Monday, March 30, 2020

Random 'Rona Roll: A Stream of Thought...

- more American deaths than 9/11.
- and just like 9/11, this was preventable.
- so...what we investigating Hillary for next? Toe Fungus?
-our gov is lethally corrupt...but are you really using Chinese gov stats about their death toll as a factually verified comparison?
- Chinese gov sent ppl home when they didn't have beds and if they died there, it didn't count as the virus.
- btw, the Chinese gov is what Trump admin would be...if it was smart.
- so by process of inverted logic, America is Stupid China.
- I miss the good ol' days when we were just a stupid version of Canada.
- And still...Wuhan is reopening and probably in a lot better place than New Orleans, Detroit, NYC, and about a 100 other cities in America b/c despite the Chinese gov crooked cruelty...they test.
- Fox News literally killed their viewers with propaganda. Lying is contagious...and deadly.
- San Francisco flattening their curve...b/c they got ahead of the 'rona and sent ppl home early. Local hospitals open and not facing massive overflow. That could've been NYC...that could've been anywhere in America.
- so we look to that place Trump and the GOP like to call a liberal dump, a godawful sanctuary city, and an elitist hellhole...for hope.
- apparently, Seattle has also slowed 'rona virus by locking their city down.
- New Orleans too...even though their partying caused a spike...some say it's actually slowing down already b/c of emptying the streets.
- I really do hope the 100,000-200,000 death model turns out to be wildly overblown. I hope that NYC is the worst-case scenario b/c the heavy use of public transportation, population density, and the various population streams in the tri-states (NY, NJ, and CT) alll seem to dump into the center of NYC every day, making it a nuclear hotspot for contagions
- even during a good flu season, when one person gets a cold in NYC, it feels like within a few days 50% of the population is sick.
- over the last yr I didn't ride the subway to work once. I walked. When I couldn't walk, I took an Uber. And I was sick A LOT less this past fall and winter.
- in fact, I didn't miss one single day of work despite some times juggling multiple projects, staying up late, and being under a lot of pressure.
- if it's late at night and I can afford it, I just take a Lyft. It's not only the hassle of the subway, it's the long-delays which increase the crowd size waiting on the platform and also packs the subway cars late at night.
- MTA delays probably cause spikes in sickness, stress, and loss of work. Our deteriorating subway system mirrors are deteriorating immune system.
- I wonder if that MTA awareness changes the Cuomo love?
- In your next daddy governor fantasy about Cuomo, whisper softly into his ear 'fix the fucking MTA, you cocksucker.'
-if enough of us keep sending out that sexual fantasy, maybe our collective sexual consciousness will penetrate his soul. He'll wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat thinking 'that was the wildest orgy dream I've ever had in a stalled subway car. Maybe I should fix the MTA.'

Friday, March 27, 2020

A Prayer for Beauty

I was driving back from the grocery store this morning and the bay was so clean and lucent. The Miami skyline was reflected in a blue mirror of water. I wanted to stop and take a picture but I had already taken off my latex gloves and sprayed the steering wheel down with Lysol. So I watched the city out of the corner of my eyes.   In my entire life, I have never seen the bay water that still and pristine. How can I notice beauty without offending those who are suffering?

As a child, I used to think that nature mocked human tragedy with these moments of awful beauty. After the Battle of Gettysburg, the birds sang the next morning...while thousands of soldiers writhed and moaned in the mud. Flowers bloomed after humans vacated Chernobyl. In the middle of a flu pandemic, the skies clear and the water turns into prisms.  I used to imagine that nature was telling us 'you see how beautiful the world is without your pollution, without your noise, without your greed, anger, and cruelty. You see how much better the world would be without your presence.'

Eventually, I decided that wasn't what nature was saying. Then I thought that these scenes were just a sign of the world's indifference. Your wife dies and the neighbors are partying next door because. They already bought all the supplies and made the plans. Your loss wasn't part of their plans and while it's sad that your love is dead...these cold cuts are going to spoil. I thought God and nature was like that next-door neighbor that said 'sorry for your loss but can my friends park on your lawn?' Now I don't know what these scenes say to me. I just know I have to listen. Maybe that is the prayer: to hold all this fear and terror and hope and beauty in the same space...and breath.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Moral Arithmetic of a Plague

Does anyone else feel troubled by listing 'underlying conditions' with coronavirus victims? It lets young, seemingly healthy people relax a bit when they should be just as vigilant as everyone else. I know that when I read about coronavirus patients I subtly think 'did they have cancer...heart disease...were they old...whew! Okay, not me.' It's in the back of my mind somewhere. I'm not even saying that the media shouldn't state the underlying conditions, but we are a youth culture that attaches a moral arithmetic to health and age. Our culture has a built-in moral shaming toward people who are sick, obese, and/or old. We think 'well they must have done something to deserve this.' If someone is fat we think 'lazy and anything bad is their fault for not trying hard.' If someone is sick our culture's implicit bias leads people to offer unsolicited tips so they can 'fix' themselves because surely the sick person must have missed a step in self-care. If someone is old we think 'you had a good run. Time's up!' There's a certain amount of pressure that deflates when my mind can look for an excuse. And that's why young people are out playing basketball and football. They kind of feel like if a couple of thousand or hundred thousand old ppl or sick ppl or fatties die...well, that's on them. They've done the moral arithmetic and don't think their actions factor into the health of others.

During the AIDS pandemic, there was a moral arithmetic: gays get what they deserve because of lifestyle choice, an abomination against God, and partying too much. The vast majority of the country was fine with 'them dying' even if the death count was in the millions. It took Ryan White - a straight, white boy- to wake people up that the sickness has no connection to morality. It took Arthur Ashe and Magic Johnson to breakdown the classism.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sketches from a Quaratine Note: Death Cults

There was a funeral procession outside my door. This isn't an Emily Dickinson poem, this is literal. I woke up, stepped outside for fresh air and saw the gray hearse parked in front of my mom's Honda. There was a police cruiser and a cop on a motorcycle at the front of the small procession and a few cars behind the hearse. I asked who passed and the funeral attendant shrugged her shoulders. "I'm from out of town."

It felt like a surreal shoulder-shrugging variation of the Black Plague call of 'bring out your dead.' I don't know what the message is but a funeral procession at my door does catch my attention. What's going on during this global pandemic is shocking, but it's not surprising. We have been walking this funeral procession for a long time.

All cults end in death b/c they are based in lies and fear. What we are seeing is nothing less than a cult spiraling toward chaos and tragedy. The cult is America or, more accurately, the cult is a certain segment of the population so committed to an identity of false supremacy that facts/information/news does not penetrate. Their deaths will not change them. They will die filled with fear, anger, and lies. We, who are fortunate to survive, will bear witness to their obstinance, ignorance, and poison. I do not know if I will be among the fortunate survivors. But my words will be....

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sketches from a Quarantine Notebook: Vol. 1

Take it from someone who grew up in South Florida and suffered through dozens and dozens of tropical storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes: common sense is the last resort of Americans who have nothing left to buy or hoard. Unfortunately, that resort is at the end of a very long block of greed, panic, and fear. We have only started walking through this neighborhood, but we will get to that resort. Slowly and painfully, we will arrive at that last small plain house and realize it had everything we needed: kindness, patience, service, and abundance.


There are three supermarkets in this area of South Beach. One is Trader Joe's and I'm scared of going in there during normal times. The second one is Publix which is for families so...Imma stay away from that. The third one is Fresh Market...a very niche supermarket for tourists and bachelor-type residents. I went to Fresh Market this morning and looked around. Things seemed normal. The only barren shelf was the pasta section and maybe half of the basket with fresh-made bread were empty...and one section of red wine had been stripped clean. So now we know what ppl's priorities are on SoBe: pasta, bread, and red wine. I never thought a full shelf of toilet paper would be such a beacon of sanity (yes I know tourists are largely staying in hotels where the toilet paper is provided and they're not staying long enough to engage in hoarding, but don't harsh my vibe here for Fresh Market.)


O ne of the advantages of living in a hipster neighborhood: ppl don't know/care about crisis hoarding. The bodega across the street from my apt still has all the usual supplies. No one is running in there to buy all the toilet paper b/c...well that's stupid. Coronavirus doesn't give you diarrhea and hoarding toilet paper just means you spent more money to creates a supply shortage that will cause the price to skyrocket for everyone else: a lose-lose situation.

My most extravagant expense in the last week has been getting two electronic oral thermometers (one online and one in a store). I keep one thermometer at home, and I carry the other one in my bag. I check my temperature and the beginning and end of each day and -if I feel funny- I can take out my traveling thermometer and check. My temperature remains at 97.2 degrees. I wash my hands a lot, have one sensible bottle of hand sanitizer, one pack of disinfectant wipes, and the usual amount of cold/flu medication.

In other words, panic is not necessary. Just take the suggested precautions, be careful, maintain good hygiene, and stay away from people if you're feeling sick. I'm susceptible to allergy coughing even when I'm fine so I use a sugar-free throat lozenge when I'm in public so I don't get punched in the face for a pollen-triggered sneeze.

Earlier this week I had a painful decision: I could see what was happening in slow-motion and I have a very good friend in Vermont who let me use his barn 2 yrs ago to do a month-long meditation retreat. It did occur to me that I could just drop everything and go to Vermont. Shut down my communications, turn off my phone, spend a month in isolated meditation. And then I thought 'I could do that, but it would sort of be a dick move to float away on a pink cloud amidst conflict and strife under the guise of a spiritual practice. Meditation isn't an escape from the world, but an exercise to better engage with the world. The 1st Panchen Lama Lobsang Chukyi Gyeltsen was doing a meditation retreat when war broke out in Tibet. He could have easily stayed in retreat and said he was 'healing the world through meditation' and his mind was powerful enough that it would be true to some extent. But he immediately ended his retreat, ran out to the battlefield, and stepped in between the two warring armies. He threw his own body into the middle of a battle and stopped the destruction of Tibet. This story is told in De Lam classes to make a point. Despite all the emphasis on mediation, don't use spiritual practice as an escape from the war outside. In some ways, the war outside is the spiritual practice and some times you must throw yourself into it...fully. All the meditation and prayer is just practice for how we are going to act in the middle of a crisis. So I am throwing myself into it. I did the dramatists guild writers' group over the weekend, getting ready to review proposals for grants, meeting with ppl via skype, had a conference call meeting on Sunday with two young writers who wanted advice. Now is not the time to run away. Now is the time to step and stumble and fall and stagger into the middle of chaos and uncertainty. This won’t look graceful and zen but growing never does. It is messy and humiliating and humbling and confusing and absurd and tragic. That is the walking/living/moving meditation.


I'm watching the Hillary docuseries on Hulu brought me back to my childhood. We are all the product of our time and I grew up in the 80s and 90s. I remember watching the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearing after school and having that first gender epiphany: oh, it really sucks for professional women. You will be abused, questioned, knocked around, harassed, and not even get support from the majority of women. You will be doubted by all-male panels and turned into a power-hungry Lady Macbeth bitch, idiot, or slut. Anita Hill got the 'power-hungry bitch' treatment in a way that was so obvious to me -as a young child- that it felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. It was the first time I got to see male patriarchy - both Dems and Republicans- unite to destroy someone who was so obviously telling the truth and prop up a nominee who was such a blatant liar (fast forward to Kavanaugh).
A year later, the same machine kicked up against the Clintons in '92. To me, it was shocking how effortlessly the 'power-hungry bitch' theme was taken up in the DNC primary (even though Hillary wasn't running) and continued throughout the general election. Taking aside the imperfections that Clinton and everyone has, I don't know how I would react under similar circumstances. I don't know how I would react if every day, in every action I took, I was viewed as being a 'power-hungry bitch' who was deserving of violent psycho/sexual assault to put me in my place. As a black person, I do understand being viewed with suspicion and as a threat, but not with the gender threat of being raped/humiliated for speaking. I don't know how I would react if every time I gave a speech or tried to take a stand on something I knew there was 40-50% of the ppl thinking 'what a power-hungry lying asshole.' And in some ways, I get why older black women supported Hillary Clinton overwhelmingly. Because black women get the double whammy of being hated for race and gender. In every facet, there is a large percentage of people who just...don't want them in the room.
And now I look at this recent primary coverage of Elizabeth Warren (stuck-up), Kamala Harris (power-hungry), Amy Klobuchar (power-hungry) and it's hard to not feel like the same monotonous bullshit keeps getting proliferated.

Inexplicably and despite the 30+ yrs of mudslinging, I like Hillary Clinton. And I do like Bernie Sanders (chill out, Bernie supporters), Kamala Harris, and I really like Elizabeth Warren. And I guess I will deal with Joe Biden if he's the nominee and hopes he puts Stacey Abrams or Harris as his VP.



Wednesday morning...

BOOMER: “Ok boomer” what now?!?! WHAT NOW, HUH? You like that?!? Next time we’re gonna get someone who is 90 and can barely keep soup in his mouth and vote for him!! We are going to ride till the tennis balls fall off our walkers!!!
BOOMER: Ok what? Ok what?!? Say my name, say my name like Candyman!!
MILLENNIALS: ...ok...boomer...ok...
GEN X: you guys are so dramatic.
GEN X: we already did.

Pandemic Horror Movie

When I was a kid there was a flesh-eating bacteria outbreak that took over the news cycle. It was all people could talk about...Flesh-eating bacteria, FLESH EATING BACTERIA...aahhh! In fairness, flesh-eating bacteria has a certain POP to it! It zings! It's like something out of a sci-fi horror story about aliens who disguise themselves as gas station toilet seats and then WHAM, invade your body and melt your insides. I remember reading about it with fascination like it was an HP Lovecraft story...until my dad actually got it. It started with a bad 7-11 egg salad sandwich, and yes...we made sure to make fun of him for making such a catastrophically bad dietary choice. But that spoiled sandwich triggered the use of a gas station bathroom or some public facility. Something that was fantastical/surreal became very concrete and we fell through a Lookingglass, ending up inside the horror movie we were watching. What was something I observed as a detached viewer flipped and I was was being family was being watched like we were in the movie and people were screaming at us 'don't eat that sandwich...the monster is coming for you idiot...don't go in that attic...RUN BOY RUN!' Ohh, this is real. Like REAL real. The initial diagnosis of food poisoning was the creeping horror that turned into surgery, cutting out several feet of intestines, months of healing, and the fear: is it really gone or will it come back? My dad had life-long scars and problems from that brush with bad fate. Ever since then whenever there is a new scare or pandemic I always wonder about fate, and how those seemingly distant things can meet you face-to-face. You hear about swine flu, SARS, Ebola, and things like Corona in places like Wuhan, China or West Africa. And  -all of sudden- you get a knock on your door. You open it...see nothing...and close the door. But in that seemingly mundane moment, 'the thing' has crept in...while touching a doorknob, or sitting on the edge of a jacuzzi, or eating a sandwich from 7-11, or walking by someone as they cough in your face at the exact worst moment.

A few years later I was a wrestler in high school. Wrestlers get tons of skin diseases, rashes, and infections: it's the nature of sweating skin-to-skin with people on moldy school mats. I got my fair share of gross skin ailments. I went to dermatologists to get patches cut off, burned, medicated. And I always wondered if one of those minor skin diseases was 'the monstrous' terrible flesh-eating bacteria. It never materialized again. Just like with having asthma there was/is always low-key fear that any chest tightness or wheezing is the start of an asthma attack, you realize how vulnerable we all are. Alexander the Great died from the flu. Emperors and kings cut their finger and die painful deaths. How am I removed from this? I guess what I'm trying to say is STAY THE FUCK HOME. it's not a guarantee of safety, but you already have enough things lurking around out there trying to kill you. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

An Isolated Sickly Child

I'm in a silly mood because I'm used to being isolated for health reasons. I grew up with severe childhood asthma. I spent many afternoons of my adolescence hooked up to oxygen tanks...waiting to breathe. It seems like half of my childhood was spent battling infections, flus, terrible fevers, and a variety of exotic diseases my body seemed to welcome. More oxygen takes, inhalers, silent treatments in isolations. During those times I would go into my head, recalling old shows, bits of trivia, soap operas, sitcoms... replaying my favorite scenes from THE COSBY SHOW or THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS. Then I would rewrite the scenes, trying out different punchlines, new plot twists, making myself laugh or gasp in surprise as an audience of one ...anything to keep myself entertained and to not think about all the games kids were playing outside. Some times a nurse or another parent would see me and go 'oh you poor thing...oh it's so are so precious.'  And I would think between wheezing breaths '' I hate the pity and roll my eyes at panic. It is my default b/c this is the way I grew up. It is the modus operandi of the sickly child to be more creative, to have a richer inner monologue and internal life.

The sickly child is like a fungus that can become a societal poison or a potion. We mushrooms grow in the dark, wet, ferment of disappointment, disease, ailments, and struggle. As cruel as it may be for us during our youthful years, we tend to be the easiest to adapt and most level-headed people. We are keenly aware of our mortality, we have thought about death, contemplated what it means to not exist because of an errant cough, or a vicious bacteria. Isolation, death, creativity are all apart of the same branch of life. And so I sit in this hotel room again...thinking about life and feeling both ridiculous and light. I'm silly but that doesn't mean I can't take things seriously. Hope you are safe and sound and socially distanced! 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Politics of a Pandemic

As I sit in my Miami Beach hotel room under self-quarantine I've been thinking about how this will play out. Will this be the breaking point for Trump, will his gross incompetence be recognized, will his deadly corruption and lack of responsibility receive its comeuppance? Can we move forward with a government that will be able to respond to future pandemics with more speed and intelligence?

I predict the GOP/FOX News/Trump pivots with scapegoat racism, blaming the Chinese, doubling down on xenophobic fear of immigrants, and increased calls of nationalism...Amerca First. The virus will not be a wake-up call. It will just reconfirm everyone's entrenched beliefs on the right and left. In the age of social media and cable news, anything that happens that is this large is easily used by both sides.  But the suburban independent voters -the ones the Dems so thirstily lust after- will side with fear unless they are given a compelling argument of a better way. Saying 'you have a plan' isn't persuasive enough. You need a vision. The right has a very clear vision: fear...and anything bad that happens which comes from outside is just further proof that you can't trust POC, the borders should be closed, and we should think about ourselves first. This was the line of attack when the Syrian civil erupted and refugees were seeking asylum. This was the line of attack when kids were being put in cages. This was the line of attack for Ebola (remember that?), and SARS. And it worked. Fear is very effective in shutting down critical thinking among certain segments of the population. During Ebola, I had older white people come up to me and parrot FOX News propaganda about immigrants and the dangers of Africa, word-for-word.

Unfortunately, fear is more persuasive than a calm plan. Dems always have plans and contingencies, and project goals. But they will need an actual vision that is on par with the fear narrative. Otherwise, fear will win this battle too. And we will have another pandemic mismanaged by the same group because they will know exactly how to spin their incompetence, our panic, and all the dead bodies.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

My Annual Progressive Check-Up

"Being right is always the last resort of the losing side."

-Oh, I've been right before. I've been so goddamn right about things that I could explode with indignation. Fury. Rage. What do these idiots know? Have they not see the facts, the stats, the indicators? What is wrong with people?!? I have been the righteous teenager, the insufferable college student, idealistic young adult, the outraged artist with well-researched books and journals about why racism is real, why the industrial meat complex is bad for society, why we no longer live in a true democracy, why why why is nobody listening? Can they not see how RIGHT I am? I have the facts to prove it.

And then I think it was my Dad who said one day 'oh, you're so right' with a chilling sarcasm. I was in the middle of arguing something and he agreed that I was absolutely right...and it didn't matter.

If we lived in a society that valued facts, America would be more similar to Norway than what it is today. If 'rightness' and communal good were our priorities we would already have universal healthcare, free college, high-income tax rate for the wealthy, $30/hr minimum wage, laws against predatory lending, universal basic income, 12-month maternity leave, free childcare, free school meals to any hungry kid, free public transportation, reformed criminal justice system, reformed bail system, bike lanes on every road, people would MEDITATE every day and see a massive reduction in mental and physical ailments for free!  All these things have been shown to improve the overall standard of living for citizens. You could look up the facts on it and see how America would be transformed overnight. Take a moment and feel the warmth of this utopian society. And now SNAP THE FUCK OUT OF IT!

While righteousness is the fuel of Facebook and cable news, it doesn't sway people...and by people I, of course, mean that particular self-interested species known as Americans. We have never cared about doing the right thing for all. We don't have the 40-hour work week because corporate bosses saw the wisdom of rest and relaxation. We have the 40-hr work week because union members literally fought, died, bled, and convinced the majority of Americans to not stop until the internal strife threatened the profit margins of the oligarchs. We have mandatory education, Medicare, Medicaid, and these things came at great expense of pushing, stomping, and selling the idea. And no one sells an idea on 'what's right'...except maybe vegans. Now compare their population to how many people eat hot dogs on the 4th of July and you have the difference between 'the right tribe' and the tribe that's going to do whatever the fuck it wants. A large percentage of men don't recycle because they think 'it's gay.' 40% of the population will no longer drink Corona beer because of a flu with the same name. Progressives: this is what we are dealing with here. We can call these people stupid but we are homo sapiens. Neanderthals were the vastly smarter and more self-sufficient species of humans...and they're no longer here. Homo sapiens wiped them out and then rewrote the language so that neanderthal means 'stupid.' That's what's going to happen to the American progressive movement if we don't start fighting on a smarter ground that being right. We will be the Adlai Stevenson of history.

That's not to say we shouldn't fight for universal healthcare or new environmental regulations. But being 'factually right' has never swayed the majority of people...and by people, I now mean homo sapiens throughout history. Telling the better mythology tell teenage boys that abusive men have smaller dicks, recycling makes your erection last longer, cyclists are sexy as fuck and here is some cycle-based green energy porn to seep into your subconscious. Appeal to the vanity, avarice, and superstition. "Fuck that guy" wins over kumbaya...even more so if 'fuck that guy' is packaged like its Christian values or god's favor or a higher form of kumbaya. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020


Deadline: March 2nd

Due to an overwhelming volume of submissions in past years, The Parsnip Ship does a two-round submission cycle for applicants. We are asking playwrights to only submit the first 15 pages of their plays for consideration of Round One evaluations. If selected to go forward, playwrights will be asked to send their full length draft or complete script for Round Two evaluation.
We will be accepting submissions by playwrights from January 28th - March 2nd, 2020 for Season Six (September 2020 - June 2021).

The Parsnip Ship episodes are comprised of 3 major parts: the play, the music, and the interview with the playwright.

Your play must have an estimated run time of no less than 50 minutes and no more than 90 minutes.

Minimum 50 pages for the full script in standard format, text and font
Maximum 90 pages for the full script in standard format, text and font
We can ONLY accommodate up to 6 readers (this includes a reader for stage directions). Please do NOT submit a play that will require more than 6 readers.
We do not accept 10-minute play submissions. Please do not send in 10-minute plays.
We do accept plays with music as long as the music is either original or does not infringe on the copyright of the original artist
Selected playwrights in the NYC area are required to come to an episode prior to their scheduled episode, especially if they’ve never attended a live recording of The Parsnip Ship.
You are only able to submit one play for consideration for this season.
We prefer New York City or locally based playwrights.
Unfortunately, as a young arts org we cannot afford to pay for or reimburse travel expenses related to attending rehearsals/the live recording.
Our playwright must be present for the live recording (and usually rehearsals too). Please DO NOT apply if you live outside the NYC area and you can not travel for the live recording.
We can accommodate 3 inputs for our musical guest, i.e. 1 mic and 2 instruments/2 mics and 1 instrument/3 mics.

Deadline: March 15th

We encourage emerging playwrights to apply at the beginning of their careers so that through the New Dramatists Fellowship, they can develop their work as well as benefit from being a part of a unique, diverse, dynamic community of professional playwrights. An applicant’s status as an emerging playwright is evaluated during the adjudication process.

One playwright will be selected to receive:
A grant in the amount of $7,500
A one-season (September – June) artistic residency at New Dramatists, Inc. in New York City (For Award recipients living outside of the New York metro area, your on-site residency can be adapted according to your schedule with reimbursement provided for transportation costs to/from New York)
Inclusion of your script in New Dramatists’ library
Advocacy for the recipient and their script to New York and National theatre communities for the duration of the fellowship
Mentorship from a New Dramatists resident playwright for the duration of the fellowship
Opportunity for winning play to be licensed and published by Samuel French, Inc.

Deadline: March 15th

The Lighthouse Works’ Fellowship is an artist-in-residence program that strives to support artists and writers working in the vanguard of their creative fields. We are proud to have supported these artists, writers, and composers with the time and space to focus on their creative work.

The program accepts artists working in a wide range of disciplines, but we are best able to accommodate visual artists and writers. Fellowships are six weeks in length, occur year round and provide fellows with housing, food, studio space, a $250 travel allowance and a $1,500 stipend. Artistic excellence is the primary criteria for acceptance as a Lighthouse Works fellow.

While in residence, our fellows’ primary obligation is to the solitary pursuit of their work but we do ask every fellow to participate in an artist talk on the first weekend of the fellowship and to open their studio for an afternoon at the session’s conclusion.

Artists at any stage of their career are encouraged to apply for a fellowship through our online application system. Applicants are required to fill out an application form, submit work samples, attach a CV and work sample statement, and remit a $25 application fee.

Each session cohort is made up of 5 individuals provided with a $250.00 travel budget $1,500.00 stipend (one-time).

Each fellow has a private bedroom and shares bathrooms, a kitchen and living space at our residential facility with their cohort of 4 other fellows. They will have a private studio located adjacent to Silver Eel Cove where our ferry arrives and departs the island. The studios are private, flooded with light and face the ocean. Additionally, Lighthouse Works maintains a wood and metal shop, and a Paragon kiln for our fellow’s use.

Deadline: March 16th

The Asian American Arts Alliance is pleased to administer, with support from the New York Community Trust, the 2020 Van Lier Fellowship. This year, the fellowship with be awarded to a theater artist for the creation of new work. A4’s mission is to ensure greater representation, equity, and opportunities for Asian American artists and cultural organizations through resource sharing, promotion, and community building. In line with these efforts, it is the aim of the A4 Van Lier Fellowship to support an early-career individual Asian American artist living in New York City to develop new work to add to the creative discourse. The Fellowship runs May-December 2020, with an unrestricted $6000 award as well as artistic mentorship with an established or mid-career theater professional, leadership coaching, and a range of technical support.

Created by the will of Sally Van Lier, the Trust carries out Edward and Sally Van Lier’s legacy of arts appreciation by supporting arts groups and training programs to provide education, training, or other support to young artists.

A4 will grant a fellowship to one early-career Asian American theater artist, age 30 or younger, whose work shows outstanding promise and who may benefit from further professional artistic development, and who is of limited financial means.

The fellowship recipient will receive an unrestricted cash stipend of $6,000 and an eight-month fellowship, beginning in May 2020 and ending in December 2020, tailored to respond to the unique needs of their practice. The fellowship includes artistic mentorship with an established or mid-career theater professional, leadership coaching, and a range of technical support.

A4 will administer an open application process.


-Be of Asian heritage

-30 years of age or younger during the fellowship (born May 1, 1989 or later)

-Not be currently enrolled as a full-time or part-time student in a degree-granting program during the fellowship period (May – December 2020)

-Be a resident of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, or Staten Island)

-Be currently living in the US and primarily based in New York City during the fellowship period (May – December 2020)

-The fellow will be selected through an open call and jury process. A jury composed of established professionals in the field will evaluate the submitted applications based on the following criteria:

-Artistic merit: Clarity, imaginativeness, and uniqueness based upon body of work and work samples submitted.

-Creation of new work: Description of the project to be developed or completed during the fellowship.

-Community impact: Articulation of interest or hopes to make a significant impact on the Asian American and New York City artistic community as a whole, based on narrative responses in the application.

-Potential for growth: Extent to which the fellowship will advance the applicant’s goals and career.

-Financial need: Demonstrated need for financial support. Finalists may be asked to provide further financial documentation.

NOTE: Current A4 staff, board members, and review panelists are not eligible. Immediate family of A4 staff, board members, and review panelists are not eligible.

Deadline: March 17th

Djerassi Program is designed as a retreat experience to pursue personal creative work and share collegial interaction within a small community of artists. In this spirit residents are expected to commit themselves for the entire residency session they are awarded.

Our Program chef prepares communal dinners Monday through Friday, and provisions both kitchens. Residents prepare their own breakfasts, lunches, and weekend dinners using ingredients supplied by the Program. We offer vegetarian and gluten free meals, although we cannot guarantee a gluten free environment.

Residencies are awarded competitively, at no cost, to national and international artists in the disciplines of choreography, literature, music composition, visual arts, media arts, and science. There are 6 residency sessions each year: 5 are 4 weeks long and 1 that includes Open House/Open Studios is 5 weeks long. One session is devoted to Scientific Delirium Madness and the intersection of art and science. No shortened or partial residencies are offered. Each residency session features 11 or 12 artists, a total of 66-70 residencies awarded per year.

Deadline: March 30th
The Lark is accepting applications for its Van Lier New Voices Fellowship program, supported by The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund and additional support from the Jerome Foundation.

The Van Lier New Voices Fellowship supports playwrights of color age 30 and under, who demonstrate financial need. During a year-long residency, Fellows will work on multiple artistic projects through an individually-tailored program of Lark play development programs, and form relationships with other theater makers at various career stages from all parts of the world. The Fellowship includes a cash award of $35,000, plus access to a $5,000 Opportunity Fund and to a wide range of Lark resources, including artistic program participation, office and rehearsal space, and staff support.

Deadline: March 31st

The Trustus Playwrights’ Festival began at Trustus Theatre in 1988. This festival accepts submissions nationally from playwrights seeking production of a full main stage production at Trustus Theatre. Past winners include David Lindsay-Abaire, Jon Tuttle, Deborah Breevort, Stephen Belber, Andrea Lepcico, and Sarah Hammond (to name a few).

Trustus Theatre selects one new play annually as the winner of the Trustus Playwrights’ Festival. Submissions should be full-length non-musical plays that have small casts (6 actors or less) and modest design needs (no fly systems or pyrotechnics please). The festival is welcoming to experimental works. The festival prefers scripts that have not been produced, and that Trustus’ production have “World Premiere” status.

The winning play will be produced in August 2021. Beyond the production, Trustus will provide winning playwright with a $700 prize, and travel and lodging for previews and opening night. 

Submissions and Winner Announcement Timeline:
JANUARY 15, 2020 – MARCH 31, 2020



Submission Guidelines
Plays should have small casts (6 or less) and modest design needs (no fly systems or pyrotechnics please). Experimental works are welcome.

Playwrights should plan to submit a 8-10 page excerpt of their full-length script with their application.

Deadline: April 1st

The Alpine Fellowship is a group of writers, thinkers and artists who are passionate about learning and communicating with a view to better understanding themselves and others. We value a capacity for openness - being engaged in critically reflecting on firmly held beliefs; the courage to be vulnerable - speaking from a place of lived experience; the drive for curiosity - being truly able to receive and listen to others.

Awarded for the best piece of writing on the theme of the 2020 Alpine Fellowship Annual Symposium: Forgiveness and Retribution.

The winner receives a £10,000 cash prize and is presented with the award by the poet John Burnside. A £3,000 cash prize will go to the second place, and £2,000 to the third place runner up. The winner and two runners up are invited to attend the Fjällnäs symposium.

Rules: Open to all nationalities, aged 18 and above. All genres permitted. A maximum of 2500 words per entry. Limited to one entry per person. Text must not have been published, self-published or accepted for publication in print or online, or have won or been placed in another competition at any time (including the AF Academic Writing Prize). All entries are judged anonymously and no correspondence can be entered into.

Applications open: 1st January 2020
Applications close: 1st April 2020
Longlist (top 100 entries) announced: 15th May 2020*
Shortlist (top 30 entries) announced: 1st June 2020*
Winners announced: 15th June 2020*

Deadline: April 1st

The Writing Residency Program will select four early-career playwrights and provide them with dramaturgical and professional support over a ten-month period, during which time they will each be required to complete a new full-length play.

Beginning in May 2020, selected playwrights will attend monthly group meetings to share and refine their works-in-progress in a collaborative, energized setting; meet individually with LTC’s Artistic Director and staff who will provide additional support for their artistic needs, concerns and process; and have the resources of a director and professional actors during a table reading as their play begins to take shape.

The Residency will conclude in February 2021 with public readings of each playwright’s finished play.

Upon successful completion of the program, each playwright will receive an honorarium.

Deadline: April 10th

We are offering a six-month residency to a writer who represents the LGBTQ+ community and/or explores LGBTQ+ topics in their work. The residency provides full-time (24 hour) access to both our Union Square and Williamsburg locations.(Runners up receive one-month residencies.) 2020 Residency will run from June 1 - December 1, 2020

We are seeking emerging LGBTQ+ writers who embody Jane’s values and are based in New York City. Jane was an early riser and was always one of the first people at our communal space every morning. Her fiction appeared in various literary magazines, and she published two novels, a novella and a non-fiction book.

Applicants should be writers of fiction, non-fiction, memoir, poetry, theatrical plays or screenplays who identify as LGBTQ+ and produce writing that challenges social norms and expectations regarding sexuality, gender, race, and/or class. Applicants will be required to submit a short sample of their work. Application deadline is Friday, April 10.


Between Feb 14 and April 10th, complete an application.

Submit a writing sample of 3-5 pages for prose, 3 poems or 5-7 pages for a play or screenplay in PDF of TXT format with your name in the header of each page. The writing sample may be a fragment of a longer work.

Deadline: April 15th

The Lark is now accepting applications for our Open Access Program, Playwrights' Week. This program seeks to provide development opportunities for new and diverse voices for the theater by identifying and advancing promising plays that reveal unheard and vital perspectives. This annual, intensive, seven-day festival is designed to foster a peer-based community among a cohort of writers with new work in development. The five writers selected for Playwrights’ Week are provided with twelve hours of rehearsal and a public staged reading to address self-defined developmental goals for their plays, as well as opportunities to engage with fellow participants in a supportive group conversation.

12. FESTIVAL OF 10 (at SUNY-Brockport)
Deadline: April 15th

The Department of Theatre and Music Studies at The College at Brockport is pleased to announce its 12th Biennial Festival of Ten-Minute Plays.

Brockport’s Festival of Ten began in 1999, and every two years since then audiences have enjoyed these performances consisting of 10 ten-minute plays. Our Festival of Ten has grown over the years and now has an international reputation, with playwrights from as far away as Australia. For each festival we accept 500 submissions, ultimately selecting ten to produce. Plays can be submitted beginning February 15, 2020 until April 15, 2020, or until we reach 500 submissions.

Submission Guidelines:
All plays will be submitted online. Submitted plays should have the name of the playwright removed.
Each script must have a running time of 7–14 minutes.
Only original scripts allowed.
Maximum of two scripts per playwright.
Plays that have been read or performed in any manner for a paying audience prior to submission are not accepted.
Plays written by current  Brockport Department of Theatre and Music Studies faculty and staff (full and part-time) are not accepted.
Entries will be acknowledged via email.
Only the first 500 scripts received will be considered.
The top ten scripts will be produced in fully realized productions as part of the SUNY Brockport’s Festival of Ten XII (February/March 2021).
Finalists will be notified by November 30, 2020.
If you are unsure how to format your play, view this website for an example. If you have questions or need more information please email

Deadline: April 30th

It’s not just abortion that is stigmatized in our culture, but the entire lived experiences of people who seek to fulfill their promise as autonomous human beings, realize their own dreams, raise their families in safety and peace, pursue their ambitions, and maintain control over their physical and reproductive lives.

The subject of Reproductive Justice is one too often simplified by our current dialogues, and too often the voices and perspectives of the people most affected by restrictions, legislative prohibitions, and cultural prejudices are excluded from our artistic institutions.

A is For seeks to change that. We believe the theatre is an especially powerful platform with which to share stories, debunk myths, and disempower fears. We believe the theatre can transform. We want to amplify voices which can reframe the conversation, to support and promote artists who can dispel myths and misconceptions. We want to change the way people think about abortion and reproductive justice. We want to hear the stories you want to tell.

In that spirit, the stories we hope to bring to the fore will be diverse in perspective as well as imagination. These plays may be personal and realistic, or they may be allegorical. They may be fantastic, sprung from dreams, or they may be grounded in naturalism. Whatever form or shape they may take, we hope to receive a wide range of works from all over the country, reflecting the great variety of experiences that Reproductive Justice demands we all recognize.

In highlighting these stories, we’re broadening the emotional vocabulary of the American audience, and opening up our theaters to a fuller and more honest exploration of the human experience.

Submit one-act plays about Reproductive Justice, including (but not limited to) the topic of abortion.

You may not edit your entry after submitting.

You may submit as many plays as you wish.

Plays must be no longer than 60 minutes (typically about 60 pages, double-spaced.) Plays longer than 60 minutes will automatically be disqualified.

Plays do not have to be as long as 60 minutes. They can be shorter. They can be as short as a single page if you feel that’s sufficient to tell your story.

Please submit your files in PDF only.

Plays in languages other than English will be accepted as long as an accompanying English translation is also provided.

Plays should include a cover page that includes the name of the playwright, and all relevant contact information, including representation, if applicable.

A qualified Jury of accomplished theatre professionals and experts in reproductive justice will read and assess all entries.

Only the winner and runners up will be contacted directly by AisFor once the jury has made its decisions.

Grand Prize will be awarded to one play which will receive $5,000

Two runners up will receive $1,500 each

All three plays will be presented in whole or in part (depending on length) as rehearsed readings in a single evening (date tbd in the fall of 2020) at a theatre in New York City.

Deadline: April 26th
In his cartoons for The New Yorker, James Stevenson told stories about the human comedy with energy and economy. Returning for its third consecutive year, Playing on Air’s Stevenson Prize will honor three original comedies that perpetuate Mr. Stevenson's spirit and wit, bringing the finest new American short plays to a national audience.

The Prize is made possible through the generosity and vision of Josie Merck, James Stevenson's wife. For submission details, read on below.

$6,000 award, plus a Playing on Air recording of the winning play for radio and podcast distribution

 $3,000 award

 $1,000 award

Playing on Air invites writers to submit a short comedic play of 10-25 pages (not counting title page).

One submission will be accepted per entrant. Additional entries will disqualify the writer.

All entries must be original, unpublished, and unproduced plays. For more information about our working definition of “unproduced,” scroll down to our STEVENSON FAQs section.

Even in revised form, plays that have been previously submitted to the Stevenson Prize competition or to Playing on Air are ineligible. 

 Please submit your script as a PDF with title page (with no author information), 12pt font, 1 inch margins on every side, and numbered pages.

All submissions will be judged "blind."  Uploaded scripts should not include the author's name, representation, or any identifying information. All author information should be provided via submission form, linked below.

Submissions will be judged for literary merit, originality, and humor.  2020 Guest Judges will be announced after submissions have closed.

Deadline: April 30th

The Carlo Annoni Award is for theatre plays on gay themes and on diversity in love. The plays can be written in Italian or in English. The prize is € 1000 for texts for each language (Italian and English).

Two plays (one in English and one in Italian) will be awarded the amount of 1.000 Euros each.
Special Mentions:

BEST COMEDY: for a play on relationships
BEST SHORT PLAY: a special mention will be given to a short play or video of a maximum of 10 minutes length
BEST MUSICAL: must be submitted in audio+ score version
BEST WORK ON ASYLUM SEEKERS: for a play on the topic of asylum-seeking for those persecuted for their sexual orientation. 
Plays, Audios and/or Videos must be submitted via email at by 30th April 2020

Carlo Annoni Prize is dedicated to the promotion of LGBTQ topics, with a particular interest on ‘love and diversity’

Deadline: May 18th

The Studios offers a residency program for emerging and established artists and writers designed to encourage creative, intellectual and personal growth. The program grants nearly 35 artists each year the time and space to imagine new artistic work, engage in valuable dialogue and explore island connections.

The Studios’ residency program is community-based and built upon the hope that visiting artists will take inspiration from Key West’s rich artistic past and present, and will engage with — and be inspired by — the remarkable people and culture that surrounds them.

Key West’s official motto, “One Human Family” reflects our commitment to living together as caring, sharing neighbors dedicated to making our home as close to paradise as we can. To that end, we encourage artists of all races, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities to apply.

Residencies are almost a full month, and run from the 16th of the month through the 14th of the next. There is a $40 application fee.


Fall 2020 Arts Open Call: LES African and African-American Histories
DEADLINE: March 25th

FABnyc is launching an open call for socially-engaged artistic projects that draw attention to African and African-American histories of the Lower East Side. 

From the African Burial Ground under Sara D. Roosevelt Park to the African Free School of the 18th century; from the mixed-race dance halls on the Bowery to the impact of the Draft Riots, the Lower East Side is home to crucial layers of African-American history, too often missing from the stories of struggle and transformation that continue to define the neighborhood. While some remnants of these narratives can be read on building plaques and seen in other public memorials, many details remain hidden.

This call aims to bring greater visibility to African and African-American histories in the Lower East Side, to better understand their legacies, and to connect the past to the neighborhood today. With the African Burial Ground in Sara D. Roosevelt Park as a geographical and historical anchor point, the call aims to honor, heal, and otherwise further conversations around African heritage in the Lower East Side.

FABnyc is a team of artists and organizers working to sustain, preserve, and grow the cultural vibrancy of the Lower East Side. FABnyc partners with community groups – bringing artists and arts strategies to fight physical and cultural displacement, build collective power and collaboration, increase equity and access to cultural resources and public space, and support local resiliency and community health

We define the Lower East Side using the neighborhood’s historic boundaries (14th Street to Canal, Bowery to the East River), which includes Loisaida, the East Village, Two Bridges, and Chinatown.

Proposals must be for creative artistic projects in public space. At least 1 project will be chosen to be presented in Sara D. Roosevelt Park; however, proposals may include additional sites of interest. Supplemental gallery/event space can be made available in Downtown Art (70 E. 4th Street) to support elements of the project.

Proposed projects must include at least 1 public event. Chosen projects will have a strong social engagement aspect. Projects should draw connections between historical sites and contemporary issues in the Lower East Side.

The commissioning fee is $6,000, to cover all direct project expenses including artist fees, any technical or consultant fees, and materials.

Proposals may include work by 1 or several artists. If applying as a group/collective, one proposal detailing all projects should be submitted.

FABnyc will commission at least 1 project on the site of the African Burial Ground under Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Applicants proposing several projects as a group/collective should include at least 1 project at this site.

Historical subjects should have a direct connection to the Lower East Side (see geographic boundaries above), with specific points of interest identified.

FABnyc staff will fully support the project through its implementation and public presentation. FABnyc will also aid in building relationships between the applicant and LES community. All projects will take place in the Fall of 2020, and close by December 18th, 2020.

For more on FABnyc, please visit For questions regarding the application, please email

Project proposals must be submitted in a single 3–5 page PDF file.

Proposals must include:
- Artist statement/bio
- Description of proposed project, including historical site(s) of interest and connection to community concerns
- Past community engagement work, describing outcomes and learning moments.

Applicants must also submit a 1–2 page resume/CV and 3–5 work samples.

Full applications will be reviewed and final projects selected by a panel consisting of FABnyc staff and community stakeholders. Panelists bring a range of experiences and perspectives, many of them from outside the professional arts arena; please review your proposal writing for clarity and accessibility.

Should further information be required, staff will contact applicants directly for more details on their proposed project and/or invite applicants for an interview.

Chosen projects will be notified April 6th, 2020, to be produced by FABnyc in Fall 2020.

See link here:

Fortune's Fate

I spent the early part of my 20s in undergrad and grad school and finished when I was 26. And then from 26 to about 30 I worked odd jobs, temped, snagged occasional artistic job, got into Ars Nova, received my first screenplay commission from an indie company, got an agent, and cobbled together a patchwork life. I had the energy to work a hundred jobs and come home and write, go to groups, network, travel to far-flung boroughs for basement readings.

From about 31-33, is when things started to happen..where I was earning most of my income doing freelance creative gigs, commissions, small assignments, producing web videos. I could reasonably say I was a working artist in NYC...a terrifying, precarious, nebulous sort of creature who flits about on the goodwill, charm, and luck of encounters. For instance, I ran into a Colombian filmmaker on the subway and convinced him to give me a job breaking down and outlining his movie. As my office, I used an apt I was catsitting/plantsitting at, which also served as rehearsal space for my play that I was self-producing on a shoe-string budget for a festival. That is the kind of patchwork, multitasking I had to do to stay afloat: catsitting/housesitting, script consulting, self-producing my own play successfully enough that I actually earned money.

In another instance I saw an email for a media company's cocktail party I made up my mind that I was going to go there and get a job producing web videos. I had no idea how, but I was going to network like my rent depended on it (because it did), plough through small-talkers, and make a beeline to the people with money...and I did. The cocktail party led to multiple writing/producing web video jobs...and the rent was paid.

And then from 33-35, I was at Juilliard which meant a small stipend, plus some additional benefits. And then after that, I got my first tv job and have been working in that field for the last 5 years.

Here is why I am fortunate...from about the age of 27 to 33 I had no healthcare coverage. I had no savings or safety net...and I was surviving in NYC. During that time I did not get hospital sick, I did not get in an accident, no extreme/horrible circumstances befell me. There were several close calls, near misses, almost car accidents. If ANYTHING traumatic/accidental/injurious would have happened in that 6 yr window between when I was kicked off my parent's healthcare and before I got on Juilliard's healthcare would have been game over. I don't believe that I lacked intelligence or hustle during that period of time. I don't believe I was undeserving of help or the solution was that I needed to work harder. I WAS working...really REALLY hard at multiple freelance jobs. When I earned a large chunk of money for another artistic project during that time, 90% of it went to the dentist. It was the first time I could see one and afford to get everything fixed/cleaned up. That's what I did with the bonus/fun money.

For the past 7 yrs I have had really good insurance thanks to Juilliard and then immediately getting a staff writer job which allowed me to get into the Writers Guild...which has great coverage. But just because I have good coverage, benefits, savings right now...doesn't mean I forgot how it was back then. It also doesn't mean that I'm not aware that millions of people in cities like NYC and LA (where young ppl go to pursue dreams) are praying/hoping/existing on a thread of luck. All it takes is one accident, one missed rent payment, one infection, one fall and the thread snaps.

There is a low-key state of dread when you know that you are one paycheck away from disaster. It shouldn't have to be this way to pursue your dreams. It shouldn't have to be this way to live like a human being. 

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