Friday, January 5, 2018

Cold Memory: Winter Landlords

I remember living in a BK apt with a stingy landlord who didn't like to turn the heat up on days like this. We would be freezing in the house, ask for him to raise the temp, and he would ignore our request. I and the other roommates started opening the electric oven door and turning it on broil for an hour at a time. The landlord would get mad at us and say 'stop using the oven as a heater.' We would smile, say 'okay,' wait for him to leave, and turn that shit back on. A cat-and-mouse game ensued of us trying to stay warm, and him trying to catch us using the oven. Finally, we had a heart to heart. I said, "Miguel: WE IZ COLD." I then asked him if he would allow his children to live in an apt that's so chilly you have to put a jacket on to go to the bathroom? I didn't yell at him for breaking an obvious NYC landlord law or talk about how I felt like I was getting sick. No attacks, just questions. A day later, he turned the heat up. We were warm and toasty, never had another landlord problem, and I lived there for a few more years. When he thought a contractor was ripping him off, he asked us to confront the guys about the cost b/c he said we were more effective at arguing than him. When I decided to leave he said 'nooo, you were such a good tenant.' I didn't mention the heater incident or the toilet seat incident where I subtracted the cost of a new toilet seat from the rent to get his attention that he needed to fix stuff. I smiled. 'You were a great landlord.' We had fun training each other.

Wolf of Wall Street: Looking Back on Mediocre Scorcese

Sometimes it's good to look back and reflect on a master's work, particularly when they have dry spells and mediocre periods. The master in question is Martin Scorcese and the mediocre bloated work under the lens is "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Martin Scorcese is arguably the greatest living American director. Yes, I do realize Woody Allen, Oliver Stone, and Steven Spielberg are still alive, but that's why the point is arguable. Scorcese started getting big budgets around the time of "Gangs of New York" thanks to The Weinstein Company. For the most part, these big budget movies have been detrimental to his craft. "Gangs" is 300 lb corpse covered in jewels: rotting, putrid, decadent. "The Departed" is a solid work. But that's mostly because it's a crime story and the budget was blown on A-listers who got the chew the furniture, rugs, columns, and the entire set. Jack Nicholson deserves a Christmas honey-baked ham named in his honor for his work on the movie, but I enjoy a truculent Jack over "HOO-HAY" Pacino-isms.

Wolf fits somewhere in the middle of the two bloated movies. It has the A-listers and it also has these extravagant set pieces: yachts, helicopters, more yachts, arguments on yachts. When I saw the movie years ago I remember liking it, despite myself. Despite my education and socio-economic awareness, I just enjoyed its Americana gaudiness.

I don't quite know how I'm supposed to feel about the message, and I don't know if it matters in this case. I think Wolf is the Horatio Alger-esque American hero capsized with reckless lying, cocaine, quaaludes, hookers, and bottom-feeder mentality of robbing from the least to feed an insatiable greed. No one seems to have any internal life or feelings besides the Wolf. The women are either hookers or harpies. People of color are non-existent in the movie, except as servants. Characters come and go with no perceivable arc or purpose but to feed the Wolf's grandiose narrative that is 1/3 mea culpa, 1/3 bragging, and 1/3 blaming of a system that made him.

Not to get too sociology 101 on it, but perhaps my struggle is that the story hits the iceberg of white privilege. Or really the story IS white hetero-male privilege. After all the sins committed, all the bodies piled up, and forced at gun point, the hero says 'Okay, I MAY have been wrong...' but then the hero keeps talking, starts blaming people/the system, and laughing at his exploits. So it kind of ruins the apology. And perhaps that's the pt of the story: the wolves will never apologize because they are incapable of it. And that wolf could be interpreted as America, capitalism, or white privilege, or Wall Street, or the American Dream.

Too much school can be a dangerous thing but I recall the voice of a teacher saying 'what's the p.8 question: when can the audience go home?' I'm watching this and wondering 'so when can we...go home? And how does punching the gay butler in the face play into this trajectory or the main character and me going home? Was that just added in because there was so many offensively gay things said that they wanted a character to be gay? But then he disappears. DiCaprio kidnapping his child: another juicy scene but then he doesn't get past the front gate and you're like 'so...what was the pt? How does this play into the p. 8 question...aka the plot?The first firm he's with...he meets the McConaughey's character who delivers this monologue...and then he disappears. And everyone else disappears from the firm. So as an editor you're thinking 'couldn't you just have McConaughey deliver that speech at a lunch interview and then be gone?

By 'white male' i think... white privilege. It doesn't mean telling stories with white heterosexual men. It means telling a story in which all ppl defined as 'other' are relegated to the status of a prop. It means not really seeing other people as fully-fleshed out characters. And that has nothing to do with the true story. That's a narrative choice...to not focus on the kids from the 1st wife. To create a world where women are one-dimensional and mostly flesh to be consumed. To not show the only original member of the firm who happens to be a woman until the very end of the movie and then uses her as a prop of 'see, I did good. I gave her money.' And as an audience member, you're like 'wait, who is this? Why have I not seen her before and now she's a prop.'

It isn't about being fair and anything shown is ethical...it's just a question of what type of ethics you're showing. I guess the question is wouldn't it have been possibly more artistic and more entertaining by shedding light on an aspect of this narrative trope that has never been examined before. Wouldn't that have been a shocking departure from the "Goodfellas' remade as "Casino' and now tweaked into "Wolf of Wall Street" with the same type of editing and voice-over main character? As a fan of Scorcese and a person of color, this question occurs to me. It was the same question put to Woody Allen. And Allen shifted, although he has the added advantage of being quite good at drawing female characters.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Get What You Want: January 2018


1.
MADlab 2018 (must be in LA area)
Deadline: January 4th
Website: www.movingarts.org/madlab

Moving Arts is proud to announce the fifth cycle of MADlab, our flagship new play development program. MADlab is a unique 9-month program that focuses on the development of new plays from the idea up. All plays submitted should be ideas only, not a play that you have already written or are currently writing.

Each selected playwright:

-Will be paired with a dramaturg
-Will be given two cold readings of their scripts that will include curated and focused feedback sessions
-Will have a 15 hour workshop period with professional actors and a director that specializes in new play development
-Will receive a final public reading of their play
-Will receive $500 as a stipend for the process

Requirements:

-You must be a Los Angeles Area playwright
-Submit a synopsis of your proposed play
-Submit a 5-7 page script sample of a stage play
-Submit your Resume/CV
-Please fill out the form by January 4, 2018 to be considered for the 2018 MADlab program.
-Accepted playwrights will be notified by mid-January.We sincerely hope you will consider joining us for what should be a very exciting year. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

2.
Lotus Lee Foundation - New Work Initiative
Deadline: Jan 5th
Website: https://www.lotus-lee.foundation/

The New Work Initiative is an open submission competition whose primary goal is to bring new voices from the United States to China and vice versa. We're particularly interested in new works from playwrights who are hungry to be heard and are willing to discover new technology to bring their work to the stage.

SUBMISSION RULES:

The piece must be an original work.
The piece must have had no previous productions nor publications, all around the world.
The author must never have granted and will not grant other individuals or entities the rights to use the piece in any way before the competition's final selection.
The piece must be full-length, with a running time of at least one hour.
Submissions must be in English. (The selected show will be translated into Mandarin for the Chinese Tour in 2019.)
There are no restrictions on plot, content, or theme. The piece can be a play, children's play, performance art, movement piece, physical theatre, dance, musical, etc. The Lotus Lee Foundation is open to making use of new technology, including projections, holograms, media technology, virtual reality, etc.

HOW TO SUBMIT:

Submit the following materials online through the following online form: https://www.lotus-lee.foundation/submission/

1.) Full script in PDF format (Please do not include your name on the script.)
2.) A separate PDF with following information:
-- Playwright’s bio
-- Summary of the play
-- Character breakdown
-- Production history, if applicable
-- Creative team and cast breakdown, if applicable
3.) A short explanation, in PDF, of why you think your piece is a good fit for Lotus Lee Foundation.
4.) Other info: professional website link, production photos or videos, inspirations, etc.

SELECTION PROCESS:

The best works are selected by a board of five judges who read the submitted scripts and ultimately decide on the winning work. The play that gets chosen will be produced in 2019 with a significant budget and for a year-long tour in China with a potential remount in the States. Other winners will also be selected. The five judges consist of a mix of industry individuals and individuals from Performing Arts schools.

*DISCLAIMER: This is a new competition from a relatively new organization. Founded in 2017, the Lotus Lee Foundation is a nonprofit theatre organization in New York City partnered with the Lotus Lee Drama Studios which was founded in China in 2015.

According to LL reps:  Lotus Lee is a pioneer of theatre in China specializing in theatrical planning, investment, production, performance, marketing, and bringing new technology to the theatre. We have a large presence and following in Chinese international cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou and are growing here in the east coast of the United States.

"We strongly believe in cultural exchange, in bringing these two countries together, and sharing our stories with each other."

Lotus Lee Foundation was created to help young playwrights produce new works in China and the United States, to share their stories with each other and introduce people to stories outside their own experiences. We strive to get young and emerging artists, particularly Asian ones, involved in the theatre. Our offices are set up in New York City and China to help and support young playwrights tell their stories and reach a large audience to create the opportunity for artists of all disciplines and skills to become involved. We aim to continue bringing new works to the stage in China and the United States and to share these works with other countries. We would love to hear from you!


3.
ATHE New Play Development
Deadline: January 5th
Website: http://www.athe.org/blogpost/1121101/286209/Call-for-Scripts

ATHE's Playwrights and Creative Teams Program (PACT) seeks new, previously unproduced short (4-10 min) plays for its annual New Play Development Workshop at the ATHE Conference in BOSTON, MA in August 2018. The 2018 ATHE Conference focuses on revolution, resistance, and protest, and the multiple ways these ideas – and the actions that spring from them. Playwrights MUST be able to attend ALL workshop sessions and final showcase for their play at the Boston conference.

DETAILS
We invite playwrights to submit plays ranging in length from 4-10 minutes (Scripts longer than ten pages– not including cover page - will not be accepted) There is no restriction on subject matter, style, or intended audience.

PLEASE READ SUBMISSION POLICY ONLINE CAREFULLY AS INCOMPLETE/INCORRECT SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED:

For additional information, contact Ingrid De Sanctis at npdw2018@gmail.com
We are particularly interested in scripts addressing themes of revolution of any type and/or explores the question of how might we create art that is aesthetically revolutionary and that activates audiences to make lasting social change? We welcome scripts representing a range of global perspectives of race, culture, language, disability, gender, nationality, and political worldview. A jury of readers will select six to eight scripts. Each playwright will be assigned a director, dramaturg, scenographer, and a group of actors; these creative teams collaborate on the scripts throughout the conference in a developmental process (participants may attend the rest of the conference). The workshop culminates in a public, script-in-hand reading of the plays in a SHOWCASE OF SCRIPTS on the final day of the ATHE conference in Boston, MA.


4.
Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Writers
Deadline: January 9th
website: www.leahryansfeww.com/apply.html

All women who consider themselves emerging playwrights (as distinct from fledgling or mid-career playwrights) are eligible to apply for the 2018 FEWW Prize. Playwrights from all over the world are encouraged to apply, but the play must be written in English. Eligibility does not require that a submitted work adhere to the traditional three-act structure. One-acts, two-acts (even four-, five-, six- acts), monologues, adaptations, and any other wild (or deceptively tame) format will be considered with equal seriousness. The only absolute requirement is that the submitted text be a completed full-length work for theater.

The winner will be chosen by a readers committee selected by the board members of Leah Ryan's FEWW, and will be presented her award as part of the 2018 Lily Awards, which honors the work of women in American theater. In addition, the winner will receive a cash prize of $2,500, a workshop at the Vassar Powerhouse Theater, and a reading of her play in New York City. A stipend of up to $700 for travel and accommodation will be provided by FEWW if necessary.

The deadline for submissions for the 2018 FEWW Prize is Monday, January 8th, 2018 at 11:59pm EST. Finalists will be contacted in early March and will have one week within which to submit their full play.

5.
City Theatre
Deadline: Jan. 10th
Website: www.citytheatreofindependence.org

All submissions must be original, unpublished, one-act plays of between 10 and 15 minutes in length. No submission fee required. Submissions must be received by email between January 1, 2018 12:00 AM and January 10, 2018, 11:59 PM. The first 75 qualifying submissions will be accepted. After this quota of 75 scripts has been received, no additional submissions will be accepted. Any script selected for production will be presented in its originally submitted form. No post-submission changes will be allowed.

Subject & Content:
-Scripts shall contain at least two and not more than five characters.
-The subject matter of the story must be women.
-The stage will be bare, with no walls, doors, or floor coverings.
-Set pieces available shall be an overstuffed chair, a sofa, a coffee table, two end tables with lamps, an office desk, a regular table, three regular chairs, and a coat tree. All, or any combination of, these pieces (and these only) may be used. Photographs of the specific pieces are shown below.

Additional information and guidelines:
-All scripts must be submitted electronically via email in .pdf format to: playwrightsubmissionscti@gmail.com
-Playwrights will be notified via e-mail when their manuscript is received.

Scripts must include:
-A separate cover page with the playwright’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and a short biography of the playwright.
-A cast of characters with descriptions
-A brief synopsis
-Numbered pages

6.
SPACE on Ryder Farm Residences
Deadline: Jan. 10th
Website: http://www.spaceonryderfarm.org

SPACE’s programs include The Working Farm for playwrights, composers and lyricists, The Family Residency for artist-parents and their children ages 3-12, Creative Residencies for artists and activists, the newly-launched Greenhouse Residency for very early-career playwrights, the Creative Solutions Symposium for social justice organizations and Institutional Residencies. Residencies range from one to five weeks and are centered around three communal farm fresh meals daily. Residents are provided housing, meals, artistic support and access to 130 acres of organic farmland. All individual and small group residences are fully subsidized. The deadline to apply is January 10th, 2018.

Application materials vary from residency to residency, but all must be submitted online.


7.
2018 LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work
Deadline: Jan. 10th
Website: http://www.latinxtheatrecommons.com

The 2018 LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work is a showcase of new plays by Latinx playwrights, as well as directors, actors, designers, and dramaturgs, hosted at The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, IL on July 19-21, 2018. The 2018 Carnaval endeavors to increase the visibility of work by Latinx playwrights and to encourage the production of English language Latinx plays in U.S. theaters. The convening will invite artistic directors, literary managers, directors, and producers seeking new work/artists to present and support, as well as provide a meeting ground for scholars, the LTC community, and members of Chicago’s Latinx theatre community to celebrate the work of these artists.
DETAILS
All applicants must send the following two (2) documents:

Your script OR for devised pieces, please include a link (and password, if necessary) to a video of the complete piece
A cover sheet including:
Your name, Email address, Phone number
Bio (200-word limit)
A 200-word synopsis of the work
Number of performers required
Any prior development work for this play
Please email your script and completed cover sheet as two separate PDF attachments in the same email.

EMAIL SUBJECT LINE: Last Name, First Name (Play Title)
APPLICATION EMAIL: carnaval2018@howlround.com
APPLICATION DEADLINE: January 10, 2018, 11:59pm EST

8.
Jerome Fellowship
Deadline: Jan. 11th
Website: https://pwcenter.org/programs/jerome-fellowships

The Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowships are awarded annually, providing emerging American playwrights with funds and services to aid them in the development of their craft. Four $18,000 fellowships will be awarded in 2016, in addition to $1,750 in development support. Fellows spend a year-long residency in Minnesota, have access to Center opportunities, including workshops with professional directors, dramaturgs, and actors. Fellows will also receive two years of complimentary membership, as well as additional opportunities and services available from the Playwrights’ Center. The Playwrights’ Center has awarded these fellowships in partnership with the Jerome Foundation since 1976.

Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Applicants may not have had more than two different works fully produced by professional theaters at the time of application. These are defined as productions for which the author and primary artists (actors, directors, and creative collaborators) were compensated and received at least three public performances. Ten-minute or one-act plays and university, college, secondary school, amateur, and Equity showcase/waiver productions are not considered full productions.


9.
INKtank Residency
Deadline: Jan. 12th
Website: https://www.risingcircle.org/

Now in its 9th year, Rising Circle Theater is currently accepting submissions for INKtank, a 12-week play development lab for playwrights of color.  During INKtank, four selected playwrights will focus on an intensive rewrite of a new play under the facilitation of playwrights Raquel Almazan (La Esperanza, or The Hopefulness) and Monet Hurst-Mendoza (Lilia, Veil'd).  Public staged readings of the INKtank plays will be presented at PlayRISE, a festival of new works. 

For consideration, please submit the following materials via Submittable:

-One full-length script that you would like to work on during the lab (In line with Rising Circle's mission, plays should put the stories of people of color at the center).

-Resume.

-A one-page artistic statement explaining your personal rewrite goals, what you feel are the strengths of the script, and what you would like to focus on for the piece during the developmental process.  Please include the developmental history of this piece, including past and/or upcoming readings and presentations of the play.

-Note: INKtank meets over 12 weeks, beginning February 25, 2018.  Finalists will be contacted in early February for an interview.


10.
Wildacres Residency Program (North Carolina)
Deadline: Jan. 15th
Website: http://www.wildacres.org/

The Wildacres Residency Program began in 1999 and over the past sixteen years has hosted nearly 500 writers, artists, musicians and others. Participants stay in one of three comfortable cabins located 1/4 mile from the conference center. Past residents have found the setting conducive to their work and have had a great "Wildacres experience."

With the use of three cabins, the program will have about 70 one- and two-week residencies available from April through October. Sessions begin each Monday afternoon and conclude on Sunday or early Monday morning. The program allows individuals the solitude and inspiration needed to begin or continue work on a project in their particular field.

Residents may eat in the dining room, which allows for interaction with other residents, guests, and staff. Or residents may prepare their own meals in the cabins.

In 2018, we will again include several two-week residencies. Those people who wish to apply for a two-week residency should fill out the application specifically for that program. Those that apply for two-week residencies will not be considered for the one week program.

We are now accepting applications for the 2018 residency program and the deadline is January 15, 2018. Those selected will be notified in early March and the scheduling of the residencies will be done at that time. Those not selected will be notified by e-mail later in March. Please submit the one or two-week application along with the $20 application fee.

Applications for the 2018 program can be submitted using the links below. The $20 application fee is submitted when applying and is payable using PayPal Checkout.


11.
MacDowell Colony
Deadline: Jan. 15th
Website: http://www.macdowellcolony.org/

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 will only accept applications for the upcoming deadline. For the Literature Summer residency (Jun. 1, 2018 - Sep. 30, 2018), submissions are due January 15th, 2018.

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.

Eligibility
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. Applicants who are enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs as of the date of application are ineligible for a residency and therefore cannot apply. Doctoral candidates who have finished all coursework may 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, physical ability or disability. The Colony offers barrier-free access to its main buildings and some studios. There are no medical facilities or medical personnel on site. MacDowell is situated in a rural area with limited access to medical care facilities. We strongly suggest that applicants with special medical needs contact the Resident Director before applying.

12.
BOGLIASCO FOUNDATION FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: January 15th
Website: http://www.bfny.org/en/apply

Bogliasco Fellowships are awarded to gifted individuals working in all the disciplines of the Arts and Humanities without regard to nationality, age, race, religion or gender.

To be eligible for the award of a Fellowship, applicants should demonstrate significant achievement in their disciplines, commensurate with their age and experience. Please note that Bogliasco Fellowships are not awarded to students currently in a degree-granting program. The Foundation gives preference to those whose applications suggest that they would be comfortable working in an intimate, international, multilingual community of scholars and artists.

The Foundation only accepts applications submitted through the online application system. To access the system, you must first register for an account here, where you will also find a list of requirements that we strongly encourage you to read before beginning your application. Once registered, you may login as needed to work on your application by clicking on the "login" button indicated to the left.

Bogliasco Fellowships include full room and board, plus the use of a private studio. The cost of transportation to and from the Bogliasco Study Center is the responsibility of Fellows and their accompanying spouses/partners. So also are all project materials and equipment, and any personal expenses incurred during the fellowship period, including medical expenses. Spouses/partners will be charged a daily fee of $25 to help defray the cost of meals and housing.

DEADLINES:

Deadlines for the submission of applications are as follows:

January 15th for residencies during the subsequent fall semester, and April 15th for residences during the subsequent spring semester.

Notification dates for the award of Fellowships are as follows:

April 1st for Fall Fellowships; July 1st for Spring Fellowships.


13.
StageQ: Queer Shorts
Deadline: Jan. 15th
Website: http://www.stageq.com

StageQ, Madison, Wisconsin’s premier LGBTQ theatre company, is pleased to announce its Summer 2018 production of short plays, Queer Shorts: Unity. This year’s theme will represent the diversity in our community. We recognize that the less visible among us (? B/T/Q) are often underrepresented in the arts, and we are seeking submissions of short plays (MAXIMUM 10 minutes) that reflect their lives, struggles, etc.

StageQ will be accepting submissions from the public until January 15th, 2018.
Please make your submission(s) as soon as possible to: queershorts@stageq.com
Prop requirements should be kept to a minimum, as the set will be made up of 2 ft. wooden cubes.
Include:
your name
contact information (especially email address)
approximate run time of your play(s)
number/description of the characters

14.
McKnight Fellowship
Deadline: Jan. 18th
Website: pwcenter.org/programs/mcknight-fellowships-in-playwriting

The McKnight Fellowships in Playwriting recognize playwrights whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit and excellence in the field, and whose primary residence is in the state of Minnesota. The fellowship includes:

A $25,000 stipend
$2,500 to support a play development workshop and other professional expenses
$1,400 in travel funds

Past recipients include Carlyle Brown, Lisa D’Amour, Barbara Field, Keli Garrett, Jeffrey Hatcher, Christina Ham, Cory Hinkle, Carson Kreitzer, Melanie Marnich, Greg Moss, Kira Obolensky, and Dominic Orlando.

Fellowship recipients may not receive any other Playwrights' Center fellowships, grants, or Core Writer program benefits during the grant year. If a recipient is a Core Writer, the Core term will be extended by one year.

Applicants may only apply for one McKnight Foundation-sponsored fellowship each year in all disciplines.


15.
Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle New Play Initiative
deadline: Jan 19th
website: http://www.hartnpi.org/hartnpi-submissions/

The Moss Hart & Kitty Carlisle Hart New Play Initiative builds upon the success of the Grove Theater Center New Play Initiative. And with productions in both Los Angeles and New York City, the Hart Initiative has a national impact.

What distinguishes the Hart Initiative is that we have a permanent home theater on the West Coast at GTC Burbank and, thanks to the Elysabeth Kleinhans Theatrical Foundation, a permanent home theater in New York City at 59E59 Theaters.

This dynamic partnership between the theaters and the Hart Initiative ensures that the playwrights gain the opportunity to have their work produced on both coasts helping position the plays for future success.

Submitted scripts must be in pdf format and include a character list (with potential doubling if necessary), a short synopsis, and a title page which includes the following information:

Name, Address, Primary Phone Number
Title of Play
Previous Productions (if any). Please include theater, location, and dates of the run.
Please also include a short resume or bio as a separate pdf file.
You may also include other supporting materials if you desire (reviews, etc).

All playwrights are eligible to submit one script each year.

Scripts must meet the following criteria:

The play may not have had more than two productions.
The play must be unpublished.
The play cannot have had more than 10 performances in New York City.
The play must be able to be performed with 8 performers or less.
We’re sorry, but no musicals can be accepted at this time (this may change in later years).
The play must have no artistic encumbrances (so no individuals contractually attached to the piece).
Please email scripts to Kevin Cochran at kevin@gtc.org.
If you don’t receive a confirmation email within a few days, please follow up to make sure your submission was received.

We will be accepting scripts through January 19, 2018.

16.
BRICLab Residency
Deadline: January 18th
website: www.bricartsmedia.org/artist-opportunities/residencies/briclab-residency

BRIClab is a commissioning and residency development program for Brooklyn and New York City-based artists to explore and expand the possibilities of their work in music, dance, theater and multi-disciplinary performance.  Free and open exploration and intentional commitment to process – with the support of the staff and resources that BRIC offers – are at the heart of the BRIClab program. Artists receive stipends and an intensive residency in BRIC’s Artist Studio with development time, opportunities for artistic mentoring, and work-in-process performances.

DEADLINE
Tuesday, January 18th (11:59pm)
Artist’s receive:
Exclusive use of the BRIC House Artist Studio for 10-12 days (8am – 10pm)
Artist stipend of $1750
Additional $200 for Creative Advisor honorarium
Up to 30 hours of technical support
Two work-in-progress showings on Thursday and Friday of the 2nd week at 7:30pm, followed by moderated artist/audience dialogues
Photographic and video documentation of showings

SELECTION CRITERIA
BRIClab is for Brooklyn or New York City based artists who:
Are developing new work that is relevant to diverse Brooklyn audiences
Are exploring their interests and questions with thoughtful processes and can articulate a context for their work
Are excited by the opportunity to share their work with the public and who embrace dialogue with audiences as a meaningful part of their process
Can articulate (for multi-disciplinary work) an understanding or purposeful examination of how the various disciplines will interact and serve the whole
Across the season of BRIClab residencies we look for diversity and/or resonance in:
racial and cultural perspective
discipline (dance, theater, music, multi-discipline)
method/practice (collaboratively developed, solo work, heavily researched, more or less embodied, etc.)

17.
Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Residency
Deadline: January 18th
Website: http://www.wurlitzerfoundation.org/apply

The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, established in 1954, is one of the oldest artist residency programs in the country. The Foundation’s mission is to “Support the artist and the creative process” and serves as a haven for visual artists, literary artists and music composers. We are located on fifteen acres in the heart of Taos, New Mexico, a four-hundred-year-old multicultural community renowned for its popularity with artists.

The Foundation offers three months of rent-free and utility-paid housing to grantees. Our eleven guest houses, or casitas, are fully furnished and provide residents with a peaceful setting in which to pursue their creative endeavors.

The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico provides residency grants to people who specialize in the creative arts. The foundation accepts applications from and offers residency grants to painters, poets, sculptors, writers, playwrights, screenwriters, composers, photographers, and filmmakers, of national and international origin.

The Foundation, with support from The Caruso Family Foundation, also provides academic scholarships to Taos High School seniors pursuing degrees in the creative arts.
Online applications received between now and 11:59PM MST, Jan. 18th  will be considered for residency grants in 2018.

18.
Chesley/Bumbalo Grant (for Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Residency)
Deadline: Jan 18
Website: https://wurlitzerfoundation.org/wurlitzerfoundation/apply

The Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Foundation supports playwrights of Gay and Lesbian theatre. Established in 1993 by Victor Bumbalo in playwright Robert Chesley’s honor, The Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Foundation seeks to advance gay and lesbian theatre by honoring writers whose work is making a substantial contribution to our culture.

In 2009 the Board of Directors elected to form a partnership with the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation to provide residencies at the artists’ colony in Taos, New Mexico.

The Wurlitzer Foundation and the Chesley/Bumbalo Foundation will select the awardees. The Chesley/Bumbalo Foundation will underwrite the residency expenses and, in addition, will provide a stipend to the awardee.

Playwrights applying for the supplemental Chesley/Bumbalo grant must specify this on their application.

Online: After you select 'playwright' as your Specialty, check the box above the Comments section specifying your interest in applying for the Chesley/Bumbalo grant. Printed applications: You must write on the form that you are interested in applying for the Chesley/Bumbalo grant.

Applications for Chesley/Bumbalo will be disqualified if the subject matter of the work sample doesn't follow guidelines. Sexual preference of the author/applicant is disregarded.


19.
New Play Incubator: Immigration
Deadline: Jan. 20th
Website: www.marcusyi.com/new-play-incubator.html

Living Room Theater is seeking playwrights to develop plays on the theme “Immigration” for its New Play Incubator.  In the course of 3 weeks, the playwrights individually will create a 10-minute play related to immigration. Each group will culminate in a staged reading for the public. Actors and director will be provided for the reading.

There is no fee to submit or to participate. Playwrights that have participated in the previous incubator are not eligible to apply at this time. Playwrights must be able to attend all meetings. Please do not submit if you cannot make all the meetings. All meetings/rehearsals/readings will be held in Manhattan. Non-New York-based playwrights may apply but must be able to travel to the meetings/reading. No travel stipend is provided.

Meetings

02/04/18 Sun from 1-3pm
02/11/18 Sat  from 1-4pm (First draft due)
02/17/18 Sat from 1-4pm
3/3/18 Sat from 6-10pm Staged reading at the National Opera Center

Please submit a resume, a 10-minute play, and a short paragraph in the email why you would be interested in writing about the theme “Immigration” to lvtnewplays@gmail.com Only selected finalists will be asked to interview the week of 01/22/17. Submission deadline is January 20, 2018.

20.
Haleakala National Park Artist-in-Residence
Deadline: Jan. 20th
Website: www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org/copy-of-apply-haleakala-national-pa

We are excited to introduce our artist-in-residence program at Haleakalā National Park. Haleakalā has some of the most otherworldly landscapes in all of Hawaii. The Park boundaries include the dormant lunar landscapes of Haleakalā as well as rainforests and waterfalls and pools leading down to Maui's legendary coastlines. This is a unique dramatic environment for all media to flourish and to inspire new breakthroughs in process and result.

The Haleakalā Residency is open to all artists, and performers in any media, worldwide.

Select judges and panelists along with NPAF’s Fine Art curator and NPS will consider solicited proposals through a competitive application process to identify artists deserving of a residency at Haleakalā National Park. Only the selected artists will be notified of their acceptance to the Haleakalā National Park Artist-in-Residence Program.

National Parks Arts Foundation, through the NPS of the park, many generous partner donations, provides lodging, free rental of the wilderness cabins in the crater areas and a venue for workshops and lectures.

In addition to their residency, the selected artist will have the opportunity to present lecture(s), concert(s) and workshop(s), and exhibit their art. This program aims to fulfill and exceed goals for Park Arts Programs as indicated in the NPS guiding document issued for the Centennial of the Park Service.

NPAF may also be partnering with the National Park Service, park partners, recognized museums, galleries, schools and underserved peoples organizations to promote Haleakalā National Park Artist-in-Residence Program.

HOW TO APPLY:
Apply online through Submittable form at: https://nationalparksartsfoundation.submittable.com/submit/85417/hawaii-haleakala-national-park-artist-in-residence-2018

You will need to include:
1.) Samples of your work.
2.) Project Proposal summary.
3.) CV or Resume.


21.
ANT FEST
Deadline: Jan. 21st
Website: http://arsnovanyc.com/ant-fest

We’re now accepting submissions for our eleventh annual ANT Fest, a month-long festival of All New Talent showcasing new work from New York’s most adventurous emerging artists. ANT Fest 2018 runs from June 4 – 28. To check out last year’s lineup, click here.

Every June, Ars Nova throws open our doors to the next wave of pioneering, hybrid theater-makers and fills our stage with their most dynamic ideas. We’re on the prowl for artists with diverse viewpoints and impressive skills, who see the future of live entertainment and want the chance to try out their ideas on stage. As an artist-driven festival, ANT Fest brings together an eclectic network of creators who feed our artistic community all year long.

We’re interested in unique, innovative projects that span traditional genre boxes (theater, comedy, music, burlesque, drag, variety arts or anything else you can think of) in an exciting way to tell a story, make us laugh, or showcase musicians with a vibrant new sound. This is the place to pitch that crazy show you’ve been dying for an excuse to make! We’re waiting for you.

To apply:
Please fill out the online application form and submit it along with:

 A short description of your evening (one-page max)
An artist statement that describes what makes your key creator(s) tick and why you want to make this show (one-page max)
Samples of your key creator(s) work
Bios or resumes for key creator(s)
A range of unique submissions will each be given a night to perform in Ars Nova’s intimate Off-Broadway theater and the opportunity to be a part of artist-driven events throughout the festival. Artists of color and all theater-makers with wide-ranging viewpoints are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59pm on January 21. Artists chosen for the festival will be notified by the end of March.

22.
CORE Writers Program
Deadline: Jan. 25th
Website: https://pwcenter.org/programs/core-writer-program

The Playwrights’ Center invites committed professional playwrights to apply for the Core Writer program. Created in recognition of the particular needs of emerging and established writers, the program offers significant resources intended to further a playwright's career and is available to writers nationally.

The Core Writer program gives 25-30 of the most exciting playwrights from across the country the time and tools to develop new work for the stage. All Core Writers receive play development workshops at the Center, in collaboration with prominent directors, actors, dramaturgs, and designers. Selected work by Core Writers makes up our formal season of public readings: the PlayLabs festival and the Ruth Easton New Play Series. Core Writers are also promoted by the Center and provided opportunities through an extensive network of colleges and universities, cultural institutions, and producing theaters.

Each term is three years; Core Writers may reapply for additional terms.
It is not required for an applicant to have had professional productions in order to apply. However, please note that this program is highly competitive and is designed for committed professional playwrights who are pursuing playwriting as their primary career.


23.
FACEBOOK RESIDENCY: F8
Deadline: Jan. 30th
Website: https://www.facebook.com/F8Residency/

F8 Residency’s 2018 Open Call is now open! This year's residents will be a mix of invited artists and successful chosen applicants. If you are an artist or artist collective and wish to submit an application to FB Residency, please send a single page PDF in a private message to one of the FB Residency moderators. This document should detail the project you wish to undertake and provide links to previous works. Applicants should consider a project that is best suited to the social media platform, either aesthetically or conceptually.

F8 Residency offers artists a month to take up residence on the F8 Residency Facebook page. We promote artists working in any medium, and especially those who are interested in the presentation and viewing of art online, and particularly in social media. During their allotted month the artist or artists are able to post content and edit the page as much or as little as they want, although they must agree to not remove any previous residents posts and they must always comply with the Facebook community standards;

https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards.

At the end of their allotted month, the artist in residence must relinquish control of the page to allow the next resident to begin their residency.

Application deadline 30.01.18


24.
BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition
Deadline: Jan. 31st
Website: https://bbcplaywrite.monterosa.co.uk/

BBC is now accepting submissions for their International Radio Playwriting Competition through January 31, 2018. First prize winner wins £2,200 sterling (a little over $2900 in USD), a trip to London, and have your play broadcast across the world on BBC World Service.

Who can enter?
-Anyone aged 18 or over and living outside the UK – whether you’re an established writer, completely new or anywhere in between.
- What story might they like to hear? What new world can you introduce them to? Tell us stories with imagination and passion. Find your voice and use your voice. We’d love to hear from you.

In order to enter you need to send:
-A script for a 53-minute radio play with up to 6 central characters - we are unable to return these, so make sure you keep a copy
-A synopsis which outlines your play is no longer than 400 words


25.
NEW AMERICAN FELLOWS PROGRAMS
Deadline: Feb. 1st
Website: www.newamerica.org/fellows/how-to-apply/

We are now accepting applications for our Class of 2019 fellowships. The deadline to apply is Thursday, February 1, 2018.

New America’s Fellows Program invests in thinkers—academics, journalists, independent scholars, and public policy analysts—who offer fresh and often unconventional perspectives on the major challenges facing our society.

Fellows advance big ideas through research, reporting, analysis, and/or storytelling. The big idea can be a sweeping reframing of a familiar subject through new research or a new combination of existing research; a masterful presentation of a case study that advances our understanding of a timeless American theme or stress fracture; an innovative new media or academic project to disseminate knowledge about a shared challenge; or a bold policy prescription for moving domestic and international issues forward. Our goal in the Fellows Program is to find bold, iconoclastic thinkers and to fund them for a year, long enough so that they can make progress in writing a book, develop a series of articles, work on a documentary, or work on another project that would be accessible to a broad audience and long enough to be able to build a real community among the fellows.

Fellows benefit from a financial stipend, engagement with each other and with New America’s various policy programs, and the expanded audience and exposure from New America and its media partners. Precise terms and stipend levels of fellowships vary widely, as some fellows work full-time at New America in pursuit of their research, while many others have other professional commitments during the term of their fellowship.


26.
LAMBDA Writers' Retreat
Deadline: Feb. 1st
Website: www.lambdaliterary.org/2018-application-writers-retreat-emerging-lgbt-voices/

LAMBDA Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices is the first program of its kind ever offered to LGBTQ writers: a one-week intensive workshop immersion in fiction, genre fiction, nonfiction, playwriting or poetry. An unparalleled opportunity to learn from the very best writers in the LGBT community, Lambda’s Writers Retreat is open to emerging LGBTQ writers of any age and from any country.

Applicants of the Retreat submit prose, poetry or theatrical manuscript pages that are evaluated for craft, creativity and originality. Twelve students per workshop are accepted into the competitive program where they spend the week working on their manuscripts, attending guest lectures led by publishing industry professionals, and participating in public readings in venues around Los Angeles. Ability to pay is in no way part of the decision-making process and scholarships are available. Lambda Writers Retreat Fellows have gone on to publish an impressive array of works.

Lambda Fellows (Retreat graduates) are invited to return to attend faculty-led workshops or as “Writers in Residence” to work on a book in progress without needing to enroll in a workshop. Lambda Fellows should contact William Johnson, Programs Director, at wjohnson@lambdaliterary.org for more information.

Entering its 12th year, Lambda’s Writers Retreat has gained an international reputation for nurturing talented writers and building a highly accomplished community of artists committed to advancing LGBTQ literature.


27.
HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP)
Deadline: Feb. 2nd
Website: https://form.jotform.com/hereartscenter/harp

One of the most robust residency programs of this nature in the country and serving as a national model, HARP provides a commission, development support, career planning, and a full production to hybrid artists, all within a collaborative environment of peers working across disparate art forms – including theatre, dance, music, puppetry, visual art, and new media.

HARP provides significant long-term support, as well as $50,000 in cash and $50,000 in space, equipment and services over 2-3 years to tailor each residency to each artist’s individual needs. Through significant investment of time and resources, dynamic work within a strong community is created.

HARP nurtures the development of 9 –11 hybrid artists and their audiences, through cross-disciplinary exchange, monthly meetings, peer-driven workshops, and panel discussions. Created nearly 20 years ago to address a compelling need in the field—the void of artistic, administrative, and financial support for artists with certain professional accomplishments, but without breakthrough recognition—HARP assists artists who are developing distinct artistic voices and experimenting with new approaches that expand the parameters of performance work. HARP is unique in that it offers a meeting ground where artists from varied disciplines share diverse perspectives, and where works developed represent a hybrid performance aesthetic.

As the works being developed are complex hybrid projects, each residency lasts 2-to-3 years. Each artist in the program receives the following:

• A commissioning fee of $5,400 and a minimum of $4,000 creator fee for production phase

• $2,000 for work-in-progress showings

• $3,000-4,000 for workshops in two CULTUREMART festivals

• Time, technical support, & equipment for developmental works-in-progress in
our spaces

• Rehearsal Space at HERE, Governors’ Island and with partner organizations

• Food, lodging and space at our annual out-of-town week-long HARP artists
retreat

• In-depth one-on-one guidance and support from entire HERE staff
throughout their residency

• A world premiere produced by HERE in one of our the two theatre spaces,
including a minimum commitment of $30,000 in HERE funding in addition to
show-specific fundraising and significant in-kind resources (average
production costs are $100,000)

Over a 3-year residency, HERE invests over $50,000 in cash in each project and an additional $50,000 in space, equipment and staff resources.

As the works being developed are complex hybrid projects, each Residency will last for 2 to 3 years, renewed annually. At the end of each residency year, the artist and HERE mutually decide whether to continue the residency. It is unlikely that any project accepted in 2018 will go to production before 2020.

HARP RESIDENCY EXPECTATIONS:

Artists or collaborative teams chosen for HARP are expected to participate in the program by developing the work as outlined in their application and by actively participating in the member and public activities associated with the program. Since HARP is designed to respond to the ideas and needs of its members, the members themselves must be proactive in bringing those ideas and needs to HARP and to each other. We expect our members to be both good citizens of the HERE community as well as ambassadors to the public.

During the residency, HARP Artists participate in monthly artistic meetings, bi-monthly work groups focused on both artistic and business topics, regular individual meetings on budgeting, production, and fundraising issues, and formal and informal work-in-progress showings.

At the monthly meetings, artists show work, give feedback to other artist projects, engage in and contribute to artistic skill sharing. At the bi-monthly work groups, artists share career skills and learn from others, as well as from HERE staff and outside experts on topics ranging from grant writing to touring to budgeting to work samples.

Artists are also encouraged to show work in each stage of development. A number of work-in-progress showings, both public and private, allow members of HARP to contribute to the growth of their peers. Through this component, we create a balance of practical and theoretical work that exposes the whole group to a comprehensive experience. Each season, we present 8-10 public showings of HARP works-in-progress and provide HARP artists with a more formal opportunity to present stages of their work in CULTUREMART, our annual winter festival of workshop productions, before a public paying audience.

Each year, HARP artists participate in a one-week retreat at an artist colony where they are able to dedicate all of their energy to the creative process without the distractions of daily life. At times, when possible, we offer one- and two-week project-specific intensive retreats for second- and third-year HARP artists.

Three to five projects that are in development are selected for production each year. Each selected artist participates in all development activities, and collaborates with HERE to raise funds and develop appropriate resources and support for their production. Projects are produced at the scale appropriate to the work – there is no set formula for producing in the season – chamber or mainstage, four performances or 20, one performer or 25. It is our expectation that the works being developed in the program are being scaled to fit and will be produced in one of our spaces. Most works developed through HARP are fully produced by HERE.

The artists themselves shall retain ownership of all work initiated, developed, or workshopped during their residency. For the works that go to full production, HERE and the artists will negotiate a separate ownership and rights agreement. However, in all public materials about the artist or team the following must appear: "(Name of Artist or Team) was/is a member of HERE’s Artist Residency Program (HARP), 20 __ - 20__, NYC", and in all public materials relating to the work’s development, the following line shall appear: “Development of (Name of Work) was made possible through the HERE’s Artist Residency Program (HARP), 20_ - 20_, NYC." For works that go to full production the following line shall appear: “(Name of Work) was commissioned, developed, and produced through the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP), 20_ - 20_, NYC.”

28.
Dora Maar House
Deadline: February 15th (for fellowships beginning in July 2018)
Website: mfah.org/fellowships/doramaarhouse/dora-maar-how-to-apply/

The Brown Foundation Fellows Program at the Dora Maar House is located in one of the most beautiful regions of Southern France, about 40 km southeast of Avignon, the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes is an 18th century residence. In 1944 Pablo Picasso purchased the four-story mansion for Dora Maar, an artist and surrealist photographer who was his companion and muse in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Dora Maar owned the house until her death in 1997.
In 1997, a friend of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston purchased the former residence of Dora Maar. In a five-year effort, the owner rehabilitated and updated this spacious eighteenth-century, four-story stone residence in the village of Ménerbes. Her goal was to make it a retreat for scholars, artists, and writers, where they could work undisturbed on their research, art, or writing, for one to three months.

The Brown Foundation Fellowship provides
• one to three months in residence at the Dora Maar House
• a private bedroom and bath and a study or studio in which to work
• expenses paid for round-trip travel from a fellow’s home to the
Dora Maar House
• a grant based upon the length of stay at the Dora Maar House

In 2006 the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston was asked to direct this project, which is now known as The Brown Foundation Fellows Program at the Dora Maar House. Here outstanding midcareer professionals are offered fellowships that enable them to reside in the Dora Maar House and focus on the creative aspects of their work.

http://www.mfah.org/fellowships/doramaarhouse/fellowship/

29.
Greenhouse New Play Development Project
Deadline: Feb. 16th
Website: https://www.strangesuntheater.com/the-greenhouse

Strange Sun Theater is now accepting submissions for the 2018 Greenhouse New Play Development Project.

 This year, Strange Sun Theater will select two plays as part of its Greenhouse Project, and we are proud to announce that each of the two playwrights will receive a $500 award, and be a part of our ‘ON BOOK’ series, which explores and develops the plays through a rehearsal process culminating in a public staged reading of the plays in New York City.*

This year Strange Sun Theater invites playwrights to submit their COMIC PLAYS to our Greenhouse Project.  In today’s fraught world, we look to the power of laughter for release, for the off-beat way it allows us to interrogate our society, and for it’s ability to shine a light on human behavior with all its complexities, absurdities, and joys.  Submit your comedies - Satirical, Topical, Farcical, Situational, Dark, Absurd, Odd - anything that makes us laugh!   The submission deadline is February 16th, 2018.

*The $500 award will be awarded only if the playwright agrees to participate in our ON BOOK development process.  Although face-to-face involvement in the process is not strictly necessary, we are hoping the $500 award may help to defray some off the costs of participating in the ON BOOK process.

To further guidelines and to submit: https://www.strangesuntheater.com/the-greenhouse


30.
Headwaters New Play Festival
Deadline: February 18th
Website: http://creederep.org/headwaters-submissions/

The Headwaters program is the source of new plays of the West: plays set in the current, historic, or mystic western United States; plays by playwrights originally from or living in the West; plays that deal with themes connected to the real or mythic West; and plays that re-imagine what “West” means.

Any plays submitted after this date will go into consideration for our 2019 Festival. Plays must be submitted digitally in PDF format. Hard copies will not be considered. Responses will be sent out by May 2018. CRT provides travel, a food stipend, and cozy accommodations for the two finalist playwrights. The scenic mountain beauty of this remote and quaint arts town will provide endless inspiration as you develop your work. Plays read at the festival will be considered for full production in CRT’s 2019 season.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: A Personal Year in Review

JANUARY

The year began in a fog. Trump was just elected. My career was moving along but felt hollow. I was being asked to a ton of meetings around Hollywood. It was an out-of-body experience. It wasn't unpleasant, just completely detached from my passion. I watched the political world aflame and felt numb. I watched my own personal fortunes rise and felt numb. I had all the material things I could ever ask for and felt...numb. Surely, this malaise was not due to a deficit or surplus of physical materials. It had to do with my spiritual practice. I prayed and meditated more. And the question I was asking myself was the same again and again: is this what I was meant to do? At one of the monthly spiritual meetings around a backyard fire, I shared with other guys this strange wan cloud.

Is this the purpose of my life? I waited for an answer. In the meantime, I accepted a request to speak at Penn State Altoona and Hampshire College. The day before Inauguration, the THIS IS US writers' room was a gloomy, low-energy affair. We were excused from work the next day and left early. I went home and immediately fell asleep. I woke up in a haze at around 8pm. I grabbed something to eat and went to the gym. The following morning I worked out and went to a bakery in search of cookies and muffins to gorge on. I stumbled upon one of the few bakeries that only served cakes and pies, so I left. I decided to try out LA's legendary Korean spas.

Now prior to January, I had heard about the healing power of salt rooms. The typical price range for sitting in one of these special rooms was upward of $100. One of my friends said that Korean saunas had salt rooms in them. I felt that there was no better time to shut down and tune out, then on Trump's inauguration. Korean saunas have an entire culture and set of customs. I was entranced by the searing hot steam rooms, the brutalizing massages, the ice room, salt rooms, and variety of spaces for different effects.

I got an email informing me that I was a finalist for the Emerald Prize at Seattle Public Theatre. I had to write a more comprehensive proposal for BLUE BOY. I thought that this might be something more in my area of interests.

FEBRUARY

I traveled to Altoona, PA to talk at a Black History event on Penn State's campus. THIS IS US had its wrap party shortly after coming back and then there was the WGA Party at the Beverly Hills Hilton. It was strange to think about where I was a year ago, versus this February.

On Valentine's Day, I got a ticket to see SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. I got a reminder email that my proposal for the Emerald Prize was due tomorrow. The next day I wrote out my proposal and sample scenes on Leif's couch, sent them away, and hopped on a plane back to NYC.

At the end of February, I was told that there might be a contract problem with my tv agreement at Fox. I began thinking about my ennui. Even though it was coming from me, I felt like this was a chance to do something new. Okay, this is a new start. I surrendered to it. Then the floodgates opened. I had been asking myself for a while 'is this what I was meant to do? Is this it for me?' I was getting an overwhelming answer.

MARCH

On March 1st Seattle Public Theatre sent me an email to inform me that I was the winner of the EMERALD PRIZE. I remember September 2016 and that first email from my agent informing me that I was nominated for the Prize...along with about 100 artists. I initially thought 'yeah right! Not going to happen."  It was a long process and at several points, I thought of not even bothering to meet the deadline. But I'm glad I did.

I also got a new TV job lined up and a ton of meetings. Shortly after accepting this gig, a few other opportunities fell into my lap. But after 9 months in LA, I still felt adrift. LA is pleasant. Cruise-ship pleasant. Summer vacation idyllic, but I was fighting the detached sensation for a long time. I missed studying Buddhism. I missed serious practicioners, new dharma, meditation retreats. In LA, most of the talk revolved around juice cleanses, sweat lodges, and communing with nature. There were many smart people in LA, many serious practitioners, and brilliant minds...but they didn't appear to be in communion with each other.  The intersectionality of genius was lost to the SoCal silo effect of experts isolated by freeways, urban sprawl, and gridlock. My opinions about LA are the same as when I lived there for a summer in between my junior and senior year at Northwestern: fun city to get lost in, easy place to work, and an uneasy place to wanderlust.

Meetings and travel organized my schedule this month. There were movie meetings, musical meetings, TV meetings. At the end of the month, I traveled to Hampshire College for a guest artist stint there along with Smith College and UMASS. It was an inspiring trip and a casual conversation about the art of the American flag and flag burning planted a seed in my head. 

I was tentatively scheduled to work on a stage musical, but it fell apart when the director wanted another writer. He wasn't willing to meet with me or hear me out. He had made up his mind on who he wanted, so the producers went with the other writer.

APRIL

The rest of the college trip blended into April. Afterward, I began outlining some thoughts for the EMERALD PRIZE play. I already hated the project title BLUE BOY. I just didn't have a better name in mind at the time. This was a month of meetings and then traveling to NYC to see a ton of theatre.

I pitched a movie for Russell Simmons, and it felt like I was at the Fox Lot for an entire week, bouncing from Fox Searchlight to Fox 2000 and finally 21st Century Fox. In the end, they went with another writer for a movie project. But those are the breaks.

MAY

More meetings meetings meetings. I think I should have done a meditation retreat with this stretch of meetings. But the allure of being wanted was too great, along with a workout regime that now incorporated boxing, basecamp, Zumba, yoga, and weightlifting. My body felt like it was a finely tuned machine.

JUNE

My time in LA was wrapping up. I traveled to NYC for a lot more theatre. I had a writing retreat scheduled with Erik Ehn and I was looking forward to it for months. But at the last minute, the dates were switched and it conflicted with a Buddhist teaching. If one of my main predicaments from last year was growing detached from the dharma, then this was a test of what I was really willing to do for the teachings. So I stayed in NYC for the extra days.  At the end of the month, I packed up my stuff, said my goodbyes.

I began writing BLUE BOY that was now retitled as MADE IN AMERICA. Things were moving on. I didn't feel sad, nor was I happy. I was relieved. Goodbye LA, I'll see you again...soon.

JULY

So I'm back in LA, LOL! I agreed to be a guest artist for the Dramatists Guild Conference in Culver City. It was a chance to be back for a few days, take some meetings, and hang out with other artists. I met up with Murray Hill at Cafe Gratitude.

I finished MADE IN AMERICA and sent it off to Seattle and prepared for next month's workshop.

AUGUST

I moved in with Murray Hill in Williamsburg. The apartment is a lot different from my place in West Hollywood. Smaller, more petite, but more personality. I signed up for Equinox. I met up with Russell Simmons and Universal Music execs about a hip-hop musical. We agreed to start work on theatre musical. I went out to Seattle for a week and MADE IN AMERICA became FIRE SEASON. The workshop experience was wonderful. The play transformed under the helm of a strong director and a great cast. By the end of the week, I thought an okay play became truly remarkable. I don't know if Seattle Public Theatre is going to produce the play in the upcoming season, but the audience was riveted. The story came together, and a new drama was written about rural America and the opioid addiction.

And then we started work on THE GOOD FIGHT. The room began at CBS's Black Rock office in Midtown, which meant a harrowing ride to work.

I expected to take celibacy vows but my Lama seemed unwilling to take me up on the offer. I decided to start dating. It was an interesting dive into NYC.

While I was in Seattle, Charlottesville happened in the news. Alt-right and Neo-Nazis marched on the town, and a leftist protester was killed. Trump said exactly what I would expect from an alt-right racist, but I was surprised that the nation actually reacted in horror.

SEPTEMBER

THE GOOD FIGHT moved to its offices in Greenpoint. Now my Williamsburg plan could unfold as I saw it. I could walk to work. For the first time in my life, I walked every day to work. And then I walked home. I am clocking in at 10-20,000 steps every day. It helps make up for the reduced amount of exercise. I agreed to write a play for TFJJ at La Sirena in November.

I decided that I need to condense all my errant meetings into a monthly salon. It's more efficient and I didn't like spending a third of my time I signed on for DEFACING MICHAEL JACKSON production next summer, and RUNNING ON FIRE workshop in North Carolina in the spring of 2018.

OCTOBER

I wrote the play for La Sirena and continued work on TV. I also did some research for a film project. I waited for a revised contract for the Def Jam musical. I got to go back home and take care of my Dad while my mother went on a class reunion. While I took care of my Dad I also wrote pages for another episode. And I'm studying dharma back in NYC. The feeling I am having isn't joy, but it is contentment. It's uncomfortable, it's growth, it's with real people who are thoughtful and well-rounded. I got to taste test the menu at La Sirena for the TFJJ fundraiser. Delicious.

I also wrote a play for New Dramatists Nocturnal Commissions. My assignment was to write about Trump's life and I had only 15 minutes. I didn't stop writing from the moment they said 'go.'

NOVEMBER

I had a vegan Thanksgiving with Ricardo in Queens. And then we played Street Fighter for a few hours, and went to see THREE BILLBOARDS... On the Monday after Thanksgiving, I went to La Sirena and experienced a magical evening in which three plays were shown in between courses, and we raised $185,000!!

DECEMBER

I am reflecting on this year as I listen to Dave Chappelle's new Netflix special. It's been a busy year.

Reflecting on 2017:
-"The Good Fight"
- "This is Us"
- Maxamoo podcast
- NYTheatre Review
- Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Writers (look, I waited 10 months to announce this. No awards gala, no press release, but the check cleared so we good!)
- Emerald Prize from Seattle Public Theatre for new plays about America.
-"Fire Season" at Seattle Public Theatre.
- fires.
-signed contract for two play productions in 2018: "Running on Fire" and "Defacing Michael Jackson."
- wrote play for Teens for Food Justice gala that raised $180,000.
- Trump play in Nocturnal Commissions at New Dramatists.
- WGA Awards nomination
- Black Reel TV Awards nomination
-staying with Leif again and again and again. Writing my project proposal for the Emerald Prize on his couch after seeing Jake Gyllenhaal in "Sunday in the Park with George" on Valentine's Day.
- Kyle visiting NYC and trying out Michelin restaurants.
- eery Sam Shepard death prefaced by me having dreams a day before where I was talking to a recently deceased playwright about what death means.
- Sam Shepard memorial at New Dramatists.
- got to meet/pitch an idea to Russell Simmons in his mansion, which would have been a bigger deal before the past month.
- apparently, half the men in the world have been sexually harassing anyone who moves.
- guest artist at Penn State Altoona.
- guest artist at Hampshire College/Smith/UMASS/Amherst/Mt. Holyoke College amalgamation, aka the tofu conglomerate.
- Dramatists Guild Institute guest artist in LA. It was lit. Pool party shenanigans, drunk midnight basketball, great panel discussions. The Airbnb in Culver City had enough sass to supply an entire season of "Dynasty."
- was asked my preferred gender pronoun on numerous occasions and suddenly felt old.
- should've gone to Japan on a whim with a friend. Instead, I choose to be responsible and go on a bunch of bullshit meetings. I will NOT make that mistake again.
- karmic partners streamlined generic career advice into a proactive market exchange.
- started LLC
- Juilliard Drama 50th anniversary
- ran into an old college friend in a vegan coffee shop in Seattle...of all places.
- end of 3 Jewels at old space. Reopening in new space in 2018.
- "Trump won't be that bad. He'll pivot and become mainstream."
- went to first Korean spa on Inauguration Day so I could avoid all tv and media. Then I had all my skin scrubbed off by Satan.
- Purple Carrot vegan delivered meals leading to Purple Carrot lunches with friends in LA.
- guy threatening to kick my ass because I wouldn't let him kick his girlfriend's ass on Cinco De Mayo. Having other neighbors come out and form a shield around the woman until she could get into an Uber, and then watching the posse chase the guy down the street. I saw the same man a week later at a coffee shop, where he was threatening to kick someone's ass for not giving him the time.
- FIRES!!!
- went to Pasadena once. I got the gist. (a town for wypipo who find Concord, Massachusetts too spicy.)
- never eat the 2nd gummi edible b/c the first one hasn't kicked in yet, you fool!!
- handing chocolate edible to homeless man begging for toke money, and becoming Weed Jesus.
- bought Venerable Lobsang Chunzom a Christmas tree and a 'net of lights' to celebrate holidays.
- celebrated Je Tsongkapa Day...still here!
- "How to Get a Good Life" classes at 3 Jewels and Master Kamalashila!
- Kelwa!! Cocoon that!
- missing Aunt Dolly, Brian Donovan, and many friends.
- London Reconnections again and again. Is it a sign?


Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Shrinking Circle of the American Mind

Throughout the course of human history, most people come into this world, live, and die in the same 20-mile radius. In the past, you could say that was due to short life expectancy and the harshness of travel. But in the 19th and 20th century the invention of trains, cars, and planes made long-distance travel fairly easy and still the vast majority lived and died in that same 20-mile circle. In the last few decades, Americans have become less mobile, less likely to have a passport, more likely to live close to Mom, and the circle is shrinking (now at 18-mile radius for over half of Americans). There's more employment instability, fewer opportunities, less social support, so families are more likely to stay close to create their own safety net. There's also less awareness of not only other countries but even other states and communities hidden in plain sight: undocumented workers, homeless population, underclasses that are redlined, policed and zoned into invisibility. The circle appears to be shrinking, not only geographically but socially and empathetically even as we have internet access to all the information in the world. Elitism isn't seen as just about money, but about mobility. And mobility isn't just about the physical distance traveled, but about the movement into different cultures.

Remember the GOP chiding New Yorkers for their fancy subway? Most New Yorkers laughed b/c the MTA is anything but couture and elitism. Yet politicians from Albany and DC seem almost hell-bent on destroying and underfunding one of the most vital transportation systems for the American economy. If the MTA subways were to fall apart, the devastation would be felt by not only NYC but the entire country. The economic capital of America would grind to a screeching halt. The ripple effect of such a disaster would reach every corner of the country. Many Americans in and outside of the city depend on the affordable daily movement of 20+ million people in the NYC metropolitan area. Why have Republicans taken delight in trying to wreck a system so vital to the American economy?

The MTA is a smelly, harsh, overcrowded network of trains that cover 5 boroughs. But it is also a system that moves between a multitude of worlds, 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year. It does not discriminate in class or race. It has everyone on it: rich, poor, celebrities, homeless, tourists, Wall Street stock brokers, cops, students, street kids, performers, beggars, religious proselytizers. It is a multicultural, multifaceted, multiracial American cacophony. This diversity and mobility is the very definition of elitism to someone from Alabama. Culture, movement, and youthful vitality are the enemy of the alt-right. Mobility is as much 'snowflake status' of libertine elitism as going to the theatre or reading one book a year.

We are self-imprisoning. Thanks to technology and gov, the average person can shrink their bubble down to just their immediate surroundings. The less-traveled American is more likely to believe the distant world is a scary place to be guarded against at all cost. They are more likely to be isolationist, conservative, reactive, tribalistic, and easily swayed by racial/ethnic dog whistles. Travel forces us to see the similarities between the multitudes. Isolation tends to foster our unfounded nightmares and worst-case scenario beliefs in 'the other.'

 In the coming year, I hope that the circle can be expanded. Traveling mind, traveling feet.

-wandering theatrical thoughts

Friday, December 22, 2017

Kelwa and Rewriting

Tonight was one of the last classes at the old 3 Jewels space in the East Village before the dharma center moves into its new space on the Lower East Side. We've been having monthly meetings on HOW TO GET THE GOOD LIFE. Venerable Lobsang Chunzom went through the kelwa of rewriting our story.

KELWA is Tibetan for 'the virtue to see things purely' or just the 'goodness to see.' Kelwa is a spiritual IQ. Last night at 3 Jewels, the topic was rewriting past stories I tell myself in order to change the future. My mind tells stories all the time: about myself and others. I run these stories on a loop about me, who I am, who other people are, how I feel about them. So my mom (good), Trump (bad), a person on the street (indifferent). Each story has an explanation and emotion attached that's like a cocoon that grows the next moment, plop out, and then crawls into the next cocoon, and this story keeps growing and re-enforcing itself with each cocoon. Indian sage Master Kamalashila said that in order to change a story in the future, you have to actually go back into the past, look at the cocoon. I need KELWA to even look at a so-called good boss, or a bad job, or a wonderful mom, or an evil uncle and catch myself telling 'the story' that's going to 'cocoon' itself and grow into the next moment. Realizing that everything I'm experiencing is a story doesn't make it untrue. In fact it's the only thing the mind can really do well: tell stories that create the world. But having kelwa to see that blankness of the story (and it's 100% potential) does mean it can be changed.

After class I caught up with two old friends. I came back to Williamsburg and immediately had two incredible encounters with new friends, as well as colleagues reaching out to me via text and phone. I drifted off to sleep on these pleasant stories, but I know where they came from, and how to make them more powerful and lasting. Kelwa.

Master Kamalashila used the metaphor of the substance used to make a caterpillar cocoon. Every action is like crawling inside a cocoon and then having it birth into the butterfly that resulted from the action, only to go back into another cocoon, and on and on and on. The cocoon lacquer gives me a sense of continuity to my life.

Each moment is a chance to shift the cocoon before the next ripening. My vision of me has progressed over time in these billions of cocoon-like moments in my life. Even though the 'me' right now is completely different from the 'me' 20 years ago I recognize a sense of continuity. At least that's the story I tell myself. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

In Remembrance of Brian Donovan

To my friend Brian Donovan,

It was a lazy afternoon in the village several years. After a long silence, you told us the diagnosis you just received: Huntington's Disease. You were direct, unsentimental, and precise about your prognosis: incurable, degenerative, hereditary. Given the circumstances, we talked about the idea of suicide with the same direct and clear analysis. You decided that there was nothing wrong with suicide, but that you were were going to live with things and see what happened. The idea of finding grace in a prolonged struggle with a degenerative disease seemed at odds with me. Dying with dignity was supposed to be quick, clean, dry, and bookended with a poignant deathbed thoughts. I always thought the end was supposed to be a "Keep Calm And Carry On" British sign, as we bravely marched into the storm. You showed that our mortality could be dealt with in a fully-formed way, filled with doubt, jokes, analysis, plans, and moving forward day by day. You taught me a lesson in humble grace. Rest in Peace. Your spirit lights the way for all of us.