Legislation

Gun Control, Safety, and Aftermath Plays

I have updated the Free Scripts page of my website with three new plays, all dealing with the issue of gun violence. These scripts are located at the top of the page and are free to perform for anyone, but I do suggest you make a donation to any organization helping to deal with the issue of gun violence in the United States today.

These selections are particularly well suited for high school forensics students, but have been performed by other theaters as well.

I have also included comments about these plays culled from reader comments on the New Play Exchange.

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Attacks on Satire Is An Attack On Our Humanity

#JeSuisCharlie In my play THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE STORY OF TOM SAWYER AS TOLD BY BECKY THATCHER, I included, at the very end of the show, a bit of satire. Not the greatest writing in the world and that good of satire but a light poking at president of the time. The line goes “George? That boy was dumb enough to be president.” This was inspired, no doubt, from my love of Saturday Night Love, The State and other comedy groups. I found out later (not at the time of the performance) that one of the actors parents got upset at my friend who co-directed the show and accused him of bringing a liberal bias into everything he did there. People get upset at satire all the time, its how we respond that matters.

Satire, in all its forms, really is our expression of speech. That’s why we can mock President Obama the same way we mocked President Bush and President Clinton, and President Bush, and President Reagan and President Carter and President Ford and President Nixon and…well the list goes on.

As someone who cares about the arts, who supports the arts, who lives in the arts, the minute we silence one voice in one area, gives us the power to silence the voices of anyone we disagree with and that will lead to tyranny and the end of our humanity.

Satire May Be Uncomfortable, But Humor Makes Us Human : NPR.

Action Center

I have used my blog for many months to spotlight Arts Advocacy and once again, I’m urging you to take action. You can find out more by clicking on the link below and getting involved with Americans For the Arts and learn more about what you can do and how you can help.

Action Center.

NEA Funding Cut

The following is a letter to the editor I sent out to two area newspapers here in Kansas provided by Americans for the Arts. While I understand that our government is looking for ways to make budget cuts and balance the budget, I feel that cutting the NEA is a poor place to start.

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has approved a bill that would cut the National Endowment for the Arts by 49%. I think this is a terrible idea and call on our congressional delegation to reject this cut.

According to Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts industry (museums, theater and dance companies, performing arts centers, orchestras, arts councils and others) generates $22.3 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues annually-a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations.

Because the National Endowment for the Arts supports artistic excellence and improves access to the arts by granting funds to nonprofit arts organizations I call on our federal officials to support an increase in funding for the NEA beyond its 1993 funding level of $174 million. That funding figure equals $277 million in today’s dollars.

Our schools need more arts education. Despite including the arts as being one of the 10 core academic subjects, the No Child Left Behind law has pushed arts classes to the side. Schools, especially those struggling, can retain their best teachers by becoming incubators for creativity and innovation; places where students want to learn and teachers want to teach. Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages, score better on standardized tests in reading and math, and have lower dropout rates-findings that cut across all socio-economic categories. Congress should support an expansion of the federal arts education program to provide the best models for schools to include the arts in their curriculum.

Our rural communities contain some of the greatest cultural assets of our country. Rural economic development should be strengthened to help these communities promote the richness of their heritage and assist local artists with their entrepreneurship.

Across the country, the role of the arts as an economic engine is growing in acceptance and strength. I call on all lawmakers to support funding and policies at the federal level that would recognize the growth potential and direct benefits of encouraging cities and states to strategically invest in the arts in order to drive economic development.

I urge you to contact your Congressmen, write letters to the editor, etc and express your support for the National Endowment for the Arts. We have close to one month before this bill is debated again (on September 9) to make our voices heard. You can learn more by going to the AAmericans for the Arts blog.

Breaking News!

Important news in the world of Arts Advocacy. Tonight I received an email update on a vote that took place tonight (June 24, 2013).

This evening, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment, by a vote of 67-27, to the comprehensive immigration bill currently being considered on the Senate floor. Tonight’s vote was on a bipartisan amendment that included a broad set of provisions. One of the provisions included in this amendment was sponsored by Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and is known as the Arts Require Timely Service (“ARTS”) Act!

The ARTS Act seeks to improve visa processing for foreign guest artists preparing to perform in the United States. Americans for the Arts and many others, especially those in the performing arts, have been working on this key legislation for years as a part of Arts Advocacy Day, and you can read more background about it in American for the Arts Issue Brief here.

The inclusion of the ARTS Act provision is an important step forward to ensuring efficient and reliable processing of nonprofit arts-related visa petitions. With the adoption of this bipartisan amendment, final Senate passage of the immigration bill is more assured and scheduled for this Thursday. Soon, the U.S. House of Representatives will begin drafting their version of an immigration bill, and Americans for the Arts and others will continue to work to get the ARTS Act included in the House legislation as well. You can take two minutes to write your members of Congress in support of this legislation now.

Please help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, you can play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today — it’s free and easy to join.

I urge my readers to take action, write, tweet, post on Facebook. But support this. Visiting artists can introduce us to and teach us new things just as we can introduce them to and teach them new things as well. Our arts community needs to be a global one and this is a step in the right direction.