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Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Venus Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award


Deb Randall of Venus Theatre with Aphra Behn 

On February 7, 2017 Aphra Behn presented "Act Like a Feminist Artist" at Venus Theatre in Laurel, MD.  Venus awarded Aphra with their Lifetime Achievement Award. 


DC NOW was a co-sponsor of the evening.

Aphra made a short speech. 
Here is what she really wanted to say....

Dear Deb Randall and Venus Theatre,
I applaud you for keeping the voices of women alive for so many years. I salute your bravery in producing season after season of work by women. I admire your perseverance, your style, your grace. I acknowledge your struggle and the struggle of all the women who have gone before you and remain behind via the love that refuses to die. I promise to keep fighting, to keep enduring and to keep advocating on behalf of women in theatre.  We are theatre. We are.




THANK YOU VENUS

Monday, February 20, 2017

In case you missed it...

The past month in GUERRILLA news: live lectures, taped radio shows and sit down interviews. They go by in the blink of an eye and so we would like to post some of the past month's highlights for your listening and viewing pleasure. 

In no particular order they are:

ACT LIKE A FEMINIST ARTIST - Aphra Behn's talk coupled with readings from UN/MASKED, Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour was at the New York Society Library in January. View it here:






We had the pleasure of being introduced to two artists from the Blue Scarf Collective -  Sarah Klein, a filmaker and painter and Sherry Beth Sacks, a painter. 
The Blue Scarf Collective is a very cool collection of artists with this mission:  
We believe that art can and should be used to promote social justice, change, and empowerment — especially for the disenfranchised. We want to disrupt common misconceptions about feminism. We believe that the act of creating is the act of owning one's own experience. We like to get our hands dirty. 

Find the Guerrilla interview with Blue Scarf here: 





Early February brought snow to New York City but Rob Watson of RATED LGBT RADIO and his co-host, Bash, on OUT IN SANTA CRUZ warmed our hearts. 

LGBT Radio focuses on events impacting the Northern California community while OUT in SANTA CRUZ is a local talk show discussing views from the LGBTQ perspective.

LISTEN:




  
Last but not least here is Margot Cherrid's January interview (in FRENCH) on the tv5Monde feminist page, Terriennes! Les Guerrilla Girls à l’assaut d’un art « sexiste et dominé par les hommes blancs » - TV5MONDE ]





Aphra and Margot in London 


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BITCH and BUST and Memoirs of A Guerrilla Girl On Tour


BITCH and BUST review "UN/MASKED" 

Happy V DAY Feminists!

We heart BITCH and BUST magazines for heartfelt reviews of "UN/MASKED, Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour"

Here is part of Allison McCarthy's review in the Chaos Issue (Jan 2017) of BITCH

UN/MASKED: MEMOIRS OF A GUERRILLA GIRLON TOUR by Donna Kaz
{Skyhorse Publishing}

"As a freshman in college, I saw a performance of the Guerrilla Girls on campus.
I remember the charge in the air among women’s studies undergrads sitting toe-to-toe
in the amphitheater as we listened to the impassioned language of these women—in
an effort to preserve anonymity, they all wore furry gorilla masks and used pseudonyms
drawn from female artists such as Eva Hesse, Frida Kahlo, and Hannah Höch—
speaking on discrimination in the art world and their efforts to combat the lack of representation through direct action.

UN/MASKED: Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour brought me back to the excitement and sense of possibility created that night, all through writer Donna Kaz’s vivid, unsparing recollections of her years (1995–2012) with the feminist activist and artist collective. Kaz applies in 1995 and learns the Guerrilla Girls are seeking “new and energetic members… who can bounce the Girls into a future where when people talk about art they also talk about gender parity for playwrights.” As a playwright in New York City, Kaz had learned about the group when a friend shared a copy of the book Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls. After several enthusiastic re-readings, Kaz imagines a new direction for the group that has taken the art world by storm with their statistics on the absurdly low representation of women and people of color in the Museum of Modern Art: “I envision an attack on sexism in the theatre world….What a coup it would be to name the theatres that do not produce women playwrights or plays by writers of color. How cool to prove bus companies are more inclusive in their hiring practices than
theatres are.”

For more visit BITCH Media

And BUST gave "UN/MASKED" a 5 Breast Review!  Here's a sneak look: 






For more of BUST click here 

GO BANANAS!  





Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review of UN/MASKED by Sarah Downs on The Front Row Center

It has been eleven weeks since Skyhorse published 

Thanks to everyone who has read the book and posted a review on Amazon or Goodreads!  If you are thinking of purchasing UN/MASKED, read what Sarah Downs wrote on THE FRONT ROW CENTER :


In a fresh, easy style (Kaz) leads us on her journey of discovery, loss and redemption.  With humor and a distinct lack of self-pity, she retells the history of a life on the verge, a career derailed, and ultimately one of success.  She is no weak sister.  Alternating scenes from her recent life as a writer with the story of her early years and her time in Hollywood, Kaz evokes the past and present at once, meeting herself in the middle.   We meet her as she is today – successful playwright and Guerrilla Girl, but also as she was as a naïve young woman searching for her unique identity.  When she turns from her own career to follow her man to Hollywood, Kaz loses herself, overshadowed by her glamorous, imposing lover with his outsize ego and outsize capacity for violence.  She sacrifices her own career as she is drawn into a life of domestic abuse, with its revolving door of beatings and passionate rapprochements.  It is only after she ‘escapes’ the prison of this destructive love affair that she rediscovers her love of writing and so reclaims her life.

Throughout this memoir, Kaz collapses the various layers of her life – thwarted actress, budding writer, latent activist, undiscovered feminist – to step out from behind the mask of her personal history.  She declares: I’m still here and I like it.  And I’m not going away.
*  Aphra Behn, 17th century British playwright, poet, translator and author.

Read the entire review here: http://thefrontrowcenter.com/2017/01/book-review-unmasked-memoirs-guerrilla-girl-tour/

If you subscribe to BITCH magazine you can read what Allison McCarthy said in the January Issue: - https://bitchmedia.org/issue/73



I will be posting photos of the Women's March NYC in the next few days.

- Aphra Behn, Guerrilla Girls On Tour


 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Donald Trump asks Guerrilla Girls On Tour to read a poem at his inauguration

Donald Trump risks being upstaged by over-acting theatre artists, Guerrilla Girls On Tour, but offered us the opportunity to read a poem on Friday, January 20th at his inauguration. As Steve Harvey says, when the president elect calls, you answer!  



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

REPORTS FROM THE FRONT

reading/book signing 
at NYU Bookstore
at Nassau Community College

It was raining hard on November 30th – the night of my book signing at the spacious NYU Bookstore in Greenwich Village, NYC.  November 30th was also the night of the Rockefeller Tree lighting, so the city streets looked like a parking lot – at least midtown did. Downtown was the place to be.


So many friendly faces showed up to the reading, I was inspired. I switched my readings up a bit – just had to read about my first theatre job in Soho for The Performance Group. My task was to run a wheel barrow with a police light and siren attached to it down Wooster Street for their production of COPS.  The simple wheelbarrow rig gave the audience the impression that a cop car had just pulled up outside.

My original Guerrilla Girl Mask 

At NYU Bookstore 
Yael, NYU events manager, set up a table of coffee and cookies next to a pile of books and added her own thoughtful questions after the reading. It had been just three weeks since the election and the Q and A again focused on what we, as concerned, angry and frightened citizens, can do in the coming months and years. I have to say the mourning period is over for me. It is time to take up the pen, the performance and the protest. As I shared that with the audience I saw many connect to my ideas and begin to formulate their own ways to start anew. As artists, we are truth tellers and are always the ones to stand up to falsehood and fakery.

In December I found myself on the LIRR bound for Garden City, about ten miles from where I grew up. I was presenting my talk/reading “Act Like a Feminist Artist” at Nassau Community College. Phyllis, head of cultural events at the college, had everything set up for me when I arrived and over 60 students attended, some in Guerrilla Girl T-shirts; others new to the concept of feminist masked avengers.

With GG fan Caroline, at Nassau Community College
It was an energetic hour with many great questions afterwards. On the train home I thought of how I was not accepted to Nassau Community College’s theatre department (I write about it in my book) and here I am some 40 years later, connecting with the NCC community in a very meaningful way. Some places take time to get to – I am glad and grateful my path has taken me so many places – and now it has led me back to where I belong.

December 2016




Thursday, December 15, 2016

SAVVY FEMINIST READERS GIFT LIST

The savvy reader’s favorite website BookFilter.com chooses the best theater books ready for wrapping and UN/MASKED made the list!

Hey, even Santa can’t get good seats to Hamilton! Luckily, there are plenty of other great options when searching for what to give the theater buffs in your life. We’ve rounded up some terrific new books and tossed in the best of the rest we covered throughout 2016. Consider your holiday shopping done! Luckily, that leaves you more time for reading, so what are you waiting for?






CLICK HERE TO ORDER


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Review of "UN/MASKED, Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour" in MS MAGAZINE

Abuse and Empowerment: Donna Kaz’s “Un/Masked” Compels Us to Speak Up

November 30, 2016 by Marina Delvecchio

Donna Kaz’s Un/Masked: Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl on Tour chronicles the birth of a feminist. Through a narrative spanning abuse, activism and her urgent struggle to solidify her place in theater, Kaz provides her readers with a dynamic storyline that keeps us turning the pages in search of empowerment—hers and ours.



Applying humor, candor, and in some places, the form that playwrights use when constructing scenes and dialogue, we see how the artistic mind finds solace and empowerment while navigating the trenches of love and abuse.

Kaz is in her early twenties when she meets Bill. Much older than her, and much more experienced in the nuances of relationships, in Bill we encounter a narcissist entrenched in his own self-worth. For the next three years, Kaz becomes the target of his unfettered rage when he feels insecure with his acting or his work.

Eventually, we’re propelled forward twenty years—the late 90’s—during which she becomes involved with the Guerrilla Girls, an activist group of feminists who wear gorilla masks and protest the male-dominated arena of the arts. Along with the gorilla masks, the women’s anonymity is further established when they each assume the moniker of a dead artist in a poetic attempt to represent and give voice to artists, poets, musicians and writers the male industry of the arts renders invisible. Kaz assumes the name of Aphra Behn, the first English female known to have made her living as a writer during the 1600’s. 



Concealed behind the gorilla mask and Aphra Behn’s name, Kaz finds a voice that refutes the secondary and silenced inferiority meant for female artists in an industry that produces plays, music, art and theater only created by men and only honoring men. The Guerrilla Girls spent their free time advocating for their rights to be artists, to produce their own work, to share with the world creative outlets that rest on female power and volition and to open doors for the next generation of female artists entering this very patriarchal and male-run platform of the arts.
Being a Guerrilla Girl and advocating for other women inevitably guarantees Kaz the courage she needed to also express the abuse she suffered at the hands of her intimate partner twenty years earlier. She not only named the abuse, but she also, finally, named her abuser, which cut him off entirely from her life, allowing her to move on, fall in love and marry and pursue her: 



Read more here

Monday, November 28, 2016

Reports from the Front – West Coast Book Tour “UN/MASKED” - post election

Dear Book,

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Aphra Behn here. It is great to be back on the road again and once more heading for the west coast – the place where I wrote part of my memoir, “UN/MASKED” – first at Lit Camp (a three day retreat/workshop) and the second at Mesa Refuge (a longer, self directed retreat for writers).  In addition, about half of “UN/MASKED, Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour” takes place on the west coast - so it feels oh so appropriate and right to be returning.

Venice Pier

I arrived in LA three days before my Book Soup/Peace Over Violence readings so I could catch up with old friends and get used to the time change. The city was experiencing an unusually hot fall – temperatures were in the 80’s. I stayed at a hotel near Venice Beach and for the first three days was up by 6 and out running on the Venice Pier, stopping for a smoothie on the return. Wow, had so forgotten how incredible the light in Los Angeles is. No wonder female artists love this city! 

After three days of soaking it all up I settled down to the task at hand – choosing, preparing and rehearsing my readings.

Oh yes, authors must prepare as if they are actors. Readings are, after all, a chance to connect with a new audience, not an opportunity to bore people and put them to sleep. Well, I guess if you goal is to lull your audience it is okay to put people to sleep. I remember the environmental performance artist, Bob Carroll, used to do a show downtown NYC in the 70’s called “The Salmon Show” and would start by telling everyone he loved to sleep so if you wanted to nod off, go right ahead. I want to engage, entertain and not drone on so I hunker down to rehearse.


With Daniela Kuper

Monday, November 14, 2016, Book Soup

My friend and fellow author, Daniela Kuper (Hunger and Thirst), met me in LA and helped me prepare. On November 14 we hopped in an Uber and crawled to Book Soup in West Hollywood. It literally took us an hour and 15 minutes to travel what should have taken 20 minutes. #LAtraffic has gotten so much worse.

Book Soup is like walking through an interesting old curio shop – there are tons of books as well as posters, pens, notebooks, cards and other cool stuff to finger through.  Book Soup proudly displayed this awesome poster of my reading in the window.


Many friends and fans showed up and crammed into the small space they reserve for readings.  I shared my story – how it was a bookstore and a book that turned me on to feminism (“Our Bodies, Ourselves”). The night ended with a signing and my west coast book tour was officially launched.

“Kaz is a vivid writer and presenter. Her timely memoir deals with her evolution from abused woman (actor William Hurt) to feminist-activist Guerrilla Girl. At her reading (Book Soup, L.A.) she held the audience close and offered the first sane, creative post-election advise I've heard.” – Daniela Kuper, author of “Hunger and Thirst

Tuesday, November 15 – Peace Over Violence

Thanks for that quote, Daniela.  My work with Peace Over Violence (formerly LA Commission on Assaults Against Women) is detailed in “UN/MASKED.”  It was via this organization that I first identified as a survivor of domestic violence and where I trained to work the LA Rape and Battery hotline for the first time. So, to read and sign books about my experience here was very special.  I decided to read some of the hardest parts of the book for this stop. I had stayed away from reading about domestic violence because, well, it is difficult to read aloud. But Daniela encouraged me and reminded me that Peace Over Violence was the perfect location to test reading these sections of the book. It worked. I got over my fear and the audience thanked me for choosing those passages to read. At the end of the night executive director Patti Giggans joined me on stage and we shared stories from the old days. The conversation with the audience quickly turned to the election and how we can combat violence in America.


Me and Patti Giggans at Peace Over Violence 

November 16. Book Passage, San Francisco

I catch an early flight north to San Francisco! I have just enough time to check into my hotel and grab a bite to eat before heading over to Book Passage in the Ferry Building. What a beautiful store, in a beautiful location with an incredibly warm staff.  Book Passage book lover extraordinaire, Ama, discussed my book with me and then gave the warmest intro I have received thus far.  Even though the audience was small, those present were attentive and asked the most thoughtful questions. My favorite was about how one deals with liability when writing about someone still living. I signed over 20 books for Book Passage locations all over SF and went out for oysters afterwards with two old friends. Later, from my hotel room I could hear the sounds of anti-Trump protests. I heart San Francisco.

November 17 – Travel day

I am off to Seattle where the temperature is in the 40’s. As soon as I land I continue my search for more west coast shellfish and the perfect oysters by having lunch at Taylor’s Seafood near my hotel. This combo seafood shop/oyster bar was a warm welcome to Seattle. After a trip to Whole Foods (through traffic almost as bad as Los Angeles), I get a good nights sleep.

November 18. Hugo House

with Michelle Tea  

Tonight I read with Michelle Tea at Hugo House. The event is actually at Fred’s Wildlife Refuge, an awesome event space on Capitol Hill with terrific lighting, a bar and a small stage.  There are three of us on the bill.  Former employee of Feminist Press, Kait Heacock, begins with a few words and Jordan O’Jordan starts the party off with three songs. Jordan is a warm and caring soul who sings from the heart, his only accompaniment a 5 string banjo.  After that I’m up – reading and throwing bananas to an almost packed audience of 50 or 60.  For the first time I name my batterer, William Hurt, before I read a section about him. It feels natural and good. The audience gives me a really warm reception and I feel terrific bumping into and meeting Michelle Tea for the first time as I exit.  She reads from “Blackwave” – is funny and serious, her comic timing perfection.  Afterwards, Eliot Bay Books  provides copies that Michelle and I sign while chatting with the crowd.

I’m exhausted, spent, craving one more plate of oysters but decide on watching reruns of “Star Trek” and ordering room service.  I sleep soundly, wake up the next morning to a clear sky and a smooth trip back to the big apple.

Thanks for the memories, LA, SF and Seattle.  Until next time, book.

Love, Aphra