Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Loans Borrowed Against Pensions Squeeze Retirees"


A Vulnerable Age

Loans Borrowed Against Pensions Squeeze Retirees

"To retirees, the offers can sound like the answer to every money worry: convert tomorrow’s pension checks into today’s hard cash.

But these offers, known as pension advances, are having devastating financial consequences for a growing number of older Americans, threatening their retirement savings and plunging them further into debt. The advances, federal and state authorities say, are not advances at all, but carefully disguised loans that require borrowers to sign over all or part of their monthly pension checks. They carry interest rates that are often many times higher than those on credit cards."

Check out the entire article. 

"The Middle Class is in a funk, its view of the future growing dim as fear rolls in like a storm."


Op-Ed Columnist

The Morose Middle Class

"The Middle Class is in a funk, its view of the future growing dim as fear rolls in like a storm.

An Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll released Thursday found that while most Americans (56 percent) hold out hope that they‘ll be in a higher class at some point, even more Americans (59 percent) are worried about falling out of their current class over the next few years. In fact, more than eight in 10 Americans believe that more people have fallen out of the middle class than moved into it in the past few years.

The poll paints a picture of a group that is scared to death about its station in life."

Friday, April 26, 2013

Todd London's Keynote Address at the Dramatists Guild of America's National Conference (2011)

In June of 2011, I attended the Dramatists Guild of America's first national conference in Fairfax, Virginia. It was a wonderful experience, and one of my favorite events was Todd London's Keynote Address. It was so interesting, and I was so inspired. Some of his words still ring clear in my head today.

I was looking through The Dramatist-November/December 2011 this morning, and I was reminded that the keynote address is published in that issue.

The title: What a Difference a Play Makes

I was reminded that the keynote address is on the Dramatists Guild of America's website, and this morning, I feel like remembering those words of inspiration:

Todd London's Keynote Address at the Dramatists Guild of America's National Conference (2011)

Reminded by something that Marsha Norman said...

My play, Eliminated, was read at the WCT's lab last night, and it went well. Still have a couple of points to work out, but I was pleased. And I had a good time with my fellow members after. This morning, I feel like a playwright, and I'm reminded of something Marsha Norman said. I went back and found it, so here it is.

From: A Life in the Theatre-The Dramatist-November/December 2011:

"We are a great tribe of writers and it takes all of us writing all the time to write the two or three plays that are going to be remembered from any given year. We don't know whether it's going to be one of ours this year or not, but every year that we write, we get to nominate somebody, some characters in crisis, for permanent memory. It's important to remember that the decision is way out there. For example, we don't know, at this moment, if any Neil LaBute plays will ever be remembered or done. We don't know if plays by the wonderful Annie Baker will be remembered or done. We might not even know the answer in our lifetime. I think that's a part of the humility and the understanding of being a writer. It's the role you play in society and it's crucial that you keep doing it! Do not let your critics or your family get in the way of getting your body of work done. When your body of work is done, then you can go ride horses or whatever you're going to do in your post-writing years."

Wise words from the desk of Gary Garrison/Lesson I've Learned

Wise words from the desk of Gary Garrison, Department of Creative Affairs.
Title: Lessons I've Learned
From: The Dramatist-September/October 2011

"...local theatres in the community don't understand why local playwrights don't populate their audiences, don't understand their mission statements or don't work to engage the artistic staff to form relationships that are mutually beneficial.

Of course we want to be produced in our backyard. What could be better than for our work to be seen by our friends and family, reviewed in our local papers and championed by local creative leadership? It's a great ideal, and for some of us, it happens. But for many of us, it can't happen because, frankly, there are too many of us (dramatists) and too few of them (theatres)... courageous Literary Manager stood up in a room packed with local writers and said, "We can't produce your play at our theatre. We lose too much money when we do. If you look at our season, you know what we do is fairly commercial work that's built a name for itself in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, and that we promote to an ever-shrinking subscription audience. But what we can do for you is meet with you, get to know your work and make recommendations to other theatres that can produce you. We can offer you resources like meeting rooms for writers groups or rehearsal space if you're self-producing a show. That we can do. And should." I wanted to cheer. I looked around the room. The writers weren't satisfied. Really? Is it an all or nothing deal? Is it the "either you produce my play or I want nothing to do with you" attitude that's perpetuating strained relationships between writers and theatres?

We want theatres to be generous with their time, attention and resources. Are we equally generous with our understanding?


I have shown up to a theatre-metaphorically speaking-with my hands out, posturing, "what can you do for me?" instead of, "what can we do for each other?" Or, "let me talk to you about who I am, and you tell me who you are, and let's see if we're a match." There's an idea - GIVE and take.

We all know what a good time is, what makes any of us want to spend time with an individual. Why should that be any different when we court a theatre with our art? If we want to be attractive, there are all kinds of ways we know to do that. I wonder how much further along any of us could get with a theatre if we showed an interest in the theatre beyond our own desire to be produced. I wonder what the trajectory might be if I start with, "what can I do for you," instead of "what can you do for me?"...

When I get really discouraged about production, I remember something I heard back in graduate school in a theatre history course: "Stories can be told anywhere; audiences can be anyone." Theatre, then, does not have to be defined by a box..."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

...corporate greed is treating me like a business...

The winter has taken its toll. We needed heat/electric to live. I wanted to simply pay for a service provided, but corporate greed is treating me like a  business...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Samuel Beckett, Happy Birthday!

"What remains of all that misery? A girl in a shabby green coat, on a railway-station platform? No?"

-Samuel Beckett

Happy Birthday old friend...

...bottom feeders...

Swim. Swim away from the bottom feeders...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

...when asked what surprised him most about humanity,

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered "Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."