Amy Simon is a mother, actress, playwright, improviser, published writer, producer, and self-proclaimed Cultural Herstorian. She has been acting in and producing theater for most of her adult life. Her first play Cheerios In My Underwear (And Other True Tales Of Motherhood) holds the record as the longest running solo show in Los Angeles. SHE’S HISTORY! plays in theaters, schools, libraries, military bases, museums, for conferences, women’s groups, fundraisers, political and social justice organizations and retirement communities. SHE”S HISTORY! is fiscally sponsored by the Women’s Museum of California ( Always interested in hearing and presenting what women have to say, Amy directed, co-produced and performed in Los Angeles with GAL-O-RAMA and OVARYACTION at The Improv, The Laugh Factory and The Upfront Comedy Theatre. As the creative force and co-producer behind HEROINE ADDICTS, the four-year hit all-girl variety show, Amy worked with and was inspired by many of the most talented female writer/performers in Los Angeles (including Jane Lynch) at Hollywood’s bang Studio. She created and produced Motherhood Unplugged and Moms Who Write, a mom written and performed story and music salon and stage show (to benefit Beyond Shelter) with LA Parent Magazine and Mamapalooza (Moms In The Arts). It inaugurated and is featured on Los Angeles’s KPFK Radio’s Pacifica Performance Showcase. Working as a consultant on the 2008 launch of the Broad Stage Theater in Santa Monica, Amy performed a variety of duties, including stage-managing the thirteen member cast of American Voices: Spirit of the Revolution, Stephanie Glass Solomon’s original play based on The Federalist Papers, directed by and starring Dustin Hoffman, a truly wonderful man, whom she assisted. As the cast understudy she actually got to play Abigail Adams going in for Annette Bening in dress rehearsal. A frequent guest on local and national radio, Amy was a guest commentator for American Woman In Fact And Fiction, a three part series that aired on Pacifica Radio Archives series. She is also a regular guest on the Nicole Sandler Show Amy plays California Pioneer Maude Younger in California Women Win The Vote, the documentary/film produced by Wild West Women, Inc. ( Her work in the classroom, as an educational specialist teaching improvisation and theater games inspired her to create a curriculum related interactive presentation of SHE’S HISTORY! for Middle School. As a “Herstorical” humorist, Amy writes, blogs, performs and entertains on the radio, online, and onstage furthering her mission to turn the world on to all the fabulous females no one knows anything about. She is a single mother of two glorious and "challenging" teenage daughters who can tell you all about the first woman to run for President.

Mar 032010

Lucretia Mott: 1793-1880.

“I have no idea of submitting tamely to injustice inflicted either on me or on the slave. I will oppose it with all the moral powers with which I am endowed. I am no advocate of passivity.”

Lucretia Coffin Mott did a lot; of vindicating of women’s rights.  Born one year after Mary Wollstonecraft’s radical A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman was published, this Major Mommy of the women’s movement inspired and guided generations of feminists from Elizabeth Cady Stanton, to Lilly Ledbetter.   Abolitionist, reformer, minister, organizer, wife of fifty years to a guy who sounded an awful lot like a real partner, and mother of six, Lucretia Mott was first and foremost a Quaker. She grew up on Nantucket Island, where the men went out to sea and the women did – well – everything.  Lucretia helped her mom, who was very busy running the business, the house, raising the family – your basic nineteenth century multi-tasking Quaker woman. The peace loving spiritually guided religiously persecuted group was founded on the principles of equality and justice and did she ever practice what she preached.  And she did actually preach. The Quakers or The Society of Friends as they were called were the only religious group to allow women preachers (see Anne Hutchinson).  She was an ordained Quaker Minister at the age of twenty-eight, becoming America’s most beloved, respected and well-known advocate of abolition and women’s rights. She talked the talk and walked the walk, like not using any slavery-produced products (cotton cloth, and cane sugar) and her home was also a stop on Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad.  She formed the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society after being told No Girls Allowed in The American Anti-Slavery Society.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton (the first real Architect of The Women’s Movement) first heard her preach in 1840 when they were both on the same ship to London where they were to represent America at the World Anti-Slavery Convention.  It was there that the two women, twenty years between them, bonded after being told – again – No Girls Allowed. This of course inspired America’s first Women’s Rights Convention eight years later (see Seneca Falls). Who knew that just saying no could be so motivating?  In 1866, Mott became President of the American Equal Rights Association and spent the rest of her life peacefully fighting for equality.

Mar 022010

Frances Kemble

“To Be Or Not To  – HEY!  That Should NOT Be!!!!”

Breadwinner, Actress, Wife, Mother, Poet, Author, Playwright, Divorcee, Family Savior, Abolitionist, Bloomer-Wearing Trendsetter….

Beautiful, talented British Fanny Kemble of the famous English theatrical family, was keen on acting but when her father was facing bankruptcy, she took to the Covent Garden stage playing Shakespeare’s Juliet and saved the family from financial ruin.  A few years later, the family again fell on hard times and again she saved them when she toured America, where she thrilled the masses, became a famous beloved actress and met her future husband.   Pierce Butler was smitten.  A gentleman from a distinguished and wealthy Philadelphia family, his famous grandfather “Major Butler” was a Revolutionary War Veteran and an author of the Fugitive Slave Act.

They settled in Georgia and by the time their two daughters, Sarah and Frances were born, Mr. Butler was no longer so impressed with his wife’s artistry when instead of devoting all of her time to him, she spent some of her time writing, including a treatise on anti-slavery that HE FORBADE her to publish.  Guess he thought one author in the family was enough.  When he inherited an island full of slaves and The Butler Family went to stay (for four months) Fanny was appalled, aghast and against the inhumane treatment of the slaves. Her husband was not interested in her feelings or thoughts so like any great writer she wrote them down in her diary, which later was published.  In the meantime, she fervently protested to her husband, but “me thinks the lady doth protest too much” and the marriage ended.  Badly.  Mr. Butler sued her for her divorce on the grounds of abandonment.  Yes she abandoned a life married to slavery.  But, as was the case in those days she lost custody of her children.  Although she did gain more fame and respect and quite the honorable place in history as an abolitionist when her diary of life on an island with slaves, Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation, was published, turning British sentiment against slavery during the Civil War. She is also known as the first gal to wear the pantaloons, the Turkish costume that became known as the controversial Bloomer Costume. Fanny Kemble spent the rest of her life writing and performing, choosing to be or not to be.

Feb 242010

“make the puddings and carry the baby while I ply the pen”
(What she said to unmarried, non-mom and best gal pal Susan B. Anthony)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1815-1902

Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1815-1902

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, super smart, greatly gifted and tremendously talented, was raised with privilege, education, and the knowledge that she would NEVER be treated equally because of her gender.  Her father was a judge, a congressman, an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court –  and – a sexist.  One of five girls born into a wealthy connected New York family, her mother Margaret suffered through eleven pregnancies and bore five sons, four of whom died in childhood.  Elizabeth began to understand the subordinate role of girls and women when her twenty-year-old brother Eleazer died suddenly at the age of twenty.  The apple of her father’s eye, he was the only surviving son and only one to legally inherit the family fortune (women could not own property and anything they had legally went to their husbands).   Her grief – stricken father told her “I wish you were a boy” to which she replied, “I will try to be all that my brother was”.  And try she did, to get her father to say, “Well, a girl is as good as a boy”. Instead, he said, “Ah, you should have been a boy”. Surrounded by law, she learned early on its power.  One story has young, determined, naïve Elizabeth planning to take a scissor and cut the unfair laws out of her father’s law books after witnessing a procession of “weeping women” coming to her home desperate and destitute begging Judge Cady for help, but being unprotected by the laws. Her father explained the legal process involved in changing laws, and the seed was planted that grew into the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848 in Seneca Falls. She refused to have the word “obey” in her marriage vows, and just added her husband’s name to hers setting that trend.  She spent her life being discriminated against for being a woman and fought – many times alone – first for abolition and then tirelessly for the right to vote for  “all citizens” – not just male citizens – introducing the concept of gender bias to the legal world and splitting the women’s movement into two factions; one who were willing to wait their turn to vote and one who were not.  She would not.  She never stopped fighting for property rights, divorce reform, equal education, fair pay, labor laws, daycare, legal identity and a professional life.  Her partner in all of this was Susan B. Anthony, who would come over and take on some of the domestic drudgery so Elizabeth could write the fabulous speeches that Anthony would give. The two of ‘em really shook things up, trailblazing though the eighteen hundreds.  “Marriage”, said Elizabeth, was the “transfer of power from one master to another”.  She had her seventh child at the age of forty-three and at the tender age of eighty-three, her groundbreaking and controversial book “The Woman’s Bible” was published, accusing religion of keeping woman down and describing the Bible as an historical rather than sacred document.  After her brother’s death she thought, “the chief thing to be done in order to equal boys was to be learned and courageous”.   Was she ever…..  an ultimate role model and the architect of the Women’s Movement.