Saturday, November 22, 2014

Top 10 Fake Scandals Under Obama

Top 10 List of 100% fake-ass imaginary scandals and crapstorms constructed entirely by Fox News and GOP handlers that were picked up by mainstream press to waste 6 years of time with sheer lies.
1. Obama's birth certificate (it's real and he has both kinds)
2. Solyndra (profitable renewable energy company that paid its loan back)
3. Cash for Clunkers (extremely successful, minimal glitches, fixed quickly)
4. Fast and Furious: bogus bogus bogus.
5. IRS targeting Conservative Groups (nope, in fact liberal groups targeted)
6. ACORN corruption (nope, zero, zilch, nada)
7. EBOLA is going to kills us all!! (and by everyone I mean one guy)
8. ISIS is going to behead us all! Damn you Obama! (Bye, Felicia!)
9. Obama is going to take away your guns (he should but, sadly, he's not)
10. Benghazi!!
Honorable mentions (sorry, you didn't make the cut. Try again next news cycle): Obamacare Death Panels, Michelle Obama is force feeding your kids vegetables, Obama hates white people (via Glenn "Kanye" Beck), pal'ing around with Sal Alinsky, Rev. Jeremiah Wright is Obama's main Mau Mau homeboy, Dept. of Agr worker Shirley Sherrod is a racist and discriminating against white farmers (here look at at this edited footage from Breitbart), and....'radical' fist bumps.
Now let's play a fun game called "Accountability." If you systemically and maliciously spread hundreds of fantasies and made-up stories, force Congress to hold hearings on these fabulations, find false witnesses and fake experts to co-sign your bullshit, then you lose your license to call yourself a news organization. You lose your press passes, your airwave slot as a TV news organization. By FCC standards you are treated as pure entertainment, and must wear a tinfoil hat to any government event you now have to crash with Ted Nugent and Meat loaf!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Millionaire Club


OIFIX - optimum fixed income fund

OIIEX - that’s the optimum international fund

OILGX - large cap growth pool

OILVX - large cap value

OISGX - Optimum small midcap growth

OISVX -small mid-cap value

I wrote down the acronyms as the voice on the phone went through the different options, the premium level of management this fund has and how they will do the work for you.

I was listening to someone whose title was as a financial advisor and wealth manager. This person was now my wealth manager. I listened to her run down the mutual funds bundle I had bought into that offered quick-reacting, flexible market watching and advising from some unseen Wall Street overseer. I had bought my way into the club of the advised and wealthy.

I listened to her and then observed myself  asking questions with detached amusement. I guess I found it funny because I’m not wealthy. Like most Americans, I’m just in rehearsal to be wealthy.

I’ve been playing this part for years. My Dad was a stock broker and he would encourage us dressing up in suits. As a child I would wander around the house in oversized sports jackets smelling of mothballs and Old Spice. I would gaze at myself in the mirror as I fixed my father’s cufflinks and imagined where I would go in this costume: a board meeting, a press conference, Geneva, an alfafa farm, my Alpaca ranch. Perhaps I would jet off to Rio for carnival or ‘copter into the Atlanta for Freak’nic.

In this instance, my imagination was encouraged and inflamed by my parents.

Yes, visualize it, make it your own.

I then went on to spend my college years  and early 20s in a series of low-level jobs. I stopped ironing my pants and wore jeans. My collared shirts hung in my closet as musty relics. My jackets had dust on them. The idea of getting involved in the arts seemed counterintuitive to my childhood dreams of Robb Report, real estate purchases. My parents were apprehensive that I was headed down a dark path of sitting around a chintzy kitchen tables with piles of bills as I wring my hands for the camera crew filming me for a political ad.  

Bye bye suits and ties. Hello sweatpants and sneakers. My wardrobe underwent a stunning transformation from aspiring wealth to despondent poverty. A few years ago I was raising money for a Buddhist organization when a sudden reversal happen. I was showered with money, more money than I had ever been given in my life. And clothes too. From a wealthy donor I was given Armani, Gucci, and all the brand names.

I fondly remembered my childhood while I wore these clothes...and then I gave most of it away. The money was donated to charities, I kept the minimum to pay my rent for a few months when I had to go home and visit my parents. Most of the clothes I donated away to charities  or allowed people to auction them for a good cause.

I still have a small and random smattering of fancy threads. Bruno Magli leather jacket or Sean John suit, or a $600 pair of sunglasses that I can’t wear will pop up in my one of my boxes. It’s like remembering a former life or dream life of the future.

In the last year, I earned some extra income and knew that I had a choice. I could just blow this money on living in New York City, which would happily gobble me back to basics. Or I could do what my parents did and put something down on my future. As a person in my 30s, I thought it was time that I actually thought about what life would be like in my 40s and beyond. Investing in my future was something I had always done on a symbolic level. A stock here, a small fund there, a life insurance policy when I was in my 20s. But nothing major.

I began thinking about what life would be like with an investment. I would actually have something to look at when the stock market ticker flashed across the screen. I would lament the economic downturns as if they were a personal affront to my safety and celebrate Wall Street when the earning records were broken. I would be in the wealthy club, without actually being wealthy...yet.

So now I am listening to where this chunk of money is going to fly off to and do work on my behalf. This money is going to copulate and repopulate itself based on the energy of untold market powers. These powers are rarely understood by anyone in the market itself. It’s more of a religious faith. Fix it Jesus. Fix it, Nikkei. Fix it Dow Jones!

All it takes is a certain amoutn of zeroes and ones on a spread sheet to buy in. No class or race status checks. This is money is actively managed and rigged to rise to the top. I have bought myself a seat in the back of the room, near the swinging kitchen door on a footstool. But still it’s a seat.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Next Logical Step


We crouched over a steel table top while looking at our Indian entrees. My date was describing his graduated thesis. I jabbed at my curry lentil goop as my mind wandered.

It’s called the next logical step.

I’m sorry...what?

Human beings are engineered to expect more. After his years of research and interviews, he found that jobs with clear, logical steps of promotion have a much higher rate of happiness than jobs with undefined standards, even if the latter category is of a high-paying profession.

Apparently doctors in hospitals have terrible job satisfaction because once they become a doctor there is no clear progression to being head of a hospital. You can remain a doctor forever. Conversely, dentists go through numerous levels until they own their own office. Dentists are happier than doctors.

But there is a profession that pays a lot less that but has a very high satisfaction rate: professional waiters. This isn’t the part-timer student waiters and artists. We’re talking about the actual professional high-end waiters. They tend to be very well-adjusted and happy because there is a clear line: busboy to waiter to head waiter. Then host, bartender, bar manager, restaurant manager, owner. The path is laid out very clearly. The key to happiness is having clearly defined logical steps. Even if it takes 30 or 40 years, if we know what the steps are, then the human mind is comforted, happy even.

The catch? Once people arrive at the final destination in their steps and there’s nowhere else to go, then the depression returns. Associate Professors are happier than tenured professors who have no foreseeable way to becoming department chair. Assistant directors are happier than film directors who see their job as a resting place. Credit card companies have picked up on this career-ladder mentality and now have a periodic table of elements to designate member status by gold, platinum, diamond, onyx. Car rental services and airline companies now codify different customers into even smaller categories of rank and privileges.

I thought about the next logical step to love. Does this explain how careerism killed love? You go from date, to dating, to exclusivity, to engagement, and then marriage. Where is there to go after matrimony? Some would say the next step is car, home, kids. But these are no longer elements associated with civil union. Unlike in pre-Baby Boomer America, today’s society sees elements as very attainable steps people can make by themselves or in uncommitted partnering. Disconnected from being important and widely-recognized ‘logical, next steps,’ to being married,  then marital relationships become a trap.

When all of our society’s happiness is subconsciously built on career ladder-climbing and ‘the next goal’ then marriage becomes a bit of a dead-end. No one gets promoted to ‘bronze, silver, gold, platinum marital couple’ after being together a certain number of years and completing certain requirements. Recently the matrimony industry has started to panic. Silver, gold, and diamond wedding anniversaries weren’t enough. In fact, the annual recognition of time spent together can often make couples more melancholy if the relationship has stagnated. The time lapse begins to create an anxiety of expected and continued depreciation in relationship value. There is nowhere else to go but continued stagnation and then death for many wedded unions. 

Adultery and divorce are common, reactive panics to an unforeseeable and possibly depressing future with no clear line of progression. The simple fact is that marriage was a contractual agreement that commodified sex/love into property value and inheritance. But now that the latter has been removed from the equation as essential, what is the solution to fill the gap? Re-do your wedding vows. Re-educate, re-commit. Spend money on a ceremony to reiterate to the world ‘yep, we’re still here.’ Would this be necessary if husbands and wives weren’t looking for some additional element, some next step after being together for so long that separates them from other married couples?

Even recommitment ceremonies can’t mask the problem we have created in our career-drive culture when it comes to the matrimonial dilemma: there is nowhere else to go once the vows have been exchanged. We are just left with ourselves and all those suppressed unresolved doubts that come bubbling back up in quiet reflection. I continued picking at my curry and stared out the window, out on to the sidewalk. Men, women, children in different pairings walked by my reflection, before disappearing into the night.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Journey to a Meditation Cushion

Hey!


Do you have a lighter?


I picked up my pace as I saw two men move toward me with their hands in their jackets. Something wasn’t right. I switched into defensive mode.


Hey, do you have a lighter?


No, I’m sorry.


Stupid nigger!


I continued walking back home from the University of New Mexico library. The two figures -white men- increased their speed to keep up with me. I caught the sneer of one of them and the smirk of the other from my side view. I could hear their breaths flush with each other as looked at their fists jammed into their pockets. They were waiting for my reaction.


The other one laughed as they tailed me down the road. Instead of turning down a side street toward my house, I took a detour along the main road and bright street lights.


I sized them up. If it was just one, I could probably take him down. But there were two of them. And their hands...what was in their pockets? Maybe one of them was the son of a policeman or security guard nearby? Who would believe me vs. them?


I began weighing the risks and rewards of offensive strike vs. defensive silence, keeping them at a safe distance, examining other potential problems, increasing my vigilance in the dark areas of the street, looking at their jackets to make sure nothing leaped out.


Years of training, suspicion, defensive techniques, and cultural calculations ramped up in preparation. I kept them in my side view with a safe distance: far enough away to prevent them from striking me in one lunge, but not too far that they would slip into my blind spot behind my head.


Their laughter and smirks faded into a confused look. Their pace slowed down but they continued trailing me. Finally, a flash of disappointment. The two figures moved off into a different direction.

I looped around my house to make sure they weren’t following me. I walked through the door, dropped my bag, and went to my meditation cushion. I sat down.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mother Squire

Mother Squire spat in my Dad’s face. I imagined it was hot, red, tobacco-laced saliva filled with bile and disappointment. My father spat back at her. It was their first and last meeting.

Mother Squire was my great grandmother and the matriarchal anchor to my family’s name. We only knew her name as Mother Squire, like the Queen Mother or Mother Russia. She was in her late 90s by the time she passed away a shriveled, bitter pit. I never met her, but I feel her in my bones.

I can deduce certain things about Mother Squire from the bits and pieces I have gathered over the year, as well as a few pictures. As a young woman, Mother Squire was beautiful and striking. When I was a child, I saw a portrait of her sturdy, proud frame fitted with an elegant day dress. Mother Squire had numerous physical advantages. She was strong without seeming hulking. She held a shrewd look in her eyes without coming across as craven. Her hair was straight and falling to her shoulders.

She was beautiful, and by that I mean that she was light-skinned. She could ‘pass’ for something other than pure Negroid. For many blacks this was advantageous. Pure, unmistakable blackness was a curse in and outside of the African American community. Mother Squire could pass for -if not white- then at least half of something: Cherokee, French, Spanish.

In family folklore she was walking down the street one day when a couple of mean-looking Irish men were staring at her. One of them asked the other ‘who is that?’ The reply that came back was of boastful providence: that’s the woman I’m going to marry. That was my great grandfather.

It was a match made in mutual disdain, anger, and atheism. The young and fair Mother Squire had arrived from Barbados. Her initial encounter with the black community met her redoubled horror at a) the poverty of education and economics assigned to the general group and b) the realization that she was -despite her best efforts- a part of the un-touchably cursed class.

My great grandfather (who I will call “Dale” not just because it seems to suit his nameless face but also it’s my Dad’s middle name which he was given in honor of a great relative he never saw) was an Irish man, newly arrived in the country who worked his way down to Central Florida. Dale proposed to the young Barbadian beauty. They were married almost immediately, for Mother Squire’s satisfaction of moving herself out of the untouchable class through matrimony through the lowest class of white, the Irish; Dale the reasons for sudden marriage were probably more lustful in aspiration.

The young couple started a life together in Central Florida, two island immigrants who were probably not fully aware of what their racial classifications meant in the new world. Dale either changed his name to ‘Squire’ to pass for English land gentry back in his homeland, or adopted the new title upon arriving in America. The truth is that it didn’t matter because when Dale met his future wife he was dirt poor.

At the end of the 19th century, Irish and Blacks shared a similar status in America until Irishmen learned how to ‘pass’ into the mainstream. Poor, divided, and at the bottom of all status, there was an furious rage that transformed into purges:  paroxysmal spasm of Irish riots, lynching, shootings against their black brethren. This volcanic river of sulfurous rage carried the couple into marriage, family, life, and death.  

The crumbs and shreds I have pieced together is that Squire’s were very mean. As they grew older they got meaner until Mother Squire met my father one day and decided she didn’t appreciate his greeting toward her, or perhaps she was so senile that she mistook everything as an affront. The spit flew. My father had the same mixture of Irish whiskey and Caribbean run that inflames our blood, so he promptly spat right back at her, in her wrinkled cataract-milky eyes. A mutual understanding was born from that point on between the spitters and they would never speak to each other again.

I imagine my father’s spit must have been clear, smelling of Coca-Cola and hope. There was probably none of the chalky bile of disappointment in that first shot. I can see her red spittle, thick and sparsely dispersed like shotgun pellets, hanging from my dad’s hair.  

These are the lasting visual pictures I have of Mother Squire: one as a young, pretty girl being tailed by a ruddy-faced Irishmen with only 20 cents in his pocket. The other picture is as an old, dry, bent switch; a branch snatched off from the tree to inflict punishment and express anger.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Dear Damn Dems: An Apostle's Epistle

Dear American Democratic Party,


Hi.


How are you doing?


Wasn’t that last episode of “The Daily Show” amazing?


Anyway, now that we’ve gotten the small talk out of the way we need to chat for a moment. Or rather I need to talk as young, educated, progressive, socially-conscious voter. And you need to listen.


First, I’m writing to express my condolences and offer comfort in your hour of need. Second, I also wish to give some of my own personal insight into what’s been going on in America from my viewpoint. And finally, I have gathered the thoughts of others in this letter for your meditative contemplation at what went wrong. We want you to have a seat. This is an intervention.


Six years ago you ask for the votes of progressives, liberals, women, people of color, college students, gays, urban residents. After 2008, when you got all those votes from a quilt-patch coalition that voted for the promise of a new America, you appeared to become immediately scared of the people who didn’t vote for you. You sell all out of these people (aka 'your base') to run to the right-side of everything (aka not your base, the people who dislike you). You compromise and capitulate before negotiations begin on any important policy. You don't want to really talk about income inequality, don't want to take on corporate elite, didn't activate Occupy activists, didn't regenerate your Unions, ignore the millions of hungry/angry activists on college campuses who are waiting for something to get behind, don't talk about tackling college debt.


When Obama was elected in 2008, you had both Houses of Congress and you spent the first critical years of an early administration compromising with GOP (Obama at fault here in a big way), giving tax breaks to the wealthy, extending the Bush tax cut when those hundreds of billions could have been used to rebuild infrastructure, create millions of jobs, and dramatically improve the economy. You have one of the most successful presidents who has given millions healthcare, reduced the deficit, improved the economy, and then you run away from him. You don't tout any of your accomplishments, you don't inspire. You appear to be a feckless, phony, and wandering herd who has grown so scared of FOX News and conservatives that you try to pre-empt their critique by shooting down your own base while remaining bland and non-threatening. Even after you've compromised your voters, values, and positions, the GOP still attacks you time and time again regardless of facts, experts, or the well-being of anyone. And then you are surprised when your base doesn't show up in midterm elections. You don't give them anything to vote for except fear of the worst case scenario, which we will now see for the next two years.


Now I want to talk to you about the primary driving factor in politics and in this country, which is fear. Fear and doubt are deep and invisible things, yet they can motivate people to do very real harm. I believe fear is a part of a short-term as well as long-term systemic disease in our system.


Certainly big money is a contributing factor along with the monopolized right-leaning media. But these aren't the material causes (the seed), just the factors that contribute to the rapid exponential growth of this cancer. But there is a deeper fear that is historical and must be addressed/


America has its own strange paradigm of fear. We fear losing an empire we never really should have had. Our government, our economic regulations, our mentality, and root philosophy is not set up to be an empire, yet all of our work after World War II has been geared toward this incongruent empire drive. By the end of the 20th century we had a quasi-empire. Roughly 5% of the world's population (that's us) controls about 20-25% of the world's economy. We also spend twice as much as any other country on bombs, planes, and tanks. We have military bases in over 100 countries. We are a nation straining to hold on to something we shouldn't have gotten. We seeks to hold the upper hand in our currency and value. We do this through corruption, financial blackmail, coercion, and our military. This corrupted economic, diplomatic, and military strain to maintain as much power abroad has now come home to roost in America in the last 30 year.


The Machiavellian ruthlessness that we used against others we now employ against our own citizens in corrupted media, slashing benefits for hard workers, destroying our own water/air/earth, militarized police, SWAT team raids. These disturbing trends show a clear and present violation of everything a people's republic is supposed to be and more indicative of a corrupted oligarchy that uses every means to cover itself in the flag and the Constitution.


Citizens are blinded to their rapid loss in rights and economic progress by keeping them in a constant state of panic/outrage/fear/rage. And then we let everyone arm themselves so random bursts of violence remind us to be grateful, be scared, only trust the corporate state, the military state. The sad thing is that there is more than enough money to go around. You could continue to improve the lives of everyday Americans and it would still be a huge boon to corporations and the 1% elite. In fact it would probably benefit them the most. But there is no interest in compromise when you can get people to live small, fearful, suspicious of the individuals and collectives, and surrendering to the centralized corporate interests.


That is my understanding of how fear is operating in our country and causing a rapid decay that is not in accordance with natural developments in a society. The strange thing is that despite all this America is relatively healthy...despite its government, despite the rapacious destruction of the environment, despite the backward tax codes, broken court systems, despite the fact that we continue to shoot at our own feet, and hack away at our own legs in fear of others, we manage to hobble along. But this is less because of America exceptionalism and more because our 20th century infrastructure -unlike every continent in the world- has faced no world wars, civil wars, coups, widespread devastation. Our death be one of a thousand cuts if we don't start healing our own hatred, fear, and greed.


In our current political discourse there is a a chicken and egg argument of what came first: the blatant use of big money to turn the US into an oligarchy or the interests/fears of big money? I could see it both ways but I really think the interests of big money is what triggered the steady tearing down of campaign finance laws to create an oligarchy of corporate and super-wealth caste system of inheritance over the last 30 years. These interests are steeped in maintaining an empire which can't be sustained. It just can't. On some deep level we all know that, from any sociologists to the military officials planning drone strikes around the world to corporate interests. And from that there is this senseless lashing out of violence and corruption. We see this play out not only in our elections but in our use of military, in our use of media, in our use of police force, even in our obsession with disaster movies and TV shows. Has there been any more stable culture in human history that is in a constant startle and fear state. Contemporary American culture displays the signs of a culture in panic, hysteria, exhaustion, and desperation. The solution is to remove the causes of this fear and panic. Of course getting money out of politics would go a long way to us being able to sit down as sensible citizens. But the only way out of this fear cycle is to the opposite: strategic love, a fearless compassion willing to explain rather than run, and to appeal to our better angels.

No one gets the gold star for being silently virtuous or smugly aware. Just ask Al Gore. In this arena, an unspoken virtue is flipped into an advertised vice by your opponent. Just ask all the Dems who ran away from the Affordable Care Act and are now packing up their offices on Capitol Hill. But patience, intelligence, clarity, and 'loving-toughness' are rewarded. Use these tools to promote the larger interests and to rebuild this nation. We are counting on you. We, the young progressives, know that the GOP is a bunch of aging robber barons. We know that the Koch Brothers and their ilk are shamelessly looting our nation's coffer and exacerbating the income inequalities in this country. We know that this stagnating economy and increased disillusionment pose the greatest threat to America's long-term stability.

Moving forward there must be some thread of historical understanding in your decisions. If not, then you will be swept back into the paradigm of hysterical fear that seems to grip the political machine. You must explain and clarify your positions, outline your achievements, reward your base, and stop operating out of fear. The reptilian brain is small but deeply embedded. It sees suspicion in everything. The higher instincts of man can override the pesky rodent mind. But you must call upon them. This is politics. 

Sincerely,

A Young Progressive

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Get What You Want: November 2014


1.
NYMF: New Link Project
Deadline: Nov. 4th
website: http://nymf.org/get-involved/submit-show/

The largest annual musical theatre event in the nation is now accepting submissions for the 2015 Next Link Project!
Are you a musical theatre writer? Have you written a show that you'd like to produce in New York? Submit your show today to the New York Musical Theatre Festival’s Next Link Project!
The Next Link Project is NYMF’s primary writer service program. It empowers emerging musical theater writing teams by providing entrepreneurial training, career networking opportunities, dramaturgical support, and other services, culminating in a subsidized production in the Festival. The Next Link Project is open to any writer – produced or unproduced, with or without agency representation.
Next Link Project participants receive the following benefits:
-A $5,000 subsidy towards their production at NYMF 2015
-Additional savings in production fees, and discounted technical and marketing support
-Dramaturgical support
-Seminars and workshops geared toward helping them successfully prepare, present, and promote their NYMF production
-Access to exclusive industry networking events
The following application materials are required as electronic files:
Complete script (PDF files only, please)
Demo recording, containing at least 75% of the songs in the show,
2-3 page synopsis,
Script sample consisting of 15 consecutive pages,
Author bios and Production History


2.
Levitt Artists Residency (Williams College)
Deadline: Nov. 7th
website: https://commonspace.calarts.edu/announcement/details/184-levitt-interdisciplinary-teaching-artist-residency-at-williams-college


Williams College offers the Levitt Artist Residency every year.  The candidate can be nominated from any of the five arts departments on campus; studio art, theater, music, dance and creative writing. Visual artists who are interest in the position may start sending materials to the art department:

Beverly Sylvester
Administrative Assistant
Beverly.Sylvester@williams.edu
413-597-3578

The Levitt Residency

The Arthur Levitt Jr. ’52 Artist-in-Residence will be an emerging artist,
near the beginning of his/her career, recruited each year to the College
with an aim toward stimulating new perspectives and cooperative endeavors
among the studio arts, music, theatre, dance, and creative writing. He or
she will be someone of rising prominence in the arts whose work reflects the
approaches of two or more of the arts departments. The appointment will
involve a mixture of teaching, projects involving faculty and students, and
public exhibition or performance.

This program was established to complement the existing arts faculty with
visiting visual artists, dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers,
directors, actors, designers, and writers of fiction, poetry, plays or
cinema. By the nature of their work, the candidates should foster
collaboration and synergy between at least two of the arts programs at
Williams. Team-teaching with permanent faculty members from other arts
disciplines and the cross-listing of courses is encouraged, as is involving
students in creative productions, performances or installations.

Terms of Appointment

The Levitt Artists-in-Residence are appointed at 0.5 FTE (with full
benefits) for teaching two regular semester courses or the equivalent. The
salary is set at approximately half of a starting assistant professor’s
annual salary. Additional compensation is occasionally available if, for
example, the visitor also teaches a Winter Study course, works with an
ensemble, stages a production with Williams students, or oversees an exhibit
installation, etc. The specific FTE allocation and salary level will be
determined by the departments/programs in full consultation with the dean of
the faculty’s office.

Ideally, the Levitt Fellows relocate to Williamstown for the duration of
their appointment, rather than commuting once or twice a week just to teach.
They are eligible for faculty housing and are provided with office space and
a computer. The host departments should also be prepared to provide studio,
stage, or rehearsal space as needed.

Applicants should submit their materials to Ms. Sylvester, via email, in the
form of a pdf file which includes:
• resume
• Work:  They need to format both text and picture files as pdf, maximum
size 200mg.  We will watch three mins of moving footage and experience has
proven that providing a link to vimeo or youtube is best.  (Movies with
running times longer than three mins. should be accompanied by start and
stop times.) If  the movie can be imbedded into a 200mg pdf, that is fine.  
• Two sample course descriptions of potential classes to be taught, as a
Levitt Fellow.

This year the deadline for receipt of materials is November 7, 2014


3.
Sundance Theatre Lab
Deadline: Nov. 15th
website: http://www.sundance.org/programs/theatre-lab-guidelines/

Guidelines and application for the 2015 Theatre Lab are available below. The deadline for application is November 15, 2014 at 11:59pm EST.

Eligibility

The Theatre Lab welcomes applications for projects at any stage of development. Submitted work cannot have been previously produced, but may have received prior workshops or readings. In addition, projects scheduled to start rehearsals for a professional production before October 26, 2015 are not eligible due to our agreement with Actors' Equity Association. Commissioned work is eligible for submission; however, playwrights must obtain written permission from their commissioning organization prior to applying.
Playwrights, directors, composers, ensembles, performance artists, or choreographers may submit applications. Playwright/director teams are permitted and encouraged to apply together; however, if you do not have a director attached to your project, please note that Sundance Institute will help to match you up with a director if your play is selected for inclusion in the Theatre Lab. Director-driven projects are also welcome to apply.
Sundance Institute is interested in both established and emerging theatre artists, as well as artists making a transition from areas outside of theatre. We welcome solo performers and projects for young audiences.
NOTE: Artists may only submit one application. Previous applicants may re-apply, but not with previously submitted material.

Project Selection

Through open submissions, we consider an estimated 800+ projects. Sundance Institute looks for original, compelling human stories that reflect the independent vision of the theatre artist. We are interested in supporting a diverse and daring group of theatre artists who tell unique stories, present material in a new form, or conceptualize existing material with an innovative vision. We look for writers and collaborators who are interested in genuinely exploring their material. The Theatre Lab is more than a place to "rehearse"; it is an environment that encourages and supports risk-taking, experimentation, and rigorous re-writing and re-imagining. In order for Sundance Institute to fully evaluate your submission, we require a 1-2 page artistic statement as part of the application (see below for additional information).

What Sundance Institute Provides

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program provides professional actors, dramaturgs, rehearsal space, and stage management for the collaborative team working on each project. Projects rehearse on alternating days, giving writers the opportunity to rewrite or regroup when they're not in rehearsal. At the end of the Theatre Lab, projects will culminate in an informal presentation for the Lab community only, followed by an artist-led conversation with Sundance Institute artistic staff and/or guest Creative Advisors.
Each full-time Fellow (playwright, director, or other creative collaborator) receives a $1500 honorarium and a company of actors (if applicable), selected by Sundance Institute in collaboration with the Fellows, to support their project. Actors are selected for their professionalism, versatility, and suitability for the development process. Actors operate on a Special Agreement with Actors' Equity Association during the Theatre Lab.
Dramaturgy at Sundance is tailored individually to the needs of the play. Once a project is accepted to the Lab, the generative artists have an opportunity to discuss what kind of dramaturgical support (and how much) best suits them. Sundance dramaturgs, who have wide experience in the realm of new play development, are uniquely qualified to provide engaged, considered, and empowering guidance to the projects during the Theatre Labs, to offer fresh perspectives on the work at hand, and to ensure the privacy of the participating artist's independent vision. The Theatre Lab sees itself as a complement to, not a replacement of, any pre-existing developmental relationships participating artists may have on a given project, and is sensitive to the process of "passing the baton" at the conclusion of the Theatre Lab.
We strongly encourage that each rehearsal room is open to members of the Lab community for quiet observation. If you do not feel comfortable allowing colleagues to observe your rehearsal process, the Sundance Institute Theatre Program may not be the most appropriate place for you.

Giving Back to Sundance Institute

Sundance Institute was founded by Robert Redford as a way to give back, to support other film and theatre artists by providing them with an opportunity to develop their projects and skills. Sundance Institute does not accept royalties on projects supported by the Theatre Program. Artists own their work fully, but are required to publish Sundance Institute's logo, bio, staff listing, and credit:
"[Title of Project] was developed, in part, at the
2015 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab"
This credit is required on the title page of all printed materials of future readings, workshops, productions, recordings, and publications of their projects. This and other requirements are detailed in a Memo of Understanding that Sundance Institute enters into with the generators of each project. Please call the Theatre Program at (646) 822-9564 with any questions.

How to Apply

Complete the online application form and upload your materials electronically. After submitting your materials online, you will receive an email confirmation. Materials to include:
  • Script Draft of your play or musical (unprotected Word or PDF document).
  • Artistic Statement (If applying as a playwright/director team, we require a statement from both the playwright and director).
  • IMPORTANT: Describe the status of the project, including prior readings and workshops, and what you hope to accomplish at the Lab. Include comments on the content, style of the piece, and the team's objectives for the workshop.
  • Resumes/Bios for each member of the creative team.
  • Cast breakdown. Please make sure to include ages, ethnicities and any other information that would be pertinent to the casting process.
  • Letter of acknowledgement from a commissioning organization (if applicable).
  • Uploadable .mp3 files of music (if applicable).
  • $35 non-refundable application processing fee payable by credit card on the online application.

4.
Jerome Fellowship
Deadline: Nov. 20th
website: https://pwcenter.org/programs/jerome-fellowships

The Playwrights' Center Jerome Fellowships are awarded annually, providing emerging American playwrights with funds and services to aid them in the development of their craft. Four $16,000 fellowships will be awarded in 2015, in addition to $1,500 in development support. Fellows spend a year-long residency in Minnesota and have access to Center opportunities, including workshops with professional directors, dramaturgs and actors.

The Playwrights' Center has awarded these fellowships in partnership with the Jerome Foundation since 1976. Past recipients include Lee Blessing, Lisa D'Amour, Kristoffer Diaz, Dan Dietz, Sarah Gubbins, Naomi Iizuka, Melanie Marnich, Rhiana Yazzie, Martín Zimmerman and August Wilson.

Selection Process
Applicants are screened for eligibility by the Playwrights' Center and evaluated by an initial select panel of professional theater artists; finalists are then evaluated by a second panel of national theater artists. Selection is based on artistic excellence, potential for growth, and commitment to a vital life working in the field. The selection process is guided by the Playwrights' Center's mission statement. The Playwrights' Center does not participate in selection decisions.



5.
Mcknight Advancement Grant
Deadline: Jan. 8th
website: https://pwcenter.org/programs/mcknight-advancement-fellowships
The McKnight Advancement Fellowships recognize playwrights whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit and excellence in the field, and whose primary residence is in the state of Minnesota. The fellowship includes:
  • A $25,000 stipend
  • $2,500 to support a play development workshop and other professional expenses
  • $1,400 in travel funds
Past recipients include: David Adjmi, Carlyle Brown, Lisa D'Amour, Barbara Field, Keli Garrett, Jeffrey Hatcher, Melanie Marnich, Gregory Moss, Kira Obolensky, Dominic Orlando, Christina Ham, and Martín Zimmerman.

6.
McKnight National Residency
Deadline: Nov. 13th
website: https://pwcenter.org/programs/mcknight-national-residency-and-commission
Supported by a grant from the McKnight Foundation, this program aids in the commissioning and development of new works from nationally recognized playwrights. Benefits include:
  • A $14,000 commission
  • At least two U.S. round-trip airline tickets
  • Housing during the residency period
  • Up to $5,750 in workshop funds to support the development of the play
  • A public reading of the commissioned play
Past recipients include: Kia Corthron, Kate Fodor, Daniel Alexander Jones, Sibyl Kempson, Craig Lucas, Taylor Mac, Ruth Margraff, Dan O'Brien, Betty Shamieh, Kathleen Tolan, and Mac Wellman.


7.
Saving Endangered Species
Deadline: Nov. 30th
website: http://www.sesprize.com/

Write a ten-minute play about an endangered species.  Go to the World Wildlife Fund worldwildlife.org/species  or CITES cites.org/eng/gallery/species/index.html and choose one or more species (Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish, Flora & Fauna, or Invertebrates).  The species must be integral to the plot, not just mentioned.  Astonish the audience with the magnificence of the species – take us on an adventure – make us laugh, make us cry, make us weep if they're gone – motivate the audience to save them!
8-10 plays will be selected for a Staged Reading at a California theatre, with an award of $100usd for each play.  Multiple playwrights/Translators on a single play will divide the award equally (unless they request a different division).  The audiences’ “ticket” will be a donation to a specified non-profit Wildlife Conservancy.  There is No Entry Fee.
Entries must be received by midnight November 30, 2015.  Winners and Finalists will be announced by May 31, 2016  via e-mail and on the SES website.  One submission per playwright.  Plays must be in English, or have been translated into English.  SES does not offer critiques.
Plays may be Comedic, Dramatic, or for Young Audiences (performed by adult actors).  No adaptations or musicals.  Maximum  4 actors – no elaborate props, swinging trapezes, or flaming torches, please.
Playwrights must hold the copyright.  Legal clearance of materials not in public domain is the playwright's responsibility.  Previously produced plays are accepted, published plays are not.  Playwrights are obligated to inform SES if their play becomes published after submission.  Plays with any contractual commitments, which restricts SES in any way, are not accepted. SES reserves the right to decide what is restrictive.
Include on the Title page: your name, address, phone number and e-mail – On the 2nd page: cast list, location/time, the endangered species and any playwright’s notes/glossaries.
SES reserves the right to cancel the competition if not enough plays meet the mandate and artistic caliber required for presentation. If canceled, an announcement will be made via e-mail and on the website.
All winning playwrights are invited to the Staged Reading.  Travel and accommodations are not included in the Prize.

8.
InspiraTO 10th Play Festival
Deadline: Dec. 1st
website: http://www.theatreinspirato.ca/create/play

1. This year's creative challenge: The urban jungle. Your play must speak to the urban landscape: The drama must address living, working or growing up in the in the city. It can show the consequences of living in the urban landscape or relationships that develop because of it.

Please note: Mentioning a street or section of a city is not enough if it doesn't effect the drama or if it doesn't address the issue of what it means to live in an urban environment. If we feel that this play can just as well take place in the country or small town we won't accept it. Use your imagination: be bold, be witty, be creative, and challenge us. The story can be a comedy, a drama, a parody, absurd or anything in between.  

The big city environment offers a living and breathing entity that we love to hate or hate to love: harmonious, dynamic, complex, antagonistic, ever-changing, growing and dying, offering endless pleasures for some and never-ending suffering for others. A safe heaven? Or a battlefield? The story is yours.

2. The play must be a ten-minute play. The contest is open to anyone without geographic or age restrictions. You must submit online. Please fill out the submission form below and submit your play by Dec.1, 2014 . There are no fees. Once you submit you will be taken to a page confirming that we have received your submission. You may only submit one play. The cover page should have the title of the play, the playwright's name and the list of characters. The pages should be numbered. The format should be easy to read. We accept previously produced plays (but not plays that have produced in InspiraTO before). The playwright must own the rights to the play up to June 8, 2015 (i.e. the script cannot be owned by a publisher). Any style is acceptable except musicals. We are particularly interested in scripts that aren't afraid to make bold choices: quality writing backed by imaginative staging. Only those playwrights whose plays have been selected will be notified by January 15, 2015.

The plays will be selected by a committee from the Toronto theatre community. If selected, your play will be performed in Toronto, Canada from May 28 - June 6, 2015. Between ten to eighteen ten-minute plays will be selected and performed. 1st Prize: $500 CDN. Should your play be selected for inclusion in the festival, you are giving the non-exclusive right to Theatre InspiraTO to produce and perform the play in the 10th Annual InspiraTO Festival in Toronto (Canada's largest ten-minute play festival), in the May/June 2015. The InspiraTO Festival will find the cast, crew and market your play. Authors retain copyright and full ownership of their plays.

3. Tips on writing. The submission must be a play. A ten-minute play is distinct from a sketch, or a skit; it is a compact play, with a beginning, middle and an end. You need a character facing obstacles in pursuit of some specific goal. You need rising action, conflict, and a climactic moment and your play must tell a complete story.



9.
The Julliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Program
Deadline: Dec. 15th
website: http://www.juilliard.edu/apply-audition/application-audition- requirements/playwrights-program-application-requirements

The Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program encourages and aids the development of new and diverse voices in the American theater.
Under the direction of Christopher Durang and Marsha Norman the Playwrights Program offers one-year, tuition-free, graduate level fellowships to four writers. Selected playwrights may be invited to continue their studies through a second academic year, thereby completing a total of 52 credits for the two-year fellowship period and earning an Artist Diploma in Playwriting.
Juilliard's Playwrights Program is purposely small and allows the artists to focus on the practical aspects of dramatic writing while at the same time they are encouraged to take advantage of the wealth of resources within Juilliard's walls, and those afforded via the School's prime location on Broadway — the greater New York City theater scene. Students may take any class in the Drama Division and are encouraged to see productions around the city by receiving free or discounted tickets to many events on- and off-Broadway. The essence of the Playwrights Program lies in the weekly master class with the playwright heads focusing on dramatic structure and the cultivation of each writer's individual voice. Twice monthly lab readings of the students' work allow the writers, with the help of Juilliard acting students and alumni, to tackle the practical aspects of creating a new play. In addition, seminars centering on other aspects of the theatrical profession are planned on a quarterly basis. The year's end culminates when students in the playwrights residency present their work to professionals from New York and around the country in a showcase evening. The intention is that these events will create a bridge for these artists between Juilliard and the larger community.



10.
T.Schreiber’s 2015 Freedom Shorts
Deadline: Dec. 1st

This is a call for short plays (10 minutes) that explore freedom. We invite playwrights to consider different manifestations of freedom, including personal, political, religious, historical, romantic, and philosophical. Dramas and comedies are both welcome. We encourage creative interpretations of the idea.
Plays should be in English and submissions from playwrights outside of the US are strongly encouraged.  PLAYS MUST NOT HAVE HAD NEW YORK PRODUCTIONS BEFORE MARCH 2015.
Sets and costumes should be minimal: rehearsal furniture only, nothing that requires specially built pieces. Props should be those items typically found in an acting studio props closet.
We encourage submissions that make creative use of sound and lighting. Live sound (including Foley sound effects) is/are encouraged, as well as any prerecorded sounds or music you imagine being part of your play. We have a wide variety of lighting instruments available (so specials and practicals are okay), although we do not have moving lights or a follow spot. Deadline for submissions is December 1, 2014. Plays will be produced at the Gloria Maddox Theatre at T. Schreiber Studios in March, 2015.
By submitting an entry, you are affirming that you are the sole creator of the play, and entitled to confer performance rights. You further affirm that, if your play is chosen, you will grant performance rights, royalty-free, to the T. Schreiber Studio & Theatre for up to twelve performances during its Schreiber’s Shorts: Freedom Festival March 2015. The play remains the sole property of the playwright.
There is no fee for submission. Please send all scripts in pdf or Word document format to:
tschreibertheatre@gmail.com with the heading “Schreiber’s Shorts” and the name of your play.



11.
Finger Lake Musical Theatre Festival
Deadline: Dec. 1st
Website: http://fingerlakesmtf.com/

Submissions are now open for The PiTCH 2015 at the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival

Description
The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival is seeking submissions from musical theatre writers and composers who would like to be considered for inclusion in the fourth season of The PiTCH.

“The PiTCH” is a new works series dedicated to the development of new musicals and their creative teams. The selected teams will spend a week of residency in Auburn, NY – smack dab in the center of wine and lake country – as they immerse in the world of their new musical. The PiTCH provides:
• roundtrip transportation;
• housing for the week;
• a dedicated theatre and staff;
• marketing and advertising assistance;
• audience feedback, Q&A sessions and interactive dialogue;
• tickets and access to our other theaters in operation;
• support and guidance, as needed, throughout the process;
• a beautiful and isolated retreat for your creative team;

Details: Seven projects will be selected for presentation for the 2015 season (June 11 – August 1, 2015).

DEADLINE for SUBMISSIONS: December 1, 2015 by 5pm

For the details and specific submission requirements of THE PiTCH, visit www.FingerLakesMTF.com/ThePiTCH

E-mail: PiTCHsubmissions@FingerLakesMTF.com

To learn more about our dynamic 2015 season and more about the Festival, visit www.FingerLakesMTF.com.



12.
See Change 2042 Playwriting Contest
Deadline: Jan. 5th

It is estimated that by 2042, people of color will make up a majority of the United States population.* With this shift in demographics, the face of America will look and feel different. East West Players is seeking submissions of unproduced new works that explore this new reality and represent and reflect the future of the American landscape.
Subject matter may include biracial or multiracial identity; multicultural experiences; international/transnational connections to America; conflict and collaboration between cultures; American stories with Asian or Asian-American characters in leading roles; or ethnic-specific themes about Asian culture in the United States.
Type of material: Original full-length plays and musicals. If submitting a musical, please enclose a music or song sample. No translations or adaptations. All submissions must be professionally unproduced, unpublished, and with no existing attachments for production.
Award: $5000 First Place; $2500 Second Place; $1000 Third Place. The First, Second and Third Place winners will all receive readings by EWP. All winners will be considered for further workshops and/or production; EWP must have the first option to produce.

Rules for Submissions

Submissions will be accepted electronically only and the submission must include:
  • The online entry form
  • 2 pdf files:
  • - The script (paginated but without your name on it). In this file, also include a title page which lists the title of the play, a 5 sentence or less description of the play, and a list of characters – (again please make sure there is nothing in this file that identifies the author)
  • - A separate title page with the title of the play, your name, address, phone number, email, and a brief bio (optional).
  • A $20.00 entry fee
Other Guidelines:
  1. Plays must be accessible to a primarily English-speaking audience.
  2. Plays should require no more than 7 actors. Musicals should require no more than 12 actors.
  3. The story should be told in less than 2.5 hours including a 15 minute intermission.
  4. Playwrights may submit only one manuscript for this contest.
  5. Plays may not be under option or scheduled for a professional production at the time of submission.
  6. East West Players reserves the right to reject any manuscript for any reason.
Scripts will be judged by a distinguished committee of theatre and industry professionals through a blind evaluation process. Previous judges have included Tony winning playwright David Henry Hwang, playwright Julia Cho, and Carmen Smith (Vice President Creative Development at Walt Disney Imagineering)


13.
Neil LaBute New Theatre Festival
Deadline: Dec. 31st
website:http://stlas.org/labute-new-theater-festival/

SUBMISSIONS
Submissions will be accepted October 1 through December 31, 2014. Professional Submissions: Successful entries will have no more than four characters and be crafted specifically to exploit our intimate performance space. (18′ x 18′ stage) Changes in scenery or setting should be achievable quickly and with few major set moves. Our focus is on fundamental dramaturgy: plot, character and theme.

PROFESSIONAL SUBMISSIONS
Professional, new and previously unproduced one-act play submissions should include a letter of inquiry, a synopsis and a 10-page sample from the script. Running time for each performance should not exceed 45 minutes. Up to Eight plays will be chosen. In addition, a new piece from Mr. LaBute will be performed every night for the run of the festival.

HIGH SCHOOL SUBMISSIONS
Winning plays by high school students will be presented in readings. The guidelines are straightforward: The one act should include no more than four characters featuring a clearly developed plot and distinctive characters. No longer than 15 minutes in length. Non-Professional, new and previously unproduced one-act play submissions should include a letter of inquiry and complete script.

Submissions should be sent to:
LaBute New Theater Festival, St. Louis Actors’ Studio, 360 N Boyle Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
For more information: 314-458-2978 or help@stlas.org


14.
Ashland New Play Festival
Deadline: Jan 15th

ANPF's flagship festival is an international playwright competition that culminates in the reading of four new plays culled from hundreds of submissions by a cadre of volunteer readers. This unique and much-loved five-day festival in Ashland, Oregon, features professional actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the community. The event includes rehearsals and two staged readings of each winning play. The winning playwrights receive a $1,000 stipend and local accommodations. There is a $10 submission fee. For details see > submit a script.
  1. Script legibly typed in a standard 8 1/2" x 11" play format
  2. Full-length drama or comedy (total 90-to 120- minute running time)
  3. Previously unproduced
  4. No more than eight characters; no doubling
  5. The submitting author is the sole owner of the copyright of the script
Submissions will be accepted until January 15, 2015.


15.
Yale Institute for Music Theatre
Deadline: Jan. 7th
website: http://drama.yale.edu/YIMT/institute-home

Established in 2009, the YALE INSTITUTE FOR MUSIC THEATRE is a program of Yale’s Binger Center for New Theatre that bridges the gap between training and the professional world for emerging composers, book writers, and lyricists. The Institute seeks distinctive and original music theatre works to be developed in an intensive two-week summer lab at Yale School of Drama. The Institute matches the authors of the selected works with collaborators, including professional directors and music directors, as well as a company of actors and singers that includes professionals and current Yale students. The lab culminates with open rehearsal readings of each project, presented as part of New Haven’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mark Brokaw, two original music theatre works will be selected for the 2015 Institute, which will take place June 13–28 in New Haven. Online applications are being accepted now through January 7, 2015, 11:59PM (EST). Click here for more information and to apply.