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It’s official. My play, We Happy Animals, was selected for the 36th Annual Samuel French OOB Play Festival! I’m particularly excited about bringing this play to the audience of the festival because it always gets such interesting reactions.

It’s also great because this is the second year in a row one of my plays was selected. Last year, A Map of Our Country, was one of the final fhirteen selections.

Check out the other plays and playwrights here.

Check out my interview with the Samuel French folks here.

If you’re in NYC July 19-24th, come check out the festival!!!

Here’s the Deal

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Through a lucky(?) time/place happening, I had the chance to catch Kevin Smith’s new horror(?) film, Red State, at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night. After the movie, Kevin Smith led a talk-back about the film with the very talented cast, including Melissa Leo and John Goodman. I learned a few things:

1. Kevin Smith loves to hear himself talk. More than he should. With such a talented cast and such an unspectacular (we’ll get to that in a second) film, I was anxiously waiting some words to be spoken that would help me better understand the film, but no. I just heard Kevin Smith talk. For a long time. While his fanboys in the audience sucked his cock. Over and and over again.

2. Kevin Smith has a very different view of a horror film than I.

3. Red State is over-written, unfocused, and sensationalistic.

I was super interested in the movie because of the way it’s being publicized: a horror film about a radical sect of religious crazies (think Fred Phelps and the Westboro clan) kidnapping teenagers. That’s 1/4 of it. Please, do NOT assume, as I perhaps stupidly did, that this movie was going to offer any sort of intelligent insight – satirical or otherwise- about religious fanatsicim or homophobia. It doesn’t. Instead, you’re offered a torture-porn fest that starts off SUPER promising and descends into a cheap thriller without anything interesting.

Q: When does the representation of violence (especially towards minority groups like homosexuals) perpetuate the problem rather than act as a step towards awareness? A: When you’re representing it in the way Kevin Smith does in his new movie. It’s especially unfortunate that the movies comes at a time like it does, with the tragic string of recent teenage suicides.

Don’t kill a gagged and bound gay person (did I mention he’s tied to a cross?) on screen for me to watch the horrible, bloody details of (and in this movie, it’s a HORRIFYING scene) in an attempt to show how awful and terrible the crime is and then try to have me laughing thirty seconds later or more importantly, construct the later 3/4 of your movie in tones, images, and plots totally unrelated to said horrifying death.

Oh, and don’t forget one of the most ridiculously long and tedious monologues ever recorded on film. Oh, there’s also a RIDICOLOUS turn involving large trumpet blasts, a la’ War of the Worlds. No, seriously. But don’t get excited. It’s nowhere near as exciting. Kevin Smith, you were out of your league with this one. Go ride roller coasters you’re tall enough to get on.

And please don’t mistake my passion about this as bitchiness. I wrote a short play called We Happy Animals that makes jokes about having to go down on the barrel in order for a suicide to work properly. But what’s important to consider with this type of “controversial” subject-matter is tone and execution, and I can’t help but declare that Kevin Smith has failed on both accounts.

In other, more important and sadder news, this guy’s extinct. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the Eastern Cougar to be extinct, confirming a belief among wildlife biologists that native populations were wiped out by man a century ago.

Also, Shirley Pehlps-Roper has a Twitter. Is that allowed in the bible?

BUG OUT

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Are you being bugged? Is someone bugging you? Fed up with bugs? Or, are you just BUGGIN’ OUT? On Monday, December 6 the 2010 Groundbreakers take on this tiny but complex word and deconstruct it for a night of buggy plays. Featuring 10-minute plays by the freshest and flyest playwrights around, Halley Feiffer, Lauren Feldman, Andrew Kramer, Nick Mwaluko, and Leah Nanako Winkler. Directed by Carlos Armesto, Shelly Butler, Shay Gines, Jessi D. Hill, and Tom Wojtunik.

BUG OUT! will be on Monday, December 6 at HERE Arts Center (145 Sixth Ave, enter on Dominick Street, one block south of Spring). Doors are at 7:30pm; show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $10 and will be available for purchase at the door. All Proceeds Support the Groundbreakers Playwrights Reading Series in February 2011.

Come check it out! These are some AWESOME playwrights, yo! And my play, We Happy Animals, will be performed!