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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

58th OBIE Awards

The Lifetime Achievement Obie Award was presented to Lois Smith (l) by   Meryl Streep and Frances Sternhagen (R)  
Photo Emily Tan /The Village Voice

So last night I went to the OBIES. I ran into a few old friends, including the great Lee Breuer and his ever charming partner Maude Mitchell. Victor Maaog, the director of Sex! Drugs! & Ukuleles! was there. There was a bit of a pall over the ceremonies, as Michael Feingold, chief theater critic for the Voice for 42 years, announced his contract was being officially terminated beginning today. Sad.

But it was still a party. (Feingold claimed it was his retirement party, to lighten the mood.) People, especially the winners, had a great time. Thanks to my dear friend Gail Parenteau for the great job she does each year making the OBIES a celebration of the lives and struggles of theater artists.

And the winners are (as per the official announcement)::


New York, NY – The 58th Annual Village Voice Obie Awards, celebrating achievement in the Off-Broadway and off-off Broadway theater, were given out at a ceremony last night at Webster Hall in Greenwich Village. The awards ceremony was co-hosted by Jessica Hecht and Jeremy Shamos. The awards were presented by Bobby Cannavale, Tracee Chimo, Cyndi Lauper, Judith Light, Krysta Rodriguez, Duncan Sheik, Meryl Streep and Courtney B. Vance.
A medley from the highly acclaimed new Off-Broadway musical, Here Lies Love, was performed by the cast. The Brazilian jazz-pop group Banda Magda also performed.
The Obies were judged by a committee that included the Voice’s Chief Theater Critc Michael Feingold as Chairman, Voice critic Alexis Soloski as secretary, and the following guest judges: Obie Award-winning playwright Erin Courtney; director-performer Mia Katigbak, Co-Founder of NAATCO; critic and Theater magazine editor Tom Sellar; and Obie Award-winning director Leigh Silverman.
Meryl Streep presented 2013 Obie Awards for Lifetime Achievement to Lois Smith and Frances Sternhagen.
In a tie vote, the judges accorded the award for Best New American Play to Lisa d’Amour’s Detroit (Playwrights Horizons) and Julia Jarcho’s Grimly Handsome (Incubator Arts Project), with each playwright receiving a $500. cash prize.
A complete list of the award winners follows:

Eisa Davis 
Sustained Excellence         
Brandon J. Dirden 
The Piano Lesson (Signature Theatre)           
Shuler Hensley
The Whale (Playwrights Horizons)  
Matthew Maher 
Sustained Excellence
Paul Thureen 
Blood Play (The Debate Society/Bushwick Starr)
Ayad Akhtar 
Disgraced  (LCT3)             
Annie Baker 
The Flick  (Playwrights Horizons)   
Lear deBessonet
The Good Person Of  Szechuan (Foundry Theatre/La MaMa)
John Rando 
All In The Timing (Primary Stages) 
Ruben Santiago-Hudson 
The Piano Lesson (Signature Theatre)
Eric Ting 
We Are Proud To Present A Presentation... (Soho Rep) 
Laura Jellinek
Sustained excellence of Set Design
Clint Ramos
Sustained excellence of Costume Design      
Special Citations
David Levine and Marsha Ginsberg
HABIT (Crossing the Line Festival/FIAF & PS122) 
Dave Malloy and Rachel Chavkin
NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 (Ars Nova)           
Nature Theater of Oklahoma        
LIFE AND TIMES: EPISODES 1-4  (Public Theater/SoRep)
David Byrne & Fatboy Slim
HERE LIES LOVE (Public Theater) 

The Ross Wetzsteon Award (with check for $1000.)
Clubbed Thumb
Fulcrum Theater ($1,000)
Half Straddle ($1,000) 
Best New American Play (tie w/$500. to each playwright) 
Lisa D’Amour, Detroit
Julia Jarcho, Grimly Handsome
Lifetime Achievement
Lois Smith 
Frances Sternhagen 
The Village Voice Obie Awards are presented by STELLA ARTOIS and benefiting A.R.T./ New York (Alliance of Residence Theaters). Additional sponsors include Smirnoff Sorbet Light, Academy of Dramatic Arts, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and Fragoli.  Congratulations to all of this years winners!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Porter's Pub This Saturday

Uke Jackson -- resophonic ukulele and vox
Johnny Peppers -- bass and soprano saxophones
Paul Kendall -- clarinets

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Organic Bytes 5/9/2013 Call for Unity


Food, Farms, Forests and Fracking: Uniting Our Movements to Survive

Droughts. Storms. Dying oceans. Scientists agree: We’re on a dangerous path to higher temperatures and greater climate instability. The climate movement is focused on curbing our use of fossil fuels. But we need to do more.
Agribusiness, with its genetically engineered, pesticide-drenched mono-crops and methane-emitting, water-polluting factory farms, plays a major role in climate change. And hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the oil and gas industry’s new darling, has become the second largest contributor of greenhouse gases in the U.S.
We can’t wait for top-down solutions that may never materialize. The climate change solution must come from the grassroots. But it will take cooperation and collaboration. It’s time for the powerful anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms), forest-protection, anti-fracking and anti-factory farming movements to join forces with the climate movement. Before runaway global warming destroys the conditions we need to grow food. And sustain life.
Read the essay



Send Gut-Wrenching Additives Off into the Sunset!

TAKE ACTION: Get Gut-Wrenching Carrageenan Out of Organic!

Carrageenan, a commonly used food additive, is linked to colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and higher rates of colon cancer. So why is it allowed in certified organic foods and juices? And organic baby formula?
Because the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) approved it for use in organics. That approval is set to expire, or “sunset.” Unfortunately, despite scientific evidence refuting the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) claim that carrageenan is safe, the NOP is recommending it be allowed in organic for another five years.
Europe has banned the use of carrageenan in infant formula, organic or otherwise. But here in the U.S., it’s allowed in organic foods, including juices, chocolate milk and organic infant formula. Could the lobbying efforts of organic brands, like J.M. Smucker Co.’s Santa Cruz Organic and R. W. Knudsen Family, and Dean Foods’ WhiteWave and Horizon Organic, have something to do with that? It’s time to put an end to carrageenan in organics!
Learn more
TAKE ACTION: Get Gut-Wrenching Carrageenan Out of Organic!



He Can Run. But Will He Be Able to Hide?

TAKE ACTION: Kill the Monsanto Protection Act: Force Senator Roy Blunt to Resign!

The last thing Senator Roy Blunt wants is a face-to-face meeting with a representative of the OCA. But that’s exactly what he’ll get, if we can collect 100,000 signatures on our petition demanding that he resign.
Sen. Blunt played a key role in helping Monsanto lobbyists write the Farmer Assurance Provision, aptly renamed the Monsanto Protection Act. This sneaky rider, slipped into the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2013, strips federal courts of their power to stop Monsanto from planting unproven, potentially dangerous crops.
The Monsanto Protection Act became law when President Obama signed the emergency appropriations bill. The good news: Like the spending bill it’s attached to, the Monsanto Protection Act expires on Sept. 30, 2013. The best way to make sure it doesn’t survive is to force Sen. Blunt to resign. And the best way for us to demand Blunt’s resignation is by camping out in his office until he agrees to accept our petition, signed by 100,000 angry consumers.
TAKE ACTION: Kill the Monsanto Protection Act: Force Senator Roy Blunt to Resign!




Donate by May 15 and We’ll Send You Some Seeds!

Nothing says hope better than a package of non-GMO, heirloom seeds.
In the spirit of hope and generosity, the folks at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, have donated a variety of beautiful seeds, just in time for spring planting. The list of seeds is too long to list, but it includes specialty varieties like Detroit Dark Red Beets, Atomic Red Carrots, Early Purple Vienna Kohlrabi and Persian Carpet Zinnias.
Here’s the deal. Make a donation of $50 or more by May 15, and we’ll send you four packages of seeds. Be sure to write “seeds” in the comment field with your online donation (or on the memo line of your check).
Let’s plant a little hope! Thank you!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)
If you need your donation to be tax-deductible, you can donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)



Join the March Against Monsanto and Help Spread the Word!

“We will not stand for cronyism. We will not stand for poison.”
Where will you be on May 25, at 11 a.m. Pacific time? Tami Monroe Canal, a dedicated mom and grassroots organizer, hopes you’ll be marching against Monsanto. Along with tens of thousands of other protestors, on six continents, in 250 cities, in 36 countries around the world.
Tami organized the March Against Monsanto on behalf of her two daughters, and children everywhere, whose health is being threatened by the Most Hated Corporation in the World. She hopes you’ll join in!
If you’re organizing a march in your area, the OCA has flyers, posters and stickers available to help you spread the word about Monsanto’s poisonous takeover of the world’s seeds and crops. Please call our office, at 218-353-7651, if you need materials to hand out on May 25.
Join the march
Find participating cities
Start your own march
Learn more
Watch the video



Last Chance: Nominate Your Favorite Retailer!

“Jimbo’s Naturally in Escondido is where I do a lot of my shopping (besides my local CSA and Primal Pasture’s in Temecula for eggs and chicken). They have four other stores though, and are completely committed to the Non-GMO project. They even provide a non-GMO shopping list." – On Jimbo’s Naturally, as nominated by Shelly Hackspiel
Why do you shop where you shop? What makes one farmers market or food co-op or health food store better than another? You tell us!
The OCA wants to acknowledge and promote the best practices of those retailers who are doing their best to promote organic and non-GMO products. Please talk to your local co-op or natural food store manager and email us about what your retailer is doing (or not doing) to support your right to know. After we read all your reports, and interview targeted grocers, we’ll announce the Top Ten Right to Know Grocers. But hurry! We’ll accept nominations until midnight, May 15, and announce the winners on May 30.
See who’s been nominated, and nominate your grocer



Essential Reading for the Week

Food Investigations: Welch's Fruit Juice Cocktails Contain More Corn than Fruit: 80% Water and High Fructose Corn Syrup

Is There Reason to Worry About New "Most Lethal" Bird Flu Strain?

Over 5,000 Children's Products Contain Toxic Chemicals Linked to Cancer and Hormone Disruption

Fracking Ourselves to Death in Pennsylvania

The High Price of Our Fertilizer Addiction

Climate Collision Course: CO2 Levels About to Hit 400 PPM

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Organic Bytes 5/2/2013


End Climate Chaos: Boycott GMOs and Factory-Farmed Food

Farmers are sounding an alarm. As global warming heats up and crops are ravaged by droughts, flooding, disease and superweeds, the farm economy is taking a huge hit.

Scientists are clear: America’s chemical-, energy- and GMO-intensive industrial agricultural practices and factory farms have destroyed billions of acres of perennial grasslands, topsoil and wetlands. The result? Soil that has been robbed of its ability to naturally sequester billions of tons of CO2 every year. Until America’s farmers and ranchers turn away from the industrial and factory farm model that has severely damaged public health and the environment, and supersaturated the atmosphere with 395 ppm (parts-per-million) of CO2 greenhouse gas pollution, climate and farming conditions will deteriorate.

Read the essay



Stinging: EPA Wants to Approve Yet Another Bee-Killing Pesticide

TAKE ACTION: Don't Let the EPA Approve New Toxic Insecticide

Europe has come to its senses on the matter of protecting honeybees. Here in the U.S.? Not so much. At least, not yet.

This week, the European Commission decided to ban certain pesticides, including those classified as neonicotinoids, known to destroy honeybee populations. The decision was backed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). But here at home, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is weighing approval of a new pesticide, sulfoxaflor, brought to us by Dow Chemical Co. This despite the EPA’s own admission that sulfoxaflor, referred to by some as a “next-generation neonicotinoid,” is “very highly toxic” to honeybees. If the EPA approves sulfoxaflor, beekeepers say commercial beekeeping will be extinct by 2018.

Will the EPA protect honeybees and our food supply? Or will our taxpayer-funded officials protect Dow’s bottom line?

TAKE ACTION: Don't Let the EPA Approve New Toxic Insecticide

We Came, We Swarmed . . . Will We Conquer?

Bee-decked in black and yellow and armed with 130,000 petition signatures, a swarm of activists, led by the OCA, Occupy Monsanto and GMO Free DC, buzzed the Washington D.C. headquarters of the EPA on Earth Day to demand a ban on Bayer, Dow and Syngenta's bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides.

Neonicotinoid pesticides are blamed for Colony Collapse Disorder, which has already destroyed alarming numbers of honeybee colonies. Bees are exposed to these deadly insecticides primarily through Monsanto's genetically engineered "Bt" seeds. The seeds are coated in the pesticides to kill pests that the GMO Bt toxin can’t destroy on its own. In countries where neonicotinoids have been banned, bee populations are beginning to recover. Did the EPA hear us? Time will tell. Thanks to everyone who swarmed!



Long Overdue: Let’s Close Monsanto’s Revolving Door

TAKE ACTION: Demand Congress Investigate Monsanto’s Takeover of the USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has never denied a single application from Monsanto for new genetically engineered crops. No wonder. Monsanto's board members have worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they’ve advised the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and they’ve served on President Obama's Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. Just recently, Congress gave Monsanto immunity from the federal courts under a law now commonly referred to as the “Monsanto Protection Act.”

Monsanto is responsible for environmental disasters that have destroyed entire towns, and for international waves of suicides among farmers whose lives it has ruined. The Biotech Behemoth has monopolized our food system largely by taking over regulatory agencies like the USDA. Our friends at Roots Action Network think it’s way past time Congress investigates the revolving door policy between the world’s most destructive chemical company, and the folks in Washington D.C. who are supposed to be representing us and looking out for our health and safety. If you agree, please sign their petition to Congress demanding an investigation.

TAKE ACTION: Demand Congress Investigate Monsanto’s Takeover of the USDA




We Are All Pirates. In a Good Way.

The Spanish Armada was once considered invincible, too big to fail. Until it did fail. After being outmaneuvered by Queen Elizabeth’s hodgepodge of crafty pirates.
Is today’s criminal food system facing the same fate? Will we, the hodgepodge of creative, determined pirates bring down the greedy armada of well-armed corporations that are poisoning our food, our soil and our democracy?
We just might, says Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA. Speaking in Boulder, Colo., this week, McCarthy couldn’t resist the analogy. Or the sense of hope emanating from a room full of farmers and food activists hell bent on outmaneuvering a system we can’t possibly outgun.
We are all pirates. And though none of us alone can match the seeming invincibility of the armada-like corporate food system, together, in our own quick-thinking and hodgepodge-like fashion, we have the power to build a meaningful alternative. If we anchor together. Your donation today will do more than just keep us afloat. It will help us sail!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)
If you need your donation to be tax-deductible, you can donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)



What Do You Love About Your Food Store?

Native Sun Natural Foods Market, Jacksonville, Fla.: "We believe that GMOs have no place in natural food stores and we now have five people dedicated to our research. We meet together if there is a new ingredient in products that call for review. We discuss inert ingredients and their sources, and make a final call that is added to a handbook of what is allowed and banned. This list goes far beyond GMOs and includes chemically processed starches, titanium dioxide, grades of carrageenan, and caramel color, just to name a few."

In a day and age of slick marketing, toxic food ingredients and junk food manufacturers who will spend millions to keep you in the dark about what’s really in your food, it’s good to know there are decent, honest people out there who care as much about providing quality, healthful food as they do about running a business. We hope to shine a spotlight on some of those stores with our Top Ten ‘Right to Know’ Retailers contest.

So far, more than 225 of you have nominated more than 140 stores – so many, that we may have to rethink the whole “Top Ten” idea! If you haven’t yet nominated your favorite ‘Right to Know’ retailer, there’s still time. We’ll accept nominations until midnight, May 15, and announce the winners on May 30.

See who’s been nominated, and nominate your grocer



“We’re made in the image of our soil.” – Jerry Cunningham, Founder, Coyote Creek Mill, speaking at the Slow Money Conference on April 29, in Boulder, Colo.



OCA Upsets the GMO Apple Cart

Inside, the biotech industry was handing out an award to a biotech company salivating at the thought of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approving its patented genetically engineered apple. Outside, anti-GMO activists were marching, speaking, handing out organic apples and ceremoniously dumping apples in the street.

The protest took place outside the 2013 BIO International Convention, on April 23, where BIOTECanada was presenting its “Gold Leaf Award for Early Stage Agriculture” to Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Inc. (OSF), purveyor of the Arctic® Apple. The GE apple is engineered using an almost entirely untested genetic modification technology, called RNA interference, or double strand RNA (dsRNA). Scientists warn that this genetic manipulation poses health risks, as the manipulated RNA gets into our digestive systems and bloodstreams. Why should we take this risk? So we can have apples that never turn brown, say the bio-wizards behind the apple.

The Arctic Apple is slated for approval in the U.S. this year, despite warnings by scientists who say the bioengineering technology behind the apple is inherently risky at best, dangerous at worst. The FDA is expected to soon launch a second comment period on the apple’s approval. We’ll let you know when that happens, in case you’d like to give them an earful.

Watch the video

More on GMO Apples here and here



Essential Reading for the Week

First ‘Ag-Gag’ Prosecution: This Utah Woman Filmed a Slaughterhouse from the Public Street

Top 12 Health Tips for a Better You

Are People Living Near Fracking Sites Getting Sick?

Michael Pollan: Americans Cook Less Than Ever, But Love Watching It on TV

Why Genetically Engineer Trees?

Study: Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide Linked to Cancer, Autism, Parkinson's