Sunday, June 29, 2014

Send in the Well-Oiled Clowns

Parades: Bleh

A few years ago I was asked why I didn't attend any gay pride parades and events of a particular organization any more, especially since I was one of the few people of color. I simply responded "I don't feel welcomed, comfortable, or visible." To this day it's still my most succinct description of my emotional reaction to this time of year.

When I was in college I would attend the Pride Parade in Chicago. I found the experience to be an exercise of masochism. It was white guys from my college, their outlier cliques of hanger-ons, a few lesbians, and me: the fat black guy with glasses cracking nervous jokes and sweating. I would stand there talking myself into 'enjoying' the loneliness, the complete lack of communication. My last Chicago Pride parade I was invited back to the place of my straight friends for a Sangria birthday party. It was a pity invite which I gladly accepted. That was the only event anyone ever invited me to during my four years of Chicago "Pride."

Parades: Fey

Although race is a factor in my feelings it's not the only one. There's also the overwhelming sense that the Pride Parades feel like a r-rated walking commercial for mega-corps, had a dwindling activists presence, and connection to the local community. Many of the companies feed into a body-obsessed, apolitical cult of American consumption that's based out of subconscious fear of lacking, rather than historical pride of being enough. My friends would walks away from the parade and feel an overwhelming urge to drink, screw, find a clique, and get some validation after having been gently reminded 'something is missing from your life.'

Parades: Meh

I soaked myself in ambivalence, and it's triggered me looking for my own joy. During one year when the parade wrapped around my building, I stayed inside and wrote the last scenes of "Defacing Michael Jackson" which went on to be published. On a few occasions I've started new plays that got produced. Today I attended an interactive media show about connectivity in which the audience was forced to talk to each other. I met an older playwright who works with kids, a LATV producer and his partner who works in social activism. Afterward, I sat down at a juice bar to work on a choreo-poem. I had EE Cummings "Erotic Poetry" and Ntozake Shange's "for colored girls...' on each side of me as I wrote out a few pages. And I have found that there is no animosity or anger toward what I think 'they should be doing.' Rather, there's a great gift at creating my own community, celebrating in my own way, and doing what 'I must do' as a creator.

Parades: Yea

I've only attended two parades in my life that I truly enjoyed. The first was in Dayton, Ohio. It was medium-small size and for the NFL Hall of Fame. The local towns folks chipped in, the high school bands showed up and showed out, there was dancing, an announcer explained each of the floats clearly and related it to an overall theme, and it was over in 2 hrs. It was just commercial enough to be done in a professional quick-paced manner, and just amateur enough to be filled with unexpected hilarity and personal touches of the off-beat local community. In that moment -even as a child- I finally 'got' why parades could be great, but also why they were such a difficult thing to do.

The other fun parade experience was the King Mango Strut down in Miami, which is sort of like a hipster parade where all the weirdos, clubs, and strange factions march down the street in diaper chaps, plastic flamingoes, ironic satire, deluded grandeur, and other normal Miami attires and emotions. King Mango is always capped off with Hare Krishna's who bring up the tail end by dancing, ringing bells, and jumping up and down. The parade makes NO sense. I always thought that this is the kind of parade for all the awkward kids left sweating on the sidelines. It is a freewheeling peek into the cracked alt lifestyle id of Florida. It is a wonderful mess that I hope never gets cleaned up and commercialized.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Rumi-nation

I always thought you would come to me
       in the shape of a beautiful lover
I never dreamed you would steal my heart
       with no shape at all

I always pretended I needed arms to hold me
       and lips to kiss away my pain
yet I find fulfillment
      in the embrace of empty space

I always wished you would speak to me
     with words of tender sweetness
now I know you whisper silently
      of your undying love

I always knew I would find you
      although I foolishly looked with my eyes
you were here all along
      hiding just out of sight in my heart
-Rumi

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm Going to Say Something Nice about the Tea Party

A few yrs ago I was driving around NJ listening to right-wing talk radio. I wanted to laugh.

I switched between Glenn Beck and more fringe radio filled with anger and bombastic yellers.  Most of the callers weren't upset about Obama or immigrants, but they were frustrated with the big business fraud, corporate control of government, and the GOP's lack of concern for the average person. Instead of laughing, I found myself agreeing on some of things being said. The callers were mostly older, white men. What they were saying made sense on a basic level.

Ever since listening to that, I'm continually amazed at how this valid feeling of 'losing control' gets so easily misdirected by GOP consultants into attacks on blacks, immigrants, women, gays, Muslims, atheists, unions, teachers, and other groups who -historically- have so little control over their own fate, much less others.

If there were ever day when Occupy youth and Tea Party elders could sit at the table, I think they would agree on quite a number of points. If they could get past their exterior differences and prejudices, there could be a movement fostered on helping the swelling underclass of Americans who feel angry and impotent. Of course such a 'bold' move of sitting with others and listening seems unlikely. It's seems unlikely because it would be productive, proactive, and progressive which is the antithesis of the regressive, reactionary, reductive mood of current political discourse.

But I wonder if Tea party members ever turn to MSNBC for laughs. I wonder if they ever sit at home waiting to giggle at the 'left-wing' pinkos and find themselves nodding their head as Rachel Maddow points out another case of corporate corporate and political collusion. Perhaps there is a path in the quiet moments in our cars and living rooms. I wonder if this quiet certainty is something that could be built on to bridge the gap among so many people who think they're different but are looking for the same freedom.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Old Woman in My Head

Her teeth fell into her soup
"Gotdamnit to hell Good Lord!"
unfurled Panegyric plangents
twanging the twi'lit nimbus
as she fished white choppers from stew.

The kippered shriveled orifice
twisted like a hank of flesh
Black rheum gravid with ribaldry
swallowing white dentition.

"Wearing me to a frazzle!"
this shilly shallying life,
anger and acquiescence
appall and appeasement
lit recividist revelry
cigarette's lissome pale reeds
tumbled silver blue trellis'es
quivering hieratics
spelling out her life in smoke.

"Let's get whisky stinky!"
she blessed her meal in rapture
and flung the damp paper bowl
in her wake and to nirvana.

Gray decanters clanged on plastic taiga
brown gulches in styrofoam
 filled to the stippled tip
invoking the Dionysus
she petitioned for dice luck,
and whor'ish nights of passion.
Appealed for sharpshooter's aim
employ gravedigger's wisdom.

"Our father who art in heaven
shoot 'em six, roll 'em seven."


Sunday, June 1, 2014

GET WHAT YOU WANT: June 2014

1.
Queer Art Mentorship
Deadline: June 7th

The program is a year in length. It is largely driven by the unique character of each of the mentor/fellow pairs according to their respective needs and habits of communication, although once-a-month meeting commitments will be suggested. The program coordinators engage in an ongoing dialogue with the mentors and fellows in an effort to ensure that the program best serve its participants.
The entire group of mentor/fellow pairs will also convene for three short meetings throughout the cycle. The goal of the limited group-wide meetings is to encourage dialogues between all levels of participants and between all disciplines. It has been shown in a variety of fields that implement mentor programs that the mentor-to-mentor dialogue that occurs in mentor programs is as significant to the program’s success in developing the field as any that occurs directly between mentor and mentee.
1) INTENT TO APPLY
Before you can receive the application you must submit a simple Intention to Apply by June 7, 2014. All that is required for this form is your name, email address and discipline. Once submitted you will receive an email with the password to complete the application process.
2) APPLICATION
After completing the Intent to Apply you will be emailed a password and link to submit the following application materials through the online application form. The completed application is due by July 1, 2014:
  • Name, address, and contact info
  • Describe a formative experience you’ve had with queer culture (250 words).
  • Describe your art; how you and it have evolved; and where you would like to see yourself and your art develop. Please reference the work samples submitted in this application (500 words).
  • Describe a specific project you’d like to work on in the next year and share with a mentor over the 2014-2015 mentorship cycle (500 words).
  • Describe why you’re interested in the Queer/Art/Mentorship Program; what you feel participation would do for your life, art, and career; and what you can imagine being able to offer to the relationship (250 words).
For Film/Video Applicants, and those with video/audio work online: Please submit url links to your work samples in the online form.

2.
SDCF Observership Program
Deadline: July 31st

The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF) Observership Program grants emerging Directors and Choreographers 25 paid opportunities to observe the work of master Directors and Choreographers as they create productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and at leading regional theatres across the country.
SDCF Observers have access to the entire rehearsal process, from first rehearsal through previews to opening night. Observers are guaranteed the invaluable opportunity to observe, first-hand, the techniques, disciplines, approaches and insights of master artists as they create new productions and revive classics.
Each Observer receives a grant of at least $225 per week plus a project travel stipend. In addition, any Observer who is not already a Member or Associate Member of SDC will be awarded a free one-year SDC Associate Membership.
Application to this year's program is free to SDC Members and Associates. A $25 application fee is required for those unaffiliated with SDC.
To apply, visit http://www.sdcfoundation.org for program information, application, and guidelines. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by *May 30* as opportunities are expected to be available prior to that date, though applications will be accepted through July 31. Those who apply by *May 30 *if accepted will be eligible for summer Observerships, while those who apply from *June 1 ? July 31* will be eligible, if accepted, for the remaining Observerships after September.
All applicants will be invited to SDCF Programs and special SDC events throughout the year, all of which are free of charge or very low cost. After reviewing guidelines and FAQ?s online, please email: Opportunities@SDCweb.org
or call 646.524.2226 with any questions.

3.
Elite Theatre Company World Premiere Play
Deadline: June 30th

The Elite Theatre Company produces at least one World Premiere play in its regular main stage season each year. We are open to all kinds of plays.

We prefer small casts, single or unit sets, more women than men, with minimal budgets. Familiarize yourself with our standards by looking at past plays we’ve recently produced.

Plays must be full-length, unpublished and unproduced.

We are a 72-seat theater with very limited off-stage space. Casts with more than 8 actors are a very tight fit (although we have done plays with 20 actors); set changes must be minimal; and, having only an 8.5-foot ceiling over the upstage half of our stage does not allow for tall platforms or second floor sets.

Tom Eubanks, Artistic Director, describes what he’s looking for: “For this slot in our season, I like plays that engage the audience’s sense of not knowing what to expect, something about the play in its characters, theme and plot that is quirky, off-center, but not obscene or tawdry. I’m not interested in “living room” plays or plays that take the social justice issue to the point of being whiny. For 2015, he would love to see more submissions by conservative writers, whose voices have traditionally been muted by the East Coast theater establishment. If in doubt, just write it and then send it to me.

How to Submit:

Letters of Inquiry and submissions are accepted from March 1 – June 30. If you send an inquiry or script outside the submission period, we may not respond.

1. E-mail a Letter of Inquiry to the Artistic Director at ad@elitetheatre.org. In the letter, tell us:

· Title of Play

· Number of male and female characters

· Describe the set requirements, including the number of different locales

· Brief Synopsis

· Your phone number and e-mail address

Allow one month for a response.

2. If the Artistic Director requests a full script, submit electronically only as a PDF, Word or WordPerfect document. Plays not written in acceptable play script format or handwritten will not be read. Always provide your e-mail address and phone number on the cover page of the script. Allow 4-6 months for a response.

Payment
The royalty payment will be negotiated by the Artistic Director; however, we generally pay a minimum of $50 per performance and plays usually run 15-18 performances. Payment is made prior to the first performance.


4.
Cimientos
Deadline: June 30th

Cimientos is a program dedicated in full to the development of new plays in English and Spanish. By focusing on the strengthening of a dramatic work's foundations, Cimientos takes each playwrights vision from initial drafts to a rehearsed staged reading where the audience voice is the culmination of growth. There is no submission fee for Cimientos.
Submissions lacking any of the following guidelines will not be considered.

LINK: http://www.iatitheater.org/programs/play_development_program

1. Submission will only be accepted through the online form.
See link above (only visible in June 2014.)
2. 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.
3. The playwright must commit to be present on the staged reading performance of his/her work.
4. The playwright must commit to be present on the PPP (Pal Playwrights Panel) assigned to his/her work.
5. 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 PPP (Pal Playwrights Panel), every playwright must be present to take part in the monthly meetings or commit to presenting feedback electronically or in written form on the dates of the PPP's and with no delay.
6. Only one play may be submitted per playwright, per season.
7. Submissions must not exceed 90 minutes in length.
8. The play must require 5 actors or less. Plays that have more than 5 actors and do not provide a clear and stageable doubling explanation will not be reviewed. If doubling is possible, it must be expressed clearly on the online form.
9. The submission must be a completed full-length play that has not previously been produced in any setting. If the play has undergone a workshop, staged reading or development of any kind, the playwright must inform IATI Theater of the specifics on the online form.
10. The author’s name(s) should be nowhere within the script, any authorship information must not be visible in the play document. Scripts will be read ‘blind’.
11. Submissions for the 2014-2015 Season will only be accepted from June 1 to June 30, 2014.

*The 2014-2015 Cimientos will consists of two main components:

*PPP (Pal Playwrights Panel): Playwrights accepted to the program, IATI Theater’s artistic staff and other specially invited theater professionals will converge in workshop meetings to discuss the new works that make up the particular season. Every meeting will be dedicated to a single playwright in the program, the focus being in further advancing the text before it is presented in front of a live audience.

*SRP (Staged Reading Presentation): Each playwright in the program will be given the opportunity to present his/her 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.


5.
Yale Drama Series Prize
Deadline: August 15th

The Yale Drama Series is seeking submissions for its 2015 playwriting competition. The winning play will be selected by the series' current judge, distinguished playwright Nicholas Wright. 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:
1. This contest is restricted to plays written in the English language. Worldwide submissions are accepted.
2. 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.
3. Playwrights may submit only one manuscript per year.
4. Plays that have been professionally produced or published are not eligible.  Plays that have had a workshop, reading, or non-professional production or that have been published as an actor’s edition will be considered.
5. Plays may not be under option or scheduled for professional production or publication at the time of submission.
6. Plays must be typed/word-processed, page-numbered, and in standard professional play format.
7. The Yale Drama Series reserves the right to reject any manuscript for any reason.
8. The Yale Drama Series reserves the right of the judge to not choose a winner for any given year of the competition and reserves the right to determine the ineligibility of a winner, in keeping with the spirit of the competition, and based upon the accomplishments of the author.

ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS:
The Yale Drama Series Competition strongly urges electronic submission. By electronically submitting your script, you will receive immediate confirmation of your successful submission and the ability to check the status of your entry.

Electronic submissions for the 2015 competition must be submitted no earlier than June 1, 2014 and no later than August 15, 2014.

If you are submitting your play electronically, please omit your name and contact information from your manuscript.  The manuscript must begin with a title page that shows the play's title, a 2-3 sentence keynote description of the play, a list of characters, and a list of acts and scenes. Please enter the title of your play, your name and contact information (including address, phone number, and email address), and a brief biography (optional) where indicated in the electronic submission form.

If you would like to submit an electronic copy of your manuscript please go to:


6.
NEWvember New Plays Festival
Deadline: June 30th

Inaugurated in 2011 as a co-production of Tangent Theatre Tivoli and AboutFACE Ireland,
NEWvember is a festival of rehearsed readings of new plays that takes place over four days at the Carpenter Shop Theatre in the historic village of Tivoli in upstate New York.

CRITERIA FOR SUBMISSIONS
-submitted plays should be previously unproduced (we will consider plays that have had
readings before but are still in development)
-plays should not have previously been submitted to the NEWvember Festival
-plays should have a cast size of 2-8
-plays should have a running time of 30 to 120 minutes
-we will only accept one submission per writer
-we ask that the writers of the chosen plays attend the reading of their play towards its further development and to be present for a post-reading Q&A with the audience. We will provide $50 towards travel for those traveling more than 50 miles (the equivalent of a return Amtrak trip from NYC to Rhinecliff) as well as local accommodation in Tivoli
there is no fee for submissions while we are open to all styles and subjects, our companies do have a preference for narrative and character driven stories

PROCESS OF SUBMISSION:
Please submit your play at www.NEWvemberfestival.com/submit
via our online application form
you will be asked to include
your play as a PDF, without your name, email or other identifying marks (to aid our blind
reading process)
the title page, listing the name of author, separately
a 3-line synopsis of the play
a bio of the writer
SUBMISSION DATES: The window for submissions opens Thursday May 1st
2014.
The closing date for submissions is Monday June 30th 2014 (12 midnight EST).


7.
NBC Comedy Playground
Deadline: June 30th

NBC’s Comedy Playground is a contest intended to identify talent for the development of two new television comedies for the NBC television network (the “Contest”). The Contest begins on or about May 1, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time (the “Start Date”), and ends on the date that the Digital Winner is chosen (the “Contest Period”). Subject to the Official Rules detailed below, the Contest will proceed as follows: http://www.nbccomedyplayground.com/#/home

OFFICIAL RULES
Entering the Contest: Each applicant or permitted applicant team, as detailed in the Official Rules (“Contestant” or “Contestants”) must submit: (1) a five (5) to ten (10) minute video sample of their existing work (the “Video Sample”); (2) a two (2) to five (5) minute video of themselves pitching their original sitcom idea, which may include a description of the show content (the “Sitcom Pitch”) (the Video Sample and the Sitcom Pitch are collectively referred to herein as a “Submission”); and (3) a completed application (the “Application”), along with their resume/credits (the Submission, the Application and the resume/credits, collectively referred to herein as the “Entry” or “Entries”). Submissions must comply with the Criteria for Eligible Submissions (below), and the Entry and Contestants must meet the Eligibility requirements (below) for the Entry to be accepted into the Contest.

Semifinals: From the eligible Entries, which will be evaluated as detailed below, NBC Entertainment, a division of NBC West LLC (“NBC”) will select up to thirty (30) semifinalists (each, a “Semifinalist”); each Semifinalist will be required to provide at least two (2) letters of recommendation, execute certain documentation and agreements, and submit to certain screenings (including, without limitation, an interview and a background check).

Finals: From the Semifinalist group of Entries, NBC will select up to ten (10) finalists (each, a “Finalist”), as detailed below. Each Finalist will be provided access to funding in an amount to be determined by NBC to develop, produce and submit a video presentation of approximately twenty (20) minutes in length of their sitcom idea in accordance with the specific instructions provided at a later date to the Finalists (each, a “Finalist Submission”). In order to participate as a Finalist, you must be a member in good standing of the Writers Guild of America (the “WGA”) or you must become a member in good standing to the extent required by the applicable provisions of the WGA Minimum Basic Agreement at your sole cost and expense.
Winners: Two winners (each, an “On-Air Winner”) will be selected as detailed below, and each will have their Sitcom Pitch developed by NBC into one or more episodes of a television program based on the Sitcom Pitch (collectively, the “Winning Programs”), which will be intended for broadcast on NBC; part or all of the Winners’ Finalist Submissions may be considered to be one of such episodes. In addition, the Finalist Submission of one (1) Finalist (the “Digital Winner”) will be selected by public voting as detailed below. NBC may also, in its sole discretion, choose two (2) Digital Winners (i.e., the two Finalists who receive the highest number of public votes). Each Digital Winner will have his or her Sitcom Pitch developed into approximately thirty (30) minutes of digital content for initial exhibition and distribution, as a whole or as divided into segments in NBC’s sole discretion, on nbc.com and possibly elsewhere (“Digital Program”). NBC will determine in its sole discretion what services, if any, the Winners will perform with respect to the Winning Programs and the Digital Program(s), and any such services will be pursuant to the terms of a separate agreement.
http://www.nbccomedyplayground.com/#/home


8.
THE ARCH AND BRUCE BROWN FOUNDATION
Deadline: June 30th

The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation will accept submissions for its 2013 Playwriting Competition between March 1 and June 30, 2013. Electronic submissions must be received by midnight on June 30, and mailed manuscripts must be postmarked by the deadline.
All works submitted (full–length dramas, comedies, musicals) must be original and in English. All works must present lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender life in a positive manner and be based on, or directly inspired by, a historical person, culture, work of art or event.

There is no entry fee. Prizes are as follows: First Prize, $3,000; Second Prize, $1,500; Honorable Mentions, $500. Prizewinners will be announced before the end of the year.

For complete submission guidelines, visit the foundation’s website: aabbfoundation.org, or write to Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, P.O. Box 26124, Brooklyn, NY 11202.

Production Grants

The foundation also offers grants to production companies to offset expenses in producing theatrical works (plays, musicals, operas, choral works, orchestral works with text) and film or video. All works must be based on, or inspired by, history and present LGBT life in a positive manner.

Proposals may be submitted throughout the year. For complete details and proposal submission guidelines, visit the foundation’s website: aabbfoundation.org, or write to Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, P.O. Box 26124, Brooklyn, NY 11202.


9.
Shakespeare’s Sister
Deadline: July 1st

The Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for a female playwright to be supported by three extraordinary institutions over the course of a year while she writes and develops a new play.

In addition to a cash prize of $10,000, the playwright will receive residencies at three geographically distinct institutions—AROHO,Hedgebrook, and the Lark Play Development Center—each one providing a different kind of support at successive stages in the playwright’s process. The fellowship seeks to make possible for the playwright a breakthrough into the kind of new work she would not have had the freedom or the resources to create otherwise.

  • In order to be eligible, the applicant must be a woman playwright (no age limit) who has written at least one full-length play.  (A first round-applicant will submit 30 pages of a play that she will then submit in its entirety if she makes it into the second round.)

  • Applicants must be able to commit wholeheartedly to each stage of the fellowship, entailing four weeks of dedicated time over the course of the year, and must be willing to write an entirely new play. (This fellowship isn’t designed to refine existing work. The playwright must be open to what the process brings.)
View the Shakespeare’s Sister Showcase to see announcements about the fellowship.


10.
Fiant Verbas
Deadline: June 15th

FIANT VERBAS, an online literary journal & monthly zine is now accepting submissions for the June 2014 collection. Up to 10 pieces will be selected.
The journal is a new start up from an MFA student in School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Writing Program. Thus, the publication will be read throughout the Chicago art scene. Check out our Tumblr Profile athttp://fiantverbas.tumblr.com
Submission Details: Only one submission per writer can be submitted every month. Submissions should be no longer than 20 pages unless completely necessary. All genres of writing (including mixed media) are accepted, and strongly encouraged. Email to mhellw@saic.edu in a word or pdf format, unless it absolutely requires alternative formatting.

11.
Uppity Theatre’s Short LGBT Plays
Deadline: June 15th

It is that time of year again, and we are looking for short play submissions for our third annual Briefs: A Festival of Short LGBT Plays, which will be held in late winter or early spring 2015 in St Louis. We are looking for plays that are 10-15 minutes in length, that can be done with simple staging/props, and that are LGBT themed.

If you are interested in submitting a play, please send a PDF copy BriefsFestStl@outlook.com with a subject line Briefs 2014/ Playwright Last Name/name of play. In body of email, please include contact information including address, phone, email, a short synopsis of the play and a 100 word bio of the playwright.

We are reading plays now, and would like to have the plays by June 15. Please let us know you get this, and we hope to read some of your work soon! If there is a fellow playwright you think this festival would be a good fit for, please feel free to forward the submission information to them, and have them tell us who sent them.