Monday, May 27, 2019

Lessons at Gunpoint

When cops have guns drawn
and give you conflicting orders like
'hands in the air' and 'grab your license'
or 'don't move' and 'shut off the car'
it's cause they want to shoot you.

When they yell 'GUN'
and you have nothing in your hands but your blackness
and they have an instrument of death,
it's because they want to kill you.

When cops work themselves up into a panic frenzy,
shaking and screaming at you while you are completely unarmed
it's because they are pumping themselves up to commit murder.

They will get away with it.
Camera or no camera.
So don't move.
They still might shoot you,
but you have to resist all your natural instincts
 Resist the urge to run or shake or scream.
And that's what it is like to live.

You have to resist your nature
to flee/fight/move to be Black in America.
After they've beaten/arrested/tortured/killed
and suffocated your instincts, they'll call you an animal.
And the proof is in your existence
b/c no human would live under these conditions.
In order to survive, you strangled your humanity.
You became something else. 

The Statue of Liberty is a Monument to Black Liberation

FRANCE: Here is a gift to celebrate you not being assholes any more and freeing slaves.
AMERICA: Oh wow, thank you. This is going to look so good on our lawn. It'll be a tribute to other Europeans arriving.
FRANCE: No, you're not hearing us. This is a statute for your freed Black ppl at this very moment. Right now. You don't have to wait.
AMERICA: Yes, European immigrants are going to love this statue later on. It'll show American pride. Oh, maybe we can get a poem inscribed on it about immigrants to show America's magnanimity.
FRANCE: Okay it's a French statute. It was created by French abolitionists. It is called the Statue of Liberty. Your freedmen were steeped in 'Black Liberation gospel' while enslaved. There are quite literally chains on her feet that are broken to show freedom from slavery by the Lady of Liberty. We used the Roman goddess Libertas, who wore the cap of freed slaves. Black LIBERATION gospel. Lady LIBERTY. Roman Goddess of Liberty for freed slaves. You get it?
AMERICA: I'm just going to ignore everything you said after 'here is a gift.'
EUROPEAN IMMIGRANTS: (looking at statue) Oh wow! For me?
AMERICA: Totally babe. I like to call it The Statue of Liberty and... *applause* oh thank you, thank you so much. This is for immigrants who make this country great. You know *wink wink* the ones I’m talking about. Frenchy French guy over here made it *light applause*...
FRANCE: But, but-
AMERICA: I just wanted to show how much I was thinking about you.
EUROPEAN IMMIGRANTS: You are the greatest!
AMERICA: I know, right?!?

To all the ppl who found it strange that in a monument-obsessed nation, there was nothing erected in honor of slaves, guess what? There was. In fact, it's probably one of the most iconic images of the United States. America just 'retitled' and regifted the tribute.

Friday, May 17, 2019

No Worries

I found out my license expired when I tried to pick up my rental car in the Savannah airport. The rental car company said, 'no problem.' Just go get a temporary license. I opened my laptop in the airport and began filling out the forms online for NY state. On the third page I found out that I needed an eye exam to do an online renewal because I have glasses, but no problem. You just pop into a Lenscrafters and get a form filled out. Nick and I drive around and Lenscrafter is closed but there's an optometrist office in the Wal-Mart. I'm thinking 'wow, life is so convenient: online renewal, Wal-Mart optometrist, quick forms.' I pop into the Wal-Mart optometrist and they're booked. No worries I'll come back tomorrow. I get back the new day and tell the clerk 'I just need this form signed. My vision is fine.' They test me for cataracts, repeatedly ask 'do you want to get your eyes dilated?' No. I'm trying to rent a car...like now. I heard the optometrist in the exam room waxing philosophically to a client. I just want to be a New Yorker and electric slide into the office like 'excuse can you just sign this form?' I resist b/c I'm trying to chill and 'no worries'... there are walk-in hours.

We go get lunch and I come back for walk-in hours. I waited two hours and I was told that I could come back in the morning. No worries...just come back at 8am. I started taking a Lyft around b/c I have a month-long pass that gives me $8 off the first 30 ride so short-distance rides are free. In NYC I've used the app about 20 times in the last month and only paid the optional tip of $1-2. I rode around for free, talked to the drivers. I Lyft'ed to the Wal-Mart the next day at 8am sharp. As I'm was waiting for the optometrist I replayed Beyonce's cover of "Before I Let You Go" in my head. An employee caught me dancing and was like 'heeey, you doing the stinky leg' and an impromptu dance party started in the vitamin section. The optometrist came and I explained that I just needed him to sign the form. He starts talking about the nature of the eye. This goes on for about 10 minutes. What is going on? Well, fuck it. If he's going to talk this much I'm going to record him. Maybe I can use it for a character later. He gives me permission and I record a half-hour of him talking about the eye. The exam itself took about 2 minutes. At the end of our 40 min session, he was like 'yeah, your eyes are fine.' He gave me the forms, I raced across the street to UPS, filled out my renewal online, got a temporary license, and printed it out. Then I took a 'free' Lyft to the nearest airport to rent a car where I ran to the rental counter: car please! No worries, the clerk told me they only had an SUV. I thought 'fine, whatever. Just give it to me." They said it would cost $500. For 2 1/2 days? Now, could I pay $500? Yes? Should I pay that when I'm riding around in Lyfts for free? I walked outside and took a Lyft back to the condo I'm staying at...maybe this happened for a reason. All these people I met, all these little stories. I decided that I don't need a rental car. I Lyft to my next appointment. The next day I walked to my interview. No worries. Someone else picked me up to go to another meeting, and toward the end of the afternoon, the AD of the theatre down here gave me his car for the last two days.

No worries.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Killing Anger


From a reliable source...I heard that before Singleton had his fatal stroke he was flying out to shoot something and he vowed to 'have it out' with one of the creatives on SNOWFALL. He had been unhappy with a lot of thing on the show. Apparently, this confrontation/argument/whatever happened. A day or so later he had a stroke. I heard this info a few days ago and I was processing it. I don't share this to cast aspersions on SNOWFALL because I don't know the particulars. Even though I have heard numerous stories about the toxicity of their writers' room, I don't know what the argument was about or who was right....but does it matter? I'm trying to think of a creative argument worth having that would justify me losing my health or life....and I can't think of one.

My Dad worked as a teacher for over 30 years. The year before he retired I went down to Miami and observed him in the classroom. Something had shifted. He had become angry at the kids. I told him 'please don't yell at them.' He looked insulted, like I was taking their side in the generational arguments. But I was trying to reach him. He didn't work out, he ate bad food...but he had been a sort of jolly fat man for most of my life. I told him that he was now adding anger/stress into the equation of junk food/sedentary life. The people in my family like to say we have 'good genes.' We can get by on eating shit and sitting on our ass and no one has a heart attack or dies in their 40s or even 50s. I actually have grandfathers and grandmothers who died peacefully in their sleep at an old age...without the terror of hospitals or tubes and monitors.  But we can't add stress. The second we do that it's eliminated every single one of my family members. My Dad laughed at my thesis. When he drove me to the airport I repeated what I said a few more times. He kept ' Okay, Dr. Squire' in a sarcastic tone. The discussion continued via text as I was waiting to board my plane. Almost a week later he was in the hospital with a massive stroke. Once that stroke happened, he was hit with several more. This was a year before retiring with full pension/benefits. He planned on retiring and traveling across American in a Winnebago with my mom. Now he had 18 months to live according to most doctors. Miraculously, he's still around 13 years later because...well, remember what I said about the genes? But his physical/mental abilities have degenerated significantly. He's bed bound. The Winnebago tour never happened. Whenever I see him I wonder about those last few arguments before the first stroke: what was he arguing about with the kids or his boss? Was it worth it? Could he even remember?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Mitchelville, South Carolina: #1

Down here in Hilton Head doing research about Mitchelville, the first town of Black freedmen in America and apart of an 'experiment' during the Civil War. The Union Navy beat the Confederates and decided to set up a blockade in South Carolina and to deplete the South's income since a lot of it came from sea island cotton and indigo bricks off the coast. The Union soldiers arrive on the Gullah islands to find...99% Black ppl, some black drivers, some white overseers, and no slave owners. It was hard living and the islands were filled with mosquitos that spread malaria and yellow fever, so slave owners didn't live there. The slaves lived in a semi-independent existence where they worked on a task system. They were given a daily quota of how much cotton or rice they had to bring in, and if they brought it in...they could chill for the rest of the day. As a result of no meddling slave owners and some daily flexibility, Geechee Gullah plantations were not only more productive than plantations in most of the South, but the slaves were stronger, more independent and had much more control over their communities

Union Generals didn't know what to do with the Gullah population, so they freed them! Yay!! End of story, everybody lived their dreams, prospered, pursued happiness and...no? No. President Lincoln rescinded that order, which must have made for a very uncomfortable 'see what had happen was' conversation between the Union general and Gullah ppl. 'Remember what I said before about you being free? So, yay, um..see, what had happen was...'

Lincoln wanted to use the Gullah ppl as leverage with the South. So the people were neither free nor totally enslaved. They were in limbo as war contraband in possession of the North until further negotiations. They started Mitchelville, a prosperous self-governing town they named after Union General Ormsby Mitchel. It was called the Port Royal Experiment because the Union wanted to see if Black ppl could govern themselves. Spoiler alert: we can if you get the fuck outta our way.

Gullahs said 'we want to fight with you! Give us some weapon and we'll go get those dern Confederates for you.' Union Generals replied "You want weapons to fight? Wow, thank you so much for your offer. But we don't trust-, I mean you might ki-.. you're too freaking stron-... just stay right there. And don't be too independent!' (Oh, white liberals allies ain't never changed.) Anyway, Lincoln began selling off the South's land, which is the primary source of wealth so that the Confederates would negotiate and end to the war. He kept the slaves on lockdown.

Finally Lincoln said 'okay, well...um, I guess you're free. Here's a Proclamation. And I'm going to give you want you want.' White slave owners wanted reparations for the loss of property...aka human beings walking around without their permission. The government granted them that. Black freedmen said 'just give us 40 acres and a mule and leave us ALONE!' Lincoln said 'I'll get right on that...as long as I don't get shot or something like that.' Oops. 40 acres and a mule and reparations went away with an assassin's bullet. White slave owners still got their reparations, and black people got sharecropping and 100 more years of terrorism and serfdom.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

GET WHAT YOU WANT: MAY 2019


1. ALICE JUDSON HAYES FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: May 15th
website: https://ragdale.submittable.com/submit/137680/2020-alice-judson-hayes-fellowship

The Alice Judson Hayes Writing Fellowship is an annual award in memory of Alice Hayes, who created the Ragdale Foundation in what had been her family home. All her life she was committed to working for a just and peaceful world. An 18- or 25-day residency, free of charge, and a $500 stipend will be given to a writer who is working on a project designed to bring awareness to a contemporary issue having to do with peace, social justice, education, or the environment. Projects can be nonfiction or fiction (including journalism, essays, memoir, script-writing, creative nonfiction). No academic writing.

One Alice Judson Hayes Fellowship is awarded annually. Ragdale encourages applications from artists representing the widest possible range of perspectives and demographics, and to that end, emerging as well as established artists are invited to apply. While there are no publication, exhibition or performance requirements for application, applicants should be working at the professional level in their fields.

Ragdale encourages artists of all backgrounds to apply, and does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of age, disability, gender, origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation.


2. AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL - PLAYWRITING COMPETITION
Deadline: May 15th
website: https://austinfilmfestival.com/submit/play/

Three finalists from the Playwriting Competition will have live readings during the festival which will be performed in front of an audience including the industry professionals already in attendance at the Conference. One winner will be selected and will receive a $1000 cash prize, AFF’s Bronze Typewriter Award, and reimbursements of up to $500 for travel and up to $500 for lodging if used during the 2019 Festival. There is a $25 application fee.

At Austin Film Festival, our mission is to champion all writers across mediums. Our Playwriting Competition (open to full-length plays) gives playwrights a chance to explore our film and television conference. It will also allow film professionals to discover storytellers who have mastered the art and craft of stage drama.

AFF has always promoted story as the most important element of film and TV. So giving playwrights their own story exposure and a chance of crossover into film and TV only advances our mission. There are many other playwriting competitions out there, but AFF offers playwrights broader access to successful writers and professionals in all the other related fields.


3. MCCOLL ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE
Deadline: May 15th
website: https://mccollcenter.org/apply/

Since 1999, McColl Center has partnered annually with Atrium Health, one of the leading healthcare organizations in the Southeast, to support one artist-in-residence in a medical setting in order to explore how the arts can extend or enhance healthcare and healing. Artists-in-residence in this program have worked in various areas of the healthcare system, facilitating opportunities for self-reflection and creative expression for patients and staff.

McColl Center seeks project proposals from local and regional artists for the winter/spring 2020 season. Artists may work in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, new media, or interdisciplinary practices. We look for artists who are engaged in research and investigation and who are interested in the healthcare system as both site and subject for their work. Successful proposals will clearly state how the artist’s project will advance the theme of healthcare and healing and actively engage Atrium patients and/or staff.

Selected artists receive:

$2,000 stipend which includes living, materials, and travel (United States-based artists only; due to the limitations of B-1 visas, international artists are not eligible to receive stipends)
Furnished apartment (for artists from outside the greater Charlotte area)
24-hour access to a private studio with Wi-Fi and common use areas
Participation in a group exhibition on the second and/or third floor of McColl Center
Photo and social media documentation
Technical and administrative services
Professional guidance from a visiting curator
Opportunities to engage with McColl Center audiences via public programs


4. PEN AMERICA WRITING FOR JUSTICE
Deadline: May 15th
website: https://pen.org/writing-justice-application/

PEN America’s Writing for Justice Fellowship will commission six writers—emerging or established—to create written works of lasting merit that illuminate critical issues related to mass incarceration and catalyze public debate.

The PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship aims to harness the power of writers and writing in bearing witness to the societal consequences of mass incarceration by capturing and sharing the stories of incarcerated individuals, their families, communities, and the wider impact of the criminal justice system. Our goal is to ignite a broad, sustained conversation about the dangers of over-incarceration and the imperative to mobilize behind rational and humane policies. As an organization of writers dedicated to promoting free expression and informed discourse, PEN America is honored to have been entrusted by the Art for Justice Fund to engage the literary community in addressing this pressing societal issue.

The Writing for Justice Fellowship is open-genre, and proposed writing projects, which must be authored by the applicant, may include—but are not limited to—fictional stories; works of literary or long-form journalism; theatrical scripts; memoirs; poetry collections; or multimedia projects. The most competitive applications will demonstrate how the proposed project will engage issues of reform, fuel public debate, crystallize concepts of reform, and facilitate the possibility of societal change. As part of our mission to stimulate discussion, emphasis will be placed on proposed projects that show strong promise for publication. Fellows must commit to contribute actively to bringing attention to their work and that of other Fellows. The Fellowship is open to writers at any stage of their career. Currently and formerly incarcerated writers are highly encouraged to apply, and special provisions will be made for incarcerated writers to participate through alternative methods.

Fellows will receive an honorarium of between $5,000-$10,000, based on the scope of project. Modest expense budget requests up to $2,500 will be additionally considered. Fellows will be paired with a mentor to serve as a source of guidance for the project, and the cohort will convene in person twice during the course of the Fellowship. PEN America will draw on the Writing for Justice Advisory Committee, as well as its network of agents, editors, publishers, partner organizations and outlets in order to assist efforts for publication and dissemination of the work of the Fellows. Opportunities for sharing the created work through public forums will be organized in New York City at the PEN World Voices Festival, in the Fellow’s home community, and possibly additional locations.


5. GENEVA RESIDENCY
Deadline: May 15th
website: http://www.eofa.ch/en/applications/

Embassy of Foreign Artists (EoFA) is a place of residence for artists in Geneva. Our spaces welcome the different stages of the creative process, from the first gropings and reflections to its presentation in a finished form. EoFA's first vocation is to host artists in residence and to set up a program that promotes interaction with the local public, whether professionals, amateurs or curious. EoFA also organizes wider events where local artists and residents meet around different artistic practices (music, dance, performance, installations, conferences, etc.). Thanks to its many activities and appointments, EoFA has established itself as a place of choice for the discovery of original proposals.

The Republic and Canton of Geneva, in partnership with the association Laps, opened a residence in Maison Baron, located in the heart of the "Praille-Acacias-Vernets" perimeter in 2012. This project called Embassy of Foreign Artists aims to create, through the presence of creators from elsewhere and their exchanges with local artists and cultural organizations, a network of interactions conducive to the development of innovative views and reflections on contemporary urban transformations.

Applications are now open until the 15th of May 2019, at midnight, local time (UTC+2).

The Embassy of Foreign Artists is launching calls for themed projects, open to all types of practice. These reflect our areas of interest and our aim to offer research time and visibility to original projects that examine their subject critically.

The stay provides:

• A private room as well as a working space and access to common areas shared with other residents.

• A residency of three or six months (the desired length of stay must be specified on the Application Questionnaire).

• A grant of 1200.- Swiss francs per month for the length of the stay.


6. FLORIDA THEATRICAL ASSOCIATION: NEW MUSICAL DISCOVERY SERIES
Deadline: May 20th
Website: http://floridatheatrical.org/new-musical-discovery-series

Aspiring writers from around the country are encouraged to submit their new works, which will be reviewed by a panel of theatre professionals, including renowned directors, writers, producers and performers. The panel will select two works that will each receive a staged reading. One final winner will receive a workshop presented of their piece featuring local directors and talent. The Discovery Series will also include talkbacks for students and audiences with the playwrights and directors.

All submissions must include: A cover letter A history of the musical’s development A synopsis Full script A CD or flash drive with at least six songs from the production (can be a very basic recording) *Please note that materials will not be returned.

Electronic Submission can also be emailed to kennyhoward@floridatheatrical.org.


7. MITTEN LAB
Deadline: May 31st
website: https://www.themittenlab.org/

he MITTEN Lab (A Michigan Incubator for Theatre Talent Emerging Now), led by co-founders Katherine M. Carter and Rachel Sussman, is now accepting submissions for the 2019 MITTEN Lab residency, taking place from September 8 - 15, 2019 in Bear Lake, MI and culminating in a presentation featuring Interlochen Arts Academy students and Parallel 45 Theatre company members.

Submissions are now open to all playwrights, musical theatre composers, lyricists, and librettists ages 18 and up. Submissions will be accepted through Friday, May 31, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST. The submission fee is $20 ($15 for students with a valid ID). A reading committee of industry professionals will review all applications. Artists accepted for the residency program will be notified by mid-July. For more information or to apply, please visit http://www.themittenlab.org.

The MITTEN Lab is a nonprofit artist residency program located in Northern Michigan that provides early career theatre artists with the time, space, and support to develop new theatrical works and engage with the local landscape. Artists pay nothing to participate - housing, travel, studio space, meals, and a stipend are provided.


8. JAMES STEVENSON COMEDIC SHORT PLAYS
Deadline: May 31st
website: http://playingonair.org

In his editorial cartoons for The New Yorker, James Stevenson told stories about the human comedy with energy and economy. Playing on Air, a theater podcast and public radio show, will award three major prizes ($7500 with recording for radio and podcast distribution; $2000; $1000) for short comedies that perpetuate Mr. Stevenson's spirit and wit, bringing the finest new American plays to a national audience - for free.

What to Submit:
- Playing on Air invites writers to submit a short comedic play of 10-25 pages (not counting title page).
- All entries must be original, unproduced plays. Scripts may not be adapted from the playwright’s published or previously-produced work.
- Submissions will be judged for literary merit, originality, and regard for the spirit of James Stevenson.
- Please do not include sound design cues or instructions beyond standard stage directions.
- Special consideration will be given to the script’s suitability for audio recording, as well as public radio broadcast.  Single-character monologues and plays that rely on the extensive use of a chorus, cast doubling, stage directions, or visual elements are discouraged.
- No fee is required for entry.


9. BMI WORKSHOP
Deadline: June 1st for librettist
                 August 1st for composers and lyricists
Website: https://www.bmi.com/theatre_workshop/application_requirements

A new prologue to the established Librettists Workshop, Bookwriting Basics explores the fundamentals of writing book for the musical theatre through a series of lectures and assignments. This is a one-year course.

Fall Semester

Award winning bookwriter Adam Mathias unlocks the toolkit for musical theatre librettists. Through lecture, discussion and assignments students learn how to apply the fundamentals of playwriting to the craft of creating musicals.

Spring Semester

David Spencer, award winning bookwriter/lyricist and author of The Musical Theatre Writers’ Survival Guide, leads exploration through a series of masterworks to uncover what makes them work...and through analysis of promising source material for unsuccessful shows that had the potential to work…in which the class endeavors to solve inherent challenges that the original creative teams didn’t.

Librettists Workshop
After completing the Bookwriting Basics program, writers may apply to join the established Librettists Workshop group. Not all writers who apply will be invited to join.

Nancy Golladay, veteran Broadway literary manager and dramaturg, moderates a writers’ roundtable focused on developing the skills unique to musical theatre bookwriters. Members read and critique each other’s work as their material evolves from one-page synopses to fully scripted scenes — including occasional cold readings of an entire show. In a yearly collaborative project, the Librettists Workshop engages with the First Year Songwriting Class. Librettist Workshop members are also eligible to participate in Collaborator Connections events with members of the Songwriters Workshops.


10. LUXEMBOURG ARTS PRIZE
Deadline: June 2nd
website: https://www.luxembourgartprize.com/en/call-for-submissions-en/

The Luxembourg Art Prize aims to reveal and promote talented artists who have yet to establish a profile on the contemporary international scene. Its function is to discover artists, and it is open to any artist, amateur or professional, with no limits on age, nationality or place of residence. The Prize is aimed at artists working in one or more of the following media: drawing, printing, installation, painting, performance, photography, digital art, sculpture, sound art, video, mixed media, decorative art (textiles and material, glass, wood, metal, ceramics, mosaic, paper or other techniques).

The winner of the Prize receives an award of €50'000 (about US$56,500 GBP42,500 CHF56,000 CA$75,000 JPY6,300,000) paid into their bank account within a few days of the ceremony. The finalist artists will be included in a group exhibition in the gallery. The Luxembourg Art Prize is a unique opportunity to enter the international professional art circuit and to have your work seen by major private and institutional art collectors. You will have the chance to be supported and personally advised by HervĂ© Lancelin.

Unlike other prizes or art salons, the Luxembourg Art Prize is designed by a leading not-for-profit organisation to boost your career by exhibiting your work in a private exhibition space of museum quality and giving you a high level of visibility.

All the costs associated with travel to and accommodation in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for the finalist artists and one other person of their choice will be paid in full by the organisation in 2019. This includes transport for the works of art, air and train tickets and full-board accommodation in a four-star hotel.

The organisation will arrange return travel for the finalist artists and their companions by train or air. It will send travel documents to the finalist artists and their companions within the ten days before the opening of the finalist artists’ group exhibition.

The organisation will also book hotel rooms on the basis of dual occupancy (each artist with their companion).


11. THE RELENTLESS AWARD
Deadline: June 15th
Website: http://www.americanplaywritingfoundation.org/the-relentless-award.html

 WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR:

Plays that are challenging.
Plays that exhibit fearlessness.
Plays that are not mainstream.
Plays that exude passion.
Plays that are relentlessly truthful.
The American Playwriting Foundation encourages submissions by first-time playwrights, women and playwrights of color.

PRIZE:

The author of the Relentless Award-winning play will receive $45,000.
The winning playwright will have the option to have the winning play published by the Dramatists Play Service.
The winning playwright will have a week-long residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm, an artist residency program housed on a working organic farm in Brewster, New York. The author can elect to have a director, a dramaturg and actors join him or her while in residence on the farm.
The selected play will have a national roll-out through the Ed Vassallo Relentless Reading Series, established to help bring to life and develop the winning play by presenting a series of staged readings at some of the top theaters across the United States.
When the winning play is selected, three runners-up will also be named.