Thursday, July 24, 2014

Palestinians are not Blacks (or South Africans, or in Nazi Germany)

I hope for peace in the Mideast from both sides, but there seems to be a wave of comparing the current Gaza invasion to either South African apartheid, blacks in the South, or Nazi Germany? I'm confused because these comparisons don't make any sense according to the history told to me.

Jews in the 1930s were NOT actively attacking Nazis before the Holocaust or calling for the elimination of the German race. Blacks in the south were NOT engaged in any organized form of violence against Jim Crow and taking vows to kill all whites. In South Africa so-called 'violent' anti-apartheid protests meant standing up to white police and defending townships, but not kidnapping and killing White South Africans.

In all three cases, you had a peaceful minority group (or in the case of South Africa, a political minority) that was being systematically killed by a government that was basing its policy on a widely disseminated and accepted racist ideology. As much as I think Prime Minister Netanyahu is the Israeli Dick Cheney, he's not basing this war on any explicit racist ideology, or seeking genocide against a civilian population.

These inaccurate historical analogies frame the current and very real crisis for both Jews and Palestinians poorly. By just grabbing an oppressed group and saying 'it's like this' you misrepresent the past, obscure the present dilemma, and decrease the chances of a solution in the future.

Palestinians and Israelis have their own unique history and dilemma. Their plight should be respected and examined, with all its complexities rather than deducing them to the most inflammatory historical comparison. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Call to Love in Times of Hate

It's hard for me to talk about police brutality without acknowledging the exponentially greater brutality in our own community, spiraling black-on-black murder rate, and the violence we inflict on our own bodies. A few days ago Eric Gardner was murdered by the NYPD when they put him in a choke hold, which triggered a fatal heart attack. Rightfully, there are calls for justice and charges being pressed against the office. I don't have a problem with this and, on the surface, it seems appropriate. It saddens me, however, that the political energy is so much more focused on police brutality as oppose to our own violence which is killing us at much greater rate.

White supremacy is at the heart of both police brutality and black-and-black crimes. American society has believed for centuries that a black life is worth less. But it feels like the contemporary black community -now more than ever- believes this as well. White supremacy is most cruel when it comes from black and brown faces. If our lives are worth less, then it's much less threatening to focus on a tragedy that fits with our understanding of history, rather than a problem which exists a bit beyond our understanding but effect far more people.

I still remember the media attention on Jon Benet Ramsay's disappearance. At the same time there was a little girl on the south side of Chicago who was raped, beaten, and thrown from a public housing building. The nine-year-old victim became known as 'Girl X.' The outrage at Girl X wasn't at the brutality of her attack, but at the fact that it received less attention that Jon Benet Ramsay. I was thoroughly confused as to the priorities of public concern. Why didn't people feel more horror at the actual crime of Girl X, as oppose to the proportion of media attention she was getting next to Jon Benet Ramsay? For Girl X, the focus was less about about the victim, and more about appropriate levels of media victim hood. Instead of the individual, the black body becomes a symbol for activism. Well-intentioned left-wing activists perpetuate the very system they fight. We focus on the lack of attention Girl X received next to Jon Benet and the police murder of Eric Gardner, while conversely having a mild indifference to the enormous waves of gang violence which wiped out an entire generation of black men in the 1980s and 1990s (does anyone remember that or was that just in my imagination? Did we not just go through an epic plague of black on black violence that was met with a few 'tsk tsk' and sad sighs.)

From my childhood I remember being stopped by the police, feeling surveillanced, unfairly assumed guilty in the eyes of others. But my more consistent memories were of going to sleep at night to the sound of gunfire by local gangs, my parent's car being stolen numerous times, my mom being robbed at knife-point on our doorstep, our house being burglarized, our lives being terrorized while our properties were damaged, destroyed, and stolen. This happen at the hands of people in our own community. This made up a much greater portion of my fears than police cops.

I would have nightmares of black trucks driving into house walls and a mythical gangland warfare infiltrating the home. I remember my parents replacing our burglarized-damaged front door with a steel-clasped front that was seemed to be made for a fortress. Ceramic plastic that was stronger than any metal, thick bars disguised as regal-looking columns, two deadbolt locks flowering out of double-wide doors that could withstand small caliber arms fire.  The salesman explained that it was perfect for us and demonstrated by banging on the steel with a hammer as well as the ceramic glass. The side windows were fortified, narrowed, and glossed over. Bars were put up on the bedroom windows. A motion detector security system, deadbolt doors, guns. These were not bought to keep out the police. These were bought to keep out our neighbors, because we realized our lives and property were low-hanging fruit. We were easy targets because we were not only close by  but we were like them and, therefore, worth less on the scale of humanity.

White supremacy must be overcome/transformed, but perhaps it would be best to first focus on the job it's done in colonizing our own minds. It seems like too many black kids have minimal l respect for their own skin, muted concern for their voice, dim views on any sort of sustainable life as adults. On the heels of a holiday weekend in which 80 blacks were shot on the south side of Chicago and a dozen were murdered, it's hard for me to express more outrage for the NYPD's murder on a black man. Perhaps if there was a video of all the thousands of black bodies murdered and mutilated at the hands of their own neighbors, we would be more concerned and outraged.

We live in an age of exterior outrage. These feelings come hot and fast against the 'other' and those outside of my defined parameters of community. This blinding outrage prevents us from examining our own homes, our own views and prejudices. The sad thing is the only aspect we really have control over is our own minds. That can be changed relatively quickly. All it takes is a concerted and consistent effort to instill in the minds of kids, a sustainable belief system: love. This meditative approach would yield huge benefits down the road for black communities. But instead of internal love, the belief system we're teaching is externalized hatred.

When I was at Northwestern I worked at the radio actuary interviewing professors on local events. I still remember my interview with Dorothy Roberts. She was promoting her book "Killing the Black Body." She described imperialism, colonialism, apartheid, and Jim Crow in terms of how it played on attacking the physical body of the most vulnerable in a culture: children and women. I had never been introduced to this before and I was mystified. There was finally a unifying theory that helped explained not only police brutality but Girl X. Robert's scope covered the KKK lynchings and the Crips and Bloods gang warfare within the same context of the dehumanization of the physical blackness.  It now made sense how rap music's misogyny toward black women and the American government's programs to sterilize black mothers fit under the same umbrella.

But addressing the larger problem isn't going to come from marching at the police or protest-for-pay activists like Al Sharpton yelling into a bullhorn for cameras.  The solution also won't come from self-hating, right-wing blacks who only want to shame the community into silence. It must come from a place of love that addresses the underlying problem. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Why Does the US Continue to Support Israel?

 I have several friends who are outraged. Another war in the Gaza Strip. Another incident of Palestinian civilians getting killed by air strikes and artillery fire. The images flow into our computers and TVs. The old emotions are sparked. The weary attitudes of 'these people have been killing themselves forever,' are invoked. The calls for America to get tough on Israel fall on fallow ground. The wars seem like they will continue for decades.

 I have no strong opinions about either side's right to kill their so-called enemies. Every few years, it seems like there is some eruption. Despite the latest round of international outcry, nothing is going to change in the US/Israeli relations. This consistent mutual support isn't because of some Zionist conspiracy or even Israeli's powerful block of right-wing billionaires who spread their money between the two nations. This loyalty isn't the result of AIPAC having some mythical spell over the Congress, although they do have a strong lobbying interest in Washington (as well as many other countries with strong ties to the US). The reasons are pragmatic.

The US continues to support Israel because:
1) they have been a consistent ally for anything/everything America has done for over 50 years (the only country in fact) and that's what being an ally is about in the international arena.
2) they have been and are the only stable and prosperous democracy in the Mideast decades.
3) Israel is the only nation which provides consistent, reliable intelligence on Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Turkey.
4) it's a military outpost for America without having to use American troops.
5) culturally it's moderate enough to allow for all different voices of opposition, whereas in other societies these expressions would not be tolerated.
6) Netanyahu IS NOT Israel, but a temporary regime. The US State Department realizes they've gotten an extreme right-wing outlier. And even Netanyahu is more stable and moderate than 99% of the rest of the world.
7) diplomacy is a slow game with mid-level and low-level lifers who get to know each other over decades. Israeli diplomats and American diplomats (the ones who do the actual grunt work that makes the world run, not the celebrities like Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton, etc) have had working relationships with each other for decades. There is no country in the Mideast that has kind of diplomat infrastructure and stability.

Yes, some of the international protests against Israel is always going to be tinged with anti-semitism and centuries of hatred. But I think the rabid protests are imbalanced. Where are these protesters for Belarus and it's heinously oppressive regime. Where were these protesters for Russia's expansion into other countries? Where is the outrage for the many injustices that exceed Israeli's surgical strikes on an enemy (Hamas) that intentionally lives among civilian population while launching rockets from them?

Furthermore there has and will always be a peace-wing in American and Israeli culture that protests any war, no matter how justified. That's because both countries are moderate and sane. They allow for dissension, even in war time. Although these voices are getting crowded out by the right-wing media, it's easy to forget that it's kind of incredible that a society is able to engage in sophisticated debate about its own war policy, while in the midst of an actual war. That shows intelligence, moderation, and stability on a level that is missing from most of the world.

I think Americans who protests Israel while ignoring our own role in militarizing and radicalizing the region miss the big picture. At one time, the US did have enough sway with the world to broker peace in the Mideast. At one time, there was a chance for a lasting partnership. American presidents -from Truman all the way through Clinton- have repeatedly pushed the issue. For the most part, Israeli prime ministers have been amenable and -in the case of Yitzhak Rabin- lost his life in the pursuit of an American brokered peace. The only thing missing was an Arab counterpart to force the Palestinians to the table. These diplomatic pursuits just didn't go on for a few years; this was decades and decades of failed attempts. These failures hardened the right-wing and emboldened their power play in Israel politics. Now we have the result of decades of cynicism and fear from being constantly at war with its neighbors: Benjamin Netanyahu.

I'm hopeful that things can change. Netanyahu can't be prime minister forever. In our life time there may be a single Arab democracy that will rise up and have some stability and diplomatic influence. But for now, the US State Department, all Presidents, the Congress, and the US military are going to continue to bet on the only sure and stable capitalist democracy in the entire region. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Funny Conversations with Doctors (ha ha...sigh!)

After another funny/sad incident today, I started looking at all the weird conversations I've had with doctors or about them.

1. Fake Out Conversation

Doctor (examining Dad): Well...things look good here (looking at me and shaking his head like things are terrible.)

2. Sweet Conversation

Me: What do you have?
Friend: The doctors did test after test. A lot of exams-
Me: -yeah, what is it?
Friend: They have determined that I have Sweet's Syndrome
Me: What is that?
Friend: It means I have marks they can't identify-
Me: - so essentially they have no idea.
Friend: No.
Me: And when they don't know what to call something that looks sick, they call it Sweet's Syndrome?
Friend: Yes.
Me: And you had to do all those tests to figure out that they don't know anything?

3.  I Don't Really Care Conversation

Me: I started using that creme you gave me and now there are these marks on my skin.
Doctor: Well it's acid to burn off the bumps.
Me: No one told me there was acid in it. I was putting it all over my arm.
Doctor: ...
Me: Now the scars from the treatment are much much larger than the bumps.
Doctor: So stop using the creme.

4. 'Just Say No' Conversation

Doctor: Test came back. You're fine.
Me: Okay, so I don't need any medication?
Doctor: No, but we can give you some if you want.
Me: (totally joking) What do you have?
Doctor: (totally serious) I can check with the...(calling out the room) Hey-
Me: No, no. It's fine.

5. Forget Everything We Said Before Conversation

Doctor: Your mom is fine. She has mild diverticulitis. But she should be back to eating normally-
Me: -I thought you were supposed to avoid eating nuts and seeds.
Doctor: No, you can eat anything.
Me: I have a few friends who had diverticulitis and they couldn't eat seeds, nuts, some-
Doctor (suddenly remembering): Oh, yeah. We used to think that. It would make sense, right? But nah! When it was looked into, it didn't make a difference.

6. You're Training to be a Doctor?!!? Conversation

Football Trainer: It's just a mild bruise.
Me: I can't really walk.
Football Trainer: Just ice it.
Me: (staggering out in agonizing pain)


Me: I couldn't walk so I went to the doctor and they said I shredded most of the muscles in calf.
Trainer: (examining me) Okay, I see that. Yeah, it's real bad.

7. I Should've Asked Conversation

Me (post emergency appendix surgery): These are the medications they gave me to prevent infection.
Sister (an actual doctor): Why do they have you taking all these pills when there's just one pill to stop all of this? You know what? It's not my case. I'm sure they know what they're doing.


ER Doctor: Why are you here?
Me: So I was taking all these different pills and I started bleeding internally.
ER Doctor: Why did they give you all these pills when there's just one you have to take.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wetiko: A Spiritual Virus

After talking with a spiritual friend about the downward spiral of media analysis of our world, collapse of economic justice, disintegration of the climate's checks and balances, genocide, ecocide, gun culture, disconnect of storytellers/artists to communities without voices, the ever pervading 'isms,' our conversation moved toward bigger themes: wetiko.

There has to be something uniting all of this. There can't just be so many disconnected issues of recognizing each other's humanity, respecting the earth, being able to tell the truth, and avoid dangerous levels of unchecked greed and anger. gaze on the Agent Orange gelatinous cloud that seems to cover all of this. The cree word for the psychosis of greed was wetiko, a spiritual virus of sorts.

I feel like we need bigger concepts than environmental disaster, oppression, racism, consumerism, worker's rights, societal fairness. I think there needs to be a larger theme that links all of this together because it seems like an impossible million-armed monster that keeps growing. As each tentacle is cut off, two more grow back in its place.

I came home to find that Brazil lost in the World Cup and there's talks of riots and civil unrest for a soccer match. These millions of Brazilians who live in a culture rampant with economic inequality, squalor, slums of heinous poverty and brutality. And all of this is acceptable. All of this is livable. But the inciting incident, the tipping point in a culture going haywire is soccer. It's fascinating. Brazil isn't alone in this, they just happen to be in the news today.

Wetiko is what allows billionaires to have an outward hostility and hatred toward poor people. Wetiko is what gives people such an awful outlook on their body, shame, and propels many into food problems, drug issues, drinking. Wetiko is what causes the poorest region of America (the South) to continually vote Republican when the party is very clear that its intention is to never serve or help its largest base of followers. Wetiko is hoarder reality TV shows of people dying in their own trash heap of bought and collected items seeking to fill something inside. Wetiko is a facebook brag, an instagram selfie seeking 'likes' and it's something most people have to some extent.

According to Cree Indians, Wetiko is a spiritual virus borne out of fear of lacking and detachment. In response there is a need to consume, to kill, to control, to dominate beyond the normal levels. We are talking about a level of consumption that is harmful to the 'so-called' victor, but who can't see the problem. They are in a psychotic state of fear/consumption that eventually kills the host body off before looking for another person to prey on. Wetiko takes place in the form of a thought that rapidly grows, building an entire value system and operating manual. There is no concern for style, aesthetic necessary for art. Wetiko has no regard for discourse, persuasion, critical analysis which is crucial for democracy. Wetiko main thrust is MORE. It's a consumptive disease and the more it's fed the larger it grows.

The virus hides itself very skillfully behind ideologies. It uses ethical props in a completely contradictory way that makes no sense. Wetiko preaches war equals peace. The bible can be used to hate, democracy means disenfranchising citizens. Pursue health by using steroids and deadly toxins. Eat nourishment to the point of fatal gluttony. Use capitalism...well actually capitalism is the perfect system for wetiko. Capitalism is the only major economic/societal philosophy in the history of the world that has NO ethical standards. Zero. Nothing is off limits in this system. The goal is the ever spreading proliferation of collecting capital. Wetiko is perfect for this ideology which is an anti-ideology. There is no ideal in capitalism. There is no utopian possibility. There is only endless conquer and conflict.

Somehow this concept clicked with me by bringing together multiple issues, and explaining the over-riding theme of inhumanity. It also made the endless social justice quest seem more manageable when it's put under one term.

The danger is that according to Cree philosophy wetiko can't be fought directly. In fact trying to wage war on it, only increases its reach because it preys on conflict. The virus is like chicken pox or the common cold: it can be brought under control once I have removed certain things in my life for it to prey on. Wetiko can exist in a healthy, balanced person but it's a low-humming level and never really has a chance to explode. Furthermore a balanced person is aware that he has the virus and must take medicinal steps to manage it through meditation, prayer, social activism, giving to others, patience.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Renowned Glorious King of Excellent Signs (Suparikirtitanamasriraja)

this benediction is a potion
poetry in motion, flowing end-
less devotion to the one.
riding infinity times none
eternity squared with pi
destiny divided by 8
that snaking encircle
of the mysterious why.
who am i?

i am hi-posting, cold-lamping
pimp strut, ho dancing
tip cup, flow vibe'ing
rims up, sun rising.

i am sips of Mississippi
brown deltas of my ances-tree
roots like red ribbons
flung in 7 Sargasso Seas
eclipsed sun continents
w/ sailboats n' clipper ships
piled over from tip to lip
floating fortresses
cruising correctionals
sinking graves

i recite all the rivers
sing green Savannah's
intone cool timbre
symphon'ize Saturn's sierras.
i summon the stars to shine
rope the moon to the tides
cry canvas for the painters
and confess the night sky.

rhapsodize tectonic rocks
2 slip, shift, and pop
seeding the ruptured distress
where flowers flourish
and fruits harvest in her breasts.

rushing to the last words
running to first myself
every pause, a new 'to be.'
I rushed to finish
and the words finished me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


New Dramatists
Deadline: July 29th

2014 Admissions Procedural Changes:
-The admissions window opens on July 1 at 10am (EST) and closes on July 29 at 5pm. -Upload a stand-alone Title Page for each play with your full name and contact information.
-We strongly encourage you to submit your materials as PDFs.We will also accept the following formats: .txt, .doc, .docx, .rtf.
-Please do not put any identifying information in the script. Identifying information includes: your name, contact information, theatres that have workshopped or produced your plays, your agent, special thanks, actors/production crew involved, etc.
-Every script page must be numbered.
-Every script page must include the play’s title.
-Submit a one page Letter of Intent responding to the following question: New Dramatists was founded on the premise that writers are each other’s greatest resource. If granted a New Dramatists residency, what do you see as the benefits of developing your work in the company of other playwrights?
-To begin your application, click on the “Begin Application” button below. (If you applied last year, you will need to create a new admissions applicant account.) You will be asked to create a username and enter your email address. Once you have clicked “Submit,” you will receive an email with instructions on how to log in. From this point forward, you will be guided through a simple process collecting all of your admissions materials in seven easy steps:
-You may save your application at any point and return to it later before submitting. Once the application window closes on July 29 at 5pm (EST) you may not alter your application in any way.

Leslie Scalapin Prize
Deadline: July 4th

In memory of Leslie Scalapino, her extraordinary body of work, and her commitment to the community of experimental writing and performance.

The Leslie Scalapino Award recognizes the importance of exploratory approaches and an innovative spirit in writing for performance. Our first cycle's winner was Joyelle McSweeney, with her work Dead Youth, or The Leaks. Last cycle we received 400 submissions and a wonderful range of work. In this second cycle, we are refining the award in the following ways: expansion of the prize; and being more specific about the kind of work we wish to encourage in Leslie's spirit.

The Prize:
The winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize, print publication of the winning text by Litmus Press, a staged reading of the piece this fall at the The New Ohio Theatre in New York, by Fiona Templeton's company The Relationship; and a full production of the work in the following year. The award will now be biennial.

The Call:
Please read carefully as the guidelines have changed.
We are looking for a full-length work for live performance by a woman writer with an inquiring approach to language and content. The poetic practice of Leslie Scalapino was interdisciplinary, including photography, plays, performance, and collaboration with dance and music. We would like to honor this aspect of her work in the award.

While the principal focus for the award is on innovative writing for performance, competitive submissions may consider a range of approaches to innovation in performance, including but not limited to integrated experimentations with language, gesture, movement, sound, visual art / vision, site / location and/or activist practice. The writer should demonstrate some experience in the discipline, materials or medium involved.

Yale Drama Series/David Charles Horn Prize
Deadline: August 15th

The Yale Drama Series is an annual, international competition for emerging playwrights. The winner is awarded the David Charles Horn Prize of $10,000, publication of the winning play by Yale University Press and a staged reading. The reading of the 2013 winning play will take place at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City.
Winners are chosen by the preeminent playwrights of our time. Edward Albee served as the Series’ inaugural judge (2007-2008), followed by Sir David Hare (2009-2010), John Guare (2011-2012), Marsha Norman (2013-2014) and Nicholas Wright (2015-2016).

What to submit:  A full-length play in English (worldwide submissions accepted).  Playwrights may submit only one manuscript per year.  No application form is required beyond the play itself.
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 2-3 sentence keynote description of the play,  a list of characters, and a list of acts and scenes.
A brief biography may be included at the end of the manuscript, on a separate page, but is not required.

Full submission details can be found on their website.

How to apply:  They encourage electronic submissions, which can be made at the following address:

If you wish to apply in hardcopy, scripts can be sent to Yale Drama Series, P.O. Box 209040, New Haven, CT 06520-9040.
What you get:  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.

Deadline: 15 August 2014 (entries not accepted until 1 June 2014)

Hedgebrook Residency
Deadline: September 3rd

Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The Writers in Residence program is Hedgebrook’s core program that for more than 25 years has supported fully-funded residencies for writers representing diversity in citizenship status, nationality, current place of residence, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, trans* identity, age, disability, professional experience, and economic resources. We welcome applicants, published or not, who embrace the mission and opportunity to be a member of Hedgebrook's community.

All residents are selected solely on the artist statement, artist information and writing sample supplied in their application.

You must be 18 years of age or older by February 1, 2015 to apply. Applicants are welcome to reapply if they have not yet been awarded a residency. Writers who work in languages other than English are welcome to apply if they can supply a writing sample in English translation as well as in the original language.

Cullman Fellowship
Deadline: September 26th

Award Period: September 8, 2015 - May 27, 2016
Stipend: $70,000

The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers supports projects that draw on the research collections at The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (formerly the Humanities and Social Sciences Library). The Center looks for top-quality writing from academics as well as from creative writers and independent scholars. It aims to promote dynamic conversation about the humanities, social sciences, and scholarship at the very highest level — within the Center, in public forums throughout the Library, and in the Fellows’ published work.

Candidates who need to work primarily in The New York Public Library’s other research centers — The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Science, Industry and Business Library — are not eligible for this fellowship.

In order to avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers does not accept applications from New York Public Library staff members or their partners, or from people active on the Library’s Board of Trustees, Board Advisory Committees, or Library Council.

Please visit for detailed information about the collections of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

Fellows are required to work at the Cullman Center, on the project for which they applied, for the duration of the fellowship term. Fellows may have a few prior brief commitments, but must limit research trips, attendance at scholarly meetings, and speaking engagements, and may not accept other major work obligations during the course of this fellowship. Anyone who needs to be away for more than two days must notify the Director or Deputy Director in advance. The Library will pro-rate stipends for Fellows who spend too much time away from the Center.
Fellowships will not be granted to post-doctoral fellows or to applicants doing graduate-school dissertation research.

The Cullman Center will not accept dossier letters in place of new letters of recommendation.
Fellows must be conversant in English.
Completed applications and supporting materials — research proposal, Curriculum Vitae, letters of recommendation, and art work sample or creative writing sample — must be submitted by 5 p.m. EST on September 26, 2014.

New York Public Library staff members are not able to make corrections or additions once applications are submitted.

The New York Public Library/American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships
The Center may give up to five fellowships a year in conjunction with the American Council of Learned Societies. Candidates for joint fellowships must submit separate applications to The New York Public Library and to the American Council of Learned Societies. For information regarding ACLS eligibility requirements and an ACLS application, please visit the ACLS website,

Blue Ink Playwriting Award
Deadline: September 1st

The winning play will be selected by Producing Artistic Director, Gwendolyn Whiteside, and the Ensemble. The winner of this annual competition will be awarded the Blue Ink Playwriting Award of $1,000 and receive a staged reading at American Blues Theater in Chicago.
There is a $5 administrative 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.
- Playwrights may submit only one (1) manuscript per year.
- Plays that have been professionally produced or published are not eligible. Plays that have had a workshop, reading, or non-professional production will be considered.
- Plays may not be under option or scheduled for professional production or publication at the time of submission.
- American Blues Theater reserves the Right-of-First-Refusal to produce the World-premiere of the winning manuscript for (1) year beginning with the public announcement in March 2015.
-Plays must be sent as a Word document or pdf file to
- Send the $5 administrative fee to: American Blues Theater, 1016 N. Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60610 or pay online here:

Deadline: July 31st

Athena Project--located in Denver, Colorado--is proud to announce the call for submissions for its Plays In Progress Series (PIP Series).  This series will take place in Denver at The Aurora Fox Studio Theater over the course of three weekends, March 20-April 5, 2015, as part of a larger arts festival celebrating women artists, including the yet-to-be named world premiere, winner of this year's PIP Series.  Four new plays will be selected based on a blind submission process and given a dramaturg, director, designers, cast and workshop presentation during the festival.  One play from the 2015 PIP Series will win a full production to be produced in March of 2016 festival, based on a combination of audience vote and board input.  Scripts are being accepted online from now until midnight, July 31, 2014.

Submission Guidelines are as follows:
1.  Playwright must be female and may only submit ONE full-length script.
2.  The play must not ever have had a fully mounted production.  Prior workshop presentations are permissible but the script must be a new version since the time of the workshop.
3.  Submission must include:
    1. Full copy of script (without playwright contact info*)
    2. Character breakdown (without playwright contact info*)
    3. Short synopsis of script (300 word limit, without playwright contact info*)
    4. Resume
    5. Cover letter addressing what the playwright would like to accomplish with the workshop presentation and how she heard about the call for submissions
*Contact info must be listed ONLY on resume and cover letter, not on script or any other documents (submissions will be read blind).  All documents should include the Title of the Play, but no playwright contact information.
4. Plays submitted without all supporting materials included will be disqualified.
5. We recommend the playwright be able to travel to the area for rehearsals as needed if selected (or may Skype in). Attendance at at least one workshop production performance during the festival at the playwright's own expense is mandatory. We will select four playwrights to participate in the PIP Series and hope to strike a balance between local and national work.  Exact rehearsal and performance schedules will be worked out with the director, dramaturg, and playwright after all plays are selected.
6. Please submit via our website.

Please contact our Literary Manager, Patrick Elkins-Zeglarski if you have any questions about submitting.  You will receive an automatic confirmation email upon receipt of materials.

Four finalists will be selected in October 2014
Directors and Dramaturgs will be selected in November 2014
Rehearsals will begin in January 2015
The 2015 Athena Project Arts Festival opens March 20, 2015

Schlossin Broellin International Arts Residency
Deadline: July 31st

Professional art groups from Germany and abroad can apply for a residence stay of up to three weeks within the months of April to November for the production of projects in the areas of contemporary dance, theatre and performance.
With several dance studios, production spaces and seminar rooms, as well as overnight accommodation and catering facilities, Schloss Bröllin offers space for artists to rehearse, experiment, train and relax in a creative atmosphere. The goal of the residence programmes in Schloss Bröllin is to give ensembles and groups the possibility of a short and concentrated production phase, and to support groups whose members come from different places or countries. During the stay, the agreed working spaces, accommodation and boarding will be provided. The deadline for residence applications at Schloss Bröllin is the end of July each year (must be postmarked on or before the date), for residencies in the following year.
Read guidelines:

Kutztown Installation Art Residency (theatre artists can apply)
Deadline: July 18th

Residency Dates: Jan. 20 - Feb. 5, 2015 / Exhibition on view: Feb. 5 - Mar. 13, 2015
The Marlin and Regina Miller Art Gallery at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania requests proposals from artists, craftspersons, and designers for the production of an original, temporary, site-specific installation for our exhibition space. The artwork will remain on view from February 5 – March 13, 2015. The selected artist (or artist team) will be awarded $7,500. The award must cover all material and labor costs associated with the production of the work, all incidental costs, meals, transportation costs, and all artist fees and honoraria. The university will provide $2,500 stipend for housing one block from the gallery (Main Street Inn) for one artist – all remaining housing costs for additional artists and/or support personnel must be covered from the $7,500 award. A group of Kutztown University students will be available to assist with the physical production of the selected proposal.
Application deadline is end-of-business, Friday July 18, 2014
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, located an hour north of Philadelphia, and two hours west of New York City, has an enrollment of 10,000+ students. Each year, our College of Visual and Performing Arts awards approximately 225 undergraduate degrees in Communication Design, Fine Arts, Art Education, and Crafts. Our Visual Arts programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
-Proposals must be received by end-of-business, Friday July 18, 2014.
-The gallery's website will publish the award recipient on August 1, 2014.
-The on-site residency will take place from January 20 to February 5, 2015. Artist(s) will be expected to be on-site during this period, be available to our students, and present one public lecture about previous work and plans for the Kutztown University project.
-Project must be completed for a public reception by Thursday, February 5, 4:00 p.m. (reception continues until 6:00 p.m.)
-Artist must be available for a lecture on the night of the opening, Thursday, February 5, 7:00 p.m.
-Project will remain on view from February 5 – March 13, 2015.
-Depending on the final disposition of the artwork, the artist(s) may be required to assist with de-installation which will take place from March 16 – 20, 2015. Artist will be required to pay all costs associated with transport of materials and artwork to and from our site.
Proposed artwork can be realized in any medium and there are no restrictions on form or content. However, proposals that demonstrate innovation and deep, nuanced understanding of contemporary art, craft, or design are preferred. Proposals must be for a site-specific installation and must differ greatly from a proposal for a solo exhibition. Preference will be given to proposals that have a strong student involvement component.
All proposals will be reviewed for overall artistic merit, impact on the experience of our students, feasibility within the established time-frame and budget, artist's demonstration of ability to complete such a project (as evidenced by past projects or a detailed work plan and budget for the KU project), and the relationship of the project to the gallery's mission.
The Marlin and Reginal Miller Art Gallery of Kutztown University presents significant and professionally executed solo and group exhibitions of contemporary art in a variety of mediums as well as supporting programs, events, and services that will directly enhance the artistic and philosophical development of our students and will contribute to the lives of our residents. We strive to challenge assumptions and stimulate discussion by presenting artwork and programs relevant to the social and cultural life of the general and special populations within our service area.

UMass New Play Lab
Deadline: August 1st

The UMass New Play Lab is accepting play submission for two paid residencies in the spring of 2015. Now in it's second year, THE UMASS NEW PLAY LAB is accepting play submissions for two paid residencies (March 23 – April 4, 2015).

The Play Lab is a UMass Department of Theater mainstage production, running from March 23 – April 4, 2015. Two playwrights will be chosen for concurrent 10-day residencies during this period. These residencies are structured around a series of public staged readings directed and dramaturged by UMass graduate students and performed by undergraduate actors. The 10-day workshop term allows time for exploration in rehearsal and the generation of new material.


Our mission is to develop two exceptional new plays per year in cooperation with visionary playwrights. The Play Lab, is, in essence, a writer's playground: a stimulating and constructive artistic environment founded on three guiding principles of engagement, collaboration, and discovery. The UMass Amherst Department of Theater's commitment to new play development is internationally recognized, from our groundbreaking work with New WORLD Theater to our recent collaborations with artists like Will Power, Marcus Gardley, and Constance Congdon. We approach new play development with rigor, focus, and sensitivity—and we're seeking playwrights who are as passionate about this process as we are.  

Yes. We offer a $750 honorarium per playwright. Accommodations will be provided. Playwrights are responsible for booking their own travel arrangements, and will be reimbursed for a portion of the cost.

Plays must be full-length. Musicals are not accepted. Submissions may have had a previous reading, workshop, or production; as a rule, though, the Play Lab exists to develop relatively new work, so unproduced material will be given priority in our selection. The UMass New Play Lab seeks to develop plays that tell compelling stories about our world in bold and innovative ways. We encourage submissions from a broad spectrum of writers, from emerging to widely produced, and are particularly interested in works by underrepresented voices in American theater (e.g. women, LGBTQ, and playwrights of color).

Submit manuscripts to All documents must be submitted in .pdf format; plays formatted otherwise will be disqualified. Please include a concise playwright’s bio and a short (max. 50 word) summary of how you think your play might benefit from a developmental reading. 
Submissions will be capped at 500 plays.


The deadline is Friday, August 1, 2014.

Exit Player 7
Deadline: September 13th

Exit 7 Players is seeking submissions for The Exit 7 New Short Play Contest, performing in February 2015. The contest producers are Janine and Jeffrey Flood (co-producers, the LabWorks 15-Minute New Play Contest 2010-2013, Valley Repertory Company) and Rebecca Johnson (co-producer, Les Miserables, Exit 7 Players).

The Exit 7 New Short Play Contest will produce short plays by twelve playwrights in an exciting audience-participation format, awarding two winning writers a prize of $150 each.

You may submit either one or two plays. Please use the following process to enter the contest. Read all requirements carefully so as to be considered.

1. Format your script using no smaller than 12-point type. Use 1” margins on top, bottom, and sides. Please number your pages. (Click Sample Script Format to see a properly formatted page.)

2. Page one should start with the title of the play at the top of the page (as seen on the Sample Script Format). If you consider your play to be a comedy, please follow the title with “A Comedy”. If you do NOT consider your play to be a comedy, follow the title with “A Drama”. And yes, you must label your play as either one or the other.

3. Your play must be limited to 15 pages total. Any script 16 pages or longer will be rejected.

4. The plays we produce are chosen blind, so do not include ANY author information on the script itself. The contest Play Selection Committee does not see any playwrights’ names until the final selections for production have been made. Therefore, if you put your name on the script so that a member of the Committee sees it, it will be rejected. A company member who is not on the Play Selection Committee keeps the playwright contact info until the final 12 plays are selected for production.

5. Save your script(s) in .pdf format. You can submit your script(s) until Saturday, September 13th, 2014 via the form found in the link. Do not attempt to submit the script in any other format or to any other destination. Snail mail submissions are NOT being accepted.

Submission Restrictions

Please read the following carefully so that your script can be given due consideration:

1. Playwrights can submit 2 plays, but only 1 play per writer will be produced. Members of Exit 7 Players are eligible to submit to the contest, but if their script is chosen as one of the 12 semifinalists, they will be prohibited from working on the production of the contest in any capacity.

2. Scripts should require 2 to 5 actors. Please note that a play can include more than 5 characters, as long as they can be played by 2 to 5 actors. Scripts requiring more than 5 actors will be rejected.

3. We will not consider one-man or one-woman shows, musicals, or children’s theatre.

4. Entries must be original plays. Scripts may be co-authored, based on factual  material, or an adaptation. Legal clearance of materials not in the public domain is the full responsibility of the playwright.

5. We will consider unproduced works as well as plays that have been previously produced, so long as their first date of production was on, or after, June 15th of 2013.

6. Submissions are restricted to plays that have not been published in any form, and they must be royalty-free to Exit 7 for this contest.

7. We’re seeking plays, not skits or sketches. Plays should have a beginning, a middle, and an end (though not necessarily in that order) and feature character development. Above all, make the script compelling.

8. Exit 7 is a community theatre. If we foresee difficulty producing a play due to unusual script requirements, the play may be rejected.

9. While Exit 7 is a family-friendly theatre, adult content is acceptable. Profanity, if it is fully justified by the script and for the character, will not be cause for outright rejection; however, profanity is no replacement for good writing. We will reject any script that requires nudity.

10. Keep set, lighting, sound, costume, and prop requirements to a minimum. The contest will feature 6 plays per night, with quick changeovers. A script with complex technical requirements could lead to its rejection.

20% Theatre
Deadline: open

20% Theatre Company Twin Cities is open to accepting full-length plays any time (60 minute minimum performance time). Please complete this Script Submission Form and email with your script to Due to the high volume of scripts submitted to us, we are unable to respond to all submissions. If we are interested in producing your work we will contact you.

Mixed Blood
Deadline: open submission

Mixed Blood welcomes submissions of contemporary plays that pursue and realize the company’s mission and aesthetic. Mixed Blood uses theatre to address pluralism, usually manifest in race, culture, language, disability, gender, nationality, affectional orientation, and political worldview. Predictably unpredictable, the theatre particularly invites polyglot plays, scripts from the global stage, and work that advances the art form. We prefer e-submissions. If you think you play might be a good fit for us, please send a query letter, your bio or resume, a brief synopsis, and a 10-page sample of your play to the Mixed Blood. Send to:

Ars Nova Play Group
Deadline: August 3rd

This vibrant and eclectic group of emerging playwrights gathers twice a month at Ars Nova to share new work and get feedback. The group offers members the chance to develop their plays with peer support, form collaborative relationships and build a strong sense of community within Ars Nova. In addition, members receive dramaturgical support and artistic matchmaking advice from the Ars Nova artistic staff and development opportunities through public readings and workshops.

All emerging playwrights are eligible to apply. New members join for two-year residencies beginning in January of 2015. In selecting new members, we will take into account the strength of the submitted play, what the writer stands to gain from membership at this point in his or her career, and the overall balance of voices and styles within the group. Women and writers of color are encouraged to apply.

Click here to apply online. Applications require a full-length play, a playwriting resume and a personal statement. All attachments must be saved as PDFs.
Please attach the following to your completed online application form and submit it by August 3, 2014. All applications will be reviewed and finalists will be notified by December 15, 2014. Questions? Email us at
  1. Your play (please save as LAST NAME, FIRST NAME PLAY TITLE)
  2. Your resume (please save as LAST NAME, FIRST NAME RESUME)
  3. A personal statement (please save as LAST NAME, FIRST NAME STATEMENT)

BMI Lyricists and Composers Class
Deadline: August 1st

Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), the global leader in music rights management, has announced that the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop is accepting applications for its first-year composer-lyricist class through Aug. 1.
Applications should send completed applications to: Patrick Cook, BMI 250 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007-0030Composers should include three (3) contrasting compositions on CD — up-tempo, comedy song and ballad — as well as a copy of score that includes lyrics.Lyricists should include three (3) contrasting lyrics — up-tempo, comedy song and ballad. Composer-lyricists should include three (3) contrasting songs on CD — up-tempo, comedy song and ballad — as well as a copy of score that includes lyrics.
The workshop begins Sept. 15 and runs through June 2015. The first-year class is moderated by BMI's director of musical theatre, Patrick Cook, and workshop administrator, Frederick Freyer.
Workshop participants will pay $27 for an identification badge, but all other sponsorship costs are fully covered by BMI. The purpose of the workshop is to "bring writers together to work under the guidance and supervision of experienced professionals in order to develop new creative talent in American musical theatre. A springboard for new works, the Workshop creates a learning environment for members to experiment, take risks and learn from moderators and other participants."
Applications for the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop can be downloaded here or requested by emailing
A recipient of the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre Award, the Lehman Engel Musical Workshop consists of approximately 250 composers, lyricists and book writers who are actively writing new works for the musical theatre.
BMI alumni include Tony Award winners Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q), Edward Kleban (A Chorus Line), Maury Yeston (Titanic, Grand Hotel, Nine), Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors), Jeff Marx (Avenue Q), Michael John LaChiusa (Queen of the Mist, Marie Christine, The Wild Party) and Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal).
For additional information, visit

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