Beach Bug Blog

Lest you believe I've been enjoying myself too much, I have a guest blogger to tell you the truth about my summer hiatus...with pictures! Introducing my cousin, Barbara Silverman, artist, writer, and all around amazing human!

"Beach and Beach Bugs" by Guest Blogger, Barbara Silverman

It seemed silly to leave California to go beach side in New York. Even a New Yorker or two thought it a bit odd. Yet, I never go to the beach in California. Where I live you need a wet suite to survive and if it’s just about catching rays, well, who wants skin cancer? Besides, just when you do think it’s hot enough to make it a beach day, chances are the beach still thinks it's winter. If you show up with just your suit and a towel it could make you wish you’d brought your woollies.

But after growing up in New York I never thought New York to be a beach vacation spot but now I know otherwise. The beach here is lovely. The moist air keeps it warm, and the water is tolerably warmer than the icy stuff I avoid at home.

As we ventured onto the sand, I unpacked my art supplies and allowed the view to direct my hand. It was blissful until I felt something like a pin prick on my leg. Then another and another. We were being served up as a main course for a few fly type creatures. Then the visitors were joined by some wasp type creatures. Not wanting to harm another being we attempted to redirect them elsewhere but they’d have nothing of it. They followed us each time we gave up our spaces for them. Finally, my generous nature dissolved and I kicked the sand to bury this evil attacker. When he crawled out from under it was time to retreat to the safety of the indoors.

Visit her website and leave a comment on her blog here!

Posted on August 5, 2011 and filed under Un-Blog Me!.

What a Team!

Having successfully survived the slings and arrows of our Summer of Lust, I have to thank everyone involved for doing the impossible. The critical praise for our shows belies the unexpected obstacles behind the scenes. While a vital cast member experienced the untimely death of his mother, and another fell ill with a mysterious fever, we had the unbelievably talented  Phil Callen step in to save the day. As we faced the difficult decision of cancelling Bad Evidence, out of the blue Phil walked into the cell as if on cue. In the final moments he learned not one, but two parts in record time under the tireless direction of Kira. Thank you, Kira, Phil, and divine providence for stepping in! Also, special kudos to the ladies behind the scene, Pat and Garlia, for working above and beyond to keep the wheels turning. Every cast, crew, production team member and intern deserves praise and a special round of applause for the hard work involved in our productions. We are now in a fundraising campaign to ensure the livelihood of our indefatigable artists. Please help us keep going! What would the world be without art?

Posted on July 29, 2011 and filed under Un-Blog Me!.

a game i play

A game I play about fame I pick a name Like, say John Lennon and pretend for a moment I lived his life

the glory the spectacle the genius (in no particular order) the path to his wife death

I ask myself would I trade my own to be Yoko? No.

I move on Paul or Linda? Warhol or Mapplethorp? Marilyn? Morrison? Jimi or Janis? JFK or Jackie O? Choose.

The weight of this game exhausts me as if I’ve run a marathon in which I cannot possibly win.

Can you?

Posted on July 22, 2011 and filed under Un-Blog Me!.

"a play that goes for the jugular"

Our Summer of Lust is sizzling! I am so proud of our work with The Hive and, after a year in development, our showcase production of Bad Evidence. To convey the sense of pride and satisfaction derived from our collective efforts, I'd like to share a note I received from playwright Terry Quinn:

"Just need to say how grateful I am for the wonderful opportunity you've offered me here. I've had the best time imaginable these past two months or so. I love elegance and welcoming spirit of the cell... I love the cast that resulted from a thrilling audition process ... I love the design crew and the amazing help all of us have received from the 'upstairs office' gang ... and of course I love Kira -- the ideal director for my work.

You've been so gracious and supportive of me as a playwright from the start. Thank you -- and Alan -- so much for that. I'm wishing you a joyful time this evening. No one deserves it more than you."

Posted on July 15, 2011 and filed under Un-Blog Me!.



Meditation = Restoration

Broken, I needed a break. I listened. I heard the sound of one hand clapping

A twist of thought brought Music to my ears the sound of clapping hands

I realize Praise in any guise, A word A phrase A note can raise the dead.

I have risen

Floating and full as the moon Searching for life’s blood I promise to give you my all… can you hear my heart?

I will mend, learn to bend like a blade of grass in silence.

P.S. We eagerly anticipate the sound of your hands clapping for our Summer of Lust!!!

Posted on July 8, 2011 and filed under Un-Blog Me!.

This week nearly killed me.

This week nearly killed me. Some vitriolic and threatening messages from disgruntled artists and bureaucrats came our way. In the face of such hostility, I’ve had to ask myself, the cell staff, and anyone else who will listen, “What have I done to make people so angry?” The mission of the cell is to incubate and present new works of art. We attract a wide range of struggling artists who want and need but seldom receive free space in which to work/perform/display their creations. As an artist run arts organization, we offer our experience and guidance, technical equipment and support, and an extensive promotional network. In return, we ask participating artists to publicly recognize us as "incubators" so that others will know what we do.

In the space of a week, we’ve been threatened with a lawsuit by a musical duo, denied our request for public acknowledgement by a writer, and confronted by the Dramatists Guild. We gave our all to promote these folks but they treated us like criminals! I simply don’t understand. Is asking for recognition immoral or a violation of the constitution (as the Guild would have us believe)?

Our labor of love has grown beyond our wildest dreams…but this dream is turning into a nightmare…In addition, our neighbors now want to shut us down! We are doing everything possible to create peace and harmony, but still, we are being treated as if we are hooligans. Ignoring our request for a meeting, one irate neighbor, in an effort to silence us, hosed our performers! What??? I would never want to inspire that kind of animosity… so it is with deep regret we will be limiting, if not discontinuing, our programming.

I am doing my best, but I guess sometimes one’s best just won’t cut it.

Posted on July 1, 2011 and filed under Un-Blog Me!.

nOtes frOm my Opus tOO

nOtes frOm my Opus, tOO 6/14/11 Finding a collaborator in New York is like finding a tennis partner; no one wants to play with someone worse than they are. I was still working with Tranny Annie on “SIN!” but that composer was not into the sounds of Brazil. “RIO” was insinuating itself like a nine month pregnancy. My needs were specific. Santa Clause with Bad Teeth (my pet name for the master composer) was not totally the right choice, but he begged, begged me to give him a chance. He needed the income. “Your story,” he advised, like a piano teacher who smacks your knuckles with a blunt object, “needs a real writer. I know someone. Call him.” I did. When I met the writer at a Starbucks, where all great collaborations begin, he gave me a sample of his work, a musical about Jews and Jesus, which was actually very similar to the idea of “SIN!” Naturally, I took that as a sign. Thus began the rewriting of “RIO: the musical novella”. In those days, everything was a sign, as in a sign from God. When I first searched for a composer for “SIN!” I found him through a stream of “coincidences” too numerous to enumerate. We all now know there are no coincidences. I eagerly ran off to the city to knock on his door. It wasn’t until that moment I considered he could be armed and dangerous. Too late to turn back. The door opened. An older man with a genial face on a large, imposing frame appeared. Me: How do I know you’re not an ax murderer?” Him: How do I know you’re not? (Note the dialogue. You can see my writing style was clearly taking shape.) I liked him. Next hurdle. I was shy. Not adept at writing music, in fact incapable, I developed my own method of memorizing the fifty to one hundred tunes I’d composed. I showed him my music written in dots. It was his job to transpose, arrange and play it, which meant I had to sing it to him. We toiled for a year or so. That was about the time another chain of coincidences led me to good ol’ Tranny Annie.

Posted on June 24, 2011 and filed under Un-Blog Me!.

Funny The Way It Is

Funny The Way It Is So, here I am sitting at my computer with many thoughts about tornadoes, earthquakes, poverty, disease, and the more immediate crises of my dogs’ desire for treats and my bird squawking for peanuts. Okay, so I’m a whiner.

I really love the Dave Matthews’, “Funny the Way It Is.”  If you haven’t heard it, it’s an eloquent dissertation on the inherent inequities in this crazy world. He says in a song what I’ve wished to put in a play…but now that he’s got it covered I can go back to obsessing about what to write in my next blog, thereby avoiding the hard work of writing anything else.

To be honest, I have a wonderful life. I have everything I need, most everything I want, and I could be as free as my silly bird that never leaves his cage, even though his cage door is open. He surely wishes for freedom, but knows not where to go, what to do. To be more honest, I struggle with freedom, just like Pee Jay. I call it Freedom’s a Bitch Syndrome.

I should complain? Though I’ve never actually gone hungry, I know first hand about scraping by. I also know about comfort and security. I am lucky to have friends from all walks of life, but also painfully aware of my responsibility to those at both ends of the spectrum.

Some were born to use their gifts, Some were born to struggle, I was born to witness both From my precious bubble. nm

Next time you hear me complain about the plight of the artist, you might start singing to yourself. Tuneful art can serve as a reminder of the inherent inequities in this crazy world and the responsibility of the artist to spread the word…

“Funny the way it is, if you think about it One kid walks 10 miles to school, another’s dropping out Funny the way it is, not right or wrong On a soldier’s last breath his baby’s being born” Dave Matthews

Posted on June 17, 2011 and filed under Un-Blog Me!.

Why We Do It

Why We Do It You’ve undoubtedly noticed music’s effect. We’ve all noticed, for example, how movie music manipulates your reactions to what you’re viewing. Or, if you’ve been to the Met or Avery Fisher, how Opera or a symphony can put some (not you, of course) to sleep, or captivate others in the magic of a story or imagery.

Well guess what? We were right! Now scientists are proving what we already know. Through brain imaging and other wonders of modern research, science is now able to confirm that we are actually feeling what we think we are feeling. Wow. What a breakthrough!

I can now safely speak up about how very important I believe music is in the scheme of life. Not only does it arouse and enhance our emotions, but music also has healing properties and plays a significant role in creating community. I always suspected this was true, but now I know… because I heard it on NPR!

I’ll bet ‘they’ will soon be able to demonstrate with brain imaging and other wonders of modern research that Drama helps its creators and audience to work out their internal conflicts, and that Art gives a sense of purpose to both artist and viewer. But, of course, there are those of you who will doubt the evidence until hard science proves it. In the meantime, we at the cell will keep doing what we do in order to prove science right!

Posted on June 10, 2011 and filed under Un-Blog Me!.

If I were a Tree

BLOG  JUNE 3 If I were a tree…

It occurs to me that in this age of narcissism and ME-mindedness we have learned that the mind is a selfish and creative entity. MIND craves attention and purpose.  As communication allows for simultaneous connection and disconnectedness, we have evolved, so far, into a culture of self-expressive vultures, accounting for the vast glut of movies, books, visual artworks, theater pieces and other creative output. We all have a lot to say, don’t we?

I feel I am struggling to do the impossible. To give voice and not be heard is a burden, not a pleasure. Like a tree falling in the forest, if it is not heard, does it make a sound? But the tree never asks, “Should I grow?” It grows. It struggles to the light. It produces seeds and eventually may or may not fall. It exists, whether conscious or not, as an entity in process. And its existence matters, with or without a witness. If it falls, whether or not it is heard, it makes a wave. I tell myself, “I am an entity in process.” I struggle to the light. I have produced seeds. I grow. Yet I wonder, is it enough, this process, if I am not heard?

And I think about all the art and all the artists and I understand that I am a tree in the forest. My process is enough, almost. Yet, unlike a tree, I crave attention and purpose. Trees cannot read. I try, but I cannot ignore The New York Times. I am reminded that the only way to remain an entity is through competition. This is not only my biological destiny…the Times tells me Darwin was right about that…but it is also the imperative of the critic to remind me that I am not good enough to be heard. Maybe there is something to be said for the critic. Someone must be able to tell us which art is worth something. Worth. Something. What does this mean? What has value? That which sells and supports the system has value. The critic is no dummy. He is a despot. Despotically (yes I made that up, too)…despotically connected to a system that supports him. The critic is a survivor. A promoter. The only people who make any real money in the arts are the lawyers, and the advertising people. The critic is part of the ad team. This is not my opinion. It is a fact. You can Google it.

But back to the point. TMI. Too Much Information. We have too much and want to share it all. We are in a creative age. To me, this means the artist withdraws from the world to hear her MIND. To put pen to paper, brush to canvas, feet to dance or words to music to release what is brewing inside. We are boiling over. We need to be heard. How do we survive when the despots are no longer objective? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the forest.

Posted on June 3, 2011 and filed under Un-Blog Me!.