Guerrilla Girls On Tour!

Guerrilla Girls On Tour is an anonymous theatre collective whose mission is to create new plays that dramatize women’s history and address the current state of women in the performing arts and beyond. Our performances use comedic, physical, and vaudevillian-like techniques to prove that feminists are funny. In order to put the focus of our work entirely on the issues we address each member performs under the name of a dead woman artist and wears a gorilla mask to conceal her true identity.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dancing on Staten Island

Dearest Journal, Oh! The Adventures of Staten Island!  

It was such a treat to travel to the distant island of Staten. Well, maybe not too distant but we did take a boat! The College of Staten Island was a real change from the concrete isle of Manhattan.  There were green lawns and a water works fountain which I found to be the perfect inspiration for a dance piece.  Azucena, Fanny and me were introduced to CSI’s rowdy student body during our first task – the poster-making workshop.  Students from Acting 201 took no time at all in tackling issues of sexism in Halloween costumes, corrupt police, domestic violence, ebola, and cruelty to animals. Everyone pushed themselves to find clever and insightful ways to express their ideas via visual posters. 
There was so much to say we ran out of time.  Students even proudly posted their work throughout the lobby of the Center of the Arts building where we would perform.

Speaking of which, our performance of Silence is Violence: College of Staten IslandEdition was a smashing success. It was so much fun performing for an engaging and lively Staten Island crowd.  The Williamson Theater is a big beautiful performance space that is perfect for throwing bananas.  We told our favorite jokes about sexism, the wage gap, body image, Taylor Swift, and so much more. The audience reclaimed some female words when they sung their hearts out for our sing-a-long of our hit single, “Lesbian, Vagina, Feminist.” Crystal, the Women’s Center’s intern, broke out from her normal role and joined us on stage for some “improvs” on bystander intervention. After the show, folks stuck around and bought posters and t-shirts, got autographs, and asked questions about standing up against sexism and violence in their own communities. 

The audience was one which exuded enthusiasm and everyone, including myself, felt empowered by the end of it. Exhausted from long day of feministfun we headed home.  So tired, Cena fell asleep on the ferry so we left her there.  Just kidding, we look out for each other and make sure everyone gets home safe and sound.  Thanks so much College of Staten Island for great day! 
Love, Peace, and Dance,
Isadora Duncan






FANNY MENDELSSOHN TAKES ON THE COLLEGE OF STATEN ISLAND

10/21/14

Dear Diary, 
Why, hello!  Long time no see.  It was great fun to rise up out of the grave again after a little hiatus to visit The College of Staten Island with Azucena, Isadora, and Aphra on October 21st

The day started early with the journey across land and see to that far and distant borough.  We kicked off our visit with a poster-making workshop.  The group, all students in an acting class, were very engaged and got fired up about a wide variety of issues to make posters about: the Ebola media craze, parking issues at their school, domestic violence, misconceptions of feminism, animal abuse, and more.  I think my favorite poster was one made about misrepresentations of feminism, and how gendered language – like, “you throw like a girl” or “man up!” - affects men AND women.


Azucena, Isadora, and me during the workshop


A group works on a poster about “sexy” Halloween costumes

After the workshop, we had lunch and explored the College of Staten Island campus a little.  Apparently, there is a law banning smoking anywhere on all CUNY campuses city-wide – and CSI will not have you forget it!  There were so many foreboding signs reminding us that smoking was illegal, we ended up throwing some jokes about it into our performance later that evening.  We also may have sneaked a photo or two of a student blatantly smoking a cigarette in front of one of those signs…but he’ll never know it was us!  Mwahaha…the benefits of anonymity.

After lunch, we rehearsed in the beautiful theater at CSI and met our student volunteer, Crystal, who would be making her performance debut (first EVER!) with GGOT.  I love working on “Silence is Violence” because in addition to interacting with the audience and dancing and singing like the feminist fools we are, we also get to play around with scenes and play characters in our segments depicting tactics for fighting date rape.  I think Azucena’s performance of a frat boy is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen – even Crystal had trouble keeping it together in rehearsal.

The performance was a hit.  We and the audience all had great energy, and they were with us every step of the way.  There was definitely a variety of opinions in the audience in response to our feminist spin - we could tell by their responses during the show as well as by their questions  afterwards – but it was all in good spirits and overall, they were engaged and responsive and that’s the best we could ask for as performers.  


After the show, one student even came up and interviewed us so she could include us in a project she’s doing for a class.  Cool!

Thanks College of Staten Island – it was a great day!
Lots o love,

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Silence Is Violence" at the College of Staten Island



Dear Diary,

What a fun feminist mid-week adventure!  After a train, a ferry, a cab, and a lot of Earl Grey tea, we arrived at the College of Staten Island!  Oh man, is that campus beautiful.  Fall foliage is finally happening!!! 

At 10 am we led our classic poster making workshop with a group of theatre students.  These young thinkers came up with a ton of creative themes for what "pisses them off".  Go figure!  Youth having opinions -- my favorite!  After a lot of brainstorming and collaboration, they came up with some gripping posters addressing issues such as violence against women, animal abuse, corrupt cops, the media's obsession with Ebola, "sexy" Halloween costumes, and a topic that we really loveeeee, FEMINISM!  These students were super smart!  After this workshop, we knew were in for a great audience for our evening show.


On our break, we discovered many things about the College of Staten Island.  For example, there are large water fountains decorating the campus that apparently light up with different colors.  Students are charged 10 cents for cutlery if it's being used for an item not purchased on campus -- what?!  And they really like their hand sanitizer dispensers.  Gotta keep those students healthy!



After sorting out a few sound cues, tech for the show went very smoothly.  It seemed like it was the student volunteer's very first time on stage!  Yay for courage Crystal!!!  After we finished tech, we were treated like stars and enjoyed a delicious dinner in the green room.  Then, we dolled ourselves up, donned our guerrilla masks and prepared to PERFORM.  And, WHAT a performance!  The audience was totally digging it from the get go! They especially loved the "Reclaiming Lesbian, Vagina, Feminist" song and the free bananas!  Most importantly, I felt like we were able to really reach them with our message -- that raising awareness about feminism and violence against women is imperative but, that it can be done in a funny and informative way. 


Riding the ferry back to our home island, we were tuckered out but all smiles.  Thanks for a wonderful day, College of Staten Island!  Keep rocking out and speaking up!  

Love,
Azu(cena) Villaflor

Saturday, November 16, 2013

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS

has been selected for NCWCA's 
national juried exhibition: CHOICE.



In observance of the 40th anniversary of Roe vs Wade and in support of women’s reproductive rights in the United States, the Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art (NCWCA) is sponsoring the national juried exhibition Choice. 

Guerrilla Girls On Tour have been addressing the issue of reproductive rights since 2001.  We present each state and country we tour to a “reproductive right report card” and inform our audiences how their laws and legislators affect a woman’s right to choose. Our poster: It’s Not Just About Choice Anymore (2011), was created after extensive research for our 2010 tour and our belief that threats to Medicaid, Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Health Care Act were threats to basic human rights.

EXHIBITION DATES 
December 12, 2013 - January 12, 2014, 
Opening Artist Reception December 12, 2013 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Panel Discussion: January 7, 2014 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm on Inspire to Act
Panelists: Dorothy Fadiman - documentary filmmaker, Fran Johns - author, 
Ellen Shaffer - policy analyst and
Sophia Yen MD, MPH - co-founder Trust Women
Artist Talk - Last Day of exhibit: January 12, 2014 1:00 pm - 3:00 p.m.

For More Info:  http://www.ncwca.org




Saturday, October 12, 2013

Malala Yousafzai

In a speech at the UN on her 16th birthday, Malala Yousafzai, called on world leaders to provide “free, compulsory education” for every child.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

What 11 years was like for me - Michelle Knight


Michelle Knight, one of Ariel Castro's victims, showed up in person at his sentencing hearing yesterday shared her story of what she said happened to her and the other women held hostage by Castro for years.  This poem was created from the words in her statement.  


What 11 years was like for me
 I missed my son every day
I cried every night
I wondered
what would happen to me

Gina was my teammate
dying from his abuse
she nursed me back to health
we said we would
make it out alive
someday
we did.

I will overcome
I will not let you define me
I will live
on I will prevail
help others
be a stronger woman
know there's more good
than evil
you will die
a little every day.

after 11 years, I am
finally being heard
your hell is just beginning
my name is Michelle Knight







Sunday, July 7, 2013

Turn Your Attitude to Action WORKSHOP.

Here is a link to the workshop we presented at the Women Playwrights International Conference in Stockholm last August.  It's a step by step guide to "Turn Your Attitude to Action" by GGOT Aphra Behn. 



http://dld.bz/cGEbB

Monday, June 24, 2013

SCREAM INTO A BUCKET ALERT!


Get out your buckets, feminists!  Another New York City Theatre announces 2013/2014 season of sexism.

Q: What theatre has this mission: “We operate on the strongly held belief that the future of American theater relies on nurturing playwrights and giving them the artistic support needed to create new work”.

A: Primary Stages

Q: What theatre will produce 4 plays in their 2013/14 season – 3 by men, 1 “conceived” by a woman, and ALL directed by men?

A: Primary Stages

Primary Stages joins Lincoln Center Theatre and The Alley Theatre in Houston in announcing all male seasons (we do acknowledge that Primary Stages Production of “Bronx Bomber” has been conceived by Fran Kirmser).

On June 17 Casey Childs posted an entry on his facebook page saying that he thought that “shaming” artistic directors who refused to select plays by women and hire female directors amounted to “screaming into a bucket”.  He has since removed his post.

Letter writing is not screaming into a bucket.  It is a direct communication. The people who buy tickets to theatres have every right to express their distain at theatres that don’t support, produce, or hire women theatre artists.

So let’s “scream into a bucket” (aka fe-mail) Primary Stages and let them know what we think about their next sexist season.

Tell Casey Child, Andrew Leynse and Primary Stages that you will not purchase a ticket to any of their 2013/14 productions until they hire a female director and include another play written by a woman on their main stage.

Fe-mail Casey Childs: casey@primarystages.org
Andrew Leynse: andrew@primarystages.org

SNAIL MAIL:
Primary Stages
307 West 38th Street
Suite 1510
New York, NY 10018

Here are some of the kick ass letters sent to Andre Bishop and Lincoln Center Theatre last week.  Thanks to all who wrote.  Keep them coming! – 
Guerrilla Girls On Tour!


Dear Andre Bishop,
I'm writing because I just saw the schedule for the 2013-2014 theater, and I was both surprised and disappointed. Not a single one of the plays is written by a female playwright. In 2013, the gender disparities in theater are absolutely shameful. Decisions like those that led to next season's lineup contribute to the ongoing devaluing of work by female playwrights, and I can't bring myself to support them. As long as no play written by a woman is featured on your mainstage, I won't be purchasing tickets to any of your productions, and I'll be encouraging my friends and colleagues to do the same.

Sincerely,
Jeremy Harper

š

Dear Mr. Bishop,
I am writing to express my disappointment that not a single play by a female playwright has been chosen for your main-stage season.  I am urging all of my friends to join me in the boycott of your theatre this season.

And please know that including women playwrights in your "development" small theatre season is not an acceptable response.

Sincerely,
Susan McCully

š

Dear Mr. Bishop,
I should start by saying that I admire the work you do in and for the theatre community. However, I was incredibly off-put when I saw your season lineup for next year. As someone who worked so closely with Wendy Wasserstein, I'm surprised to see that you programmed a season of all-male playwrights. It's programming like this that pushes theatre back to the 1950s, so to speak, and though this sounds like a childish way of putting it, it's not okay. 

With so many young audience members and theatre practitioners pushing for more female voices in the theatre, it would behoove Lincoln Center to program a play by a woman on their main stages in the 2013-14 season. I know that many -- myself included -- are sick of this tradition and will refuse to purchase a ticket at Lincoln Center until this is done. I wish you the best in these coming weeks, as I anticipate you'll be receiving a flood of emails, phone calls, and letters on this subject. 

Best,

Danielle Mohlman
Artistic Director
Field Trip Theatre

š

Dear Mr. Bishop,
I attended the wonderful performance of “Ann” this past weekend and it was so refreshing to see a performance written by a woman at Lincoln Center.  However, after seeing your announcement for an ALL MALE SEASON, I was really disappointed.  Why is it so difficult for LCT to produce plays not only by women but people of color? It would be even nice to see an African American female director or designer on one of your stages for a change. (I am an African American theatre educator and USAA lighting designer).  So it's back to the classroom this semester for me sharing with my students the continual sexism in the American Theatre, even though women dominate in terms of audience members.  Guess, I won't be coming to Lincoln Center next season, even with Ann Shapiro directing.

KP

š

Dear Andre,
It's extremely disappointing that an esteemed theatre production company as Lincoln Center does not choose to include the work of a woman playwright in next year's productions.  If you have read the news lately, you will know that men are denouncing the gender inequity in theatre, as well as women.
and Jonathan Franzen's response to "Sexism's Puzzling Stamina," "The world most glaringly dominated by male sexism is one that Mr. Bruni neglects to mention: New York City theater."

It's up to you to provide leadership in combating this insidious bias by promoting the plays of women in equal number to those  of men.

Yours truly,
Barbara Masry,
The Women's Initiative (members of the Dramatist Guild)
The League of Professional Theatre Women 

UPDATE ON LINCOLN CENTER THEATRE

And on the ACTING front, regarding their production of MACBETH: here are the stats, from the casting call on Actors' Equity's website:

MACBETH, Lincoln Center Theater
Principal Auditions
The notice calls for 21 male actors, and 4 female actors.  (That's 84% male)

Specifically, the breakdown for the 3 witches is as follows:
"The Three Witches may all be played by men or possibly 2 men and 1 woman. Three very powerful, otherworldly and androgynous creatures ...."

So power and androgyny are clearly qualities they are expecting only male actors to be able to play!

(Thanks to Gael Schaefer for these stats!)


Friday, June 14, 2013

ACTION ALERT: Shame on LINCOLN CENTER THEATRE


Lincoln Center Theater announces a 2013-14 ALL MALE season!
1) "Domesticated" - a new play by Bruce Norris 
2) A new Broadway production of “Macbeth” starring Ethan Hawke. (Yes, we really need another "new" production of "Macbeth"!
3) James Lapine’s adaptation of Moss Hart’s autobiography “Act One,” 
4) A new play by Anthony Giardina about a political doyenne in Washington, D.C.
In the good news:
“Domesticated” will be directed by Anna D. Shapiro
To offset sexism LCT will no doubt feature female playwrights in their LCT3 program, which aims to develop new talent in the 112-seat Claire Tow Theater.
Lincoln Center Theatre has a history of producing seasons of plays by MEN.  
GIRLCOTT Lincoln Center Theatre NOW!
Write to arttistic Director, ANDRÉ BISHOP
Fe-mail: abishop@lct.org (CC a copy to info@lct.org and info@ggontour.com)

Snail Mail:
Lincoln Center Theater 
150 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

Call Administrative Offices: 212.362.7600

Tell Andre Bishop and Lincoln Center Theatre that you will not purchase a ticket to one of their productions until they include a play by a woman on their main stages.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

WHAT I DID AT CAMP…LIT CAMP, THAT IS.


I did not make one macramé bracelet.  I did not sleep in a sleeping bag.  I did not, like I used to do at Girl Scout camp, make a torch out of kotex and kerosene to light the campfire with.  What I did was bond, brainstorm and become a more skilled and informed writer.




Even though LIT CAMP wasn’t set to start until Thursday, April 4th, I flew into San Francisco a few days early to spend time with old friends in Napa.  It was “Bud Break” and I warmed up to the west coast with a day of Pinot tasting before heading up to Calistoga and Mayacamas Ranch, the site of the first ever LIT CAMP

Thursday, April 4th - Arrive at 3PM. The first person I meet is my workshop leader, Janis Cooke Newman, who checks me in with a smile and a hearty, “I’ve read your work!”  At 4PM the 40 LIT CAMPERS, faculty and interns gather for a meet and greet and the first panel: Demystifying the World of Publishing with Jane Ciabattari, former president of the National Book Critics Circle, Nicole Dewey, Director of Publicity at Little Brown, Sam Barry, a bookseller with Book Passage, Caroline Paul, author of Fighting Fire and the upcoming Lost Cat, and Chris Colin, author of Blindsight.


MY DAY ONE POSTCARD TO MYSELF: Remember books are a retail business - publishers expect you to be a big part of selling your book. Pre-publication reviews are very important.  When you write a book proposal you should answer these questions:  Why this book?  Why now?  Why are you the best person to write it?

April 5th – Wake up to pouring rain, bowls of fresh strawberries and the first workshops.  We are divided into groups of both fiction and non-fiction writers) - The Beats, The Victorians, etc., (each group had the chance to read each others work before camp began) and this morning we focus on three work samples.  Day one’s workshop leader, Janis Cooke Newman’s “Elvis has left the building” workshop style is a great formula for to-the-point, savvy and insightful commenting. 



DAY TWO POSTCARD:  All characters should exhibit bad behavior at some point.  Because we love our characters we tend to protect them but at some point we have to let them have a bit of fun.  Must read, “The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot” by Charles Baxter.

After lunch it is an authors roundtable with Lee Kravetz, author of the upcoming,  Supersurvivors, the surprising link between suffering and success, Ethan Watters, author of Crazy Like Us and TJ Stiles, author of the Pulitzer prize winning, The First Tycoon.


MY DAY TWO POSTCARD (con’t):  Get “Freedom”! It blocks the Internet from your computer so that you can write Internet/e-mail free for as long as you set it!

After dinner it is the auction for the naming rights for the LIT CAMP COCKTAIL (2 oz of vodka, ½ oz lime juice, and ginger beer over ice).  The bidding is fierce but in the end two amazing women match each others bid. Pat Montandon and Chris Castro will be remembered at future LIT CAMPS as the mothers of the Montandon-Castro. Drink up!


April 6th Morning workshop is led by Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master’s Son (just won the Pulitzer). Adam has us all describe our writing habits, distilling them into the many ways that writers get themselves to their desks.

In the afternoon Jane Ganahl, author and co-director of LitQuake and Lit Crawl and Janis Cook Newman, author of the memoir, The Russian Word for Snow and the novel, Mary, host a roundtable.




DAY THREE POSTCARD: In memoir only include events that pertain to your emotional story.  Place those events in the order where they will be the most dramatic.  Also, a book proposal should look like it is going to make a ton of $$$ and I don’t mean expensive paper and gold ink – see Day One postcard re books as retail.

The roundtable is followed by a panel: Behind the Scenes at Literary Magazines.  Andi Mudd from The Believer and McSweeney's, Oscar Villalon from Zyzyzzva, and Isaac Fitzgerald from The Rumpus.

Having just come from the very fun but very serious and sometimes jaded AWP conference in Boston, this panel is refreshing.  Andi, Oscar and Isaac are the most positive, funny and upbeat publishers/editors I have ever heard speak.  They are excited about writing and clearly love writers. I love them right back.


After dinner it is time for The LIT CAMP Talent Show - Hosted by Isaac Fitzgerald. I laugh so hard my stomach hurts.

April 7th Our last day :(  Two pieces to workshop with TJ Stiles. 

LAST POSTCARD TO MYSELF: Remember that plot is setting up expectations and then fulfilling those expectations.

And then suddenly it is over.  Everyone piles into Chaparral Lodge, picks up box lunches and says goodbye.  I am so sad as I drive down the hill as it begins to rain (again).  It was too short.  I met incredible writers.  I heard fabulous speakers.  Now something calls me back to my New York City desk.



Until we meet again, fellow LIT CAMPERS and new friends.  Thanks for the incredible memories.
Go bananas,
“Aphra Behn”


Lit camp is a joint venture between two of San Francisco's most respected literary organizations – Litquake and the SF Writers Grotto.  For more info visit http://www.litcampwriters.org