Century Ride for MS

This ride happened a couple years back, and this is one of my all-time favorite pictures.

I take alotta flack for my tiny bike. But I’ve had this Bike Friday since 2006. I had a great ride that day. And just like like, you sometimes gotta face alotta naysayers along the way. Check out the side-eyes I’m getting from all the “professional”riders. See, if you ride alotta miles, people think you have to look the part. But you don’t. All you need to do is ride. The comments I heard that day boiled down to folks thinking I couldn’t get the kinda “performance” (riding 100 miles) out of a little bike. Or they thought because of my little wheels, I’d have to ride twice as hard. I didn’t, and I finished right around the time most other people finished. It wasn’t a race, it was a ride. I was amazed by comments I got, but then again, I always get conversation when me and my BF are purring along. I enjoy adjusting the landscape behind what’s appropriate and what’s not. But that’s what happened. And as I look back now, I enjoyed the heck out of being different from the herd.

In many ways, writing plays and riding a bike present similar challenges. I won’t get into the specifics, but if you do both long enough I think you’ll see what I mean.

Heading into Summer

I’ve been gone FOREVER! Haven’t written a post since 2019! But now as summer weather in 2020 approaches I’m feeling born again. Kinda sorta. So do I wanna wax poetic about covid-19? Nah. Racial injustice? Nah. Plenty of voices waxing about that at the moment. About potentially losing my job at Johnny Hopkins because of personnel cuts? Yawn. So what IS there to sermonize about?

My new script of course! “Exposed To Strangers”.

(Nothing to do with my play, but love the hyper meoldramatic visual. who doesn’t love a sprawled out dead body)

What’s it about? Lucky I’ve got a synopsis at the ready:

“A married middle-aged librarian, Odysseus, decides to send letters to a “famously” imprisoned middle-school teacher who had a controversial affair with a 12 yr. old student of hers. The controversy evolved into a nation-wide spectacle, that generated into a full-scale tabloid media investigation. The teacher was found guilty for engaging in sex with a minor. Though Odysseus writes letters, he’s never received one in return. Till one day a letter arrives, much to the surprise of his wife.”

We’ll see where the “Exposed” journey takes me. It’s a long one-act, and I was “encouraged” to write on this subject. So I’ll blame somebody else if the play never gets produced.

I did a zoom presentation for work espousing the benefits of cycling (especially during this time when so many places are in stay-at-home mode. Adventure Cycling let me serve a a cycling ambassador, and sent along a powerpoint outlining the joys of riding, biking overnight and bike touring. Take your pick, because they’re all joyful to me. There are so many folks out riding now, the streets have never been so full of folks on cycles. Makes you feel all warmed-up inside.

I’ll try not to be a stranger. I pay WordPress too much damn money to let my voice just be silent.

What To Do, What To Do….

Here I am, the humble playwright with just a few weeks before my reading of “Exposed To Strangers” at the Strand on Harford Road — and me without a single actor onboard. Not a one. “What to do” is right. My efforts have been thwarted at every turn. Folks too busy, folks not available, folks just yaddayaddayadda…..

It’s a conspiracy! On a grand scale! Or, maybe it’s just….the world of theater. It doesn’t get easier as you get….shall we say, more “mature”. There’s no getting around the fact that the more sought after playwrights are “up-and-coming” playwrights. Playwrights saturated in the glow of youth. Same with actors and all those other artists out there trying to ply their trades. I’d venture to say that similar regulations apply to their particular crafts, or plays, or songs or orchestrations or painting or ideas. Those regulations that prescribe to art or artists that don’t share a degree of “legitimate wokeness” would eventually slide whoever the offending non-woke artist — right into oblivion. Who needs your bourgeois individual creativity, give us something that reflects the collective outrage of our times!

I don’t need to apply an actual melodramatic emoji to that last sentence, but believe me it’s there. But plough on we must, c’nest pas?


“Exposed To Strangers” — Reading in November

Ahhhhh, fall is on the near horizon! My favorite season. Hey, it’s been awhile since my last post, but here I am. Still standing. And I’m happy to announce that, yes indeed, my newest play “Exposed To Strangers” will be having a staged reading in November. It’s sponsored by the Dramatist Guild and will be at The Strand Theatre on Harford Rd here in B’More. All I need to do is find four actors, (two men, two women) and away we good. What’s “Exposed To Strangers” about? Here’s a short synopsis:

“A married middle-aged librarian, Odysseus, decides to send letters to a “famously” imprisoned middle-school teacher who had a controversial affair with a 12 yr. old student of hers. The controversy evolved into a nation-wide spectacle, that generated into a full-scale tabloid media investigation. The teacher was found guilty for engaging in sex with a minor. Though Odysseus writes letters, he’s never received one in return. Till one day, a letter arrives.”

That’s the play inna nutshell. The reading will be at 7:30, November 14th. Oh, in October I’ll be doing my 2nd Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome.

I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to see so many kids with Down Syndrome becoming so exhilarated to walk together. They’re so tickled to have an event that’s dedicated to their own fun. And they’re proud to be out there. You can do the run, but I’ve never been a runner. It’s a joy to be part of it because it feels like all I do is walk and smile. And then when you finish, you’re still smiling.

“B-Side Man” on the air in Atlanta & Veteran’s Teaching Update

DO I EVER LOVE SPRING! Next to Fall, this is my favorite time to be alive. Spring is possibilities. Spring is development. Spring is the time for serendippity. I’ve felt that way forever. There is no better time to be walking in sunshine. Or sitting outside. Or reading a blog post.

New News! Yes, the Atlanta Audio Festival has just about arrived and “B-Side Man” will be one of the participants. Want proof? Just check out their line-up and you’ll find me.

Atlanta Audio   It feels like I’m living with that play on a daily basis. It has all the truth the real world will provide. When I die my tombstone should say “Here lies the man who wrote “B-Side Man”. Do I want all of Atlanta to listen to my play and through word-of-mouth I become an overnight sensation? Let’s just say I wouldn’t turn it down. I doubt many people can name more than one (if that) successful contemporary playwrights. I don’t need to be one of those people who have a zillion productions and takes up all the space on a theatre program listing all his productions and affliations. That’s not me. Face it. If you’ve seen any theatre in your lifetime you know there’s alotta bad plays out there. Alotta “nothing” plays out there. But if nobody is putting me in the “spectacular” category — I guess I gotta do it myself. See what Spring does? It empowers even the most UN-humble Playwrights.

Starting in June, I’ll be taking classes to become certified to teach veteran’s in the state of Maryland. Veteran Ready Training that Judy Rollins created in association with the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC)  and Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) ensures that participation in these training sessions will be required for any teacher who will be working with Veterans through MSAC grant programs.

Becoming a certified veteran’s teacher would be a wonderful opportunity. It takes you out of the “free-lance” realm and makes everything a bit more legit. Enhanced credibility would be a beautiful thing.

We’ll see how the rest of Spring unfolds. But right now it can do no wrong.

 

 

“B-Side Man” Joins Atlanta Fringe Audio Festival

fringeaudioThis time of year (February/March) seems to always unearth some form of good news for me. And so I’m tickled to discover that “B-Side Man’ was chosen to be part of the Atlanta Fringe Audio Festival. Fringe Audio is part of the Atlanta Fringe Festival. The plays will be read aloud, sort of an ongoing radio show. They’ll be using my Soundcloud recording of “B-Side Man” (boy am I ever happy I made that!).

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And kudos for Atlanta Fringe for creating an Audio category for their festival. This allows so many podcast/audio worthy projects to be heard in the light of day. Storytelling has never been bigger! But who am I kidding? Do I care about them? I’m a Playwright! I got my own 40 some-odd-years of dramatic burdens to haul around. Of course I’m just kidding. The Audio of “B-Side” will be available from May 27th to June 16th. So I’m officially thrilled. You never know who might hear the play, or who might pass along hearing the play, or who might know somebody who heard the play and passed it along to one of the Theatrical Gods of Destiny who may then pluck me up into Playwriting Wakanda Olympus.

 

 

Opportunities Knocking at Ma Door

The Holidays are here and December (shopping) madness is in full swing. Though I love Christmas with a passion, I’m most excited about what’s coming round the corner in 2019. I was once again asked to be a judge for Maryland’s Poetry Out Loud Competition.

Cayla Turner Poetry Out Loud State Champion Photo Credit Edwin Remsberg(2)

(Pictured: Cayla Turner, Maryland Poetry Out Loud State Champion — photo by Edwin Remsberg)

In the past, I’ve had an outstanding time being a judge for the competition. The poems and the participants really, really grab you in the moment. I can’t say enough about the experiences I’ve had in the past. The poems all come from the classic tradition, but it’s how they’re delivered that makes them become, as they say, “re-imagined”.

I’ve also finalized the Veteran’s Storytelling Workshop, but it looks like I’ll be having my “classroom” at the Institute for Integrative Health”.

Nicole and I will also be participating in the “Love Letters Project” February 13th, at the Maryland Art Place. Here’s a description of the event:

Cupid’s Arrow, taking place on the eve of Valentine’s Day, indulges in romantic love: Nicole and Alonzo Lamont with a tale of stolen moments blooming into a marriage; cabaret performer Betsey Hobelmann honoring 18 years of marriage with a song; husband, father, scholar-activist, storyteller and drummer David Fakunle praising his love; and more. The event includes audience members sharing their own testimonials of  Valentine’s love, accompanied by jazz vocalist Simone Speed, who offers song throughout the evening. A moment is given over to Ken Royster, whose photograph of a young couple included in the exhibition perfectly invokes the theme of romance.

We’ll be describing, reading and performing excerpts from the very FIRST love letters we wrote to each other. And performing a small section from “B-Side Man” that recalls our very first meeting. WHO KNEW! Twenty one years later, WHO KNEW all this would be, in the words of Carly Simon, “coming around again”.

There could be more on the way, but I don’t wanna jinx it. I’ll take these for now.

 

Introducing my pals at “Limestone Connection” — Holly & Jason

Two great buddies o’ mine, Holly Morse-Ellington and Jason Tinney have several new sites involving podcasts, music and storytelling. I’ve known Holly and Jason for several years, but got to work with them this summer, I directed Holly’s one-act play “Free To Go” at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre.

Manhattan Rep Theatre

 

 

Well, they run the full creativity gamut. Here’s their Bandcamp site for their DEBUT album…Limestone Connection

Storyproof provides a more in depth look at the full-range of their passions.

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We’ve made plans to collaborate on various projects, but for now they’re getting all their ducks in a row. From the moment we met, I thought they were the cat’s pajamas. They provided me with feedback for “B-Side Man,” and in my book I count them both as aces. I rarely meet folks who I pretty quickly gravitate towards. You can go through alot of false starts (and steps) finding the genuine article. But enough from me. When you get a moment jump in with both feet — and go check out both their sites.

Alonzo published in “Eclectica”

It’s been an artistic summer so far, directing Holly Morse-Ellington’s “Free To Go” in NYC (featured actors: Holly and Jason Tinney), and now “B-Side Man” was just this minute published in Eclectica magazine. (click on the book) Eclectica, started way back in 1996 is one of the oldest — and still surviving –— online ‘zines. EclecticaAnd they published the whole dang play. Not an excerpt, the whole dang play! I love how they gave us a tease about content, and while it’s all minimalist to the bone, they definitely captured the overall essence and flavor of the playwright and the play.

I’m particularly thrilled about the “Contributors’ Notes” As you scroll down, you’ll see that they didn’t skimp on putting in the whole kit’n kaboodle about Alonzo. Yes, I wrote it, but did I think it would ALL make the final cut? Needless to say, I’m happy it did. As always, I feel as though there could be more “B-Side” opportunities on the near horizon, since it’s such a tight little nugget of drama & literature.

And look for future collaborations between Alonzo, Jason and Holly, they’re the equally eclectic duo who form “Limestone Connection.” They write plays, prose, essays, work the storytelling gumbo pot and it all comes together under a great big “southern gothic/e” blues & folk umbrella of many colors.

So hooray for good news in the summer. Moving forward, the forecast is sunny. Let fall and winter artistic news be the chewy gristle of a cheap steak, summer should feel like brand new duds splashing down the boulevard. We all yearn to be in full regalia in summertime.