50/50 in 2020 Action List and more...

5:13 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

I've been lame on blog posts this past month. Thankfully, it's because I've been busy. COTE just closed "Questionable Content" last week and I have another instillment of GirlPower (with a brand new cast) coming up October 8th and 9th. More updates are to come.

In honor of GirlPower I'm posting the 50/50 in 2020 Action list. The objective of 50/50 in 2020 is to achieve parity for professional women theater artists by 2020. Even today, women playwrights, directors, and designers receive fewer than 20% of the professional production opportunities nationwide.

50/50 in 2020 Action List

1. Write a letter to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) requesting that gender parity in the arts be a national funding priority. Direct letters to Mr. Rocco Landesman, Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20506-0001.

2. Recruit fans to the 50/50 in 2020 page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/5050-in-
2020/150326422323?ref=ts). Take personal responsibility for attracting at least 5 new members. This will help us to communicate with and energize an effective base of support on very short notice. Numbers matter!

3. Write to your local theaters and request gender parity now! Tell them that you will only buy tickets to productions or subscriptions to seasons involving equal representation of female and male playwrights, directors, designers, actors, and administrators. Address your letters to the staff leadership (check their website, but usually the Artistic Director and Executive/Managing Director) and copy all members of the theater’s Board of Directors. If possible, gather a diplomatic team in your town or neighborhood and request permission to meet in person with the Board of your local theater, and then talk to them about the moral and legal requisite for
gender parity, and tell them that you’ll take your concerns about their failure to provide equal opportunity for women to the local media, the theater’s funders, and local politicians if you do not see action in the short term.

4. Hold a “50/50 in 2020 night” in your neighborhood or theater. Create an event worth attending, and ask everyone to do engage in the activist options presented here. When you organize an event, let us know, so that we can help you spread the word.

5. Use social media to advance the cause. Urge your friends to blog about the topic. Comment on relevant postings in Facebook. Retweet pertinent entries on Twitter. Post your status on Linked In as being concerned about the lack of gender parity among professional women theater artists. Take an active interest in spreading the word in whatever viral/virtual medium with which you associate, and ask your friends to do the same. Again, numbers matter! The more widespread the conversation about the cause becomes, the more profound the impact will be among employers, funders, and media.

6. Encourage your friends, family, and any fellow union or guild members to buy tickets and subscriptions to theaters that support the work of professional women theater artists. If possible, track the positive response and send it to us and to your local media. Eventually, we plan to produce an annual Report Card rating the theaters who are best or worst about producing and hiring women.

7. If you work at an educational institution, then organize a petition addressed to publishers demanding that more plays by women throughout history be published. Tell them how you include a particular play or anthology of plays in your classroom. Make sure that the work of women is taught in all undergraduate and graduate theater programs.

8. If you are established in the theater, then begin mentoring an emerging or mid-career artist/administrator! Be generous about extending your connections and influence to help the next generation of women in the professional theater.

9. Plan now for SWAN Day! Visit http://www.womenarts.org/swan/ for details.

10. Use your economic power to support women. Regardless of your income, you matter! Again and always, support women artists. See their shows. Exploit social networking to promote women’s work. Demonstrate thatprofessional theater women artists are a worthy investment. We live in a capitalistic society. The higher the demand, the greater the supply will become. Let’s show the industry that women are the single greatest hope for economic prosperity in the American Theater and beyond.

From: http://www.princeton.edu/arts/arts_at_princeton/theater/event/wit/pdf/Top-Ten-Things-To-Do-for-5050-in-2020.pdf

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Unscripted blog

11:07 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

As you probably already know (since I post links on here so much), I absolutely LOVE the Unscripted blogs from backstage, where actors document their lives via blog. I follow them in my news feed (and have my favorites). This was something that someone posted awhile back (see the link below) that I really have enjoyed.


Other than Acting
Once upon a couple nights ago, on the West Coast, my Aussie New York girlfriend (who is also an actress), while visiting family on my side of the country, calls me up to have our bi-monthly chat about life, love, and all of the above.
I like to call them our mid-quarter-mid-life crisis conversations.
Of the many things I wanted to be when I was little, the three most important were; a really great actress, a really great mother and a really great friend.
I feel like I didn't start to have great female friendships until after college, or rather begin to learn how to have them; something about being on the verge of adulthood or maturity.
After knowing each other for more than ten years; Aussie and I, we know each other. And we inspire each other, to be better people, actors, and friends. I love her. No matter what.
She says to me, mid-delicious conversation, "Ann, you are inspiring, I wish you could write about more than just acting in your blog, you have a lot to offer." In so many words.
So...ask and ye shall receive...

Here is a list of the Top Ten Best and Hardest Things I Have Learned in my Little Life So Far...:
(I hope you get to check most of them off and are ahead of the game)
10 - Don't ever do anything out of guilt or shame. Get rid of ALL your shame!
9 - Fear of success comes from a place of feeling unworthy of it. But you create your own worth. Your worth is not defined by the reactions from others. And you are worth everything.
8 - There is always more money to be made; however, the time you spent making that money, you can never get back. Spend your time wisely.
7 - Sometimes people would rather stay in a familiar place of misery then allow themselves to step into an unknown place of happiness.
6 - The people who really know and love you; will take what they know of you, flaws and all, and help you.
5 - A very talented person does not necessarily make a very compatible partner.You attract what you are. If you are committed to you, you will attract others that are as well; if you are not, you will attract others that are not.
4 - The difference between a dysfunctional family and a functional one, is that in the 'functional' family, the underlying layer of love and trust remains steadfast despite ongoing conflict.
3 - Commit to what you desire without having to control the how in which it comes to pass. Leave that to the Universe and to the gods.
2 - Money is just money. People who fight about money are actually fighting about trust. Money is just the object, the issue at hand is being able to trust that you can count on the other person to be there for you.
1 - Where you came from is not who you are; it's just where you came from, you create who you who are, everyday.
So, other than acting, these are just a few of life's lessons that I've learned in my journey as an actor, that I think has made me, all of us, a stronger and better person. Lots of love.
(photos courtesy of my Aussie New York friend at her bachelorette party)
Yours Truly -- Ann Hu



Cool Pictures of Tornadoes...

10:46 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Because these pictures are too incredible to only leave in my e-mail box... and because in my next life I'm coming back as a professional storm chaser...


Too close for comfort: The astonishing twisters captured by storm-chasing photographer
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:48 PM on 14th September 2009

Running towards a raging twister might seem insane to most people but for one artist, such perils are all in a day's work. Storm chaser Jim Reed has narrowly escaped death twice in his pursuit of the perfect stormy shot.

Up close: A tornado with large Liberty Bell shaped debris cloud swirls across a dirt road less than 500 feet in front of an unmarked Kansas State Trooper patrol car
His experiences have been brought together in the revised and expanded version of his award-winning photo book, 'Storm Chaser: A Photographer's Journey.'

The awe-inspiring images chronicle Reed's travels through more than 2,000 U.S. counties documenting some of America's most deadly and spectacular weather. 'Storm Chaser includes the most memorable photos and experiences of 17 years of photographing wild weather,' said Reed. 'These experiences have shaped and changed my life.'Re-released in June of this year, the book documents 17 hurricanes, including Hurricanes Charley in 2004, Katrina in 2005 and Ike in 2008.

A tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a supercell thunderstorm (hurricane). You can only see them when there is enough moisture in the air. The severe thunderstorms which produce tornadoes form where cold dry polar air meets warm moist tropical air. The wind coming into the storm starts to swirl and forms a funnel. The air in the funnel spins faster and faster and creates a very low pressure area which sucks more air (and objects) into it. These twisters are most common in a section of the United States called Tornado Alley, with most forming in April and May. Most tornadoes spin cyclonically (anti-clockwise) in the Northern hemisphere. Encountering hundreds of tornadoes, super-cell thunderstorms and hailstorms that have produced icy orbs twice the size of a softball, Jim's pictures are breathtaking. Unlike other so-called 'storm chasers', who are often labelled adrenaline junkies for their obsessive pursuit of extreme weather, Jim is driven by his love for art and his interaction with nature by documenting the unpredictable changes in weather and climate.

'You might ask, 'What's the difference, really?', the 48-year-old who lives in South Carolina said.
'I don't chase anything really. What I do is about preparation, evaluation, second-guessing and forecasting.
'And if you're a pro or if you're a Storm Chaser that has pride you want to be out in the field before that storm warning is ever issued.'
Jim's professionalism and dedication is reflected in his meticulous planning for each shoot.
'The day before a potential event, I'm looking at the computer models, maps and data just like any weatherman on TV does,' explains Jim.
'That part is a lot of science, but once I get there, it becomes a lot more artful. I'm out there interpreting the sky and observing the landscape. That helps me decide which camera and lens I want to use.
'Will I have time for a tripod? Do I need to sandbag it? You really only have a few seconds to make all of those decisions. I also have to decide how close I want to get.'
Near-death experiences
Yet despite his thorough approach, even Jim can't control the elements.
'In almost 20 years, I've only marked down two near death experiences in my journal,' says Jim.
'We were literally swatting away debris and getting hit by shrapnel. It's the only time I ever videotaped a goodbye to my mom. I thought, 'This is it.'
'Trees were coming out of the ground, but what saved our hides, was the centre of the eye. In the matter of a few minutes, we went from violent winds to dead calm. It's the only time in my career I have experienced that. It's other worldly and bizarre in a good way.
'We had a 4 minute 52 second window and we found someone with a tornado shelter and they let us in.
'My second was during Hurricane Katrina. We were in Gulfport, Mississippi, at the same hotel we had been in for three other storms. It was built just after Hurricane Camille so it was designed to withstand a Category 5.
'We rode it out in this five storey hotel about 70 yards from the water. We were poking our heads out of the doors and windows as much as we could until the surge reached out to us. It was about 26 or 27 feet in our area.
'We couldn't go downstairs anymore after that. When the water subsided, it was like someone had pulled the stopper on the bathtub and the water went out faster than it came in.
'Everything to the east and west of us had been completely raised from the concrete foundations. Our hotel had lost half of the building. We were the only area left standing. We could've been crushed - I still dream about it.'
Jim's fascination in weather began as a young boy thanks to a variety of severe storms in his home town of Springfield, Illinois, which included tornadoes, blizzards, ice storms, floods.
In 1969, Jim and his mother, Audrey, found themselves trapped by the outer bands of historic hurricane Camille while returning from a family vacation near Mississippi.
Moving into writing, producing and directing, it wasn't until 1991 after seeing footage from two Wichita photojournalists riding out an F-5 tornado, that he turned his eyes, and lens, to the sky.
With 2010 marking his 19th consecutive year in the field, Jim is now focusing on his first love - meteorological art. It may come as no surprise that Jim is considering switching gears and slowing down.
'I'm setting new goals for 2010,' he said, explaining that the pace of editorial photography doesn't appeal to him as much as the art.
'I want to shoot less and exhibit more.'
Jim currently has images being shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC in conjunction with the new Sargent and the Sea exhibit about artist John Singer Sargent.
Or, as Nikon, the camera manufacturer who sponsors the artist, calls them, "atmospheric portraits."
'You watch the genesis of this remarkable event that will never be repeated,' said Reed.
'Every single storm is unique to the environment. It's almost like as this storm matures I need to stay with it (something like) karma moves in, you get into this dance with nature and I just love it.'

For more information on Jim visit: www.jimreedphoto.com

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One More GirlPower Review...

12:06 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

One (probably) last review of GirlPower: Voices of a Generation from the Fringe Festival. Gearing up for the new GirlPower class, beginning in a few weeks! This is from a blog called the New Theater Corps. Definitely check them out:


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Questionable Content

11:54 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

My next project, "Homage to Catatonia" by Steve Koppman is coming up soon. Be sure to check it out. It's a fun (and terrifying) play. I'm having a blast figuring out ways to tell this story. My cast is an absolute dream! It's part of COTE's second annual "Questionable Content" one-act festival and the kick off of our exciting second season (which is posted on our website).

Co-Op Theatre East's Second Annual One-Act Festival

September 17th, 8:00 pm
September 18th, 8:00 pm
September 19th, 8:00 pm
September 20th, 2:00 pm matinee

Co-Op Theatre East is proud to announce its second annual one-act play festival, “Questionable Content,” with performances at The Kraine Theater beginning September 17th.
The festival will feature four new plays about life in these modern times:

– Steve Koppman's futuristic (prescient?) Homage to Catatonia envisions a world where we're all plugged in, and questions the cost. Directed by Ashley Marinaccio.

– Craig Abernethy's sharp comedy Do/Don't Do turns the playwright's incredible eye for social commentary on a (not so) ordinary street crossing. Directed by Robert A. K. Gonyo.

– In Reina Hardy's classic tale of truth versus fiction, Smooth Criminal, a writer of a fraudulent blog is forced to choose between integrity or a book deal. Directed by Casey Cleverly.

– And in COTE Artistic Director Robert A. K. Gonyo's Urinal Play, a young man must deal with his impertinent boss who has run out of toilet paper. Directed by Robert A. K. Gonyo.

The ensemble includes Kerrie Bond, Joseph Faranda, Stephen Hensel, Serena Miller, Veronique Ory, Nicole Perperas, Bethany Pollock, Adam Schneider, Jenny Stodd, David Roberts, and Michael Wetherbee. Set Design by Jeffrey Guidice.

Tickets are $18 general admission, $15 students, and will be available at the door. For more information on The Kraine, visit http://horsetrade.info/.

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