Jefe's House

The Press

Prepare to be Judged, Judges

by on Jul.16, 2016, under Film/TV, On the Road, Politics, The Press, Theatre

A fair question and an honest article and my honest, if not entirely fair, response…

dailydot

Why are 22 of the 24 new Amtrak writing residents white?

This year, a majority of those selected members are white, and many creatives aren’t happy about it.

Amtrak writes that “the residents offer a diverse representation of the writing community and hail from across the country.” There certainly is some representation of different backgrounds—lots of women, some LGBT writers, and some disabled writers, too. However, 22 of the 24 selected are white, and there is not a single black writer…

Residency judge Jeffrey Stanley provided the Daily Dot with a little more insight into the process.  CONT’D at Daily Dot>>

PS – Here’s the full text of my response:

Hi Jaya, I can only speak for myself as an individual judge. Indeed when I saw the photos of the winners yesterday for the first time when they were announced my heart sank. As you’ve said it’s diverse in so many other ways but there are no black faces. Obviously this wasn’t done intentionally. As a judge I had no clue of an applicant’s ethnicity, appearance, or with which affinity group they identify, unless they state it in their bio, artistic statement, or any autobiographical pieces they may have included with their writing samples. Judges aren’t given specific guidelines. Speaking for myself, I was looking first and foremost at the artistic merit of the sample, then their publication history that might qualify them as a professional writer pursing a writing career in earnest and not just as a hobby, and their statement on why this residency would be beneficial to them.  Should the application be modified for future applicants and judges instructed more specifically to weigh race in the application process?  Maybe so. These are issues faced by every theatre organization with which I’ve been involved as a board member, every screenwriting contest I’ve ever judged, any college admission portfolio I’ve been asked to evaluate.  I can’t speak for Amtrak but I would suspect they’d be wide open to suggestions for best practices for how to improve the diversity of the judges as well as the applicant pool.  Feel free to shoot me any followups. Happy to talk more.

Jeff

 

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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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Nelly We Hardly Knew Ye

by on Apr.13, 2015, under On the Road, The Press

He was such a nice, together, humble, sober-seeming guy when I interviewed him briefly at a Monte Carlo poker tournament 6 years ago. I hope he gets past all this.

Cell phone video shot by yours truly.

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The Changing Light at Sandover

by on Apr.12, 2015, under The Press, Theatre

newyorker-logoAwesome timing from this week’s New Yorker, a review of a new biography of James Merrill by Langdon Hammer.   Merrill’s a major influence to the point that I’ve often made mention of him in my Boneyards and Beautiful Zion playbills and many times here on my blog in reference to those shows. I got a good look at his homemade Ouija board when I was a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College back in 2001 (it’s in the college library’s archive) and I urge all poetry fans or supernatural fans to settle into his epic poem The Changing Light at Sandover sometime.

James Merrill’s Supernatural Epic

A trust fund, a Ouija board, and an unprecedented poem

merrill

 

by Dan Chiasson

“…And Ouija boards: Merrill made the most ambitious American poem of the past fifty years, seventeen thousand lines long, in consultation with one. The result, “The Changing Light at Sandover,” was a homemade cosmology as dense as Blake’s…”  FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

 

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Yours Truly on Coast to Coast

by on Apr.10, 2015, under Film/TV, The Press, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

(News Flash: Jeffrey Stanley’s BONEYARDS reincarnates in Philly this June at the Art Church of West Philadelphia as part of the 2015 SoLow Fest. Tickets and full details here.)

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C2Cstanley
Dear Friends, Just a quick note to let you know I’m going to be the primary guest on Coast to Coast AM on Friday night 4/17/15. I’m a longtime fan of this nationwide show so this is a dream come true for me. I’ll hopefully be talking about the screenplay I’m currently writing (LITTLE ROCK, a bio-pic of artist and Navy Ensign Vernon “Copy” Berg, the first officer to legally challenge the US military for anti-gay discrimination; my script is an adaptation of a memoir written by his partner at the time entitled Get Off My Ship: Ensign Berg v. the US Navy by E. Lawrence Gibson), BONEYARDS of course, my ancient hit play TESLA’S LETTERS and my recent experiences on my Amtrak Residency trip looking for ghosts in Chicago’s Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and exploring the supernatural with the adorable Iowa ghost-hunting family I fell in with for a few days in Colorado (please go here to have your mind blown).

Coast to Coast AM is a North American (United States and Canada) late-night radio talk show that deals with a variety of topics but most frequently ones that relate to either the paranormal or conspiracy theories. It airs seven nights a week 1:00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m. EST. Originally created and hosted by Art Bell, since 2013 the program is hosted mainly by George Noory. Coast to Coast AM has a cumulative weekly audience of 2.75 million listeners, making it the most listened-to program in its time slot. It’s heard on nearly 570 stations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Guam.

Film industry guests have included screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, screenwriter Laurice Molinari, veteran comedy director Tom Shadyac, Big Bang Theory executive producer Eric Kaplan, and others. The format consists of a combination of live callers and long format interviews. The subject matter covers unusual topics and is full of personal stories related to callers, junk science, pseudo experts and non-peer reviewed scientists. While program content is often focused on paranormal and fringe subjects, sometimes world-class scientists such as Michio Kaku and Brian Greene are featured in long format interviews. Topics discussed include the near-death experience, climate change, cosmology, quantum physics, remote viewing, hauntings, contact with extraterrestrials, psychic reading, metaphysics, science and religion, conspiracy theories, Area 51, crop circles, cryptozoology, Bigfoot, the Hollow Earth hypothesis, and science fiction literature, among others. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the events of that day (as well as alternate theories surrounding them) and current U.S. counter-terrorism strategy have also become frequent themes.

 Where can you hear it?  http://www.coasttocoastam.com/stations

Many thanks for your continued interest and support, and I hope to see you on the radio next Friday night.

Jeffrey Stanley

 

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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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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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Zeppelin Redux

by on Sep.06, 2014, under The Press, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here

Zeppelin Mooring at Philly Skyscraper

Thrilled that my Philadelphia “zeppelin” snapshot posted here yesterday is today’s Photo of the Day at Coast to Coast AM.

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9″ to 10″ footprints with three claws. Note the apparent blood droplets at top left.

The last time this happened to me it caused quite an uproar.

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Supernatural Skeptics Don’t Know What They’re Missing

by on Oct.31, 2013, under The Press, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

wapobanner2October 31, 2013

These ghosts are primed and ready to provide a ghoulish Halloween.

These ghosts are primed and ready to provide a ghoulish Halloween.

On Faith

Supernatural Skeptics Don’t Know What They’re Missing
by Jeffrey Stanley

I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind.

I like Ouija boards. I’ve used them since I was a teenager.  More recently I’ve messed around with electric spirit boxes, also known as Frank’s boxes after their inventor Frank Sumption.  They’re radio receivers which allow you to listen to and record voices of the dead, also known as EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) or Raudive voices, after one of their early discoverers.  Over the past two years I have frequently used Ouija boards and spirit boxes in my performance art, attempting to conjure up the dead as my co-stars before a live audience.  At one of the universities where I teach playwriting and screenwriting part-time I am also the faculty adviser for a student-led paranormal investigation club.  Friends and fans assume I am a true believer but the truth is that I am not.  I am a healthy skeptic.  And that’s depressing for me because it means that on some level I feel certain there’s nothing out there. I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind. (continue reading…)

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Boneyards Final Shows This Weekend

by on Oct.30, 2013, under Shaheb Cafe, The Press, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here, Theatre

Come wake the dead.  BONEYARDS returns for 2 final shows this Saturday and Sunday 11/2 and 11/3 in Philadelphia.  Times and tickets.

Meanwhile please enjoy my latest article in today’s Washington Post about my theatrical experiments in contacting the dead as performance art over the past two years.  Thank you for your support and patronage, and Happy Halloween.

wapobanner2October 31, 2013

On Faith
Supernatural Skeptics Don’t Know What They’re Missing
by Jeffrey Stanley

I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind.

I like Ouija boards. I’ve used them since I was a teenager.  More recently I’ve messed around with electric spirit boxes, also known as Frank’s boxes after their inventor Frank Sumption.  They’re radio receivers which allow you to listen to and record voices of the dead, also known as EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) or Raudive voices, after one of their early discoverers.  Over the past two years I have frequently used Ouija boards and spirit boxes in my performance art, attempting to conjure up the dead as my co-stars before a live audience.  At one of the universities where I teach playwriting and screenwriting part-time I am also the faculty adviser for a student-led paranormal investigation club.  Friends and fans assume I am a true believer but the truth is that I am not.  I am a healthy skeptic.  And that’s depressing for me because it means that on some level I feel certain there’s nothing out there. I try contacting the spirit world before live audiences to keep an element of hope simmering on the back burner of my mind. CONT’D>>

And also out today from Drexel University a story about the PIG of which I’m the proud faculty adviser…

drexelnow_overDrexel Paranormal Investigators Haunted by the Unknown
by Alissa Falcone
…It doesn’t hurt that the group’s faculty adviser also has an interest with the undead: By day, Jeffrey Stanley teaches classes in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s Screenwriting and Playwriting Department, but at night he transforms into undead residents of cemeteries from all over the world during “Boneyards,” his performance that imagines supernatural comic monologues.CONT’D at drexel.edu>>

 

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