LOOK: Photos and Reaction to JOE SCHMOE

Earlier this month, Indiana University presented four workshop performances of Joe Schmoe Saves the World. The piece was provocative, empowering, and very well-received by a diverse audience of different ages and backgrounds.

Here’s some press response from the show: Continue reading LOOK: Photos and Reaction to JOE SCHMOE

Joe Schmoe Sings

I just finished recording this song from my new musical Joe Schmoe Saves the World.

Singer-songwriter Kelsey Jessup and singer/actress Ana Nogueira lend their kick-ass voices to “Say Something.”

I can’t wait to share more as the show comes together.

What do you think?

Oh, The Academic and the Artist Can Be Friends

Or can they?

On Monday I had an interesting interaction with a Professor from Stanford.

I’ve recently begun moving forward on my latest musical project, Joe Schmoe Saves the World.  Part of the story in the show takes place in Iran, just prior to the 2011 “Day of Rage” protest.

Researching this aspect of the story has been difficult at the beginning because, frankly, I just have no clue where to look, where my focus ought to lie. There’s a LOT of complexity to the situation in Iran and there’s a lot to take in.

This lead me to want to speak to a person, a human being.  Personal interaction allows for shortcuts, tangents, anecdotes – things that BBC articles don’t have.

I was put in touch with a Professor at Stanford who totally fit the bill for who I was looking to talk to. He was Iranian, had been jailed in Iran for teaching Marxist theory through metaphor, had written about Iran’s modernity.  A perfect guy to get some answers from.

But I forgot one thing – he was an academic.

Now – I may not have “represented” myself well.  Meaning – I may have looked young, and sounded naive, asking him my questions.  Needless to say, I don’t think he took me very seriously.  Particularly when he began to lecture me on how difficult it was to get theatre produced these days.

Um.  Ya think?

Anyway.  He began most answers to my questions with “well, there’s no short answer to this question.”  I would ask him, for example, if there one piece of material in particular that he found useful in research on the aesthetics of dissent, and he would say, “I mean, there are hundreds of books written on this topic.”  Which made me feel like Katie Couric interviewing Sarah Palin about which newspapers she reads.  “If you could name just one.

I did get some useful information out of him, such as how they recently implemented a law forbidding the sale of neckties in Iran.  But most of his interaction with me felt like condescension.  How could I possibly know what I was doing, let alone know how to do it well?

Here was a man who was used to being the center of his own bubble.  He was used to there being a right and a wrong answer, something that is more or less antithetical to a creative process – a process the requires remaining open to all possibilities.

At the end of the meeting, he ushered me out in order to prepare for his next appointment – he was being skyped into a meeting in Iran.  He slipped a tie on as we walked out.  He looked at me, finally allowing himself to be a person and not an educator.  “I have to wear a tie.  Just to spite the fuckers.”

Ryback nominated, Best Cabaret Artist

Los Angeles, CA – Brett (B.T.) Ryback has been nominated as Best Cabaret Artist (Male) for 2011 Broadway World Los Angeles Awards for his show B.T. RYBACK: SONGS I WROTE.

Click to see his progress and VOTE for him.

Check out clips from SONGS I WROTE on youtube!

And listen to JOE IS (from Joe Schmoe Saves the World) as performed in SONGS I WROTE.