International Summer School on Human Rights & The Arts

The first Galway International Summer School on the Arts and Human Rights will take place from 9–11 July 2015 in National University of Ireland, Galway.  Co-directed by Prof. Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and Dominique Bouchard, Curator at the Hunt Museum, it will bring together arts practitioners with human rights activists and scholars to explore their shared space.  Events will take the form of panel discussions, exhibitions and performances.

The global theme for 2015 will be “Belonging”.  The Summer School will consist of keynote addresses, plenary discussions, and themed discussions on three parallel tracks – literature and human rights; the visual arts and human rights; and music and human rights.  The opening speaker will be the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Cultural Rights, Farida Shaheed.

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Presents: Playwrights For A Cause

UPDATE! There has been a venue change to the New York Theatre Workshop and a change in the program. More details can be found here.

Neil LaBute, Halley Feiffer and More to Address Censorship with World Premiere Plays

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, the political controversy surrounding the release of The Interview, and continued suppression of plays, books, and art in American schools, libraries and museums, the battle for freedom of speech and expression is more essential than ever. Planet Connections Theatre Festivity will present an evening of world premiere plays by Erik Ehn, Halley Feiffer, Israel Horovitz and Neil LaBute addressing censorship in the arts in Playwrights for a Cause, to be held at 7:30pm on June 14, 2015 at the Sheen Center, located at 18 Bleecker Street in New York City.

The performances will be followed by a talkback with NCAC and all four playwrights on issues surrounding censorship in the arts. The event concludes with an Opening Night Party which will also celebrate the 2015 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, which begins June 15. Speeches will be made by a handful of the 2015 artists regarding their work as artists and the importance of art as a tool for social justice.

“I’m so happy to be working on a project like this, one that will not only be a fun night of theater but will also directly benefit the National Coalition Against Censorship,” said Neil LaBute. “The NCAC is doing really important work at a time when people are actively striving to take away some of our most basic freedoms. I, for one, feel that these are the front lines for an artist–when you are asked to write/fight for what you’ve said you believe in. It is no longer enough to pay lip service to these ideas–it’s time to stand up and be counted.”

The world premiere plays include:

Three Speech by Erik Ehn
Directed by Glory Kadigan
A woman dreams her way through a free-speech scenario, cascading through levels of rage and recollection. What is the relationship between free and the uniquely, preciously valued?

A Play About New Mexico by Halley Feiffer
Directed by GT Upchurch
A young female playwright meets with the Artistic Director of a prominent theater company. The Artistic Director has commissioned a script from her.  Or so she thinks.

Breaking Philip Glass by Israel Horovitz
​Directed by Glory Kadigan​
Paul confronts an art gallery’s manager about recently-discovered erotic photos to be featured in the gallery’s upcoming exhibition. Paul’s mother is the main female model in the photos, shot 50 years earlier. The gallery does not have permission from Paul’s family to present the photos – but that’s not going to stop the gallery from exhibiting and promoting previously-unseen work by a world renowned photographer.

Mohammad Gets A Boner by Neil LaBute
Directed by Marco Calvani
The prophet “Mohammed” stands on a barren stage, recalling the first time he made love to a white woman. Is this reality or a theatrical convention? Where do the lines between ‘satire’ and ‘censorship’ intersect or is nothing sacred when it comes to the theater?

Images of Repression and Freedom: 2015 Photo and Art Auction

Please join us for an evening of wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a photo auction in support of Freedom House. Images of Repression and Freedom will feature photographs and art by professional and amateur artists from around the world on the themes of freedom, political participation, human rights, and repression.

 

PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature NYC

Celebrate the transformative power of the written word as 100 writers from 30 countries gather in New York for the 11th Annual PEN World Voices of International Literature. This year’s program, co-curated by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, takes you beyond the news by providing a rare chance to hear voices and perspectives from contemporary Africa and its diaspora. Join in a wide range of debates, readings, workshops, and performances in venues from Lower Manhattan and Harlem to Brooklyn and the Bronx, and engage with emerging and established international authors in new and profound ways.

Catch Comedian Stephen Sorrentino Live in Sonoma County and Support ALDF

Join us April 17 at a benefit show for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, hosted by comedian Stephen Sorrentino.

Where: The new Graton Casino Resort in Rohnert Park, California.
When: Friday, April 17 at 9pm.
For Tickets: $25 per ticket – each dollar goes to support ALDF’s work to protect animals!

Before becoming a famous comedian, actor, and impressionist, Stephen Sorrentino grew up on his family’s horse ranch on Long Island, New York, where his grandfather raised thoroughbreds. Being around the dogs and horses made him an animal lover and advocate from day one. “As a child, and even more so today, I feel a strong connection to all animals because you can look into their eyes and see so much kindness. They trust us, and we have an obligation to return that kindness by taking care of them,” he says.

The desire to defend animals extended to the times his father tried to take him hunting. “It all seemed so wrong to me,” Stephen says. He would throw rocks in the bushes where he heard the deer to scare them off. This saved their lives–but did not en-“dear” him to his dad.

“I believe that in order for animals to be treated well, there needs to be systematic changes to protect them through the law,” Stephen explains. His award-winning show features 180 signature impressions, music, and humor. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster, and all proceeds will go to ALDF.

If you can’t make the performance, stay tuned for Stephen Sorrentino’s upcoming reality show that will work to expose animal abuse. The show will shed light on animal cruelty, and remind people of their responsibility to provide animals with the love and compassion they deserve.

We hope to see you April 17!

Dance for Corals!

You are invited to join AIDA, the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense, for a festive evening of conversation, live music, and dance to benefit coral reefs in the Americas.

Dance for Corals

Friday, April 10, 2015

6:30 – 10 PM

La Furia Chalaca
Peruvian Bar & Restaurant
310 Broadway, Oakland, CA

Tickets: $20/advance, $25/door

6:30 – 7:30 Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cash bar

7:30 – 8:00 Video screening and presentations about Earthjustice and AIDA ‘s work to protect corals.

8:00 – 10:00 Live music by the Latin groove dance band Makru.

With rising sea-water temperatures, corals need our help now more than ever. Will you join us and show your support for reef preservation?

Concert For Social Justice

Jackson Browne, David Crosby & Graham Nash, Melissa Etheridge, Tom Morello, Dennis Haysbert, Chad Lowe, Martin Sheen, and Alfre Woodard to perform April 8, 2015, at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angele

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights is pleased to join The GRAMMY Museum® in celebrating the launch of their Speak Up, Sing Out songwriting contest with The Concert For Social Justice on April 8, 2015, at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. Jackson Browne, David Crosby & Graham Nash, Melissa Etheridge, La Santa Cecilia and Tom Morello are the first performers announced for the concert, which will also feature special performances from actors Dennis Haysbert, Chad Lowe, Martin Sheen, and Alfre Woodard, and the winner(s) of the Speak Up, Sing Out songwriting contest.

“Music has always been at the heart of social justice in America,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “Abolitionists in the 1860s and civil rights protesters in the 1960s both marched to anthems of peace and justice. With this concert, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the GRAMMY Museum seek to teach our young people that music can be a force for good in the world.”

 

“BANNED BROADWAY PROJECT” FROM TADA!

TADA! Youth Theater in partnership with NCAC and Banned Books Week celebrates censored musicals and plays with two special “Banned Broadway” performances featuring the talents of TADA!’s Resident Youth Ensemble. The performances will include renowned hits such as Spring Awakening by Duncan Sheik, Fun Home by Jeanine Tesori, Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim, The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman, and Rent by Jonathan Larson. The presentation will culminate with a panel discussion on censorship in theatre following the Friday evening performance. Tickets are FREE and can be reserved by emailing boxoffice@tadatheater.com or at the door. Reservations are recommended.

BANNED BOOKS WEEK and BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL

Sponsored in part by NCAC and eleven other organizations drawing attention to the problem of book censorship, Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. During the last week of September every year, hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country mount displays of challenged books and host a variety of events. NCAC kicks off the celebration, which this year focuses on graphic novels and comic books, on Sunday, September 21 at the Brooklyn Book Festival. Come find NCAC’s booth at Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza, where you can browse our catalog of challenged literature, play our banned books trivia game, or record a video read-out of your favorite tome. Gear up by checking out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Banned Books Week Handbook, NCAC’s Myths of Banned Books, or this video of writers weighing in on your right to read, produced by our friends at Open Road Integrated Media.

COMEDY, CONVERSATION AND CONTROVERSY: LEWIS BLACK, KATE CLINTON AND LIZZ WINSTEAD

In the past few decades, comedy and politics have gone from strange bedfellows to an inseparable alliance.

Satirical programming has become part of our common political culture and a primary source of news and information for youth, presenting entertaining takes on the day’s political events, while newer forms of communication like YouTube videos, Twitterfeeds and Tumblr memes regularly tackle political themes and poke fun at political candidates.

Join us for an evening of thought-provoking humor and engaging conversation with three of the country’s most popular and insightful political comedians—Lewis Black, Kate Clinton and Lizz Winstead. A mix of traditional comedy and creative interplay among the artists, this event will showcase why the intersection of politics, social criticism and old-fashioned outrage is sometimes the funniest place to be after all. Don’t miss the comedy event of the season—it is sure to be seriously funny!

This show is a benefit for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization located in Washington, DC dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans. Our work includes advocating for LGBT marriage equality, protecting women’s reproductive rights, keeping religion out of public schools, fighting faith-based discrimination and exposing the radical agenda of Religious Right organizations. 

A limited number of VIP Benefit Donor packages are available which include premium seating, a pre-show reception with the performers and special recognition in the event program. VIP packages are partially tax deductible. For more information about VIP packages or to make a purchase, please email Sarah Stevenson at Stevenson@au.org or call 202-466-3234, ext. 205.

Tickets starting at $45.