The Bay Area Teen Theater-Going Initiative

I just learned about this from Melissa Hillman’s twitter feed and it’s the highlight of my day so far: there’s a new group that…well, here. This is from their About Us page:

Up Next is a not-for-profit organization of Bay Area teens, by Bay Area teens, and for Bay Area teens. Our mission: to get our peers interested in attending live theater (specifically focusing on bringing teens to the smaller, more experimental and cutting-edge theaters in the Bay Area). This mutually beneficial relationship will allow teenagers to engage with and learn from the local theater community while building new audiences for the theaters.

Their upnextbayarea blog has reviews, announcements and articles about lots of theaters that I love — which surely speaks more to their exceptional taste than to my emotional maturity. Follow it!


Meeting With A Dramaturg

This weekend, as part of my PlayGround Fellowship commission, I got to meet with a dramaturg who shall remain nameless because I didn’t ask if I could write about her (but who I will say is a key member of a certain Foundation that helps out Playwrights).

I did a rewrite of The Secret Rulers of the World Go To Camp soon after the staged reading back in May, but now that four or five months have passed, I was able to step back and hear some really fantastic thoughts on what to do with the next draft. It was pretty inspiring and got the play bouncing around in my head again, although I have no idea how the hell I’m going to carve out some time to do the actual writing.

Here’s the blurb, in case you’re interested (as found on my Plays page, where you can read about any of my plays):

An investigative podcaster obsessed with Bohemian Grove finds a way into the annual encampment of the most powerful men in the world. Will he discover the vast global conspiracy he’s always imagined, or is The Grove just a place for rich men to drink, swim and put on drag-filled adaptations of lesser Shaw plays?

Resource For Finding Bay Area Rehearsal/Performance Space

Hey, there’s a new online search thing put together by Theatre Bay Area and Dancers’ Group that has information about just about every theatre rental space available in the Bay Area.

Super-easy to use and there are way more places around than you (well, I) ever suspected. It’s called

Search the most comprehensive free online rehearsal and performance space guide in the San Francisco Bay Area! offers numerous search options that allow you to identify spaces according to size, cost, features, location and more. The directory includes spaces throughout 11 counties from Sonoma to Monterey….

Profiles include photos, detailed descriptions, dimensions, pricing info and many other features. An online map shows the geographic distribution of your search results, so you can find a space near you. Each profile includes contact information so you can easily get in touch with the right person for reserving the space. Now you can spend your time making art instead of worrying about rehearsal space.

Coffee With A Strange Guy

Here’s a great interview with Damian Lanahan-Kalish, from Sleepwalkers Theatre, on a cool blog called Coffee with a Stranger.

First of all, the blog itself is awesome: the guy meets up with strangers in a coffee shop, buys them a coffee and interviews them, then posts the often-anonymous interviews online. Fascinating stuff.

But second: Damian is one interesting bastard. Even if you know he’s an actor and an artist and a dude who draws on T-shirts with a marker, you probably don’t know the other six or seven projects he’s got going on. But you will if you read this.

Additions to the Blogroll

Update: Marissa Skudlarek, of the Marissabidilla blog, is no longer anonymous-ish. So I’ve moved her into the Playwrights section of the links. Yay!

Came across some people, companies and sites I didn’t know about:

  • Claire Rice: Playwright/director Claire Rice’s blog.

Let’s Borrow This From Our Sister City

Lest you think all I’m doing is reading my name in the New York Times (!) and writing about the BOA Festival, let me link to this article in The Globe and Mail:

Through one of its redevelopment agencies, Paris has been buying up property and commercial leases in the Latin Quarter and renting them to bookstores.

It proves the feasibility of my idea (completely stolen from Don Hall) that the city could buy some vacant buildings and lease them to theater companies for cheap.

SF Bay Guardian On Theater

Another article on the economy’s effect on Bay Area theaters. Maybe a bit more pessimistic than what I’ve heard from people anecdotally, but the part about audiences being more selective in what they see is probably true.

And it is interesting to think about 10 years into the future, when we could very well look back and see that all the plays that were written were little chamber pieces and that big, epic theatre pretty much just disappeared:

At Z Studio Space, a San Francisco company that develops new theater work, executive director Lisa Steindler admits she passes up on scripts with a cast of 12 or more. She simply can’t afford it.

These days, she said, even playwrights realize they must write scripts with two or three actors if they want a play produced. “It’s interesting how the economy is shaping the canon of work that being made,” she said. “Ten years from, now we’ll look back and see how artists tailored their work [to the financial situation of this time].”

Read the rest here at

Very Cool Fundraiser This Weekend

Check this out: This Saturday April 18, the very cool guys over at Sleepwalkers Theatre are having a Depression Party at Lobot Gallery in Oakland that’s also a fundraiser.

The tagline: “Come Support Local Theatre and Help Make this Depression the Greatest of All!”

A performance of one of my short plays is the least of it. The greatest thing may be the moonshine-making demonstration. Brilliant!


Admission’s only 10 bucks, and look at all you get:

Two Short Neo-Vaudeville Performances: Tim Bauer’s The Magic Word and David Ackerman’s Inside Albert’s Head.

Moonshine-Making Demonstration: Learn to brew your own bootleg hootch.

Good-Time Hokum Tunes: From Ryan Beebe & a Special Secret Performance by Members of the Gomorran Social Aid and Pleasure Club.

Old-Timey Syncopated Sounds: Dance to DJ Adam Infanticide.

Drown Your Sorrows: Homemade booze, beer and the finest hella cheap Hooverville delicacies. Including 50 cent moonshines shots!

Bargain Artwork: Everything under $20!

And an Installation Made Entirely from Decaying Money!

Saturday, April 18, 8pm at Lobot Gallery, 1800 Campbell Street Oakland. Admission $10. All proceeds go to keeping Sleepwalkers Theatre alive. Info at 415.308.9849 or

I Read; People Clapped; A Guy Played A Saw

Playwrights don’t often get to read their own work. We usually have to hand it over to actors. And we’re usually quite glad to do that.

But last night, I had a great time reading my short play Letters To An Old Poet at Book Zoo in Oakland. It was a fundraiser and magazine release party for Watchword Press and Beeswax Magazine, and I was one of the featured readers (thanks to an invite from the lovely and perpetually busy Liz Lisle).

I purposely chose a play about a poet, since all the other readers were poets, and it seemed to go over pretty well. People laughed at all the right places, clapped when I was done, and a guy took a picture of me drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon, so that seems like a success.

After the reading, a band called Dum Spiro Spero played songs written for guitar, violin and saw. The bookstore owner’s little daughter (who was more excited about her “baby rat in a cage” than the reading) loved this part, dancing and clapping and spinning around and around and around in a circle until she fell over. So that seems like a success, too.

Update: If you’re on Facebook (and maybe even if you’re not) you can see photos of me, the event, and the aforementioned PBR here.

Come See Me Read This Saturday

Did you know that I am devious, hip and worshipped? From the press release:

Where do the seamlessly hip, rebellious agents of the literary underground create their bombs of urban expression?  Join two sly literary magazines and their devious contributors for an evening of live readings, and covert revolution. Locally worshipped writers Britta Austin, Tim Bauer, Steffi Drewes and Jessica Wickens will present new work, with music by Dum Spiro Spero at 7PM on Saturday, November 29th at Book Zoo in Oakland, 6395 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA (near the intersection of Telegraph and Alcatraz),