Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Interview #3- Artistic Director, Heidi Howard

So my first interview was centered around process, my second around getting feedback from a potential audience member and my third with potential producer/presenter, Heidi Howard.  Heidi and I have been in conversation on and off over the last 2-3 years for different reasons and most of this time she was the manager of the Atlanta theatre 7 Stages.  About 1 1/2 years ago, I first approached 7 Stages current artistic and executive directors (I'm not sure I'm getting the titles correct), Del Hamilton and Faye Allen (Heidi was part of the conversation as well) about my ideas for Goddesspell.  I knew they were involved in the development of new works- especially ones that elicited social/political activism.  I have always thought 7 Stages would be the perfect producer/presenter but back then I really wasn't ready to take the actual creation steps.  Now I am.

So, Heidi, who is now the Artistic Director agreed to spend an hour with me - even with her busy schedule - to give me feedback on some of my ideas for the show and also on the process of getting it mounted/produced/presented!  I asked her about my idea of putting together sort of a mini-me "Goddesspell" or "A Touch of Goddesspell" presentation that we could perform in all kinds of places for all kinds of situations- as a way of promoting the show, gathering interest etc.  She thought it was a great idea and suggested that I submit this idea for their works in progress program which they call the "Home Grown Series".  Basically, if we get approved for this series we would be given a space to produce a very scaled down, sampling of our Goddesspell creations for the 7 Stage audience sometime during the next year.  If things, go well with that . . then the next step is to raise the money for a workshop performance which they would collaborate with us on in terms of trying to land certain grants for this specific purpose.  Heidi gave me some specific ideas around grants and approaching other presenters for support etc.  It was all very helpful information and  I REALLY appreciated her time and her general enthusiasm.

So, next step: submit a request to be part of 7 Stages "Home Grown Series", which I will do this week and hopefully, one of these next posts I'll be announcing our acceptance!!!  But regardless, I'm very thankful for Heidi's time and thoughts- the information I gathered was very helpful whichever direction we end up going in!

You can help by "liking" the Goddesspell page on Facebook. 
(It helps potential producers/investors to see interest!)
THANKS!!! and LOVE!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Celebrating Divine Men!!! (And divine intervention!)

My personal definition of divine men: those who are mastering balance with their own feminine energy, who acknowledge our cultural imbalance, the imbalance in the world at large; and most of all who actively respect, affirm, and celebrate the feminine qualities/energy and specifically the women who embody them.  I am so deeply moved by them and their example.

It's funny. . .this past Tues. night as I was doing some work on the computer that didn't require too much focus, I felt inspired to listen to a recording done by Lisa Michaels of Natural Rhythms on what is going on astrologically this month (you can listen to the "Lisa and Cayelin Recording Sacred Cross Illumination Libra Mars April 8", just click here and scroll to the bottom of the page).   You have to understand that this sort of thing is TOTALLY atypical of me!  But the message was so perfect and affirmed the direction I've been moving in recently.  They talked of Mars in Libra. . . . signifying the masculine coming into balance etc.  And then I think it was Lisa who said that it's time to focus on the balance that is happening rather than the imbalance.. . especially when it comes to men and their contribution to the balance.

Funny thing is that right after my last interview with Jan Christiansen a couple weeks ago (see previous post), I went over to Charis Books because I was intrigued by a presentation Dick Bathrick was doing on his book, "We Are the Work: The Making of Men Stopping Violence".   I don't know Dick personally, but he is obviously well loved and I could tell why just by listening to him for a relatively brief time.  The house was packed and he exuded very loving masculine energy. I have been reading his book ever since and it has given me lots of food for thought especially in terms of how deeply engrained our culture is in the ways it suppresses/oppresses the feminine.  But mostly, it has given me inspiration for ideas on how to end  Goddesppell not only by looking at this subject at a more personal level, but by really celebrating and putting an emphasis on men like Dick and their inspiring work to bring things into balance - as a way to inspire others.

AND THEN!  I found out about a book signing Jimmy Carter was going to do at the Presidential Library just this last Wed.  I was somewhat familiar with the fact that he has done lots of amazing humanitarian work since his presidency and thought he would probably be speaking before his book signing.  So, I made a point of arriving 2 hours early to make sure I got a seat.  Shortly after arriving, I realized that he would only be signing books and that I needed  to buy his book to even participate.  I was temporarily disappointed and wasn't originally planning on buying his book.  But I got quiet and checked in. . . knew I needed to get it and stay, so I did.  And BOY, I was not disappointed!

As I waited in line, it moved through his museum and I read and saw videos about his work.  I had NO IDEA of the breadth of what he has done for the good of human kind.  I literally was moved to tears.  I also did not know, or didn't remember that he won a noble peace prize for the work that came out of the creation of The Carter Center (which is on the same property as the Presidential Library and Museum).   I thought to myself, "I am witnessing one of the great divine men of our time!"  How synchronistic given the theme of the last week!  So, I finally got to the room he was signing in and noticed that even though he is 89 years old and there were hundreds of people going through the line that he took the time to connect with each one- looking at them and sometimes having a quick exchange.  By the time I got to him, I was so moved that I said with utmost sincerity, "Thanks so much for ALL you do."  He looked at me and smiled with such loving eyes and said "Thank YOU . . and we're still having fun!".

The next day,  I went back to the Carter Center grounds to eat lunch because they it was so gorgeous with all the flowers in bloom (the pond etc) and I hadn't had a chance to explore the outdoors the evening before.  I ended up having a poignant exchange with a man who was obviously homeless and had been sitting in a hidden, secluded area near where I was eating lunch. It was apparent that he was trying to remain invisible so as not to bring attention to himself.  I was a little nervous about approaching him after finishing my food, but felt inspired.  I asked him if he was ok and he told me he was and then I asked him if he was hungry and he said "always".  I gave him a choice of some chips or my pear.  He chose the pear and as I handed it to him, he looked up at me with warm beautiful eyes and thanked me and told me how kind I was.  He looked like he was the age of someone who as a Vietnam war veteran.  He had long matted hair, his clothes were dirty, his face worn but he seemed present and his face was kind.  I was moved by his look and his soft kind words and as I walked away I cried a few tears.  Once again I could feel the significance of the moment.

I'm so grateful for the beautiful men that show up in such kind and gentle ways and the role that they are playing in helping us find more compassion and kindness in life in general.  I would be remiss not to mention Jesus Christ here as the epitome of a divine man, especially given the time of year!

I got into my car to head to my next appointment and my eye caught the bag with Jimmy Carter's book in it.  I didn't know anything about the book so I choose to read the back before leaving and it blew me away all things considering.  It was a definite affirmation of the work I know I'm here to do with Goddesspell as a vehicle.  Here is what was written:
"There is a system of discrimination, extending far beyond any small geographical region to the entire globe; it touches every nation, perpetuating and expanding the trafficking of human slaves, body mutilation, and even legitimized murder on a massive scale.  This system is based on the presumption that men and boys are superior to women and girls, and it is supported by some male religious leaders who distort the Holy Bible, the Koran, and other sacred texts to perpetuate their claim that females are, in some basic ways, inferior to them, unqualified to serve God on equal terms.  Many men disagree but remain quiet in order to enjoy the benefits of their dominant status.  this false premise provides a justification for sexual discrimination in almost every realm of secular and religious life.  Some men even cite this premise to justify physical punishment of women and girls.  Contributing to the abuse of women and girls is an acceptance of violence, from unwarranted armed combat to excessive and biased punishment for those who violate the law." (Excerpt from the Introduction)

You can help to bring more balance to the world via Goddesspell
 by making a tax deductible donation,  
You can also help by "liking" the Goddesspell page on Facebook. 
(It helps potential producers/investors to see interest!)
THANKS!!! and LOVE!!!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Interview #2- Jan Christiansen of GCADV

I was challenged to interview 10 people who I consider to be representative of the people I would be marketing this project to as part of the C4 course I took, AIM (Artists in the Marketplace).  For my interview process, I'm also including people who I believe will be helpful with the creative process as well which was the case with Sandra Hughes, who I interviewed first (see earlier blog!)

This past Thursday I had my second interview with Jan Christiansen, executive director of Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV).  She is also my friend, having been my neighbor for over two years.  We have both been involved Eve Ensler's One Billion Rising movement as well.  Being someone who considers herself a feminist and who is also an active advocate for battered women, I felt she was a perfect candidate to get some feedback from.
I described to her my objectives with "Goddesspell"- that more than a piece of entertainment, I really wanted to help transform consciousness around the feminine, getting at some of the root issues around the suppression/oppression of women and around the pain and suffering that the world is experiencing in general as a result of the imbalance of masculine and feminine energies.  I expressed to her my belief that we still do not hold feminine attributes (also found in men) in equal esteem to masculine and that one of the results of this it that we don't put equal value on what women in general  have to offer our society as women.  In addition, our culture still objectifies women in many ways which is reflected in our entertainment media especially.   In other words, one of the main roots of our domestic violence issues is how we (both men and women) are taught in our culture to view women in general (which is so engrained that many are unconscious of it).  I wanted to know if she agreed and if she had any additional thoughts/ideas especially when it comes to marketing to people like herself. 

She agree wholeheartedly to my conclusions which was great to know from someone who has worked so closely and personally with battered women's issues.  She also re-iterated something I have had conversations with other women about- and that is the fact that women in our culture have to take on so much masculine energy to be "successful" in their careers in general.  I actually recently had a conversation with a woman who had suggested organizing a lunch for two different departments that work together so that they could get to know each other better.  Her boss derided her for this suggestion - in essence calling it unprofessional and too"touchy, feely" for a work environment.   

In terms of marketing Goddesspell to feminists in general, Jan and I  both agreed that the emphasis should not be on promoting the idea of the existence of a Goddess/God the Mother/feminine aspect of God.  We agreed that it would be more effective to put the emphasis on the fact that the show is about acknowledging, affirming, celebrating the feminine attributes via the goddess archetypes as a way of witnessing and reminding ourself of their value and importance in bringing healing and balance to the world.  YES!

Thanks Jan, for your time, your spirit and your support!

You can help to bring more balance to the world via Goddesspell
 by making a tax deductible donation 
You can also help by "liking" the Goddesspell page on Facebook. 
(It helps potential producers/investors to see interest!)
THANKS!!! and LOVE!!!