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.

Oct 292012
 

October 2102 SHE’S HISTORY! BLOG

Quiet Woman, Stand In The Back…Let The Men Do The Talking!

This is what inspired Mary Wollstonecraft in the 1792 to write “A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman”.

Mary Wollstonecraft

This is what Lucretia Mott, the Nineteenth Century Quaker Minister, Abolitionist and Activist was told, when she asked to speak at an Anti-Slavery Meeting in Philadelphia. So she created the Philadelphia FEMALE Anti-Slavery Society so women could help free the slaves.

Lucretia Mott

As President of this organization, she got invited to the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. When she and the other women tried to join the men on the floor, they were told; Quiet Woman, Stand In The Back…Let The Men Do The Talking. A vote was taken, by the men, and the women were relegated to an area BEHIND A CURTAIN.

This is what led Ms. Mott and her new BFF Elizabeth Cady Stanton – (unknown and unheralded architect of The Women’s Movement) to have the first Women’s Convention in1848 in Seneca Falls New York.

Quiet Woman, Stand In The Back…Let The Men Do The Talking!

This is what Susan B. Anthony – 1800s mega super-star-suffragist was told when she attended a Temperance (abstinence from alcohol) meeting in Rochester New York and tried to participate. So she started the Women’s New York State Temperance Society and spent the rest of her life fighting; for a voice in her government and a say in her life.

Susan B. Anthony

Quiet Woman, Stand In The Back…Let The Men Do The Talking!

“NO”, said Alice Paul and her gals pals, as they picketed in front of The White House in 1917 for the right to vote. They were arrested and literally thrown into jail….The Occoquan Workhouse. The Night Of Terror, November 15th 1917…

Alice Paul

Under orders from W. H. Whittaker, superintendent of the Occoquan Workhouse, as many as forty guards with clubs went on a rampage, brutalizing thirty-three jailed suffragists. They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head, and left her there for the night. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed, and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate Alice Cosu, who believed Mrs. Lewis to be dead, suffered a heart attack. According to affidavits, other women were grabbed, dragged, beaten, choked, slammed, pinched, twisted, and kicked.

“No”, said long-time activist Anat Hoffman, on October 16th, 2012, when told to leave the Western Wall in Jerusalem for reading Torah and wearing a tallit (a religious shawl), which is against the law. She was arrested. This is what they did to her:

Anat Hoffman

“I was handcuffed, strip searched, laid on the bare floor. I was not allowed to call my lawyer. I was dragged on the floor with my hands cuffed and worse of all, locked in a tiny cell with a crying young Russian woman accused of prostitution, who was the target of every filthy comment male inmates could utter. Her tears and their words are the hardest memory for me to move on from.”

“No, I will not be silenced”, said Mulala Yousafzai, as she continued to speak out against the Taliban, defending her right to an education. October 9th, 2012, Mulala Yousafzai, a fourteen year old Pakistani girl, was sitting on her school bus when she was shot by the Taliban. She is miraculously recovering in a British hospital. Mulala is an activist who started blogging for the BBC at the age of ELEVEN about living under Taliban rule. She has won Pakistan’s National Peace Award – the country’s first, and has won the hearts of millions around the world. There are now almost a million signatures supporting Mulala’s Girls Right To Education Petition. Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy For Global Education, is presenting the petition to the President of Pakistan. The Taliban warned Mulala and any other female, they will do the same thing if stood up to.

“When she fell, Pakistan stood”, said Mulala’s father.

Mulala Yousafzai

No. we will NEVER be quiet and STAND in the back. Like our fore-sisters and our Anat’s and Mulala’s, we continue to STAND UP for what is right and fair.

As Mary Wollstonecraft said; “Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and there will be an end to blind obedience.”

You can add your signature to Mulala’s petition at educationenvoy.org.

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Aug 232012
 

From Anne Hutchinson To Pussy Riot

The 2012 USA Women’s Olympic Teams broke records, kicked butt and made headlines.  Shannon Eastin became the National Football League’s First Female Line Judge and refereed her first game in San Diego, and Tammy S. Smith became the Army’s first openly gay brigadier general.  The All-Male Augusta National Gold Club finally let the gals in, inviting Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore. Diana Nyad made her fourth attempt swimming from Cuba to Florida and was forced to abandon her thirty-five year old dream, one day shy of her 63rd birthday. And Comedy Pioneer Phyllis Diller died.

And that was just in August.

Also in August, the ghost of Anne Hutchinson, 17th Century Puritan, mother of the First Amendment, religious freedom pioneer, hovered around PUSSY RIOT, a Russian punk rock band comprised of three women (two of them moms of young kids) who were convicted of premeditated hooliganism. They were sentenced to two years in prison for performing a punk prayer in a Russian church criticizing President Vladimir Putin.  They are considered a danger to society and accused of religious hatred.  Yup, they challenged authority, and the government in a sacred space – a church.  Just like Anne Hutchinson, bible teacher, midwife and mother of fifteen who in the 1600s had the audacity to challenge the government and the religious leaders of her day by having “religious meetings” in her own home and sharing her opinions with other women – and even some men (making the meetings promiscuous – a sin), including Governor Vane – a fan.  Oy.  Such chutzpah.  She had the outlandish idea that one could have salvation (a Puritan biggie) just by having faith.  One could pray and feel god all by oneself.  She called this The Covenant of Grace, which opposed the Covenant of Works, which the Church preached, requiring one to do service – work – to earn salvation. Oh and one had to obey the church and government to get salvation. Like the PUSSY RIOT gals, Anne Hutchinson also got two years  – that’s how long her trial lasted.  But she used the time to birth a baby (her fourteenth!) and stand up – literally – to the men who accused her.  What really pissed them off was the fact that she was smarter than them.  She knew that bible inside and out and had an answer for every one of their questions.  So they convicted her of heresy and sedition and banished her to Rhode Island, a state founded on the premise of “separation of church and state” which Thomas Jefferson first wrote about in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists in reference to The First Fabulous Amendment.  Thank you Ms. Hutchinson.

When I first heard the Pussy Riot report on Friday August 17th on KABC News Los Angeles, the punk rock band’s name could not be said on Network Television.  It’s Ok to say pussycat and pussy foot and pussy willow but Pussy Riot – not OK.  But that changed as the story grew and the band’s name could be uttered as well as printed.  Ahhh progress.  Yes we live in such a progressive world that in 2012, a Congressman (Missouri Republican Todd Akin) can say on national television, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”  The saddest part is that he believed that.

What a world.

August 26th is Women’s Equality Day.  The day we honor and celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment – The Susan B. Anthony Amendment.  In 1971, New York Congresswoman, activist, lawyer, mensch and mom Bella Abzug, first introduced legislation to designate August 26th Women’s Equality Day, commemorating the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Women’s Suffrage giving women in this country the right to vote.  Well, as the National Women’s History Project (http://www.nwhp.org ) wrote in their August 2012 Newsletter, no one “gave” the gals the right to vote.  It was a long hard battle.

Those galvanizing gals Susan B. Anthony and her partner Elizabeth Cady Stanton first introduced the Amendment way back in 1878.  They were long gone when the House passed it on May 21, 1919, the Senate on June 4, 1919. It took thirty-six states to ratify an amendment and make it a law.  Harry Burns was a first time twenty-four year old Tennessee Member of The House of Representatives.  His mom sent him a now famous telegram:  “Hurrah! And vote for suffrage…”

He did, making history and Tennessee the 36th state to ratify The Amendment. Thanks mom!

The first woman to ask to vote – that we know of and can document  – was Margaret Brent way way back in 1648. One of thirteen children, Margaret Brent was born in England and came from a family that was rich, Catholic, of noble descent and distant cousins with England’s George Calvert – AKA Lord Baltimore, the “proprietor” of Maryland. Yes he OWNED Maryland. His brother, Leonard Calvert, was the Governor of Maryland, which was touted as a land of opportunity.  The colony needed settlers and Lord Baltimore enticed them by offering them land.  Now what set Margaret apart was, first of all she was thirty-seven and not married. Second, she – and her sister became property owners – Lord Baltimore gave them land grants – seventy acres. If one owned property and paid taxes, one could vote, if one were a man. Now if Margaret were to marry, the land would belong to her husband.  Margaret never married.  She “acquired” even more land and well, it turns out Margaret is a terrific businesswoman, and, she was pretty darned good with real estate.  SO good that the Governor – on his deathbed – gave her power of attorney and made her executor of his will and estate. So now she owns – and pays taxes as the owner and executor of two properties and logically she wants a vote. Two votes.  So she goes down to the courthouse and asks – actually demands the right to vote.  They turned her down, of course.  But she made history.

Jan. 21, 1647[/8]. “Came Mrs Margaret Brent and requested to have vote in the howse for herselfe and voyce also for that att the last Court 3d Jan: it was ordered that the said Mrs Brent was to be lookd uppon and received as his Lps Attorney. The Govr denyed that the sd Mrs Brent should have any vote in the howse And the sd Mrs Brent protested agst all proceedings in this pnt Assembly unlesse shee may have vote as aforesd.”

The first woman on record who actually voted was Lydia Taft, a Massachusetts mom married to Josiah.  They were a very prominent, wealthy family.  Only freeholders – white male property – were allowed to vote but when Josiah suddenly died, the townspeople decided to let Lydia cast a vote in a big important meeting in 1756 appropriating funds for the French and Indian War.  So she made history.  And in 2004, she got a highway named after her.

Then of course in 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, super cool Quaker Lucretia Mott and few other fabulous females had a little tea party, which led to the very first Women’s Conference in Seneca Falls, New York. A sign was posted in the local paper; “Women’s Right’s Convention – A convention to discuss the social, civil and religious condition and rights of woman will be held….in the Wesleyan Church in Seneca Falls. The gals drafted a Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on The Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers list of eighteen grievances against King George.  The gals just substituted MEN for KING GEORGE. “All men AND WOMEN are created equal”. Elizabeth Cady Stanton took the controversial and individual decision to go on record asking to be enfranchised, for suffrage – to vote. “Lizzie” as her mentor, and buddy Lucretia Mott affectionately called her, stood alone on that one.  “Why Lizzie”, said Ms. Mott, “thy will make us look ridiculous!” But Lizzie would not back down and managed to get Frederick Douglass – the most famous abolitionist – to back her up. Resolved: That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise. She got it in there but they did not get the vote until 72 years later.

From Left To Right:

Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Every year since 1878, the gals pushed for the Amendment.  Then in 1913, a little lady named Alice Paul came along.  She was a brilliant, ballsy, Ivy League educated – she had more degrees than a thermometer – militant, hunger-striking, suffragist who really pissed of President Wilson when she stole his parade. And she stole his parade – or at least his thunder.  Yup.   The day before his inauguration March 1913, The President-Elect arrived at Union Station in Washington DC expecting a welcoming crowd, or two…. “Where are the people?” he asked.  Well, thanks to Alice Paul’s brilliant orchestration, the crowds were, he was told,  “On the Avenue watching the suffragists parade”.  The suffragists wanted the vote.

It was the largest parade ever in Washington.

Imagine what she could do with Facebook.

Alice Paul was a Jersey girl who knew that Knowledge IS Power. She presented herself as a lovely, quite feminine soft-spoken lady – but there was nothing ladylike in her demands.  She got her first degree – a BA – from Swarthmore College which opened in Pennsylvania in 1854 – one of the first co-ed colleges in the country, founded by a bunch of super cool Quakers including her grandfather AND – LUCRETIA MOTT!  Alice proceeded to get a Masters, A PHD, an LLB (bachelor of Law) and LLM (Master Of Law degree) and finally a Doctor of Civil Law degree in 1928.  She studied in England as well and while there, wanting to “experience the daily life of an industrial worker”, she worked for a rubber factory so she really knew what she was talking about when she advocated for workers rights.  She made tires for automobiles and worked from 6AM to 6PM.  “If a girl was a good worker, she could make a little under five dollars a week”, she wrote her mother in 1908. While in England, Alice Paul also was mentored by The Pankhursts.  Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters were militant English Suffragettes.   Remember Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins… picketing with the suffragettes?  Remember the song where they were singing?

“Political equality and equal rights with men. Take heart for Missus Pankhurst has been clapped with irons again”.

The Pankhursts were very militant and smashed windows and used hunger strikes to get attention, which worked well in England but not so much in America where Alice Paul tried hunger striking.  She and a bunch of gals were arrested for LEGALLY and PEACEFULLY protesting – picketing in front of The White House…

for the right to vote. We were at war then (WWI) and the gals’ protest was seen as un-patriotic – and of course Wilson was still pissed off about the Parade.  Now Alice Paul and her gal pals had been trying for years and years to get President Wilson to address the issue of suffrage.  She was polite at first but grew weary and frustrated and like Glen Close in Fatal Attraction, she would not be ignored.  It galled her and her gal pals that the President was so willing, as she put it – and she put it on banners everywhere – to go to war to fight for liberty – but not for the women!  “How long Mr. President must women wait for liberty?” The gals were arrested, charged with “obstructing sidewalk traffic” and literally, physically THROWN in jail – the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia. It was November 15th 1917, The Night of Terror. There is a wonderful movie called Iron jawed Angels starring Hilary Swank as Alice Paul, which tells this story. They were served food with worms, dirty water – and worse.  Many of the women were viciously brutalized, including Alice Paul’s pal Lucy Burns who was beaten, chained and left hanging all night. What a disgraceful chapter in our history.

Alice Paul went on a hunger strike.  For three weeks, three times a day, they stuck tubes down her throat – and force-fed her raw eggs. Then the government hired a shrink to say she was insane – ‘cause that’s what we did with our women back then when they got out of hand.  We just threw ‘em in the psych ward.  But this shrink – he said, “No this woman is NOT insane.”

“Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity”.

Lots of courageous women went to jail.  And what a cool shrink!  But the Night Of Terror backfired on Wilson when word got out about how brutally the women were treated.  How they had applied for political prisoner status and were denied.  Throwing old ladies against the wall and beating them with their broken banners is NOT good publicity.   There was a hearing and a lot of press, which helped the movement. The torch was passed and The Nineteenth Amendment (Susan B. Anthony Amendment) was FINALLY passed

Alice Paul

In 1923 Alice Paul wrote The Equal Rights Amendment – which was originally called The Lucretia Mott Amendment.  It was passed in 1972 and ratified by thirty-five states.  Ratification then required thirty-eight states.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

We have come a long way since The 1848 Seneca Falls Convention.  There have been many many women’s conventions since, including the 1977 First National Women’s conference in Houston.  Thanks to Bella Abzug, for the first – and only time – the Federal Government funded the Conference. A torch was carried from Seneca Falls to Houston Texas and presented to Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford and Rosalyn Carter who said: “it wasthe most important and exciting conference I have ever attended”.

My oldest daughter is nineteen and this year she will vote in November.  I get choked up just thinking about it.  She knows how important it is.  I hope and pray that she and her younger sister appreciate the power of their vote.  It has never been more important to honor Women’s Equality Day 2012.

Click below for a fabulous take on Women’s Equality Day:  Soomo Publishing’s video “Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage”

http://soomopublishing.com/suffrage/

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May 172012
 

March 1st – Immaculate Heart High School

If someone were outside the All Girl Immaculate Heart High School gymnasium -which doubles as an auditorium – and heard the cheers – one would assume there was a game going on.  But no.  The girls were cheering at Mary Wollstonecraft, and Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass.

It was March 1st, 2012, the first day of Women’s History Month and I was performing SHE’S HISTORY! The Most Dangerous Women in America, Then And Now… for five hundred and forty fabulous future feminists.

This was my first high school performance and what a way to start Women’s History Month!  The girls were rapt!  Rapt I tell you.  They CHEERED at our first feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft – who wrote our first feminist book – A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman – or as I like to call it Don’t Punish Me For Having Ovaries!  They loved it when I called Bella Abzug, “a great GREAT Pain In The Ass”!  They screamed with recognition at Sojourner Truth.  And they went a bit crazy when Frederick Douglass came to the SHE’S HISTORY! party.

What a joy and a surprise to get this reaction from high school students. The day before I was working on some promotional materials in my Apple Class.  My tag line is “Why do we know more about Snookie than Abigail Adams?  My trainer – a nice 30ish year old man asked, “who is Abigail Adams”? My heart sank.  The night before I was at Staples printing a photo of me and Gloria Steinem who I got to meet for the second time, and asked the lovely young woman helping me, “Do you know who this is?”  When she said no I said “its Gloria Steinem”!  She had no idea who she was.

Immaculate Heart, private girls Catholic High School in Los Angeles, has a reputation as a rebel school.  No wonder those girls related to SHE’S HISTORY! Afterwards, several of the girls came up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed the show.  One lovely young woman gushed compliments, passionate about her desire to get “more people involved in feminism”.  I almost started crying.  Their very cool teacher Claire told me the school has a fabulous theater department (yay!) and the seniors were all taking AP History (a college prep course) and that is why so many were familiar with the women and story lines in the show. I profile, show slides, tell stories about, humanize and bring to life around 40 fabulous females – each one a rebel and each one deserving of their own show.  I am working on Victoria Woodhull’s – the first woman to run for President in 1872.  I didn’t get to perform her story for the rebels at Immaculate Heart, as I had to cut the show down to fit into their 50-minute schedule.  What a fabulous fifty minutes it was!  As Elizabeth Cady Stanton said to Susan B. Anthony – in a scene from the play –  “I am FIRED ANEW!!!”

Sunday, March 4th SHE’S HISTORY! Show at The Lounge Theater in Hollywood

I keep a comment book at my performances and ask people to write in it after they see the show.  Here are some of the comments from that performance:

I really enjoyed the show.  Thank you for bringing the voices of the women whose shoulders we stand on. Carol W.

Thank you for an enlightening evening. Kelly G. 6th Grade Teacher (who later contacted me about bringing the show in to her school but is, sadly, challenged by funding.  This is where the SHE’S HISTORY EDUCATION PROJECT comes in.)

You were awesome.  I am now really interested in Women’s History.  Emma, age 13

Wednesday March 7th

Drive down from Los Angeles to San Diego for an interview I was lucky to get with the local Fox affiliate XETV-Channel 6, promoting the upcoming San Diego Fundraiser shows for The Women’s Museum of California. It is very exciting. Make all the necessary childcare arrangements, which is always challenging for single working parents, especially during the school week.  And of course, my daughter Ruby’s 15th birthday is the next day.  Of course.  Luckily, her father is in town visiting/working from London where he lives.  She will be able to stay with him in his hotel.

March is crazy.  I made my own history somehow giving birth to both my girls in March.  (My oldest daughter Rose will celebrate her nineteenth birthday on March 22nd). And when their father (my ex-husband) comes to town, it gets really complicated and hard on Ruby who feels such conflict – wanting to spend time with her dad (who left in 2009,) while trying to maintain her regular hectic ninth grade schedule of soccer, honors classes, and that all important social life.

Thursday March 8th My Baby Is Fifteen!

6:45AM

It is Ruby’s birthday and I have a short window of opportunity to wish her a happy one before she goes to school. I am staying at my friend Patty’s house so I whisper my good wishes into the phone feeling terribly guilty. I arrive at the TV studio at 8:30 for the live, five to six minute segment.  This is my first television interview with SHE’S HISTORY! I am in the Green Room chatting with the other guests. When I tell people what I do: “I write and perform about women who make and made history”, I get the same “Ohhhhh.  Wow.  Really.  Huh.  That’s cool” response.  And then conversations ensue about fabulous females stemming from my asking; “do you know who the first woman was who ran for president?” Everyone is always so interested.

The Green Room at XETV-Channel 6

A very young, very blonde, very nice, VERY skinny woman in tight pants and high heels is interviewing me.  We have our little pre-interview.  I was asked to send them a load of info – talking points and photos and such.  She is confident and warm and very interested in the topic.  I just want to feed her. This is my first collaboration with The Women’s Museum Of California, my fiscal sponsor who is based in San Diego.  The two shows I am doing are fundraisers for the museum.  I have been working with the director Ashley Gardner for months now so this whole thing is kinda like our first date.

Doing this interview is actually a terrific opportunity to reach a large audience and I am nervous and excited and of course worried about my hair.  And struck with the irony that it is FOX TV.

So.  We do the interview and it is thrilling to talk about my gals and how they overcame obstacles and fought injustice and they are showing pictures  – look – Victoria Woodhull is on television!  And Elizabeth Cady Stanton! I am telling their stories, and my stories about how my daughters did not seem to realize the significance of Nancy Pelosi’s herstoric acceptance speech as first female Speaker of the House. The five minutes flew by and afterwards some of the television staff stops me to tell me how much they enjoyed the segment. Almost every conversation ends with my favorite comment.  The one I hear ALL THE TIME.  The one that motivates me to keep going when I look at my checkbook:

It is so important what you are doing.

It’s over.  I change back into my comfy clothes; stop at Starbucks and head back up to Los Angeles. My now fifteen-year-old Ruby is spending her birthday night with her dad who takes her and a few friends and one of the parents out to a fancy dinner.  How nice for Ruby.  He has also planned a big party for her in a hotel on the weekend.  I could not afford anything like that.  I have no idea how he can, as he lives in another country, purposefully, making it legally and financially impossible for me to hold him accountable.  When you are divorced with children you are legally (and morally) required to financially disclose your income and expenses – which he refuses to do. Don’t get me started on our family legal system.  All I know is when I asked him to buy our daughter a pair of running shoes, he wouldn’t.  I have been dealing with this with him for years, and yet I am grateful. It is precisely this disgraceful, dysfunctional, pathetically easy to manipulate system, that allows mothers to be screwed, that has led me to the work I am doing with SHE’S HISTORY! I got screwed, I got mad, I got busy.  If you are interested in learning more about this, read the frighteningly enlightening  Mothers On Trial by Dr. Phyllis Chesler – a fabulous female who came to one of my New York shows.

Friday March 9th

We celebrate my Ruby’s birthday at home with a few friends and a lovely home cooked dinner that she requested.

Sunday March 11th SHE’S HISTORY! Show at The Lounge Theater in Hollywood

From my comments book:

Very enthralling and energetic! A wonderful way to learn about important, historical women. Kristen & Birgit (a mother and daughter that I spoke with afterwards  in the lobby.  The daughter was home from college for Spring Break and they were having a mother daughter day.  I was so honored!

Brilliant Show.  We loved it. June and Renee

Terrific Show!  Thank you. Bill B

Thank you for the enlightening show.  Better than 20 years of school… Jenny

Wednesday March 14th Fort Ligget/Hunter Army Base

Drive the 250 miles up the coast to Fort Ligget Army Base to do the show. Arranged for Ruby to stay with our family friends – The Hessells, who live around the corner.  It takes a village and they are part of my village. Finding childcare is always tough during the school week.  Her father could not “take her” as he “had to work”.

Fort Liggett/Hunter is far away in the middle of nowhere near Monterey and San Simeon (where Hearst Castle is) on the central coast of California.   The Army is putting me up in Hacienda House, William Hearst’s vacation house, which he sold to the government. I know all about him and his property and have read about his life – particularly because of Julia Morgan, a fabulous female who was the pioneering architect who designed Hearst Castle and about 700 other buildings. I LOVE this area of California – the central coast.  But am nervous a bit about spending the night on an Army base.  I asked if I could walk around in the evening, and was told there are critters and a local mountain lion!

It is a lovely drive and I took Bruce Springsteen along with me.  The new cd was just released and he kept me great company!  After a bunch of freeways and a long dusty desolate dirt road I arrive at the base.  This is my second time on an Army Base.  This base is absolutely gorgeous, and the property is also open to the general public.  I go through the checkpoints, show my ID and find my way to lovely Hacienda House. I meet the gal who hired me – Sandy – who introduces me to Suzanne, who is in charge of food and accommodations.   I am thrilled when they show me my room, which is a lovely old-fashioned cottage style room, designed by Julia Morgan herself!

The women help me lug my suitcases and we proceed to the room I am performing in and I set everything up for the tech run through.  The walls are lined with photographs of fabulous females.  I feel so at home. I am there to celebrate and honor Women’s History Month under the Special Observances and MWR Umbrella (and budget). MWR stands for Morale, Welfare, Recreation. Suzanne asks me what I would like for dinner.  I am thinking I would like to move in!  After the tech, I get to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.  Suzanne brings me a beautiful meal AND a bottle of chardonnay.  It is wine country.  I spend the evening relaxing INSIDE – and texting photos to my peeps.

Hacienda House

My room is down this walkway and to the left

"Dinner"

DINNER!

Thursday March 15th Show Day!

I had breakfast with a few lovely older women I met in the dining hall.  They were staying at Hacienda House, on a holiday on their way to Hearst Castle down the road.   They all met in a divorce support group many years ago.  When they learned I was the “speaker” that day and what I do, we proceeded to chat about all the fabulous females and how my divorce really inspired the show. One took my card, promising to try and get the show into her daughter’s school in Texas.  “It is so important what you do”, she says.

The show was at 11AM and once again I was honored to perform for the troops.  Afterwards, a woman came up to me with a book in her hand.  Her book that she had written; “Belva Speaks”, about Belva Lockwood, the second woman to run for president and the first woman in America to practice in front of the Supreme Court.  I was blown away to meet this fabulous female and author, Susan M. Raycraft – who loved the show.  She lives a few miles away from the base in Lockwood.  Yes the town she lives in is named after BELVA LOCKWOOD!

I was really happy to see MEN from the military in the audience.

Here are some comments from that performance:

Your presentation was fabulous! I have been to many of these Women’s History Observation events and I must admit, yours is the best!  Thanks so much! Colonel Manaois – 1st Filipina Graduate of West Point 1986 (a woman)

Fantastic! Great articulation, great emotion – Fun involvement, and a great choice for MWR (Moral, Welfare, Recreation) to obtain your ability. Dee Dee L.

I loved your knowledge, enthusiasm and energy! How could someone not be motivated to think more about what it means to be a woman & all it entails.  Thank you for a wonderful presentation! Paula G.

Looking out at the room from my performance area, waiting for the troops...

Sandy who hired me - and I got a plaque!

Colonel Cranelle A. Manaois

A few men made a point to tell me how surprised they were by how much they enjoyed the show. Ahhhhh.  I packed up; hit the road by 2:15PM with a front seat filled with Suzanne’s yummy goodies (the show was also a brunch) which included quiche, muffins, and fruit.   Hit the Los Angeles traffic around 5PM and made it home by 7:30.

Sunday March 18th SHE’S HISTORY! Show at The Lounge Theater in Hollywood

Here are some comments from that performance:

Thanks for putting into three lively dimensions the women who I can only pay tribute to in my Facebook History posts! David Dismore – Ms. Magazine

(David has a great Women’s History Facebook Page – check it out)

http://www.facebook.com/Equalitarian

I am so moved and inspired by your words today (and your energy).  Thank you so much for your incredible work regarding women! Gratefully, Judy W.

Terrific show!  I’ve long been interested in women’s history even though I’m male.  Wish it could’ve gone on twice as long with more of your wonderful stories! Kim Fugal

Tuesday March 20th

Phone Interview With Maureen Cavanaugh of KPBS in support of the Woman’s Museum of California Fundraisers San Diego.  Sorry no link.

Wednesday March 21st

Interview for Radio Or Not with Nicole Sandler (radioornot.com)

Link Coming…..

Thursday, March 22nd My Rose’s Birthday!

I can’t believe my oldest is nineteen!  She is away at college but really liked my gifts – a purse and a maxi-dress.

Friday, March 23rd

I drive down to San Diego for the tech rehearsal for the Saturday and Sunday shows.  (It’s never a good idea to travel on show days.) After the long ride down from Los Angeles, I was rewarded. The museum is awesome!  Fabulous females – dead and alive, surround me!  The very much alive museum director Ashley Gardner greeted me and we hugged.  I am so impressed with the fabulous women’s history space she has nurtured.  Everything looked and felt familiar to me.

The Women's Museum's Ashley Gardner

More Ashley Gardner and The Women's Museum

We traveled together the mile or so for the tech rehearsal to the downtown YWCA where the shows were being held. It is in a gritty part of town and also functions as a safe haven and resource center for abused women and families in crisis. The building is also an historic landmark and so appropriate for the show. We lugged my suitcases in and are joined by two other fabulous females – Carolyn who is on the Board and Kit, a theater maven and an old friend of mine and a new friend of  Ashley.  We all worked together, chatting and bonding and filling the space with loads of fabulous female energy.

Saturday and Sunday March 24th and 25th San Diego Women’s Museum of California Shows

Both were great, successful and as usual thrilling for me to perform.  San Diego is a big military and college town and both sectors were represented at the show.

Here are some of the comments from those performances:

I loved it.  As a man, we should all see this show. Damion S.

This was a fantastic performance.  You must pursue your show throughout the country.  The young women of today MUST hear what you say. Good luck!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Great script  – Fantastic Performance.  Looking forward to your next production! Thanks for bringing this to us here in San Diego. Marti K.

Great Show! You should do a performance at SDSU (San Diego State University).  (I got my minor in Women’s Studies there – one of the 1st Women’s Studies programs in the country!) Thanks for a great show! Jerrilyn H.

I do all my own producing and promotion – only because I cannot afford a publicist or producer – yet….) and I literally emailed every history and women’s studies professor at SDSC -San Diego State University, and UCSD – University of Southern California at San Diego.  I did not get a single response.

Ready For The Audience

After the second show on Sunday afternoon, I was exhilarated and exhausted.  There is a great deal of physical energy expounded when I do the show.  I travel with a few suitcases, one with the equipment – laptop, projector, speakers, cables, and one with the props and costumes, and then there is my personal stuff.  I am grateful I am healthy and energetic enough to do it but I was wiped out.  And there was a big storm coming.  BIG STORM.  I was hoping to hit the road before it hit me choosing to weather the weather rather than find another night of care for my Ruby.  But the storm and I hit the road together.  It was the scariest drive.  Pelting rain and freeway driving – wow.  I prayed and breathed and went real slow and I made it home.

Wednesday March 28th

Up at 4AM for a 7AM flight to New York City for the Hunter College Women’s Rights Coalition show and the fundraiser for The Museum of Motherhood.   I ship my costumes in props ahead in a suitcase but carry on my equipment and personal stuff.  Lotsa airport schlepping, but my cousin Julie picked me up at JFK airport – a very rare treat in NYC and we drove to Brooklyn and had fabulous wine and sushi!

I stay with a family friend when in Manhattan (my home town btw).  Muncie is a fabulous female in her 80s, a graphic artist, who introduced my parents to each other.  So she is to blame for a lot. She has a two bedroom apartment that I visited as a child.  I grew up with her two daughters who are  women now, and  – like me – they are in arts and education.  Randi is a visual and performing artist in Florida and Jory is a third grade teacher – in Los Angeles.  She teaches in the same school district my girls attend and her daughter and my daughter Rose both worked on the same school play two years ago! Small funny world.  I had just seen her daughter Randi for the first time in over thirty years!  I performed the show in February for the Women’s Club at my father’s retirement community in Boynton Beach and Randi drove down from Fort Lauderdale to see it.  Muncie  prepared a beautiful meal for me and we dined and hung out and it was terrific.

Thursday March 29th

Jumped through several hoops to schlep all my stuff uptown to the Hunter College East 68th Street Campus for the tech rehearsal.  I need a roadie…..

Friday March 30th

The show was at 7PM so I rested all day.  So tempted to take advantage of the city but I have learned I need to be very chill on show days – especially when there is jet lag, different time zones and two shows in a row.  So I rested.   It was such an honor to perform the show (in which Bella Abzug has a nice big part), in Bella Abzug’s alma mater.  What an experience!  After the show I enjoyed an utterly fabulous New York City truly authentic Italian meal.  Ahhhh.

Saturday March 31  LAST SHOW

I took a taxi to The Museum of Motherhood on East 84th Street.  Created by Joy Rose (visionary, Ubermama and founder also of Mamapalooza) this space is my absolute favorite.  This was my second fundraiser at the museum, which is filled with all of Joy Rose’s amazing, empowering, maternal energy. She has single-handedly imagined and brought to life this museum, which she has kept alive through sheer will. The recipient of many honors, including The Susan B. Anthony Award, she is a trail-blazing pioneering super duper rocking and rolling (she also created her band Housewives On Prozak) fabulous female who – since becoming the mother of three – has devoted her life to honoring motherhood.  I performed my last show of the month at 7PM to a small but appreciative audience, which included my brother and sister and cousin.  And, Lenore DeKoven, another amazing and fabulous female.  A pioneer who was my acting teacher back in the Nineteen-Eighties in New York City, she broke barriers as the first female television director. Lenore DeKoven has produced and directed on both coasts in theatre, film and TV and has been on the film and theatre faculties of UCLA, NYU and Columbia University. She has had two books published: Changing Direction: A Practical Approach to Directing Actors in Film and Theatre, and Twilight Man.  She is also the Artistic Director of Our Workshop East. After directing me as an actress for many years, Lenore has been mentoring me ever since I became a playwright.

Museum Of Motherhood Stage

My Sister and Baby Brother

Lenore!

Joy Rose!

Afterwards, there was wine and cheese and much intellectually and emotionally stimulating conversation about the work Joy and I are doing and the work that needs to be done.  I was elated, exhausted, relieved and oh so happy! And what a treat for me to be with my family, who helped me pack up, loaded my stuff in the car and we drove downtown where we celebrated and reminisced and ATE and DRANK.  I was particularly thrilled to have my little brother (he is forty-eight) see the show.  He is a quintessential New Yorker, a guys guy if ever there was one and into cars and sports and rock and roll. “Yo, sis, dat was good.  I learned a LOTTA stuff I dint know.”

March Mission accomplished!

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