Tag: eliza gale best of wordpress

An Interview With Writer Peter Jacob Streitz

IMG_0827

 

 

 

Peter Jacob Streitz is the author of,  Hellfires Shake the Blues and Past Oz; here is a link to his Amazon page:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Peter-Jacob- streitz/e/B004DJNM5E/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

 

Q:  What is, Hellfires Shake the Blues about?

 

A: With the exception of a few poems I wrote long long ago in a land far far away . . . HELLFIRES is about the cannonballs of the street trying to kill the desiccated flies of poetic poppycock; that overly masturbatory verse that’s been systematically hijacked by those still trying to get gold stars from the late Mrs. Titmouse or laid by the former king or queen of their high school prom. In a world where everything is becoming increasingly whiteified—scrubbed and sanitized to the point that “whatever” is the definitive answer to every question—HELLFIRES subsumes Franz Kafka’s rephrased belief that “. . . poetry ought to be an ice pick to crack the frozen sea within our psyche.” Thus my work first freezes our social sense with a blast of cold reality before conjoining hands in a communal effort to swim ashore of islands uncharted and unexplored; thereby, opening new worlds of reciprocal repute and personalized empathy.

 

Q:  What life experiences inspired you to write it?

 

A: Like a majority of us, my being born into this ever evolving world of false fronts and trap doors where truth, love and hate is stirred into societal cauldrons like sacred verities—only to be doled out by the collective’s most narcissistic twit—started my idiosyncratic journey of seeking languages uncorrupted by any socially consecrated Tower of Babble. That along with the fact I was cursed to be a gifted athlete—pressuring me towards the performance training of dumb-ass coaches and blue-eyed cheerleaders—instead of a more soulful sharing of a sick bed with the artistic likes of Madame Bovary and others of her novelistic ilk. With that as a foundation it was off to college on a full basketball scholarship that lasted two weeks before I fled back home to flip donuts at our local bakery from 2 A.M. to 6 A.M. then from 6 to noon hand-cart quarter ton pallets of stainless steel grips to the ladies doing piece work at the Quackenbush Nutcracker Factory . . . which eventually propelled me to Boston University where one of my smoke-toked Profs emphatically proclaimed that I graduated with the only degree ever given in Alternative Education . . .  making me supremely suited for my next role as heavy-handed repo man retrieving the “sticks” (used as collateral) by deadbeats in Mattapan and Roxbury, Massachusetts.

 

Soon after escaping with my life, I donned the corporate mask of a computer executive in the vast industrial complex before losing my marbles and moving with my wife as mentor to Ol’ Frisco . . . and there recapturing all the childhood disillusionment that makes me the writer I am today.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

 

A: I’m a full-time HouseHusband employed by a female executive. This influences my writing by making my emotional skin as hard as nails. How else could I survive the unmanliness of no paycheck and goldbricking off the back of a woman, patron or not? No, whether the sound of applause is only crickets or the standing ovation of my own delusiveness—both the verse and prose unceasingly flows from a heartily uncompromised source of my inborn being . . . to the only sea I’m free to imagine.

 

Q:  Who are some of your writing influences and how is this evidenced in Hellfires Shake the Blues?

 

A: I’m sure the BOOK OF THE DEAD had some influence . . . if I could only be certain I read it in this lifetime. Then there were all the bastard philosophers I’d been reading since junior high, especially (my favorite) Wilhelm Reich, whose THE FUNCTION OF THE ORGASM was openly carried around in my back pocket like a bible—while misreading the title, thinking it was something I actually experienced, meaning, THE FUNCTION OF THE ORGANISM—until I was unfairly sentenced to detention for the crime of trying to educate myself on subjects the teachers had little success with or firsthand knowledge of. But to be sure—due to my style and drinking habits—Bukowski certainly barfed his way into my subconscious . . . yet our themes are as different as sex for sex sake or sex for the sake of sex. This language thing was passed from Buk’s God, John Fante, to Buk, freeing him, in this most sophisticated of modernities, to use the C-word instead of the P-word not to be confused with the N-word that can only be written or said by those deemed sufficiently disenfranchised in the eyes of an intelligentsia that hates human nature as much as their own soullessness . . .

 

Now there’s a prime “example” and\or “evidence” of being influenced and not a detailed analysis of the influences themselves . . . my deepest apologies . . . for I didn’t even remark on Harry Crews and his fine works like A FEAST OF SNAKES or ALL WE NEED OF HELL where his literary “voice” tweaks the vibe of serial killers from cultures that live just beneath the skin deep surface of polite society.

 

Q: When did you start writing?

 

A: According to “the me” that I didn’t really know (but the one that survived the death match with the corporate man I knew implicitly) I’d been penning fiction—at least in my most catholic of minds—since the Sunday of my first confession. I mean, anyone can have a plain white sheet of paper, but it’s the writer that blackens the blank with the handwoven scripts in his head. So I’d say I actually started writing, for public consumption, the year I became sexually desirous of others, you know, trying to reach out and touch someone in any way I could. Heck, even pubescent verse is an aphrodisiac to yourself, if not the publishing world, during your sprouting years.

 

Q: What have you done to publicize your books?

 

A: Besides the insane bullshit of Twittering and Facebooking to the billions Twittering and Facebooking me like madams manically pimping “around the worlds,” I haven’t done diddly.  For as an iconoclastic non-connector who aberrantly believes that divine intervention is the ultimate promotional tool, I’ve been patiently waiting for The Man Almighty to plop HELLFIRES and PAST OZ into Oprah’s brainpan like gluttonous thoughts of shakes and fries. At least that was true until I recently hired a publicist who’s desperately (with great kindness and understanding) trying to get me to equate exposing myself and my work to the public as indispensable to my paradoxical proclivities . . . and not something that means completely abolishing my blasphemous ways.

 

So with that as a possibility, I conjured-up the image of George Zimmer and stumbled into a Men’s Warehouse to buy a Sunday-go-to-meeting-Suit for any (potential) public appearances; thereby exhibiting my complete commitment to “publicizing” my newly minted ass . . . plus, keeping my heartfelt pledge to my now adored propagandist. Thus, without a hint of evangelical fervor, church, or pew this new apparel will also, at least visually, eradicate my diverse array of inks and piercings . . . all highlighting my brotherhood with progressive outrage, social activism, and the righteousness of law and order.

 

Q:  What trends in literature annoy you?

 

A:  Memoirs . . . like I give a shit about another loser’s life. Now INTERVIEWS—that’s a whole other kettle of corn.

 

Q:  What is Past Oz about?

 

A: My novel PAST OZ is about—where we all end up in our lives—when we’ve had enough life experience to actually decide the direction we have always wanted (consciously or subconsciously) to go regardless of our inherited race, creed, color, economic status, coincidences and\or circumstances . . . both fortunate or unfortunate. PAST OZ is one man’s break from what he and those in his sphere, most solemnly, believed to be his lot in life. And going PAST OZ is that second—utterly self-determined—shot at life regardless of all the prevailing wisdom, and past realities, in one’s current world.

 

Q:  What is your process when you write?

 

A: I write a million little notes to myself. Then like flood waters behind a beaver dam I wait for the pressure to build and the obstruction breached . . . then write in a white heat as the thoughts flush by. It’s exhausting but invigorating.

 

Q:  Your biography says you only took one lit class, why only one?

 

A: Forget writing classes, as they might lessen one’s lonesomeness, they’ll do nothing for one’s writing—not like living the life of a writer.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Motivational Speaker Jimmylee Velez

 

jv

 

 

Jimmylee Velez is a motivational speaker; here is a link to his website:

 

http://jimmyleevelez.com/
Q:  What made you interested in motivational speaking?

 

A: Back in 2006 I was introduced to the personal development industry. I studied the arena, applied what I was learning and within weeks, my life completely changed. From there, I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with my new found passion. I truly believe this is my calling in life and am currently living out my destiny.

 

Q:  What set you apart from other motivational speakers?

 

A: We ALL have our individual stories and mine is as unique as they come. I did not go to school for motivation, entrepreneurship or even business. I have a bachelor’s of science in the concentration of health information management. I truly believe the personal development industry chose me. It simply resonated with me and truly pulled out my true ability to communicate with people. My message is the raw truth wrapped in encouragement and sprinkled with love to give my audience a POWERFUL message.

 

Q:  What qualifications do you possess for your job?

 

A: I posses the unique ability to tap into the hearts of others and inject a message of hope. These messages can transform your life into a more refined better version of yourself. I truly want to help and possess an undying passion to assist people overcome life’s obstacles. My intentions are derived from my heart and the love naturally guides me.

 

Q:  I’m a customer service representative, what kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your motivational speaking?

 

A: I work for a local hospital. That being said, EVERYTHING influences my motivational speaking.  I do believe life is what we make of it regardless of our surroundings. I am inspired by all kinds of things which allows my message to be so versatile. I am around a ton of CARING people and it definitely rubs off on my message.

 

Q:  What is your core philosophy?

 

A: I believe we have a duty to live out our life calling. We all possess different skills and abilities that are needed in the world. We must recognize these strengths, sharpen them and utilize them DAILY. We all play an important role in the world and it is critical the world receives our best. To live a life of excellence and become the BEST version of ourselves is a DAILY mission.

 

Q:  What is the difference between thinking positively and being delusional?

 

A: This depends on who you ask as we ALL have our very own definition of each. It’s an individual kind of thing. What I think is “positive”, you may think is “delusional”. Neither of which are correct as each come from different frequency levels of thinking. Your misunderstanding of my “positive thinking” does not make it “delusional”, it’s simply on another level. People thought Roger Bannister was “delusional” in thinking he could run a mile in under four minutes, but in 1954 he proved them wrong. Non-believer’s thought it was “delusional” to put a man on the moon, but the Apollo 11 astronauts proved them wrong. The examples of “positive” thinking and “delusional” are endless and are simply separated by perspective.

 

Q:  What have you done to promote your book?

 

A: Currently, I am in the process of wrapping up my book which is to be released in December. The book is a follow-up project to the album, The Motivation Files, “Motivation To Master Your Day”. It truly is the ULTIMATE combination of motivation and music. The Motivation Files  (Album) charted 5 days in a row on iTunes (http://TheMotivationFiles.com) and has been played on several radio shows. On my site,http://JimmyleeVelez.com you will see a section where myself and The Motivation Files have been featured in various forms of media; all of which have promoted my projects. I have guest blogged and also been featured on several podcasts promoting The Motivation Files. My passion for The Motivation Files shines through in my daily social media posts and weekly blogs at http://WisdomMiners.com

 

Q:  What is the key to giving a good motivational speech?

 

A: The key is preparation. Knowing who your audience is, what problems you are solving for them and what point you are trying to drive while maintaining a controlled excitement level packed with enthusiasm and wisdom.

 

Q:  What are some specific examples of how your philosophy has helped people?

 

A: The philosophy I use and promote is not my own as it has been derived from the years of research and experience in the field. That being said, one of my favorite examples come from two guys in the music industry. One guy listened to The Motivation Files and my movement, and instantly regained faith in his music career. He was motivated to go after his dreams and is now in the process of recording a second album. The second fellow had a direct conversation with me about my projects and listened to The Motivation Files. He was so motivated and compelled to take action on his dreams that within 24 hours he had a new track recorded and dreams reignited.

 

Q:  I think if you are a pessimist you can’t be disappointed, only pleasantly surprised, what do you think?

 

A: I think if being a pessimist works for you, than stick with it. We all have our own unique way of navigating our way through life. The Motivation Files is simply a tool and you can use it as you see necessary in your life. My overall goal is to motivate you to become the best version of yourself regardless if you are a pessimist or optimist.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

 

An Interview With Child of the Seventies Creator Michael Vaccaro

child2

Michael Vaccaro is the writer and star of the web-series Child of the 70’s; here is a link to his website:

http://www.theofficialchildofthe70s.com

Q: What is Child of the 70’s about?

A: Child of the ’70s follows “Carlo Perdente,” a total loser, whose life completely falls apart as he’s about to turn 40. He loses his survival job, his NYC rent-controlled apartment, and his hot boyfriend. His acting career is going nowhere, and his obnoxious and overbearing Italian family are forcing him to abandon his dreams of stardom and get “serious.” A chance encounter with his favorite 1970s TV star, “KiKi Lawrence,” changes everything for him.

Q: What inspired you to write it?

A: I’ve always had the idea in my head, pretty much. But when I realized that people were creating their own content on the web, I realized I could do that, too. I didn’t have to sit around anymore and try to get a meeting with a network in order to pitch an idea. When that hit me, it all took off. I began writing furiously, and it all sort-of poured out of me.
I was kind of sickened by how gay people were portrayed on TV. We were either “Jack,” the over-the-top, ridiculous fool, or “Will,” bland, sex-less and non-threatening. I wanted to write and portray a gay character who was funny and interesting and charming and edgy and flawed and real.

Q: Upon whom is your character based?

A: Me, of course! 🙂 But also, he’s a little bit “Rhoda Morgenstern.”

Q: You worked for Lainie Kazan as an assistant. What is your most memorable work story from that time?

A: Oh, brother…I could tell you stories! Ha! But, I’ll save all that.
Lainie Kazan is an amazing woman. She is literally the person who walks in and completely lights up the room. She is fun and gregarious and intelligent and tough. She had great stories about her life and career. She should absolutely write a book. I really enjoyed my time with her. But, it was also non-stop! From the second she woke up ’til the moment she went to bed, it was overwhelming. My head would literally spin. I couldn’t keep up.

Q: How has the gay culture changed since the seventies?

A: This is a difficult question. Clearly, we’ve come quite a long way, baby, and I’m very happy about the strides we’ve made, and the rights we’ve achieved, but in my view, we’ve been watered down, diluted. We’ve been homogenized, and I feel that we’ve lost what makes us special. We are not like everybody else. We are different. And I’m interested in celebrating those things that make us unique. We are also certainly less political. We’ve become complacent. Our values have changed. I sometimes miss the fight, I miss the anger, I despise the apathy. I treasure the thought that I came up, and out, in quite a difficult, yet magical time. Of course, there will be many people who will be angry at me for this response.

Q: There have been several recent hit films sent in the seventies including Inherent Vice and American Hustle, how realistic do you think these films were?

A: I haven’t seen Inherent Vice, but I thought American Hustle was sooooooooooooooooooooo ’70s, that it made me want to puke! Not everybody who lived in that decade had a perm and bell-bottoms and beaded curtains and bean-bag chairs! Not everyone painted their apartments mustard and orange. It was ridiculous. Insanely unrealistic and over-the-top. Unless the art director and the wardrobe department were trying to portray some kind of 1970s nightmare, then they totally succeeded.

Q: What was great about the seventies?

A: Best decade for movies, ever! Filmmakers and actors took risks, nothing was safe, nothing was taboo. They don’t make movies stars like that anymore. Great TV. Norman Lear changed everything. Fantastic music, amazing performers. A decade when you still had to be able to sing in order to be a singer! Fascinating politics. The destruction of the USA began the second Ronald Reagan took office. And also, it was fun! People danced and did drugs that weren’t made in somebody’s garage. And the sex! I had fantastic sex in many bathrooms of many clubs and bars! We weren’t afraid then. We weren’t weighed down by this pall of death and sadness that eventually took over.

Q: What are some things you don’t miss about that decade?

A: Living in The Bronx. Let me qualify that… I have very fond memories of that place, but I also have nightmares sometimes where I have to move back there!

Q: Do you think being openly gay helped or hurt you as an actor?

A: Both. It hurt in that I was always out, and that wasn’t as chic as it is now, so I lost out on a lot of opportunities. But it made me a better person, and that’s more important.

Q: If you could go to lunch with Walter Findlay or Dwayne Schneider who would you pick (why)?

A: Definitely Walter Findlay! First of all, he lives in upstate NY, and he could come down to the city for lunch. Dwayne lives in Indianapolis. Second, Walter and I could have a great discussion about his fascinating wife. Dwayne would just want to talk about chicks!

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Rosemary Agonito Author Of The Last Taboo: Saying No to Motherhood

raa

 

 

Rosemary Agonito is the author of The Last Taboo: Saying No to Motherhood, which argue that women may be better off if they do not have children; here is a link to her website:

 

http://rosemaryagonito.com/

 

Q: What inspired you to write The Last Taboo?

 

A: I began to notice the incredible impact children have on women’s lives after my two children entered the picture (one biological, one an international adoption). Over the years, I’ve been exposed to countless women from all walks of life in my college teaching and training work as a gender issues specialist– executive women, professional women, rank and file working women, poor women, displaced homemakers, women trying to re-enter the workplace in middle age, older women. The motherhood theme was always there, an integral part of these women’s stories, often in a negative sense. And for those women who, for whatever reason, did not have children, there was the stigma, the guilt, the sense that something must be wrong with them.

 

My work in Women’s Studies and my writings also provided many questions. My first book, History of Ideas on Woman, traced what the so-called great thinkers had said about women from ancient times. Mostly, it wasn’t a pretty picture. Women’s inferiority and subordination, their “different,” lesser nature, seemed more and more like it related to women’s role as mother in the eyes of these men.

 

I grew up in an immigrant Italian home and the idea that children would not be a part of a woman’s life was unthinkable. So over many years and much experience, I became fascinated by motherhood and the motherhood “requirement.” I came at last to see the woman = mother thing as flatly wrong and completely a function of intense cultural and religious conditioning of girls. Given this profound conditioning from the time a little girl gets her first doll, it’s a stretch to say that motherhood is a choice for most women. So I wrote The Last Taboo: Saying No to Motherhood.

 

Q: Why do you think any woman would be pro life?

 

A: Actually, I was pro life in my youth. I really believed that the fetus is a baby, a real human being. So killing it was murder. That’s what pro life people believe and if you believe that, you try to save the baby.

 

But I came to see two things early on. (1) A zygote, two cells, is not equivalent to a human being, any more than an acorn is a tree. The zygote will, at some point, become a human being if the conditions are right, just as the acorn will become a tree – but a whole lot of development has to occur for that zygote to become a human being. (2) Women matter in this whole process and that’s what so-called pro life people don’t acknowledge. It’s a woman who bears the burden of nine months and its physical repercussions. It’s a woman whose life will be dramatically impacted by a child. She will spend the next two decades caring for that child, often alone. She will not be able to do much of anything in her life without factoring in that child at every point. A woman is an actual living human being; that zygote is a potential human being. Sadly, pro life does not mean pro woman’s life.

 

Now, why a woman would be pro life is more baffling. She should understand the second point. Unfortunately we’ve not been very good historically at identifying with other women or supporting each other. We tend to identify with the men in our lives and too often we are less supportive of each other. Which is why the call for sisterhood has been so important in the women’s movement.

 

Q: What kind of research did you do for the book?

 

A: I was seeing all this negative motherhood stuff in women’s lives that conflicted with all those glorious motherhood myths in our culture and media. I wanted to get at the truth about motherhood. What did mothers really experience? How did children really affect their lives? So I dug deep into the data – research and surveys on motherhood going back for decades. I was surprised at the mountain of data out there. I tried not to rely on a single study or a single survey on any point, but I looked at the data over time – multiple studies, multiple surveys. This meant finding out what women themselves had to say.

 

I also collected, over time, the stories of women I met or read about. These stories form an integral part of the book along with the data. The book is as much about the real lives of women as it is about what the data show.

 

Q: What changes have you seen in the women’s rights movement over the years?

 

A: Lots. I remember the days when we marched in the streets and politicians paid attention – at least more than they do now. We had consciousness raising sessions that showed women they were not alone in their feelings and fears. We met often and plotted strategies. There were multiple support organizations for every walk of women’s lives. For example, I belonged to a women business owners’ support group when I ran my consulting business. There was an active Women’s Commission appointed by the mayor here in Syracuse and a sex equity panel that advised the NY State education commissioner on sex equity in the classroom. It was a vibrant time full of activity on behalf of women. Most of that is gone. TV even changed briefly. We protested women being portrayed as sex objects and actually made a difference, for a very brief time, in TV programing. Strong women began to appear. That didn’t last. Today women are showing cleavage all over TV and media – it’s seems to be a requirement that women be sex objects, even women who do the news! Now little girls and teen girls are sexualized. This is deadly. As long as women are seen as physical beings (sex objects) and their function is biological (motherhood/breeding), how will women ever be seen as fully human, which entails rationality above all?

 

I remember when the movement briefly started to talk about the oppressive features of motherhood and the pro-family folks came down hard on that. MS. magazine started putting cooing babies on its cover in response. I can’t get MS. to review The Last Taboo. Maybe they fear a backlash since the book is assumed to be an attack on mothers. It’s not.

 

I know there is a young women’s movement today. But where is the fire? Where’s the presence in daily life? At the height of the women’s movement in the 70s and 80s, it was everywhere, making waves, raising hackles. I was glad to see a bit of the old fire in the campus sexual assault protests and that’s good. I hope for more from our young people.

 

Q: Who benefits economically from making woman feel guilty about not wanting children?

 

A: Our economy depends on consumption and you need lots of people to consume goods. It’s as simple as that, I think. We’ve seen countries provide incentives to women when the birth rate drops dramatically. Of course, that’s short term thinking. Long term, overpopulation is a disaster economically and in every way since overpopulation lies at the heart of the destruction of the environment and the human species itself.

 

And probably men have an economic interest. The more women at home raising kids, the fewer women in the workplace competing with them.

 

Q: What are some of the benefits to women of not having children?

 

A: Freedom is the primary benefit. Children, much as we may love them, constrain women who still pretty much bear the whole burden of raising those kids. Without children a woman is freer to realize her full potential. As I say in The Last Taboo, each human life is complex and capable of being lived on many levels. The more constrained a life is, the less able it is to fully develop. Work is critically important in every human life since, ideally, work entails the realization of each person’s talents and skills. Raising children involves developing those children, servicing their needs. It’s all consuming and it can easily inhibit a woman’s ability to develop herself. Childfree women don’t have to cope with those constraints.

 

There are lots of other benefits of a childfree life. There’s the ability to fulfill herself. The myth is that children fulfill women, but in fact, children require SELF-sacrifice. Mom is not defined by her SELF but by her relationship to a child. A childfree woman has an easier chance at creating herself. Another benefit is financial – children are money pits.

 

Women without children also have a better shot at happiness. Research is very clear that childfree women and couples are happier than women and couples with children. Childfree women also have the satisfaction of knowing they are not contributing to overpopulation which is rapidly dooming the environment and human species.

 

Q: What are some of the psychological effects on children whose parents didn’t want them?

 

A: How awful for a child to be unwanted! I devote a chapter of The Last Taboo, “Godzilla Mom,” to the impact on children. These children suffer from low self-esteem, a sense of unworthiness, a feeling of not belonging. They are unloved, insecure, and emotionally deprived. These are scars that will follow them throughout their lives and will most likely impact any children they have.

 

And beyond the psychological effects, there’s the very real physical abuse and neglect that afflicts so many unwanted children. The CDC estimates that 20% of American children suffer direct physical abuse or neglect.

 

Q: Why do you think the conservatives have been successful in infiltrating the religious right; wasn’t Christ a socialist?

 

A: This is a big, important question. I wrote a book that tackles this question, Hypocrisy, Inc.: How the Religious Right Fabricates Christian Values and Undermines Democracy. There are lots of reasons why the religious right and conservatives joined forces in the 1970s – a shared belief in traditional values and an aversion toward the growing disrespect for authority and toward countercultural social movements, including anti-war protests, the women’s movement, civil rights for blacks, promiscuity and free love, increasing drug use, moral decay, and more.

 

Anyone who seriously reads the Gospels (which the religious right accepts as literal truth) knows that what Jesus preached and modeled bears no relationship to the “family values” mantra of the religious right. Jesus was a radical in his lifestyle and his teaching. He left his family, on more than one occasion refusing to acknowledge his mother and father, became homeless by choice, lived a celibate life, never married, had no children, preached the virtue of poverty and rejection of worldly goods, practiced no trade and had no income, survived off the charity of strangers, hung with people considered disreputable – sinners and outcasts – and engaged in behavior considered scandalous in his day, often shocking even his own followers. While the religious right obsesses over abortion and homosexuality, Jesus never speaks of either in the Gospels, though both were practiced in his day. And yes, Jesus’ followers lived a communal lifestyle, holding belongings in common, sharing in all things, and above all, giving to the poor.

 

As for women, Jesus is truly radical. He never preaches motherhood as woman’s role, even publically rejecting the chance to praise his own mother as mother. He doesn’t accept the concept of nuclear family, but insists over and over that the community is the family and that all are equal brothers and sisters. He rejects patriarchy, telling his followers to call no man “father” since there is only one Father and he is in heaven. Women are again and again treated as equals, never consigned to the home, included in theological discussions, encouraged to learn and be active, urged to do all the things men do (teach, preach, travel and convert) – all unacceptable at the time. . . . Don’t get me started.

 

Q: If this earth is a living organism are humans parasites?

 

A: If we didn’t start out that way, we have certainly become parasites. We take from the earth and give little back. Our misuse and destruction of earth’s resources, our failure to replenish earth’s stores, our failure to use only what we need, has caused us to destroy whole species of plants and animals. We have long since passed sustainability. Put simply, human consumption is no longer balanced by earth’s capacity to produce our needs and take in our wastes. Sustainability requires a balance between human demands on the environment (food, shelter, etc.) and the area needed to meet those demands and absorb human wastes. Not since the 1980s has humanity’s use of natural resources matched actual global supply.

 

Overpopulation sits at the heart of this problem and climate change. We add one billion people to the earth roughly every 12 years. Yet another reason to say no to motherhood.

 

Q: How did Sarah Palin happen?

 

A: John McCain’s poor judgment? Fox views? Oopps, “news.” Life is a comedy? Sadly, too many people see the world in black and white, without nuance or shades of gray. Simplistic approaches to complex problems have their appeal. Also, Palin is a clear example of the power of the religious right. Her unabashed evangelical views won the hearts of evangelicals, who became her most ardent supporters.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

 


 

An Interview with Actor/Writer Kristen Doscher

 

kd

 

Kristen Doscher is an aspiring actress and writer who has authored two produced plays. She will be at this year’s Sundance Film Festival; here is a link to her website:

http://www.kristendoscher.com/

 

 

 

Q:  What made you interested in acting?

 

A: I can remember all the way back to my Kindergarten variety show. I was given the song “How Much is that Doggy in the Window” to sing in front of the entire school with my little toy dog. Then in 3rd and 4th grade, I think that is when the “performance bug” really kicked it. It was definitely not acting from the beginning, I just remember knowing that I had to be a performer of some sorts. So I had this dream in my head of being a “pop star.” I wanted to be on stage in Madison Square Garden dancing and singing in front of thousands of people. That to me was the ultimate dream, having all these people coming to watch little old me. All throughout elementary and middle school I was starting all girl singing groups and hoping to be the next 3LW. Slowly I realized that the dream of being on stage and really committing to this as a life goal and not just a hobby was mine and mine alone. I knew I had to go out there and pursue it. I remember one day I was sitting in my room and wondering how I could make this dream a reality and it was then that I sort of realized that there are other outlets for performers and that I wanted to try them all. So I did my research and signed up for my very first acting classes in New York City. My Dad pulled me out of school early once a week and rode the train in with me. When I got home every night, the only “homework” I was interested in doing was for the scenes we were assigned and it was a done deal from there on out.

 

Q: You wrote, produced and performed in two plays in New York, what were they and what where they about?

 

A: The first play that I had ever written premiered in The Strawberry One Act Festival and went all the way through to the finals with several nominations. The plot line is very true to the title ‘A Love Story’, as it explored the essence of love when it is fresh and new and love when it falters.

The second was a play called MOB which premiered in The Thespis Theatre Festival. MOB is the story of a young Italian American couple who breaks the break by sticking up diners (Pulp Fiction Style) all across NY State. Using different alias’ they stage fake proposals and enlist the help of a flash mob to ensure a substantial amount of hostages. But when these two unintelligent bandits turn against each other in a battle of love, money, and some pretty hip dance moves…who will win and who will make it out empty handed?

 

Q:  What inspired you to write them?

 

A: When I graduated from school and realized that from that point forward I wouldn’t always get to have a say in what roles I played, I kind of panicked. It was then that I realized how easily I could market myself the way I wanted to. I could write and create a whole world of my choosing and act along side actors of my choosing, in venues of my choosing. I think you catch my drift! The whole thought of it was very exciting and still is. I also think each play that I have written really spoke to where I was at that point in my life. When I wrote A Love Story I was in a relationship that I was terrified of loosing and the shear thought of it created a spark, an energy inside me and writing was the best way for me to express it. MOB on the other hand was my way of exploring characters with a heightened sense of reality. I really wanted to play on stage, like a kid with no boundaries, and that’s where MOB was born.

 

Q:  How did you go about getting them produced?

 

A: Getting them produced was surprisingly easy which isn’t always the case. If you are a new writer and you want to see your work up on stage in front of an audience, the easiest route to take is festivals. They provide you with a lot of the necessities and really help the process be as smooth as possible. I won’t sugar coat it though, as it can be difficult with the amount of people you have to deal with on a daily basis to get your show up and running. I also recommend using a crowd funding platform such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter. Especially if you plan to produce the show fully on your own in a venue of your choosing which is hopefully the next step for me and the cast of MOB. Taking it one step further.

 

Q:  What kind of day job or income source do you have and how does it affect your pursuit of acting?

 

A: Well this question is a bit of a doozy. It sounds a bit off the charts, but my day job tends to fluctuate and I always seem to make it work some how. There is the occasional paycheck from acting gigs here and there which is always nice and encouraging. Right now, I am working for a friend who owns a dog walking business. It really is pretty sweet. And it doesn’t feel like work which is nice! It allows me to pursue acting and make a schedule that works for me which is something every actor needs.

 

Q: What kind of training have you had?

 

A: I graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts which is a two year acting conservatory geared primarily towards theater training (which I loved!!). The Academy gives you a taste of a little bit of everything, which is nice in some aspects. Every time a new semester rolled around you were given a whole new set of teachers and a whole new perspective on acting, movement, voice and speech etc! This was great because it kind of allowed you to choose which methods worked for you.

After graduating, I dabbled in a few classes and tried out other conservatories until I stumbled upon Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre. I can finally say that I found a space and a coach that created the safest environment for me to truly play as an artist! MCS is based around Sanford Meisner’s technique of living and behaving, truthfully and fully in imaginary circumstances. The technique really taught me how to get off of myself and to create this world around my scene partner. I attribute a lot to Matt, my coach. I’ll be sticking with him for a while!

 

Q:  What do you hope to achieve at Sundance this year?

 

A: Well, there are a ton of things that I would hope to achieve but I really want to go in head first with out a plan. I sometimes feel like that is when the best and most unexpected things occur. I will say that a main focus of mine is meeting as many people as I can and building my roster of contacts. When I look back to my experience at the festival last year, the greatest thing I took away was the terrific and talented people I met. Most of them I am still in contact with and will be spending time with this year! If I come back home with a pocket full of business cards, then I would have done my job right!

 

Q: What made you want to transition from theater to film?

 

A: I’ve always wanted to act in films. Growing up, theater was never something I wanted to do. Once I went away to school and began my training, everything changed and I felt this electricity every time I was on stage. I remember thinking “wow, you cannot beat this feeling” and I fell in love with the theater.  I am glad that I got the training that I did and I will always go back to the theater to continue to grow as an artist and discover new things about myself. I only use the word transition because after graduating, theater has been the bulk of my work as an actress. I want to feed my on screen career and see if it grows. I feel I owe that to my 8 year old self.

 

Q: How do you approach creating a character?

 

A: I wouldn’t say that there is one set way that I approach a character. I think there are many different factors that go into it. First, I think it depends on the type of character I am playing. I like to look for the similarities and the differences between myself and the character and then start from there. I used to try and forget “me” all together and try to become this whole other person, but over the last few years I’ve grown to realize that the character is me. I am embodying another life and taking on their struggles and triumphs as my own. Second, I think it depends on the director that you are working with. Some directors are very organic. They just want you in front of the camera or in the rehearsal space, on your feet, doing your thing. And if they love it, GREAT! And if they don’t, then they will tweak it. And I think that works marvelously for some actors because it gives them complete freedom to play. Some directors like to work as an ensemble, discovering the characters as a unit. Why they all came together, etc. What makes them who they are. What brought them to this certain point in their life. How they move in their bodies. On the last play that I wrote I worked with this terrific director, Joanna Tomasz. She was the hands on type which is the kind of director that I love to work with. Like I said, some like the organic route but I like to be pushed and pulled in different directions. I like to see my character from other peoples point of view, whether I agree or not. It’s more fun that way! Joanna introduced myself and the other actors to the Labon Technique, which is based on the belief that by observing and analyzing a characters movements, whether they are conscious or unconscious, you can uncover their inner self. It is essentially a tool to help you build the characters personality through the movement of your body. I am a firm believer in physical work when creating a character!

 

Q: What would you like to change about the film industry?

 

A: I’m almost afraid to mention it but I think there is a bit of sensitivity with feminism and woman in the work place lately. I think it is a beautiful thing that so many people feel so passionately about it because it is something that is very important and needs to be voiced. I attended an event for New York Women in Film and Television last month, where Maggie Gyllenhaal gave a marvelous and to the point speech which covered her hopes and fears when it came to this sensitive topic. She ended it by saying that change only occurs as a result of revolution. We need the beautiful, young, and naive girls of this new generation to challenge our views and fight against the current. I thought that this was an awesome way of saying “let people have their own opinions” because in the end people are going to think the way they want to and behave the way they want to and the universe is going to unfold as it may as a result of that. I think women in the industry should continue fighting for their beliefs and if they feel there is an unfair advantage or an unfair amount of opportunities for women then they should absolutely continue this crusade. I can only hope that in the next year we see more of a change and more of an understanding when it comes to this topic. I do firmly believe that art needs a women’s heart and vulnerability to thrive!

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With “The Case” Author Marc Hirsch

 marc

Marc Hirsch is a retired doctor who is the author of the mystery novel The Case: here is a link to his Goodreads page:

 

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6032594.Marc_Hirsch

 

 

Q:  What is The Case about?

 

A: The Case follows Alice White, a divorced legal assistant in 1955 New York City, who travels upstate to investigate the death of a country doctor. What at first appears to have been an accident, turns into a deadly power play of greed and marital discord and threatens to end her life just as she has begun to thaw.

 

 

Q:  What makes Alice a character worth reading about?

 

A:  Alice White is a woman in her thirties, out of her time. She loses her job at the end of WWII to the men returning from military service and refuses to conform to the mold of housewife and mother society seems to expect her to fit into. She is beautiful and athletic, she runs for exercise, inspired by Fanny Blankers-Koen who won four gold medals in the 1948 Olympics, and she goes to law school at night while assisting two Manhattan lawyers with investigation on their cases.

 

 

Q:  Why did you chose to write about a female protagonist?

 

A:  I wrote a chapter to get into a writing workshop. The woman in the scene which composes the whole chapter, sitting alone on a fire escape in the heat of a summer evening in the Bronx of the 1950’s, became Alice White and, only in retrospect, I realized she was modeled after my older sister who underwent similar struggles in 1950’s New York City, as did our mother. Both were working women, my sister a  divorcee like Alice. I have had many women friends who have educated me throughout my life about the struggles of women with societal expectations. I am prejudiced in Alice’s favor.

 

 

Q:  How did your experience as a doctor help you in writing a murder mystery?

 

A: The Case practically opens with a doctor struggling to have a life outside of medicine. That is as much my own story as his. My whole career I have attempted to balance work and many other interests. I did not want to bury myself in clinical practice, yet I took care of critically ill people and wanted them to have the very best I could deliver, so I had to devote much of my “free” time to continuing my medical education. I squeezed in my other interests, though, and started The Case while I was still engaged in high pressure hospital practice. Of course I finished the book in retirement.

 

 

Q:  You worked as a doctor on Alcatraz during the 1969 Native American occupation of the island. What compelled you to take that job?

 

A:  I was a new doctor, interning in San Francisco, and a staff attending physician at my hospital asked me if I’d go, despite the risk of jail time because the Indians had occupied federal land without permission and they were armed. It made me confront what being a doctor meant to me, so I went. Forty five years later, even though I’m retired, I still try to live up to that standard. I volunteer at a local free clinic and, when they try to thank me, I tell them I need to do it more than they need me to do it.

 

 

Q:  Who are some of your literary influences?

 

A: I really didn’t do much reading for pleasure until I finished my initial postgraduate medical training. In the early1970’s I spent a year living on an island off the coast of British Columbia and read boxes full of used detective fiction by kerosene lamp. I discovered Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Earl der Biggers, creator of Charlie Chan, on that island. More recently, James Lee Burke, Lee Child and Michael Connelly have entertained me with their detective fiction.

 

 

Q:  How did you get a publisher?

 

A: I meditate as a devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda. Every six months I attend a retreat here in Kentucky. One of the regular attendees read and loved my book, The Case, and introduced me to his son, a publisher in Louisville, Kentucky. He is a fan of my writing as are his editors and they have encouraged me to finish my next book and move on to others. They have named this first group of books the Alice White, Investigator series.

 

Q:  Many great writers from Ernest Hemingway to Charles Bukowski have been heavy drinkers who have suggested that alcohol helped their creativity. (Hemingway said, “write drunk, edit sober.”)You are in recovery; what are some creative techniques you use that do not involve alcohol or drugs?

 

A: I am definitely an alcoholic in recovery and can no longer drink. When I did drink I did not find alcohol particularly stimulating to my creative expression, so I don’t miss that aspect of it. Recovery has improved so much of my life I would have thought had nothing to do with my drinking. In regard to being an author, it has increased my enjoyment of the process of writing and going out to research people and places to write about. I also now read far more than I did when I drank. So I think the daily process of recovery has far surpassed my use of alcohol as a creative stimulant.

 

 

Q:  What was your greatest triumph as a doctor?

 

A:  I feel fortunate to have been able to deliver so many babies at various times in my career and that, I would normally say, has been a repeated incredibly positive experience in both my life and my medical career. But the single triumph of my experience as a doctor has to have been very early in my career, one particular teen ager who was involved in a high impact automobile accident, struck in the chest by a steering wheel, with no pulse and not breathing. The nurse present encouraged me to move on to another of the victims of this multiple vehicle catastrophe, but I had a feeling this youngster was still salvageable and I sprayed his chest with antiseptic and plunged the biggest bladed scalpel I ever saw between his ribs and into his chest, and the hole sprayed out a mist of blood under pressure with a sound like a coffee can opening and he came back to life. I never got over that.

 

 

Q:  If you could take a road trip with Dr. Watson or Dr. Victor Frankenstein who would you pick and where would you go?

 

A: I would travel with Dr. Watson to London. There are so many reasons besides the obvious, that, when I read Sherlock Holmes, I identify with Watson. I loved London when I was there in the 1960’s. I stayed with fellow medical students in the East End. I would want Dr. Watson to show me his version of London and regale me with his peak experiences, fears and methods of both medical practice and investigation as a student and friend of the famous detective.

 

 

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Health Advocate and Motivational Speaker Terry Raven

terry raven2

 

 

 

Terry Raven is a health advocate and motivational speaker; here is a link to her website:

 

http://sycmystic.ecrater.com/

 

Q: What kind of professional background do you have?

 

A:  My professional background includes Creating Pure Organic Healing Essential Oils (Custom-blends and pret a porter) for clients and customers, specializing in those who are already healthy and wish to maintain and/or elevate their state of health and those with chronic medical conditions who have tried and no longer desire to use traditional chemical-based medicine and opt for organic, concentrated alternative choices straight from nature.

I progressed to providing clients with motivational and life coaching sessions.

The two go hand in hand, as physical health influences the mind and its motivation and vice versa.

In like, people have an excellent company that provides all of their root and most important needs and wishes in one place.

 

Q: What made you interested in motivational speaking?

 

A:  My own personal experiences and survival and the realization to move others, is what interested me.

There’s nothing better and more effective than the very person who has been there and survived that and thrived, to move you to do the same.

 

Seeing the real difference that my public speaking and personal sessions makes in peoples’ careers, personal circumstances and lives, is what keeps me interested and passionate.

 

My initial question to each audience and clients is:

Do You Just Exist Or Do You Actually Live?

 

Q: What sets you apart from other motivational speakers?

 

A:  My personal story of my own adversities, life, wisdom, and the fact that I not only survived, but I thrived.

 

I’m not just a traditional classroom-schooled therapist who sits and listens and nods my head for 50 minutes while checking my watch (I don’t even wear a watch).

 

I’ve been in the worst, as well as the best circumstances, relationships, populations, zip codes. I’ve vividly experienced, keenly felt, battled, survived, learned from every one. Thus I bring all of those dimensions to my clients, their needs, wishes, goals.

Rather than merely talking at them and pointing to a conceptual blackboard and hoping they’ll understand and apply, I have my own experiences as the way of understanding them and customizing to their needs.

 

I use what has transpired to inspire.

 

Q: What made you interested in health advocacy?

 

A:  My lifestyle, despite every circumstance, led to my passion in health advocacy.

 

Due to my own experiences (My previous mentions of having been in the worst and best circumstances), some in which healthy options did not exist, led me to create something good out of bad or nothing. “You cannot control what happens to you. But you CAN control how you respond.”

The response is NOT to neglect one’s self, so that one can take care of one’s self in order to better take care of loved ones and/or the situation.

Jails, prisons, institutions, income levels, adversities promote preservatives and even carcinogens…

I learned that, even these instances, I could improvise and come up with healthy alternatives.

What the mind PREsees (not yet in the dictionary), it can achieve.

 

Another inspiration was more and more, younger and younger children with cancer.

Most cancers are rooted in education and nutrition or the lack thereof.

Fried, smoked, plastic-packaged foods contain high concentrations of carcinogens. Consumed too much, young systems are too overwhelmed to fight off the resulting cancer.

That’s the reason that my company donates at least 5% of every product sale to our charity:

Project Cancer Gift Lift.

Project Cancer Gift Lift provides gift bags (filled with botanical shampoo, cleansers, hoodies, food market gift cards for FRESH produce) to juvenile cancer survivors and their caretakers.

We’re working on gift cards for taxis and other transportation to chemo and  medical visits.

 

Q: What sort of educational background do you have?

 

A:  I was an honors student in high school and, honestly, that’s where my formal education ceased.

I went on to university and pre-law and psychology.

In my second year I left my sorority and left college.

Two years later my real and most harrowing, and, upon reflection, best education began:

The harshest realities, experience, and wisdom.

 

Like the porcelain doll that has been put through the fire and the phoenix that rose from it, nothing can break me and everything can only continue to teach and renew me.

 

Education is a state of mind.

The state of your mind is what propels you on the journey to your best learning.

 

Q: Do you think people in Los Angeles are more open to eating a healthier diet?

 

A:  Yes.

That’s because in L.A., it’s hip to be healthy.

 

I desire to advocate and ingrain that a healthy diet is not a trend, but a permanent way of life.

 

Personally, I STILL consider healthy, alternative products versus gooey, fun foods, a supreme and special treat.

 

Q: What are some of the surprising things you have learned in the job on nutritional coach?

 

A:  People still respond to fads of the moment (gluten-free much?)

 

Q: What do you like about the health food industry?

 

A:  I love that health foods are now much more accessible and readily available at mainstream markets, rather than just niche boutique markets such as Whole Foods.

 

Q: What would you change about it?

 

A:  I would change the fact that most vegan options, namely in L.A., contain nuts and/or soy.

Companies and eateries disregard facts that a majority of the American population is allergic to nuts, while sometimes not even aware of their allergies, and about 30% must avoid soy for other reasons.

Vegan and other health options then become a luxury that Californians have to sit out.

I’ve already done my part in changing this by ensuring that my company never uses any nuts, soy, gluten, or other high-allergens in our organic products.

 

Q: Why can’t I stop eating Peanut Butter Captain Crunch and what will happen to me if I don’t?

 

A:  I’m asking myself the very same thing (as I clutch my own box of P.B.C.C.).

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)