America’s Play 3/9-3/16

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Welcome to the America plays! A weekly play about the top story or stories in America last week. This week it’s all about trump!  Without further ado:

What  About Trump?

Characters

AMIR, 20’s, Black/Hispanic Male

RICO, 20’s, Caucasian Male

 

(Lights Up)

(AMIR is sitting on the couch in the living room, eating cereal in front of his laptop. He wears a “Make America Great Again” t-shirt. RICO enters, wearing a #FEELTHEBERN t-shirt)

 

RICO

Hey, Amir!

AMIR

Hey, Rico, did you get my text about Nancy Reagan?

RICO

I think so.

(Walks to his room offstage.)

 

AMIR

And?

 

RICO

(From offstage)

I got it.

 

AMIR

I meant…how’d you feel about it?

 

RICO

(From offstage)

Oh, it was, uh, a shame. She was a credit to our nation.

(Enters the living room)

Now, can we talk about tonight?

 

AMIR

I actually wanted to talk about Turkey…

 

RICO

Later, we have to hurry up if we’re going to make the rally in…

(Notices Amir’s shirt)

What are you wearing?

 

AMIR

(Looks down, smiles)

Oh, it’s a new Trump t-shirt. It just came in the mail today!

 

RICO

Why are you wearing it?

 

AMIR

Because I support Donald Trump. Duh.

RICO

Why would you support him???

 

AMIR

Lots of reasons. He’s charismatic, popular and has a strong message. Kind of like Obama back in ‘08.

 

RICO

This is a joke, right?

(Rico laughs as Amir stares at him)

You’re messing with me!

(Rico laughs harder as Amir stares)

There’s no way in hell you would even consider voting for that guy.

 

AMIR

(Puts down cereal. Calm.)

Rico. I don’t see why you are having so much trouble taking my choice seriously.

 

RICO

Because you can’t be a Trump supporter!

 

AMIR

Why not?

 

RICO
(Motions his arm up and down Amir’s body)

 

AMIR

Because of my height?

 

RICO

You are black and hispanic! Trump is racist!

 

AMIR

How so?

 

RICO

Remember that stuff he said about Mexicans being violent?

 

AMIR

When did he say that?

 

RICO

Like six months ago!

 

AMIR

That’s so long ago, man. I remember Beyonce’s choreography at the superbowl more clearly. And besides, I’m not Mexican.

 

RICO

He wanted to deport Muslims!

 

AMIR

I’m not Muslim, I’m Catholic.

 

RICO

He insulted a woman over her looks!

 

AMIR

That’s just sexist.

RICO

(Frustrated)

You can make all the excuses for Trump that you’d like, but you can’t deny his supporters are a problem. The other day a guy was elbowed—in the face—at a Trump rally.

 

AMIR

I saw that. Old guy has a mean arm.

 

RICO

See?

 

AMIR

What?

 

RICO

His fans are out of control.

 

AMIR

And that means I shouldn’t vote for Trump.

 

RICO

Yes!

 

AMIR

Rico…let me put it like this. Imagine if you go to a concert for your favorite band.

 

RICO

Twenty-one pilots!

 

AMIR

Sure. Anyway, let’s say a fan at the concert stabs you in the stomach today.

 

RICO

Jesus!

 

AMIR

If that happened, what would you say?

 

RICO

That the guy was crazy!

 

AMIR

It could be a girl. Don’t be sexist!

 

RICO

What’s your point?

 

AMIR

When you get stabbed…

 

RICO

If!

 

AMIR

After the stabbing, would you stop listening to the band?

 

RICO

No.

 

AMIR

Exactly. So if a stabbing  by one person at a concert won’t stop you from listening to music, why should one angry fan end my support for Trump?

 

RICO

(stops, considers this point. Then shakes his head)

I’m not going to the rally with you while you’re wearing that shirt.

 

AMIR

Fine. If it makes you that uncomfortable, I’ll change.

(Amir removes his t-shirt and reveals a blacklivesmatter t-shirt)

 

RICO

What the hell?

AMIR

Huh?

 

RICO

You’re wearing a blacklivesmatter t-shirt!

 

AMIR

Yes. Cause I think blacklivesmatter, especially mine.

 

RICO

How can you be a Trump fan and support blacklivesmatter? They’re enemies.

 

AMIR

But they’re so similar.

 

RICO

In what universe is the trump campaign similar to the blacklivesmatter movement?!

 

AMIR

You just proved it!

RICO

HOW?!

 

AMIR

Anger. Blacklivesmatter supporters are angry. Trump supporters are angry. Aren’t you angry?

 

RICO

A little.

 

AMIR

We have two strong political movements that desire strong outcomes, massive change and have millions of passionate supporters. They both come at a critical time in our history. And their t-shirts are cool as hell! The goals are different in some places, I admit, but both groups are standing on the edge of a deep valley of values and reason. If they’re both so close to the edge, why do they have to stand on opposite sides?

(Beat.)

 

RICO

I need to lie down.

 

AMIR

What about the rally?

 

RICO

I’m not going with you!

 

AMIR

Cause of my shirt? I can just change to my Kanye West shirt if you’d like.

 

RICO

This isn’t just about a shirt. You can’t just wear Trump and take it off the moment you get tired of it.

 

AMIR

If I get tired of him.

 

RICO

Listen, Amir. I’m genuinely scared.

 

AMIR

Me too. But Trump is going to make America great again.

 

RICO

When’s the last time we were even great?

 

AMIR

I used to think that we were always great, but now I’m thinking it happened when Bush was in office…

 

RICO

I’m terrified for you, Amir. What if some people think Trump winning is a sign? To indulge in their worst viewpoints? To say whatever you want, no matter how negative it is? To stab me?

 

AMIR

Trump will take care of it. He has to.

 

RICO

He’ll just deny his involvement like he always does.

 

AMIR

It won’t matter. He’ll be blamed anyway. It’s always the President’s fault when something bad happens. Thanks to Obama.

 

RICO

Wait. Wait. Are you saying we’d blame Trump for everything that goes wrong?

 

AMIR

I also said, Thanks Obama.

 

RICO

(processing)

If Trump screws up, we’ll hate him. He’d be destroyed day by day….

 

AMIR

If he fails.

 

RICO

He will! Trump has no specifics, broad policies, simple rhetoric…he might be the worst President we’ve ever had! And then…oh my god…people will see that anger gets them nowhere. They’ll see the error of their ways! They’ll finally feel ready to feel the bern!

(grabs amir’s trump tshirt)

Can I borrow this?

(Amir nods)

I’m going to make sure Trump gets elected. Is there a Trump rally nearby tonight? I’ll text Constance and find out…

(Sends text)

 

AMIR

Rico?

 

RICO

Yeah?

 

AMIR

I was just messing with you.

 

RICO

What?

 

AMIR

This whole Trump thing was joke.

 

RICO

A joke that went on for that long?

 

AMIR

Yes.

 

RICO

You were very convincing.

 

AMIR

I took those improv classes.

 

RICO

Are you sure?

 

AMIR

Come on. I compared the blacklivesmatter movement to Trump’s campaign. That should have been a dead giveaway.

 

RICO

But why?

 

AMIR

You’ve haven’t been answering my texts about anything that doesn’t have to do with the election.I did this all to get you to pay attention.

 

RICO

What did I miss?

 

AMIR

Nancy Reagan was a blip on the radar to you. Migrants died leaving Syria. Ankara…

 

RICO

(distracted)

Oh, I get it. You come up with these crazy stories because you don’t want Trump to fail.

 

AMIR

What?

 

RICO

Well, newsflash, Amir! I’ve got to pay more attention to him now. Prop him up as high as he can go, so we can knock him down.

 

AMIR

But while you’re setting up this game, what else are you gonna miss?

 

RICO

(Getting text)

Constance has a rally spot! You coming?

 

AMIR

No, man. I’m not.

 

RICO

(goes to exit)

Suit yourself! Here I come, Drumpf!

 

AMIR

Rico!

 

RICO

(stops, turns back to Amir)

Yes.

 

AMIR

Could you…at least check in on Ankara for me?

 

RICO

Who’s Ankara?

(Rico Exits. Amir stands there and sighs. He takes off his blacklivesmatter shirt to reveal a shirt with the Turkish flag on it.)

Blackout

End of Play.

 

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#Grief

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In the latest of a series of gun related incidents, a man shot a reporter, photographer and witness, killing two of them before turning the gun on himself. I followed the story closely all day from my office as the tragic details emerged. But as the details came in, so did posts like these:

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 9.31.38 PM

That got responses like this

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 9.34.18 PM
People were outraged to see a debate about gun violence so close to the incident. And their rage is completely understandable.

I want you to imagine that you’re in middle school. The resident bully sets up an elaborate prank wherein you are drenched with spoiled milk in front of your crush.  In the moments following this series of events, people start yelling about how bad bullying is, what a waste of milk that was and how this is a sign of the broken American school system. Now I ask you, do you care more about those arguments or the fact that you’ve lost your crush forever?

Look at it from this angle as well. People in the cafeteria are emotional, screaming and yelling at each other. When they’re calmed down by the aide, their feelings of rage go away-along with the energy to protest. Even worse, maybe their opinions, as well formed as they are, are invalidated as emotional ramblings. Maybe if they had waited until they were outside of the cafeteria, more people wouldn’t be in danger of rotten milk-but we can’t know for sure. Unfortunately, we deal with much bigger things than that every day.
When people use tragedies to support their causes so close to a horrible event, it can ignite others to take a stand as well. And that is important. But even more important are the lives of those directly affected. The families of the shooting victims need support the day of, not through angry tweets and yelling, but  with kindness and dignity.

Give them time to grieve.

Yes, gun violence, race issues, mental health are all topics that need to be discussed. Let us do that-after the memorial service. Maybe you’ll argue that no one will care if we wait long after a specific incident.  If that’s true, then you must take it upon yourself to remind people when they begin to forget. That’s why there’s #blacklivesmatter, #itgetsbetter, #heforshe. Not just for one singular tragedy. But to to raise awareness. To show we are fighting a long battle that we won’t win right away. To remember.

But we can do that all very soon. Right now, send your love and good feelings to the families and everyone at #WDJB. Because right now isn’t about mental illness, racial issues or gun violence.

It’s about healing.

It’s about community.
It’s about grief.

Carson’s Answer About Race: Big Applause for a Small Answer

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At the beginning, I was enjoying the circus that was the Republican debate last night. But as the jabs at Hillary and uncomfortable comments about women’s rights to their bodies mounted up, it became less funny by the minute. All of a sudden, a question about the #blacklivesmatter movement was asked and it got…one answer. Then straight to commercial. And that commercial? A Straight Outta Compton trailer. I thought that this was the most angry I’d get last night.

I was wrong.

Later on in the debate, Ben Carson was asked what he would do to help the racial divide in the country. (yes, they asked the black candidate about this issue, a whole other thing in itself). Ben’s answer specifically to what he would do was:
“The skin…The hair doesn’t make them who they are. And it’s time for us to move beyond that. Our strength comes from our unity. We are the United States of America, not the divided states. Those who want to destroy us are trying to divide us, and we shouldn’t let them do it.”

Now, on the surface this sounds like a well-constructed and great message. Carson points out that we should evaluate people on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We can succeed if we unify ourselves and become one. And we shouldn’t let people divide us by racial lines. It all sounds nice, but as Jon Stewart said in his closing monologue (Daily show!), you’ve gotta pay attention to the bullshit.

The speech that Ben Carson gave not only avoided the question completely by being so hopelessly general, but is essentially a remix of the I Have A Dream speech. Carson wants us to look inside and overcome! This is a nice sentiment, but the fact is, we need a much more substantial answer than that. At least Scott Walker, when given less than a minute to answer the #blacklivesmatter question, mentioned specifically that police officers should be better trained for these crises. Ben Carson’s answer didn’t contain any concrete answers. This is not to take anything from Dr. King’s powerful and moving messages years ago. His words were exactly what we needed for the time, and King clearly backed that up with non-violent protests. Carson’s response are nothing more than words, air that is sure to dissapate if he ever achieved the high office.

It’s sad, because to some point, I agree with Carson. I want a nation where we look beyond skin, hair, gender, sexuality, ability and all other lines that divide us to unite us all. However, when Carson makes statements like, “I don’t talk about race because I’m a neurologist”, I lose all hope that he actually has a plan to get to the vision of that nation. I’m no stranger to politicians not living up to their promises. Every politician makes at least one promise they can’t keep. But when a black man does not have a solid answer for a problem in the black community that has become so prevalent in the last few years-I’m disappointed, to say the least.

The debate last night showed me a side of the political spectrum that I’m used to putting aside simply because I don’t like to listen. But last night showed me that I should start. Yes, it’s likely at this point that we’ll have a Democratic house in 2016. On paper, both parties still have a 50/50 shot at power. We can hope for Bernie Sanders and other independents, but history has shown that they are usually distractions for the main candidates. As both the Republicans and Democrats still have a strong chance for office, I can’t ignore the statements they made about race last night.

“#blacklives matter for less than two minutes of the debate. Let’s direct the question to the black candidate to put the pressure on him to deliver. Smile as he says nice words with no substance.

Now let’s make fun of Hillary Clinton again.” -Fox News.

What Do I say to my niece?

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A Loss In Words

What do I say to my niece?
This endless violence won’t cease.
My only hope that it will decrease
Before I am deceased.
At night I’m supposed to sleep
But I can only weep
Over the lives that could not keep
The souls that death chose to reap
Do I tell her that this all about race
That the color of face
Determines her place
In society’s good grace.
No tv tells me that’s not true
This violence can happen to me or you
Yet the only deaths in my view
Leave a distinctly colored residue
I don’t want another excuse!
It’s past time to introduce
The definitive way to reduce
This pattern of abuse.
You want help? I’ll be the first to volunteer
Just don’t be insincere
Or even worse, disappear
From our quest due to fear.
It’s gonna take all of us to make this change
Though at first it may be strange
Great ideas we will exchange
Monumental plans we will arrange.
We will succeed because our goals are right
And it all won’t happen overnight
But you tend to have to fight
To remove a society’s blight.
Every night I dream of this peace
For the bloody news to cease
Giving me an increase
In good news for my niece.

You can’t sit with us! Thoughts on Rachel Dolezal

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In order to talk about the Rachel Dolezal story, I’m going to put a few things aside right at the beginning. I’m not going to make this an article about being “transracial” (whatever that is) or make any comparisons to Caitlin Jenner’s situation. I’m just going to get to the bottom of why this is such a big issue in the first place. because, in reality, despite expert analysis and feedback, it’s all very simple.

Let’s pretend that you formed a group with friends at school. The group started because you have this similarity: you each have heterochromia in your eyes, meaning that none of you have the same eye color for both eyes. For example, Jill has a blue eye and brown eye, and your friend James Bond (the name is quite common) has a green eye and a hazel eye. Not everyone with heterochromia sits with your group at lunch every day, but a lot of them stick together. You like a lot of the same movies, a lot of the same artists and hang out in a lot of the similar place. One day, one member of your group, who we will call, “Rach” is eating her pudding when something flies out of her eye.

CONTACTS!

This entire time she was eating with your group and advocating for its awareness, she was lying-both her eyes are baby blue. They are quite nice eyes now that you see them…but that’s beyond the point. Rach has been lying to you for months. She pretended to be something she wasn’t. Now we wonder, what else was “Rach” lying about?

Trust is what this whole national issue is about. That’s what we should be upset about most in this story. So why do most arguments center around Rachel’s “pretending to be black”? It comes down to appropriation vs. assimilation.

When you arrive in a new environment, work environment, school environment, etc., you are likely to pick up certain work habits. For example, if everyone starts using the word “ZANTHEPE” to refer to an unruly customer, you’ll probably start saying it or at least start thinking about it. As time goes on, you may consciously pick up certain work habits while consciously rejecting all others. This is the process of assimilation into the new culture. You do it actively and passively so that you can survive and thrive in the company. By contrast, let’s say your roommate that works at Burger King starts using your work lingo and slang. One day, they come to the company Kwanzaa party and talk and act as if they worked there and had their experiences. This is seen as appropriation, because this person is pretending to be a part of the culture without having a direct connection.

This is an important distinction that is often missed. Any person of color in America that has been accused of “acting/talking white” knows this. Because they have chosen to take aspects of other cultures in the diverse American melting pot into themselves, they are seen as outsiders in their own respective cultures. Yes, there are some people who take it a bit too far but the large majority are just living the way they want to. There is nothing wrong for a person who does not identify as black to wait for the newest Kendrick Lamar mixtape to drop. In fact, they just have a great taste in music.

Crossing cultural lines and divides is a beautiful thing that we get to do in America. Unfortunately, that decision is not always supported by culture you were born into. That’s why some people are willing to go to extremes to avoid the transition. If you just take on the new culture wholesale by putting in those contacts or changing your skin color, you get to skip all those questioning looks from your culture that say, “Why are going over to that lunch table? You already have us.” It doesn’t make it right. You should be who you want to be despite judgments and criticism. But we all know that the world is not that kind and accepting…yet.

Rachel, you went about this the wrong way. Instead of embracing your identity and black culture simultaneously, you sacrificed one for the other. That lie you held for so long is going to take a while for us to get over. You’re not a bad person…we think. You did all of this because of your love of black culture…we think. You didn’t mean to make light of the culture by appropriating a false identity…we think.
You know…it’s hard to say.

We’ve never met you, Rachel.

Stop Watching

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Over the past week, everyone’s given their opinion about Caitlin Jenner. I’ve heard every opinion under the sun, from informed to ignorant and everything in between. I’m willing to listen to any take on it, but there’s one viewpoint that kept coming up:

Why is this the top news story over everything else? The answer is simple. Keeping up with the Kardashians has an average of a million viewers at its height. A news outlet would miss a huge opportunity for ratings by not talking about Caitlin. Our news, movies and tv are all a product of what we watch and respond to. Even House of Cards exists from pulling together the most viewed shows on Netflix and putting them together. If you want to affect society, you have to be mindful of what you choose to watch.

Or better yet, take action.

Though a bit of a long intro, it all segues to an older poem of mine. Enjoy :).

The Watchman
Watch
Definition:
To act as a spectator
Or to Look on…
5 days.
I am sitting at the bar
A boy with glasses
And no idea how to flirt
Enters with a calzone and a hope
To attract the skinny girl
Bobbing her head to the music.
It doesn’t work.
Laughter ensues from the bar
Like a chorus of hyenas
Drunk hyenas
Who just can’t stop laughing
4 days.
I’m in a subway train car
With no AC
On an 100 degree day
A man
Who has not bathed
Since Obama was elected
Walks through the tight space
Begging for change.
In this sauna of city slickers slipping silently through the subway
Every hand remains frozen
No change today.
3 days.
A stoop in Brooklyn
Where brown paint cracks
On all the steps
A middle aged Spanish woman
Grips my young self lightly
As a gang of middle school students
Literally tear
Through the streets.
Bashing cars
Like they were piñatas
And their grand prize
Was destruction.
It’ll be another half hour
Before we can even go to the corner store.
2 days.
Smoke billows
In the sky
A neverending stream.
On an old grey couch
Made for 3
A family of five sits
Transfixed
On the day’s events
Rolling on the screen
A constant stream of fear
And Uncertainty
It is 2001
And I don’t believe
There’s anything else
On TV today.
1 day.
We were raised
To Watch
Not to see
When all that is needed
Is a warm word
Or a gentle touch.
Made to stare
But to never move.
Built to look past
Not to look at what’s present.
This world rewards watching
With a smile
And a lighter load on your back.
For you it is a simple life
Easygoing
And free
As a breeze on a spring day.
But I want to become a hurricane
Blowing gusts of change
And bearing loads heavier
Then wind was made to carry.
Because if there are no hurricanes
Then the smoke means nothing
But pain
A little boy stays stuck
On his grandmother’s stoop
A homeless man
Perpetually walks into
An uncaring hell
A boy with glasses
Knows no love
But laughter
And a countdown
Never reaches 0 days
Because 5 days
Was already too late.
The day
I become the hurricane
Is coming
I will embrace the storm
Instead of watching it go by.

Quitting Your Adult Job

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At the end of April, I left my old job to pursue a career in theater. Despite that being my driving factor, it was a lot less dramatic than you may think. (see what I did there? :D)

The fact of the matter is, I was fairly comfortable where I was. There was steady pay, room for advancement and the people I worked with were fantastic. Sure I worked long hours during certain times of the year, and there were a few angry phone calls from customers now and then, but nothing unbearable. And that got to me.

Not the phone calls. Once you get enough of those, they all turn into the adult voice from the old Peanuts cartoons. It was the comfort. I wasn’t really taking many risks in my old position. This was partly because of NY State mandates, but even in places where I could take chances, I…wasn’t. It became harder to believe that I was the same person who auditioned for Richard III in college with no “formal” acting experience. Or that I was the same person who staged a relatively new play with primarily feminist themes. Was I even the same person who dared to go out on Cinco De Mayo before starting on my final paper for COMP 200? (A great story for another time) It didn’t feel like it.

I’m not saying that you should leave a position solely because you’ve had to change something about yourself. Every job will expect you to give them your time at the minimum, and make you change some habits. For example, if you’re a teacher you can expect to put a few less pictures of your nights out on facebook. Most people have no problem making that adjustment. But if you feel like the world needs your Saturday night instagram, than you have to seriously consider if teaching is still for you. At the end of the day, you can have all the money and stability in the world. But if you feel like your passion, the very thing you were put on this earth to do is being put aside, then you may always feel like there is something missing in your 9 to 5.

One of my favorite quotes as of late has been from Howard Thurman. He wrote, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” I urge anyone reading this to follow that advice…with some reservations.

If your job is the only thing that can keep you financially afloat, then make a long-term plan. First off, chart out steps for saving money for a period where you might not be making anything. If you’re going back to school, consider part-time or online options while still at your current position. This gets you one step closer to doing what you want to do without having a lot of worry about employment. Of course, you can always take the risky option and leave without any prep, but know that you will have to spend some time getting stable before you do what left to do.

Quitting your position can be about job stress, a bad work environment or a bigger check. But I think the best reason to leave is do what truly makes you come alive. It’s not true what they say, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. You’re going to have to work at least one day in your life doing something you don’t love.

The question is: what will you do next?

The Battles In Between

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Recently, I’ve left my job in the pursuit of my passion for the arts. While I’ll talk more about the transition later this week, I can say one thing right away: it’s weird. And I think this goes far beyond leaving your job.

Whether you’re coming off an intense sports season, finishing school or even changing up your work schedule, there’s that feeling like you’re still a part of it all, but also a part of something…entirely different. I believe that the ancient Romans had a word for it: restless. Which so happens to be the name of this poem I wrote. Enjoy.

Restless

I fall
The battle is done.
Our side raises a glorious call
We have won.
My breath now back
I look ahead.
We’ve ended the attack
All our foes are dead.
What is life now
Now that their base has been breached?
We’ve owned up to our vow
The goal has been reached.
Do we seek out another fight,
Put ourselves again to the test?
Or would it be right
To finally rest?
How do we find
Peace at last
When in our mind
The war has not yet passed?

The Best Fan Films (You can See for Free!)

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There a few things that I love above all others:

1. Free Things

2. Avatar the Last Airbender

3. Good Art

Now, while none of the following have combined all three satsifyingly (one day…), they’ve done a pretty good job of being free good art. So, open youtube in your browser and enjoy:

TOP FIVE FAN FILMS YOU CAN WATCH RIGHT NOW

5. THE OMEN CHRONICLES-HARRY POTTER UNIVERSE

Run Time: 13 minutes

Watch if: You like Harry Potter, Fantasy, Fun Special Effects

What It’s About: We bring the Harry Potter universe over to America with the reveal of a new magical item that the good guys want to hide and the bad guys want to use for mysterious purposes. Harry is directly involved in the plot, but his omission does not subtract from this fun film. What makes this worth the watch? Two reasons. One: American wizards and witches! Two: I think they did great things with their special effects on a presumably low budget. With an ominous tone, magical fights and a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more, this one’s good for fans or non-fans alike.

4. BATMAN PUPPET MASTER

Run Time: 15:18

Watch if: You like Batman, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Crime Shows

What It’s About: This Batman tale takes place in between the Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises. Instead of having the focus  mainly on Batman, we focus on a new enemy looking to make his mark in Gotham-and his plan to take down the Bat. Now, there are tons of Batman fan films out there. What makes this stand out are the costumes, 3 Batman villains (and unlike Batman and Robin, this works!) and its commitment to the Dark Knight universe. There a few fun twists in this film too, so if you like crime thrillers, this one’s for you.

3. TRUTH IN JOURNALISM

Run Time: 17:08

Watch If: You like Spiderman, Venom, Mockumentaries

What It’s About: This tale completely omits Spider-man to focus on Eddie Brock, a discredited news reporter. We follow him around as he tries to redeem himself to a French camera crew and regain his former reputation. There is a lot to love in this story. The actor who plays Eddie Brock is full of charisma and is exciting to watch. The film is shot entirely in black and white “film”, giving it a unique lens. And let’s say the last scene is something that would satisfy any Venom fan. Whether you’re on your toes waiting for the next Spiderman film to be announced or like original ideas and concepts, this film is a must-see.

2. CROFT

Run Time: 19:57

Watch if: You like Tomb Raider, Strong Female Leads, Action Scenes

What It’s About: A group is held hostage on an island by a group of mercenaries. All hope seems lost…until a lone woman decides to fight back. Right away, let me tell you that the action scenes are excellent. You can tell that a lot of care was put into the choreography. The acting is fantastic, the settings make you feel like you’re in the game and the pacing of the story is perfect. And beyond all that, there is a great twist that you have to watch to truly appreciate. Whether you like strong female leads or you’re a fan of Lara Croft, this is a must-see.

1. PUNISHER: DIRTY LAUNDRY

Run Time: 10:15

Watch if: You like Punisher, Daredevil, Or Really Good Films

What It’s About: The Punisher is doing his laundry.

Seriously. Oh, in typical punisher fashion, there happens to be a gang terrorizing some people nearby and the Punisher has to decide whether to intervene or let it be. This film almost lost out to Croft, but it had three major points in the corner:

1. It’s got the original actor who played Frank Castle: Thomas Jane, and a guest starring role from Ron freakin’ Perlman. (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy)

2. The tone is absolutely perfect. It almost feels as if you’re watching a deleted scene from the first move.

3. The length is perfect for a quick watch with friends. And out of any others on this list, it feels like a completed story.

Enjoy these free fan films! If you’ve seen any great ones lately, let me know! I’d love to add more to my free collection.

Messy Haired Girl

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Messy-haired Girl

I’d like to meet a messy-haired girl

Whose character is hidden beneath her curls

She can be a little unsure of herself

And look different from all the barbies on the world’s shelf

It’s a bonus if the messy-haired girl reads for fun

Then we’ll always dine on good conversation

She’d have a radiant mind shining strong and bright

It wouldn’t just be drenched in Twilight

If the messy haired girl also practices an art

Her life is definitely one I’d want to be a part

Tattoos, sports, piercings, don’t care if she has those things

Well, maybe I’d still have to get over mechanical tanning…

Anyway, if your hair so happens to be straight and dyed

But you still have a messy-haired girl inside,

I’d like to meet her right from the start

Because I’m really a messy haired boy at heart.

Superzeroes

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To close out April, I figured I’d toss out one more screenplay I was working on back in college. (This seemed to be the month of Screenplays). Enjoy!

SCENE 1 INT: CLUB ROOM/EXT: ALLEY
A Magician is on stage doing his act, but he keeps messing up his tricks. Three guys from the audience heckle him.
Tommy: You should pull a rabbit out the hat, instead of trying to pull this show out your ass.
Crowd: (Applauds Tommy)
Magician: Very funny. But I’ll get the next trick right. (pulls out cards)
TRANSITION
We see the drug dealer and another man.
Drug dealer: Got the money?
Guy: Yeah, yeah. I swear.
Drug Dealer: Here you go. (hands the guy a brown paper bag. The guy’s hands are shaking so bad he drops it)
TRANSITION
We then transition to the magician, dropping his cards on stage.
Sam: You’d have better luck turning tricks like Sexy Sally!
Crowd: (Applauds)
Magician: Who the hell is Sally?
Sam: Local girl, maybe you should pay her a visit to make your night fun!
TRANSITION
Guy: time to have some fun. (he shoots up the drug into his bloodstream, we see him react to the high)
TRANSITION
Magician: This next trick is gonna be great. I have a super-secret power. I’m a hypnotist. If I was a superhero…
Jed: If you were a superhero, your power would be to suck!
Crowd: (Applauds, standing ovation to the hecklers)
TRANSITION
Guy: ( he realizes something is wrong. He starts shaking we watch him convulse)
TRANSITION
Magician: Stop! Stop! (the crowd is too loud. He gives up and Leaves the stage)
TRANSITION
Guy: (he stops shaking and slumps up against the alley walk. We see him stop moving, needle rolling out of his hand)
TRANSITION
Security Guard: You three, let’s go.
Tommy, Sam and Jed: What?
Security Guard: Come on, get out of here.
Sam: Thanks everyone, it was great show! (Crowd applauds as the security guard pushes them out into the alley)
The three friends stumble into the alley. They look and see the guy who overdosed on drugs, and are horrified.
Magician: Hey!
The three friends turn around. The magician has a pendulum of some sorts, and starts hypnotizing them.
Magician: You are getting sleepy.
They try to resist, but are too shaken up. They all become hypnotized
Magician: When you hear the word enough, you’ll snap out of it. Until then, you will do as I command. Nod if you understand.
The three friends nod
Magician: Told you I could hypnotize people. How about I heckle you? Huh? Huh? Like you (Points to Tommy) With those beats! We should call you beats man! Whats your superpower? Beating people? (Points to Scags) And you? With your cup of coffee? What’s your power, you get faster when you drink coffee or something? And you? (points to Jed) With your big puffy coat? I bet you think you’re invincible huh? You…you should get more coats! (Laughs, the three friends stand there, still hypnotized) So…
The magician notices the guy who overdosed. He walks past the friends
Magician: Holy shit. Look at this. The guy, is dead. Right outside a fucking comedy club. This is wrong. I mean, I knew this city was bad, but holy shit. It’s…it’s real bad. You know what this place needs? Not a comedian. It needs…heroes. People with superpowers punching the bad guys into submission. That go into action as soon as they hear danger. (he turns to the guys) Wow, I think this….this is the longest time anyone’s listened to me without booing or laughing.
(Close up on the three friends, completely out of it)
Magician: (Smiling) Thanks guys. Now… (Sirens are heard in the background) Oh shit, the police! We can’t be here when they get here, they might think we did it! (the magician starts running away) Guys! Come on! (realizes) Oh, right. Enough guys! Enough!
(The three friends snap out of it, look at the body and hear the sirens. They run.)
End SCENE 1

Have a Lovely Weekend

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Happy Friday! So, I hear that some humans on weekends have dates or significant others that they spend some special time with. I invite those people to take a moment for some romantically themed poems. And even if you’re not…well, might as well read them anyway, right? Enjoy 🙂

Those Eyes

Alone

Eyes

Are Pools of Colored Water

Slowly Shifting

Lives and Landscapes

Across their mirrored surfaces…

When I see yours

I remember

That eyes can be oceans

Brimming with beauty and wonder

Across their vast expanses

The sun reflected

Makes those oceans shine

Golden

And All I Want to Do

Is Swim.

Hipsters In Love

Our Romance

Is Like So Retro

It’s like this old sweater

From the Thrift Shop

I never knew I wanted

Until it was right there.

I want to make you a mixtape

On my macbook pro

At Starbucks

(Ironically, of course)

I’d love to make us mainstream

But it’s still pretty cool

To have something

That nobody’s heard of yet.

The Problem(s) With the Skittles Comparison

The Problem With the Skittles Comparison

In the recent immigration debate, I’ve seen/heard this argument:

skittles

Here’s three points against that argument. (Feel free to try these at home or on facebook!)

  1. People are not actually candy.

This fact alone should be enough to disprove the argument, but just in case, please proceed to number 2.

2. In this argument, you only risk your own life.

This argument proposes that you could make yourself seriously ill or die if you take the chance and reach into this bag of skittles. But again, since it’s a bag of candy, you are the only one taking a risk here. You can always buy another bag of skittles.

But for the 65 million refugees out there, the risk is real. Not taking a chance on the overwhelming majority who are seeking to escape prosecution and war is putting them all in danger. It’s not just your life.

3. Skittles Are Delicious.

Have you had some recently? I’ve tried all the flavors, wild berry, sour, tropical…they’re all different and all delicious. I’ve still many flavors to try and I hope to do so as soon as possible. The world is full of skittles all of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Each one I encounter expands my view of the world and makes it more beautiful. I think it might do so for everyone else.

In conclusion, the skittles metaphor attempts to reduce an extremely complex subject into a meme by removing humanity. If we truly want a better country for ourselves, we must lead off by thinking of what others can bring. We’ve had refugees that have contributed greatly to our culture like that little known Albert Einstein. Opening up the door to others can open up doors for ourselves as well.

So the next time someone uses this meme as a comparison, bring up these points, remind them of E=MC2  and tell them to enjoy a damn bag of skittles.

I’m Black and I’m…Quiet?

It’s weird…I didn’t see any police being attacked by Beyonce albums today. Could this be because Beyonce’s halftime show was not just about inciting violence against police officers?

No, that’s crazy.

Beyonce’s halftime show was big and energetic, with crazy costumes and gravity itself tripping on Beyonce’s dance moves.  But it was the theme of her halftime show that was the most talked about. The outfits that paid homage to the black panther movement. The word negro sung repeatedly in front of a stadium full of people. And the main song of her act, “Formation” connected to a music video that depicts a New Orleans cop car underwater. Many critics put the pieces together and drew their own conclusions.

Since I believe in the freedom of speech, I’m highlighting my favorite comments, and adding my own commentary:

From Former Mayor Giuliani,

“I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive,” – Giuliani

(Because Negro is a secret code word for attack, obviously)

To Facebook commenters:
“Rise above and stay above the strife. For a girl who grew up in a privileged, wealthy family, she has no business pandering to those who didn’t.”-facebook commenter

(If you have money, you can’t comment on society. That’s just how it goes.)

And as of now, there’s even  petition to ban Beyonce from performing:

In Beyonce’s newest music video which was just released, she is shown drowning a police car. Her video is disgraceful. Why should she be able to perform on the same field as the great men of the New York Mets?

(The first thing I think of when I see A New Orleans cop car underwater is Hurricane Katrina for some reason. But I can see why you would confuse that with drowning.

P.S. And I’m a huge Mets fan from Queens but I’ve never heard anyone refer to them as great men. Thanks!)

 

Overall, I love that this is such a big topic. Because every article, good or bad, about Beyonce’s performance has the potential to bring more attention to issues affecting the black community. But the thing is-none of the above critiques were ABOUT her performance-just the content of the performance. Which is troubling. If kids of any race, creed, or orientation are seeing that an international celeb is being criticized and potentially boycotting for trying to make a statement, they may become more fearful of expressing their own strong opinions. What’s the point if people are going to shut it out?

Fortunately, I have no doubt Beyonce will take this all in stride. She’s Beyonce. But it bothers me tonight. Will I get attacked for making a Facebook status about blacklivesmatter? Could a tweet about the black panthers get a police officer angry at me?Will this article get me banned from my local Trader Joe’s? The fact is: at the end of the day, I”m going to say what’s really on my mind.

If I’m quiet…who’s going to make jokes about the Mets?

(And commentary about blacks in society.)