To stream or not to stream, that is the question

February 15, 2019

I stream music. Sometimes. Not at the moment. I’ve been on Apple Music on and off for the last couple of years. Every so often, I take a break from it. I’m on a break right now that started perhaps two months ago when I let an annual subscription expire.

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Representative Tlaib is redefining for us what Muslim Women can do – and we’re freaking out

January 6, 2019

(Updated Monday, Jan. 7, approx. 10 pm PDT)

I am not a fan of public cursing. Not to say that I never do it, but I think it is often overused. I do use it in my plays where I believe it illuminates the world of my characters. Some of my plays have extensive cursing, some none at all.

One consequence of overuse is that it ceases to serve its function of emotional release/intensification. I had a college roommate who used the f-bomb approximately once per sentence and it just became noise. It’s when it is used sparingly that it is at its most powerful.

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Recipe: Chas’s Microwaved Yam Strawberry Surprise

August 19, 2018

Made this on the fly this morning from some farmers’ market items and stuff I had around, and it worked! Micromanaged instructions are aimed at me; please don’t be insulted and feel free to adjust to your needs.

Keep reading Chas’s Microwaved Yam Strawberry Surprise

My Non-Gendered Pronoun Proposal

August 19, 2018

Chinese gets by just fine with no gendered pronouns; why can’t English?

Read more of My Non-Gendered Pronoun Proposal

For the record, I loved Krista Knight’s (Un)hinged

May 24, 2018

Krista Knight is a young playwright well-known and well-loved in the new plays community. She’s well-loved both for her work (her plays have been produced all over the country) and for her personality, which is supportive, generous, and kind. If you scroll through her Instagram (@playtrixx), you’ll see her promoting the work of other […]

via “Dress Like A Normal Person”: The Weapons of Fragile Masculinity — Bitter Gertrude

Why I Write Plays About Race

May 24, 2018

“I don’t see color! WE ALL BLEED RED.” People of color, you have almost certainly had white people say this to you, or some version of it, numerous times. It’s a lie. But you already knew that. White people, of course we “see color.” We see that people are Black, or Asian, or Latinx. So what […]

via When White People Say “I Don’t See Race,” We’re Lying — Bitter Gertrude

Finger snaps in Logic Pro X

February 26, 2018

This post is short and sweet.

For anyone looking for finger snaps in Logic Pro X, they can be found in the library under Percussion > Performance Patches > Claps and Snaps Performance.

Claps run C2 through A2 by half-step.
Snaps run C3 through D3 by half-step.
There is also a stomp at F3.

To notate as a single line:

  1. Select your snap track.
  2. In the score, choose Layout > Show Staff Styles
  3. In the dialog, choose New > Mapped Style
  4. Click the name
  5. Name it something useful like Finger Snaps
  6. Change high and low to C3 or C#3 orD3, whichever snap works for your piece.
  7. In the bottom row, enter 2 for position. Logic Pro will change it to +1, but that’s okay.
  8. In the bottom row, change Drum Group to Bongos.
  9. Close the dialog.
  10. In the Region inspector, set the staff style to #Finger Snap.

After you add a note, you may wish to replace the note head with an X. You can do this as follows:

  1. In the part box, choose the section with the X, O, filled triangle, and filled oval.
  2. Click the X
  3. Pencil-click the note

Hope this helps.


Recipe: Chas’s Microwaved Yam Surprise

February 3, 2018

Made this on the fly this morning from some farmers’ market items and stuff I had around, and it worked! Micromanaged instructions are aimed at me; please don’t be insulted and feel free to adjust to your needs.

Keep reading Chas’s Microwaved Yam Surprise

I am They as You are They

December 5, 2017

My use of “they” over “he” or “she” has greatly increased over these last few years.

I use “they” when I don’t know the gender of the person or when the gender of the person is irrelevant.

Read more I am They as You are They

This is Not a Pipe, 2017 Version

September 20, 2017

Select all images with pipes. If there are note, click Skip. Five drawings of pipes. A Skip button.

This is not a reCaptcha

Continue reading This is Not a Pipe, 2017 Version

Processing “Do Black Lives Matter at Your Theatre? In Your Films?” by Bitter Gertrude

June 25, 2017

Melissa Hillman’s post came just in time for me to see Brownsville Song (B-Side for Tray) by Kimber Lee at Shotgun Players. It’s great to know that at Shotgun, the answer is yes, both in front of and behind the stage. At Marin Theatre Company as well, where they regularly do more than one show by playwrights of color each season. And not waiting for February (Black History Month) to do it.

(And shout-outs of course to the theatres of color that regularly put this work on stage: African-American Shakespeare; Lorraine Hansberry; Gritty City Rep; Lower Bottom Playaz, who I haven’t seen yet; and others. Still, it’s important these narratives make it into the mainstream.)

And as a playwright, I regularly examine the stories I’m putting into the world for the kind of bias and images Melissa Hillman discusses.  I haven’t written a specifically Black full-length play yet – I do have one in mind – I did write a ten-minute #BlackLivesMatter play, Off the Grid, for Playwright Center of San Francisco’s 24-Hour Play Fest when God and math “randomly” gifted me with a cast consisting of a Black woman, a Black man, a Latino man, and a White woman during a hunger-strike protest in San Francisco over a police shooting of an unarmed man of color. My full-length My Visit to America attempts to unpack the persistence of racial prejudice in our world and the consequences of our inability to eradicate it.

As I write this on LGBTQ Pride Day here in San Francisco, I’m reminded that the huge shift in our rights in recent years is at least partly due to the big shift in how we LGBTQs are being portrayed in films and television. When I was first coming out, there was always a gay character who killed themselves or was killed by someone else. I believe that mold was broken in the mainstream by the film Making Love (and on TV by Consenting Adult). Now, it’s typical.

I also remember when police and LGBTQs were not friends. (Not saying they are everywhere, but if there can be a small-town lesbian police chief, that’s a big shift.) If we can change this narrative for LGBTQs, we can change this narrative for people of color.

Media can help make that shift, and it is one piece that is in our power.

Happy Pride!

Here is Melissa Hillman’s post:

I had intended to write about the Philando Castile verdict. Philando Castile was murdered because an officer claims he believed Castile was reaching for his gun when he was reaching for his ID as instructed. That officer walked free. Had Castile been white, I believe that officer would have heard and believed him when he said […]

via Do Black Lives Matter at Your Theatre? In Your Films? — Bitter Gertrude

Julius Caesar: Suddenly Controversial — Bitter Gertrude

June 13, 2017

*sigh* Will there be any airline left for me to fly with?

The Public Theatre is staging Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as part of its annual Shakespeare in the Park, and hauling out that most overdone of concepts: Julius Caesar is POTUS! They’re all in suits! It’s AMERICA! This is exactly why I never directed Julius Caesar— it’s just about the only approach that makes sense in modern America, […]

via Julius Caesar: Suddenly Controversial — Bitter Gertrude

Theatre Resistance Plan, 2017 – 2020

January 19, 2017

Theatre during the next four years – read this!

Bitter Gertrude

There is no more powerful tool for changing ideas, shifting cultural zeitgeist, and resisting authoritarianism than art. While theatre is not the biggest bat artists wield, our impact on the culture is not nil, especially if you include community theatre and school plays, and we must. Resistance to the Trump regime is the most crucial political battle of our lifetimes because this regime– and the zeitgesit behind it– stands to undo progress in every area of our society. Trump, Pence, McConnell, Ryan et al are actively seeking to impoverish you to enrich themselves, roll back every civil rights and workers’ rights gain of the past 100 years,  eliminate every consumer protection, eliminate the social safety net, and pretend you begged them to do it. It’s telling that the very first appointee of the incoming administration was an amoral white nationalist, and the very first act of the new Congress was…

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In For a Penny: Bum-rush the Show!

December 19, 2016

Playwrights, we need audiences like this at our readings.

Reblogged on

Source: In For a Penny: Bum-rush the Show!

Academia, Love Me Back

October 30, 2016

Latina scholar gets called out for alleged plagiarism in front of class by prof for using the word “Hence”. Totally unprofessional behavior (even if the charge were true) gets magnified by years of microaggression.

Not that she needs my approval – she doesn’t – but her writing ability is clear from her blog post.


My name is Tiffany Martínez. As a McNair Fellow and student scholar, I’ve presented at national conferences in San Francisco, San Diego, and Miami. I have crafted a critical reflection piece that was published in a peer-reviewed journal managed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Higher Education and Council for Opportunity in Education. I have consistently juggled at least two jobs and maintained the status of a full-time student and Dean’s list recipient since my first year at Suffolk University. I have used this past summer to supervise a teen girls empower program and craft a thirty page intensive research project funded by the federal government. As a first generation college student, first generation U.S. citizen, and aspiring professor I have confronted a number of obstacles in order to earn every accomplishment and award I have accumulated. In the face of struggle, I have persevered and continuously produced…

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Skipping disliked songs in iTunes

September 25, 2016

I’m a big fan of iTunes, and am growing to love Apple Music. Two things I love about Apple Music is that I can follow my interest in popular music from around the world and can research different musicals to inform the one I’m writing (not to steal, but to learn what works for me and what doesn’t).

Recently, iTunes added the ability to not just flag songs you love but also flag those you dislike. But it didn’t provide a way to skip disliked songs. That bugged me.

Warning: Technospeak ahead.

Continue reading Skipping disliked songs in iTunes

Birth of a Musical

March 13, 2016

I should have known this was coming.

I’ve been writing songs and instrumentals since I was 4 (my first was a song about Tigger that I have the sheet music for around somewhere – my father transcribed it for me), but at some point became dissatisfied with my lyric-writing ability. My straight play Hemlock (it’s a gay play, but versus a musical it’s a straight play) wound up with a song, and has recently picked up a second song, both meant to be a cappella.

Continue reading Birth of a Musical

Theater Around The Bay: Self-Care And The Actor, Part One

February 18, 2015

This has something to say to playwrights as well.

San Francisco Theater Pub

Bay Area actress Ponder Goddard offers up some thoughts for actors on keeping it together in today’s theater world.

The Problem

Actors are the foundation of theater. You can take away the lights, costumes, sets, you can even go Original Practices on Cymbeline’s ass and take away the director– but you cannot remove the actor or the audience and still have what we think of, know and love as theater.

Actors are necessary, actors are fundamental, if we want theater we need actors.  If we want bold, brave, exciting, moving theater we need bold, brave, risk-taking and vulnerable actors. An actor’s ability to show up and be seen, to be truly wholehearted and vulnerable in their craft and in their lives, is entirely undermined when they are perpetually struggling for a sense of self-worth and worthiness. The systems of production around us make that struggle for worthiness endemic to the actor’s…

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The Most Important Thing in Theatre You’re Not Talking About

December 3, 2014

If you love theatre, read this.

Bitter Gertrude

There’s a massive disconnect between theatre intelligentsia– bloggers like me– and what’s actually happening on the ground.

Theatre writers have been doing an excellent job drawing attention to issues of inclusion and diversity, issues of copyright and contract law and copyright/contract violation, issues of audience demographics, issues of access to arts education, issues of season selection, issues of censorship, especially in schools. Those are crucial, vital, important issues about which we need to continue to write. I have no plans to stop writing about any of those, nor do I expect (or want) anyone else to stop.

But we’re all avoiding the elephant in the room, probably because it’s simple, and boring, and all too painfully obvious.


Nonprofit theatres all over the country are in trouble. While larger theatres are doing better than they were during the recession, a jaw-dropping amount of small, indie theatres and even…

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The Performance of Protest vs The Performance of Excusing Apathy

November 29, 2014

Thinking about American Indian (his term) Vine Deloria’s book We Talk, You Listen, which, among other things, discusses Marshall McLuhan’s theories as they apply to the Civil Rights movement. The message gets lost in the image. The image becomes the message.

How do we get the media to show all of the images? What role does the need to sell papers/get ratings play in choosing which images get shown?

Bitter Gertrude

Once upon a time I met an actor with mental health issues. Just . . . save that joke for later; I’m serious times right now. He told me that the Korean government was trying to kill him because of his political street theatre. When I tell this story, it never fails to get a laugh. Political street theatre? Harhar. No one cares about political street theatre that much! Harharhar.

In the wake of the failure of the grand jury to indict Darren Wilson, protests have exploded all over the country. The internet has also predictably exploded with people condemning the rioting and looting that have been an unfortunate component of some of the protests. The theatre around this issue is fascinating, and enormously telling.

There have been peaceful protests in Ferguson (and elsewhere) literally every single day since Michael Brown was killed. Here are some shots:

Ferguson, August 11. Photo by Robert Cohen, AP. Ferguson, August…

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