Filed under: American Dream, Community, Happiness, Honor, Hope, Uncategorized
We are are extremely grateful for the generous support of the following people:
Anonymous, Alexandra Beller, Jamie L. Bennett , Richard Brundage, Nicole Burman, David Cote, Rima Fand, Gia Forakis, Vanessa Gilbert, Sally & Fred Harris, Rachel Jendrzejewski, David Koren, Dominik Landowne, Leeda Marting, Donna Roseman, Lake Simons, Carl Skutsch, Kathleen Turco-Lyon.
Representation – Power to change – Evolving civil rights – gay marriage, changing minorities, new ideas about family, divorce
Example of person trying to get divorced for 6 yr divorce -because gay marriage in vt and straight marriage in ny
How much do you need to change in a script to express a gay couple vs straight couple
Staunch republican changing his position on gay marriage
Legislative passage of gay rights not popular referendum
Why Morally driven national referendums don’t happen – is it still as a result of the fallout of the civil war – legislators feel more comfortable letting local communities decide rather than sending it down from on high
Default on our US debt -it would have been unthinkable in the past but the schism is creating a vacuum of leadership
How is it right not to raise taxes and pay for what we need? It relates to this American assumptive structure.
I deserve this – entitlements – this house, vacation
Tea Party – misinformed but so big and capable of serious damage
Is the current state good? We are almost rock bottom and that will be the way to move to better place.
Stunning the people who vote agst their own interest
Pledge allegiance to the republican party
why is their only two party system?
How to vote?
What tribe do you want to belong to? What does it mean to feel part of that tribe? How do you see yourself? I am this kind of person and they speak my language.
Politics is The big game. Every time you play you are impacting the lives of millions.
We live in the land where anyone can be president (as long as you are born here)
You come to America to be exceptional.
Today’s American dream seems to be I can be anything regardless of talent or skill. But is that accurate or a fantasy?
If your philosophy is we shouldn’t interfere with each other’s rights, then Don’t get into anyone’s business.
Heavy reliance on concept of competition is of utmost value – heavy emphasis on winning.
Today, Competition has even moved into realms of truth and fact.
Competition has good elements too – inspires hard work and creativity.
Sense of individual power as opposed to group responsibility.
US aspires to be a bad ass. Not Canada bad ass.
If the us was a person, it seems like we started to develop a conscience and care about people (civil rights, etc) but how do reconcile that with recent efforts to keep taxes low corporations
how far are we departing from that In these last 30 years
No respect for elders – no love of wisdom rather celebration of new.
infrastructure of roads vs mass transit -mistaken investments
Progression from ownership as core value to renting
No one should own it.
Temporal seems to be becoming a core value now -
Dan savage column about infidelity
Should we accept infidelity as a natural part of a monogamous relationship -
Who decides the terms of your relationship – your partner or society?
What is difference btw physical bond vs emotional bond?
We all seem to need to dictate others relationships because of Fear – if someone else does it, my husband will do it to me
Fear based culture.
Open relationship where all is agreed upon and it is happy not painful
Bringing STD s to your long term partner is bad.
Men propulgating the species
Open marriage doesn’t work with assholes.
-Picket Fence, Dream of American Dream
-Is Dream Urban & Rural, living simply
-Do we have to prioritize transit strategies?
-Urban sophisticate folks chasing an idea of simplicity, rural people have those choices made for them because of poverty.
-Rich people have the luxury to buy land and farm and thus become neighbors
-We idealize a concept of rural, local, community then feel guilty because of luxuriating in a fantasy. Wonder what I can get locally at market,
-Meet farmer day in produce section.
-Riding the bus – seeing people of different classes. Being exposed to simpler, rougher.
-Civil service to work on farms as an idea, and everyone should spend time cleaning up city
-My film teacher instructed us to work on farms
-City living is better for earth, so what is urban paradigm, urban farming, gardening, csa’s, farmers markets, hydroponic gardening
-We’ve been obsessed that comfort, leisure is everything so farming. Going to a market didn’t make sense. We painted ourselves into a corner and now we are trying to find our way out. We changed what simple meant. 5 ingredient ice cream
-Is it fashion or is it a solution. Corporations manufacture desire, always fighting that. Naiveté as human race when given al these options suddenly technology, pesticides, etc.
-More people getting older, wanting to downsize and live with convenience of urban environment.
-American dream is based on comfort, and I think it’s wrong but don’t know why.
-Seeing 2 or 3 generation household. Again – a reversion to past ways.
-Pride about getting out, moving on discovering new life in a new place
-Picket fence, clean and well maintained, symbolic of land claim, this is mine. A good fence makes a good neighbor, lawn, close to neighbor, Norman Rockwell,
-Simplicity, not having too much, not needing a car
-In America holding things privately seems simpler than holding things communally
-Privacy is very important to us
-Communities dictating rules, like Celebration or Coral Gables, personal private property is at the core of our foundation
-Privacy is changing. Do you need a picket fence if you post everything to Facebook?
-Is Facebook the new picket fence community? Idealistic idea that internet would reduce bias. But internet also allows us to make our communities more homogenous, easy to sift through and close out what you don’t want to see. Easy to isolate oneself from who we don’t want to associate and reach across geographic boundaries to find people we share ideals with.
-Presenting a certain face to society. Feeling safe with difference. We can accept it on a bus because we are all trying to get somewhere. But in our immediate communities we are more intolerant, uncomfortable with difference. “I’m suppose to be ok with everyone’s difference and express that authentically but that’s not always the case.”
-We get pre-emptively protective – “I’m ok with you but I need the fence to make me secure with that.”
-Having less makes things easier. With more possessions life gets more complexity but bombarded by.
-Wealthy people idealize the fashion of poverty. Paying a lot of money to look like one is poor or can make do with very little. Is simplicity being appropriated by wealthy.
Filed under: American Dream, Community, Events, Images, Research, Uncategorized
Please enjoy this slideshow of photos from our workshop at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis!
-The American dream is becoming more while becoming less”
-Is the Amercian dream dead?
-You don’t have to live in America to have the American dream
-Younger generation turning backs on old traditions and values—
-Melting Pot- never was? Is happening now?
-Racism? Reasons for square shot at the American dream.
-Ownership of a piece of the country
-Less ownership—less chance of the dream
-Control over your dream
-Is ownership or control the dream?
-Is the American dream being co-oped?
-Freedom of speech in a general sense
-American dream not dead.
-Native American- what about them?
-A personal experience
-Inside or outside the dream?
-Freedom in the broadest definition
-Your kids having it better
-Age with dignity
We recently returned from a week long retreat at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were able to do a lot of productive work on our script in preparation for the upcoming production, which premieres on September 11th at HERE! A special thanks to everyone at The Playwrights’ Center and to the wonderful group of actors that worked with us over the week.
We will be posting notes from the Community Think Tank that we held as part of the workshop on July 16th over the next few days. Stay tuned!
The Playwrights’ Center Workshop: Community Think Tank Notes – Group 1
-What is success?
-The possibiltity of fame/fortune vs. the immigrant reality
-Adressing the relationship between class + Hope/Options/Possibility
-Going from: nobody to somebody; poor to rich; zero to hero—“You can be
anyone you want to be.”
-Old ideas of the American dream—we’re such an evolutionary country that the
contexts change each year. (i.e. 2 years ago)
-Generations shift away rom traditional ideas of success—is it job consistency, is
it making a home and a family? – to a place of being able to self define and be
-Gender and balancing all of the parts of your life—again, generationally is shere
-Also, geographics play into it hugely—that 50’s tradition still plays hugely around
-Aprons are cool and baking is cool—so are we starting the cupcake shop AND
having kids? BOTH.
-Working class kids having hopes or fantacies vs. dreams that you believe you
-If you’re an immigrant—if I could just get to America I could get a job, live safely,
put food on the table—achieve independence
-Current 20’s folks not understaning that work is a privledge vs a morbid
responsibility. Our parents generation was about one job for 40 years and
pension—now it’s about mobility every few years.
-Can someone else define your dream? Is a dream about what’s possible?
-Hope and opportunity are different than dreams. “I know what my opportunities
are that I can settle for, but then the dream seems absolutely unreachable.” AND
if you then have to crush that dream, what takes its place?
-There is no longer a collective American dream.
50% African American men will be incarcerated
-In a country where you actually can achieve insane levels of wealth and/or fame
and/or success…. And where do morality and ethics fit into all that.
-If you’re born here and working class (urban or rural) then perhaps the dream is
fame and fortune… different from the immigrant reality
-Our parents dreams for us are also about being/doing better than when they
-i.e. Doctors today don’t at all have the wealth or prestige that they use to
-Reality TV as rags to riches or fat to skinny—and that’s the American dream
being most persuasively broadcast around the world
-Our immigrant dreams sometimes being a glut of possibility and it can be
-Current generations are accepting they won’t/don’t have the real chance to be
as financially successful as the generation before. So quality of living becomes
much less important
-Relationship to higher education has changed so dramatically because no one
can afford it
-“I’m the first one in my family to have ever gone to college”—mentality is still
about work, manual labor, etc
-Learning or happiness as an upper class privilege. Just bad math to spend or
waste time or money when you could just work.
Community via Technology
-Does social networking create community or just reinforce existing ones?
-Can we depend on our “online friends”?
-Online communities create ways for people to find each other over common interests and then form communities in real life
-Global community has really taken off since the advent of international television news coverage
-Now people are using Facebook to organize revolutions (Egypt, etc.)
-Has online interaction taken the importance off of personal interaction?
-Is the “new generation” losing interpersonal communication skills because they are communicating with each other more and more through computers? Or does online communication just serve as an extra platform, not an alternative?
-Online dating has become more and more successful, but again, is it making people less likely to approach each other in public? Are people going to lose their “flirting skills” eventually?
-Online classes: while not as personal, are they effective without face-to-face interaction? Might depend on how you learn.
-Online classes take the social aspect out of the learning process; working with your peers to reach solutions, team building, etc.
-“this generation” is much more available to info and experience.
- losing the signals within inflection in emails, facebook, etc.
- diminishing of what it is to be human than enlarging
- Still define what we mean by “generation”
o Baby boomers, etc
- Future shock
o In 5 yrs we’ll experience what most people experience in a lifetime.
o The generation gaps are shortening.
- Hot spot vs paying rent
o Technology affects community? Telephone came in to play and there’s a huge element that affects community.
- How education is taking over our community
o Social interaction vs taking classes online
- Community is space – a place where we can meet each other and a commonality can be discovered
- When you’re alone and suddenly there’s community
o Rugged individualism
- Spantaneous moment of community (a la subway)
- Self indentify
o Disturbing to be connected via physicality, gender, race, etc
- Private parks – having to have a key to get in
- Trying hard to isolate yourself from everyone else
o Rules and bi-laws for suburban communities
- RAT community – theatres from across the counry and internationally, formed by whomever came by, came by as they are, who they are. Came about as the advent of internet – email, website. To always meet once a year.
o A lot of collaborations came about from that comminuty
o Being inclusive as opposed to exclusive
- Community can identify itself by who it excludes
o Gated community as a mechanism of control
§ If you’re not this, than you’re not allowed
§ Does your community have a boundary
o Isolate yourself from a community that you think you should be a part of, because you don’t think you belong
o Going in, knowing you’re going to die
o They’re going to get exposed, yet they HAVE to do something
o Same batteries in Japan to save what’s going on are 1/3 the strength of what they have. So if we have the same activity, we’re already fucked.
o No control
o How do we define bravery for ourselves and for our community
§ In the face of pure danger, how am I going to save them
§ What can we do?
o Forward thinking, dangers of nuclear power plants.
o In the face of danger we have to be super-conscious
o Relinquishing ourselves to a helplessness about Japan
o Michigan and Ohio
- Rebuild the American Dream
o Support for the unions
o Earning a living wage
- Even then we don’t have to go very far, happening in NY.
Community as a Minority
Deviation and Deviants
Community as a Political Body
Definition of terms:
People on the fringe
Genet – part of a community, but all about making the ugly be seen as beautiful.
America founded on principle of acceptance of all, regardless of creed, race, etc.; yet we still divide ourselves into further communities (racial, interests, etc.) – anyone defined as “other” can find a group they can fit into
Is there then a community of deviants?
Minorities form communities, deviants don’t – deviance becomes accepted and then becomes a fringe group/community
Means people who are purposefully excluded (i.e. pedophiles) – people with characteristics thought of as a perversion
Changing standards make these groups shift
But people who feel excluded reject community and form their own
People connected by some commonality
Not necessarily living in the same place/together
What constitutes community as a minority? Ex. Small persecuted ethnic group displaced; finding group of people in a strange environment.
Neighborhoods – shifting around, enclaves, cultural specificity (street signs in other languages, non-English communication as the norm)
Like a suffix thrown on a group of people (i.e. “African American community” “Homosexual community”)
Log Cabin – LGBT/supporter Republicans – trying to keep subset in line with the subset they’re already part of.
Commonality: people needing support for something: language, point of view, culture. Family comes in there – like-minded people.
What if you don’t even know the people in your community? Like the community of VW Bugs, honk and wave as though you know people, shared characteristic even if it is superficial
Community and the American Dream
People came here for opportunity for freedom
Also largely for economic freedom
People thought they had something to gain by coming to America
Freedom of choice.
Who do you choose to join with?
Peculiarly American – ability to reinvent yourself.
Same reason people move to large cities – ability to reinvent, change identity, be known as something different.
Fits in with deviance – not fitting in, option to leave and create/find different community – rather than be minority, become majority elsewhere?
Even living by yourself, there’s still a community you are part of…or perceived to be a part of?
What are you sacrificing to be come part of any given community?
How does this fit with the part of the American dream that idealizes rugged individualism (a la cowboys)
To be an effective political body, you are necessarily sacrificing self-interest for the sake of the group/political entity.
Is community about agreed upon conventions/codes/rules? Parameters to individualism…are our communities groups of people who agree on what is ok to do?
That’s maybe how it begins, it’s how people get along and agree on what they’re doing, then it expands, and transforms. And as it expands, it’s sacrificing itself (or what the original of itself was) to accommodate more people and their individualism.
Beginning with mutual need rather than altruism? Survival as the impetus?
Humans are animals who survive by socializing – so part of that is making up rules.
Complex social norms to establish structure, defense mechanism, way to understand each other quickly
Defining rules is the basis of culture wars
Interdependence, survival instincts (i.e. band together to weather the cold)
Is prosperity a detriment to community?
Takes away need/immediacy which was its original genesis
More people feel rootless in this generation, and feel rootless. Is it because we travel more, and are more likely to end up somewhere other than where we grew up?
How does our “global community” affect this – so many places we are able to go.
Benjamin Barber – Jihad vs. McWorld
How do you become inclusive and accepting without losing the tribal at the root of our traditions.
The interdependence movement – started right after 2001
Philosopher and social economist.
America exports the worst of itself, and no one gets to know the best parts
Yet why do people keep buying the worst of us? It becomes a luxury item elsewhere.
Catastrophe affecting communities
Both draws together and muddles – what do we do? How do we respond?
New York City
Provincial? People know the people in their neighborhoods.
Sense of small communities that doesn’t exist in other cities
Even deviants add local color and are part of the landscape integral to the community – outsider specific to a particular community (“that’s our homeless guy”)
People think it’s dangerous and faceless, and you don’t know anyone…misunderstood.
Difficult in suburban areas, cookie-cutter houses, places you drive – encourage isolation. In NYC we’re physically forced together, rub together, on sidewalks and subways etc.
Creativity sparked through unexpected interactions. Higher occurrences of creativity places where people have to improvise their physical walking paths.
Suburbia – centered around shopping and/or church – nothing to cling to culturally; arid; antiseptic
Community as a political body
To be lumped into a group that doesn’t necessarily match up with outside perception – frustrating, identity confusion; of that but not
Is culture community?
Being on the fringe
You can band together, rally, form mythologies and stories.
You want to define your own community, not have definition imposed from the outside.
“What do you identify as” vs. “What are you?” – allows self-definition and self-determination.
What if we want to be part of community but not necessarily let it dictate what we think? Demands that we toe the line in uncomfortable ways – do we change our beliefs to feel at home in our community, or do we separate from our community to stick to our beliefs (and in so doing, lose our political power)?
The way to fight patriarchy is not to form matriarchy – community-forming as fencing in? Threatens our individuality?
Automatic skepticism toward groupthink.
Changing the culture of a community by joining it.
“I am part of this but not of this” – and then can alter what they’re in. Those people are the leaders – not being totally immersed allows change and insight.
Art making as creation of community
Religion creates connection in a similar way
Yoga. Content not as important as collective energy.
At its most basic level, is community just a place to show up?
And how about accidental or organic communities, that form themselves rather than are sought out.
Kids, disasters, sickness – create connections
RAT – theaters from around the country talking about work, how to make it, how it can exist in each others’ communities
Political act; networking act;
Lack of cohesion?
Agreed-upon tenets as a basis: whoever comes is who is supposed to be here; create theater with no money
Banding together to resist outside pressure?
Pulling itself apart because with enough people involved, too many ideas of what it should be…
2am theater – blog
Huge conversation about how to make work and what it’s about
Ongoing conversations in different parts of the world – projects come out of online conversation. About how to create meaningful dialogue, based on how the dialogue is begun.
Local and global simultaneously
Constant mutating and changing = constantly running after groups that dissolve or change; or find group but can’t find a way in.
Timing as an important factor.
“Fringe” as more populous than those considered “successful” (innovative vs commercial theater)
The mainstream change starts in theater – get it on stage and people start to notice? Ways to tell stories about people like us.
An attraction of theater – a chance to put all that in front of others (what is our mythology – who are our heroes, villains, gods?)
I do this to show how we’re all the same
If we can get to know each other, all our differences become commonalities, and that’s how communities start – demystifying the “other”
Creating safe spaces is creating communities.
The challenge of community in a large urban setting like NYC
How do you create & sustain community?
Who are the poeople in your neighborhood?
Do you have a community?
-Meeting so many people in NY, not being able to remember them
-Most of the people you meet you have short experiences and then you have to be on your way
-Being in theater we have a lot of intense connection, but then they’re gone.
-An ethereal nature to NY, especially within the theater community
- More doesn’t necessarily mean deeper
-Just because we meet more people in a day, doesn’t mean we’d like to know all of them forever
-The different communities one has and what it’s like if they interact
-Family vs friends
-High school vs college
-Where do you seek community?
- You find it within your own personality. Cut your own path.
- Individual creates the community
-The architecture of keeping a community together
- Church, sharing once a week
- Art NY Christmas party
- Creating that structure of seeing each other and maintaining that
- Even facebook provides one, even if a superficial one
- Not realizing the community is there until one reaches out to it.
- Feeling safe, community as a place where you feel safe.
- Heightened level of need
- Maybe more apparent in an urban setting such as NY
- Do we connect more to strangers bc there is so many differences amongst us.
- Community as an idea, not necessarily about people
- Sometimes you forget about it, sometimes you don’t want it, sometimes needing it – it
feels good to know it’s there.
- No one can really define what commnunity is.
- There are times when I feel connected and times when, even I choose, to be alienated.
- NY is a community of black sheep
- Being welcomed by a group of people that understand what it is you yourself understand
- Community is a place where you don’t have to start at zero
- What we experience in the theatrical world (saying we’ll have lunch soon and it never happens) is seen as hypocritical.
- Shortcut to communication
- 100% commitment within a community is a cult