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LA Writers Center
Newsletter July 2020
A Message From Che'Rae
The world "turns upside down" and something is not right. In fact, too many things are very wrong. We are learning that we have work to do and that our duty is greater than we ever comprehended. Art helps us be more empathetic and gives us agency to be an active contributor of change. The LA Writers Center is proud to be a diverse arts organization whose writers have developed BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ stories for almost two decades. But we can do better.
We think instead of speaking, it would be better to listen. Instead of making promises, it would be best to take action. With that in mind, LAWC is partnering with HowlRound (https://howlround.com/) to present “Breathe” an online play reading series designed to advance these stories. We are presenting one reading a month through the end of the year. "Strange Fruit Part I", written by Jon Bastian and directed by Martin Bedoian, will kick off the series on August 29th.
We hope you will attend, participate, and spread the word. We believe these stories need to be heard and we are now, more than ever, prepared to listen.
WEBINARS BY WRITERS FOR WRITERS
LAWC instructor Mark B. Perry has been producing a wide variety of TV series over the last 30 years including "The Wonder Years", "Ghost Whisperer" and "Revenge" LAWC members have been taking a "Writing A TV Pilot" class with Mark B. Perry. We interviewed Mark to see how it is going!
How did you come to teach at LAWC?
Mark: I met Che'Rae through my husband Mark Knowles who's been in her writing class for years. Che'Rae has been a champion of Mark's work and helped with staged readings of two of his plays. Che'Rae first asked me to do a one-off webinar about showrunning, and it went well enough that she then asked if I'd be willing to co-teach a class in pilot writing and here we are.
How has the experience been so far?
Mark: So far, I've been impressed by both the talent of the students and the variety of genres and premises. I'm happy to say I'm learning a few new things myself.
What words of wisdom would you give to the students?
Mark: The words of wisdom I like to give are the ones given to me by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Steve Tesich (Breaking Away), who simply said a version of the oft repeated but spot on "if you want to be a writer... write." I wrote several spec screenplays and television episodes before I finally got a break, so you just have to keep putting words on the screen.
LA Writers Center presents a reading of Strange Fruit by Jon Bastian as a part of our "Breathe" online play reading series livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv beginning Saturday 29 August 2020 at 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 2 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).
The event will be live-streamed on both the LA Writers Center (https://www.facebook.com/LAWritersCenter/?epa=SEARCH_BOX) and Howlround's (http://HowlRound Theatre Commons) Facebook pages. HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound (https://howlround.com/about) .
About the Play
A tale of the 20th century, Strange Fruit is a non-chronological and kaleidoscopic interweaving of multiple interconnected stories including the tale of Billie Holiday and her signature song, the Jewish Communist school teacher from the Bronx who wrote it, the Red Scare witch-hunt victims whose children he saved, the lynching victims who inspired it, the young black writer who was inspired by it, and the young gay man whose death shocked a nation and led to attempts at tolerance in the twenty-first century. Crossing lines of gender, race, religion, and sexuality, Strange Fruit strives to remind us that, ultimately, our commonality is in being human, and the danger is in focusing upon our differences, rather than our similarities. The play reminds us that hope is a fleeting thing, and that the advances of one generation can never be taken for granted when they can be taken back so easily in the next. The price of equality is constant vigilance and mutual protection.
Blaine's new audio play Dead Wait: A Journey Into Afro-Existentialism is available to listen to on THE AFRO-EXISTENTIAL PODCAST. You can listen to it here (http://www.afroexpodcast.com) .
Alisa's play Art is Useless When You're Being Mauled By A Bear has been published by Stage Rights. You can purchase a copy here (https://www.stagerights.com/allshows/art-is-useless-when-youre-being-mauled-by-a-bear/?fbclid=IwAR0vVwi45WkKprWVpFlQi8Wu8rIolM37uMuGa8V6IZXBItVqcgSu7pBE270 https://www.amazon.com/Useless-When-Youre-Being-Mauled/dp/1647230152/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=art+is+useless+when+you%27re&qid=1594106707&sr=8-1) . Support if you can!
Megan's play Feast is being produced by Know Theatre of Cincinnati (https://www.knowtheatre.com/) in a special online version, running through 8/30. And it's interactive! If you choose the "party favor" option, you'll get a special treat in the mail - not to be opened until the show!
A tale of the 20th century, Strange Fruit is a non-chronological and kaleidoscopic interweaving of multiple interconnected stories including the tale of Billie Holiday and her signature song, the Jewish Communist school teacher from the Bronx who wrote it, the Red Scare witch-hunt victims whose children he saved, the lynching victims who inspired it, the young black writer who was inspired by it, and the young gay man whose d