Anyone want to go to this with me? I could do any of the three shows.

Pay what you can.
Friday, April 12 @ 7:30pm
Sunday, April 14 @ 3.00 & 7.30pm

Highways Theatre. 1651 18th Street in Santa Monica.

I have volunteered with this group for 17 years. Their shows are ALWAYS worth seeing.

Dark to Light, a drumming and performance piece by the Virginia Avenue Project.

ETA: OK, I'm going Sunday at 3:00. Comment if you'll be there!
Join us for a free show this weekend - 8 short original plays, each featuring a kid, an adult, and a dessert!

2011 One-On-Ones: JUST DESSERTS

This weekend: August 26 - 27. Friday - 7:30pm. Saturday - 3:00 and 7:30pm.

Miles Playhouse: 1130 Lincoln Blvd, in Santa Monica. (Just north of Wilshire Blvd. in Reed Park.)

Reservations/Info.: (310) 264-4224

Free / Pay-what-you-can! ($5 suggested donation)

The talented adult volunteer actors, writers, designers and staff for Just Desserts include Mickey Birnbaum, Bob Blesser, Weslie Brown, Cameron Cash, Bryan Davidson, Donna DuBain, Kyle Heffener, Danny Jacobs, Phyllis Katz, Sulai Lopez, Emmett Loverde, Jennifer Maisel, Jonas Oppenheim, Jordana Oberman, Erin Pineda, Kenneth Rudnicki, Ryan Tresser, Steven Wolfson, Evan Bartoletti, Rachel Manija Brown, Jessica Gerhardt, Lisa Lechuga, Tony Palermo, Johnny Rymen

Free ice cream after the 3pm matinee in front of the theater - generously provided by Damon Kronsberg's Real Estate Roller!!!

Just Desserts is from our One-on-One program, an extension of our Creative Dramatics class that enables Project kids to work one-on-one with professional writers and actors/actresses to produce original short plays. During a week at camp in Ojai, the kids rehearse their plays while learning the values of discipline, hard work, compassion, support, and respect.

Thank you for your support and attendance. You make all the difference. Onward!

Project Kids: Faviola Carrillo, Aaron Cornejo, Emerson Flores-Cieto, Isabella Gonzalez, Julian Graves, Frank Gress, Edward Hernandez, Sarah Horowitz, Kourtney Murphy, Melodee Piper, and Brian Santiago.

(310) 264-4224 - www.VirginiaAvenueProject.org
rachelmanija: (VAP)
( Aug. 14th, 2011 09:23 am)
If you're coming to the show, don't click - this spoils some of the funniest bits. Photos from a run-through of Macbake, a Scottish Souffle. )
Below the cut, photos from this year's summer camp, including a run-through of Macbake: A Scottish Souffle )

ETA. These are taking so long to load that I'll do Macbake tomorrow.
rachelmanija: (VAP)
( Aug. 11th, 2011 10:37 pm)
Whee! I have briefly swiped the Project computer to post.

Camp is awesome. I already know about half the kids, several for a period of ten years or more. One of the latter is going to attend my alma mater, UC Santa Cruz, and major in... psychology! We must be secret twins. Two of the boys grew a foot or more since last I saw them.

The food is vegan. As a result, I got so obsessed with hamburgers that I snuck out today and got a bacon cheeseburger in town.

There are cottontailed rabbits hopping everywhere, silflaying with little fear.

Tonight the kids requested ghost stories. I read "The Monkey's Paw" aloud, by the light of a small, handheld lamp. Reactions were split between "Wait, what happened?" "That was AWESOME," and "Someone tell a story that isn't scary, so I can go to sleep!"

[livejournal.com profile] wordkink and others who might be interested, performances are 3:00 and 7:30 on Friday the 26th, and 7:30 on Saturday the 27th. Pay what you can. One play is a take on Macbeth, set in a Scottish bakery, and called MacBake. It involves a baguette duel.
rachelmanija: (VAP)
( Aug. 15th, 2010 10:33 am)
First off, happy Independence Day to all who are celebrating!

I just got back from summer camp in Ojai, which was only made possible by all of you who helped out and/or donated to [profile] helptheproject.

The last few times in Ojai, the majority of campers were teenage girls. This time the majority were boys under 13 - a totally different energy. Our junior counselors were three teenagers whom I've known since they were about nine, and who are now about to go off to college.

The sky was perfect cloudless blue, and the fields were full of rabbits and gophers. One day I took the kids into town and bought them books at a used bookshop, and later that night found them all stealthily reading in bed with flashlights. Another night we hauled blankets out to a field, lay down, and watched the Pleiades meteor shower. We saw two of the most spectacular meteors I've ever seen: wide streaks of blue-white light blazing across the sky, one ending in an exploding fireball.

Highlights of the plays include a doo-wop chorus of forest animals, a talking shrimp's plot to launch a media empire of reality shows, and a play whose plot would fit perfectly into the "awesomely depressing" mode of YA novels ("Kids! Remember that pranks can kill!"), but is executed so beautifully that it made me cry every damn time I saw it.

The One-on-Ones!
"Saved by the Bell"

8 short original plays performed by kids and adults!

Friday, Aug. 20 at 7:30
Saturday, Aug. 21 at 3:00 and 7:30

24th Street Theatre
1117 W. 24th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(at Hoover just south of the 10 freeway)
For maps and parking information: www.24thstreet.org

For reservations and more information, call 310-264-4224
Pay-what-you-can / $5 suggested donation

Young Actors: Spencer Gonzalez, Faviola Carrillo, Jasmine Cortez, Jose Cortez, Edward Hernandez, Tycho Horan, Amanda Jacobson, Kendall Johnson, Abner Santiago, and Nastasia Smith.
rachelmanija: (VAP)
( Jun. 30th, 2010 11:24 am)
I just got a postcard from the Virginia Avenue Project for "Saved by the Bell," the One-on-One summer camp and theatre festival which many of you helped save, and which I will be stage managing in August.

It notes the times and dates: August 20 at 7:30, August 21 at 3 and 7:30, at the 24th Street Theatre at 1117 W. 24th St. in Los Angeles, at Hoover south of the 10 freeway. Come if you're in the area!

To my total surprise, the postcard reads, "The Virginia Avenue Project, Amy Brenneman, Rachel Manija Brown, and everyone who participated in Rachel's online auction to save the One-on-Ones present..."

These are the kids who will be spending a week in the country rehearsing a ten-minute play written just for them:

Elisa Aquino, Jasmine Cortez, Jose Cortez, Frank Gress, Edward Hernandez, Kendall Johnson, Abner Santiago, and Nastasia Smith. Faviola Carrillo and Tycho Horan, veteran Project kids who are now nearly adults, will be the camp counselors.
A private donor made up the difference between the auction totals and the amount needed to run the One-on-Ones, so it looks like the kids will be getting their summer camp and show this year after all!

Thank you very much for all of your help!
I just skimmed through what I believe is the worst book I have ever read. I was trying to decide whether it would be worth my time to write it up, as it would take a great deal of description and quotes to fully convey its true horror, but then I realized that I could leave that decision to you, my loyal readers.

If you want to read my thoughts on this monstrosity, please comment to state your enthusiasm and also a pledge of an amount (no lower than five dollars) that you are willing to pledge to donate to the Virginia Avenue Project in exchange.

First came nightmares. Gashes and wounds of memory. Home. Sisters. Mother. Father. Screaming. Divorce. These were mingled with jittering cuts and freeze-frames of all the horrors he had seen, one image after another retching across his brain like a movie slash-edited by an axe-murderer.

Also features apocalypse via "a wind larger than a planet" and Satan as a transparent giant with rainbow-colored blood.
[livejournal.com profile] helptheproject, a fandom auction to benefit The Virginia Avenue Project, is still running and has lots of new offers! Check them out!

My own offers, for a review of (almost) absolutely anything, original poetry, original fiction, fanfiction, a professional critique, a signed copy of my memoir, and a year of postcard-stories of Los Angeles can be found here. There are few bids on most of them, and no bids on my poetry. So if you've ever wanted any of those items, now is your chance!

You can also now request items that haven't yet been offered, in the all-new Request Post..

In case you really did miss my first post, the Virginia Avenue Project is a free afterschool arts and academics program. 100% of participating children graduate from high school. 95% go on to college. 98% are the first person in their family to go.

Due to budget cuts, unless we can raise $15,000 by mid-March, we will lose our centerpiece program, the One-on-Ones. In this program, professional actor/writers write a short play to act in with the kid they're paired with, rehearse it with them in a beautiful countryside summer camp, and then return to Los Angeles to put on a show. This program has been running continuously for 20 years, and I've been its stage manager for 15 - let's not lose it now!

Note: The Project website (not the auction site) is temporarily down. I am in contact with them and they are working on getting it back up.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Feb. 3rd, 2010 12:05 pm)
Please spread the word! You can do it easily by copying the first four paragraphs here to your own blog.

[profile] savetheproject is a fandom auction to benefit the The Virginia Avenue Project, a free afterschool arts and academics program. 100% of participating children graduate from high school. 90% go on to college. 85% are the first person in their family to go.

Due to budget cuts, unless we can raise $15,000 by mid-March, we will lose our centerpiece program, the One-on-Ones. In this program, professional actor/writers write a short play to act in with the kid they're paired with, rehearse it with them in a beautiful countryside summer camp, and then return to Los Angeles to put on a show. This program has been running continuously for 20 years - let's not lose it now!

Please help save the One-on-Ones by spreading the word, bidding at the auction, and/or offering something for people to bid on. Click on the "offered" or "seller" tags on the right-hand side of the page to see who's got an auction up and what people are offering. The local gift and treat boxes and baked goods look especially good...

I've been the stage manager for the Project for the last fifteen years, and have watched the kids gain confidence, grow up, and, in one case, make it to the White House!

My own offers, for original poetry, original fiction, fanfiction, a year of postcard-stories of Los Angeles, and a review of (almost) absolutely anything can be found here.

My enormous thanks go out to my co-mods [personal profile] coraa, [personal profile] rushthatspeaks, and co-mod AND site designer [personal profile] telophase.
rachelmanija: (VAP)
( Feb. 3rd, 2010 11:36 am)
Please spread the word! You can do it easily by copying the first four paragraphs here to your own blog.

[livejournal.com profile] savetheproject is a fandom auction to benefit the The Virginia Avenue Project, a free afterschool arts and academics program. 100% of participating children graduate from high school. 95% go on to college. 98% are the first person in their family to go.

Due to budget cuts, unless we can raise $15,000 by mid-March, we will lose our centerpiece program, the One-on-Ones. In this program, professional actor/writers write a short play to act in with the kid they're paired with, rehearse it with them in a beautiful countryside summer camp, and then return to Los Angeles to put on a show. This program has been running continuously for 20 years - let's not lose it now!

Please help save the One-on-Ones by spreading the word, bidding at the auction, and/or offering something for people to bid on. Click on the "offered" or "seller" tags on the right-hand side of the page to see who's got an auction up and what people are offering. The local gift and treat boxes and baked goods look especially good...

I've been the stage manager for the Project for the last fifteen years, and have watched the kids gain confidence, grow up, and, in one case, make it to the White House!

My own offers, for original poetry, original fiction, fanfiction, a professional critique, a year of postcard-stories of Los Angeles, and a review of (almost) absolutely anything can be found here.

My enormous thanks go out to my co-mods [livejournal.com profile] coraa, [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks, and co-mod AND site designer [livejournal.com profile] telophase.

ETA: I just heard from the Project that the statistics I used are outdated. I have adjusted them accordingly.
24th Street Theatre

Illegal Operations
Friday, August 21, 7:30pm
Saturday, August 22, 3pm
Saturday, August 22, 7:30pm

$5 suggested donation, or pay-what-you-can.
Call for reservations: 310-264-4224.

Directions & Parking
The Theater is located at
1117 W. 24th St. Los Angeles 90007
Two blocks south of the Hoover exit off the 10 fwy on the NW corner of Hoover and 24th St. There is a parking lot across the street from the theater. There is also street parking.

The talented adult volunteer playwrights, actors, designers and staff for Illegal Operations include, Carolyn Almos, Don Berman, Rachel Brown, Weslie Brown, Cameron Cash, Bryan Davidson, Kim Dunbar, Heather Dundas, Rawn Erikson, Helene Federici, Jessica Gerhardt, Gerald James, Jill Klein, Jonas Oppenheim, Tony Palermo, Johnny Ryman, Abby Schachner, Mark Waxman, Jaqueline Wright, and Ludo Vika.

Thanks for your amazing support!

The summer One-on-Ones program is the hallmark of what the Project does - using the arts to help kids realize their full potential. Your support, simply by being an audience member, is an amazing part of a great experience this summer, and you're entertained. Please come and support our kids: Jasmine, Jose, Julia, Kaitlyn, Manny, Sandra, Sarah, Sierra, Spencer, and Tycho
Please link and publicize this as much as possible.

The organization I have volunteered with for fourteen years, The Virginia Avenue Project, is holding an auction. It's a mentoring group for kids in Los Angeles. They do amazing work, which I have personally witnessed.

100% of the Project kids graduate from high school. 90% of them continue to college. 85% of them are the first in their family to do so.

And one is currently a White House aide!

Because of the horrible economy, they recently lost funding. This has had many effects, including cutting their usual summer program, which this year will serve half the number of kids that it usually does. To make up for this, they are holding an auction.

Please help out in any way you can, either by offering something, by bidding on something, or by mentioning this in your blog or Facebook page. The sidebar at the auction site explains how to participate.
rachelmanija: (Challah)
( Apr. 8th, 2009 01:37 pm)
Here, feast your eyes upon a totally inappropriate image of bread.

I wish everyone who celebrates a very joyous Passover.

I do celebrate, but may not be able to this year: for the first time in fourteen years of volunteering for the organization, our tech rehearsal is on Passover. (And a performance is on Easter, so I'd say a good ninety percent of the entire company is unhappy.) I'm not sure whether we got stuck with those nights or whether someone forgot to check the calendar, but since my complaint was apparently about the thirtieth registered, I don't think it will happen again. I'm hoping to be able to have a late seder (better than none) next week with a friend whose son is with his Dad's family this week.

What, you ask, could possibly be so important that I'd miss Passover for it? This: a mentoring program/theatre company, the Virginia Avenue Project. Link goes to our "where are they now" page, featuring just a few of our alums - one of whom is now in the White House!
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Jun. 26th, 2004 06:44 pm)
I'm back from doing the kids' theatre mentoring summer camp in the woods of Ojai, CA. I've been doing it as the Virginia Avenue Project's stage manager for about nine years (I started when I was 21). The kids all have some sort of "risk factor"-- poverty, recent immigrants, weird family situation, you name it-- that means they could use adult mentoring and self-confidence building and encouragement. So far, 100% of the kids who stick with the program graduate from high school, 90-95% of them go to college, and of those, 85% are the first person in their family to attend college. We pair them with an adult theatre/film/TV professional who writes a ten-minute play for them both to act in, rehearse in Ojai, then perform at UCLA.

It was a fun trip, without the uproars and squabbles that usually enliven the Ojai getaways. One of the camp counselors was a kid who's going off to college in the fall. He almost didn't get into a four-year college at all, but after various Project people intervened and coached him and wrote letters on his behalf, he got a full scholarship to Drew, a small private college in New Jersey, which he could never have afforded otherwise. He's a great kid and completely deserves it.

One of the teenage boys was studying Japanese by himself and had written everyone's names in katakana on the name tags they stuck on their dorm rooms. An eleven-year-old boy was doing meditation by himself and learning staff tricks from the katakana boy. Once he learned to twirl a stick, he went around doing that all week, and periodically bopping himself over the head or between the legs with it.

When I took the kids to a used bookshop in town and bought them books, he bought two introductory books on Zen and one on learning Japanese. One of the girls bought the first two SPIDERWICK books. The camp counselor boy bought a bunch of paperbacks for his little sister at home, and CYRANO DE BERGERAC and WAITING FOR GODOT (his two favorite plays) for himself.

The campus we stayed at is vegeatrian and Irmgarde, the German vegetarian cook, had gone even more heath-foody than last time and only served dessert when one kid had a birthday. The kids were unhappy about the lack of dessert and meat, and the emphasis on legumes had several adults popping Beano. Instead of driving straight back to LA today, I drove into Ojai for a bacon cheeseburger, extra-crispy fries, and a rootbeer float. You know how people who strictly adhere to some health n/u/t conscious diet are always going on about how their bodies revolt if they break it, and send them waves of happiness and lack of farts if they go back? Well, my body informed me that it had wanted that cheeseburger.

There were long walks through fields full of holes between everywhere on campus, and ground squirrels scattered in every direction when you cut through. Tiny cottontail rabbits were often seen in the morning before the fog burned off, and nearing dusk. A bunch of them nibbling in field together reminded me of a scene from WATERSHIP DOWN, and I wondered if they were planning a new warren. There were lizards too, and enormous hawks, and robins and crows. It was quite a change from LA.
.

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