DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JANUARY 28, 2018
APPLY TODAY @ https://teens.artsconnection.org/trac/
APPLY TODAY @ https://teens.artsconnection.org/trac/
A letter from the editors
Recent social and political movements have prompted discussion on a massive scale. The Black Lives Matter movement has called for changes to a country which permits institutional racism. Donald Trump’s supporters have argued for a country of ostracism, while his opponents shiver at the prospect of a dismal nation where equality is tossed away under the facade of greatness.
Such chaos coupled with classroom conversations led us to imagine what changes we’d make to society. What world would be our utopia? What would have to go wrong in order for the United States to become a dystopia? Do some people already view our nation as a lost cause? The more we thought about it, the more we wanted to know what teens had to say.
After hours of deliberation we formed Teen Writers Connect, a call for work operated by a team of Arts Connection’s staff and interns as well as by teen participants in the Freelancers program. Our theme was Authority in Our Present and Future Worlds and our description was as follows:
“Youth have the power to determine future political structures and create social justice. Create your ideal world that explores relationships between authority and the people in The United States. The world you create may be dreary, hopeful, animated or even dark. The relationship between authority and the people may be drastically different from our current society, or the same. Be sure to have fun with it. Remember it’s your world, so don’t be afraid to use your own voice and experiences.”
We also want to thank Keonna Hendrick for allowing us to publish Teen Writers Connect. After receiving multiple outstanding submissions, we are overjoyed to present the final product. The featured authors have diverse backgrounds, as is reflected by their wide array of dreams and fears. While reading the pieces, we hope that you consider the factors which could potentially enhance or destroy our world.
– Esmé Epstein and Sofia Lesnewski
View and download Teen Writers Connect here: teen-writers-connect-authority-in-our-present-and-future-worlds
I’m sitting in my bed drinking cold tea and thinking about why I can’t seem to write a monologue. I have a million ideas running through my head, I mean I could write about how I’m really mad at my friend, or how my father sometimes hurts me because he doesn’t even pretend to care about what I’m interested in … but every single one has some issue with it, this one is too emotional, this one takes itself too seriously, they are all wrong. And then I realize why exactly I can’t seem to get it right. I am trying to make this speech about sadness and I just know myself too well to believe any stupid story about a life-changing moment that I struggled through or a piece dedicated to my hurting soul because I know that’s not how I work. I don’t have deep thoughts or inner turmoil. Once, a few years back, I was extremely stressed about… just some stuff that was going on in my life. So stressed that I legitimate made myself sick. I couldn’t go into school for three days because I was puking. My parents kept asking me, why didn’t you tell us you felt this way? And, how could you do this to yourself? They didn’t understand that I didn’t tell them because I was fine. Even though I was horrible I knew cognitively that it was out of my hands and that making a fuss about it would do nothing. I knew that I would be OK and I just had to ride it out. I wanted this assignment to become some beautiful ode to my secret pain. The truth is I don’t have pain to keep secret. I am an optimistic, strategic, and confident person and I know how to get my life together when it falls apart. I know how to control my self-esteem issues and understand that they are something every person on this planet has to go through, I know how to remain optimistic even when it seems like I’m not going to come out the other side of a situation unharmed. I am self-sufficient. I am strong. And sitting in my bed drinking tea that has become even colder, I realize that I will never be able to write about any of that either.
One exhibition we visited during Summer TRaC was Art AIDS America at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Overall I had four favorite artworks. Lollypop completed in 2006 this film by Kalup Linzy and Shaun Leonardo shows them lip-syncing to an old song. Kalup Linzy is a 39 year old man born in 1977 in Clermont, Florida, now living in New York. He uses his past experience in a music based performance duo to help him do this film. He enjoys photography and has a lot of photographs as his artworks. Lollypop was filmed with two modern dressed men, also it was filmed in black and white. I liked this piece because it was filmed and there was singing. It honestly appealed to me because I really enjoy photography, film, and the performing arts.
I liked the variety of colors in Still-Life with Forget-Me-Nots and One Weeks Dose of Truvada (2012) which is a painting by Joey Terrill. It is very colorful, and includes junk foods, pills and a random insect. Joey Terrill is a 61 year old man born 1955 in Los Angeles, California. He still lives there today. The majority of his works are paintings, which means he is very experienced. A lot of his paintings include food on a table with different types of tablecloths.
The third is a set of color inkjet prints called 24 (2014) by Kia Labeija. Lebeija is a 26 year old woman born 1990 in New York, New York still living there today. She is experienced in photography and performance. Each photo in 24 was taken in different room of a house, and each picture had the same lady in it on the floor. I liked that the pictures were very real. In each picture I liked that you could actually see that she looks kind of upset and is hurting.
Untitled [Hospital Drawing] (1984) is done fully in crayon, by the late Larry Stanton who died in 1984 from AIDS complications. Untitled [Hospital Drawing] is very colorful, all the colors were bright, it has a inspirational phrase written. I liked that it was very colorful and bright. Also I liked the phrase which is basically showing hope.
Art AIDS America is the first exhibition to examine the deep and ongoing influence of the AIDS crisis on American art and culture. The exhibition features more than 125 works dating from 1981 to the present day. This exhibition is from July 13th to September 25th. It’s organized by the Tacoma Art Museum working with the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Stephen Sondheim is a music composer who has worked with musical theatre for over 50 years. He has won an Academy award and eight Tonys. One of his Tonys was a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. He was born in 1930 and has been composing music since 1954. He was born and grew up in Manhattan, on the Upper West Side. He is a very influential man. Cameron Mackintosh, a British theatre producer described him as “possibly the greatest lyricist ever.
He wrote and composed music for Into the Woods, Company, and Sweeney Todd. He wrote the lyrics for West Side Story. After his parents’ divorce, he became friends with James Hammerstein and had a very close relationship with James’ father Oscar Hammerstein II. Hammerstein was a playwright and was like a second father to Sondheim and helped him with many of his Broadways shows.
Sondheim is a viewed as a visionary in theatre. He is a mentor for many including, Adam Guettel and Jonathan Larson. His work has been an inspiration for many playwrights and lyricists. Laura Benanti, who played Cinderella in Into the Woods and Louise inGypsy (both have music written by Sondheim) said “His music is the sole reason I wanted to be on Broadway. I wanted to sing music that transports us to the most important place one can travel, our hearts.” Many of the shows that he was written and composed music for, have been long lasting broadway sensations.
Young actors who have not even been in any of his works, look up to him and are so enchanted by his words. Chris Colfer fromGlee says, “Performing Sondheim is more than just singing a song; it’s exposing a soul… Every lyric and every note is so beautifully assembled, it instantly levels your mood to whatever emotion is being portrayed. It takes a true gift to make audiences feel music as much as they hear it, and a performer couldn’t ask for a better tool.” Most of the audience feels like they are part of the music and are left singing most of his songs for weeks. The songs he writes fit the characters who sing the song so well.
He has his own theatre named after him and he is starting to write for movies. He wrote his own book that is an annotation of all his lyrics called Finishing the Hat, then he made a follow up book called Look, I Made a Hat.