TVY Rising: Peeking Inside Theater for the Very Young

If you don’t spend time around babies regularly, bringing them to the theater — say, for a performance of Theater for the Very Young, or TVY — may be a strange concept. As primary caretaker to a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old, I’m often astonished by how very simple parts of our world can entertain them for extended periods of time. As I type this introduction, my own baby is completely consumed with trying to open my water bottle. He also stayed enthralled through 45 minutes of the clown antics of Beau and Aero at the Orlando Fringe Festival (suggested age: 7 and up).

For overviews of TVY, as distinct from Theater for Young Audiences (TYA), read these good articles in American Theatre and The New Yorker. I want to help artists understand how to create better, smarter theater for all ages, so I interviewed playwright Madhuri Shekar, who worked with the Alliance Theatre in Georgia to adapt the picture book A Bucket of Blessings into TVY.

Read more on The Clyde FItch Report.

Why TYA Should Join the Dark Side (of Fairy Tales): my extended interview with Gypsy Thornton part 1

I had the pleasure to interview Gypsy Thornton of Once Upon a Blog recently. Segments of our interview appeared in the article “Why TYA Should Join the Dark Side (of Fairy Tales)”, but she had such great insight that I gained permission to publish our extended interview. 

CINDY MARIE JENKINS: Sometimes people are surprised to hear how dark the origins of their favorite fairy tales are. Why do you think that is?

GYPSY THORNTON: I think this comes from generations where people have been exposed to Disney and ‘softened’ retellings more than the traditional fairy tale collections kids grew up with before. Before video, you couldn’t just ‘pop on a show’ to entertain the kids so story collections were very popular. Collections of fairy tales before the 80’s often included one or two lesser known ones and although the language was always kid-friendly, there were usually hints in the text and illustrations that both initial conditions and, eventually, punishments for the evil-doers were quite severe.

Enter Disney marketing the new ‘princess culture’ of the 80’s that began with their hit animated musical

Marissa Meyer’s sci-fi adaptation of The Little Mermaid follows the original much more closely than Disney. -CMJ

The Little Mermaid, and the era of PC tale telling of the 90’s. Absolutes tended to disappear. Evil wasn’t so much ‘evil’ as misunderstood, and everything and everyone could be rehabilitated. Ironically one of the things I’ve found helps kids feel safe is when things are more extreme: black and white, good and evil, rules are rules and punishment is given when they’re broken. When villains are vanquished, despite that there is often death involved, kids are greatly comforted by the fact that death is final, meaning that evil- or evil person – cannot return. The hero and heroine are now safe to truly live happily ever after, and the kids feel they personally are too.

One of the effects of ‘soft’ fairy tales is that you end up with watered down versions of the tale, which makes them easier to dismiss. They’re less relevant to life as they no longer have as much resonance and kids don’t learn many valuable things from them anymore. Fairy tales weren’t a variety of stories with elements of wonder anymore – they became distillations of dreams, magic and the incredibly fantastical. Magic had flourishes and sparkles, a thrilling soundtrack and cheering at the end of every story. Unlike the stories of real people with an element of the fantastic that gave them choices, all the new protagonists were already special and magical things happened because of it.

The big take-away is that fairy tales are for ‘little kids’ and people who can’t deal with reality. I don’t think it’s a coincidence we’ve ended up with generations that are taking longer to leave home, to get married and start their own families. Being able to deal with ambiguity, having tools to battle challenges and fears and encouraging creative thinking – these are all things embedded in the ‘less sparkly’ fairy tales. When you read and hear these ‘less fantastical’ tales as children, with their black and white boundaries, their clear-cut rules and rewards, it’s a safe forum to learn these things from and to expand your understanding into as your knowledge of the world grows. When you read them for the first time as an adult, the full weight of all the implications can crash in at once, making them seem a little frightening. Despite being obviously fantasy, they can feel ‘too real’. It’s an interesting irony.

One of the things almost guaranteed to make fairy tale students and scholars groan is an article that pronounces ‘you’ll never believe the dark origins of your favorite fairy tales!’. Every second headline seems to be using this ‘clickbait’ these days, but talk to anyone who found an ‘old fairy tale’ in a difficult childhood and you’ll hear they were, and remain useful tools – for hope. [CMJ note: see my article about the musical Into the Woods]

Photo credit unknown.

The quote that ‘fairy tales are more than true – not because they tell us that dragons exist, but that we can defeat them’ (GK Chesterton) is well worn but remains so relevant. In the ‘sensational’ discovery of ‘horrors’ in older versions of fairy tales, people can’t help but see they can’t be dismissed as easily. They speak on many harsh things, and, as such, can be related to the harshness of real life. A surface glance will indeed make people shy away if they’re unfamiliar, but fairy tales have staying power, not (just) because they dwell in the dark places (and recognize life is sometimes awful), but particularly because they show people the possibility of coming out the other side.

Hope is a powerful thing and fairy tales have that in spades. Nice fairy tales are ‘nice’ and are great for dreaming. There is nothing wrong with that – at all. But fairy tales that encourage you to get up on your remaining limbs and keep going? They’re the ones that tell you life is worth living, no matter how tough it gets. Unlike dreams that have a tendency to vanish in disillusionment, these are the stuff of hope. Unfortunately, in our contemporary era, the trade off of (relative) stability is that we have a tendency to try and shield our children from disillusionment, instead of seeing it as inevitable and preparing them to cope.

Read the series “Talking TYA on The Clyde Fitch Report, including “Why TYA Should Join the Dark Side (of Fairy Tales)”, (part 2).

Read more from Gypsy Thornton on Once Upon a Blog

Honoring the Tony Winners That CBS Didn’t Show

The Tony Awards broadcast continued a long-standing protocol this year. Namely that numerous awards were given prior to the CBS broadcast, with clips shown after breaks — you know, when everyone in your viewing party is rushing back from the bathroom or filling their libations. Many people on Twitter, for instance, were surprised and unhappy that James Earl Jones’ acceptance speech for a Lifetime Achievement Award was not aired.

Among these honorees are the designers, people without whom the worlds of each production, we can all agree, would not exist.

Read more at The Clyde Fitch Report. 

 

We Watch, Too: A Parents’ Roundtable on Theater for Kids

In my first entry of this Theater for Young Audiences (TYA) series, I said I didn’t want to make assumptions on what people think or want from children’s theater. I know most of my desires for pushing the conventions of TYA come from my own childhood and from my new experiences of introducing a small human to the theater. But I was left wondering: How do other parents feel? I interviewed four mothers to see how, and if, their experiences aligned with mine.

I spoke with a mother of three who chose to remain anonymous. I’ll refer to her as Jane in this article. Her children are two, five and eight. Aubrie Canfield has a three-year-old and 10-month-old. Shellie Gauthier has a three-year-old, 13-year-old twins and a 15-year-old. Enci Box has a two-year-old and five-year-old.

Read more at The Clyde Fitch Report. 

 

It Wasn’t Diversity That Killed Comic Sales, It Was These Archaic Publishing Methods

I want to read more comic books. I want to be a regular reader of a series and follow a character through a larger arc, then be intrigued by another character and go down the rabbit hole of their story. But the way that comics are released just doesn’t work for me anymore.

I’ve tried. I’ll wait months for a title to be available in trade if it means I can read it when I want to read it—on my schedule and terms. Asher Elbein’s new piece in The Atlantic explains why many of my favorites are canceled or in peril by the time I buy their trades, and that just drives me more and more to the indie presses, or even away from comics at all. It is no coincidence that the more so-called “diverse,” i.e. not default white male, titles are the ones that interest me (Alex Brown says a lot of how I feel whenever “diversity” is blamed for poor sales.). If you haven’t kept up with the billionth Spiderman or which Robin is actually Robin since before you were born, it seems like there’s no place for you.

Read more at The Mary Sue. 

A Modern “Poe Man” at Orlando Fringe

I love fringe festivals. They’re such a great way to take chances on new art and artists, and I devote time every year to coverage of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. I didn’t get to attend as much as I wanted to at Orlando Fringe this year, but here are my thoughts on what I did see.  

You choose a one-man Poe show at a Fringe Festival, your odds are 50/50 at best.

PoeMan_2017_450
Devennie has a series of images for his show, and this is my second favorite.

I’m glad I caught Poe Man by Joe Devennie: I admittedly entered the show a bit snobbish and left with a firm appreciation of Poe’s lasting effect on the American psyche.

 

I think of Poe, I think early America: rough, young yet still slightly tinged with a British sound. That’s why I’m glad Devennie begins with “The Telltale Heart”. His no-frills approach to the language eases you into his way of telling this story, his Poe — closer to the cool High School English teacher than a muggy idea of Poe drowning in its own importance and expectations.

Devennie draws his “Telltale Heart” narrator straight from the headlines of “He was such a nice, normal boy. I had no idea he could do this sort of thing” [19th century spoilers: he murders a housemate because the old man’s eye puts him off.] We are at least five minutes into his telling before Devennie even raises his voice or shows any signs beyond normalcy. You could be asking him where the nearest bathroom is before he slips into the first sign that something is not quite right.

It’s a great way to present this story, and one that feels all too real in the American of today.

Hop-Frog

I don’t recall ever reading this one. A dwarf, forced into slavery as a court jester (and often the subject of ridicule as well), takes a well planned, maniacal revenge on the King who causes his and his only friend pain.

Devennie uses his well-honed storytelling chops to great effect. I found myself wishing we were actually around a campfire, hearing his words illuminated by chance with fire. Also, love this story! Any show that makes me want to crack open that thick hardcover of The Collected Works of Poe I’ve had for two years has earned its ticket price.

Poe’s description of the slow toll that abuse and bullying takes on a person’s psyche also feels too relevant and real in today’s world.

The Raven

Devennie started The Raven strong, with an old Southern “let me tell you a story on my front porch but I’ve had a few too many” vibe. It was well done and Devennie certainly more than did it justice. The character, however, didn’t reveal anything new about the story. I almost wish he had never left his “porch chair,” and told the whole tale from there. Even though it didn’t add up, ending a Poe adventure on “Nevermore” is never a poor choice.

His last show is an hour after I am publishing this, but he is an Orlando Fringe regular, so keep him on your radar for next year. 

 

PoeManSuperman
This is my favorite image for his show. 

 

Why TYA Should Join the Dark Side (of Fairy Tales)

Let’s delve into a pretty common denominator in the world of theater for young audiences (TYA): fairy tales. There is no end to internet lists “revealing” or “discovering” the dark origins of fairy tales, yet it is so surprising that, once upon a time, we actually told children scary stories? Shocking!

Many of the original versions of fairy tales were told to help children and adults confront the very real dangers of their times. Hansel and Gretel is an excellent example and very likely the most well known: it’s famine and hunger that motivate the mother or stepmother (depending on the version) to convince her husband to abandon his children in the woods. Most stage productions hide that part of the tale. It is fear of the darkness inherent in the stories that can cause playwrights to move too far in the other, more saccharine direction, leading to meaningless takes on fairy tales that now feel like the norm. When we remove fear from a fairy tale — or any story — we remove its connection to our lives, and that dumbing down affects theater audiences for a lifetime. Without true connections to our own feelings, fears and joys, why bother attending?

Read more at The Clyde Fitch Report

Read Part 1: Why do Theaters Dumb Down TYA (Theater for Young Audiences)?

Caleb Foote and Angela Giarratana in “Hansel & Gretel Bluegrass” (Photo: Cooper Bates)

Why Do Theaters Dumb Down TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences)?

“We want to do children’s theater that doesn’t suck.”

That was Debbie Devine and Jay McAdam’s answer when I asked how 24th ST Theatre’s shows were different from their local competition. I laughed and understood. I was just starting as their marketing director and not a parent myself, but I certainly knew the horror stories of wide-eyed “children’s theater” talking down to their audiences.

And so I set about convincing progressive Los Angeles parents that a show about death, or one with a scene about getting your period, or a one-woman King Lear, were exactly the shows they should bring their kids to see.

Read more on The Clyde Fitch Report.

This is the first column in a year-long series investigating Theatre for Young Audiences. Click the Talking TYA tag for more.

Hard Fantasy vs Soft Fantasy for Children

Patrick Rothfuss profile
Patrick Rothfuss image was taken from this interview.

In Talks at Google with Patrick Rothfuss, he answers a question dear to my heart. I usually discuss it in relation to children’s theatre, but it holds. They’re smarter than you think.

Audience Question: How hard is it to make hard fantasy versus soft fantasy for children?

Rothfuss: There’s an unfortunate tendency among people in general to say, oh, I’ll just write a fantasy novel because you can just make stuff up. And that’s wrong, because that’s not – you can just do a bunch of stuff and magic will make it make sense. You can, but that’s not good writing, it’s not good storytelling, it’s not good craft.

In my opinion, similarly, people, sometimes, in the genre, are like, well, boy, I wish I could write YA because then kids don’t know what a plot hole is, they don’t care about consistent characterization, they’re not gonna call me on the million dragons ecology problem that I’ve created, this is not a sustainable eco-structure. But that, in my opinion, is a really egregious cop-out. Because in the same way that food that we feed our children should be actually held to a higher standard than the food you give to an adult, because an adult can say, blech, this is awful, or they can read the label and go, oh, this has terrible things in it and it’s going to make me sick and give me cancer. A kid can’t. 

And so you owe it to kids to actually put more work into this because it’s harder to write short. It’s harder to write simply [sic]. It’s harder to do a lot of these things, and it’s harder to write cohesive, coherent, internally coherent fantasy. And you shouldn’t go to YA thinking, oh, my, this will be way easier. I can just bang out 30,000 words and then go play World of Warcraft.

No.

I do not approve.

I know that it’s hard, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try for it. That’s my philosophy.”

Two Articles I Wrote on Art as a Parent

I guess being a parent really does affect how I view art. Yesterday two articles I wrote dropped on different publications, Better Lemons and Dwarf+Giant, a blog of The Last Bookstore LA. I didn’t realize until I shared them to Facebook that both show how I view art differently since becoming a parent.

One is how The Cat in the Hat reads like a manual for child molesters. I thought I’d get more pushback on this story, but so far all comments except one appreciate my argument for removing that book from your collection. Thanks to Dwarf+Giant for publishing this one!

The other is the first in a series, What Theaters Need to Know: Courting Families on Better Lemons, a relaunched Los Angeles arts website. Here I detail how small changes and larger ones can go a long way towards making families feel welcome at your programming. Until you’ve had to change your child’s diaper on a nasty restroom floor while other audience members bang on the door during intermission, you really haven’t lived as a parent.

Stay tuned for some more interesting articles from me……

YA Book Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I’m happy to announce that I’m now reviewing books for Dwarf+Giant, A Blog of The Last Bookstore. My focus is on fairy tales, folk tales and mythology – classics and re-tellings. Follow my reading progress on Goodreads.

This review was originally published on October 14, 2016.

Dorothy Must Die isn’t so much a retelling of The Wizard of Oz as a continuation, an elaboration of Oz after Dorothy became a ruthless dictator and turned her companions into henchmen worthy of The Godfather. Amy is the protagonist, swept into a tornado after her alcoholic mother goes to a tornado drinking party and leaves her to fend for herself. Landing her trailer in Oz, she is assumed to be their saviour, her orders being simple: Dorothy Must Die.

I had a hard time getting into Amy, the protagonist. At first I thought it was because we had so little in common (trailer park vs upper middle class, alcoholic mother vs stable nuclear family); then I realized that I felt too close to her experiences being bullied at school. It hurt too much for me to bear with relating to her. In a lot of ways I wish I reacted to bullying more like Amy did.

Once we’re into the Oz part of the story, I flew through Amy’s journey. Struggling with who to believe and having a real stake in who is good vs who is evil is a pretty great hook. No icon of Oz is left standing here, and you get the feeling there is real danger. I didn’t read the summary to the second book, so to me, it was possible that Amy could have been killed before this book was done. That was a pretty great feeling to have as a reader, that anything was really possible and maybe this time, our heroine wouldn’t overcome her training and doubts.

I do wish there was a little more dimension to Dorothy, but I suppose that’s how the original villain (Wicked Witch of the West) is portrayed in the film…and maybe I’ll find the answer I seek in Paige’s prequels.

Marketing Fails & Immersive Ethics

A few weeks ago, I received an ominous text in the middle of the night:

catharsis-text

Needless to say, I was freaked out. Read the full story on No Proscenium to hear how an immersive marketing scheme backfired big time.

Then head on over to Story Forward, a fantastic podcast I just discovered. Noah J. Nelson of No Pro is on a panel discussing the ethics of immersive experiences. Whether you approach it as an audience member or creator, this is a great listen.

If you’re interested in knowing about immersive productions, escape rooms, etc in your area, here’s where to find NoPro. There’s an expansion to other cities in the works:

Email: no_proscenium@outlook.com (send announcements & tips)
Twitter: @noproscenium (look for between issue updates) 
Facebook: No Proscenium Page (Issue Archives for All Regions)
Medium: The No Proscenium Collection (Reviews and Essays)
Podcast: iTunes and RSS 
Patreon: Support the Newsletter and Podcast
New subscriber sign-up: noproscenium.com

Cover Reveal for new YA Fantasy, THE MEDDLERS OF MOONSHINE

 

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00003]
Cover art by Cary Vandever

I got a little peek at the cover for a new YA Fantasy, The Meddlers of Moonshine by A.E. Decker. It’s the second in the Moonlight Mayhem series.

I love the synopsis (below) and description of the series by another author, Susan Sullivan:

“I’d say it’s like Shrek meets The Wizard of Oz if Dorothy were Wednesday Addams and Toto a talking cat with bat wings.”

Sounds very cool. Fairy tale mashups are an obsession of mine and after reading some more of Decker’s work, it sounds like she’s a real find for me! In fact, I would have posted this sooner but I was gobbling up her other stories.

The Meddlers of Moonshine will be available on October 25. Until then, check out the ebook for the first in this series, The Falling of the Moon, available for $0.99 for a limited time.

Here’s the summary:

Something is rotten in the town of Widget, and Rags-n-Bones knows it’s all his fault.

 

Ever since he snitched that avocado from Miss Ascot’s pack, things have been going wrong. Armed with a handful of memories he never realized he had, Rags-n-Bones searches for a way to put right whatever he did to Widget in the past. If only he knew what it was! Unfortunately, the only person who seems to have answers is a half-mad youth that only Rags can see.

Widget is also suffering from a ghost infestation that has the townsfolk almost as spooked of outsiders as they are of actual spooks. While Rags-n-Bones seeks answers in the past, Ascot offers the town leaders her service as an exorcist, only to be handed an ultimatum: banish the ghosts or be banished herself!

Who’s meddling with Widget? To catch the culprit, Ascot and Rags-n-Bones must match wits with a shifty sorcerer, a prissy ex-governess, and a troublingly attractive captain before the town consigns itself to the graveyard of history.

Pre-order:

Ebook
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo
World Weaver Press online store

Trade Paperback
World Weaver Press online

 

Decker Author Photo
More about Decker at Words Meet World. Also, don’t you just love her for her profile picture alone? I do.

A. E. Decker hails from Pennsylvania. A former doll-maker and ESL tutor, she earned a master’s degree in history, where she developed a love of turning old stories upside-down to see what fell out of them. This led in turn to the writing of her YA novel, The Falling of the Moon. A graduate of Odyssey 2011, her short fiction has appeared in such venues as Beneath Ceaseless SkiesFireside Magazine, and in World Weaver Press’s own Specter Spectacular. Like all writers, she is owned by three cats. Come visit her, her cats, and her fur Daleks at wordsmeetworld.com or@MoonfallMayhem.

 

My 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival Picks

I’ve enjoyed attending the Hollywood Fringe Festival since it started, and always searched for more ways to let audiences in on the fun. Now living in a new city, I understand even more how it’s hard to just jump into a Fringe Festival, even if you’re really into it.

These are the shows that I would put on my #HFF16 Dance Card during this first week of previews and through opening, if I were in town. Click the title to find the show on the Fringe website.

Enjoy!

Cindy Marie Jenkins, Founder & Consultant of See It or Skip It LA

From Reputation

Neva  “People are dying of hunger in the streets and you want to put on a play?” I saw this NEVAplay (different production) at CalArts REDCAT in 2011 and was thrilled to see Diana Wyenn directing it now.

Patriot Act is written and performed by Michael Schlitt, whose show Jesus Ride I adored a few years ago at Fringe. He is incredibly sharp, funny and theatrical. I would not miss this if I were in town.

Thug Tunnel by Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party. They had a great show last year and this one doesn’t look like it will disappoint: In the not-so-distant-future, greed, pollution, and The Ancient Fire of Death and Despair have made Earth’s surface uninhabitable, forcing the human race to survive underground in a criminal society known as THUG TUNNEL.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) with an all female cast who are incredibly funny.

Simon Coronel: Alien of Extraordinary Ability. That’s how he’s designated by the U.S. Department of Immigration. An Australian Illusionist who often frequents the Hollywood Fringe, Simon always entertains. Sometimes, he throws his knowledge of Mandarin in there, too.

All the Best Killers are Librarians. I mean, the title. Then I learn it is from Serial Killers, the late night serial competition at Sacred Fools, and I’m hooked.

Bull and Smoke are both by Rogue Machine, who never seem to disappoint with new plays.

 

Just Because I Dig This Kind of Thing

Troy Before I knew it was a Fountain Theatre production (looks like part of a development series), this is a rare instance of the play description gripping me. (It should be noted that I am a Greek geek to the extreme.)

Photojournalist and war correspondent, Arthur Hess, has made his living taking photos of some of the world’s most violent places. But when his eldest daughter is publicly murdered, it is the photo he takes of her corpse that threatens to destroy both his family and his name. Inspired by The Oresteia, TROY is a play about the perplexity of grief in a war that is happening both far away and in our living rooms.  

Fairy Tales Against Humanity Like children’s theatre gone horribly wrong, “Fairy Tales Against Humanity” is a new half-scripted/half-improvised show. This is one of those big Fringe #ChanceIt shows. It could be horrendous but it could be hilarious. I’d probably #DrinkBeforeIt.

Here There Be Dragons: A Journey from Fear to Freedom with Ukrainian Dog and Shredded Cheesedid you read that title? Taking chances on shows like this are why Fringe Festivals exist, in my opinion.

50 Shades of Shakespeare – Twelfth Night with four actors. It’s been done, but you, the audience, picks who plays who. I’d easily give this show 45 minutes of my life. Learn More at www.lanewcourttheatre.com

Keep up w/ See It or Skip It LA Correspondents’ Picks here

My mini-review on No Proscenium Podcast

Right before I relocated to Florida, Noah Nelson deputized me to check out the immersive theatre scene in Orlando for his newsletter/podcast/medium publication No Proscenium.

I started by seeing The Republic, an ambitious and popular immersive experience. Although I saw it during its last weekend, their website says it will return in 2016.

When they do, I hope they’ll take some of my experience into account. Hear a bit of it at this No Proscenium podcast, and read the full review on medium.

The Republic: Turn the Page, Dead End

Artists Watch List: Jaeger Christian

I saw this phrase a lot: “Part of what I love about Fringe…..” and one of the parts is watching how artists develop over the years. I like to follow different creators in between Fringe as well, but many only produce for Fringe.

Jaeger Christian is the biggest winner in this category. I was so excited by the idea of his 2014 piece (a new musical about PTSD) that seeing it was very disappointing. He needed a co-writer, a dramaturg, a director…..but something about his heart, his sincerity in the pre-show speech made me pause. It went beyond someone who believes in his work. It didn’t, however, save the show.

So this year I noticed he has two solo shows, The Board and The Backpack. I only saw that The Board existed because it happened to fit into my schedule one night. He went from a new musical to two monologues, still related to the service. I felt that he got the right feedback last year or instinctively knew to return to basics, especially for a Fringe Festival. Focus on the story. He clearly has a lot to say (without being didactic) on the military and I appreciate how he chose to express it this year.

With The Board, he says if you’re into TV shows like “Law & Order,” “Homeland” and “The Shield,” then you’ll like this play. I only know the first one, but he seems right on the money. Sarah Hollis tells the audience her story, who act as her jury. Clearly she’s in trouble for something, but all the whys and wherefores and intricacies aren’t untangled until near the end. Even then, her fate isn’t revealed.

I personally would have preferred it without the marriage story, but it did play into the plot. Overall, the story was completely compelling and I listened to every single word she said on that stage.

The main point here is that if I hadn’t seen the artist at his pre-show speech for last year’s musical, felt something tug at me through his personality and choice of material, then seen that his latest offering fit into my schedule, I wouldn’t have given him another chance. And all those things couldn’t have happened in another space except a Fringe Festival.

Jaeger Christian is now on my Artists Watch List.

I gave this show a #SeeItLA rating. Find more shows on SeeItorSkipItLA.com .

#SeeItorSkipItLA at Hollywood Fringe

See It or Skip It LA is a way to introduce you to the Hollywood Fringe Festival (and other cool art around LA).

Want suggestions for shows to see? Check lists below and listen to podcasts for details.

 #SeeItLA list here – #ChanceItLA list here – #SkipItLA list here

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#ChanceItLA – our Picks for Hollywood Fringe Festival 2015

#SeeItorSkipItLA
Coverage of 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival
Hosted by Cindy Marie Jenkins ( @cindymariej ) as part of @SeeItorSkipItLA

More info at http://www.seeitorskiptitla.com &
http://cindymariejenkins.com/see-it-or-skip-it-la/

Correspondent Guests:
Sara Fenton (@Fentonova)
Lemuel H. Thornton III (@Lemwerks)
Madeline Rosenstein (@mfrosens)

Shows to #ChanceItLA (click on title for websites):

ALL AGREE:

Four Clowns Presents The Halfwits’ Last Hurrah

LEM

*Jason and Medea

*Getting to Know You

*Hamlet Mobile

 

SARA

*Tiananmen Annie

*The Three Musketeerers: Clowns with Swords

*Skanky Me from Kankakee

MADELINE

*The Blacks a Clown Show (Cindy note: in their Fringe profile page, they claim to be “remounting America’s longest running off-Broadway play”. I think they mean “revive,” not “remount,” as the original off-Broadway production opened in 1961 and this company didn’t produce it. This may have no bearing on their ability to produce a fine piece of art, but a mistake like that does make me hesitate and I personally won’t be prioritizing it. I saw this on their page after we recorded the podcast.)

*5 Sirens Beware of Rocks

*The Devil You Say

*HollywoodFringe.org/free

 

Cindy

*The Voyage of Odysseus

*The Snail

*Romeo & Juliet: An ASL Love Story

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Why Water Falls

50 Shades of Shrew

Marry me a Little (Cindy note – Probably only interesting for Sondheim lovers)

It’s the Prom 

Two Girls, One Bard 

8:03 

Wombat Man

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

Timeheart by Robot Teammate & Accidental Party

Alien vs Musical

Catherine: Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey in Today’s LA 


Other Correspondents:
Kat Michels (@fictionoftruth)
Courtney Ann Buchan (@CourtneyABuchan)

Sponsored by Theatre Asylum (@TheatreAsylum)

Shakespeare Adaptations – a Pirate Podcast

I noticed quite a few new Shakespeare adaptations that went far beyond the typical change of setting. After

Their pose is way more refined than their conversation.
Their pose is way more refined than their conversation.

seeing even more pop up in this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival, I invited some artists to discuss the hows, whys and challenges of adapting The Bard.

 

Shakespeare Adaptations on Stage & Screen

Hosted by Cindy Marie Jenkins

A Pirate Podcast (down and dirty) as part of @SeeItorSkipItLA

 

Guests:

“The Hamlet Project’ by Loose Canon Collective LA

Randolph Thompson & Paul Culuo

 

“Titus and Dronicus” by Better Than Shakespeare

Megan Kelly & Madhuri Shekar

 

“Two Girls, One Bard” by The Illyrian Players

Carly Weckstein

 

Sponsored by Theatre Asylum

Produced by Lemuel H. Thornton III

 

Writers from Wonder Con 2015

I had a very limited budget for WonderCon this year (as in, gas and food), and in a way, that caused me to spend more time looking at the art and not just at stuff to buy.

Here is part 1 of my WonderCon adventures: the writers who I want to read soon (* designates for children as well).

If I found them on Twitter, I added to a List: Artists I Really Dig

Each title links to their main website.

 

Llyn Hunter’s Place (Bobcat Publishing)

*specifically for A Little Book of Monsters and A Little Book of Magical Beings

 

IMG_20150405_115755
I liked the artist so much, that I took a photo of her postcard to ensure I didn’t lose it.

M.F.K Comic by* Nilah Magruder

In the country of Rojardin, super-powered psychics are given a choice:

  • Use their powers to serve the government,
  • Become lawless rogues, or
  • Renounce their abilities and live as normal citizens.

Abbie is trying to do the latter, she’s not exactly subtle.

 

*Under the Cottonwood Tree: El Susto de la Curandera

A New Mexican folktale graphic novel

 

Knightingail a fantasy-adventure comic book

 

*Monster Elementary

an all ages, comedy adventure graphic novel

When the FBI closes Desmodus, Lukos, Francesca, Rags and Gilda’s monsters-only school, they are forced by their parents to attend a public school to continue their education.  Now, they must try to fool their classmates and faculty all while navigating the horrors of growing up!

 

Sombulus by C. Major

humorous fantasy adventure in the spirit of Discworld and style of a shounen manga

Sombulus banner

 

*Little Vampires by Rebecca Hicks

Adorable webcomic

Zombie Ranch by Dawn Wolf & Clint Wolf

A Tale of a Weird New West; webcomic that updates every Wednesday

Dream Walker by Jenni Gregory

IMG_20150405_114539
They ran out of cards by Sunday, so I only got a photo: Karen Brinson is a dreamwalker, moving effortlessly through the dreamscapes of family, friends, and even total strangers. No secret is safe, no subconscious thought can be hidden from her. (Click photo for link)

Relevance & Empathy: Ligature Marks at Theatre Unleashed

I always consider my experience with art in terms of Relevance & Empathy, two words that are thrown around culture but rarely examined in detail.

“I feel like you had to be there.”

That is how my husband describes his non-emotional reaction to Andy Warhol. He understands Warhol’s place in art history and why he was revolutionary at the time, but he doesn’t feel anything when faced with Campbell’s Soup paintings.

That’s my reaction to a lot of classical plays, and even recent writers like Stoppard and Sam Shepard. I appreciate and enjoy them; often my brain is stimulated. I just rarely feel much that applies to my life at that very moment, or my future. (There are a handful of exceptions, as always, but I can only think of one, and it’s a film.)

New plays, especially ones that are set in an apartment, often miss the mark with me as well.

I want to be rattled by a play. I want to leave thinking about my life, my neighbor’s life, my cousin in Boston’s life, my son’s life, my boss’s life…..in a new play or adaptation, I want to leave with a perspective I did not have before entering the theater. I want to think more deeply about people and the world and how we all affect each other. I want to spend an evening in a way that directly affects my decision making in the future. Not that there’s anything wrong with a good old escapist comedy or anything; I like those too. I personally don’t see them as often.

With the very recent exception of E.M. Lewis’s The Gun Show, I haven’t felt simultaneously thrilled, revolted, and moved in…..years?

Mac Rogers did that to me. Twice already in 2015.

First with Viral at the Bootleg Theater/Moving Arts and then Ligature Marks, his 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival piece now playing (with new cast and director) at Theatre Unleashed.

It’s hard to discuss it without giving away the very parts of his storytelling which made me go “Oh holy shit, this is NOT what I expected.”Ligature Marks

It left me as fucked up and oddly resolved as the characters in the play felt (otherwise known as empathy).

It gave me insight into a trope I typically despise: dependent relationships, especially when the female looks to be the more dependent one.

Since VIRAL last month, it made me want a different local theater to produce a different Mac Rogers play every single month so I can get my relevance and empathy fix. I would even buy a subscription to it.

I’d say that’s a win.

http://www.theatreunleashed.org for tickets and more information.

 

REDCAT and KPCC’s The Frame present: Hearing Latino voices in contemporary culture

I’ll be live tweeting this talk and can take questions via @cindymariej .

REDCAT and KPCC’s The Frame present: Hearing Latino voices in contemporary culture

Tuesday, March 3, 8:30 – 10:00pm
Location
  • REDCAT
  • 631 West 2nd Street
  • Los Angeles, CA 90012
LACMA symmetry

Diana Lee/flickr via Creative Commons

The LACMA itself is a work of art

Buy tickets now

Even as Latino communities have long been essential parts of our society and culture, it seems that only recently national marketers and political pollsters have noticed that one-sixth of the U.S. population is of Latino or Hispanic heritage. Or that the United States is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, trailing only Mexico.

This is 
old news in California, where Latinos constitute nearly 40 percent, and yet the demographic group remains vastly underrepresented in many sectors—including arts and culture institutions. Why
 is this the case and what can be done about it?

These questions are considered by a distinguished panel of artists and cultural leaders that includes filmmaker Rodrigo García (Albert Nobbs,
 Nine Lives), LACMA Associate Curator Rita Gonzalez (Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement), writer Jeff Chang (Who We Be: The Colorization of America), Center Theatre Group Associate Artistic Director Diane Rodriguez, and will be moderated by CalArts President Steven D. Lavine. 

My History with Half Lives

Follow along with me tomorrow night as I see the opening night of Half LifeI’m always interested in what REDCAT offers, but this story hits close to my creative home. From their press release:

Weaving together narrative and abstract modes of storytelling, Half Life explores the psychological fallout of global disaster, and how it affects our emotions and imaginations. It’s story centers around two women who literally and figuratively live on opposite sides of the world. When an unknown cataclysmic force disrupts both of their lives, each is compelled to embark on a journey to locate its source.

I have a history with shows about nuclear fallout. From 2004-2011, much of my life was consumed by one project, Voices From Chornobyl. During those years, it had been presented in both the US and the UK to raise money and awareness of the nuclear accident (inspired by Svetlana Alexievich‘s interviews). Its companion piece Voices From Chornobyl Jr. premiered and won Best of 2011 Fringe.

I found the experience both fascinating and frustrating, to bring ‘awareness’ to a time in history when the Ukrainian people’s lives changed forever, and so few of us had any clue (so few of them, for that matter). I stuck with the project because of my complete ignorance before reading Alexievich’s book. Then in 2011 at the 25th anniversary events, Fukushima happened and it seemed almost too immediate, too relevant for our times. I scheduled talkbacks to explain the difference between the two accidents and fallout, so we could feel the impact of Chernobyl but not make our audiences run out and buy iodine.

So I’m interested to see how this project attacks its subject.

All the info is below. Follow my experience on twitter, Facebook & instagram

REDCAT Presents the World Premiere of
Half Life
The newest work from Los Angeles Multimedia Collective
Cloud Eye Control

Thursday, January 15, 2015 to Sunday, January 18, 2015

NOTE: They sold out the entire weekend and so added a Saturday matinee at 4 p.m. on January 17th.


Photo Courtesy the Artist.

(Los Angeles, CA) — REDCAT, CalArts’ Downtown Center for Contemporary Arts, presents the World Premiere of Half Life, the newest work by Los Angeles multimedia ensemble Cloud Eye ControlThursday, January 15 to Sunday, January 18, 2015.

Cloud Eye Control was formed in 2006 by the Los Angeles based trio of animator and media artist Miwa Matreyek; composer, writer, and performer Anna Oxygen (Anna Huff); and theater director Chi-wang Yang, all known internationally for their stunning work individually and as a multimedia collective.

A deeply expressive lamentation of fierce urgency, the latest multimedia production from Cloud Eye Control is an imagistic, visceral work inspired by the nervous fear felt in the wake the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. It features Cloud Eye Control’s signature hybrid performance style that mixes projected animation, live performance, and a live soundtrack of original electronic music.

Cloud Eye Control transforms the stage into an imaginative landscape with several customized, moveable screens full of lush animations where live actors interact in the layered space to create imaginative and odd encounters between the virtual and the physical. The original score, sung by the performers with a live band, brings a rock concert dynamism to the moody and atmospheric world.

Cloud Eye Control’s Half Life is part of a continued supportive relationship with REDCAT. Cloud Eye Control’sUnder Polaris, anepic journey across a vast arctic expanse was co-commissioned and premiered by REDCAT in 2009. The piece went on to tour nationally and internationally, to Chile and France, and helped establish Cloud Eye Control as “transcendently spectacular theater” – Los Angeles Times.

In 2014 REDCAT presented Cloud Eye Control member Miwa Matreyek’s magical, visually rich fusion of intricate video animation and solo performance to sold out audiences that were left spellbound.

More on Cloud Eye Control can be found at their website, http://cloudeyecontrol.com

Artist bios:

Miwa Matreyek is an internationally recognized animator, designer, and multimedia artist based in Los Angeles. She creates animated short films as well as live works that integrate animation, performance, and video installation. Arriving to animation from a background in collage, her work explores how animation transforms when it is combined with body, both physically in her performance pieces, as well as a composited video element in her short films. Her work has been shown internationally at animation/film festivals, theater festivals, performance festivals, as well as art galleries, science museums, tech conferences, universities, and more.http://www.semihemisphere.com

Anna Oxygen is the stage name of multi-media artist, composer and performer Anna Huff. She has extensively toured Europe and the United States performing musical and interactive performance pieces. She has released several albums of electronic and acoustic music, most recently This is an Exercise on indie label Kill Rock Stars. Her performance and video work has been presented at PS1 MOMA Contemporary, The Seattle Art Museum, LACMA (LA), NYU, The Armory Center for the Arts (Pasadena), The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and the Rohsska Museet in Gothenburg, Sweden among others. http://www.annaoxygen.com

Chi-wang Yang is a Los Angeles-based director of theater and performance. Whether in the form of plays, operas, concerts or installation; his work is physical, experimental, and collaborative. He is committed to expanding notions of identity and theatrical form and to exploring the unstable intersections of body, narrative and technology. His work has been presented at theaters and galleries internationally, including REDCAT, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Havana International Film Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe. Recent directorial projects include They Are Dying Out, by Peter Handke, and The Closest Farthest Away/La Entrañable Lejanía, a groundbreaking international collaboration between American and Cuban artists.http://mysteriously.org

“Magical…unlike anything you’ve seen before… transcendently spectacular theater” —Los Angeles Times

Cloud Eye Control: Half Life

Thursday, January 15–Saturday, January 17, 8:30 p.m. and
Sunday, January 18, 3:00p.m.

NOTE: They sold out the entire weekend and so added a Saturday matinee at 4 p.m. on January 17th.

Tickets: $16-$25
Location: REDCAT | 631 West 2nd St. Los Angeles, CA 90012

For more information call the REDCAT Box Office at 213-237-2800
Or visit: http://www.redcat.org/event/cloud-eye-control-half-life

Half Life is produced with Los Angeles Performance Practice, and was made possible in part by a creative residency with the CalArts Center for New Performance.

Half Life is funded in part by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project with lead funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the LEF Foundation; and The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital, primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

New England Foundation for the Arts

Indie Art: Not Your Undergrad Production of “The Maids”

A friend of mine’s been working on her own adaptation of The Papin Sisters story, better known as the sisters in Jean Genet’s The Maids who [spoiler alert] end up killing their mistress.

But this looks to be an entirely different production…….I’ve seen Naomi’s past work, and admire her imagination, story-telling and ensemble work. As an added bonus, all the ticket sales go directly to her actors and team, some of whom have been workingon this show since January.

Here’s a taste:

Our New (Acro)Door from Diavolo: Architecture in Motion

As you may have notice in our pictures and videos over the last couple days, we have a new door!  But not just any door, this one comes to us courtesy ofDiavolo: Architecture in Motion and is fully equipped to handle the acrobatics and high-flying skills of our ensemble!

though some people still tend to doze off on from time to time…

But in the end, we just end up hanging out.

All in all, our ensemble and production team have been working tirelessly to get ready for our opening night.  So, if you are in the L.A. area, and haven’t got your tickets yet – seating is very limited!

Tickets are available here: http://holdmetight.bpt.me

And if you have a moment to help spread the word, shares, tweets, and emails are greatly appreciated as we push through the last couple days of our fundraiser.Cheers!

Hold Me Tight ensemble

Visit the ‘‘Hold Me Tight’ an MFA Thesis Project’ campaign.

How do Diana, Jessica & Steven Make it Work as a Work-At-Home-Parent?

I put out the call for Work-at-Home-Parents, and seven wonderful people answered! They represent a variety of careers, their children are all different ages, and Thursday’s Round Table is sure to be lively and helpful.

Here is an introduction to our guests, two by two. Read about Lisa & Róisín here , Deepti & Tish here.

Diana Kohne KennyDiana Kohne Kenny

is a visual artist who shows new work several times a year, a mom with an active toddler, and in between runs Art Cricket LA, a new business that connects people to local art.

 

 

Jessica Ires MorrisJessica Ires Morris

tries to fit acting, raising a one year old and working remotely for a financial consulting firm into her life and her home. Each area benefits and suffers from the others.

 

siw450x450Steven Wasserman 

has worked on numerous independent productions as director, producer, cinematographer, editor and writer. His work has been featured in numerous international film festivals and broadcast nationally on cable television, and CEO of Hachitan Entertainment, specializing in Creative Production of Film & Video content for broadcast, marketing and entertainment.

 

Moderated by Cindy Marie Jenkins, Storyteller and Outreach Nerd, Communications Director@24thST Theatre. A workaholic () who loves being a new mother  . What could go wrong? Adventures of Lil’ Pirate Dude chronicled @parentingnerd.

If you are a work-at-home-parent, considering it, or as an employer want to keep your hiring options open, please join us!

Making Life Work as a Work-at-Home Parent

Thursday, Sept. 25 (1-2:30pm)

At 24th ST Theatre, 1117 W. 24th ST, LA 90007 (corner of Hoover & 24th ST) Map.

Join the Facebook event for updates.

Deepti & Tish Make it Work as a Work-At-Home-Parent

I put out the call for Work-at-Home-Parents, and seven wonderful people answered! They represent a variety of careers, their children are all different ages, and Thursday’s Round Table is sure to be lively and helpful.

Here is an introduction to our guests, two by two. Read about Lisa & Róisín here.

Deepti GuptaDeepti Gupta

an actress, voice over artist and producer, recorded her first audiobook when 7 months pregnant, in a make-shift booth of blankets and towels, in the hot month of June. Now, a mom of a toddler, she’s recording audiobooks from her professional booth at home and learning to strike the balance with work and family on a daily basis. www.deeptigupta.com

Watch the trailer for her film Happy and You Know It.

TRAILER – Happy and You Know It from Hamari Films on Vimeo.

Tish HicksTish Hicks 

is an LA Voiceover veteran who runs The V.O. Dojo, a training, networking and resource center connecting voiceover actors of all levels.

The V.O. Dojo is a training, networking, and resource center connecting voiceover actors of all levels, from those with an initial spark of interest to seasoned V.O. professionals.

Inspired by the discipline of martial arts and the fun and playfulness of improv, The V.O. Dojo encourages voiceover artists to approach their craft fearlessly and with the wisdom of a warrior.

If you are a work-at-home-parent, considering it, or as an employer want to keep your hiring options open, please join us!

Making Life Work as a Work-at-Home Parent

Thursday, Sept. 25 (1-2:30pm)

At 24th ST Theatre, 1117 W. 24th ST, LA 90007 (corner of Hoover & 24th ST) MapMore Info.

Join the Facebook event for updates.

Lisa & Róisín Make it Work as a Work-At-Home-Parent

I put out the call for Work-at-Home-Parents, and seven wonderful people answered! They represent a variety of careers, their children are all different ages, and Thursday’s Round Table is sure to be lively and helpful.

Here is an introduction to our guests, two by two. Info on the free event is below.

Lisa Cassandra
Lisa Cassandra

Lisa Cassandra  is an actor, grant writer/development consultant, and copy editor, as well as an entrepreneur with her own health and wellness business. She also conceived and directed the children’s short documentary film, The Jackson Pollock Project. She does all this as a single mom around a teenage daughter and son. Mostly she’s exhausted.

Roisin Ching
Róisín Ching

Róisín Ching is a Speech Language Pathologist, parent educator, and co-owner of Echo Speech Therapy. She and her 14-month-old son are currently cataloging the hiding places of all the cats on their block.

If you are a work-at-home-parent, considering it, or as an employer want to keep your hiring options open, please join us!

Making Life Work as a Work-at-Home Parent

Thursday, Sept. 25 (1-2:30pm)

At 24th ST Theatre, 1117 W. 24th ST, LA 90007 (corner of Hoover & 24th ST) Map. More Info.

Join the Facebook event for updates.

Email cindy@24thstreet.org to RSVP.

Event: Making Life Work as a Work-at-Home Parent

If you are a work-at-home-parent, considering it, or as an employer want to keep your hiring options open, please join us!

Making Life Work as a Work-at-Home Parent

Thursday, Sept. 25 (1-2:30pm)

At 24th ST Theatre, 1117 W. 24th ST, LA 90007 (corner of Hoover & 24th ST) Map.

Join the Facebook event for updates.

We are everywhere now: the Work-At-Home Mom or Dad. Technology has created room for working remotely unheard of just a decade ago. It may seem ideal, but really just creates its own unique challenges. Round-table with guests will include questions and comments from all attendees as well.

Use #WAHParent to join the conversation from home. And yes, children welcome!

*How can you transition from freelance/office hours to working around a child’s schedule?
*How to communicate client expectations without making excuses?
*How to create an office area flexible enough to also balance parenting activities?
*Where to find local activities that allow you to relax or work without your child, and ones that give you the time to focus on them away from work? (Also a handout)
*How to address breastfeeding during meetings
*Should your small budget go towards a babysitter or assistant?
*All this, and quality time with your partner, too?

Round table Guests include:

Lisa Cassandra  is an actor, grant writer/development consultant, and copy editor, as well as an entrepreneur with her own health and wellness business. She also conceived and directed the children’s short documentary film, The Jackson Pollock Project. She does all this as a single mom around a teenage daughter and son. Mostly she’s exhausted.

Róisín  Ching is a Speech Language Pathologist, parent educator, and co-owner of Echo Speech Therapy. She and her 14-month-old son are currently cataloging the hiding places of all the cats on their block.

Deepti Gupta  an actress, voice over artist and producer, recorded her first audiobook when 7 months pregnant, in a make-shift booth of blankets and towels, in the hot month of June. Now, a mom of a toddler, she’s recording audiobooks from her professional booth at home and learning to strike the balance with work and family on a daily basis. www.deeptigupta.com

Tish Hicks is an LA Voiceover veteran who runs The V.O. Dojo, a training, networking and resource center connecting voiceover actors of all levels

Diana Kohne Kenny is a visual artist who shows new work several times a year, a mom with an active toddler, and in between runs Art Cricket LA, a new business that connects people to local art.

Jessica Ires Morris tries to fit acting, raising a one year old and working remotely for a financial consulting firm into her life and her home. Each area benefits and suffers from the others.

Steven Wasserman has worked on numerous independent productions as director, producer, cinematographer, editor and writer. His work has been featured in numerous international film festivals and broadcast nationally on cable television, and CEO of Hachitan Entertainment, specializing in Creative Production of Film & Video content for broadcast, marketing and entertainment.

Moderated by Cindy Marie Jenkins, Storyteller and Outreach Nerd, Communications Director @24thST Theatre. A workaholic () who loves being a new mother  . What could go wrong? Adventures of Lil’ Pirate Dude chronicled @parentingnerd.

RSVP by emailing cindy@24thstreet.org

Sponsored & Hosted by 24th ST Theatre24th st

Catch up with Comic-Con

If you’re like me, the idea of SDCC sounds like fun, but researching the realities – never mind the first hurdle of getting a ticket – makes it clear that the trouble isn’t worth it (to me). I enjoy smaller Cons, but I’ll leave SDCC to the pros. They’re the only ones who can get in, anyway. At least that’s how it feels. My friend and go-to for comics questions Corey Blake has an entirely different experience, however.

do want to keep up with it, though. So here’s a smattering of my favorite write-ups from last week:

Pop Goes Teresa at Comic-Con on Beacon – Teresa writes mostly about the experience of attending, the highs and lows and swag. She combines industry knowledge with unabashed fandom when applcable.

Pike and Trident: Social Analysis of Comic-Con – Anyone who blogs real events in character has my attention. Makes those characters Pike and Trident, time-traveling swashbuckling museum curators, and I await their daily logs with vigor. I also find myself genuinely using the word “vigor.”

Hands down my favorite singular segment to come out of last weekend. Dr. Andrea Letamendi Interview: Batman Writer Scott Snyder on Villain Psychology “Monsters can be scary and they’re great, but they’re only really scary when they’re reflections of us and they show you the things you’re scared of might be true about your own nature.”

Next, I’ll find the videos from panels I would attend if I were there.

 

Latino Alliance Now Convening: Navigating Currents in American Theater

Latino Alliance NowThe LTA/LA presents our 2nd Annual Convening: Navigating Currents in American Theater at East Los Angeles College on August 2nd, 2014. Register online at: http://www.ltala.org

We are honored and proud to have Mark Valdez, Executive Director of the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET), deliver this year’s keynote address. NET was created by and for artists to support those who have dedicated their life’s work to creating theater through the ensemble process. Their work is committed to the unique event of the living stage, where the imagination of the artist and audience is linked in social communion and mutual creativity.

We have designed four afternoon break-out sessions to discuss specific themes/areas based on survey results from last year’s attendees, which include LGBTQ Performance, Spanish Language Theater, Theater for Young Audiences, and Designing for the Stage. More detailed descriptions on each break-out below:

{LGBTQ | Performance=Activism: Exposing our community to the New Normal}
Is creating work that shares LGBT narratives inherently an act of social activism? Our cross-generational panel will be discussing the role that activism plays in their own work, as well as the challenges that continue to persist when exploring LGBTQ topics, themes, and political issues. Together, we can discuss how we can be allies in support of each other’s work.

{SPANISH LANGUAGE | Teatro en Español… un animal en extincción”? O “Los Olvidados”?}
Join us in a formal collective exploration of the state and potential of Spanish Language Theater in Los Angeles. We’ll examine the past, present, and future viability of producing Spanish-Only and/or Bilingual Theater for such a large and culturally diverse urban audience. We will ask ourselves: Do we really need Teatro en Español? What are the political, social, and cultural implications of awakening our Bilingual “voice”?

{TYA | Telling the Stories that Need Telling}
Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) needs to be at the forefront of conversations around audience and artistic development in the theater. Hear from and mingle with current trendsetters in the Los Angeles TYA scene as we explore strategies on how to redefine the norm for quality family programming that tackles necessary and vital issues on stage. We will wrap-up the session by discussing the key role of TYA in communities and developing future audiences. The session will provide a resource list that includes articles exploring these topics in more depth and links to organizations currently producing TYA across the country.

{DESIGN | Make it Work: Achieving a Synergistic Creative Team}
In the world of theater, one day you’re IN the spotlight and the next day you’re OUT in the wings! In this year’s team challenge, Designers, Directors and Producers will have the opportunity to experience the trials and misconceptions of each other’s roles. You will have 2 hours to create a cohesive and well-articulated concept while considering multiple perspectives and parameters (time, money, resources) without compromising story or vision. It’s time to “make it work” and strut down the catwalk!

The Convening will close with a one time only performance of ¡GAYTINO! written and performed by Dan Guerrero at 5pm. ¡GAYTINO! is a remarkable life journey from 1950s East LA to New York’s Great White Way in the 60s and 70s and back to Hollywood. A gay Chicano moves from the back of the bus to the front of American pop culture in this autobiographical play with music. The solo piece is driven by Dan’s lifelong friendship with the late Chicano artist Carlos Almaraz and by Dan’s father, Chicano music legend, Lalo Guerrero. The 90-minute performance travels through decades of Mexican-American history and the gay experience from a unique and personal perspective. Touching, provocative, hilarious and absolutely one-of-a-kind, Dan Guerrero brings his two fascinating worlds together in a riveting solo show.

**Lunch is on-your-own with many options available nearby at Atlantic Square**
**Coffee and other refreshments will be available throughout the day**

Where:
East Los Angeles College
1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez
Monterey Park, CA, CA 91754
United States

When:
August 2nd, 2014 10am – 6:30pm (Registration/Check-In begins at 9:30am)

How much:
Conference ONLY: $25
¡GAYTINO! ONLY: $25
Conference + ¡GAYTINO!: $40

Register online at: www.LTALA.org

Follow us on Facebook: Latino Theater Alliance/LA

The Latino Theater Alliance/Los Angeles is an ad hoc group of theater artists and professionals led by a steering committee of practitioners based in Los Angeles and Orange County. Our goal is to share our rich culture on a national stage by fostering collaboration and empowering our local artistic communities.