With Caleb Deschanel, Kit Golden, Bob Guza, Diane Lefer, Tom Mangan, Clint McCown, Gary Moore, Dael Orlandersmith, Katherine Paterson, Mary Sue Price, Peter Riegert, Nina Shengold, Dana Yeaton, Robert Vivian
News from Chile is heartbreaking. Again.
But I just got some goods new via email. My play, Penalty Phase, was just named a finalist for the annual Leah Ryan Prize for Emerging Women Writers.
For those of you in Los Angeles who've been following the Alex Sanchez case, there's a welcome home celebration tonight and all are invited. Tonight - Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 7:00 PM at:
National Center for The Preservation of Democracy
111 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles 90012
(Across from Japanese American National Museum & MOCA/Geffen)
A Conversation on Youth Violence & Juvenile Justice
with Youth, Gang Interventionists, Academics, Activists and Artists.
Donations accepted at the door!
And: This just in from Writing for Stage and Screen Conference Director Clint McCown:
TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING FOR STAGE AND SCREEN!
IMAGINE IT... After a breakfast discussion on character arcs with ANIMAL HOUSE star Peter Riegert and famed playwright and anthologist Nina Shengold, you hustle across campus and slide into a seat at the conference table to hear what the producer of CHOCOLAT and ANGELA'S ASHES has to say about your script. After two hours of workshop you take in a lecture by recent Pulitzer Prize finalist in playwriting Dael Orlandersmith, or maybe five-time Academy Award nominee in cinematography Caleb Deschanel. Then luch with a handful of renowned writers, directors, and producers, followed by an informal talk with a screenwriter for Warner Bros., or the writers of a television series, or another prominent playwright. Free time along the way lets you track down that writer with agent names to share, and after a dinner with your fellow writers, you're ready to relax at a screening--maybe you'll choose the Durrenmatt play, or maybe you'll opt for the unreleased Hollywood film, introduced by its producer. Then late-night discussions about the Art, all of it infused with the excitement of knowing that you get to do it all again the next day, and the next, and the next...
Join Caleb Deschanel, Kit Golden, Bob Guza, Diane Lefer, Tom Mangan, Clint McCown, Gary Moore, Dael Orlandersmith, Katherine Paterson, Mary Sue Price, Peter Riegert, Nina Shengold, Dana Yeaton, Robert Vivian, and more for a week that could change your writing life forever.
Please share this opportunity with your friends, and forward or post the attached conference flier. Earlybird discount has been extended to March 7; final registration deadline is April 15. For more information go to www.vermontcollege.edu.
See you in June!
Olivia Judson in the New York Times today writes:
So what’s wrong with sitting?. . .sitting is one of the most
passive things you can do. You burn more energy by
chewing gum or fidgeting than you do sitting still in a chair.
She's concerned with how sitting for hours leads to weight gain and health consequences. I'm concerned with energy -- creative energy. Even our brains get passive and sluggish when we sit and stare at the computer screen. Get your ass out of the chair. Go for a walk. Dance. Pace around the room like the caricature of the scientist about to holler "Eureka!" Just get up and move! Don't just sit there!
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"In a better world..." Yeah, the kids thought adding that to their stories was too corny. (see post of 2/15)
One comment: "We're writing for Teletubbies?"
But at the same time, one boy changed the ending of his story and decided to send the main character to rehab.
check this out: http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/02/18/new.york.doodle.arrest/index.html?hpt=C1
I'm so glad (not that this happened) but that CNN reported it -- a kid being ARRESTED for doodling in class. It happened in New York, but this is exactly the kind of zero tolerance policy that the Youth Justice Coalition is fighting here in LA -- criminalizing kids and preparing them not for college or employment but for prison.
And if you haven't guessed, somehow this doesn't happen to middle class kids, no matter what they do in class. It never happened to me, but if I were a kid in LA today, and black or brown, I don't doubt for moment I would end up in Juvie. I wasn't a bad kid. But I was a kid.
¡Presente!, the publication of School of the Americas Watch, asked me and Hector Aristizábal to write about the Obama Administration (sigh) gaining US military access to seven bases in Colombia.
School of the Americas Watch began decades ago to try to shut down the facility at Ft. Benning, Georgia which has trained Latin American military officers including those responsible for some of the most horrendous human rights abuses in the hemisphere. Commanders responsible for massacres have even been invited back--not as students but as instructors. When Congress almost closed the place down, the Department of Defense simply changed the School of the Americas name to WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) and funded it from another budget line.
Hector survived torture at the hands of the US-supported military in Colombia and we've been active with the Colombia Peace Project here in LA. This article, though, isn't a personal one. It's our look at the bases and the surrounding communities. The print version of our article isn't out yet, but if you are interested, it's now been posted at the soaw.org site:
Just yesterday, I posted how I wanted the kids in Chatsworth to imagine alternatives to their lives but didn't want to impose moralistic endings on the stories they are writing.
By chance, last night, I started to read Rabih Alameddine's big novel, The Hakawati, and found this:
"The doctor wasn't a good storyteller," my grandfather said....
"What was wrong with his stories?"
"They were just common. He always told his favorite stories from the Bible. Stories with obvious moral lessons are like eels in a wooden crate. They slither over and under each other but never leave the tub. In my day, I told some of the same stories, but mine soared. His problem was that he believed. Belief is the enemy of a storyteller."
Author, Playwright, Troublemaker