Mike Turner: Giving Voice to Truth

Politics, to me, has nothing to do with Republicans and Democrats, and the left and the right –all these labels that we want to apply to people we don’t agree with us. I wanna focus on what we DO agree about; I want to build off that consensus about what we can do about this particular social issue.

Take one part blues, one part folk, one part country. Add a dash of Southern gospel, rock and jazz. Season with world-weary experience. You’ll have a taste of Mike Turner’s eclectic original music.

Raised outside Detroit in a family steeped in the traditional mountain music of West Virginia, Mike grew up listening to the diverse sounds of gospel quartets, classic country and Motown. A 30-year career in law enforcement gave him a perspective few encounter – a world populated with smugglers, gun runners and folks on the wrong side of the tracks, and the law.

In retirement, Mike picked up the ukulele and tenor guitar, wrote his first song and hasn’t looked back. He was named 2016 Traditional Gospel Entertainer of the Year by the Alabama Music Association, and 2017 New Gospel Entertainer of the Year by the North American Country Music Associations International (NACMAI). His recordings have played on Internet and terrestrial radio in the US, the UK, Europe, New Zealand and on the US Armed Forces Radio Network.

Mike directed and was a featured performer in the Alabama Bicentennial program, “200 Years of Alabama’s Music,” in 2019; and was showcased on the “15 Minutes of Fame Stage” at the 2020 Monroeville (AL) Literary Festival.

Mike handles A&R and public relations for Music For World Peace Records; and manages its subsidiary label, Blue Uke Records.

Mike makes his home on the US Gulf Coast, where, when not writing and performing, he sails an historic schooner.

Website: Mike Turner (miketurnersongwriter.com)

Facebook:: www.facebook.com/MikeTurnerSongwriter    

YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/MikeTurnerSongwriter                                  

Email:  SailorUke@aol.com

Jeannie Moon: Isn’t It Romantic

I write about relationships and I write about the ability of love to heal…We call the genre the literature of hope because we’d like to see it’s not just about that happily-ever-after; it’s about giving a hopeful optimistic view of how things can go. It doesn’t always mean it’s perfect, but it means like that idea: Love always wins.

Award-winning and best selling author Jeannie Moon is a native Long Islander and imagines that conjures an image of big hair and a nasally accent, but that’s not the Long Island that she knows. Raised in a north shore town that once would have been called bucolic and now people call trendy, she married her high school sweetheart and her children were born in the same hospital as she was. She has deep roots here, and it gives her a history.
A strong sense of home which reflects in her fabulous stories.

Like most women, she wears a lot of hats. When she was in college, she planned on becoming a famous sportscaster. However, never being objective, she leaned more toward the publicity side of the business, doing work for local papers and local teams. But the plan took a detour and she found herself in the front a classroom, teaching English. Teaching was in her blood, and she was hooked.

Jeannie’s books have received a number of honors. In addition to multiple starred reviews, Jeannie has been a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best and the Holt Medallion contests. In 2018, Jeannie’s novel, Then Came You, won the Bookseller’s Best Award for best long contemporary romance. Jeannie was the recipient of the 2018 RWA Service Award presented by Romance Writers of America for outstanding service to the romance community.

Her latest book Christmas in Angel Harbor is out now and to find out more about Jeannie, connect with her on her website, Facebook, Instagram and Book bub.

Readers can keep in touch with Jeannie on social media, as she’s a regular on Facebook and Instagram. Visit her website http://www.jeanniemoon.com for a complete listing of her books, social networks, and special appearances and events. If you’d like to book Jeannie to speak to your library patrons, book club or writers’ group, please check her Extras page for a list of available workshops.

Joan Kane & Gary Morgenstein: Taking a Bite of a Sweet Divide

I believe we’re broken. Everybody is broken in some way. Everybody has a story to tell. There are cracks in us…Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken objects by highlighting their cracks with golden powder. . . the original object is even more beautiful than before it was broken…America is going to be even more beautiful; we’re looking at our brokenness. And I really believe with my heart and soul that we’re going to be even more beautiful after this. ~Joan Kane

GARY MORGENSTEIN’S
A BLACK AND WHITE COOKIE
 IS A NEW OFF-BROADWAY COMEDY/DRAMA
ABOUT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN NEWSTAND OWNER ENCOURAGED TO FIGHT HIS EXORBITANT RENT INCREASE BY AN ECCENTRIC JEWISH RADICAL  

DIRECTED BY JOAN KANE, THE PRODUCTION NOW PREMIERES
THURSDAY, JANUARY 21 AT 7:00PM/ET AS PART OF TFTNC’s ON THE AIR SERIES
&  SUNDAY, JANUARY 24 AT 3PM/ET ON THE EGO ACTUS WEBSITE

Incorporating the pandemic experiences of the past eight months into their production that Covid-19 brought to a halt in March, the award-winning Ego Actus Theatre Company will still present Gary Morgenstein’s new drama A Black and White Cookie, but in an updated version that is set against the backdrop of New York City reopening, post-pandemic. The play’s schedule has been updated. The premiere will air as part of Theater for the New City’s virtual On The Air series. It is now slated for Thursday, January 21 at 7:00PM/ET, with an additional performance on Sunday, January 24 at 3PM/ET.
 
Directed by Joan KaneA Black and White Cookie was originally scheduled to premiere at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Theater for the New City on March 26, 2020. There are plans to stage the show at TFTNC when in-person performances are again allowed in New York City. 

The cast features Morry Schorr (Modern Family/ABC-TV), Roslyn Seale (The Color Purple/National Tour), Julie T. Pham (The OA/Netflix), Chris Collins-Pisano (Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation/Off Broadway) and Mansoor Najee-ullah (Mulebone, G.R. Point, The Mighty Gents/Broadway).

Harold Wilson, a gruff, conservative African American senior, has finally reopened his East Village newsstand following the coronavirus lockdown. Then an exorbitant rent increase forces him to close after 30 years and reluctantly retire to Florida with his niece. Enter Albie Sands, an eccentric 1960s Jewish radical, who persuades Harold to fight the landlord. Overcoming their many differences, Harold and Albie form a powerful and unlikely friendship to confront corporate greed – and prejudice. 

Said Gary Morgenstein: “For this new production, it was important to update A Black and White Cookie by layering in the terrifying burden of the pandemic to portray a city struggling to come into the light. While the play reflects hard truths about fear, disease and bigotry, it’s ultimately positive and uplifting. What the world needs now more than ever is love and understanding, and faith in ourselves, and each other. If these two stubborn old guys can come together, so can all of us. You just gotta believe.”

Gary Morgenstein’s (playwright) novels and plays have been featured in national media from the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Parade Magazine, the New York Post, Sports Illustrated to NPR. His sixth novel A Fastball for Freedom, the sequel to his critically-acclaimed dystopian baseball-science fiction A Mound Over Hell (“1984 Meets Shoeless Joe”), will be published by BHC Press on March 25, 2021. In addition to A Black and White Cookie, he is the author of the stage dramas Saving Stan and A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx, and the off-Broadway sci-fi rock musical The Anthem.  Morgenstein is developing the scripted television series Joyland, set during the tumultuous 1960s, with veteran network executive Russell Friedman and the award-winning Broadway performer and director DeMone Seraphin, who will direct the pilot episode on Zoom in early 2021.
 
Joan Kane (director) is the founding Artistic Director of Ego Actus and directed I Know What Boys Want at Theatre Row, Six Characters in Search of an Author in Oslo, Norway and Kafka’s Belinda in Prague. She also directed both Safe and what do you mean at 59e59 Theaters and in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, getting four star reviews for each. Kane was awarded Best Director in the 2016 United Solo Festival was named to the Indie Theatre Hall of Fame by nytheatre.com. She has also directed plays and readings for the Lark, Ensemble Studio Theatre, the NY Fringe Festival, Theater for the New City, Urban Stages, Workshop Theater, Nylon Fusion, Abingdon Theatre, Oberon Theatre, the Samuel French Short Play Festival, the Midtown International Festival and The Actors Studio. Joan has an MFA in Directing from The New School, an MS in Museum Education from Bank Street College. She is a member of The New York Madness Company, the Dramatists Guild and the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers. Kane recently directed two plays during the Ego Actus Survival is Insufficient 10-play reading series.
 

KINTSUGI is the Japanese art of repairing broken objects by highlighting their cracks with golden powder.  Often undertaken as a form of art therapy to encourage resilience, the art of kintsugi follows a slow and painstaking process that requires patience and concentration. Day after day, week after week, step after step, the object is cleaned, gathered, cared for, mended and celebrated.  The object becomes even more beautiful then it was before it was broken. Its about accepting and celebrating our brokenness.

ABOUT EGO ACTUS
The award-winning international production company Ego Actus (Latin for “My Way”) was founded in 2009 by Joan Kane and Bruce A! Kraemer, who created an independent theatre company dedicated to creating art for art’s sake. Since then their shows, which have been presented in New York City and Europe, have been nominated for 61 awards, winning 21. Ego ActusOff-Broadway shows have included Play Nice! at 59e59 Theaters, I Know What Boys Want at Theatre Row and Sycorax, Cyber Queen of Qamara at HERE, with other critically acclaimed productions at Theater for a New City, Urban Stages, and the WorkShop Theater. The European productions included Safe and what do you mean at the Edinburgh Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Kafka’s Belinda and The Telegram in the Prague Fringe festival, while The Metamorphosis was performed in Prague and Budapest. Their two reading series have included Off the Page, seven scripts read to live audiences at TornPage and Survival is Insufficient, 10 scripts seen on Zoom.

Jennifer Katona, Ph.D. Open a New Window Weaving Arts Education in Today’s Classrooms

How do I make sure every kid gets that kind of emotional connection to their education? The Arts are how you do that. I am passionate about working with schools and spreading the word on how powerful and impactful learning through the arts can be. I have seen schools transform time and time again, and I want to help all schools find this success.

QUESTION: Comment on how an arts-inclusive education impacted your life?

Dr. Jennifer Katona, President and Founder 3 Looms Creative Education Consulting is currently the Visual and Performing Arts Sr. Manager for the Norwalk Public Schools is the former Director and Founder of the Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at the City College of New York (CCNY), where she oversaw the certification of pre and in-service Theatre teachers and training of non-certified theatre educators.

Through her work at CCNY Jennifer created and oversaw the middle school afterschool drama program at PS 161 the neighboring K-8 school in Harlem. Another hallmark of the CCNY Educational Theatre program was the partnership with Roundabout Theatre Company and Teaching Technical Theatre course which was taught in the off-Broadway studios of Roundabout Theatre Education. Additionally, under her leadership CCNY Educational Theatre Program partnered with the Arthur Miller Foundation to create the scholar’s program to help support the preparation of more arts teachers for the New York City public school system. Jennifer has served as mentors for Fulbright scholars through her work at CCNY.

The name 3 Looms is homage to the influential work that started my journey into education over twenty years ago.

My first taste of how to liberate a classroom came from watching Dorothy Heathcote’s documentary, 3 Looms in Waiting. Dorothy famously would walk into a classroom and ask students, “What shall we do a play about today?”

Now while I recognize we cannot walk into a class and ask students what they want to learn, I strive to create environments that take us as close to learner-centered as possible. As close to allowing students to say, “This is what I would like to learn about today…”

Jennifer served as the Arts Education consultant for Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut and has served as a curriculum consultant for Disney Theatrical Education, Broadway’s Come From Away,  created study guides for Broadway’s Once on this Island Revival, and facilitated workshops on curriculum mapping for the Arthur Miller Foundation Fellows,  New York City Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects as well as facilitated webinars on the same topics for teachers nationwide through AATE where she currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors and has previously served as Director of Regional Programming –overseeing Theatre In Our Schools initiatives.  As Board Chair Jennifer serves as representative to National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) which is a partnership of organizations and states leading the development of new core arts standards for the United States.

Prior to coming to CCNY Jennifer taught middle school theatre in Brooklyn and worked as Teaching Artist for numerous cultural organizations throughout the Tri-State area most notably New Victory Theatre, Arts Connection, NorthShore Music Theatre and Starlight Youth Productions.  She has an extensive performance, directing, choreography resume and extensive experience in technical theatre and stage management.

Jennifer holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education: Arts Policy and her current research explores Factors Which Influence the Decision of a School Leader to Maintain or Eliminate Arts Programming in their School and building sustainable arts programming in urban schools.Jennifer has spoken and presented on this topic at many conferences across the country. As well as worked closely with Americans for the Arts on arts advocacy related matters.

Twitter @profkatona

Gianmarco Soresi, Stand-Up Comedian: Healing Through Humor

Gianmarco Photo

Gianmarco Soresi is a stand-up comedian and actor who just released his first comedy special Shelf Life on Amazon Prime, documenting the experience of writing and performing new material in the middle of a global pandemic.

 

I enjoy kind of dark, twisted humor. I focus on making this joke great, a great set, and more often than not people in pain will feel good watching it. . .I’m gonna make great comedy and if this is useful for people — that’s great. I think that’s where healing can happen — in that really dark place and sometimes I can figure out a way to make it funny. THAT’S the best part.

Produced by Jacklyn Thrapp and Lindsay-Elizabeth Hand, and directed by three-time Emmy Award-winning photojournalist Andy Buck, “Shelf Life” is unique in that it will also feature behind-the-scenes documentary-style footage that chronicles Gianmarco’s journey doing live comedy in the unpredictable and ever-changing world of Covid-19.

Gianmarco’s stand up has been featured on Netflix’s Bonding, PBS’ Stories from the Stage, SeeSo’s New York’s Funniest, Real Housewives of New York, NY1, New York LIVE, Vanity Fair, George Takei Presents and he was the winner of Amazon’s Comics Watching Comics Season 8. 1st Place at the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival, Devil’s Cup Comedy Festival, Empire State Comedy Festival, and Last Comix Standing at Mohegan Sun, he regularly headlines clubs, colleges and sordid basements around the country. As a storyteller, Gianmarco has also told tales on the RISK! podcast, The Moth (StorySLAM winner), Suitcase Stories, PBS’ Stories for the Stage, Story Collider and his autobiographical play, Less Than 50%, premiered at the New York City Fringe Festival before being accepted into the Fringe Encores Festival and then receiving a full Off-Broadway run at 59E59 produced by Tony-winner Michael Rubenstein and Robin Milling and directed by Jen Wineman.

As an actor, Gianmarco has professionally pretended in the movie Hustlers with Jennifer Lopez, TBS’s The Last OG with Tracy Morgan, Apple’s Little Voices, CBS’s Blue Bloods, ABC’s Deception and What Would You Do?, A&E’s Unforgettable, Lifetime’s I love You But I Lied, TruTV, Comedy Central, and he can be seen in the upcoming Billy Crystal/Tiffany Haddish movie Here Today. He was also the former spokesman for General Electric and Baby Bottle Pop and has done voice over work for GE, Coca-Cola, Audible, and so many podcasts you’ve never heard of.

Gianmarco is a member of the sketch team Uncle Function, which was recently granted a monthly show at the Upright Citizens Brigade that ran for three sold out performances before the entire theater shutdown forever. He’s also the creator of the sketch series Matza Pizza, which led to Funny or Die greenlighting one of his pitches as an FOD original.

His sketches, front-facing videos as Jeff Goldblum, tweets, and other writing has been featured in Esquire, The Atlantic, The AV Club, ABC News, The Huffington Post, The Daily Dot, Perez Hilton, Laughspin, Splitsider, Tubefilter, Metro NY (cover page), Fast Company and he’s written branded content for spoiledNYC, Hyperbolic Audio, Burrow, SHIFT, SpareRoom and South Eastern Washington Help. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok @gianmarcosoresi or www.gianmarcosoresi.com

Jacklyn Thrapp (Executive Producer) is an Emmy® award-winning journalist and entertainment producer based in NYC. TELEVISION: Former news producer for CW, FOX, ABC and CBS affiliates across the country. OFF-BROADWAY: Good Morning New York: A New Musical and Park For Your Problems AUDIO DRAMAS: Hanukkah Haunting (October 2020), Christmas Pitch (November 2020) and Christmas F@%T (December 2020).  AWARDS: Second Rounder in the Austin Film Festival’s “Fiction Podcast” competition.Twitter: @JacklynThrapp | Instagram: @JacklynThrapp | Website: JacklynThrapp.com  

Andy Buck (Director/Editor) is a three-time Emmy Award-winning photojournalist and video editor who currently works for CNN’s news and documentary team in New York City, covering events all over the world. He recently served as photographer, editor, and producer for the CNN documentary “Inside the ER: The Incredible Fight Against Coronavirus,” which is in consideration for a Peabody Award. He also worked on the HBO Max original documentary “On The Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries.” Andy grew up in Denver, Colorado, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Lindsay-Elizabeth Hand (Producer) is the Owner and Founder of Edge In Motion Productions, a full-service production company specializing in one of a kind TV Pilots and viral internet content that can be seen on YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok. Lindsay was in consideration for the 2020 Emmy’s with her Amazon Prime digital series “Riding the D with Dr. Seeds.” In addition to producing, Lindsay is an award-winning screenwriter, formerly on the nominating committee for the SAG Awards, and mothers a human child. She is a passionate producer who has a hand in every aspect of production, from the development of the scripts to the logistics of filming and post-production. Lindsay’s work has caught the eye of several publications including HuffPo, Funny or Die, Broadway World, A.V. Club, Paste Magazine, Flavorwire, Laughspin, Theater Mania, Spoiled NYC, Downtown Magazine, IGN, Comedy Cake, The Front Row Center, Theater Geek, and Madame Figaro (France) to name a few.  

The trailer for my Amazon special 

The Amazon special

And then best way to find me is on twitter, instagram and TikTok @gianmarcosoresi