Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'm From Driftwood

This past weekend I had the honor of volunteering with I'm From Driftwood. This is a nation-wide organization that produces videos of the LGBTQIA experience in this country, funded in part by the Smithsonian, and represents all walks of life. Here are a couple pictures from the first ever Philly brunch at the new John C. Anderson apartments:

Our duo-We raised $800 with raffle tickets by schmoozing up to people!

A photograph during the event! It was packed by the end!

I’m From Driftwood envisions a world where every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer person feels understood and accepted, and every straight person is an ally.
I’m From Driftwood aims to help LGBTQ people learn more about their community, straight people learn more about their neighbors and everyone learn more about themselves through the power of storytelling and story sharing.
Increasing empathy and empowering individuals is accomplished by creating an apolitical forum for LGBTQ stories from every age, race, gender, background and culture. The stories deepen our understanding of each other, preserve history, and open hearts and minds.
The most personal and meaningful stories are shared when the storyteller is in a trust-worthy, welcoming, judgment-free environment. I’m From Driftwood strives to create that environment on every level, whether you’re a long-time supporter at one of IFD’s events or a first-time visitor to the site. Be yourself, be comfortable and let’s get to know each other.
I really suggest watching this video about what I'm From Driftwood is about:

I have talked to Nathan Manske, the Co-Founder and Executive Producer, about staying involved as I travel for the next year and he said that would be wonderful. This is an organization that does exactly what I want to do with the LGBT movement. I think it is very important not to stay hidden in the urban centers of gayborhoods and liberal values. I think it is important to assist the gay guys in rural areas that have no way out and feel isolated and trapped. I am proud of the gay movement and I think it is time to reach it out on a nation wide level!

Thank You to UArts

One day I was sitting in my Script Analysis class at UArts trying to complete my reading assignment for the week. We had to read Angels in America by Tony Kushner, and while I knew it was going to be a wonderful play, it was the week before finals and I was tired of school and working so hard. But since we had a quiz, I read the play. This play changed life. It refreshed me on why I have been working so hard for my degree. The climax of the show is when the lead character says that gay people but band together and create the change in society they wish to see. Three years later, I still follow that statement. I am continuous inspired by the work they assign us in class and I think if UArts has taught me one thing, it is to create the artist by finding your authentic self and what will really drive you for the rest of your life. This is very important with Musical Theater because the entertainment/commercial market can get very superficial and appeal to what other people want from you. You try and appeal to different artists to hire you and so with that comes changing a little bit of who you truly are. So, our business of theater class makes it very important to determine your needs versus wants, your values versus goals, and makes it very clear about why you do this, what you want in life, and how you can achieve this. So much of this industry is chance and you really have to take one day or one contract at a time so I have so much to thank UArts for for making me such a grounded artist inspired to create new work. 

Missoula Children's Theater

I am so happy to announce that I booked a 12-month theater tour directly out of college. I am so happy to announce that I booked a 12-month theater tour directly out of college! This is extremely rare for an actor or artist to go straight to a job but a week after graduation, I will head to Montana for a 10 day intensive training before I ship off for the next year. I did not plan on teaching children's theater ever but when I heard them talk about their mission, I got so inspired and realized that it is exactly what I want to be doing right now. Their mission is as follows:

"We live in a highly competitive era. Youngsters are introduced at an early age to the critical realities of our achievement- and success-oriented society. From academics to athletics to social interaction, children are pressured to get the best grades, to score the most points, to have the most friends. At the same time, segments of our society tend to view the arts as a luxury, a frill, an extra-curricular activity running a distant second to the popular status of sports. Add to these conditions the natural curiosity of the child, the tendency toward self-exploration, the adolescent impatience to put away the things of the child and emulate adult role models—for better or for worse. Pressure. MCT approaches children with a full awareness of these conditions and strives to use participation in the performing arts as a vehicle to develop the life skills (social skills, communication skills, self-discipline, a strong work ethic, an understanding of the team concept and self-esteem) necessary to answer the challenges of our time.

Although MCT's programs tour to major metropolitan centers, MCT remains dedicated to providing financially accessible arts experiences to all communities, regardless of size or economic status. Many of the communities served by MCT are isolated, culturally deprived and/or economically depressed. Live theatre participation, qualified drama teachers and educationally sound music programs within the curriculum are often non-existent or low on the priority scale. Constructive opportunities in the performing arts are rare, and the chance to spark a new interest often goes unkindled. MCT's programs can and do provide the kindling to ignite the flame of interest.
Within each MCT cast, girls and boys are equal; the disabled become able; the shy experiment with bravery; the slow are rehearsed to perfection; and the gifted become part of the whole. The lesson they learn is that all of them are necessary for the show to go on. Few arenas exist where responsibility is taught and learned so clearly. MCT provides a unique opportunity to learn the lessons of group dynamics while excelling as an individual—a lesson from art that carries into life."

I was so inspired by the thought of teaching the next generation that I knew that the way to change society is through children while their minds are still in development. I have been having a love/hate relationship with theater and how we reach the 99% of people who aren't in these liberal places and so this could not have come in a more amazing time in my development as an artist. 

If you are interested in watching a video about what it is all about click the link below: