January 29, 2007

q & a

Have you tracked down an expert on your chosen country? Have you set the date? Okay, it's time to prepare for that interview.


Look over all the materials you've collected this month and compile a list of questions for your expert. Have them ready but I encourage you to also ask very open-ended questions that allow for tangential answers - this is how you find the unknown.

Use some of these:

How did you first get interested in the country?
What was your first trip like?
What continues to amaze you?
What do you wish everyone knew about the country?
What would you change about it if you could?
How have your travels there changed you as a person?

11 or 12 questions can usually get you through an hour interview depending on how talkative your subject seems to be. I usually try to prepare 20 questions just in case.

I also suggest that you use a DVR digital voice recorders or tape recorder to capture the interview. You can't possibly write as fast as someone talks and the little details make all the difference when you're starting to create from your raw materials.

January 26, 2007

autism sourcebook

Daily Creator and my dear friend, KSE has had an amazing and miraculous journey with her son who RECOVERED from autism. I strongly encourage you to program your TIVO to hear her speak.

Karen Siff Exkorn, author of The Autism Sourcebook, will appear with her family on ABC’s THE VIEW on Monday 1/29. Join them, meet other families and experts, and see clips from Autism Speaks’ film “Autism Every Day” in a compelling hour-long show on autism.

Tune in to:

The View
Monday January 29, 2007
11:00 AM EST

The Autism Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping and Healing—From a Mother Whose Child Recovered (ReganBoooks/HarperCollins 2005).

The Autism Sourcebook at Amazon
The Autism Sourcebook at Barnes and Noble


January 25, 2007

nyu teaching jobs

The Kanbar Graduate Film Program is seeking to fill several full-time faculty lines for positions to commence in the 2007/2008 academic year.

One position in screen writing is available for the New York campus. Details at:http://filmtv.tisch.nyu.edu/object/gradfilmfacultysearchny.html

Five positions, in a variety of speciality areas, are available for the new Singapore campus. Details at:http://filmtv.tisch.nyu.edu/object/gradfilmfacultysearchsingapore.html

Submission and deadline information is included in the postings.

find an expert

Over the past month, you've gathered lots of pieces related to your chosen country. Now it's time to look those pieces over and talk to an expert about the things you want to know more about.


Find someone who is more of an expert than you about your chosen country. Maybe it's a friend of a friend who has often traveled to that place or maybe you have access to a professor or an artist who specializes in the area.

All you have to do today is find an expert and set up an appointment to chat with them (by phone or in person) before the end of January.

We'll use the next week to prepare for that interview.

teaching jobs for artists

* Dean, Visual and Performing Arts (JC-0473)
Alabama State University (Alabama)
(date posted: 1/22/2007)

* Assistant Professor of Dance
Ball State University (Indiana)
(date posted: 1/22/2007)

* Screenwriting Faculty
Boston University (Massachusetts)
(date posted: 1/22/2007)

* Assistant Professor in Dance
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Minnesota)
(date posted: 1/22/2007)

* Assistant Professor in Directing
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Minnesota)
(date posted: 1/22/2007)

* Dance Instructor
Winona State University (Minnesota)
(date posted: 1/22/2007)

* Assistant Professor of Dance
University of Southern Mississippi (Mississippi)
(date posted: 1/19/2007)

* Assistant Professor/Performing Artist of Double Bass
University of Southern Mississippi (Mississippi)
(date posted: 1/22/2007)

* Faculty and Administrative Positions
Chemeketa Community College (Oregon)
(date posted: 1/22/2007)

* Visiting Artist in Dance, Theater and Dance Department
Ursinus College (Pennsylvania)
(date posted: 1/22/2007)

January 24, 2007

leave your computer

Ah yes, now I remember...we were focusing on a chosen country, becoming a mini-expert on a specific country that has nothing to do with our current work so that we can "fill the well" for those down times between projects when we're not sure what we want to create, write, paint, film or dance.

We've explored the food, mythology and hopefully, by now, you have a resource folder of websites that will come in handy. But today, it's time to get out from behind your computer and go somewhere.


Find a museum, stadium, gallery, theatre, hell, any venue that is featuring the art, music or dance of your chosen country. Track it down and go see a performance or take a look at the art.

Maybe your chosen country has a "town" within your city such as Chinatown or Koreatown or Little Italy. Get in your car or get on the subway and go visit.

Make the effort today to atleast find a physical location near you that relates to your country. Maybe you can't get there today but pick a place and a date and set it in stone.

nyu writers mixer in la

Monday, February 5

Time: 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Location: Cat & Fiddle
6530 Sunset Blvd.
Private RoomV
alet: $4 or street parking
Cash bar. Food available.

RSVP: nyuwriters@yahoo.com
Info: nyuwriters@yahoo.com

Mixer and informational session for TSOA Alumni who might want to join NYU Writers Lab West. WLW is comprised of graduates from the Tisch School of the Arts’ Dramatic Writing Program, Playwright Horizons and Film & TV working as professional playwrights, screenwriters and television writers for the last five to ten years.

WLW sponsors the New TV Writers & Actors Fest at The Friars and we are launching our New Work Series in April. We’re interested in creating a community of writers willing to support and promote one another. All writers active with WLW act as producers and volunteers at all WLW events. Only writers active with WLW will be considered for production in WLW presentations. Opportunities exist to create a workshop series as well as an annual Writers’ Retreat. The activities and programming of WLW are supported by TSOA West.

January 23, 2007

back from sundance

Sorry it's been a little slow the past few days, I've been to Sundance running from warm party to warm party and meeting about a thousand Tisch grads. Encourage you to check out the following films:

DEATH TO THE TINMAN written and directed by Ray Tintori
***Short. How the tinman lost his heart. Shot in black and white, great story, funky and fun take on the Oz mythology, a joy to watch both for its cinematography and its performances. You'll actually laugh and cry - really!

WONDERS ARE MANY directed by Jon Else
***Feature doc. Behind the scenes of the Peter Sellars directed, John Adams composed opera "Dr. Atomic" - an in depth look at Oppenheimer but also, for those of us in the arts, a chance to see Sellars in rehearsal and to better understand how a composer and a director collaborate.

SAVE ME directed by Robert Cary written by Craig Chester, Alan Hines, Robert Desiderio
***Feature drama. A drug addicted cutie (Chad Allen) gets shipped off to Genesis House, a Christian home for gay men who want to "cure their sexual broken-ness", where, of course, he falls in love with the equally hunky Robert Gant. What could have been a stereotypical nightmare of a film is actually quite moving and Judith Light reinvents herself. Worth seeing.

the self

This quote sent by Daily Creator L.P. who always sends me just the right thing at the right moment:

The way we define and delimit the self is arbitrary. We can place it between our ears and have it looking out from our eyes, or we can widen it to include the air we breathe, or at other moments we can cast its boundaries farther to include the oxygen-giving trees and plankton, our external lungs, and beyond them the web of life in which they are sustained.

--Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

January 16, 2007

nyu oscar party in la

Dean Campbell and The TSOA West Alumni Council cordially invite you to join us for our first ever

Oscar Viewing Party
Sunday February 25, 2007
5:00 - 10:00 PM
The Edendale Grill, 2838 Rowena Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90039
Cocktail attire, valet $5.00

Remove the velvet ropes and VIP rooms, and return to the world where weare all colleagues, equals, Alumni. Please join new and distinguished alumni for a viewing of the 79th AcademyAwards on multiple screens at the elegant Edendale Grill in SilverLake.

There will be copious hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, press line, photo ops,and the Networking Yearbook. A full sit-down dinner is also available (see below).

Ticket pricing (100% of net proceeds benefit alumni programming in LosAngeles.)

Single Ticket: $100 ($50 tax-deductible, includes passed hors d’oeuvres and beer & wine)

Pair of Tickets: $175 ($75 tax-deductible, includes passed hors d’oeuvres and beer & wine)

Sit-Down Dinner for One: $175 ($125 tax-deductible, includes general admission, four-course meal and reserved seating for a quiet viewing experience) If desired, you may indicate guests you would like to be seated with, otherwise tables will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

TO RSVP: visit http://www.tisch.nyu.edu/object/oscar_rsvp.html

the artists

We've explored the food, mythology, architecture, health and spirituality of our chosen country thus far. Today, I would like to identify a few of the artists that are currently working or are famous/well known and native to the country.


Do a Google search specifically looking for the well known artists of your chosen country. Try to find artists working not only in your specific area of expertise but also in two or three other mediums. In other words, if you're a writer, try to find a painter and a musician, a ceramicist, a cloth designer, an interior designer or a sculptor.

Then do the same search trying to find the artists that are currently working, the ones that are still in the trenches. Think outside the traditional "in a museum" or "pay to see it" arts. The folk arts, small unheard of theatres, etc.

Try to find 3 established artists and 3 "fringe" artists from your chosen country.

Again, you don't have to become an expert on them...yet. You're just hunting and gathering at this point.


If you're in LA on Feb. 22 - check out Daily Creator R.N. with his band Spearhead:

Michael Franti & Spearhead
@ The Wiltern Theatre
w/ Very Special Guest DJ Chief Boima
Door 7 / Show 8

Will be good to have you back in Cali - R.N.!

There's a full list of tour dates at their site: http://www.spearheadvibrations.com/index.html

poeme electronique

CONGRATS! Daily Creator E.H. wrote in to let us know we can check out his work via an upcoming concert, broadcast and webcast:

Friday, January 19 on www.wkcr.org (WKCR FM 89.9 in New York City) 4:30 EST (3:30 CST) tune in to "Live at Miller Theater" to hear a discussion of my music and especially my new all-acoustic transcription/arrangement for singing chamber orchestra with extra percussion, for the group Alarm Will Sound, of Edgard Varese's seminal 1958 electronic music masterpiece "Poeme Electronique."The live performance of the work will be on Alarm Will Sound's Saturday, Jan. 20 (8 PM) one-of-akind all-Varese concert at Miller Theater of Columbia University.


January 12, 2007

gathering images

Yesterday, you created a resource folder in your Internet Favorites to collect 15 - 20 helpful sites that explore the body, mind and soul of your chosen country's people. Today, I ask you to search for images that will later serve as visual cues to further your work.


Do a Google Image search specifically looking for unique architecture of your chosen country.

(If you've never done an image search, just go to google.com, type in your chosen country phrase such as "Nepal Architecture" or perhaps use a city such as "Kathmandu Architecture" and then click on Images instead of the Search button)

How do the buildings and structures establish a cultural identity? What are the colors, shapes and forms commonly used? How do the buildings reflect their purpose? How do the streets and infrastructure enhance or detract from the aesthetic of the city? Is nature incorporated or denied?

Find 10 - 15 images of the common architectural elements found in your country.

Find 5 images of unusual, elaborate or special buildings found in your chosen country.

writing for tv

Daily Creator E.D. sent this link out via the TSOA LA listserve but I thought all the artists on this site might be interested in reading what the Creator of ABC's IN CASE OF EMERGENCY has to say about "killing your babies" a phrase that is tossed around in TV and Film development like a water balloon. You might catch the darn thing or you might get soaked.

But mostly I included this on our site because he talks about writing for yourself, writing what you want to write WHICH IS THE ONLY PART OF THE BUSINESS WE ACTUALLY CONTROL!

We thank E.D. for bringing this to our attention. The full text of his letter is below and here's the link where you can download the original pilot script: http://abc.go.com/primetime/incaseofemergency/index?pn=pilotscript

Howard J. Morris:

It is said among writers, that one must "kill your babies" when going from your original written script that you cherish to a full production of that script. (The phrase is just a particularly gruesome way of saying that you always cut your favorite scene.) It always happens. And it's always the scene everyone who read the original draft told you was the best scene in the damn thing. The one scene you proclaim to anyone who will listen, "I'LL CUT ANYTHING BUT THAT SCENE!"

And so it was with the scene in the original pilot script between Kelly and Harry's little boy, Dylan, in which the boy uses a simple knock-knock joke to devastate Kelly's sense of herself and causes her to look at her life in a whole new and dramatic way.

Yeah, we had to cut that.

For a variety of reasons -- mostly time, time, and more time. A television comedy these days is not even twenty-two minutes anymore! But to be frank, we didn't really need the scene -- another painful realization. And oh, right, we also switched actors for the little boy when we went to series, so we wanted to limit the first little guy's screen time in the pilot.

But production changes everything. And it's often for the better -- especially when you have brilliant collaborators as I did on this pilot and do on the series. We couldn't shoot the original ending of Harry sitting on the stoop, gas-lighting Maureen when accused of stealing her lithium. So during shooting we came up with a better ending that involved all of the main characters. Yes, in cutting and sharpening the script some things are lost, but most things got better. And I wouldn't say it if it wasn't true. I have a reputation for loving my original drafts. In fact, some writer friends named my fantasy football team, "The Original Drafts".

And as that team faded, so do the painful memories of everything you couldn't put in the show. I am forever indebted to Emile Levisetti and Jon Favreau for helping me cut it down and telling me when something wasn't working -- "even though it's funny, Howard."

But the original draft of In Case Of Emergency will always be precious to me, not so much for my own words, but for what it meant to finally take back some control of my career and what I wanted to write -- never once concerning myself with what "they'll" like, and trying to hit that ever elusive moving target. I wrote the script on spec at a time when I needed to write something that I believed in and could relate to. I wanted to write about the people in my head. And what it's like to feel desperate and alone when you're approaching forty and everything's a mess. And I wanted it to be funny. And I didn't want it to be about a forensic pathologist. Or a cop. Or a forensic pathologist cop. Good god, who knew Quincy was so ahead of his time?

more grants

** American Music Center Accepting Applications for Aaron Copland Fund for Music Performing Ensembles Program

**Franklin Furnace Offers Funding for Performance and Live Art on the Internet

**Getty Foundation Offers Support for Multicultural Summer Internships at Los Angeles-area Museums and Visual Arts Organizations

**Northland Foundation and Valspar Foundation Offer Paint Grants to Brighten Communities in Northeastern Minnesota

American Music Center Accepting Applications for Aaron Copland Fund for Music Performing Ensembles Program
Deadline: June 30, 2007

Administered by the American Music Center ( http://www.amc.net/ ), the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Performing Ensembles Program is designed to support performing organizations whose artistic excellence encourages and improves public knowledge and appre- ciation of serious contemporary American music. Funds are available for general operating support or project support to professional performing ensembles with a history of substantial commitment to contemporary American music and with plans to continue that commitment.

Applicants must meet the following requirements: have nonprofit, tax-exempt status; have a performance history of at least two years at the time of application; be able to show that at least 20 percent of their programming (in terms of duration) for the preceding two seasons consists of contemporary American music; and have a demonstrated commitment to contemporary American music. It is advised that organizations whose primary mission does not include the performance of new American music apply only for project support. Individuals, student ensembles, festivals, and presenters without a core ensemble are not eligible. Grants will not be made for the purpose of commissioning composers. In general, grants will range from $1,000 to $20,000 each.

Visit the American Music Center Web site for complete program information and application guidelines. RFP Link: http://fconline.fdncenter.org/pnd/10005855/amc

Franklin Furnace Offers Funding for Performance and Live Art on the Internet
Deadline: April 1, 2007

New York City-based Franklin Furnace ( http://www.franklinfurnace.org/), whose mission is "to make the world safe for avant-garde art," annually awards grants in two categories. The Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art supports emerging performance artists, allowing them to produce major works in New York. The Future of the Present funds the creation of live art that engages the Internet as an art medium and/or venue. Grants from either fund range between $2,000 and $5,000 each. Artists from all areas of the world are encouraged to apply, and applications will automatically be considered for both categories.

Visit the Franklin Furnace Web site for complete application guidelines and details on past grant recipients. RFP Link: http://fconline.fdncenter.org/pnd/10005856/franklinfurnace

Getty Foundation Offers Support for Multicultural Summer Internships at Los Angeles-area Museums and Visual Arts Organizations
Deadline: February 1, 2007

In order to increase diversity in the professions related to museums and the visual arts, and to provide support for local organizations, the Getty Foundation ( http://getty.edu/foundation/ ) offers funding to Los Angeles-area museums and visual arts organizations for multicultural undergraduate internships during summer 2007. The internships are intended specifically for outstanding students who are members of groups currently under-represented in these professions: individuals of African American, Asian, Latino/Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander descent. Museums of all types and nonprofit visual arts organizations of any size that are located in Los Angeles County are eligible to apply for these internship grants. Applicants must have nonprofit 501(c)(3) status.

Museums and visual arts organizations in Los Angeles County may request support for one to three full-time internship positions, each with a salary of $3,500, for a consecutive ten-week period between June and August 2007. In addition to the salaries, organizations will receive $500 per internship to assist with administrative costs. Internships should be designed to offer eligible students exper- ience in key areas such as curatorship, conservation, education, publications, and related programmatic activities. Larger museums are encouraged to request at least one internship in a curatorial or conservation department. In order to ensure the best educational experience for the intern, applicant organizations must have at least one full-time staff member. Organizations receiving grants will be responsible for recruiting eligible interns. To assist them in this process, the Getty Foundation will disseminate information about positions available through its Web site and mailings to local colleges and universities.

Eligibility for the internships will be limited to currently enrolled undergraduates who either reside or attend college in Los Angeles County. Candidates can be sought from all areas of undergraduate study and are not required to have demonstrated a previous commitment to the visual arts. Updated guidelines and the online application form will be available on the Getty Foundation site in early January 2007. RFP Link: http://fconline.fdncenter.org/pnd/10005857/getty

Northland Foundation and Valspar Foundation Offer Paint Grants to Brighten Communities in Northeastern Minnesota
Deadline: March 1, 2007

The Duluth, Minnesota-based Northland Foundation ( http://www.northlandfdn.org/ ) is partnering once again with the Minneapolis-based Valspar Foundation to provide free paint and coatings for community restoration or beautification pro- jects. This grant opportunity is available to communities and nonprofit organizations throughout northeastern Minnesota. The Northland and Valspar foundations will select eight to ten projects to receive coatings based on their visual impact, pub- lic benefit, volunteer participation and support, intended use, and benefit to the needy. Projects that may qualify for a grant include historic buildings, senior citizen centers, community centers, public buildings, murals, or other visual impact projects. Projects that do not qualify include churches, city maintenance, privately owned facilities, and/or schools (with the exception of mural projects).

Program information and applications are available at the North- land Foundation Web site. RFP Link: http://fconline.fdncenter.org/pnd/10005861/northlandfdn

January 11, 2007

gathering and collecting

During my mini-exploration of the body, mind, soul and spirit of the Nepalese people, it became clear that Ayurveda was something I need to know more about in order to more accurately write about my chosen country. Basically, Ayurveda is considered to be part of the cultural and scientific heritage of the country. Clearly, I need to know more about it if I ever want to set a play, screenplay or book in Nepal.


In the past couple of days, you've been gathering bits and pieces of information about the people of your chosen country. Was there one belief, one concept, one practice, one word that seemed to keep showing up? Is there something that seems to be the fabric holding the country together? Something that is the soul of its people?

Take today and gather as many websites as possible about that topic. You don't have to read them fully yet, you just have to find 15 - 20 helpful sites that will come in handy in the future. Create a new folder in your Favorites and add those sites to the folder.

This is your resource folder - you are gathering the pieces you will need later.

teaching jobs for artists

* Multiple Positions Savannah College of Art and Design (Georgia) (date posted: 1/8/2007) http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000486104-01&pg=e

* Full-time Faculty and Professional Positions Cape Cod Community College (Massachusetts) (date posted: 1/8/2007) http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000490944-01&pg=e

* Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Minnesota State University at Moorhead (Minnesota) (date posted: 1/5/2007) http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000490459-01&pg=e

* Lecturer (Director of Educational Theatre Program) City College of City University of New York (New York) (date posted: 1/10/2007) http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000491428-01&pg=e

* Multiple, Full-time Faculty Positions for Fall 2007 St. Bonaventure University (New York) (date posted: 1/8/2007) http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000489616-01&pg=e

* Theater: Acting and Voice/Speech Training St. Edward's University (Texas) (date posted: 1/10/2007) http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000490710-01&pg=e

* Dean, College of Fine Arts Stephen F. Austin State University (Texas) (date posted: 1/9/2007) http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000491243-01&pg=e

* Teaching Faculty Vacancies for 2007-2008 Northern Virginia Community College (Virginia) (date posted: 1/8/2007) http://chronicle.com/jobs/id.php?id=0000490257-01&pg=e

January 09, 2007

not just the body

Hopefully you have had a traditional meal from your chosen country by now. If not, promise yourself that this weekend, you will atleast go to a grocery store and check out the supplies. Start incorporating elements of their cuisine into your diet as you wish.

But let's also move beyond the tummy and explore the soul, spirit and mind of your chosen country's people. How do they take care of themselves, physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally? Are they in therapy or do they pray? Do they have to join a gym to exercise or is manual labor the mainstay of their population? Do most attend colleges or join a monastery? Are public displays of affection banned or encouraged?


Explore the body, mind, soul and spirit of the people who live in your chosen country by researching these aspects:

Health & Wellness: medicines, folk remedies, doctors, hospitals, healing alternatives

Spirituality: beliefs, practices, holidays, astrology, indigenous versus imported religions

Education: colleges, grade schools, what kids are taught, jobs available

Remember - you're not getting your PhD here - you're really just quickly reading through things to find images, ideas or concepts that catch your attention. Don't turn this into a book report. You are looking for inspiration. A broad overview.

If something catches your eye, you can always come back to it.

durfee grant LA

Grant First Quarter
Postmark Deadline is Tuesday, February 6, 2007.

ARC grants provide rapid, short-term assistance of up to $3,500 to individual artists who live in Los Angeles County. Funds must be used to enhance work that is near completion and scheduled for presentation between March 20, 2007 and August 9, 2007. Artists in any discipline may apply. Applicants must have a secure invitation from an established organization to present their work.

There are four grant cycles per year. Please note that the materials have been changed from previous cycles. The maximum grant award has increased to $3,500.

There are also slight modifications to the guidelines. for more information, application, or guidelines visit: http://www.durfee.org/programs/arc/index.html

the loop

Daily Creator G.G. produces The Loop: a FREE weekly posting for playwrights and for those who support playwrights. The Loop lists production opportunities, submission guidelines, residencies, contests, seminars, editorials, etc. all over the country, if not the world.

The Loop also features profiles of playwrights and theatres around the country, investigative articles on issues that every playwright is concerned with, advice from fellow playwrights, rants and raves on trends in the industry and feature articles that exam some area of writing new plays or forging a career in the theatre.

To subscribe to the Loop: http://garygarrison.com/loo.htm

January 08, 2007

from the producing director of the lark

Daily Creator J.E. sent this out via his monthly newsletter but I thought it was worth sharing on this site, particularly given our current search for the identity of a country:

I absolutely love the magical, suspended moment at the end of the December holidays, just before the downbeat of the New Year. At this time each year, I try to rediscover some crucial perspective about the things that matter to me most. In this spirit, I want to share my latest epiphany about the Lark's work and the importance of supporting the unheard voices and new ideas of playwrights.

This year's revelation was prompted by a book I picked up by chance from a table in my mother's house in Madison, Wisconsin, where my wife and I traveled with the kids last week. The book is called 1421: The Year China Discovered America, and I read it straight through like a child reading the latest Harry Potter release.

The author, Gavin Menzies, a retired British submarine captain with a passion for the maps and charts of early European explorers, stumbled upon a Venetian map from 1424 that strangely contained far more information than it should have. By this, I mean that the map in question actually predates the journeys of Bartholomew Dias, Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus; yet it describes, in uncanny detail, the regions that each of these explorers is later reputed to have first charted.

In the book, Menzies presents compelling evidence to prove that Columbus and other European explorers arrived in the New World much later than Chinese fleets dispatched by Ming Dynasty Emperor Zhu Di in 1421. Zhu Di dispatched 800 ships, in what may have been the largest armada in history, to gather knowledge, seek trade partners and create colonies on every continent. Menzies' case is even supported by scientific research that suggests "recent gene flow" may explain the close links between DNA of the Chinese and Native Americans in various parts of the New World.

Of course, fortunes turn quickly in life as well as fiction. Two months after the great armada's departure from China, lightning struck Zhu Di's Temple of Heaven and burned his glorious new city to cinders - a bad omen for an Emperor anointed by the gods. The nearly bankrupt state collapsed, the people rebelled, and the Emperor despaired and died soon after. His reactionary successors adopted a fierce isolationist policy, even to the extent of burning a swath of "no man's land" nearly 100 miles wide all along the state's borders. The entire navy was dismantled, international trade was forbidden and all records of the great armada's exploration were ordered destroyed.

If it is true, Menzies' story is almost impossible to reconcile with my 21st century American world view, shaped by a collectively misunderstood history. Furthermore, this astounding case begs some important questions that relate to many contemporary controversies over land, ethics and so forth: How can we most effectively respond when bedrock ideas and prevailing truths are challenged in this way? How will we maintain an open forum for the discussion and reconciliation of inconsistencies in received history? Is it even possible for society to function in a just and orderly manner while, at the same time, remaining flexible and embracing new ideas?

As these questions raced through my mind, my New Year's epiphany struck with sudden force: The only way to support a strong and adaptable civilization is to practice debate and free expression in every possible way, and, in my opinion, the theater is the best platform ever invented for this purpose. It is every playwright's job to postulate her own revisionist history or imagined world, and every audience's responsibility to accept and respond honestly to this information. It is every theater artist and producer's obligation to assure that this work is strong and it is in the community's best interest to continually challenge itself with new and expansive ideas. Each foray in the theater is a training mission for a time when real-life conflict will arise. The more imaginative and challenging the play, the more prepared we will be when our values are truly tested. As I put down the book, I thought, "Yes! That is an epiphany of some value! That is an idea that can definitely fill the Lark's sails for the next stage of our journey! 2007 will be the best year ever!"

Warm wishes,

John Clinton Eisner
Producing Director
The Lark Theatre


Affordable Healthcare. If you are working in the performance, writing or visual field (as a practitioner, technician or administrator) you have access to healthcare at an amazingly affordable (sliding scale $15-60 per visit, prescriptions $10) rate through this program started by Dance/NYC. There is also the opportunity to exchange performance in the hospital for 'healthcare credits' which you can redeem for FREE healthcare. They've got you covered from dental through acupuncture, it is worth checking out! http://www.dancenyc.org/topics.asp?file=news.

The Fire Dept Salon Series is looking for scripts for staged or semi-staged readings to be presented in non-traditional spaces that encourage post-performance dialogue. Scripts should raise challenging questions and address issues of contemporary social and/or political relevance. To be eligible, plays may not have been previously produced in New York. Accepting submissions immediately and hope to begin the series some time in February, but the process will be ongoing and we will accept rolling submissions until all the slots have been filled. We expect to do 10 to 12 plays in all, approximately every 6 weeks or so. Please emailscripts and any questions to thefiredept@gmail.com.

The Lark is looking for a sublet for an international writer in March or early April. If you know of anything in NYC, please contact Company Manager, Amanda Berkowitz, amanda@larktheatre.org, 212-246-2676 x28.

The Lark and the Indo-American Arts Council are seeking playwrights from the South Asian Diaspora for Playwrights' Week and a year-long Playwright Residency Program to commence in September, 2007. Submission Deadline: February 15, 2007. For info and application, please click here.

Lark Internships. Lark is seeking interns for the following areas: Literary Management, Artistic Programming/Special Events, Artistic/Producing, General Management, Arts Administration/Development and Marketing/Communications. As an intern at the Lark you'll join our small staff in helping to cultivate new plays and support emerging playwrights. For more information please click here or e-mail anna@larktheatre.org.

The New York Musical Theatre Festival's 2007 Next Link Project will be accepting submissions from January 1 - March 1, 2007. NYMFis the world's largest annual musical theatre event. The Next Link Project is our central series of new musicals, accounting for 18 of the 30+ productions in each year's festival. We maintain an open submissions policy and a blind evaluation process to ensure that writers from every level of the theatre community, from working professionals to those whose work has not yet been produced, are given the opportunity to participate. The 2007 New York Musical Theatre Festival will run from September 17 - October 7, 2007. For more information on NYMF, The Next Link Project or the submission process, please visit www.nymf.org.

The Playwrights' Center invites committed professional playwrights to apply for the Core Membership Program. Created in recognition of the particular needs of emerging and established writers, Core Membership confers additional benefits intended to significantly further a playwright's career. Core membership is available to writers both locally and nationally. Deadline: January 12. Application and more information available online at http://www.pwcenter.org/core_membership.asp.

Theatre Communications Group Announces 2007-2009 NEA/TCG Career Development Programs. The National Endowment for the Arts and TCG are pleased to announce the 2007 deadlines for the 2007-2009 NEA/TCG Career Development Programs for Theatre Directors and Designers. For more details on these programs, including guidelines and online applications, please visit the Grants page on the TCG website.

January 07, 2007

fill the tummy and the well

You've done a little research about the popular foods in your chosen country now its time to try them out! It's one thing to read about food - you have to smell, taste and fully experience it.


Find a restaurant in your area that specializes in the cuisine of your chosen country. Make a reservation and go! Take a friend and ask your waiter or hostess lots of questions about the food. How its prepared, what they know about the history, what they like and why, what they ate when they were children, etc. This is your chance to get a free interview with an expert! Ask about the herbs and spices used. Ask about the best way to eat - with hands, with chopsticks, with a 25 piece silver set?

If you can't find a restaurant in your area, then look up recipes online and see if you can find the ingredients in a specialty grocery store near you. Maybe someone you know knows someone whose Mom could cook you an authentic meal? If you can't find someone to cook for you, try to do it yourself. Don't be defeated!

January 05, 2007

from head to tummy

Probably the quickest way to get to know your chosen country is to find out what the people who live there like to eat, cook, grow and buy to put on their tables at home or what they would buy if they were eating out.

What we eat is reflection of our education, our class, our prosperity, our aesthetic and literally, our taste. Probably many a non-American assumes that we all eat McDonalds or Americans may assume that the Scots all eat haggis. Each state in America has a food for which they are famous like Vermont syrup or Wisconsin cheddar but it gets even more specific if you get into cities or towns that specialize in a certain type of pickle or a particularly amazing fudge.


Do a little research today about the popular foods in your chosen country and search around for regional specialties.

What do the foods tell you about the country? What do they tell you about its people? Who has access to what? Are there numerous options or limited supplies? What is considered a luxury? What is considered a neccessity?

How do people get their food? Do they buy it at well-stocked stores? Are they rationed? Do they have to grow it themselves?

more grants

*** Funding Arts Network and Knight Foundation Announce New Art Award for a Public Performance in Miami-Dade

***National Endowment for the Humanities and Institute of Museum and Library Services Invite Grant Applications for New Digital Innovation Program

***National Foundation for Jewish Culture Accepting Applications for Jewish Documentary Filmmaking Fund
Funding Arts Network and Knight Foundation Announce New Art Award for a Public Performance in Miami-Dade
Deadline: March 2007

The Miami-based Funding Arts Network ( http://www.fundingartsnetwork.org/ ) has announced the newly created Knight Foundation New Work Award for a performing or visual art work of the highest artistic merit to be performed or exhibited in Miami-Dade County. The New Works Award is in addition to the annual grants which FAN awards.

The award, which will be for $50,000 a year in 2007 and 2008, is made possible by a $100,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation ( http://www.knightfdn.org/ ). The award is open to all arts organizations that have previously been FAN grantees. Selection criteria include artistic merit and creativity in reaching out to a broad audience.

Applications will be available on the FAN Web site in early January. RFP Announcement: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10005725/knightfdn

National Endowment for the Humanities and Institute of Museum and Library Services Invite Grant Applications for New Digital Innovation Program
Deadline: March 27, 2007

The Institute of Museum and Library Services ( http://www.imls.gov/ ) and the National Endowment for the Humanities ( http://www.neh.gov/ ) invite applications to a new digital humanities grant competi- tion. The new program, "Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership," seeks applications for innovative, collaborative humanities projects using the latest digital technologies for the benefit of the American public, humanities scholarship, and the nation's cultural community. Through this new partnership, NEH and IMLS will help teachers, scholars, museums, and libraries take advantage of developing technology. Successful projects funded through this partnership will explore new ways to share, examine, and interpret humanities collections in a digital environment and develop new uses and audiences for existing digital resources.

Any U.S. nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is eligible, as are state and local governmental agencies and tribal governments. Individuals are not eligible to apply. Collaboration is a requirement of the program, and an application must include at least one library, museum, or archive as an integral member of the project team to be eligible. Potential partners could also include universities, state humanities councils and other cultural organizations, or private-sector organizations, as appropriate.

Awards normally are for two years and typically range from $50,000 to a maximum of $350,000 each. Nonprofit institutions interested in applying can find guidelines at the NEH Web site.

RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10005726/neh

National Foundation for Jewish Culture Accepting Applications for Jewish Documentary Filmmaking Fund
Deadline: March 8, 2007

A program of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture ( http://www2.jewishculture.org/ ), the Fund for Jewish Documen- tary Filmmaking is designed to support the creation of original documentary films and videos that promote thoughtful considera- tion of Jewish history, culture, identity, and contemporary issues among diverse public audiences. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have creative, editorial, and budgetary control of the proposed pro- ject and who own the copyright of the completed film or video.

All applicants must submit one completed work for which they had primary responsibility. Priority in funding will be given to those works-in-progress which combine intellectual clarity with creative use of the medium, can be completed within one year of the award, are standard one-hour or half-hour broadcast length, and are likely to be broadcast.

Projects must be in production at the time of application; funding will not be provided for research, script development, or other pre-production expenses. No grant will exceed $50,000 or 50 percent of the total project budget, whichever is less. Most grant awards are expected to fall in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.

Visit the National Foundation for Jewish Culture Web site for complete program information and application materials.

RFP Link: http://fconline.foundationcenter.org/pnd/10005727/jewishculture

For additional RFPs in Arts and Culture, visit: http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/rfp/cat_arts.jhtml

January 04, 2007

myth part two

Your search for myths, folklore, ghost stories, legends and oral traditions should have helped you identify three or four Gods or Goddesses, legendary Kings or Rulers, scary Monsters or magical Beings specific to your region.

For example, I found a character named Vishwakarma, who was a great architect commissioned to build a beautiful house for Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. In return she would give him gold enough to cover his body but Vishnu, the lord of balance, put fleas and ticks inside the gold dust, which made Vishwakarma wiggle around. Laxmi decided that Vishwakarma was moving because he wanted more gold. She put a curse on him.


Update the stories you found yesterday setting them in the city where you currently live and in the present day. So the above story would be updated by saying:

Juan Carlos Garces, a talented Mexican architect, is commissioned to build a beautiful house in Beverly Hills for Ivana Worthington, an heiress to the Post It fortune. As the dig for her mansion begins, the workers strike into a vein of opal rock delaying work and causing Juan Carlos to have to opt out of another big job. The project seems cursed, everything always falling apart until finally the house is finished and Juan Carlos is about to hand over the keys and they discover the carpets are infested with fleas.

You don't have to write out the full story - we're just looking for "seeds" right now, just jot down your ideas.

Jot down a few ideas to modernize each of the characters or myths that you found yesterday.

January 03, 2007

before history

Yesterday, we began our journey through our chosen country by simply picking a place to focus and finding it on a map. When you checked out its borders, were there any surprises or anomalies?

For example, I’m researching Nepal and Tibet and depending on which map you are using, Tibet is either recognized as a sovereign country or completely swallowed by China. Maybe you found older maps (particularly in Eastern Europe) where just a year or two ago, your chosen country didn’t even exist.

Borders are living things. Fluid not fixed because people, in their bodies, constantly move. When did the current borders come to be? What were the original boundary lines?

What existed before them?


Before there were governments in place to define your chosen country’s borders and before there were historians writing the official story, there were the myths, folklore, ghost stories, legends and oral traditions that held people together.

Very often these “hand-me-downs” are based on the surrounding topography or the night sky. If you’re having trouble finding the mythology of your chosen country, perhaps pick a specific, prominent mountain or river and research its history to see if any old stories emerge.

Remember, we’re becoming “mini-experts” not getting our PhD here so don’t burden yourself with finding the “perfect” story. Just do a basic Google search and find three or four examples of Gods or Goddesses, legendary Kings or Rulers, scary Monsters or magical Beings that are specific to your region.

January 02, 2007

get country-fied

For the next three months, we are going to be “filling the well” which simply means we will be acting as hunters/gatherers of new inspiration, new material, new thoughts and ideas. It’s a time of collection, a time to gather pieces without knowing how they will yet be used.

Give yourself permission over the next three months of the New Year to gather, collect, explore, research, play and examine things that have absolutely nothing to do with your current project!!!!

One of the things we do as artists is get so completely focused on a particular work and then when that piece is done, we suffer through a period of stagnation or drained numbness until the next inspiration comes. I wonder if there’s a way to build in a buffer from that wipe out time by constantly filling the well with UNRELATED NEW MATERIAL as you’re working.

So this month, let’s focus on becoming mini-experts on a specific country. Let’s examine the languages, history, food, culture, architecture, people and places within your chosen country in order to broaden our horizons as artists and as world members.


Pick a country you know very little about and that YOU ARE NOT CURRENTLY USING in one of your pieces.

Okay, okay, if these exercises will be very helpful for your current work, I’ll overlook that rule but just do me a favor - if you're going to use these for a current piece, go ahead and do the same exercises at the same time for a SECOND country that is NOT connected to that work. It will take an extra couple of minutes but it will be worth it down the road when you're twiddling thumbs between projects!

Try to pick a country that you’ve never visited but you’ve always wondered about. Maybe a country that no longer exists? Maybe open a world map, close your fingers and point?

All you have to do today is pick your country and find it on a map. Check out its physical relationship to the world. What are its borders? Small or large? Tucked between superpowers or drifting alone in the ocean?

What are the things you think you know about this country? What have you heard about it? Write everything down.

lucy speaks her mind

Check out the new interview with Daily Creator L.W. at http://www.bibliobuffet.com/bb/content/view/288/198/

loveliest grotesque

Congrats to Daily Creator S.L. who just gave birth to her first book, Loveliest Grotesque! She says:

"I announce with joy, the birth of Loveliest Grotesque.
[The book will be available at Amazon and SPD Books later, but going straight to Kore Press is best! Go, small presses, go!]
Readings and Book Party to come ."