December 31, 2008

10:25 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

The closing of the year. Every year I always find New Year's Eve a little sad. Perhaps it's the finality of it all and saying "goodbye"... there will never be another 2008. Ever. It's over. It's a lot like filling up a canvas. There is no more room, so now it must be put up on the wall, or sold. What was said/not said, done/not done, started/finished, doesn't matter because it's now a new year. Of course, some look at this and think it's a wonderful thing. 2008 was great (for me, at least) and I'm hoping 2009 will be even better!

I have a journal full of New Year's Resolutions... most of which I will probably, hopefully stick with. Although December 31st is the end, January 1st marks a new beginning. I love having a fresh canvas to fill. I hope you do too.

Happy New Year!


New Books for the New Year!

11:33 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

The Estrogenius 2009 book will soon be available at the Manhattan Theatre Source and Drama Book Shop. Check out ( to preorder a copy. I'm certainly looking forward to getting my hands on a copy and seeing all of the hard work of the GP ladies in print.

2009 will be a year of exciting new publications. There are two (that I know of) at the moment I highly recommend. Supergirls Speak Out: Inside the Crisis of Overachieving Girls by Liz Funk ( and The Other Side of Paradise by poet Staceyann Chin ( Both of these books are available to preorder on I plan on preordering my copies this week and definitely looking forward to posting more information about the books as soon as I read them.

Supergirls Speak Out by Liz Funk

About the author:

Liz Funk’s work has appeared in Newsday, Girls’ Life, and, among other publications. Her first book, Supergirls Speak Out: the Secret Dilemma of Overachieving Girls about the pressure on young women to be perfect, will be published by Simon and Schuster’s Touchstone/Fireside imprint in January of 2009. She edits the teen politics blog and is a fellow of Young People For. She also writes a blog on issues facing young women and young people for the Albany, NY newspaper the Times Union, which can be accessed at She is a junior at Stony Brook University, pursuing a degree in English and women’s studies.

About the book:

In the tradition of bestsellers, such as Ophelia Speaks and Quarterlife Crisis, Liz Funk’s Supergirls Speak Out sheds a disturbingly bright light on a condition that is spreading quickly from Generation X to Y—and even to little girls. Funk calls this being a “Supergirl,” i.e., a girl who believes that in order to be happy, she must excel at her job or career, have the best grades, wear the coolest clothes, date the best-looking boy, and have the perfect body size.
Drawing from investigative research, candid interviews, personal anecdotes, and medical evidence, Funk discusses the dangerous effects of the phenomenon. Her book reveals ambitious, stressed-out women whose drive overwhelms every aspect of their lives: their body image, diet, exercise, school schedule, career choices, romantic relationships, and interactions with family and friends. Funk’s research reveals that Supergirls often feel the need to compete against not only everyone else, but themselves—a destructive habit that leads to depression and other emotional disorders.
By closely following five girls and surveying almost a hundred more, Funk explains the root causes of the phenomenon, illustrates how it is affecting society at large, and shows other Supergirls how they can recover from their overzealous tendencies and habits.
With both sympathetic understanding and journalistic attention to detail, Funk has started a vital dialogue about the “invisible crisis” affecting young women—one which will be informative for both daughters and parents alike.

The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin

About the Author, Staceyann Chin:

Staceyann Chin is a fulltime artist. A resident of New York City and a Jamaican National, she has been an “out poet and political activist” since 1998. From the rousing cheers of the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe to one-woman shows Off- Broadway to poetry workshops in Denmark and London to co-writer and performer in the Tony nominated, Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, Chin credits the long list of "things she has done" to her grandmother's hard-working history and the pain of her mother's absence.

About the Book:

The Other Side of Paradise is Staceyann Chin's memoir. In case you aren't familiar with her work, check out some of the clips below. This girl is FIERCE! I had the privilege of seeing her solo-performance at the Culture Project a few years back (when it was at 45 Bleeker Street) and was absolutely blown away. I've been following her since. She is a prime example of an artist who is creating social change through her work. How could you not want to take the streets after seeing her perform? I look forward to seeing the exciting work she will do in the future!

This book comes out in June, 2009 and can be preordered on



11:55 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Yoko Ono and John Lennon with peace campaign poster against the Vietnam War,
1969/Getty Images

Happy Christmas from John & Yoko

“So this is Christmas. And what have you done?” John Lennon, 1971

Here is an excerpt from a beautiful card I received from a friend, which says everything I'd like to say:

"Here's to wish you all and your families a good ending to this universally turbulent year, and wishing you a very good recuperative start, and a year of recovery and creativity for all, not in the least of regaining part of our humanness and humanity which is synonymous with generosity and humility at all times regardless of holy days! Bless you for your kindness and for being you!"

Merry Christmas!!!!

Labels: ,

Thanks, Susan

8:18 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Something to think about though I don't know if I agree with it 100% ...

"Making social comment is an artificial place for an artist to start from. If an artist is touched by some social condition, what the artist creates will reflect that, but you can't force it. "
-Susan Sontag


Holiday 101: Late Cards

11:16 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Apologies in advance if you receive a Holiday card from me and it doesn't arrive until mid-January. Today, I will finally send out my Christmas cards via snail mail. I haven't even started the e-mail batch, which I'll most probably get done tonight. The snail mail cards most probably will not arrive before Christmas. However, I have faith in the mail system that they may arrive before the New Year. In any case, it's always fun getting cards in the mail!

A very talented actor friend of mine, Lynn Spencer, sent around the e-mail that I have copied and pasted below. If you are (like me), still doing Holiday cards, you may want to consider sending one to the address below. I'm also going to keep the address and send cards throughout the year.

"When doing your Christmas cards this year, take one card and send to the address below. If we pass this on and everyone sends one card, think how many they will receive. Surely we can do this.

A Recovering American Soldier

c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,
NW Washington , D.C. 20307-5001"

Even with the convenience of e-mail and facebook, I think most people would agree that there is nothing like getting a personally written card in the mail. I have a stationary fetish... which leaves me with LOTS of paper, cards, post cards etc. throughout the year. This year part of my New Year's Resolution will consist of sending more of those cards (among many other things).

Labels: , ,

Think About It

11:33 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

"The truth is, you and I are the stuff that great leaders are made of. We don't have to wait for a distinguished man on a horse or a politician wealthy enough to win office in a multimillion dollar campaign to usher in justice and equality. The ranks of rebellions and revolutions that have shaped human history have been made up of people like you and me. (…) The people who make a difference are those who fight for freedom – not because they're guaranteed to succeed – but because it's the right thing to do. And that's the kind of fighters that history demands today. Not those who worship the accomplished fact. Not those who can only believe in what is visible today. But instead, people of conscience who dedicate their lives to what needs to be won and what can be won." -Leslie Feinberg


Coolness Ranking of the American Theatre Wing ....

2:55 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

How cool is the American Theatre Wing? I'd say a 15+ on a scale of 1 to 10. Even in these desperate economic times, they recently gave out $125,000 in grants to nonprofit theatres ( That deserves a MAJOR shout out, especially in light of how close to every off-off Broadway company I know is struggling financially. I am so honored to have had the opportunity to have attended the luncheon (as a volunteer- thanks to SBNYC). I was deeply inspired by the humility and gratitude of many presenters and recipients, most of whose work I was familiar with beforehand... but nothing beats meeting the people behind the company name.

So, with that in mind. If you're a college student pursuing theatre, you need to consider applying for another ATW program called SpringboardNYC. The website provides a blurb...

"SPRINGBOARDNYC is a two week concentrated pre-professional training course for college students planning careers in the theatre. We provide the job-seeking skills, insight into the business of theatre and the urban survival tools necessary to translate academic training into a productive career. The curriculum includes a series of workshops, seminars, master classes and field trips, placing participants in the center of New York's theatrical community, with access to influential working artists."

Even as someone who did both undergrad (and grad) in NYC, the program helped me solidify my career goals as a director and performer. More importantly, it allowed me the chance to be rebaptized into the city. I saw things in NYC that I hadn't seen since I first arrived (because after living here for a few years your senses get shot). I recently had dinner with two other ladies that were part of SBNYC '08 and we all agreed that one of the best parts of SBNYC were the friendships and networks that were formed. All 35 students from last year are still in touch (something that happens so rarely in a graduating class). So, whether you're a New York native or from the middle of the country, it's definitely worth checking out. In fact, I would say it's mandatory if you plan on pursuing theatre here.

If money is hard to come by these days, there are scholarships available. Here's a link to the application and SBNYC website:

*** Thanks to the voyeuristic workings of "Google Analytics", I see that many people stumble across this blog searching "SpringboardNYC". If you'd like to hear more about SBNYC or have any questions, feel free to drop me a line.

Labels: , ,

From The Fund for Women Artists

3:06 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Dear Ashley,

The Golden Globe Award nominations have been announced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and once again, no women have been nominated in the category of "Best Director."
This year the omission is worse than usual. Danny Boyle was nominated for an award as "Best Director" of "Slumdog Millionaire", but his female co-director, Loveleen Tandan, was not mentioned in the awards list. "Slumdog Millionaire" has been nominated for "Best Picture, Drama", "Best Screenplay", and "Best Score", in addition to "Best Director".

Chicago film critic Jan Lisa Huttner interviewed Danny Boyle as part of her review of "Slumdog Millionaire" for The Fund for Women Artists at: Huttner specifically asked Boyle if Tandan was his co-director, and he said, "Yes, she deserves it! She's a proper director." (See )In the 65 year history of the Golden Globe Awards, Barbra Streisand is the only woman to ever win in the Best Director category (for "Yentl" in 1983), and only two other women have ever been nominated - Jane Campion for "The Piano" in 1993, and Sofia Coppola for "Lost in Translation" in 2003.

The people nominated for Golden Globe Awards are often nominated for Oscars as well. Only three women have ever been nominated for Oscars in the "Best Director" category and no women have ever won. We think it is time to give women directors credit where credit is due.

We are asking you to please send the letter below to Ms. Chantal Dinnage, the Managing Director of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to let them know that we think Loveleen Tandan should be recognized for her work on "Slumdog Millionaire."

You can cut and paste the letter below and send it to Ms. Dinnage at: Please remember to sign the letter before you send it!! You can send a snail mail to:

Ms. Chantal Dinnage
Managing Director
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association
646 N. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

You can also send a copy to Michael Russell, who has been the publicist for the Golden Globes for the past eleven years:

Michael Russell,
The Michael Russell Group
1601 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 509
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Thanks for your help with this. Please feel free to forward this message or include it in your blogs, Facebook pages, MySpace pages or elsewhere online. The people who make these nominations need to hear from us.

Martha Richards, Executive DirectorThe Fund for Women Arists

Jan Lisa Huttner, The Hot Pink Pen The Fund for Women Artists


Dear Ms. Dinnage,

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has nominated Danny Boyle for a Golden Globe award as "Best Director" for his work on "Slumdog Millionaire." Why has the HFPA ignored Boyle's co-director, Loveleen Tandan? Since he acknowledges that she was his co-director, shouldn't she be a co-nominee for the "Best Director" award?

Boyle was recently interviewed by Chicago film critic Jan Lisa Huttner. She asked him if Loveleen Tandan was his co-director. He replied, "Yes, she deserves it! She's a proper director." (See ) Also, according to the Internet Movie Database, Danny Boyle is the director and Loveleen Tandan is the "co-director" of "Slumdog Millionaire." (See

In the 65 year history of the Golden Globe Awards, Barbra Streisand is the only woman to ever win in the "Best Director" category (for "Yentl" in 1983), and only two other women have ever been nominated - Jane Campion for "The Piano" in 1993, and Sofia Coppola for "Lost in Translation" in 2003.

It's time to give women directors credit where credit is due. Please include Loveleen Tandan as a co-nominee in the "Best Director" category for her work on the film "Slumdog Millionaire."

Thank you.

The Fund for Women Artists
3739 Balboa Street #181
San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: (415) 751-2202



Labels: ,

On Human Nature...

2:28 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Imagine you are in an upstairs window looking out over a nearly empty street below. It is a scorching hot day. A child below is enjoying an ice cream cone. Up walks a man. He looks down, grabs the cone, and swats the child aside into the gutter. He walks on enjoying his new cone. What do you think, from the safety of you distance from the scene, about this man? Of course, you think this fellow is pathological. You certainly don't identify with him and think, that's me down there, I would do that too. Instead you would be horrified and you would likely even rush down to comfort the child. But why?

If humans are greedy, self centered, violent animals wouldn't we expect that all humans, confronted with the opportunity to take a delicious morsel at no cost to themselves, would do so? Why should it horrify us when we see someone do it? Why should we find it pathological? The answer is that we actually do not think that people are inherently thugs. We only gravitate to that claim when it serves our purposes to rationalize some agenda we hold for other reasons entirely, such as when we ignore widespread injustice because to do otherwise would be uncomfortable, costly, and even risky.

--Noam Chomsky



11:06 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Global HIV/AIDS estimates, end of 2007:

The latest statistics on the world epidemic of AIDS & HIV were published by UNAIDS/WHO in July 2008, and refer to the end of 2007.

People living with HIV/AIDS in 2007
33.0 million

Adults living with HIV/AIDS in 2007
30.8 million

Women living with HIV/AIDS in 2007
15.5 million

Children living with HIV/AIDS in 2007
2.0 million

People newly infected with HIV in 2007
2.7 million

Children newly infected with HIV in 2007
0.37 million

AIDS deaths in 2007
2.0 million

Child AIDS deaths in 2007
0.27 million

More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.

Africa has 11.6 million AIDS orphans.

At the end of 2007, women accounted for 50% of all adults living with HIV worldwide, and for 59% in sub-Saharan Africa.

Young people (under 25 years old) account for half of all new HIV infections worldwide.

In developing and transitional countries, 9.7 million people are in immediate need of life-saving AIDS drugs; of these, only 2.99 million (31%) are receiving the drugs.

Labels: ,