Jefe's House
Jeffrey Stanley is a playwright, screenwriter, director, and occasional journalist. His plays include the semiautobiographical wartime drama Tesla's Letters, the southern fried dark comedy Medicine, Man his autobiographical comedy show The Golden Horseshoe: A Lecture on Tragedy and others. He is immediate past president of the board of directors of the New York Neo-Futurists experimental theatre ensemble, and his award-winning short film Lady in a Box, a satire inspired by the Terri Schiavo euthanasia case and starring Sarita Choudhury, has been licensed numerous times for international broadcast and distribution. Stanley has been a guest at Yaddo, a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College, and a guest lecturer at the Imaginary Academy film and theatre workshop in Croatia sponsored by the Soros Foundation. He frequently teaches at his alma mater the Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and at New York University School of Continuing & Professional Studies. He has appeared as a featured writer in The New York Times, Time Out New York and Hemispheres, and he was a senior advisor to Boston University’s Center for Millennial Studies’ book on apocalypse movements The End That Does. Stanley holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Tisch where he studied under playwright David Ives, and a BFA from Tisch in Film & Television with a minor in cultural anthropology. www.brain-on-fire.com.

Author Archive

My Dinner With Morris

by on Oct.06, 2017, under On the Road

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Morris with Adam Markham at the Wall Street Tavern.

I spent Labor Day weekend 2017, which also happened to mark my 50th birthday, in my hometown of Roanoke in southwestern Virginia, from which I’d bolted some 30 years previous at the age of 19 to put myself through college in New York City.

One nostalgic evening during my visit home last month, I Ubered downtown to see my old friend Adam playing classic rock covers on electric guitar at a joint called the Wall Street Tavern. He was outdoors under a covered patio. I sat squarely in front of him, alone at a table for two as the old song goes, sipping a Dewar’s and soda.

A homeless man approached and stood on the sidewalk trying to get my attention. (continue reading…)

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Wow

by on Sep.15, 2017, under Theatre

What a way to start the day.  Kudos to Cornerstone Theatre Arts in Goshen, NY.

http://www.recordonline.com/news/20170914/theater-review-teslas-letters-thought-provoking-and-entertaining

by James F. Cotter, Times Herald-Record

Tesla’s Letters by Jeffrey Stanley is about war and the psychological havoc it can cause. Daisy Archer, an American graduate student, arrives in Belgrade in 1997 to do research on Nicola Tesla (1856-1943), an electrical genius who rivaled Thomas Edison in his discoveries, including – it was rumored – a death ray that could wipe out humanity. Tesla, a Croatian-born Serb, spent most of his life in the States.

By 1997, the war between Serbia and Croatia has come to an apparent lull, but the battle for Kosovo would in two years shatter the uneasy peace in the Balkans. Before he will let her view the letters, Dragan, also a Croatian-born Serb and head of the Tesla Museum, wants Daisy to visit Tesla’s birthplace in Croatia, despite the danger. On the bus there, she meets Zoran, a young Croatian ex-soldier who volunteers to accompany her for her own safety. The drama unfolds with their journey into the war-zone countryside and her return to Belgrade.

The two-act play is being offered at the Goshen Music Hall by Ken Tschan’s Cornerstone Theatre Arts and is sponsored by the Goshen Library and Historical Society. Ably directed by Joe Barra, the four actors convincingly capture the tensions between generations and the sexes, and between Americans and Europeans. Wars are first fought in the minds and hearts of people before they reach the battlefield. After Tito, century-old ethnic-religious hostilities rose up to be expressed by terrible slaughter of innocent neighbors.”  CONT’D>>

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Eulogy for Radio Shack

by on Aug.12, 2017, under Pophood, The Sixth Boro

trs80-iI confess. I’m one of the five remaining nerds who’ve been keeping Radio Shack hanging on by a rapidly fraying thread these past few years and have been heartbroken watching them pop like bubbles in NYC and Philadelphia. This unique electronics chain brings back childhood memories in Virginia.I first saw and used a computer, the TRS-80, there, and my poor mouth watered. I knew I would never be able to own one.

It has been a mainstay these days for components my young son and I use in our electrical crafting projects.  Sure, you can get that stuff online but it’s so much fun going through all the little drawers  at Radio Shack, browsing for various colored LEDs,  different sized toggle switches and numerous knobs.

The lone holdout in Philly, to my knowledge, was the one at 1616 Chestnut in bustling Center City. Imagine my shock when I finally went there again last week after months of carrying a tattered Post-It shopping list around in my wallet that read “Blick” and “wire” in my nearly illegible lefty scrawl, to find that yet another Radio Shack had met its maker. Blick is Dick Blick art supplies just a few blocks away at 13th and Chestnut. At least I’d be able to stop in there soon and cross that one off my shopping list.

A few days later I had wheels for the day to go fishing in southern Jersey on Long Beach Island about 90 minutes away.  I swung by the sad, abandoned Radio Shack again on my way out of town, hoping maybe there’d be some info in the window along the lines of, Please visit our nearest location at… but the bereaved staff hadn’t even tried. Here’s all I found:

radioshack

That left me with two choices; spend my day, and my car rental, tracking down Radio Shacks, or spend my day fishing.  According the web, the nearest Radio Shack was way off in northeast Philly on Aramingo Avenue. It was listed online as open, but then again so had this one been.

I didn’t bother calling to check but opted for a compromise instead, reaching for my phone. Perfect, there was a Radio Shack listed as open on Route 70 in Marleton, New Jersey, directly en route to LBI.  I kept my eyes peeled as I cruised past and, sadly, it was covered in SPACE AVAILABLE signs from a realty company.  I didn’t even need to slow down. In the end, I came up empty-handed on both the Radio Shacks and the fish, but nonetheless what a lovely summer day to have tried both.

20170813_083458   My son’s latest crafting project:  an electrical birthday card for a friend complete with on-off toggle switch and an LED bindi (or teep as we say in Bengali). Components: two CR2016 button batteries in a holder, a two-position toggle switch, red LED and small gauge single strand wire.

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Land o’ Goshen

by on Jul.09, 2017, under Theatre

goshenIf you’re near Middletown, NY in September be sure to drop in on Cornerstone Theatre Arts’ production of my play Tesla’s Letters.

Full scoop here in the Times-Herald Record.

 

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International Theatre Initiative

by on May.25, 2017, under Theatre

So thrilled to be an invited member of the International Theatre Initiative, a UNESCO-sponsored world theatre education initiative. ITI was created by the first UNESCO Director General, Sir Julian Huxley and the playwright JB Priestley in 1948, just after the Second World War, and at the beginning of the Cold War, when the Iron Curtain divided the East and the West.

The aim of the founders of ITI was to build an organization that was aligned with UNESCO’s goals on culture, education and the arts, and which would focus its endeavors on improving the status of all members of the performing arts professions.

They envisaged an organization that created platforms for international exchange and for engagement in the education of the performing arts, for beginners and professionals alike, as well as using the performing arts for mutual understanding and peace.

ITI has now developed into the world’s largest organization for the performing arts, with more than 90 Centres spread across every continent.

 

 

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Never Forget

by on Jan.20, 2017, under On the Road, Politics, Shaheb Cafe

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A Shaheb’s Guide to India

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I realize there are numerous examples of horrific cruelty in our history — the Middle Passage and Concentration Camps always come to mind first and foremost — but here’s one more. We might want to call such crimes unspeakable but they need to be spoken.

Look up Reginald Edward Harry Dyer for the full scoop. The thousands of citizens, including entire families, who gathered were attempting a Gandhian peaceful protest and also during a religious festival when the city of Amritsar was packed. This is just down the hill from the Sikhs’ Golden Temple.

20161223_09294920161223_092937The protest was on rented private property in a back alley courtyard. Dyer had stupidly issued a Jim Crow-like order barring Indians from congregating in groups of 6 or more (in their own country) and decided to make an example of this particular group that included children.  British sources gave a figure of 379 killed with 1,100 wounded. The Indian National Congress counted more than 1000 dead and 1500 injured. 

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“People were fired at from here.”

Churchill later called it a “monstrous” and UnBritish act. Dyer was also all about half-naked public floggings of private citizens and his soldiers fond of stopping pedestrians and making them slither down the street like worms at gunpoint. The British parliament viewed Dyer as a hero. By the way, it’s reenacted in the movie Gandhi as one of the watershed moments leading up to the widespread popularity of the independence movement.

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Martyrs Well.

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“To escape the deadly firing, many people fell into this well. About 120 dead bodies were recovered from it.”

 

 

 

 

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Happy MLK Day

by on Jan.16, 2017, under Politics, The Truth Is In Here

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MLK

 

“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”

– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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These Guys

by on Jan.10, 2017, under On the Road, Shaheb Cafe

shahebcafe

A Shaheb’s Guide to India

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The Sharma Handicrafts Guys.

Great story here about how I finally scored a hookah with my name on it after multiple letdowns in Kolkata, Varanasi and Lucknow. The short version – these guys in Delhi at Sharma Handicrafts were the bomb and we made a good deal on my last day thanks largely to shrewdness and translation help from my cousin.

I’ll have to post a photo of this 42″ stunning work of art, black with polished brass inlays in the Moradabad (ancient Muslim city) style. The owner stuck by his product, bargained fairly and gave me his card and said if there were any problems to come back and see him.

As soon as I left with hookah in hand and turned to take a pic of the shop he came out and posed without waiting to be asked. Then his two assistants trailed out one by one and struck poses on either side of him (they must have been a rock band in a previous career given how they naturally fell in line as though posing for an album cover).

I promised them I’d give the shop a plug online so here it is. If you’re ever in Delhi and looking for a brass shop, head to Sharma Handicrafts, Janpath Market, Stall 6. Tell them the saheb who bought the big black hookah sent you.

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Mr. Sharma’s business card.

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Mirror, Mirror Reflection

by on Oct.16, 2016, under Pophood

I bet that somewhere in the back of your mind you recall a certain mirror made in 1937…

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Now behold mine and my young son’s most ambitious crafting project to date, our own magic mirror.  Took us about a month to complete after spending two weeks learning the basics of the Arduino customizable circuit board.

 

Ingredients: homemade wooden case, old laptop, old flatscreen monitor, Arduino with proximity sensor and potentiometer (you know, a knob), two-way security mirror, lots of paint and plastic gems. More at creator Al Linke’s site  http://www.diymagicmirror.com.

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