AmySimon

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 (http://www.womensmuseumca.org/). 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 FromTheVault.org series. She is also a regular guest on the Nicole Sandler Show Radioornot.com. Amy plays California Pioneer Maude Younger in California Women Win The Vote, the documentary/film produced by Wild West Women, Inc. (www.wildwestwomen.org). 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.

Feb 242010
 

“…women suffer taxation, and yet have no representation, which is not only unjust to one half of the adult population, but is contrary to our theory of government.”

Lucy Stone 1818-1893

Lucy Stone  1818-1893

I’m A Lucy Stoner.  Are you?

She was the first gal to get hitched and keep her own name. From then on, any gal that kept her maiden name was known as a Lucy Stoner. And she waited until she was thirty-seven years old before she even took the plunge with Henry Brown Blackwell, whose sister Elizabeth Blackwell, was America’s first female doctor. Lucy was also the first gal in America to get arrested for civil disobedience – for refusing to pay her property tax unless she was allowed to vote. The “morning star” of the women’s movement, Lucy was the eighth of nine kids and the story goes that her mother milked eight cows the night before she gave birth to Lucy. Luckily, they had a farm, and Lucy had lots and lots of farm chores, including  making nine pairs of shoes a day.  Imagine.  Like many of her suffragist sisters, Lucy saw her mother slaving away and DID imagine – a different, better life. But no matter how hard she worked she still could not get her father to pay for her to go to college.  “What is the child crazy?” he asked. When he died, he left all of his property and money to his sons and $200 each to his daughters.  What a guy!  Well, it took her nine years to save for college but she did it and in 1843 at the age of twenty-five she entered Oberlin – which was the ONLY college open to the gals. She was the first female in the state of Massachusetts to get a college degree. Oh – and she founded and edited the Woman’s Journal – a weekly suffragist newspaper she started with her dear hubby.

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Feb 242010
 

Another great gal goes to jail.  Her crime?  Educating black girls.

Prudence Crandall 1803-1890

Prudence Crandall  1803-1890

A lucky educated Quaker teacher who wanted to share the gift of schooling, dear Prudence opened a private school for girls; The Canterbury Female Boarding School in 1831, in Connecticut. It was a gutsy move.  Historically, education was denied to females, as they were considered intellectually inferior with tiny brains (and an oversized pelvis – there were actual drawings by medical doctors!) and belonged in their “domestic sphere”.  The school had a great reputation and enjoyed success – until dear Prudence admitted twenty-year old Sarah Harris, an African American girl who wanted to become a teacher.  Well!  The town of Canterbury went ballistic, with many white parents withdrawing their daughters and basically closed the school down.  Undaunted dear Prudence re-opened but this time just for “young ladies and little misses of color”.  She had the support of many nationally prominent abolitionists, including famed William Lloyd Garrison and the entire Anti-Slavery Society, but that did not stop the citizens of Connecticut from showering the school with mud, eggs and stones, and ultimately passing “The Black Law” prohibiting black students from attending school in their fair state.  Poor Prudence was attacked by a mob, arrested twice and even had her home partially destroyed.  Who could blame her for leaving town?  She moved with her hubby to Illinois where she continued advocating for women’s rights. The state of Connecticut tried to make it up to her by sending her $400 a year until her death in 1890. Today you can visit the Prudence Crandall Museum, a National Historic Landmark, observe Prudence Crandall Day and in 1995 she was declared Connecticut’s State Heroine.

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Feb 242010
 

“Any religion which sacrifices women to the brutality of men is no religion”

Julia Ward Howe (1819 -1910)

Julia Ward Howe (1819 -1910)

Julia Ward Howe (1819 -1910)  Poet, Writer, Activist and Mother of six, was the recipient of many awesome honors including being on a postage stamp.  Raised religiously to fight against slavery and for women’s rights, this busy, busy mom was the very first woman elected in 1908 to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.  Yes, she wrote a pretty famous song – well a poem actually – written in 1861, that was set to the tune of “John Brown’s Body”.  Inspired by an invitation from President Lincoln to visit an army camp, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (you know it…”Mine eyes have seen the glory of the…”) was the poem for which was paid a whopping five dollars by The Atlanta Monthly.  Mothers For Peace was a movement she started – and personally funded – issuing in 1870 the “Mother’s Days Proclamation”, an annual celebration that fizzled out when she stopped funding it.  Some confuse this with Mother’s Day, which is credited to Anna Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker.  Julia Ward Howe’s activism and writings inspired many fans. Her husband was not one of them.  According to her diary she “had never known her husband to approve of any of the activities that she herself valued”.  Yikes!  Her diary also said her dear hubby was a violent, controlling and adulterous man who mismanaged HER paternal inheritance. Sounds like she had her hands full with him. In those days, divorce resulted in mothers losing their children, so she hung in there continuing to defy tradition by studying languages and philosophy, writing and enjoying a very public life while raising her four children (two died) who led successful professional lives, preserving their mother’s legacy.  A beloved American, social reformer, and Queen Victoria look-a-like, Julia had 4,000 people attend her funeral.

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