Beginning The Conversation

  • December 30, 2015 11:01 am

Rare Steaks“An Explorer’s Desire” which we did in 2013 in Los Angeles and Florence, Italy was originally conceived to demonstrate that immigration is not a ‘local problem’ but a common issue filled with one deeply specific human story after another. There is no ‘wave’ of immigrants, but there are drops of individuals who are either forced or choose to migrate from their home and each carries with them every human emotion, every care, every fear regardless of their skin color, their language, sexuality or religion. When we see them as a wave we forget this. But when we listen and feel their individual journey’s we can see our own. This is what we wanted to demonstrate in 2013. This and the fact that the exploration of the world is a glorious thing — that meeting each other on the stage of this planet is a rare gift.

Now, in 2015, we have come to a point, yet again, in our history where immigration and the immigrant is demonized. And because of this I could not stand by silently. It seemed to me — a second generation American — that some of us were forgetting our history, and that others were allowing the manipulation of words to shortcut logical exploration and discourse.

So, clearly the right thing to do was to re-examine “An Explorer’s Desire” in order to respond to fear and hatred which are rising both in the United States and Europe as many of our neighbors from various and troubled lands seek shelter and kindness – seek a new home where they are safe.

I have always said, and I will again say it here, that The Global Theatre Project does not do political theatre – we do social theatre. We look at social issues and seek processes and approaches which help our artists, students and community members to celebrate the inter-connectivity of humanity.  To find the way to guide others toward remembering we are one human family. That the world as well as our very neighborhood streets function better when we engage on this level. However, I am pointedly choosing to explore this issue during an election year because many of our politicians are using immigration as a tool and this is threatening a social fabric I feel we, as a free people, can not forget. The tapestry of our history.

Throughout the coming months I will share the process with you: What we learn, what challenges we face, what individuals and groups we engage and what art and conversation is created.

Please stay in touch. At some point we will want to include you. Your story is important, your history, your journey — all of it is intertwined through the centuries to this very moment.

Happy New Year,

Bari

Our Special Guests for “Especially Now”

  • November 22, 2011 9:19 pm

We are pleased and privileged to announce our special guests for  

ESPECIALLY NOW: Create the World Together

December 11 at 7pm

UPDATE: Mike Farrell also joins with our Amnesty Action in Act 3!

MIKE FARRELL is an American actor, best known for his role as Captain B.J. Hunnicutt on the television series M*A*S*H. He was a producer of Patch Adams (1998) starring Robin Williams, and has starred on the television series Providence (1999–2002). He appeared as Milton Lang, the father of Victor Lang (John Slattery), husband of Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria) on Desperate Housewives (2007–2008). Mr. Farrell is an activist for many political and social causes. He has worked with Human Rights Watch, was on the Board of Advisors of the original Cult Awareness Network, and has been president of Death Penalty Focus for more than ten years, being the first person to be awarded their Human Rights Award, subsequently named after him, in 2006.

 

We welcome back the brilliant actor James Cromwell. He will stand with Amnesty International and all our participants for Act 3 of the evening. Thank you James!!!!

Born in Los Angeles but raised in Manhattan and educated at Middlebury College and Carnegie Tech, James Cromwell – the son of noted film director John Cromwell – studied acting at Carnegie-Mellon. He went into the theater (like both his parents) doing everything from Shakespeare to experimental plays. He started doing TV in 1974, gaining some notice in a recurring role as Archie Bunker’s buddy Stretch Cunningham in “All in the Family” (1968), made his film debut in 1976, and goes back to the stage periodically. Some of his more noted film roles have been in Revenge of the Nerds (1984) and the surprise hit about a charming pig, Babe (1995). He garnered some of the best reviews of his career – many of which said he should have received an Oscar – for his role as a corrupt, conniving police captain in L.A. Confidential (1997). IMDb Mini Biography By: M.S. Burton <suburton@u.washington.edu> 

 

Act Two: Panel Discussing the impact on civil rights and democracies when journalists suffer violent reprisal for reporting the truth 

KALAYA’AN MENDOZA has been an activist, organizer and mobilizer for various issues ranging from Queer rights to Tibetan independence to anti-racist organizing and beyond. He is currently serving as Amnesty International-USA’s Western Regional Field Organizer, coordinating with human rights activists in Southern California, Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming. Prior to working at Amnesty International-USA he was the Grassroots Coordinator for Students for a Free Tibet International during the Beijing 2008 Olympics campaign. In his role as Grassroots Coordinator Kalaya’an launched and coordinated numerous social network-based campaigns globally, utilizing social media platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Youtube.

 

 

SANDY TOLAN is a journalist, teacher, and documentary radio producer. He is associate professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC.  He has reported in more than 30 countries, especially in the Middle East, Latin America, the Balkans and Eastern Europe. He has produced dozens of documentaries for National Public Radio and Public Radio International, and has written for more than 40 newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, and The Nation.  Much of his focus has been on land, water, natural resources, ethnic conflict and indigenous affairs. He has received more than 25 national and international honors, including two from the Overseas Press Club, the DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton, three Robert F. Kennedy awards for reporting on the disadvantaged, a Harry Chapin World Hunger Year award, and a United Nations Gold Medal award. He was a 1993 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and an I.F. Stone Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, where he taught international reporting. 
In 2006 his students won the prestigious George Polk Award for their public radio series on the early signs of climate change – the first time students have received a Polk Award.  Sandy is the author of The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East (Bloomsbury, 2006), based on his award-winning documentary for NPR’s Fresh Air about a Palestinian man, an Israeli woman, and their common bond: a stone home in the town of Ramla, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The book was Booklist’s “Editor’s Choice” for best adult non-fiction book of the year. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and received the 2006 Christopher Award. His first book, Me and Hank (Free Press, 2000), which the New York Times called “a solid hit,” is an exploration of heroes and race relations in America through the experience of baseball slugger Hank Aaron.

More information on ESPECIALLY NOW: Create the World Together

Facebook Event Page

 

 

 

 

 

Why Art Matters

  • October 11, 2010 10:48 am

I think Art Writer, Jordan Levin of the Miami Herald, answers this extremely well in his article which mentions the closing of the Ballet Florida. Here are a few quotes from his article which you can read in full if you click here.

I know, with jobs and homes and dreams of better lives being lost by the millions, art and culture seem like a luxury. But I would argue that they’re an essential aspect of being happy and civilized. More, I would argue that thinking culture is a frill, a disposable ornament for a comfortable life, has helped get us into the mess we’re in.

Take the ethical failure that led to the financial crisis, the development of a criminally selfish system where the only thing that mattered (and still matters) is how much money is made, regardless of common sense or fairness or actual value produced for anyone but a few executives at the top. You could attribute the cancerous growth of that kind of thinking, at least in part, to the disappearance of the arts from our educational system and the downgrading of culture to consumer pop culture.

After all, the arts teach us morality, humanity, the range of identity, the importance of beauty and ideas and qualities you can’t quantify, the values we hold in common. Unlike American Idol, they teach us that there are qualities that matter more than fame. They teach us all this through miraculously pleasurable experiences that at their best are akin to spiritual revelation, and that even in their lesser occurrences are a source of delight and understanding. Why does that constantly have to be defended as worthwhile? How can you love music without appreciating that beauty and form matter? How can you be moved by the novels of Junot Diaz or Charles Dickens and not absorb a sense of morality and fairness?

Instead of declaring the inherent value of the arts, the cultural community increasingly falls back to defending itself in economic terms. The arts provide jobs, boost other spending, help revitalize cities and neighborhoods by drawing educated young people looking for a certain quality of life. Studying music boosts math skills, and studying painting could lead to a career in commercial graphic design. All perfectly reasonable arguments. But when the economy is tanking, making dances won’t make as much money as making widgets, and if economic viability is your only defense, you’re going to lose.

We in the media play our role in all this. Just like the rest of the culture, the media focuses on the most dominant movies, pop music and television, because that’s where the numbers and the profitable ad rates are. (Or better yet, they focus on celebrities, because it’s so much easier to write about a pop star’s style and love life than her talent — or lack thereof.) But the more the media ignores the arts because they’re “unimportant,” the more that attitude is reinforced in the world at large. It’s a nasty circle. The arts increasingly disappear from public consciousness, and so the media is further justified in ignoring them.

No, a dance concert doesn’t have the audience of a Harry Potter movie. But treating it as an elitist, incomprehensible, negligible activity shoves dance much further to the margins than it deserves. It also creates a self-fulfilling prophecy: We don’t cover dance because nobody’s interested, but the fewer people know about dance, the less likely it is that they’ll be interested.

And why wouldn’t we be interested? Shouldn’t we be? Yes, we need to focus on lifting ourselves out of the ditch right now.

People need a place to live, enough to eat, and a job to do. But as things get better, maybe more of those jobs could have to do with teaching or making or presenting art, rather than creating still more incomprehensible and ultimately worthless investment schemes.

Goldman Sachs already has too much money, and it sure doesn’t make the rest of us feel like dancing.

Introduction

  • October 6, 2010 3:36 pm

In this blog we will look at the issue of theatre arts and its affect on the international community, both here in the states and abroad.  As issues are brought to light, and as The Global Theatre Project grows, more information will be included which I hope will add to a roboust, productive and proactive discussion.  The inquiry is: how can the theatre artists and students of our country actively, creatively, positively and joyously develop their work and their selves along side their international peers in a way which enhances and benefits the local community in which they are doing their work.

I, of course, invite those of you who have content, ideas, images or video you would like to add to this discussion to please do so by contacting me or putting your comments below.

With regards and thanks,

Bari Hochwald
President and Artistic Director