Friday, February 6, 2015

Rewriting the Rules

Sunday's Superbowl had more viewers than any other TV program in history. This is the only TV event, I can think of, where views look forward to the commercials. In fact, that's the primary reason that some people watch. Did you know that a 30 second Superbowl commercial costs roughly 4.5 million dollars? 

I only watched the last 3 minutes of the game clock and glad I tuned in. That was intense! Thanks to Hulu's Ad Center and Youtube I was able to see many of the commercials. 

I braced myself for the customary offensive, objectifying ads. Per usual Carl's Jr. delivered. Carl's Jr. continues to equate women to meat- to be ogled, lusted after and then devoured. Of course they stop there. They don't continue with what happens to that sensual burger after its gone through the digestive system. And yet women are often left feeling like that byproduct after viewing their ads.  

*Deep Breath* 

AND there were many enjoyable, funny & poignant ads that made me hopeful about media in the US and American socialization. 

I was touched by Budweiser's puppy. How can you not love that puppy? 

Snickers' Brady Bunch with Steve Buscemi saying the iconic, "Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!" had me laughing out loud.  

I appreciated Coca-Cola reminding us that we make this world what it is and we can choose to #MakeItHappy. (I grew up in a serious Coke family. Even though I rarely drink soda anymore, Coke will always have a special place in my heart. It's my go to cola. It also was one of my first words. Ha!).  

But for me, there were two STANDOUT commercials. 

First, Always. I'm so in love with their #LikeAGirl campaign!! 

Yes!Yes!Yes! Thank you Always for taking on the derogatory attribution of the phrase, "like a girl." If doing anything "like a girl" is a socially recognized insult then what are we telling our daughters about the value of being a girl? All of this matters because it informs and influences how a girl (then a women) views herself and her value to society.

I'm a girl. I run like a girl. I throw like a girl. I love like a girl. I advocate like a girl. I create art like a girl. Because I am a girl (woman). I love being a girl (woman).  

Let's Rewrite the Rules!!

Speaking of rewriting the rules...

Two car companies focused on Dads. Nissan's #WithDad campaign and Toyota's #BoldDad campaign.

Nissan's #WithDad reinforces the hyper-masculinity expect of men and their prescribed gender role as bread-winner.  Set to Cat's in a Cradle (a song about a father never establishing a meaningful and connective relationship with his son because he prioritizes his career), it depicts a largely absentee race car driving father who tries to stay in touch with his family. I'm confused as to why this campaign is called #WithDad seeing as the father and son are rarely together. It should be called #WithLonging.

This Dad is cool and manly. He drives fast cars and walks away from serious crashes with a victorious fist in the air. The sons simultaneously plays out the scene with his toy cars and mirroring fist raising thereby being indoctrinated in what it means to be a man.

And then there is #BoldDad by Toyota. It is bold, brave and beautiful. deeply effected me.

The socialization of gender roles harms boys/men just as much as it does girls/women. Toyota rewrites what it means to be a Dad by pushing against all those expectations propagated by Nissan.

The Dad in this ad is present, emotionally available and connective. There is no longing in his daughter's eyes. When she's leaving a party upset, she knows that her dad will be there (wiping away her tears). We're told that being a Dad is a choice and that a Dad's choices in actions and words will influence the human being a child becomes. A human being that will make their own choices.  

The end moment in these two campaigns couldn't be more diverse. After a montage of loneliness, the Dad in #WithDad surprises his now adolescent son by picking him up from school. Clearly, a novelty. They hug and drive away. In #BoldDad, we discover this Dad has been driving his daughter to the airport and she has joined the Army. We take from the growing up montage that because of her relationship with her Dad, this daughter is ready to be an adult, to live the life she has chosen. For me, the secure attachment of this Dad and Daughter is everything.

What are your thoughts on the Superbowl commercials? Favorites?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Self-Awareness for the Actor Workshop (February 20, 21 & 24)

I’m thrilled to invite you to be part of my Self-Awareness for the Actor Workshop running February 20th, 21st & 24th.

What is Self-Awareness for the Actor?

I created the Self-Awareness for the Actor Workshop to help actors begin the journey of radically accepting themselves with compassion and love.

Actors are often asked to be more open, more vulnerable, more connective. This direction mistakenly assumes that doing so is as easy as walking upstage or picking up a glass before saying a line. And yet...being open, vulnerable and connective is an integral part of making meaningful theater.

Here’s the good news: Although it takes time and is a process, it is possible to develop skills that aid you in being more open, vulnerable and connective. The Self-Awareness for the Actor Workshop is the beginning of that process.

The purpose of this workshop is to help you discover and explore how you communicate and interact with yourself, your collaborators and your craft in order for you to create from a place of authenticity. You are the foundation from which your character is built. The stronger that foundation is, the stronger your work will be. We will use some of the same tools you use to build a character to uncover and empower your authentic-creative-awesome self.

How are we going to do this?
Through exercises based in the work of Augusto Boal, Brene Brown, Frederick Alexander & etc., journaling and group discussions, we will identify who you are as a creator, bring awareness and understanding to your fears, develop self-compassion, demystify perfectionism and cultivate self-acceptance. Plus much more!

Doing this work can strengthen your auditions, rehearsals and performances as you learn how to be more present, connective and compassionate in your work as an actor. This increases your ability to be a sought-after collaborator and an engaging performer.

Sign-up now to secure your spot. Space is limited. I’m only accepting 10 participants for this class.

Friday, February 20th & Saturday February 21st
10AM to 5PM (30 minute lunch break)
Tuesday, February 24th
7PM to 8PM

Where: Ripley-Grier Studios (520 8th Ave., New York, NY)

Cost: $265.00