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Archive for the “art” Category

Look out Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho: I bring twenty college students out of the closet in a single show

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Equal parts raunchy, serious, awkward, and inspirational, her routine opened doors for the LGBTQQ community here on campus and opened the eyes of everyone less aware…it was an introduction to the life of Heather Gold, an extraordinary person.

[for the] people who stayed… to talk to Heather Gold—not even listen to or laugh at, but engage in authentic conversation with—her direct approach, her humor, and her interest in every individual was a welcome reprieve from an otherwise generally repressive atmosphere….Heather Gold is someone who deserves the chance to speak to more than just an audience of people seeking acceptance: she needs to speak to those who deny it, because if anyone can raise awareness and support for the  LGBTQQ (which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning, in case you didn’t know) among us, she can.

 Audra Foster- The Gettysburg Forum

I perform and speak at college campus' regularly, usually about LGBT and diversity issues. For me this comes from the same heart as all my speaking in the Net and business world as well: creating spaces in which pretense can subside and people can be connected as their more authentic selves. Jokes help.

I'm becoming as well known for talking about and teaching how I do this tummeling as for performing.

But I am feeling really proud, and not just because I'm now entitled to a whole lot of toasters. I got serious about this goal of connecting the "audience" in my shows over a decade ago because of my San Francisco peers, mostly early web creators who all often asked "how can I add value." Many performers give people a public example of something, or publicly advocate for rights as comics Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho do for LGBT rights. I do that too, but since I began doing solo shows (for me these are monologues with lots of dialogue in them), I began asking "what if the show were not about something over there but were focussed on making something really happen right here, right now."

What kind of difference can you really make in an hour or so? You can change how someone feels about themselves in public.You can change an environment.

To be fair this Gettysburg show did go over the hour I'd prepared to do because I was obsessed with bringing the room together and tipping the public balance in the room there so that people could come out. The students were individually telling me about their frustrations. And who were all these people showing up to have abstract discussions about civil rights, yet had real concrete social and personal difficulties? They didn't feel safe. They felt isolated even in a room together. And sadly, many of these students were in their young twenties and had already made it through adolesence without getting to openly feel ok about the feelings and actions straight kids take when they are 8 or 9 "I have a crush on him. Which boy do you like best?" and so on. They were in a small isolated college. Were they going to have to go through 4 more years not honestly connected to themselves or dating or sexuality?

I deal in the unspoken. Now the only student I physically brought onstage is definitely straight. But she has a version of the same stuff to deal with as everyone. Could she say no to me? Could she tell her truth? Not being able to talk about what you're really feeling or what's really going on isn't an issue limited to queer kids coming out. It's at the heart of the breeding ground for everything from unsafe sex to bad bad corporate meetings to dictatorships. It's one of the main obstacles to our being able to be #WITH (an ongoing project of mine) each other, which I believe is our main collective need right now.

So I stayed on stage until it became easier to be out than in. Till these students had someone else they could talk to in the open, or maybe even ask out. I did my best to use what was about me in the show was used to make things helpful for everyone there.

The awkwardness, the seriousness, the conversations, the discomfort, the comic relief was all done consiously in order to achieve something socially. As I teach in workshops and my keynotes, there's an informational flow (or a narrative or theatrical flow and there's a social flow. I wanted both.

It was a funny show. In comedy terms I killed. 

But in life terms, I did something much more important. I connnected. 

We all want to meet more people and feel more ourselves and more connected. This experience inspired me to want to accomplish more every time I perform. I'm a performing aiming for, as Umair Haque would say, thick value. Artists: ask yourself, how can I help? Directly.

 

Video to come.

To bring me to your campus or event, contact my lovely agents at Speak Out.

 

 

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Look out Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho: I bring twenty college students out of the closet in a single show

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Equal parts raunchy, serious, awkward, and inspirational, her routine opened doors for the LGBTQQ community here on campus and opened the eyes of everyone less aware…it was an introduction to the life of Heather Gold, an extraordinary person.

[for the] people who stayed… to talk to Heather Gold—not even listen to or laugh at, but engage in authentic conversation with—her direct approach, her humor, and her interest in every individual was a welcome reprieve from an otherwise generally repressive atmosphere….Heather Gold is someone who deserves the chance to speak to more than just an audience of people seeking acceptance: she needs to speak to those who deny it, because if anyone can raise awareness and support for the  LGBTQQ (which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning, in case you didn’t know) among us, she can.

 

Audra Foster- The Gettysburg Forum

I perform and speak at college campus' regularly, usually about LGBT and diversity issues. For me this comes from the same heart as all my speaking in the Net and business world as well: creating spaces in which pretense can subside and people can be connected as their more authentic selves. Jokes help.

I'm becoming as well known for talking about and teaching how I do this tummeling as for performing.

But I am feeling really proud, and not just because I'm now entitled to a whole lot of toasters. I got serious about this goal of connecting the "audience" in my shows over a decade ago because of my San Francisco peers, mostly early web creators who all often asked "how can I add value." Many performers give people a public example of something, or publicly advocate for rights as comics Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho do for LGBT rights. I do that too, but since I began doing solo shows (for me these are monologues with lots of dialogue in them), I began asking "what if the show were not about something over there but were focussed on making something really happen right here, right now."

What kind of difference can you really make in an hour or so? You can change how someone feels about themselves in public.You can change an environment.

To be fair this Gettysburg show did go over the hour I'd prepared to do because I was obsessed with bringing the room together and tipping the public balance in the room there so that people could come out. The students were individually telling me about their frustrations. And who were all these people showing up to have abstract discussions about civil rights, yet had real concrete social and personal difficulties? They didn't feel safe. They felt isolated even in a room together. And sadly, many of these students were in their young twenties and had already made it through adolesence without getting to openly feel ok about the feelings and actions straight kids take when they are 8 or 9 "I have a crush on him. Which boy do you like best?" and so on. They were in a small isolated college. Were they going to have to go through 4 more years not honestly connected to themselves or dating or sexuality?

I deal in the unspoken. Now the only student I physically brought onstage is definitely straight. But she has a version of the same stuff to deal with as everyone. Could she say no to me? Could she tell her truth? Not being able to talk about what you're really feeling or what's really going on isn't an issue limited to queer kids coming out. It's at the heart of the breeding ground for everything from unsafe sex to bad bad corporate meetings to dictatorships. It's one of the main obstacles to our being able to be #WITH (an ongoing project of mine) each other, which I believe is our main collective need right now.

So I stayed on stage until it became easier to be out than in. Till these students had someone else they could talk to in the open, or maybe even ask out. I did my best to use what was about me in the show was used to make things helpful for everyone there.

The awkwardness, the seriousness, the conversations, the discomfort, the comic relief was all done consiously in order to achieve something socially. As I teach in workshops and my keynotes, there's an informational flow (or a narrative or theatrical flow and there's a social flow. I wanted both.

It was a funny show. In comedy terms I killed. 

But in life terms, I did something much more important. I connnected. 

We all want to meet more people and feel more ourselves and more connected. This experience inspired me to want to accomplish more every time I perform. I'm a performing aiming for, as Umair Haque would say, thick value. Artists: ask yourself, how can I help? Directly.

 

Video to come.

To bring me to your campus or event, contact my lovely agents at Speak Out.

 

 

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Why, oh why can't I? Video of a beautiful moment in song pre-Prop8 trial.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Melanie DeMore sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow early morning Jan 11th before the start of the Prop 8 Trial in San Francisco. 
I love the gentle threading of Judy Garland into this hopeful moment. She was a social force in connecting the GLBT community. Some say heartache after her funeral emboldened the harassed to fight back that night when the Stonewall Riots happened the next day giving birth to the movement that has led to this trial. 

This trial is being led by Ted Olson, a lawyer with impeccable conservative credentials. The man who helped put George Bush in office. A man who had his own tragedy when his wife died in the 9/11 attacks. 

This story has quite an arc.

Thanks for the song Melanie. I'm happy to feel the melancholy and the community and the hope of the moment. Yes, "why oh why can't I?" 

(via Elyse Singer, Michael Winn)

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Comedy playlist: Madeline Kahn and Gilda Radner

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

 

70s SNL clip. Madeleine does a baby eating ice cream for the first time. Gilda does a parrot.

People often ask me about who i like comedically and what influenced me. I'm going to occasionally post favourite comedy bits. Here's two of my all-time favourites together. Both brilliant. Both "heart over head" as I've read Judy Toll liked to say about comedy she liked and the brilliant comedy she did. Judy was the closest thing I've seen to Gilda and Madeleine and cancer took them all. Fuck you cancer. You're not as big as this what they did.

Can you succeed at business and be a good person?

Friday, December 18th, 2009

I got a lovely compliment the other day naming me as someone making a name for myself entrepreneurially and being ethical.

I think every artist has to deal with business. But we tend to do it the way Gruber quotes Disney (me I'm not so sure Disney meant it): we make money in order to make work not the other way round.

I believed I had to work in business and not make creative work for many years because I grew up in a family where business was seen as reality. I question for years, "Can you succeed at business and be a good person?"

I asked Sara Little Turnbull this question once (and why the hell doesn't this pioneer of industrial design have a wikipedia entry? Among other things she invented Corningware). She lives for human values and it took her a while to answer.

She told me a story about turning down a job for Charles Revson who wanted her to put his lipstick in every drugstore in the world and sell it for some high price. She walked out of the meeting but turned around and walked back and told him: only if I can make it worth what you're charging.

Now I think we have a moral imperative to make the necessities of life available to people. But to the degree to which business is the way in which human being exchange things to meet their wants and needs (tougher question about business' ability to meet all needs) well being honest, having real choice and providing real value seems to be a better place to but your focus.This was the most helpful response I've had so far to my question. Focus on the value of what you're creating. Make the exchange as fair as possible.

Do you want to feel you've out one over on people or that your stuff is really worth it?  

And of course you can liberate yourself more from a money focus and business the more you minimize your needs and wants. The more you appreciate what you and and value what you do and make, perhaps the less you need.

I'm not sure I have the perfect answer. But I do know that you receive and live by whatever you focus on. If you spend all your time convince people and putting one over on them, well then that's what your business, or "art," is.

What do you think?

Pink Ladies at Hunky Jesus in SF

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Poem: You are safer than you know

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

In the interconnected moments that make up our lives/
Nodes and joints are built solid to take the weight of our now/
Before we know they're there.

We live /
We take the step /
That the religious call faith/
That writers call arc /
That scientists measure as tendency/
That we all call living /

And the weight is held/
By all of them
And then we know Love

 

I wrote this for Dr. Leonard Schlain a physician, writer and father of my friend Tiffany when she emailed me along with many colleagues and friends to ask for help visualizing healing for Dr Schlain during his surgery for brain cancer.

 I was just reading a Fritjof Capra book this summer about Capra's Journey writing the Tao of Physics.  Dr Schlain played a significant part in Capra's coming together with a group of people at Esalen to work on the ideas, including the physicians who created mind body visualization work with cancer.

All About Sarah

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

I was watching a bit of Sarah Palin's speech tonight and thought, "Wow. This chick is as uninformed as W. but way, way tougher and hungrier. And smarter. Those old dudes might think they can ride her the way they rode him but they are fooling themselves."

The Republicans have been using their new Christianist base without delivering much that's really, really important to them. They've been all about the ends justifying the means. But what if they have to actually make core decisions as the Christianist base demands?

Palin may be the first to really do this. I sense a spectacular 3rd act for her. She will go all the way. Whether that means following through on legislating Christian evangelism and thereby walking that walk, or finding she enjoys the taste of the life of "cosmopolitan elites" that it will be in her interests to mock (until it's not), whomever thought they could use this woman for their own purposes has another thing coming.

Eve Harrington: I will regard this great honor not so much as an award for what I have achieved, but a standard to hold against what I have yet to accomplish.

Lloyd Richards: I shall never understand the weird process by which a body with a voice suddenly fancies itself as a mind. Just when exactly does an actress decide they're HER words she's speaking and HER thoughts she's expressing?
Margo Channing: Usually at the point where she has to rewrite and rethink them, to keep the audience from leaving the theatre!

Eve Harrington: I'll never forget this night as long as I live, and I'll never forget you for making it possible.
Karen Richards: A part in a play. You'd do all that just for a part in a play?
Eve Harrington: I'd do much more for a part that good.

All About Eve – Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Harvey Korman is gone and so is comedy with heart

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

He died at 81. This is very sad news. I loved Harvey Korman. He was brilliant comedic performer with a pitch perfect sense of camp.

My favourite memory of him is as the (Jewish) Fairy Godmother in a Carol Burnett sketch asking the knight in white armor, "You vanta blintz prince?" As one of the only Jewish kids in a small town, this scene would send me into its of giggles anytime anyone in our family quoted it. It was a fast love affair with the ridiculous, camp, comedic large life that felt right to me and that I saw almost nowhere else.

His passing has prompted me to watch a whole lotta video clips of him on the Carol Burnett Show and in Mel Brooks movies. Mel Brooksis one of my few heroes (I pour a kiddish cup for him at Seder).

I had two, no three feelings (these may seem like thoughts, but I assure you I felt em :-):

1) Damn, Harvey Korman was brilliant and why didn't I get to see him in much these last 30 years?
2) There were so many more women that these guys performed with (Carol Burnet, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman) and so much more togetherness in that supposedly more sexist time than i see now
(insert avg. TV sitcom or summer Ferrell/Sandler/Stiller movie here)
3) Wow our comedy (the comedy of MSM) seems less silly, good-hearted and campy than the Mel Brooks/Burnett/Korman era. It's really distant and snarky-guy based or childish without being childlike.
The stuff of the Harvey Korman era is why I wanted to do comedy in the first place. Time for more fun and comedy with heart!

My first employer New Line Cinema is dead.

Friday, February 29th, 2008



Yesterday Time Warner announced that New Line would stop operating as a stand-along unit within the company and that lots of people would be leaving, including the company founder Bob Shaye.

My first full-time job (beyond summers) was at New Line. It was an experience that changed my life. (more…)

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