My play The Elephant in the Room was named a finalist in the first annual Labute New Theater Festival, started by the St. Louis Actors’ Studio in St. Louis, Missouri. I’ll post more details here as I learn them, but the play will be produced as part of the festival in July 2013, at the Gaslight Theater in St. Louis.
I’m hoping to be able to travel to see it, but I’m actually in rehearsal for another show that we were going to do a work-in-progress showing of in late July, so it will depend on the timing. But either way, I’m excited to have the play be part of this new festival.
I was invited to be part of a discussion taking place at Harvard. The discussion will focus on the challenges that artists working in all forms face in getting paid for their creative work. Many discussions have been taking place live and online around these topics over the past couple of years, and they have taken place in different forms in decades past. Of course, no single discussion will solve the problem, but I’m looking forward to comparing notes with my fellow speakers, Jesal Kapadia of MIT and and Lise Soskolne of W.A.G.E.
Please join if you’re in the Boston area:
Wednesday, April 10 @ 7.00pm
Capenter Center for the Visual Arts
24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free and doesn’t require tickets or RSVP.
I was asked to take part in Flux Factory’s Death Match: Arts Funding, Follow the $$$$ in January of this year. It was a bit raucous and a laugh, but it got me thinking about a few things. Lucky for me, the National Endowment for the Arts blog editor asked me to write a recap of the event for them, so I had a chance to think through some of what we talked about in the debate. Read it here:
• A Fight to the Death for Arts Funding?
That piece follows up on a series of articles and essays I’ve been writing over at Hyperallergic about the role of the arts in US society. All this writing builds on the research I’m doing for a book that I’m writing about the value of the arts in America.
Here are a couple of the other pieces that I’ve written lately:
• Failure, Success, and Community in Contemporary Performance
• Recovering the History of the Puerto Rican Art Workers’ Coalition
• A Grand Unified Theory of Art?
• The Perplexing Role of Metrics in the Arts
• It Is Broke, We Should Probably Fix It: The Nonprofit Model and the Arts
• Good Intentions and Big Ideas: Feel Good Grants That Exploit Artists and Reduce Arts Funding
View the complete archive of my pieces for Hyperallergic here.
Most of what I’m doing these is connected in some way to research I’m doing for the book I’m working on about value and the arts. In the process, I’ve come across some resources that make me really happy that data geeks and life-long researchers do their work. Here are a few good resources:
• CPANDA (The Cultural Policy & the Arts National Data Archive – has links to just about every major arts-related data set out there)
• Some 2001 data from Princeton on the question of “How many artists are there [in the US]?” (it has holes, but it’s a great and very digestible jumping off point to larger questions about how we name and count artists)
• Most of this woman’s writing: Ellen Dissanayake
• This book, for many reasons: The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex
• Not being an educator, I’m coming to find as I dip further into a framework for better understanding the arts, that the term “inquiry” has achieved a vogue in education now, as in “inquiry-based learning.” Inquiring minds want to know…
But it’s not all research all the time. This fall I started a Queer Writing Group with Ella Boureau of In the Flesh Magazine. And in November I co-organized a marathon reading of work by Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich at the Lesbian Herstory Archives. My brain can’t sit still these days.
Along with Shawn Smith and Flavia Rando, I’m helping to organize a marathon reading of writing by Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich at the Lesbian Herstory Archives. It’s going to take place on November 17, 2012 (the 40th anniversary of Lorde’s passing), at the Archives in Brooklyn, NY, from 12noon to 12midnight.
We’ve already had a wonderful response and a whole range of different organizations are taking part, from the Astraea Foundation to bklyn boihood to Belladonna.
I’m really excited to be part of putting this event together and really looking forward to the chance to spend a day sinking into the work of these two remarkable women.
Get the full details here.
In addition, the Archives is running a fundraising campaign in tandem with the event. If you can, please give to this important and extremely unique organization, dedicated to preserving the stories of women who often remain hidden to history. Donate here.
I’m going to be one of the people sharing stories at the next Queer Memoir event on October 6 at 8pm. The event takes place at the headquarters for Queers for Economic Justice in Chelsea (147 W. 24th St., 4th Floor, New York, New York). The theme for the evening is, nerd. Plus, there are some pretty awesome people who will also be sharing that night: Calvin S. Cato, Laura Duncan, Kelli Dunham (co-founder of Queer Memoir), M. Taueret Davis, Everett Maroon, and Genne Murphy (co-founder of Queer Memoir).
There are so many ways to interpret that word, nerd… I’ve known many in my day, and I seem to have been one myself since about birth. I’m not exactly sure yet what story I will tell, but from my experience as an audience member at one of these events a couple of months ago, they’re very warm, friendly, and welcoming.
So, please come along if you can.
Click here to view the web page for the event.
Click here to view the event on Facebook.
And feel free to send me unsolicited anecdotes of my nerd-ly behavior (past and present)…
Excerpts from an interview that I conducted with Sarah Schulman has been published in the new Fall 2012 issue of Bitch Magazine.
I wanted to speak with Schulman after reading one of her new books (yes, she has had multiple books published in the past 12 months), The Gentrification of the Mind. And also because I had recently learned about her work as a co-producer on the documentary, United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, which I was subsequently able to see.
We spoke for an hour about art, activism, publishing, and queer community-building. It was a great conversation and I’m only sorry that more of it wasn’t able to get published.
I’ve been asked by one of the founders/editors of In The Flesh magazine to participate in the first event in their new reading series titled Homotextual.
It’s going to take place in Brooklyn, NY, and I’ll be reading part of a new essay/meditation on having it both ways. In addition to myself, Sylvan Oswald and Ariel Speedwagon will be reading.
Friday, July 13, 2012
at Branded Saloon
603 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Click here for more info.
Hope to see you there!
As some of you may know, I’m working on a book about the role of artists and the arts in society, particularly the US. While I’m working on the book, I’m also working on publishing journalism around the topic. Just recently I’ve published two OpEds on the subject, specifically related to funding for artists:
• New Data Reveals Artists Aren’t Gettin’ Paid
• Aren’t They Happier That Way? Artists and the NEA
There will be more articles on the subject going forward, so keep an eye out on my Twitter feed.
I’ve decided to do an informal reading of my newest play at the place that helped inspire it. It’s free and open to the public, plus those in attendance are welcome to read parts from the script.
Here’s some basic info:
Written by Alexis Clements
Friday, May 11 at 7pm.
Informal reading at the Lesbian Herstory Archives (484 14th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215)
Light refreshments will be provided.
Some of those present will be able to read parts in the play – actors welcome.
There are seven roles in the play, all female. Ages range from 15-78. Multi-ethnic cast.
Read more about the play here.
You can get the full info about the reading on Facebook. You can also get in touch if you need more info or are interested in reading one of the parts.
This spring I’ll be working with a group of seniors at University Settlement’s Houston Street Center on a project to generate a short performance piece with the working title, How to Get By in New York City. This is my first time collaborating with a community organization. My hope is to incorporate dance, video, and performance into the piece.
University Settlement is the oldest settlement house in the US and they just celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2010. The organization has a fascinating history, including anecdotes about Eleanor Roosevelt teaching dance classes there as a young woman. For the 125th, I did an interview with Alison Fleminger, who runs their Performance Project. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can have a look at the link below:
• ”The Rebirth of the Settlement House Movement“
I’ve recently joined the Cultural Strategies Initiative as a Fellow. It’s a relatively new organization that’s focused on building “cross-sector projects and knowledge that will help to illuminate and activate art’s role in saving the world.” No small ambitions here!
Anyhow, as a fellow I’ll be continuing my arts journalism work and undertake a new book project that I started on late last year. In this book I’ll be examining the ways that the arts are currently valued in the US and suggest an entirely new way of thinking about their value. No small ambitions here either…
Performa 09: Back to Futurism, the newly published catalogue for the Performa 09 performance art biennial was just published. A short essay by me about the re-enactment of Anna Halprin’s 1965 dance work parades & changes is contained in the book. Learn more.
I found out that I’ve been offer a residency at the Millay Colony for the month of October. This opportunity couldn’t come at a better time. I’m at the start of two major writing projects and will be able to get a great start on them during my time upstate. Also hope to get in a good number of walks in the woods.
Welcome to my new website. It’s still under construction, but I’m glad you stopped by.