Jefe's House

NYC


Congratulations, Sarita!

by on Apr.23, 2016, under Film/TV, NYC

saritahanksHappy for Sarita, she deserves it all. Forever grateful that she starred in my short “Lady in a Box” a decade ago, produced by Matt Myers and Tai Burkholder and co-starring Luke Rosen, John Lordan, et al.

 

More at http://www.brain-on-fire.com/lady.

 

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Distress Signals

by on Nov.16, 2015, under Film/TV, NYC, Theatre

My Posthumous Friendship With a Civil Rights Hero

berg gibson

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Back to School

I met Lawrence Gibson at a turning point in my life. After landing my first literary agent and riding the high of a hit play I had abandoned a relationship and a lucrative day job to devote myself full-time to being a starving playwright. I crashed temporarily on the couch of my generous Uncle Joey and, despite an MFA, sought out only part-time office jobs. I soon found myself with a receptionist gig at one of New York City’s many prominent private schools.

At first the administers was baffled by my application; surely, they thought, I was using the job opening as an entrée into teaching there, but I assured them I had no interest. I just wanted to leave at noon every day. They gave me the job on a trial basis. On my third day I met someone who seemed all but invisible to me, and who would, due to my own self-absorption, stop seeming that way to me only after he died. Then his spirit reached across from the netherworld, grabbed my collar and shook me into noticing him. He also enlisted my help. CONT’D AT MEDIUM.COM>>

UPDATE:

Hi Valerie,

Well, you aren’t mentioned in the book but I knew from the New York Times obit that he had a sibling named Valerie. Nice to meet you. I’m surprised not to have heard from you sooner as this isn’t the first time I’ve talked openly of my hope to adapt Get Off My Ship. Please see my previous blog posts athttp://brain-on-fire.com/jefeblog/tag/copy-berg (sadly I never got to talk about it on Coast to Coast AM as I had hoped to do). I trust we’re on the same team in wanting Gibson and Berg’s Navy story told, remembered, and restored to its rightful place in history. I consider them civil rights heroes.

I recently also received an email from someone at the Brooklyn Historical Society asking if I knew Copy’s exact address on Dean Street. They really just wanted to know if he lived on the Brooklyn Heights section of Dean for an upcoming exhibit about gay rights activists in Brooklyn Heights. I’ve told them that as far as I know he lived a few blocks away from Lawrence in Boerum Hill, not the Heights. Steve is also looking through Lawrence’s stacks and stacks and stacks of papers to see if he can find anything but so far has had no luck on a specific Dean Street address for Copy. Is this something you might know? If so I’m happy to put you in touch with them.

As for your posting and your three terse emails via my personal blog, I’ll work my way through them in the order received… CONT’D AT MEDIUM.COM>>

 

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Night of the Punter (Bill’s pun, not mine)

by on Sep.15, 2015, under NYC, The Press

NYC friends, do yourself a favor and check out my old friend Bill Syken‘s murder mystery Hangman’s Game. I know it’s great because I’m reading it now and because I was at his kickoff (see how I did that?) reading in Philly last month. It’s this Friday at 6:30pm at the Mysterious Bookshop, 58 Warren Street in Manhattan. Bill’s got a long history as a journalist and Sports Illustrated writer and his novel is set behind the scenes in the pro football world. Make sure to get your copy of the book autographed so you can sell it later and put your grandkids through college.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Hangmans-Game-Nick-Gallow-Mystery/dp/1250067154

 

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More on Vernon “Copy” Berg and Lawrence Gibson

by on Mar.16, 2015, under Film/TV, NYC, Politics

Regarding my screenplay LITTLE ROCK and the book I’m adapting it from, I’ve been researching Copy and Lawrence for about a year and a half now, partly at the Copy Berg Papers manuscript archive at the New York Public Library research library and also digging through some of Copy and Lawrence’s belongings with the help of his sole heir and executor Steve Kelly​.

I also had the pleasure of knowing Lawrence a bit and working with him briefly once, long before I knew he was that Lawrence Gibson, as he was a humble and quiet man. Here’s a youtube video I put together that involves a looping slideshow of about 20 pix I took along with a 1979 WBAI interview I found on an old cassette of theirs. I highly recommend you learn more about these true heroes who launched the opening salvo in the gays in the military movement.

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Murders. Suicides. Embalmings. Divorces. Hauntings. Hilarity ensues.

by on Feb.20, 2015, under NYC, Theatre

Don’t miss my stand-up tragedy Boneyards while it’s in NYC at the Morbid Anatomy Museum.

Friday 2/27 @8pm.

Last chance to book now.

 

 

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BONEYARDS at the MAM

by on Jan.14, 2015, under NYC, Theatre

 

MAM Banner-header2

Hey NYC,

A quick post to let you know Boneyards tix are now onsale.  3 shows only, get ‘em while they’re hot. Only 20 seats per show.

http://morbidanatomy.bigcartel.com/product/boneyards-there-s-a-little-taphophile-in-all-of-us

Happy New Year,

Jeff

 

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“Nightmare”

by on Dec.06, 2014, under NYC, On the Road, Shaheb Cafe, The Press

indiaabroad“Soon after I took a seat all hell broke loose.”  

Har har, I sent a news tip to India Abroad about a debacle in the New York visa office run by Cox & Kings and they instead ran it as a full page piece with the header “Nightmare.” I know some of you will feel my pain.

London-based Cox & Kings is one of the world’s oldest travel agencies and has offices around the world.  Increasingly India and other countries outsource their entire visa application process to companies like this one, with results that are often a Kafkaesque exercise in frustration but on my final visit — it took me a record 4 visits to New York from Philly to get mine and my family’s visas approved — I watched a near-riot ensue.

Obviously there are larger issues in the world to complain about (to wit, this week’s cover story pictured above) but chronic problems with Cox & Kings have been an ongoing saga in this paper, so perhaps my recent tirade will help in some small way with the many thousands of people who travel from the US to India each year.  Here’s to the power of the press.

Full article here>>

To add insult to injury, I got outta there with visa in hand and made the long trek back to Philly, but the next morning they sent me an email telling me my visa was ready and had been Fedexed to me! They even included a tracking number!  I thought maybe it would be one of the many lost passports they’re notorious for but fortunately nothing ever arrived.

 

 

 

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Boneyards is coming to NYC

by on Nov.18, 2014, under NYC, Theatre

Located in Gowanus, Brooklyn

The dead clairvoyant was right when he predicted in an EVP session a month ago that I’d be going to Brooklyn. It’s now official: Boneyards will be getting a New York City premiere in February, 2015 at the deliciously notorious Morbid Anatomy Museum.

Death mask

It’s a perfect venue for this show and I couldn’t be happier.  3 shows only; max seating 20 as always; tix $20. They aren’t onsale yet but you’ll be the first to know.

In the meantime mark your calendars for Fridays 2/20, 2/27 and 3/6 at 8pm and book yourself an Amtrak ticket.

 

Many thanks,

Jeff

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Mystery Train: the Amtrak Residency

by on Sep.24, 2014, under Film/TV, NYC, On the Road, The Press, The Sixth Boro, Theatre

amtrakThe what? You heard me.  I’m thrilled beyond recognition — thrilled to a crisp, in fact — to share the exciting news that I’m one of 24 writers selected out of 16,100 entries in the first ever Amtrak Writers Residency.  Not without its fascination and controversies, the residency has been covered microscopically in the New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and HuffPo over the past 8 months.  For my money, Boris Kachka wrote the best overview in New York Magazine.   Basically, we each get to travel for a week or two in a private cabin on the Amtrak routes of our choosing during the next year as kind of a moving residency, as opposed to being isolated at a cabin in the woods or holed up at an artists colony like Yaddo where I have also stayed.

Alexander Chee, the writer who started it all.

This unique residency program started because last year in a PEN interview, novelist Alexander Chee said that he did a lot of writing on trains and that he wished Amtrak had writers residencies. He was joking but Amtrak got wind of his remark, thanks to a grass roots Twitter campaign, and decided to heed his call and launch such a program for established writers.

One of the writing samples I submitted was my Washington Post story from last year about my crazy spiritual experience aboard a commuter train between New York City’s Penn Station and Philadelphia.  However, my primary writing sample was an excerpt from my award-winning, yet unproduced (anyone?) screenplay Lords of Light, an historical drama about Nikola Tesla and his rivalry with Thomas Edison, written while I was a graduate student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Speaking of this, I can’t help but proudly mention that (continue reading…)

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