Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Looking Back at LA

I'm back in NYC, but last August was my 3 month anniversary in LA month. FB reminded me of a post from the summer of 2016:

3-month LA anniversary!

So far it's been friendly, fun, and filled w/ sun. Living in a nice West Hollywood bungalow with a lot of space, a patio, and garden. Some mornings I walk outside and pick limes from the trees for my morning fruit salad before going to the gym. Opened and closed OBAMA-OLOGY at Skylight Theatre with a remarkable company, cast, director, and crew. I get to work on the Paramount lot in Hollywood on a great tv drama this fall. I've seen some great theatre, some good movies, but need to add more music. It seems like half of NYC theatre is out here hustling, earning enough to live off of artistic work, but also spread out over a wider geography. Without the cheap NYC pizza slice as a meal and dragging myself to the gym most mornings, I'm down 25 lbs. If I can lose another 25 by the end of the year then I'll be back to my high school wrestling weight and I guess that's...something.

 I miss NYC theatre and buddhist dharma community but that's out here. It just takes more effort to find it. I miss the condensed squalor and ruckus of 20 million people trying to fight/fuck/fuse into the belching molten trash volcano of civilization. I miss the pustulating and infected boil of western depravity that oozes out profanity, art, pornography, madness, and murder 24/7 (you can have that slogan for free NYC Tourism Board). But there is consolation in knowing that LA has just as much depraved decadence. It has its vaseline alleys and hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Plus a side of avocado. We'll see how this autumn plays out on the West Coast.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Confederate Reflections

I've shared this story before but each time I recall it, more details come back to me. I relive the past with greater clarity and perception. 

There are more important problems to fix than removing Confederate statues. And who really cares, anyway? it's just metal and concrete. I grew up in South Florida and they weren't any Confederate memorials around. The Florida KKK headquarters used to be in Davie, but we just learned to avoid that tiny, impoverished blip on the map. When I was 17 I went to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. I was flown up for to interview for the college's presidential scholarship. On the first day on campus I walked into the main chapel and I flinched. The tomb of Robert E. Lee was featured behind the pulpit. This is where they do service...for Jesus Christ? I cracked a joke to another student and rolled my eyes. Whatever. I don't care. I'm a city kid and they're flying me up here on their expense. I might get a full scholarship to a highly-rated liberal arts school. I should be grateful. I decided to just 'move around' the discomfort. As I walked through the campus there were other statues and symbols. I rolled my eyes. Damn, these people still aren't over it yet. Why can't these people move I have.

Everyone smiled at me, there wasn't any hostility. People were nice...almost too nice like in the first half of 'Get Out' when you start think that maybe you're being paranoid because these are just some damn pleasant nice white folks who are desperately trying to recruit black people into their company...while having Confederate symbols around. They were hospitable, aware of their privilege, a bit 'woke,' and did I mention that they were so goddamn nice? I started thinking that maybe I'm being 'angry black conspiracy brother.'

A few days later I was at a cocktail party at W&L and being chatted up by some damn nice, kind white folks. I politely excused myself and walked out onto the veranda facing the woodsy park that snaked through the school. I put on a ledge, walked down the steps, and started running; slow at first and then sprinting. I didn't know what the hell my body was doing and why I felt compelled to sprint, but I ran across the campus (and yes, when I saw that moment in 'Get Out" I had my own personal flashback). By the time I arrived at my host's dorm room I was drenched in sweat. I explained to him that I decided to go for an evening a tie and shirt.  My host student - a black guy on the football team- quipped 'when black people running like that around here they usually have a noose around their neck.' His white girlfriend came out the bedroom and asked if I was okay. I said 'yeah, just an evening jog.' My host did not crack the lynching joke again until his girlfriend left and one of his other buddies came over. My host's friend beat him to the punchline about my jog with his own variation of 'yeah, I'm surprised you didn't have someone chasing you.' With just three black men in the room the jokes about the school and their mental state became very un-PC, filled with KKK references, Confederacy puns, and jokes about 'strange fruit' that had us rolling around on the couch and laughing. It was cathartic. I wasn't crazy.

The next day I had another series of panel interviews for this scholarship. I was asked a series of brutally questions to see how honest I could be: Have I ever cheated academically? Yeah...and so did you (they laughed and nodded). Did I ever lie? I'm black in America and here so... (less laughter...polite smiles...that joke didn't go over well...I trailed off). Would I do anything to get ahead?, I wouldn't. I wish I could be a ruthless Machiavelli but there's something holding me back or holding me up, depending on how you look at things. The interview was going well until they asked about diversity. W&L's student body was 98% white. I smiled and talked about reaching out. They prodded with more questions and I snapped. It was only about 5 seconds but I blurted out 'and you can get that damn tomb out of your church! I mean what is that? What are...' Fuck...they look uncomfortable. I had almost gotten out of there smiling, gregarious, and grateful. I backtracked and explained the feeling of being surrounded by Confederate statues. They nodded. I received a letter from W&L a few weeks later. I got the presidential scholarship. Full-ride. I choose Northwestern instead but thanked W&L.

I thought it didn't matter to me and that I had moved on. But I had spent the week doing mental contortions around these objects.  Years, later I'm still not sure about the 'right answer' to every offensive statue or work of art. But I know that silence, laughing it off, or pretending like it's no big deal is probably a mistake. My reactions were deflections. If we don't have a dialogue about this, then we will continue to explode.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hate Rally in Charlottesville

What's going on in Charlottesville is what I expected. To repeat what I said after the election: 'I'm shocked that I'm not more shocked. I'm sad that I'm not more sad. The fair America you think you're defending...never existed. It's not dead. It was never alive.'

For 6 months I have been watching MSM bury a figment of its imagination. They have used this 'imagination nation' to accuse POC of not being positive enough to strive or smart enough to achieve. They have used this fake America to convince me that I'm crazy, lazy, un-patriotic or -best of all- that I am the one who is a reverse racist or the one who hates. For yrs, Blacks have been saying to college-educated whites 'you are living in a fantasy.' So now you bury your imaginary America. In Charlottesville, in Ferguson, in a Charlotte church's basement.  I was never the angry or crazy one. There is going to be a lot of suffering ahead. But not blindness. Not fantasies of that other America. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017


I don't believe in Illuminati. 
Ignoratti are the real global terror. 
It's a conspiracy of the willful and woeful. 
Stupid rich white men doing stupid rich white men things.
Suckered out of money by con artist 
preying on by bloodsuckers who can sniff the hate.
Ignoratti never acknowledge the blindness of bigotry
marked them as easy targets.
They double down on hate, 
directing it to the cons and the con systems,
they have inoculated themselves from 
revelation or self-examination
through the means of a cash infusion. 

Ignoratti file lawsuits to protect the rights (aka money)
 of the stupid, hateful, and rich. 
KKK, Kremlin, and Koch. 
What a lovely group of cucks.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Get What You Want: August 2017

EWG Public Theatre
deadline: August 31st

The Emerging Writers Group is a component of The Public Writers Initiative, a long-term program that provides key support and resources for writers at every stage of their careers. It creates a fertile community and fosters a web of supportive artistic relationships across generations. Time Warner is the Founding Sponsor of the Emerging Writers Group, and provides continued program support through the Time Warner Foundation.

Writers are selected bi-annually and receive a two-year fellowship at The Public which includes a stipend. Staged readings of works by Emerging Writers Group members are presented in the Spotlight Series at The Public. The playwrights also participate in a bi-weekly writers group led by The Public’s literary department and master classes led by established playwrights. Additionally, they have a chance to observe rehearsals for productions at The Public, receive career development advice from mid-career and established writers, and receive artistic and professional support from the literary department and Public artistic staff. Members of the group also receive complimentary tickets to Public Theater shows, invited dress rehearsals, and other special events, as well as a supplemental stipend for tickets to productions at other theaters.

 Deadline: August 15th

The Yale Drama Series is seeking submissions for its 2018 playwriting competition. The winning play will be selected by the series' current judge, Ayad Akhtar. 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’s Claire Tow Theater. The prize and publication are contingent on the playwright's agreeing to the terms of the publishing agreement.

There is no 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, commissioned, or scheduled for professional production or publication at the time of submission.

6. Plays must be typed/word-processed, page-numbered, and in Yale Drama Series 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.

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 2018 competition must be submitted no earlier than June 1, 2017 and no later than August 15, 2017. The submission window closes at midnight EST.

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 where indicated in the electronic submission form.

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

The Yale Drama Series Competition strongly urges applicants to submit their scripts electronically, but if that is impossible, we will accept hardcopies.

Submissions for the 2018 competition must be postmarked no earlier than June 1, 2017 and no later than August 15, 2017.

Blue Ink Submission (American Blues Theatre)
Deadline: August 31st

Submissions will be accepted July 1, 2017 through August 31, 2017 @ 11:59pm. The winning play will be selected by Producing Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside and the Ensemble. The playwright receives a monetary prize of $1,000 and a developmental workshop or staged reading at American Blues Theater in Chicago. Cash prizes are awarded for finalists, and semi-finalists too.

There is a $5 administrative fee. All proceeds of the fee are distributed for playwrights’ cash prizes.

The Playwriting Collective - Ball Grant 
Deadline: September 14 

This $1000 grant is expressly designed for a writer who identifies as
living in or emerging from a lower economic status. Fundamentally we
believe playwriting is an incredible tool of expression and one that isn't
nurtured in America's poorest communities.  We want you to start a
conversation with us in your letter of intent.  Tell us what you identify
as a lower economic status and how this grant will help you.

Irvington Town Hall Theater: Stage Door Playwrights Festival (November 11-12, 2017)
deadline: Sept. 1st

The ITHT Stage Door Playwrights Festival celebrates original plays developed by local and NY metro area playwrights. It is dedicated to providing an arena for theatrical exploration of significant historical and modern issues that are relevant to our times. It strives to put a spotlight on the power of words and artistic expression that will enlighten and inspire audiences. It will give playwrights the opportunity to present a one act play or portion of their work in a staged reading or as staged as they prefer as part of a festival setting. It will further enable playwrights to harness the power of audience feedback through audience engagement with writers, casts and notable theatrical professionals in a Q&A session after each theatrical showing. We encourage inclusion of diversity of themes and populations as part of the goals of this festival. Each play will be a one-act that runs for no longer than one hour. We are looking for family–friendly productions as well as adult productions. The festival will run on Saturday November 11th and Sunday November 12th.

We offer a blank stage, lighting and sound. Each playwright can present as they wish in terms of highly rehearsed, costumes, props etc. Chosen playwrights are in charge of casting and getting their own director. ITHT will provide the stage manager and production manager for the festival.

Play Prerequisites

Seeking submissions of One Acts 45-60 minutes long or portion of play that are self-contained and can be performed for an audience with their clear understanding of content.

Any genre can be submitted

Play must be an original work

Family Friendly plays on topics that are appropriate for young audiences are encouraged for afternoon slots

Plays must be printed out completely as part of submission

Pages must be numbered and script should be in standard play script format

Estimated running time must be indicated

ABOG Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art
deadline: September 18th

We are looking at the process and relationships of socially engaged art projects.

We see the aesthetic qualities of socially engaged art here—in how alliances are formed and maintained, the way disparate stakeholder groups are coordinated, how power dynamics are navigated, and how bridges are built between many different types of people in a socially engaged art project.

We create content that illuminates and deepens understanding of these relationships. A primary goal of ABOG is to make the “invisible” parts of socially engaged art visible. We do this through documentary films and field research that are artist-led, and are grounded in the perspective of project participants, as well as publications, web content, and public programming.

We also use this focus on process and relationships to advocate for a more expanded sense of what art is, how artists can work in communities, and how art might be integrated into everyday life. Our field research, documentary films, and other content serve as the basis for curriculum, toolkits, and consulting that enable more artists to work in partnership with non-artist stakeholders.

The deadline to apply is September 18, 2017, 11:59 PM (EST)

Fellowship projects become the focus of:
A short, engaging documentary film directed and produced by RAVA Films
Field research that utilizes action research methodology
Web content and public programs
A biennial publication
Curriculum and advocacy that advance the field of socially engaged art
Two dedicated opportunities to engage a cohort of peer artists

To realize this partnership, artists receive $20,000 in minimally restricted support.

Issue-Based Fellowships
ABOG-David Rockefeller Joint Fellowship in Criminal Justice

This fellowship examines the transformational roles artists play in a criminal justice context.
Applicants working in criminal justice are automatically considered.

ABOG Fellowship for Contemplative Practice, in partnership with the Hemera Foundation

This fellowship supports artists who work with the intersection of social practice and contemplative practice.
Applicants who would like to be considered will be asked to answer two supplementary questions in the online submission form. Click here to learn more and read FAQs.

Sky Cooper New Play Prize
deadline: August 31st

Norton J. “Sky” Cooper established the New American Play Prize at Marin Theatre Company in 2007 to celebrate the work of the American playwright and to encourage the creation of bold, powerful new voices and plays for the American stage. The Sky Cooper Prize will be awarded annually to either an established or emerging playwright for an outstanding new work. The play selected as the Sky Cooper winner will receives a $10,000 award and a developmental workshop as part of the theater’s annual New Play Reading Series. The winning play will also be considered under option for a full production at MTC as part of the theater’s annual main stage season.

Urban Stages: Words by Women
Deadline: August 31st

To encourage the development and production of plays by women, we put out a special call for our Words by Women Reading Series periodically. These plays are given special attention and considered more immediately by our Literary Committee. Plays must be written by female playwrights. While not mandatory, we encourage casts with a majority of women and plays exploring social issues facing women today. Plays may have been developed or produced elsewhere, but never produced in New York City.

While not mandatory, we encourage casts with a majority of women and plays exploring social issues facing women today. Plays may have been developed or produced elsewhere, but never produced in New York City.

Submit plays to:
Urban Stages
555 Eighth Avenue, RM 1800
New York, NY 10018

write WORDS BY WOMEN on the envelope you send your play in.

Full-length plays only:

- scripts must be firmly bound
- No changes or revisions accepted after submission
- No double-sided pages.
- 7 actors or less (unless otherwise noted)…doubling is fine

With your submission, please include:

- Biography and/or author’s history of the play
- Character breakdown
- Brief synopsis of the play.
- A small SASE envelope for a response letter.
  *Whole plays will no longer be returned. All plays will be recycled.

-There is no limit to submissions.
-Subject matter and character variations are open.

-There is no submission fee.

It usually takes up to six months for us to read and process your script. We ask that you do not call or email our offices to inquire on the status of your play. Plays from overseas and throughout the United States are accepted and considered.
BUT special attention will be given to playwrights who live in or near New York.

We recommend not spending extra money to send your play express, overnight or via other expensive services.  We accept plays year-round and for special deadlines, we accept plays postmarked on the deadline date. For special deadlines, late plays are just entered among our general year-round submissions.

*Words by Women submissions ARE eligible for The Emerging Playwright Award.

BETC New Generation Residency
deadline: September 1st

THIS OPPORTUNITY IS FOR PLAYWRIGHTS WHO ARE PARENTS OF AT LEAST ONE CHILD 18 OR YOUNGER. Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company (BETC) is now accepting submissions for our next Generations residency competition. In order to support the work of parent playwrights, BETC is seeking full-length plays written by a parent with at least one child under 18 years of age as of September 1, 2017. The winning playwright will receive: a week-long workshop residency in Boulder, Colorado, with daily rehearsals, culminating in a staged reading of the selected script; the chance to rewrite and revise during the week as part of the script development experience; a stipend for travel and lodging; a $500 prize; and a $500 childcare stipend to defray the costs associated with childcare during the residency. During the residency, the selected play will be rehearsed with a cast of professional actors, director, and dramaturg. The week will culminate in a public reading. The residency will take place in May 2018; specific date arrangements will be made directly with the winning playwright. Competition submissions are due by September 1, 2017. Entry Guidelines: Plays must be in the English language. Scripts that have been produced by Equity or professional companies or that have been published are ineligible. We will consider scripts that have had a workshop, reading, or academic production. Scripts may not be under option or scheduled for production or publication as of September 1, 2017. BETC will negotiate an option on the winning play and have right of first refusal on the world premiere production. The winning play will receive full consideration for production in an upcoming season. You can view past competition information and full submission guidelines on our company website. Please note: playwrights submitting through the NPX are not required to submit additional materials beyond your tagged script. If your play is selected as a finalist, BETC will reach out for additional support materials as needed. The application deadline is September 1, 2017. Our winning playwright will be notified by December 1, 2017.

Breckenridge Creative Arts: Tin Shop and Robert Whyte House Residency
Deadline: September 29th

Breckenridge Creative Arts seeks to present innovative work that is new to Breckenridge and Colorado. BCA encourages applications from artists representing the widest possible range of perspectives and demographics, and welcomes artists engaging in the broadest spectrum of artistic practice.

With excellence, diversity, and relevance as core values of BCA, our goal is to continue to introduce the Breckenridge community and its guests to the works of regional, national, and international artists of the highest caliber. A multi-layered programming team guides BCA’s artistic vision and curatorial framework. Our experienced team of arts professionals shapes the artistic quality of programming selected to ensure the highest international standard while truly reflecting the unique character of Breckenridge.

The Tin Shop and Robert Whyte House provide opportunities for artists to live and work on the Breckenridge Arts District campus. Artists are invited to stay for a minimum of two weeks and up to several months, depending on program needs. Each facility features a fully furnished studio apartment upstairs and a low-tech working studio on the main level. Artists are selected based on the excellence of their work and public participation abilities. Our guest artist programs provide time and space for artists to work in mediums of their choice. In return, we ask that artists host open studio hours and workshops that engage all facets of the community, including the local school district.

Support: Private housing; Wireless internet connection provided in living area; Spouses/partners allowed for full stay; Children allowed for full stay; There are many opportunities for artists to earn income during their residency through workshops, educational programs, lectures, and demos. Artists may have the opportunity to exhibit their work at a local gallery.
Costs: There is no charge for artists to stay at the Tin Shop. Artists are responsible for all transportation costs, food and materials for personal work.

UCROSS Foundation Residency
Deadline: October 1st

Artists, writers and composers from around the United States and the world, in all stages of their professional careers, are invited to apply to work on individual or collaborative projects. Fellows are chosen by a panel of professionals in the arts and humanities in a highly competitive application process.  The quality of an applicant's work is given primary consideration.  Final invitations for residencies are extended at the discretion of the Ucross Foundation.

There are two residency sessions annually. Application deadlines are March 1 for Fall Session, which runs from August through the first Friday in December, and October 1 for Spring Session, which runs from March through the first Friday in June.  Residencies vary in length from two to six weeks. Applications are only accepted by online submission.

To apply, each applicant must complete a Ucross Foundation Residency Application Form and provide the required materials, including two letters of recommendation, a project description and a work sample as described in the Application Guidelines. There is a $40 nonrefundable application fee.  There is no fee for a residency.

Current work is requested. The nature of the work sample submitted should correspond to the nature of the work you propose to do while in residence. An applicant's work sample is the most significant feature of his or her application. Unless work is interdisciplinary, i.e., the various genres interconnect, each applicant is encouraged to apply in a primary discipline and submit a work sample and project description, which emphasizes this single discipline. Competition for residencies varies seasonally and with the number of applications.

WORK SAMPLE: should be representative of the genre in which you plan to work while in residence. Writing samples should be double-spaced. Appropriate samples are as follows:

PLAYWRITING: one complete play*

SCREENWRITING: one complete screenplay*

MacDowell Colony
Deadline: Sept 15th

The MacDowell Colony provides time, space, and an inspiring environment to artists of exceptional talent. A MacDowell Fellowship, or residency, consists of exclusive use of a studio, accommodations, and three prepared meals a day for up to eight weeks. There are no residency fees.

MacDowell Fellows are selected by our admissions panels, which are comprised of a revolving group of distinguished professionals in each artistic discipline who serve anonymously for three years.

The Colony accepts applications from artists working in the following disciplines: architecture, film/video arts, interdisciplinary arts, literature, music composition, theatre, and visual arts. The sole criterion for acceptance is artistic excellence, which the Colony defines in a pluralistic and inclusive way. MacDowell encourages applications from artists representing the widest possible range of perspectives and demographics, and welcomes artists engaging in the broadest spectrum of artistic practice and investigating an unlimited array of inquiries and concerns. To that end, emerging as well as established artists are invited to apply.

MacDowell is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and disability. No one with the AIDS virus, ARC, or HIV shall be denied admission as long as he/she is otherwise qualified. The Colony offers barrier-free access in all main buildings and some studios.

2018-2019 Cullman Center Fellowship
Deadline: September 29th (now open)

The Cullman Center’s Selection Committee awards up to 15 fellowships a year to outstanding scholars and writers—academics, independent scholars, journalists, and creative writers. Foreign nationals conversant in English are welcome to apply. Candidates who need to work primarily in The New York Public Library's other research libraries—the 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, nor are people seeking funding for research leading directly to a degree.

The Cullman Center looks for top-quality writing from academics as well as from creative writers and independent scholars. It aims to promote dynamic communication about literature and scholarship at the very highest level—within the Center, in public forums throughout the Library, and in the Fellows’ published work.

A Cullman Center Fellow receives a stipend of up to $70,000, an office, a computer, and full access to the Library's physical and electronic resources. Fellows work at the Center for the duration of the fellowship term, which runs from September through May. Each Fellow gives a talk over lunch on current work-in-progress to the other Fellows and to a wide range of invited guests, and may be asked to take part in other programs at The New York Public Library.

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