Painting with Paper

My mother was an artist who became allergic to her paints. Since not painting was not an option, she invented a way to paint with paper. Mickey had a waxer to lay out the feminist magazine she published so she waxed the back of sheets of colored construction paper. Then she’d slash the paper with an Exacto knife and sorted these “brush strokes” by color. Instead of pots of paint, her studio was covered … Read More

The Art of Dying

Driving home from a memorial for my friend Joan Schirle, I stopped to walk slowly through a small stand of Redwoods. The air was so still it let me feel. Now I’m getting the manuscript for Love Death Circus ready for the printer so I’m still grieving, both on the page and in real life. The other day I read on Facebook that a man I worked with for years died suddenly and two … Read More

51% comedy to 49% tragedy

My niece got married last week in a small park in Cambridge. It was the now common COVID story of a year-long wait from their original date and they used the extra time well – a friend grew the flowers that festooned their home-made chuppah, the COVID precautions were strong and clear, the food was fantastic and they carefully choreographed an “egalitarian, anti-misogynistic ceremony” including two smashed glasses, one under the groom’s foot and … Read More

Art Strengthens Civic Culture As Well As Individuals

This year, the German government will spend 2.4 billion dollars on the arts. The Ministry of Culture wants to “open spaces for discourse” and strengthen their “valuable culture of democracy.” This morning, on my Medicare birthday, I’m thinking about all the spaces that my 50 years as an artist have opened up for me, how being an artist has supported my mental, emotional and physical health as well as, at times, strengthened our civic … Read More

Advice For Life From Artists

The New York Times asked 40 artists to give some advice to other artists. Some of the quotes resonated deeply with me… “…seek out a mentor: someone who supports you and wants you to achieve your own voice and vision…” Garret Hongo For me it’s been mentors, plural. “…connect with your local community or history and critically examine your own location or dislocation within the country. This will inform what, how and why you … Read More

A Giant Leap of Faith

It was a giant leap of faith to take a two-page document, written with more energy than form by a bunch of teenagers, and use it as the bible for a show that over fifty performers, coaches, directors, designers and technicians would work on for six months. I took that leap of faith last fall and Circus at the End of the World played to packed houses and standing ovations in mid-March. The success … Read More

Odessa is Under Attack and I Have Friends There

If you have Ukrainian or Russian friends, hold them in your hearts as you read the news. Some of them are in danger, all of them have families and all of their families are in some kind of danger. As I write this, Odessa is under attack and two people I love and deeply respect are from Odessa. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 17 of The Secret Life of Clowns that was inspired … Read More

Art Can Connect Us in Times of Disconnection

My gig at the Arc Gallery last Sunday almost got “COVID cancelled” – one of my sons tested positive, we were all quarantined and I needed a negative test on Friday to avoid canceling the Sunday event. It worked out, everyone is healthy and I learned a lot about how art can connect people in this time of disconnection. I wanted my event to relate to the exhibit, “Dollhouse,” and to use techniques from … Read More

Connection Not Perfection

“I was in the middle of a concert…everything was going perfectly…and I was bored out of my mind. That was the moment that I made a fateful decision (to) devote my life to human expression versus human perfection.” – Yo Yo Ma A month ago, I was in a theater watching the amazing director Amy Marie Haven work with a huge cast to stage my play ‘La Sirène‘. The next day, she was packing … Read More

Creating by Listening

Many years ago, I was commissioned to write a play about secondhand smoke. Being completely ignorant of the subject and starting to think that it was an impossible topic for a play, I decided to interview a pulmonologist friend. He was so excited, knowledgeable and entertaining that I used his words and images to finish a first draft of “Lungman and Windpipe’s Excellent Adventure” within a week. This experience of creating a play by … Read More

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