CALLING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
HOW TO DO IT
AND HOW TO GET GOOD AT IT
by Jake Beckhard
So you woke up pissed off! There’s a lot out there to be pissed off about. We’ve got our backs against the wall. You remember vaguely: this article, where a former congressional staffer gave some sincere tips on how to influence your elected officials. You remember: Congressional staffers (and therefore their bosses in elected office) don’t pay attention to tweets or facebook comments, and they have a hard time reading or responding to every letter and email sent to their office. But, calling them - you can almost always get someone who’s willing to talk to you, however briefly.
You resolve to call your congresspeople! But there are two obstacles in your way:
That’s where I come in!
by Emily Rose Prats
I’m not sure what I’m doing in BTWC. I’m here because I need a place to learn and to share, a place where the desire to do what’s right is a central premise, and not some naive ideal. But I don’t share the conviction that art—in the site-specific, downtown-Manhattan, blackbox-theatre sense—is an effective form of protest.
On the first day of acting class in college, our instructor asked what acting meant to each of us. I declared it to be a responsibility: introducing the audience to “the other,” building empathy, connecting one human to the next. But the longer I was in the business, the more I realized that for most actors, the vocation is a commercial one—whether by choice, because one’s goal is to make money, or by necessity, because a person needs money to live—and for most audiences, the arts are a brief escape from the burden of consciousness.
And even in a city like New York, where thought-provoking theatre happens nightly, and truly indie films screen regularly, it still takes work to find these dots of light among countless Disney spectacles and the plethora of film stars.
So I’m not sold on performance as protest.
Heck, I’m not even sold on protest as protest.
by Lawrence Dreyfuss
The school bus
rocking up and down with each bump.
The cracked streets Push you high.
The further back you sit the more and more you fly,
the roller coaster of School District 153.
I sit with glee and see
the coolest kids sit in the back of the bus
The COOLest kids sit in the back
A nod to Rosa Parks - doesn’t matter if you are white or black.
In Elementary school, we had not yet begun to see race.
by Kelly Webb
In keeping with the BTW Collective’s mission, one of our primary goals is to educate and in order to educate others we need to continue to educate ourselves. We at the BTW Collective know that the process of empathy and understanding never ends; it is a constant pursuit of knowledge, it is a constant exercise of exploring perspectives outside of ourselves, and reading is a powerful tool in the pursuit of understanding. We know that any action we undertake as artists or activists stands on the shoulders of those who came before us, and through reading and discussing the work of artists, activists, and politicians of the past we can use their lessons to inform our work in the present and future.
Goodreads is an app and website for book lovers. Individuals can track what they’re reading, review books, create “shelves” of their favorites, and get recommendations based on what they like, while authors can update and communicate directly with their fans and readers. Another great function of goodreads is its ease in facilitating book groups. The Back to Work Collective goodreads group will be a place where we can:
Kelly Webb is an actor, director and writer living in Brooklyn.
by Amanda Ghosh
Hello blog world. I have a story for you. I posted this on facebook
A brilliant friend of mine summed up the experience of this post beautifully in her comment: “Daily subtle patriarchy bullshit in the picture. Daily, overt, annoying, in-your-fucking-face patriarchy bullshit in the comments.”
Here are some things that men told women in the post’s comments.
I am not making this up. This is for real.
BOOM. HIT BY A TRUCK OF FOOLS.
by Paul Bedard
On November 8, 2016, Theater in Asylum's The Debates concluded it's sprawling adaptation of the presidential debates. For two years, a team of about fifty people watched, analyzed, and devised theater from the 2015-2016 presidential debates.
On November 9, 2016, the team behind The Debates gathered at a bar to celebrate the conclusion of the process and watch the results of the US presidential election come in.
Over the next two months the group protested together, created signs and slogans and songs together, met to discuss the situations, and focsed on a new group forming.
On December 25, 2016, Back to Work was decided upon as the name.
"Everything’s coming together while everything’s falling apart." - Jamie Henn, of 350.org, to Rebecca Solnit, of Hope in the Dark. There are setbacks and there are victories in the march to a better world. There is always reason to get back to work. We commit to acknowledge milestones, both positive and negative, and to constantly reengage with the work that needs to be done.
Back to Work is a group of artists committed to activating the fight for liberation with imagery, sound, and story.
We create and organize to
There is work to be done.
Won't you join us?
Paul Bedard is a Brooklyn-based theater director and activist.
A collection of pieces by our network
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