Tag: boneyards press
Otherwise the section on Boneyards and me in this National Journal article by Simon Van Zuylen-Wood is accurate except where otherwise noted, which is everywhere. Ever feel icky and used by a fellow writer?
…LAST YEAR, AMTRAK LAUNCHED an odd initiative called the Amtrak Writer’s Residency. The idea was to send 24 writers wherever they wanted, on a long-distance train, where they would basically stare out the window and type on their computers. The program was bashed by conservatives and lightly mocked on the Internet; yet an astonishing 16,000 people wound up applying. Among the eventual winners were several high-profile media figures, including the writer Jennifer Finney Boylan and the public-radio host Marco Werman.
In mid-March, I met up in D.C. with Jeff Stanley, a 47-year-old Amtrak resident writer who would be taking the Capitol Limited to Chicago, before heading to San Francisco on the California Zephyr. Stanley, who wore an Ed Hardy–style Western shirt, is a playwright, performer, and adjunct professor both at New York University and Drexel University. A fan of all things occult, he staged his latest production in the basement of a South Philadelphia synagogue, where he used a Ouija board and a martini shaker, among other instruments, in an attempt to connect with the dead [see Boneyards].
“Now, supposedly, the old station at Harpers Ferry is haunted,” Stanley tells me, as we approach West Virginia, sitting in his sleeper car. He goes on for a while about a ghost called Screaming Jenny, [Um, no. I spent about 30 minutes between DC and Harpers Ferry explaining to this writer that I had visited Harpers Ferry many times due to my love of history. I told him that the Capitol Limited runs the route of the former B&O Railroad, and that many times I’ve stood outside the small building that was the Federal arsenal which was seized in 1859 by radical abolitionist John Brown and a group of 20 followers including his son and five African-Americans. They holed up in the arsenal and were thwarted by a detachment of US Marines under the command of a young Robert E. Lee. In 1865 as the Civil War ended, Storer College opened in Harpers Ferry to educate recently freed slaves. Years before John Brown’s raid and Storer College, Meriwether Lewis came to Harpers Ferry and waited while a local iron worker created a collapsible canoe according to his specifications. Lewis started out from here in 1803 in a Conestoga wagon following almost the exact same route that is now the very train line we were following. Lewis met up with Clark near Pittsburgh to continue their journey West. Talking about the Lewis & Clark expedition got me thinking about Thomas Jefferson who funded it, and I mentioned to the writer that one of the many reasons I admire Jefferson is that whenever a slave in Virginia sued for his freedom Jefferson would represent them pro bono. All of the above got boiled down by the writer to “but, anyways.” See below. (continue reading…)
(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.)
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.
DON’T MISS THE NYC PREMIERE OF JEFFREY STANLEY’S BONEYARDS AT BROOKLYN’S MORBID ANATOMY MUSEUM ON 2/27/15. DETAILS HERE.
The following is from July, 2014…
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…)
Terrific review by Paulina Reso in the City Paper. Ha, can’t argue with her about the final stage of the show. I know from past experience that when you risk opening a scripted entertainment up to the chaos and randomness of a seance for a few minutes anything could happen — and sometimes very little. Too bad she wasn’t there for the Ouija board fireworks last night. And I’m not sure how switching from talking to singing and playing a guitar before launching directly into more talking could be construed by anyone as a water break; that would truly be a supernatural feat. This show is wall to wall mouth, baby. Read on…
Fringe review: Boneyards
By Paulina Reso
WE THINK: With its penchant for the paranormal and its autobiographical focus, Jeffrey Stanley’s one-man show could come across as overly strange or egotistical, but his charisma and fascinating tales from the crypt kept it on track. Staged in a musty, 118-year-old cellar in Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel, a historic South Philly synagogue, the show began with Stanley performing George Jones’ country hit “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” which, his tender rendition revealed, is a lovelier song than I had originally thought. But we in the audience weren’t sitting in a damp cellar, squinting our light-deprived eyes at a barefooted man with a painted face to get a lesson in music appreciation. We were here for a taste of the macabre, and Stanley didn’t disappoint. CONT’D at citypaper.net>>
Down in the little shul’s coal cellar join Jeffrey Stanley for performances of his “metatheatrical monologue” that “resurrects and converses with the cadaverous,” from Laurel Hill to ancient Greece. CONT’D at planphilly.com>>
BONEYARDS is back from the dead to rock your underworld. Four new post-Fringe shows in October just in time for Halloween. 10/17/13, 10/20, 11/2 and 11/3. Only 20 seats per show, get ‘em before they’re gone.
Blood, guts and experimental theater
by Shaun Brady, 09/05/2013
“… Maybe it’s the darker sensibility of an audience primed for avant-garde theater, but Fringe is second only to Halloween in terms of people being ready to buckle down and open their minds to horrific subject matter … Jeffrey Stanley had little need to seek out horror films or literature as a child: He grew up next door to a funeral home in rural Virginia. ‘My bedroom window looked directly into their embalming room and they never closed the curtain,’ Stanley recalls. ‘So at night I’d go up there and watch, and I could see the body laid out on the slab. For whatever reason it never scared me; I thought it was fascinating.’
That’s one story Stanley will recount in Boneyards (Sept.8-17, Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel), the one-man semi-sequel to his 2011 Fringe hit Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead. The show takes place in the basement of a century-old storefront synagogue and, for its final performance, at Laurel Hill Cemetery … As in Beautiful Zion, Stanley will conclude with a Ouija board séance, a habit he began at a teenage New Year’s Eve party. ‘We were sitting around the kitchen table in the dark and crazy things started happening. We’re all convinced that by the end of the night we spoke to Jimi Hendrix, he possessed my friend’s kitten and made it pluck his guitar strings.’
Stanley insists that his obsession, like so much horror fiction, has a cathartic side. ‘As dark and macabre and creepy as it is, I hope it’s ultimately life-affirming. In the end it’s about loving life and taking away some of the fear of death that we have in our culture.’” full story at citypaper.net>>
And don’t forget to watch and listen to this historic first: a casting call for the dead. The first round of open auditions for the spirit world was held in the 1895 coal cellar using the famed P-SB7 AM/FM scanner for listening to EVPs. Here are the results. No tricks, no jokes. The transcript is also included along with a few afterthoughts but watch the video first.