May 28, 2010

If this were your kid . . .

Considering where I went to school, I'm not surprised at all that this shit happened.

But if you want some real amusement, keep track of all the mental gymnastics that are going to happen to pain this as not racist.

Now I'm just waiting for the day when "God Hates Fags/Dykes" posters aren't homophobic and hateful, but ironic. Funny, even.

Gus Schulenburg is responsible for this

So the sneak peak I was doing for Rivers Of Honey fell through.

But now I got 2 staged readings to put together for tomorrow and next Saturday. Yes, you read that right. 2 staged readings in 8 days. This flushes all my carefully thought-out planning right down the shitter.

This is all Gus Schulenburg's fault. He ushered in the whole, "HolyshitIjustlostmyentireproductionsoIgottaputsomethingtogetherrealquickorelse" trend. If there's a bunch of plays that need 10 days or less to put together - blame Gus Schulenburg.

As a matter of fact, if you see him, kick him in the nuts for me because he owes me for 4 gray hairs - 4 gray hairs that will never be whatever color they were again.

May 27, 2010

Waiting on the green light

So I applied for fiscal sponsorship at Fractured Atlas. With the help of shesgottaread and Guy Yedwab, I didn't have to shell out $100 for full membership at Fractured Atlas. Thanks, y'all!

I'm thinking about an option for online donations (not through Fractured Atlas, so not tax-deductible). Still vacillating between Kickstarter and IndieGoGo

May 26, 2010

Online donation options

Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or something else?

Pros for Kickstarter
  • People know what it is
  • No money taken from people unless goal reached
Cons for Kickstarter
  • Must go through Amazon
  • All-or-nothing fundraising
Pros for IndieGoGo
  • 4 methods of payment (including PayPal)
  • Keep all money raised
Cons for IndieGoGo
  • 9% fee (5% waived if you reach your goal)
  • Indiewhowhat?
In either case, I've got some video shit to do if I want to make my pitch appealing beyond "Gimme more money!"

If you know somebody who can help me out with making a presentable (of not flashy) video, hit me up.

May 24, 2010

It's not censorship if I do it!

Yes, comment moderation is on, but not for why you think. For a while now, I've been having to delete the strangest thing.

Someone with a Chinese name would post something in Chinese characters and leave a bunch of ellipses or something leading to nonsense websites. I don't know if this is a person or a bot (if a person, they have way too much fucking time on their hands).

So comment moderation is on (much to my chagrin, since babysitting isn't my choice of pastime) for the time being.

May 23, 2010

Viva le revolution! Travis sez, "Fuggedabout 'em!"

Travis Bedard says something at 2am Theatre ("Revolution") that I've been thinking for a while, but more politely than I would.

 . . . a modest proposal: Forget about them.

I don’t mean the Arena Stages and David Dowers, or the A.C.T. and Portland Center Stages… Every Theatre Bay Area, League of Chicago Theatres, and Austin Creative Alliance that buys in to the conversation is better for us|them|we.  But if the big boys and girls don’t want to play? Forget about them.

We can’t make revolution simply about resources. Most of the folks taking part in the conversation have few. It has to be about ideas. It has to be about creation. We have to eliminate the culture of ownership that drives business and foster a culture of shared ideas.

. . . . . . . . . .

Give it away. Publish your thoughts. Your ideas. Hell, even your scripts if you don’t intend to publish them traditionally. Look into Creative Commons and what it means (Lucas Krech has a great post here to get you started).

See, I'm all for this shit. I must be crazy since I look at an empty space and get paralyzed by the possibilities. I look at what can happen and wonder, "What's stopping it?"

Part of me believes it's the Somebody Oughta Do Something Syndrome. You know - where people know good and goddamned well something that could work, something they could actually do, and then they don't because . . . who knows?

SOMEBODY: I can't stand the way things are going on today! Somebody oughta do something!
ME: Like what?
SOMEBODY: What if XYZ happened? That would change things so much, and it doesn't cost anything! Anybody could do it!
ME: What's stopping you?
SOMEBODY: (Blank stare)

Or perhaps another scenario . . .

SOMEBODY: There's gotta be a way to make this more interesting, more interactive, more . . . something.
ME: Why don't you do something simple yet effective that helps you and others?
SOMEBODY: Yeah, that could work!
ME: Can I try it out with you?
SOMEBODY: (Blank stare)

Or this one that gets kicked around all the time . . .

SOMEBODY: We need more diversity in theatre! Where are all the women and people of color?
ME: (Raises hand)
SOMEBODY: How can we get more women and people of color actor on the theatre blogosphere?
ME: (Points to my blog)
SOMEBODY: Where are all the women and people of color?
ME: (Blank stare)
(Six months later . . .)
SOMEBODY: Where's all the diversity in theatre? All I see are a bunch of White guys!
ME: (Makes a sign that reads, "Woman of Color over here" with an arrow pointing to myself and a link to my blog)
SOMEBODY: Why don't we hear more from women and people of color?
ME: (Showing somebody the sign)
SOMEBODY: What do we do? What do we do?
ME: (Blank stare)
(Six months later . . . )
SOMEBODY: Why don't we hear more about works by women and people of color?
ME: (Sets off fireworks that reads, "RVCBard [arrow pointing at me] is a woman of color. You can reach her at [url, e-mail, address, phone number])
SOMEBODY: Seriously, that's fucked up. We really should be more inclusive of women and people of color.
ME: (Has aneurysm and dies)
(Six months later . . .)

SOMEBODY: RVCBard's been quiet lately.
SOMEBODY: You know, that one with the No Face icon.
SOMEBODY ELSE: Oh, yeah. I thought maybe she quit. Couldn't hack it, y'know?
SOMEBODY: Yeah, she was pretty hypersensitive about the racial shit.
SOMEBODY ELSE: Mm-hm. Gotta be tough to play with the big boys.
SOMEBODY ELSE: I've been thinking. We could use more diversity in theatre. Especially with writers.
SOMEBODY: Yeah, but where are all the women and people of color?

Oh! I forgot! Another way you can help "Tulpa, or Anne&Me"

Gus gets the credit for this one.

Let us fundraise at your show by selling concessions. Besides the fact that Jacob's House was awesome, especially with the crazy mystical shit going on (which I love, by the way - I'm into mythology and religion and shit, so I'm particular about how those things are presented). I can't manage popcorn and a soda fountain, but I can pull something pretty good off on pretty short notice. I just need to make a Costco trip with someone who has a membership and/or a car.

In which I grovel for cash [forward to as many people as would be interested] . . .

As I've repeated ad nauseam here, I'm working on the first production for Crossroads Theatre Project. Of course, as the one with a complete script ready to roll, I'm first up in the hot seat. We're going for a summer production, so opening night would most likely be in late July or early to mid-August.

Working full-time and just getting to the point where I can consistently cover my living expenses without getting queasy or breaking into a cold sweat means that I don't have money lying around to throw at this project.

I'm not going for a Broadway extravaganza here (hell no to that shit). I'm doing a small, intimate piece with minimal set and tech requirements. I'm going for a very bare bones thing to really highlight the actors and the story.

But I need help.

Here is the breakdown of the projected cost of producing Tulpa, or Anne&Me by myself:

$100 -
Fractured Atlas full membership. This will allow Crossroads Theatre Project to be eligible for fiscal sponsorship, so people can make tax-deductible donations. The deadline for May is May 31 (or, to be more realistic, May 28). They review applications in early June, and approvals will be announced no later than June 15. Thanks to shesgottaread, I'm already a good chunk of the way there. If you have and extra $50 or even $25, it'll help a lot.

$1150 - rehearsal space. My research shows rehearsal rates average at about $15 per hour (give or take a little). Tulpa, or Anne&Me is a 2-act play about 2 hours long. It will need about 70-75 hours of rehearsal (includes scenes, acts, and whole play) to adequately prepare the actors for performance. The total is $1125, but I'm adding a little more to include sales tax (if applicable) and/or a little extra money in case a rehearsal runs late.

$1000 - performance space. Performance rental rates can vary wildly. Since my needs are modest, I'm going for the smaller studio or black box spaces. You know - the ones where people are cramped in a few rows of folding-chairs? OK, maybe it won't be that bad, but we're not talking opera house balcony seats here. Based on my research, I'm probably going to have to pay around $30-50 an hour. To be on the safe side, I'm looking at 10 hours of performance each week (Fri-Sun only, includes time for arriving, setting up, seating, strike, etc) for a 2-week run, making a total of 20 hours or so.

$250 - marketing/advertising/publicity. One of the perks of my job is the ability to take advantage of a copy machine. So flyers and shit are no problem. If I want to do glossy postcards or buy ad space or what have you, that's a different matter, but there are intro rates and such all over the city. So this shouldn't be expensive. If there's something left over, maybe I could pay for something more, like glossy postcards and shit. Or set some aside for . . .

$600 - actors. Actors get a shit deal when it comes to getting paid for their work. So many times paying the actors is not even a blip on the radar. I don't want to be like that. Even if I only pay them from the box office and with whatever's left over from the budget, that's something. Ideally, I'd like to pay actors at least the same I'd pay the venue ($2150 total, in this case). But at the very least, I'd like to pay them for performance nights, even just $25. So that's $150 per actor, and a total of 4 actors makes that $600 I want to budget for them, at minimum. Besides that, I want to turn over the box office and most of any surplus from the budget over to them.

General estimate: about $3100.

The most pressing need is rehearsal space. It's possible to do a troupe-style thing where the group performs in different parts of NYC (where we don't have to pay for it). But without somewhere to practice, booking ourselves would be . . . stupid.

Contributing to the project:

If you want to make a monetary contribution, send me an email at rvcbard[at]gmail[dot]com. I'll give you the info you need to help us out. For now I can only take checks or money orders, but I'm working on an online donation option (suggestions other than PayPal welcome). as well. If I get approved for fiscal sponsorship at Fractured Atlas, not only will you be able to contribute online, but your donation will be tax-deductible.

What your contribution gets you (cumulative):

  • $25 - Props on our project website and playbill (complete with link to your website, LJ, or blog).
  • $50 - Comp tickets for the show OR autographed copy of the script, plus program and promotional materials
  • $100 - Video of performance
  • $250 - Personalized YouTube video thank you letter
  • $500 - Russell Simmons treatment (watch Def Comedy or Def Poetry to see what I mean)
  • $1,000+ - Let's figure something out. Maybe a party or something just for you.
But there are ways you can help without money too. For example:
  • Design and/or build our website
  • Design a brochure, postcard, and/or flyer
  • Donate rehearsal and/or performance space (NYC metro area)
  • Helping us get some free rehearsal space (NYC metro area)
  • Marketing/advertising/publicity help
  • Finding good actors who are reliable and cool with a DIY production that may rehearse in different spaces week-to-week. This is even more important than space since its impossible to have theatre without actors.
  • Buying or donating props
What your non-monetary contribution gets you (cumulative)
  • Thanks for helping - Pimp your products and/or services through our show
  • That's really cool - Comp tickets to the show OR autographed copy of the script, plus program and promo materials
  • This is gonna help soooo much - Press release for something you're doing
  • Awesome! - YouTube commercial for your own business or project
  • Holy Shit! - Let's figure something out.
This is not all that's possible, either. Especially if we make more than what we need. We're gonna hook it (and you) up. It's going to be special, and we're going to make you feel amazing.

May 20, 2010

What the fucking fuck?

You may have heard about Aiyana Jones. You know, the 7-year-old girl who got shot in the neck by Detroit PD? I wish I could say I'm surprised. But I'm not. This could've just as easily happened here in NYC.

(If you value your blood pressure, don't read the comments. Just. Don't.)

As they say in Star Wars, "I have a bad feeling about this."

I'm pretty sure some French aristocrats said the same thing when they first saw a guillotine.

Real ninja shit

Seriously. Fucking NINJAS!

Sneak Peek of "Tulpa, or Anne&Me" June 4 (aka, Say "diversity" like you mean it!)

I recently became a member of WOW Cafe. Why? Why not! Look at this fucking website and see why!

In any case, on June 4 is the Pride Show for Rivers Of Honey (ROH). WTF is Rivers Of Honey?
. . . a monthly cabaret featuring women and trans artists of color that happens the first Friday of every month at WOW Café Theatre –the oldest all women and trans run anarchist theatre in the country.  ROH was started in 1999 by a group of women artists/activists, namely Susanna Cook and Hanifah Walidah, who wanted to create a space that showcased and supported the art of women of color.  We have been going strong ever since!  Over the years, ROH has been promoted managed, supported and passed down to many amazing women who have donated their time, talent, and abilities to empower colored/Brown/Black women through the performing and visual arts, and create a safe space for women to show their work and realize their creative visions.
I'm planning on using a slot to give a sneak peek of Tulpa, or Anne&Me. Just a scene that firmly establishes it as a queer womanist piece. Unfortunately, there are no ninjas and no pyrotechnic bras.

The show is slotted from 5:30 until 11:30, so I'm not sure exactly when I'd be on (chances are some time after I get off work, say 7:30 or 8:00-ish). But I will update with more info soon.

Also coming up: a full press release for Tulpa, or Anne&Me.

May 14, 2010

About Crossroads and "Tulpa, or Anne&Me"

If you want to support my production by getting the word out about Tulpa, or Anne&Me, send people this way.

Black stories on stage
No maids. No crackheads. No Tyler Perry*.

Crossroads is a collaboration of 3 new Black playwrights whose works come from or deal with how race intersects with other identities such as gender, sexuality, and class. The idea of the crossroads is linked to Voodoo, African American folklore, and Delta blues songs about the crossroads being a place where the strange and unexpected happens – you could speak with the dead, meet spirits, or even sell your soul to the Devil on the crossroads. Crossroads honors the idea that our works, simply because they exist and come from us, challenge popular notions about what Black theatre is and what it means.

The first production will be Tulpa, or Anne&Me, a full-length, semi-autobiographical play that confronts the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality through pop culture, womanism, and Tibetan mysticism.

When a tulpa in the form of Anne Hathaway crawls out of your television, what do you do? What do you talk about? What hopes, fears, desires, and resentments emerge? How would you change one other?

Tulpa, or Anne&Me explores the hidden inner life of a Black woman in order to expose how marginalization traumatizes the human psyche, thus taking the first steps toward healing it.

(* Subject to change this part. I loathe the sort of status quo Tyler Perry upholds, but that has nothing to do with whether or not he has the right to do whatever.)

Decisions, decisions

I'm thinking about changing the title of Anne&Me to Tulpa (or perhaps using Tulpa as an alternative title or something like Tulpa, or Anne&Me).

(WTF is a tulpa? Glad you asked. Check out this [Western] personal account of a tulpa.

I've also updated my description of the piece to be more - shall we say, interesting? Thus far:
Tulpa, or Anne&Me is a full-length, semi-autobiographical play that confronts the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality through pop culture, womanism, and Tibetan mysticism.
When a tulpa in the form of Anne Hathaway crawls out of your television, what do you do? What do you talk about? What hopes, fears, desires, and resentments emerge? How would you change one other?
Tulpa, or Anne&Me explores the hidden inner life of a Black woman in order to expose how marginalization traumatizes the human psyche, thus taking the first steps toward healing it.
I'm looking for an early to mid July performance (I'm thinking Thurs-Sun July 8-18), so that means June has to be full of rehearsals. That means I only have to:

1. Find actors
2. Get a space*
3. Schedule rehearsals
4. Book performances
5. Fundraising*
6. Marketing, publicity, advertising

No sweat.

Regarding space, I'm a firm believer in Peter Brook's approach to theatrical space:
I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged. --Peter Brook, The Empty Space
Theatre is older than lights, sound systems, and proscenium stages. It's probably older than clothes and buildings. Not to mention, there's the fact that the play's set and prop needs are next to nil, so I can take a very minimalist approach.

For fundraising, I'm thinking about seeking fiscal sponsorship from an existing group. I pretty much just need the name and a place for people to send their money without the legal and ethical complications that can result from them giving cash or something directly to me. I'm looking for something like Fractured Atlas, but with fewer requisites since this is the very beginning of the project.

I'm also a huge believer in sweat equity, so if there's something where I can do boring yet necessary work in exchange for rehearsal and/or performance time, I'm open to that too.

What's the money for? To pay actors and (perhaps) rent space without having to come out of pocket. With a small stipend of $125 for each actor plus another $500 (for things that come up), we're talking a $1,000 budget for a very DIY show.

If you're interested in helping out, no matter how small an effort, respond here and/or send me an e-mail.

May 13, 2010

Supplementary material for a DIY production

So what would make a good add-on for supporters of the show? I can't exactly make or buy anything.

I got a copy of the script of Alice in Slasherland for writing a review. Is there something that can be at least as cool?

Mansplaining and theatrosphere

Mansplaining. I knew there was a word for it.

To be honest, I'm not interested in debating whether or not mansplaining is prominent in the theatre blogosphere. I think that's self-evident (with a few rare exceptions, such as James Comtois) because that's the society we live in. I don't think it's an accident that mansplainers tend to be cis male, White, straight, and able-bodied.

Considering the context in which this behavior emerges, and what that says about what's happening beneath the surface, it's pretty easy to imagine how that influences the current theatrical environment and its lack of space (literally and figuratively) for marginalized viewpoints and voices (with a limited exception for gay men because "theatre = gaygaygay!").

What's more important to me than pointing out mansplaining every time it occurs (of which plenty of examples can be found in the main text and comments of this article in the vein of "You Might Be A Redneck If . . . "), or even the overtly and subtly problematic nature of mansplaining is figuring out what to do about it.

Telling mansplainers to shut the fuck up on their own blogs is not exactly the best way to go about creating more meaningful dialogue not centered around mansplaining-centric norms. Off the top of my head, here are some things that can start right now:

  • Contribute to blogs by and for women in theatre - particularly if you have not worked with them before. Drama Daily has an excellent list to start with.
  • Ask women theatre bloggers to contribute to your own blog. (You mean women might have something worth saying that you didn't get to say first? Perish the thought!)
  • Link to shows with one or more women at the helm. Artistic director, producer, playwright, director, whatever. The person making decisions should be a woman. Don't wait for a (male) critic or reviewer to tell you when a woman's work is worth paying attention to.
  • Seriously, though: I'M RIGHT HERE!!!
  • Risk something. Not a lot. Just something. Risk boredom. Risk offense. Risk a small amount of disposable income. Risk not feeling like it. Risk looking stupid. Risk not getting it. Risk the same things I risk when I go to a movie, see a show, or meet someone new.

May 12, 2010

Where's the Scooby gang when you need 'em?

I came across this bit of news recently. Just . . . read it.

Somehow I wonder if this can be turned into some sort of moneymaking venture. It's not like pinning crimes on non-existent Black dudes is anything new.

ETA: Nevermind.

Paul Mooney beat me to it back when I was too young to listen to him.

May 10, 2010

Reading for Anne&Me tonight!

And my pimp - er, pal James Comtois gives you some info over here.

(See me giving hits up to people's stuff?)

Of course, I guess it would be pretty smart if I gave you something extra for you to get a more complete picture of the process. Honestly, reading just about anything under the race, gender, or sexuality tags here is a good start. But you can also head over to my LiveJournal (shutupshutupshutupshutup) and look at a few scenes and ruminations from previous incarnations of Anne&Me.

You may also want to get your bell hooks on (especially Ain't I a Woman, Black Looks, and Sisters of the Yam).

Then smoke some weed or do some mushrooms and learn about the tulpa.

And watch Paranormal Activity at home by yourself at night with the lights cut out.

And maybe read Michael Ende's The Neverending Story (nothing like those movies - although the first one is the shit because I love me some Gmork).

May 8, 2010

regarding dumbasses at Harvard (aka Stephanie Grace)

I know that, considering many of the things I've said and thought, I should be shocked and outraged. But I'm not. The most I could muster is a shoulder shrug. The only thing that's news about what happened is that it got found out. That White people think Black people are dumber than them is only news to White people.

More than the event itself, what concerns me is how this will be used as a kind of "get out of being called racist free" card where, instead of looking at what happened as a call for greater self-examination on the part of White-dominated institutions followed by efforts to change the systemic inequities inherent in them, Nice White People will pretty much jut pat themselves on the back for not (deliberately) being Stephanie Grace.

So, once again, at the end of the day, what matters most are not the lives of people of color (Black people, in this case), but the image of White people.

May 2, 2010

Oh, HELL yes!

Alienated Conclusions gives us the Black Girl's Manifesto: The Basic Rights of Femininity. A few drops of awesome sauce:

6. Black women and girls have the right to love, to be loved, to be treated as human beings effortlessly.

15. Black women and girls have the right to sexual freedom and identity. Like straight black women, GLBT black women have the RIGHT to demand fairness and marriage over the stereotypes that prevent it.

21. It is not black women's responsibilities to take on the burdens of their community, anymore than any other women, because of their skin color.

30. Black women have the right to reject white feminism, black male nationalism, liberalism, anarchism, and so forth because it does not apply to their particular circumstances. They are allowed to do so without fear of alienating potential ally's. Such groups have never really considered their particular struggles to begin with.

Go read the rest here!