Saturday, May 26, 2012

Invitation to my cultural workshop for 2012 UniPro Summit, multinational open forum, June 2

NEW YORK CITY:  I have been invited to conduct an interactive, 45-minute workshop on "Pilipino Renaissance" on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at the 2012 UniPro Summit for Pilipino Young Professionals, Students, and Youth.

My multimedia presentation is entitled "Re-Inventing Pilipino Arts." It addresses the possible solutions that arts and culture can offer toward the development of a true resurgence of Pilipino Arts locally, nationally and globally.  Will a Renaissance be led by our ability to invent new artistic expressions? to research and collaborate on new works with distant partners? to contend with the great challenge of displaying Pilipinos anew, especially to one another?  Will the Renaissance deepen mutual understanding among people around the globe?  Will it make way for abundance, for real opportunities, for long-term sustainability -- for creative coexistence?

The Summit will take place at the Arnold & Marie Schwartz Lecture Hall of New York University Medical Center (550 First Avenue, near 30th Street) in NYC.

To register to attend to the 2012 UniProSummit, visit the event page at

UniPro stands for Pilipino American Unity for Progress, which is hosting its second annual Multinational Forum for Pilipino Young Professionals, Students, and Youth. This year’s Summit will focus on the theme of the "Pilipino Renaissance."

According to Iris Zalun, Speaker Chair for the upcoming UniPro Summit for Pilipino Young Professionals, Students, and Youth, the NGO defines 'Pilipino Renaissance' in three parts:
  1. The awakening of the individual Pilipino’s earnest passions and aspirations.
  2. The creation of a community that nurtures the individual Pilipino’s passions and aspirations.
  3. The flourishing of the global Pilipino community, marked by the significant representation and success of Pilipinos, determined by the realization of our own potential. 
"We will feature amazing leaders from the community whose work promotes the culture, welfare, and progress of Pilipinos, particularly in the modern, digital age," Zalun adds. "You are invited to meet other young, passionate Pilipinos to meet, exchange ideas, and organize a global network to promote the idea of such a renaissance."

The 2012 UniPro Summit on June 2 will also serve as a meetup for Filipino Mundo, a group of young professionals and visual/performing artists socializing in changing Manhattan venues, sharing and understanding the Filipino identity in an increasingly global environment.

This is not the first time I have presented this workshop.  In December 2010, I offered this presentation at a two-day conference in the Philippines entitled "Vision 2020," organized by the Commission of Filipino Overseas, a Philippine government agency. In that setting, before an audience that comprised of the country's top leaders, stakeholders and overseas Filipinos, I made sure to address how arts and culture can keeping second- and third-generation Filipinos rooted in Philippine culture.

The current Aquino administration has been aiming to undertake public-private partnerships to modernize the infrastructure of the Philippines. Can Filipinos overseas and in the diaspora inspire or respond to the future development of their homeland? In that Philippine setting, I asked: What, if any, is the role of arts and culture in migration and development? How can Filipino artists and arts groups abroad (individuals, networks and organizations overseas) actively participate in the development of Philippine arts and culture, given the fact that whether we like it or not, Filipinos are a global, mobile and diverse people?

The Pilipino American Unity for Progress (“UniPro”) is a New York State certified not-for-profit comprised of young professionals and students that was established in the summer of 2009 to promote cohesion and collective progress within the Pilipino American community. Since then, UniPro has collaborated with many organizations, schools and entrepreneurs to help empower our kababayans and provide a support system for our networks in the community.

The goal for UniPro is to outreach to the Multinational Pilipino Community and create a safe space and open forum for regional issues and facilitate cultural workshops. Here is the UniPro website

Register NOW:
To register to attend to the 2012 UniProSummit, visit the event page at

Things to Note:
1) On-Site Registration & Sign-in on June 2 will be at
NYU Translational Research Building - 227 East 30th St starting 7:30am
They will be accepting All Major credit cards for registration (extra fees will apply).

2) Opening Ceremony on June 2 will be at Arnold & Marie Schwartz Lecture Hall - 401 East 30th St promptly beginning at 9:00am

3) Contact Summit Co-Chairs Rachelle Ocampo at or Judy Yem at for volunteer opportunities, internship positions and more information about UniPro and our Summit!

4) This event page will constantly be updated with Keynote speaker information, Itinerary Updates, Workshop descriptions, and more so always check back for new details!

5) Online Ticket sales end at 12:00pm on Friday, June 1. Extra Service fees will apply if you register the day of the Summit on June 2.

2012 UniPro Summit - Sat, June 2 2012 

at NYU Langone Medical Center, NYC
Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM (ET)
401 East 30th Street
New York, NY

UniPro Summit Itinerary - June 2 2012

7:30 – 9:00 AM: Registration & Sign In- 1st Floor Seminar Room at the NYU Translational Research Building 227 East 30th Street
- Delegates & Speakers collect their UniPro Summit Folder and Name Tags
- Free light breakfast served until 8:30AM then begin escorting Delegates the Schwartz Building

9:00 – 9:30 AM: Opening Ceremony
Schwartz Auditorium at the NYU School of Medicine 401 East 30th Street

  1. Introduction: Randy Gonzales, Master of Ceremonies
  2. US/PI Anthem: Welcome Address
    Dr. Suzette Briones, Chairperson of UniPro and Bryan Lozano, Executive Director of UniPro
  3. Opening Keynote: Tony Meloto, Gawad Kalinga

9:35 – 9:55 AM: Networking Session - Schwartz Auditorium
Rachelle Ocampo, Associate Director of UniPro

10:00– 11:00 AM: Main Panel – How to Push the “Pilipino Renaissance” - Schwartz Auditorium
Esperanza Garcia, Ecohope
Fr. Benigno P. Beltran SVD, Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig
Illac Diaz, My Shelter Foundation
Loida Nicholas-Lewis, US Pinoys for Good Governance
Ninotchka Rosca, AF3IRM
Tony Olaes, Gawak Kalinga USA

11:10 – 11:55 AM: Workshop Session 1
1a- Ana Serano, Prison Dancer
1b- Alex Lacson, 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country
1c- Rich Kiamco, Comedian
1d- Leah Villanueva, Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs, University of Florida
1e- Renjie Bulatid, TedxWaterloo

12:05-12:55 PM: Lunch
- Delegates go out for their own lunch - Check out the Program for Top Places to Eat!

1:05-1:35pm Middle Keynote (Q&A Session)
Jose Antonio Vargas, Define American

1:45 – 2:40 PM: Secondary Panel Session
Five Panels:

  1. Pilipino Renaissance in Health & Medicine: PNA NY-Susan Gador, Kalusugan Coalition-Rhodora Ursua, CACF- Noilyn Abesamis- Mendoza, Nurse Lim
  2. Pilipino Renaissance in Business and Entrepreneurship: ARK- Jerry Topitzer, Maharlika- Nicole Ponseca, Jaycees- Atty. Mia Fulgado, -Darwin Dion Ignacio & R/GA- Ray Sison
  3. Pilipino Renaissance in Politics, Activism and Civic Engagement: FiRE/ GABRIELA-USA - Jennine Ventura, Anakbayan USA- Yves Nibungco, NaFFAA Region 1- Merit Salud, DAMAYAN, Eric Lachica
  4. Pilipino Renaissance in Education and Storytelling: Sulu Series, Sulu DC- Alex Cena, Liza deGuia, 'Pacific Rims'- Rafe Bartholomew, TedxWaterloo- Renjie Butalid, University of California- Leezel Ramos
  5. Pilipino Renaissance in Arts & Entertainment: Oliver Oliveros, Universal Self- Kilusan Bautista, God of Love- Stephanie Walmsley, Music Producer- Illmind, Leviathan Lab-Ariel Estrada 

2:50 – 3:15 PM: Entertainment
Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig

3:15-3:17 PM: Introduction of Surveys
Pauline Datulayta

3:25 – 4:15 PM:  Workshop Session 2

  1. Stephanie Walmsley, Producer of “God of Love”
  2. Nicole Ponseca, Maharlika
  3. Rafe Bartholmew, Author of 'Pacific Rims'
  4. Randy Gener, Co-Director, Filipino Mundo NYC
  5. Ryan Letada, Next Day Better and Catchafire

Surveys that will already be placed in each room will be distributed and filled-out

4:25 – 4:30 PM: Collect Surveys
Collect survey and pick winner of Raffle

4:40 – 5:05 PM: Closing Ceremony

  1. Address/Thanks/Introductions:
    Rachelle Ocampo, Associate Director of UniPro & Judy Yem, Summit Co-Chair
  2. Closing Speaker: Ayesha Veru-Yu, Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK)
  3. Closing Remarks

5:05 – 5:40 PM: Networking
We have the auditorium until 7PM, giving ample opportunity for further networking and promotion of sponsors/tabling for the delegates.

5:40-6:00 PM: End of 2012 UniPro Summit

8:00 – 11:00PM: An Evening in Manila- Spring Edition
Location: Fletcher Sinclair Mansion 2 East 79th Street NYC
Benefiting ARK.

Hosted by Project Heal Manila | Maharlika | Tomas Moves | Unipro
*Times are Subject To Change

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Caridad Svich, Amy Herzog, Jay Scheib, Kirsten Greenidge take home Obie Awards

NEW YORK CITY: I did not really need to go to the Obie Awards this year. But I felt compelled to go. Mysterious forces pushed me to go. I am glad I did.

Why? Because Caridad Svich—a playwright, translator, teacher and my colleague at NoPassport theater alliance and press—received the Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Obie winner Caridad Svich | Photo by RG
Because 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog received the Obie Award for Best New American Play, which is accompanied by a $1,000 prize.

Denis O'Hare wins Obie Award for An Iliad | Photo by RG

Because Mark Bennett, Denis O'Hare, Lisa Peterson, and Stephen Spinella received special citations for An Iliad (New York Theatre Workshop).

Because Kirsten Greenidge received an Obie for playwriting for her work Milk Like Sugar (Playwrights Horizons and the Women's Project).

And because Jay Scheib took home an Obie for directing World of Wires (The Kitchen).

Looking around at who showed up at Webster Hall for the annual Obie Awards celebration, I confess that I felt at sea. There were so many people whom I had never seen before in my life. I met a lot of good people. An actor who held a travel book by Henry James under his arm, for example. A leader at Ensemble Studio Theatre. There were some others whom I met before but haven't really spent that much time with them. A business guy at St. Anne's Warehouse. A director at HERE Arts Center.

Ross Wetzsteon, the late theater editor and Obie Award chairman, used to tell me that the Obie Awards are "a funky family affair." I kept thinking about Ross' description as I walked around Webster Hall, where the awards were handed out. It made me quickly feel like an old-timer, even though the people who come to the Obie Awards had always ever been a changing gallery. Because so many people in the room were strangers, I quickly noted the theater professionals whom I did know and wondered if they came because they will pick up an award. Having once worked at the Village Voice (I was an intern there for two years, the longest ever), I remember that I used to call people up on the phone and urge them to go to the Obies, without actually spilling the beans that they would be winners.

I am thrilled that Caridad Svich, my colleague at NoPassport, won this year, although I confess that the win was surreal. You see, Svich will soon be celebrated in Chicago with a Francesca Primus Prize given by the American Theatre Critics Association. This award honors the contributions of an emerging female theater artist, one who has not yet achieved national prominence. Meanwhile, this Obie Award recognizes her for "lifetime achievement," which means she has already arrived.

How exactly is it possible for a major American playwright of Caridad's stature to be both emerging and yet eligible for a lifetime achievement recognition? Is she arriving, or is she moving on, or has she just leaped to the next stage? You tell me.

Ah, the paradoxes of the American theater boggle the mind.

Cherise Booth | Photo by Randy Gener

Citation from last night's Obie Awards
MICHAEL MCKEAN: And now our final award of the evening. Certain artists see borders and stop at them. Others see borders as an opportunity for transcendence. Few artists can claim to have crossed so many boundaries at birth: Cuba, Argentina, Spain, and Croatia. Few have created so many bodies of work in so many disciplines: playwriting, songwriting, essay writing, teaching, translation, reviewing, editing, and mentoring. For her prodigious output as one of America's most daring and provocative Latina writers, for her indefatigable energy, for her selfless and consistent advocacy of artists of all backgrounds, for her dizzying array of intellectual interests and pursuits—yes, for the very poetry that is her life's energy—the judges are proud to give this year's Lifetime Achievement Award to a nomad, a storyteller, and a true woman of the theater: CARIDAD SVICH

Caridad Svich's Obie Award Speech:

Make a spirit thing out of nothing. Call it a play.

Theatre begs ascension.
Its vertical pull Tugs at the heart
And heavens
Whilst reminding you to
Keep your ear to the ground
Alive to the beauty in the dirt.

As you stand at theatre's door - Strange, mysterious, elusive, maddening -
You are nonetheless charmed by its glamour. 
What beggar this, the door says?
And so, we walk in.

Young night of silver stains
as we stand in smoke
Inside the den where loud and fast
meets the acid glow
Of rushing boys
and lingering girls
and cigarettes dangling from canvas totes
We pose and slack
and hang in throes
never letting on.

This is the way we all go
As we face the slanting light in the unknown dark:
A wee holler, a wild shout, exclaiming the furious game of living
Hold on," we say,
While we wrestle the demons in our midst,
Hold fast n strong
And never, never let on
Cuz the truth will find you
the truth of making will catch you
and maybe, just maybe, sometimes when you're not (even) looking,
save your very soul.
But we won't let on, right?

Cause to let on would be
To let on
Would be
Like, the worst thing
All seen
All been
All there and now
Never letting on

A complete list of Obie awards is given below.

Best New American Play (with $1,000 prize)
Amy Herzog
4000 Miles (Lincoln Center Theater)

Cherise Boothe
Milk Like Sugar (Playwrights Horizons and the Women's Project)

Steven Boyer
Hand to God (Ensemble Studio Theatre/Youngblood)

Sweet and Sad Ensemble:
Jon DeVries, Shuler Hensley, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders,
J. Smith-Cameron (The Public Theater)

Gabriel Ebert and Mary Louise Wilson
4000 Miles (Lincoln Center Theater)

Jim Fletcher
Sustained Excellence

Santino Fontana
Sons of the Prophet (The Roundabout Theatre)

Linda Lavin
The Lyons (The Vineyard Theatre)

Susan Pourfar
Tribes (Barrow Street Theatre)

Kirsten Greenidge
Milk Like Sugar (Playwrights Horizons and the Women's Project)

Richard Maxwell
Early Plays (The Wooster Group and St. Ann's Warehouse)

Jay Scheib
World of Wires (The Kitchen)

Mark Barton, Sustained Excellence of Lighting Design

Mimi Lien, Sustained Excellence of Set Design

Matt Tierney and Ben Williams, sound design
The Select (The Sun Also Rises) (New York Theatre Workshop)

Special Citations
Mark Bennett, Denis O'Hare, Lisa Peterson, and Stephen Spinella
An Iliad (New York Theatre Workshop)

Elevator Repair Service

Sustained Excellence
Erin Courtney and Ken Rus Schmoll
A Map of Virtue (13P)

Steven Hoggett, Martin Lowe, and John Tiffany
Once (New York Theatre Workshop)

Daniel Kitson
It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later (St. Ann's Warehouse)

Ethan Lipton & His Orchestra
No Place to Go (The Public Theater/Joe's Pub)

Ross Wetzsteon Grant ($1,000)
Youngblood (Ensemble Studio Theatre)

The Bushwick Starr ($2,500)

The Debate Society ($2,500)

Lifetime Achievement
Caridad Svich

Me and Caridad Svich

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Check out my latest story on NPR (National Public Radio)

Check out my latest story on NPR (National Public Radio).

Composing 'The News,' With A Musical Twist 


Then-candidate Obama promising change in America as re-mixed in "The News" by JacobTV

If you like it, please click "recommend" or write a comment, or share the link to your friends via social media. The more comments or shares or links these stories get, the more successful we can all be in giving greater importance to international news on arts & culture.

The article includes 3 video concertos, created by Dutch composer JacobTV:

Rehearsals of "The News"
Given the tightening of belts in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe (notably Spain and Greece), it is interesting that the Dutch government still enjoys a reputation for being in the avant-garde of arts diplomacy. Dutch embassies around the world are viewed as progressive models in terms of financially supporting Dutch culture and disseminating Dutch artists abroad.

What’s significant is that The News originated not in the Netherlands but in the U.S., specifically in the city of Chicago where JacobTV was visiting as a tourist four years ago and where he met the folks at the Fulcrum Point New Music Project. JacobTV saw the city reflected on the glass wall that surrounded a television studio with cameras, videos and news anchors.

“In a split second, I knew it,” he says. “I knew what I wanted to do. This fascinating world of media. That’s what I want to write about.”

The News had its world premiere at the Definitely Dutch Festival in Pittsburgh under the sponsorship of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Andy Warhol Off the Wall Series in late April.

Dubbed a "nonfiction opera," The News roams around the world to expose and question the words and promises of world leaders and politicians, even as it calls into question the objectivity of the international news media, and reflects on the news media's impact on the issues we care about and on the lives of real people. --RG

Glenn Beck remixed in "The News"
— Dutch musician JacobTV re-composes a Fox News TV interview into a strange hip-hop-style duet: GLENN BECK and SARAH PALIN "rap" and groove on the subject of untrustworthy politicos

BECK: Trust...How do you restore trust and honor?
PALIN: That's what everybody is asking. 
BECK: I can't get my trust out to anybody! 
PALIN: It's because we have a falling world. Mankind is falling. Scared the heck out of me.

Donald Rumsfeld as re-mixed in "The News" by JacobTV

— Charlie Rose's PBS interview of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

 "No one was ever waterboarded in Guantanamo," Rumsfeld says. "I didn't say it was a country club down there. The CIA waterboarded 3 people. They were waterboarded. It is a stain in our country's reputation."

Paris Hilton and Lady Gaga remixed in "The News"
— Paris Hilton's interview of Lady Gaga at a Nokia party in London turns into a Pop Art explosion of fake love 

HILTON: So Lady Gaga, you are incredible. You've become an icon. 
GAGA: No, I haven't, no. 
HILTON: Alright, you won't admit it. But I'm gonna say it to you. You are a fashion icon. I'm impressed. I'm loving your music. What is your inspiration? 
GAGA: Media culture. And obsession with fame. 
HILTON: How amazing! I'm standing here with Mrs. Fame. I'd love to do a song with you. I love you! 

Listen and watch to the MTV-style song that JacobTV created out of these snippets of conversations.

Sarah Palin remixd in "The News"