss the new works that make up the particular season.

Playwrights in the program will gather to discuss and further advance each other’s plays before they are presented in front of a live audience. Stage Reading Presentation: Each playwright in the program will be given the opportunity to present their play in a directed, professionally acted staged reading. Thus, the piece will be exposed to a receptive audience that further develops the featured script through a post-reading talkback.

PLAY SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Submissions lacking any of the following guidelines will not be considered. 1) Submissions must be the author's own work. The piece shall be free from copyright restrictions and the author agrees to hold IATI Theater and directors free and harmless from all copyright claims. 2) This program is open to authors from anywhere in the world with original works in English or Spanish who are interested in a New York audience feedback. However, because of the Pal Playwrights Panel, the writer must be present to take part in the monthly meetings or be willing to commit to receiving and presenting feedback electronically. 3) Submissions must not exceed 90 minutes in length and must not cast more than 5 characters. 4) Only one play may be submitted per playwright, per season. 5) The submission must be a completed full-length play that has not previously been produced. 6) The playwright must commit to be present on the staged reading performance of his/her work. 7) Submissions must be made electronically to literary@iatitheater.org with the subject line, “Play Development Submission.”Two documents must be submitted—both in PDF format. 1st document: Cover letter with synopsis, character breakdown and contact information. 2nd document: Script in proper play formatting. 8) Deadline for the 2012-2013 season submissions is August 10th 2012. Qualifying submissions will be read by a staff committee.

The committee will select the playwrights to be featured in the 2012-2013 Play Development Season. IATI Theater will provide a meeting place for the monthly Pal Playwrights Meeting and cover the costs of the Stage Reading Presentation’s venue, director and actors. For more information email: haydn@iatitheater.org

18.
National Arts Club: Playwrights First Award
Sept. 15th

Mail full-length play or musical, original, unproduced prior to submission, and query letter & resume,to Emily Andren, Dir. Public Rel's, 15 Gramercy Park S, NY, NY 10003. No adaptations, translations, or email submissions. One author per play. Winners receive $1000 and introductions as appropriate.



19.
Valley Rep Theatre: 15-minute Play Contests
Deadline: Sept. 15th

Thank you for submitting your work to The Valley Repertory Company's 4th LabWorks 15-Minute New Play Contest.

By submitting your script(s), it is understood that you have read, and accept, all of the contest submission guidelines.The script evaluation process takes place through September and final selections will be made in October. The 12 playwrights whose work has been selected for production will be contacted via email; however, we highly recommend you like our Facebook page (The Valley Repertory Company) for updates. You can also return to visit us at www.valleyrep.com.

Rules: http://www.valleyrep.com/ContestGuide4.pdf

20.
Hive Theatre: Reading Series
Deadline: Aug. 15th

The Hive Theatre Company is seeking submissions for its 2012-2013 Hive Exposed Series; staged readings of new and underexposed plays. The Hive Exposed Series is intended to uncover the talent of new and underexposed playwrights, and expose the work of those playwrights to the NYC community. Out of all the submissions, the Hive will choose three plays and one musical to stage as readings. At least one of those four pieces will later be mounted as a full production.

The Hive is deeply committed to nurturing artists of all ages, type and backgrounds.

Submission Guidelines:
All submissions should be sent to:
Literary.submissions.thehive@gmail.com
-The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2012
-Only original, non-published scripts will be accepted. No one person shows. File Type: PDF
-If you are submitting a musical for consideration, along with the book please send no more than three songs via attachment in MP3 format. If your musical makes it to the short list, The Hive will request recordings of all songs in the piece.
-A biography and/or author's history of the play, character breakdown and brief description or synopsis of the play must accompany all submissions.
-Maximum of two scripts per playwright.
-Plays should be submitted via email, with subject line: "Title of Play/Authors Last Name"

Thank you and we look forward to reading your work!

21.
Roots and River Production Emerging Artists Mentorship
Deadline: Aug. 15th

Roots and Rivers is now accepting application for its 2012-2013 Emerging Artist Fellowship which makes burgeoning Black queer artists with experienced professional in their respective field. Artists interested in being mentors have a Aug. 20th deadline. 

Roots and Rivers is looking for mentors and mentees in the New York and Philadelphia area. Please see website for more details and application: http://rootsandriver.com/get-involved/


22.
GUGGENHEIM FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: September 15th

Submission of work examples in support of your application After your application is received, you will receive an email confirmation. You may also receive a separate email with further instructions about when to submit examples of your work. Please do not send work examples until you receive these further instructions. Applicants in science need not submit examples of their work. Applicants in scholarship may (but are not required to) submit examples of previous work, following the procedures described below. Applicants in the arts (i.e., fine arts, music composition, photography, film, video, and choreography) must submit examples of previous work in order for their applications to receive full consideration by our advisers. If you do not submit examples, you will not receive consideration. The email will instruct you to log in to our competition website using your competition login credentials (i.e., username and password) and complete our Work Example Registry System. Follow the directions on the registry page to submit the information regarding the work examples you are submitting in support of your application.

APPLY: http://www.gf.org/applicants/how-to-apply/

Red Shirt Entertainment: St. Augustine, FLA



One of my plays is in the Redshirt Rooftop Reading series starting tomorrow. "St. Augustine, FLA." is based on a true story I heard in June. I was visiting the retreat center I ended up doing my month-long meditation at in July. The head of the center, Jenine Katz, had many fascinating and wonderful stories about her spiritual growth and the process of forgiveness. "St. Augustine" was one of the first I heard and noted it in my mind. When I came back to New York and heard about the Red Shirt series I asked Jenine if I could turn her story into a short play. She agreed and now here we are.


Tomorrow night is Night One of the Red Shirt Rooftop Reading Series - don't be left out as tickets are selling out FAST!
Visit http://bit.ly/M62o3q to get your tickets now.
Doors open at 6:30p on Friday and Saturday, 1:30p on Sunday.


About the Red Shirt Rooftop Reading Series
3 days, 8 plays and the world premiere performance of Spook, Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj's one act racial satire inspired by Maya Angelou's prolific poem,Willie.
Plays
Goddess Hair and Nail Salon - Written by Ione Lloyd, Directed by Donya K. Washington
Everybody Into The Gene Pool – Written by Stephen Mo Hanan, Directed by Dev Bondarin
Living Room – Written by William Coyle, Directed by Jonas Goslow

St. Augustine, FLA – Written by Aurin Squire, Directed by Suzanne Grodner
Empties – Written by Liam Kuhn, Directed by Rajendra Maharaj
Hands - Written by Becca Schlossberg, Directed by James Harkness
Reconcile, Bitch – Written by Desi Moreno-Penson, Directed by Jonathon Musser
Apples and Corn – Written by Joseph Yeargain, Directed by Alexis Williams


Day 1
Date: Friday, August 3, 2012
Time: 7-9pm
Location: The Rooftop of 18 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010

Day 2
Date: Saturday, August 4, 2012
Time: 7-9pm
Location: The Rooftop of 18 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010
Day 3
Date: Sunday, August 5, 2012
Time: 2-5pm
Location: The Rooftop of 18 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010
We are proud to welcome TONY Award Winner, Tonya Pinkins, who will be performing in Ione Lloyd’s piece,Goddess Hair and Nail Salon.
For more information on future events visit www.redshirtentertainment.com.