What We're Reading: May 2018
As members of an organization that believes in the power of conversation to promote systemic change, the team here at The Lark often circulates, amongst
ourselves, anecdotes and emails about materials we've read lately that have moved us. In accordance with our commitment to the amplification of necessary voices that reflect the world we live in, this new, monthly post compiles some of the media we have been tuned in to, to share with our wider community. We know these are only a sampling of all the insightful work out there, so if we missed anything that had an impact on you this month, we encourage you to share in the comments section!
"In 2017 and 2018, allegations of sexual misconduct against some of our most powerful artistic leaders have loomed large. How do we foster professional and artistic spaces in which people feel supported, respected, empowered, and most of all, safe?"
Theatre Communications Group (TCG) compiled this list of resources as a starting point for those looking for support or ideas on how to help.
This Facebook post by Jaylene Clark Owens
"...he might have learned something, I might have learned something, it could have been a moment of growth for everyone, but unfortunately we did not get there because he did not have empathy. He couldn’t just listen to the story, even if he felt like the story might have been talking about him or accusing him of being racist or whatever thoughts ran through his head during that show. He couldn't even listen to another perspective."
An actor in the Wilma Theater's production of Christopher Chen's Passage details her experience of being interrupted during a performance, by an audience member having a defensive reaction to the material.
This Lisa Turtle is Handing Back her White Card by Kaliswa Brewster
"The Saved By The Bell color-blind bubble was a lie. I knew this as a kid and I know this now. There is no such thing as color-blind. Wherever we go, we bring all of who we are. My life mirrored Lisa Turtle’s in that at school I was “just one of the gang.” But when I was home? My “otherness” was not so far off."
Actor Kaliswa Brewster on white-adjacent privilege and what is means to be "All-American."
"This is a safe, respectful, inclusive, and fun environment for everyone to enjoy movies and events. This Code of Conduct applies to everyone at the venue and participants in our social media channels. Guests, staff, volunteers, vendors, and press will be held to the same standards."
A code of conduct prominently displayed in the lobby of the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater in Brooklyn, aiming to create a community where everyone can enjoy storytelling in a welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment. Read the full text of The Alamo Drafthouse's Code of Conduct on their website!
From Three Troubled Lives, a Play and a New Family by Alexis Soloski
"Ms. Thurber asked permission for every anecdote and detail she borrowed. She wanted the play to feel honest to their experiences, to feel fair... Still, neither character is a precise portrait. There’s a lot of Ms. Thurber in here, too, including the loss of the grandmother 'and other secret things,' she said."
Playwright Lucy Thurber discusses her new play Transfers, which follows two young men from the South Bronx competing for a college scholarship, along with two of her own students, who inspired it.
Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo,” (Excerpt) by Zora Neale Hurston
"When we git in de place dey put us in a barracoon behind a big white house and dey feed us some rice. We see many ships in de sea, but we cain see so good ’cause de white house, it ’tween us and de sea. But Cudjo see de white men, and dass somethin’ he ain’ never seen befo’."
Barracoon, a book that Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) wrote and tried to publish in 1931, is finally getting its release this month. This piece of non-fiction, written in dialect, is based on three months of periodic interviews with a man named Cudjo Lewis — or Kossula, his original name — the last survivor of the last slave ship to land on American shores.
"...we need to dismantle another terrible habit that many, many of us have, one that we don’t think much about, but one that is driving lots of people nuts, perpetuates gender and other inequities, and increases the power imbalance between employers and employees: Not listing salary ranges on job posting, and putting 'DOE,' which stands for 'Depends On Experience' instead. Here are reasons why it is so awful, and why we should all agree to put an end to 'salary cloaking' immediately."
An old but good hit from the always stellar blog Nonprofit AF.
The Ugly Truth about Arts Institutions Led by Women of Color by Teresa Coleman Wash
"RSF’s model of shared gifting gives full decision-making authority to a group of grantees who evaluate each other’s proposals and make funding decisions together with transparency."
The effects of unconscious bias on leadership in the American Theater.