On Saturday I was a guest at the Which Way TYA forum at New York University along with two of my fellow New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest winners, Constantine Lignos (“Apotheosis,” 2007) and Justine DeSilva, (“Why You?” 2010, “Wacky Wednesday,” 2011). I won in 2007 with “The Not-So-Lovely Tale of Strawberry Fructose.” The title character is the daughter of two candymakers who is cursed by the Wicked Witch of the Unspecified Direction with an allergy to sugar and other bitter things.
The contest is run by the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. PTNJ Executive Director Jim DeVivo presented during our half of the session (the first half featured an organization called Urban Arts). Both organizations find ways to involve kids in creating theater for young audiences, either through writing, production, performance, or some combination of multiple elements.
I didn’t get to take shots during the forum itself, but it was fun to talk about how my experiences with PTNJ influenced me as a writer, director and later, arts journalist. I also enjoyed hearing about how the festival impacted Constantine and Justine.
Afterward, I wandered around New York to enjoy the day and clear my mind. It also happened to be the 67th birthday of Tom O’Shaughnessy, one of my dearest English teachers and influences. He passed away last July after a two-year battle with colon cancer. He was a great inspiration, mentor and friend.
Here are some pictures from that day. Some aren’t very clear because my nerves were shot (I worked as a data entry clerk for two years and continue to have some problems keeping my right hand steady).
Mouse-over for full captions.
8:39 a.m. – Arrive at Washington Square Park
8:55 a.m. – Run into Colin Huggins, the “Crazy Piano Guy” as he sets up to perform in the park with help from Enzo. Enzo gave me his business card, one of those free ones from Vistaprint. It simply says:
9:19 a.m. – Arrive at Which Way TYA NYU Forum. Rub elbows with Jim, Constantine, James Franco – well, okay, maybe not James Franco. Not take any good pictures, bah!
11:38 a.m. – Head back to Washington Square Park
11:39 a.m. – Catch Colin playing!
12:01 p.m. – Get frozen yogurt at 16 Handles and meet the vivacious Tony.
Who has a tattoo of DaVinci’s Last Supper on his leg! (My nerves were AWFUL here, sorry!)
12:04 p.m. – Enjoy coffee and Irish Mint – in honor of Osh!
12:13 p.m. – Arrive at Union Square Park. Admire Peter’s hat and ask to take a picture of him.
12:14 p.m. – Explore the Farmer’s Market!
12:20 p.m. – Ask some chaps if I can take a picture of them because they look like “cool Asian guys.” Explain that I sometimes forget I’m Asian, too.
12:21 p.m. – Meet Paco, who plays chess with people for a dollar. He happened to be grabbing his chin when I took this.
12:22 p.m. – Become entranced by Gran Elefandret, a bronze sculpture by Miquel Barcelo which will only be exhibited at Union Square Park through May 29 this year.
12:25 p.m. – See a stand raising funds for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
12:28 p.m. – Head back through the farmer’s market toward uptown.
Afterward – Feel hand die and resolve to get a hand massage. Boo.
(Actually, the rest of my day was awesome overall – it featured a date with The Underground Supper Club at Steam Cafe, with dishes by Ramon Ruiz; The Laugh Tour comedy show at Art House Productions; and a late pancake dinner at the Brownstone Diner with copy editor Garrett Rasko-Martinis!)