2011 Flux Raffle!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 0 comments

We hope that you are able to attend our second Flux Family Feud Benefit Party on Monday, November 21. If you can't make it, that will make us sad, but you can still support Flux by participating in our annual raffle! This year's raffle is better than ever. As usual, the money raised from the raffle will help finance future productions so that Flux can continue to produce compelling and transformative theatre.

The drawing will take place at the Family Feud but you DO NOT have to be there to win!

Raffle ticket prices are as follows:

$3 gets you 1 ticket
$5 gets you 2 tickets
$10 gets you 5 ticket
$20 gets you 13 tickets (Wow! That really increases your chances of winning!)
and the ultimate deal: $40 gets you 30 tickets (insane!)

(want to buy more than 30 tickets? Just email kelly@fluxtheatre.org for more information.)

How it works: You can increase your chances of winning by CHOOSING which prizes you want to win. For example, if you buy 30 tickets, you can put 10 tickets into the Law & Order SVU Walk-on role, 10 tickets into the free headshots and 10 tickets into the custom-made bracelet. Or, you could put all 30 tickets into one prize.

Step-by-step directions to buying raffle tickets

1. Choose your prizes from the list below below

2. Purchase your tickets HERE

3. Send an email to kelly@fluxtheatre.org telling her how you would like your tickets allocated.

4. Wait for a confirmation email from Kelly and then hope you win! Winners will be announced on November 21.

Here Are The Prizes!

Two Tickets to Chicago on Broadway with a BACKSTAGE TOUR.

Winner gets two seats to the Tony award-winning Broadway musical, Chicago. To make this prize even better, it includes a backstage tour before the show!

Be a Star for the Day. Work as a background player and get paid!

Winner gets to be a walk-on role on Law & Order SVU!
(must be 18 years of age or older to win this prize)

An Anything Goes poster signed by Sutton Foster and members of the Tony Award winning cast!

Have your name written into an August Schulenburg play
If you win this prize, Gus will include your name in one of his next plays! Gus is the author of The Lesser Seductions of History, Jacob's House, Other Bodies, Riding the Bull and Rue. Have your name immortalized forever. Who knows, it may end up on the Flux stage!

A personal tour of Google NYC
Flux member Kelly O'Donnell takes you and a friend on a tour of the NYC Googleplex. Get a closeup tour of their inner world: the scooters, game rooms, their collection of old computers, amazing views of Manhattan and so much more. The tour finishes with a lunch in one of their famous cafeterias. Yum!

A 90-minute consultation with fundraising pro, Heather Cohn!
Trying to write a grant for a theatre company? Working on building your individual donor base? Need help? Heather Cohn has nearly 10 years of experience working as a professional development (fundraising) officer and is offering to share some of her knowledge. Win a 90-minute session with Heather to discuss and tackle your most pressing fundraising questions.

Two tickets to The Daily Show
One of the smartest and funniest shows on television. Past guests have included President Obama, Jerry Seinfeld and Jodie Foster! Date is TBD but will be sometime in early 2012.

Dinner with the Flux member of your choice
So many choices: Gus, Heather, Kelly, Matt, Isaiah or Will. Be taken out to dinner with one of us! Who could ask for a better date?

A Themed Illustrated Pet Portrait
Kristy Caldwell will create an original portrait of your pet in the theme of your choice! She is open to depicting your pet however you'd like: equestrian, pirate or even an astronaut. The choices are endless! She will create the drawing from a photograph of your pet. See Kristy's art here. (featured in image: Friend of Flux, Bachi)

An Archival Print of Flux's Season 4 Posters
Win an archival print of all three Season 4 images: Dog Act, Ajax in Iraq and Menders. Includes all three images together in a panoramic view on acid-free paper.

The Mystery Box Just what is inside this box? Shh... it is a secret but it is something really awesome and powerful. Buy some raffle tickets and you may find out.

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Headshot Session with Flux Member Isaiah Tanenbaum
Includes: A two-hour on-location photoshoot featuring as many looks and poses as you like. The best shots will be edited (so they are ready to print), burned to a disk for you to keep, and hosted online for easy access. Check out more of Isaiah's work Here

Press Photography with Flux member Isaiah Tanenbaum ($100+ value).
Let Isaiah help you promote your next show! Choose one of the following options: rehearsal room photos, special photo-shoot, tech/dress rehearsal, or performance (non-showcase code only). The best images will be edited, burned to a disk and hosted online for your convenience. Isaiah's photographs have been featured in The New York Times, Backstage, The Village Voice, and countless other blogs and theatre sites. At left is from Flux's production of Dog Act

Ryan Andes Handmade Pendant (includes chain)
Ryan has been making custom jewelry for years and we are excited to be offering such a quality necklace again this year. Check out Ryan's online store here

Ryan Andes Handmade Leather Bracelet.
Your very own Flux Leather Bracelet. Perhaps you have seen Flux member Gus Schulenburg and Friend of Flux Carissa Cordes, sporting their Flux bracelets? We know you are jealous! (Ryan will size the bracelet to the winner)

$50 Gift Certificate to the Ninth Ward.
An East Village bar that doesn't get hipper than this. Why? Because Creative Partner, Will Lowry helped build the interior!

Purchase raffle tickets HERE! Raffle drawing will take place on November 21. You DO NOT have to be there to win!

New raffle prizes may be added to the raffle. You can change your allocation anytime before Nov 21 by emailing kelly@fluxtheatre.org

Read the full story


Cognitive Dissonance; or Art versus Entertainment

Monday, October 10, 2011 2 comments

by August Schulenburg

One of the moments I love in Dog Act is when Vera, pretending (or is she?) to be the deity Wendy, explains to her new Scavenger followers why the Vaudevillian has a protected status in the world of the play:

"You are treading on the hem of a great mystery. I will say this, my children, listen thou well. The vaudevillian is the repository of all that was and all that may be. She is the key. She is translator of our souls. More than this, more than all, listen thou, dear scavengers: she is that rare and precious pearl lying in this dark, drear, perilous sea: she is entertainment."
Note that Vera/Wendy climaxes with "entertainment", not "art." Yet in the usual ranks of righteousness, Art is seen blazing pure at the right hand of the deity, while Entertainment perniciously capers on more pandering planes below.

Wading into dangerously semantic estuaries, I think there is a useful event horizon to find between Art and Entertainment; a boundary that is fluid and dependent on context but real and important all the same.

This boundary emerges from the idea of cognitive dissonance, a theory discussed in depth in this excellent podcast interview with Carol Tavris, author of Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. I believe this idea of cognitive dissonance is at the center of the difference between art and entertainment.

The short version is that once the our brain believes something to be true, it has a profoundly difficult time in changing that belief. In fact, it actively curates experience to protect a pre-existing belief from any evidence that contradicts it, leading to the saying, "Believing is seeing."

As Tavris says, "Once we have a belief, we see the information that will confirm that belief, and we stop seeing what we don't want to see, don't expect to see, have no wish to see; that's the blind spot in how we perceive what other people say and do, (and) how we evaluate our own behavior." Our brain does this automatically, and it takes a great deal of mindfulness to even notice that it's happening.

This mindfulness, this deliberate courting of doubt and uncertainty, of trial and error, is best embodied in the scientific method; but as Tavris explains, the scientific method runs directly counter to the momentum of the brain, which prefers to simplify the complexity of experience through perceiving only that which reinforces pre-existing patterns of belief, even if those patterns are harmful.

I believe that the difference between art and entertainment is simply the amount of cognitive dissonance we are required to engage in by the work. When a play reinforces pre-existing patterns of thought, that comfortable feeling is called entertainment; but when we are forced to hold new, potentially uncomfortable truths in our minds - truths that may require us to change what we believe - that friction is called art.

With this definition, the boundary between art and entertainment is fluid and depends on social context. As accepted norms differ from culture to culture, a play may very well be entertainment in one culture and art in another. A production of A Midsummer Night's Dream can be entertainment but it can also be art, depending on how much cognitive dissonance the production decides to illuminate within that deceptively pleasing play.

It may be that what we recognize as genius is simply the manifestation of a cognitive dissonance that persists across time and culture. Certain works of art never lose the searching edge that destabilizes what we think we know, and creates within us the possibility for change.

In our mission, we talk about transformational theatre, and Isaiah recently wrote a powerful post of how that manifests itself in our staging choices. Our work explores how to harness that searching edge of cognitive dissonance, as dizzyingly uncomfortable as it can sometimes be.

I believe this frame also underscores the importance for funding the arts. It's natural that entertainment would be profitable: we love being told that our beliefs are right and just and we should keep on keeping on. But we need to be challenged, to court doubt and uncertainty, to look at belief as a process and not a destination, to value curiosity as deeply as faith. We need the searching edge of art to continue to evolve as social, moral creatures.

But, hey, that's just what I think right now. I'm not holding onto any idea too tightly. We never step in the same river twice. Doubt is my faith, so bring the change. Read the full story

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I AM THEATRE: August Schulenburg

By August Schulenburg

We're continuing our participation in the I AM THEATRE initiative launched by TCG with a story of my own. If you haven't already, be sure to also check out Isaiah Tanenbaum and Carissa Cordes' video.

The particular story that I share is inspired by the work of Bill George, the theatre artist who founded the Little Pond Arts Retreat. Those who read this blog may recognize Little Pond as the site where Flux holds our annual retreats; it is also the place where, less than a month ago, I was married to fellow Fluxer Heather Cohn.

As you will see, Bill's influence in my life and work stretches back a good distance, and this video is both a note of gratitude to him, and an encouragement to others to share their stories. The stories I share are from my memories of a production I saw fourteen or so years ago, so I hope any errors of memory will be forgiven. For those unfamiliar with the Bahá'í faith I reference in the video, you can learn more here and here.

Read the full story

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Food:Soul #9: WET or,
Isabella the Pirate Queen Enters the Horse Latitudes

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 0 comments

(Photo: Isaiah Tanenbaum. Pictured: Tiffany Clementi, August Schulenburg, Christina Shipp, Cotton Wright)
Post by August Schulenburg
Food:Soul is back this Wednesday, October 5th! And we are thrilled/ecstatic/super-psyched to be returning with Liz Duffy Adams' (of Dog Act glory) play Wet, or Isabella the Pirate Queen Enters the Horse Latitudes.

Not only does this Food:Soul features the return of Liz' mighty pen to Flux territory, but Dog Act-ers Becky Byers and Julian Stetkevych and director Kelly O'Donnell return, as well. Throw in Members Tiffany, Isaiah and Matt, Food:Soul veteran Elise Link and old friend Daren Taylor, and you have the recipe for a souffle of awesome. And as always, Food:Soul features free food and even freer theatre.

Here are the deets:
Wednesday, October 5th
Join us for our next Food:Soul (in partnership with Bailout Theatre)

by Liz Duffy Adams
Directed by Kelly O'Donnell

Doors Open at 7:00pm (people line up for the food around 7:15pm)
Food is Served at 7:30pm
Staged Reading Starts at 8:00pm (runs about 95 min, with no intermission)

Featuring Matthew Archambault, Becky Byers, Tiffany Clementi, Elise Link, Julian Stetkevych, Isaiah Tanenbaum, and Daren Taylor
Stage Directions: Will Lowry

In Wet or, Isabella the Pirate Queen Enters the Horse Latitudes, four survivors of a storm-sunken pirate ship — the legendary Isabella, Neptune’s bastard daughter; pirates Jenny (a runaway whore) and Sally (an electrified girl); and the Viscountess Marlene, a drag queen — seize a half-wrecked ship manned only by Captain Joppa and two sailors, young Jack and ex-slave Horatio. Joppa is determined to get back to the war. Isabella has other plans. Amidst time lurches, shifting loyalties, story-telling and sudden violence, hearts lost and secrets revealed, the seven souls find themselves without wind or current on a slowly sinking ship—until an unexpected event offers either hope or doom.

See you there, matey? Read the full story

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MENDERS Print Ad in Carrier Pigeon

(Print advertisement for Menders by Kristy Caldwell)

Post by August Schulenburg

There is nothing like returning from my (perfect, dazzling, exhausting) honeymoon to find this evocative image for our upcoming production of Menders in my inbox. Kristy Caldwell is the brilliant artist responsible for the Dog Act and Ajax in Iraq postcards, and she's working on an image for the the Menders postcard that will tie all three separate images into a single image - you can see what I mean here.

Other folks looking for illustrations, if the above doesn't convince you, working with Kristy is the best. You should do it, too.

The image above, which will appear as a print ad in Issue 5 of Carrier Pigeon, really strikes at the secret, walled heart of Erin's beautiful play - I'm so glad to return to the city and hit the ground running on Menders. Read the full story