Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Casting Director's Notebook: Eve Pomerance on Mysteries of 911

               
Mysteries of 9/11:

The Casting Director's Notebook

by Eve Pomerance
castingbyeve.com


I have always wanted to cast something for New Dramatists, so it was a big honor to get to work on two readings, "Bronze Star" and "Blanket of Dust." The material really spoke to me. Somehow with a Trump Presidency, I felt more open to this subject matter. Questioning 9/11, and looking at the US's own role, actually felt like within realm of possibility, rather than a wacko conspiracy theory.

The two plays were very well written, which also was an incentive to want to help. I found myself filled with passion fueled by the recent election, which helped in my pitches to actors, who like myself, felt they were in the dark when it came to a completely different take on 9/11.

The first people to sign on were Johnny Ventimiglia, well known for his work on Sopranos and BlueBloods. Then came Brandy Burre from The Wire, which I felt was a really good fit for Diana, the lead in Richard Squires play, Blanket of Dust. I called Lynn Cohen from Hunger Games and told her what the story was, and she said she would like to read the script. The same thing applied to Jake Robinson, who had starred in American Odyssey. Within 24 hours, they had signed up to do it.

The truth about casting a great cast is that it is all about the material. Everyone knows there isn't any money, so they have to love the material.

In the cast of "Blanket" and "Bronze Star," we had excellent writing, with an original take on an important historical event. The 9/11 tragedy to me is personal. I volunteered on the pile and my story was included in Sarah Tuft's seminal play, "110 Stories." So for me to take on these readings required me to rethink my own life and what I had tried to make sense of, at the time. I had stood on the pile of dust, looking for human remains, while handing out masks and water.

The experience of the reading itself was also a surprise. What is an unknown is how much preparation and commitment the actors will have on the day. What was immediately apparent when we did the read-though was how well prepared they all were. A couple of them were close to off-book. Giacomo Rocchini, whom I had auditioned the previous week for another play, had managed to not only learn his lines but also researched Arabic words to ad lib, to bring color to his performance. Even though he is Italian/Persian, his performance managed to convince everyone that he was Saudi. He was so real.

Sean Haberle who is one of my favorite actors in the world because his humanity shines through, no matter if he is a corrupt and cantankerous king, or a desperate dentist trying to get investors for his new toothpaste. Sean was playing Dr. David Graham, a real person who actually met with the bombers, got tapes, handed them over to the 9/11 Commission and died of a mysterious poisoning a little while later.

Kevin Sebastian, who is a total chameleon, was nothing short of extraordinary as the head of the 9/11 Commission. He  took on a speech defect which was true to the real character and you could see his false civility – his Philip Zelikow was highly educated and knew his place in the world: an entitled man who was unstoppable.

Nail Said was also a surprise as was Thomas Hildreth. They both delivered characters that were fully fleshed out. Given that they only had a few scenes, their words resonated.  Thomas was believable as a suit who toed the line.

Johnny Ventimiglia's performance was for me one of the high points. He was mostly off book and took the audience by storm, asking them to join in, as he rapped out a political poem that was nothing short of heart-stopping. In that moment, the reading crossed over into staged theater. Everyone was engaged and completely open to the message that was being delivered. It was not as easy message, and not something most people wanted to hear. However the combination of poetry, humor and great dramatic sequences kept the audience on a roller-coaster till the very end. 

There are also casting miracles which occur only when you have good friendships with Actors: Marc Duret who is been is been a fan of from his work with Luc Bessons movies "la femme Nikita" and
Marc Duret
"the big blue" popped  into my brain to be an FBI guy.  I emailed him to tell him about the reading and said if he happened to be in nyc that part would be his. He lived in Paris so a long shot at best.  Sometimes making the request is enough. Thank you Marc.

Michael Tomlinson was another great addition. A former client of mine from ICM in london. He has a power emotionally and vocally which is undeniable. Having starred with people like Fiona Shaw, this guys is a worthy adversary and perfect for the dominating senator who leads his radical son to set fire to himself.

Tom Paolino who has a face like jack Nicholson and a playfulness to go with it was the only person who could play Jim the D.C. Lawyer, professional bully and wordsmith.

Ronald Cohen was also a surprise I did not know his work but I knew him as I was friends with both him and his wife. He was a real standout as Senator Crane. 

 
For the final act, we had the actors stand up and read a poem, which following in the footsteps of the readings. Les Jamieson's “Masters of Plunder” felt almost like a memorandum that summed up all of the points made in both plays.

I was very happy to have taken part in the readings and have been thanked by all of the actors who took part. They all loved the experience of playing those roles and being mouthpieces for such controversial truths. In the end the credit goes to Richard Squires and Sander Hicks for delivering such exquisite pieces of drama that engaged the audience from beginning to end. I truly look forward to hearing more from both writers.





-Eve Pomerance
Casting Director
More Info:

castingbyeve.com


 

Read More! Richard Squires reviews the "Mysteries of 9/11" event, here



   

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The High Drama of 9/11 Mysteries!


The High Drama of 9/11 Mysteries


Truth Action Project Assembles an All Star Cast for a Night of Staged Readings at New Dramatists, NYC

by Richard Squires


The invitation headline read: The Mysteries of 9/11: An evening of performance, poetry, and improv on America’s #1 taboo topic. The readings were presented on February 16th, 2017 at New Dramatists, the famous play development center near Times Square, in partnership with New York City’s Truth Action Project. Sander Hicks—an alumnus of New Dramatists and a principal coordinator for Truth Action Project—was the moderator as well as the guiding force behind the evening’s events.


Founded in 1949 by Michaela O’Harra, New Dramatists is one of the country’s leading playwright centers and a nationally recognized new play laboratory. In the 65 years since its
founding, 600 new dramatists have passed through its doors, creating work that has laid the foundation for contemporary American dramatic literature. Current playwrights and alumni have won 19 Pulitzers, including 5 of the last 9 prizes.

The response to the invitation was so enthusiastic that the event was moved from the reading studio to the main stage of New Dramatists, where it attracted a capacity crowd of 90 people. Part of the excitement was due to the superb quality of the cast, which included Brandy Burre, star of The Wire; John Ventimiglia, The Sopranos; Lynn Cohen, The Hunger Games; Marc Duret, The Borgias; Jake Robinson, American Odyssey; and Kevin Sebastian, Blue Bloods, to name a few, all assembled by casting director Eve Pomerance. 

But something else was in the air as well. The political mood in America is desperate; people
see the direct line between 9/11 and the current administration. The fog of propaganda that seduced the public into a state of willful and contemptuous ignorance is dissolving to reveal the painful truth.

The evening began with a forty minute reading of seven selected scenes from the completed playA Blanket of Dust, by Richard Squires. When the daughter of a US Senator loses her husband in the World Trade Center, and she investigates the
reason for his murder, she finds herself at war with the United States. Brandy Burre read
the protagonist Diana Crane, with John Ventimiglia as her partner, Andrew Black. Burre’s performance—even in a reading—brought members of the audience to the verge of tears.

After a brief intermission four scenes were read from Bronze Star, a work in progress by Sander Hicks. Bronze Star explores the suspicious death of whistle-blower Dr. David Graham of Shreveport, LA, who fruitlessly warned the FBI about his contacts with two of the 9/11 hijackers, ten months before the actual event. Giacomo Rocchini and Kevin Sebastian gave particularly strong readings as the snarky, comic Arab operator Mohamed Jamal Khan and the devious neocon, 9/11 Commission Director Philip Zelikow. 

The readings concluded with a group performance of Les Jamison’s epic poem, Masters of Plunder. A question and answer session with Hicks and Squires followed, moderated by the evening's excellent director Mahayana Landowne, followed by a lively reception that was still in full swing when the building closed an hour afterwards.


Given the general hostility toward any public discussion of the issues of 9/11, New Dramatists and Playwright’s Lab director John Steber should be praised for acting as though the exercise of free political speech is the most natural thing in the world.
And the evening proved, to this writer at least, that the performing arts can and should play a role in the debate. The forensic evidence that’s been amassed over the past 16 years and disseminated through articles, conferences, books and documentaries has built an overwhelming factual case for the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center, which the establishment can only counter with evasion and increasingly ludicrous deception. Turning such knowledge into widespread, actionable belief is arguably best achieved by the arts. Oliver Stone’s film JFK transformed the debate in this country on that state crime against democracy. Theatre and feature films should play a similar role in the quest to bring the crimes of 9/11 into court.

Sander Hicks, and Richard Squires: Producers, Writers, Activists.
For More Information: Email Sander Hicks, Producer. 

 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Zen punk funeral/memorial for Leonard Cohen, today







Leonard Cohen passed away yesterday. His songs meant a lot to me. And to everyone I worked with; when we heard the news, we stopped what we were doing (building a loft bed,) and we went around the room and we each quoted to each other a favorite bit of one of his great songs.

I want to put together an informal Zen punk funeral/memorial for Leonard Cohen, today Saturday, at 2 PM  in Tompkins Square Park, NYC, in the center, where the stage goes. We are just gonna show up there with guitars & lyrics & iPhone and invite people to come and play and sing Leonard Cohen songs. Make a big sing-along. Want to join me?

We will sing all of your favorite Leonard Cohen works. If you can, please print and bring lyrics and chords. Please bring a candle, if you can. I will set up an altar. I will bring his picture. We will chant the Heart Sutra together, as a way to celebrate his life, his passage, our unity. 

My old friend Sam from The Mooney Suzuki is also interested in coming. Other indie music anti-stars and alternative Cohenite poets will also appear. Please come.







Monday, October 24, 2016

Next Meeting of NYC Truth Action Project - 7 PM - 11/11/16 at 6th Street Community Center

We had a great meeting of the NYC Truth Action Project, last week. Below are the minutes.

Some inspirational quotes from us here.

Please come to our next meeting: 11/11/16, 7-9 PM, at 6th Street Community Center.

 Minutes of the Monthly Meeting of Truth Action Project, NYC Area Meeting


Coordinated by Sander Hicks

Present: 21 Activists - a  24% Growth in Attendance from Last Meeting.


Intro:


We had a very positive meeting. We have officially formed four separate Action Teams, to do focused work, that is results oriented. I am so grateful to everyone who came to this meeting. Many other activists are on the email list, and were not able to come, but will try to make the next meeting, (Nov. 11, Friday, Location probably the same, to be announced.)

We started and finished the meeting with a brief meditation, in the name of peace and light.

Notes from Round Robin Shares:


“Inverted Totalitarianism” by Sheldon Wolin was a book and concept mentioned by Joel Simpson. This is what we are dealing with.  Read up on it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism


“We scare because we care” was the Disney movie slogan for Monsters, Inc. Came out right after 9/11. Fern noted this.

Sander suggested everyone watch the YouTube that Richard Squires made - “Kangaroo Court.”

Tony Esper is an IT consultant - wants to give our website some love.

Ross Muir: Suggested “Strap-hangers for 9/11 Truth” doing outreach (and maybe fund-raising) on the subways. (My contribution to this idea is to suggest a printed brochure - small, hand-held. My company just printed 25,000 units of a full color, 10 page, 4x6”, accordion fold-out, for less than $1,300. Once we have some money together, we could print something like this, and have something to give to people, to explain “We Why Care” and invite people to join, and contribute….)

Ground Zero Outreach: Charlie and Scott are doing outreach at Ground Zero, from 3-5 PM down near the Port Authority Station. John M. visited them. We should continue to support them, and invite them to come to our next meeting. John, do you have their contact info?

Formation of Arts Action Team:


Arts Action Team:

Tony Esper
Richard Squires
Ross Muir
John Migletti
Joel Simpson
Sander Hicks

Who else wants to join? I will create a separate Google Group for this Action Team….


Legal Work Action Team


The legal team reported they are still assembling a “packet of evidence.” We brainstormed about how to best contribute to the creation of a formal fund-raising mechanism for Truth Action Project. Jerry mentioned the $50K raised by the professional fund-raiser for Gloria Mattera’s old political campaign, for Brooklyn Borough President. Also JK mentioned the name “Ivana Edwards.”

In other states, a legal petition to the DA has to result in a Grand Jury, but not in NY.

Is the DA elected? Yes they are.

When is the term up? It coincides with the Mayor’s term in NYC.

More on Cyrus Vance, Jr, current DA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_Vance_Jr.
My talking points are: he worked for Gary Hart, as a young person, and he’s opposed to the death penalty. RFK Jr. endorsed him.
I believe that Bill Jacoby told me that someone DID contact Cy Vance at one point, about WTC 7 is that right?

His next race for re-election will culminate at the polls Nov. 7, 2017.



A primary challenge would be a great way to get this issue into the public sphere. We need an attorney to be a candidate.


--


Not sure who said this but I have in my notes “we need to build a coalition. How to do it? Make this an Action Item.”

David said: Clarify the legal limits of a 501 ©(3)’s political activism. What can we do and not do? “We need a new way of thinking.”

David talked about a “heaven on earth” quotation from Buckminster Fuller - I couldn’t find those, but I did find these two:

BuckyFullerQuoteFinalExamination.jpg

BuckyFullerQuoteWarIsObsolete.jpg


Tony suggested we treat TAP as a start-up. What is our mission statement? Objectives? Strategic Plan? (Bill J. later said TAP has one but it needs to be shared.)

How will this non-profit be run? Who is in charge of branding and identity? Logo?
Create sub-groups and define goals for each of them (this is great and each Action Team should do this.) Use a white board  - FOCUS on structure. Who is our target audience to reach with our message?

Rebecca S. said that we have a “culture in denial” - this is acceptable.

Mitchell Cohen - “why not use the U.N.?” there are seats there for NGOs (non governmental organizations) - let’s form a new Action Team on this (done, see below)- Mitchell suggested we use the projector that Occupy used. Put out a “why we care” brochure.

Eric Rassi - “Each action team can be autonomous” - no one needs to agree with every single other thing the other action teams are doing….(i.e. Not everyone one has to believe in the electoral politics stuff).  We must go after what is “most feared” by the upper class - “losing control of their political monopoly.” We need to strategize. Electoral politics and entering campaigns would be a “educational bonanza.”


Lucy: at the UN there are “Special Rapoteurs” - maybe we could get one for 9/11.

Special Rapporteurs often conduct fact-finding missions to countries to investigate allegations of human rights violations. They can only visit countries that have agreed to invite them.
Aside from fact-finding missions, Rapporteurs regularly assess and verify complaints from alleged victims of human rights violations. Once a complaint is verified as legitimate, an urgent letter or appeal is sent to the government that has allegedly committed the violation. If no complaint has been made, Rapporteurs may intervene on behalf of individuals and groups of people of their own accord.





Bill Jacoby: “let’s go from 20 to 200” people

Sati: what about The Hague?

Henry: Let’s do a literature table at the Left Forum, and on campuses

Ross - get a psychologist to join the group

SIGN UPS for the ELECTORAL POLITICAL ACTION TEAM:
Sati
Sander
Carl Person
Eric Rassi
(Matt Mills?)

UN OUTREACH ACTION TEAM:
Lucy
Sander

WEBSITE ACTION TEAM:
Joel
Tony
Sati

Action Team Groups should meet in a week or two, and create their own goals and actions. Report back to the main group at next meeting.

Sander will help create Google Group email lists for each action team, coming later tonight.

Next Meeting: 11/11/16

7-9 PM at 6th Street Community Center

Thursday, October 13, 2016

9/11 VOTING BLOC?

What are you doing tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 14, 7-9 PM?
We are doing a meeting of the Truth Action Project, the new group birthed by AE911 Truth - and we have a pretty good head of steam, after our big conference at Cooper Union at the Annivesary. 
 
The new legal avenues open to us are pretty significant, in light of the 28 Pages release, and JASTA. Here's my full report on the two day conference and the testimony and hearings we heard:
https://www.911tap.org/557-news-releases/655-9-11-movement-presents-evidence-for-a-legal-case

Our meeting tomorrow is at 6th Street Community Center. 7-9 PM. 638 E. 6th St NYC.
We are talking about launching a new project, and I specifically want to discuss it with the group - the possibility of creating a "voting block" that could have the option to branch out and create a new third party/coalition.
It might be the "9/11 Party" or the "Truth Party" or something like that. I will be doing an interview on YouTube with candidate and attorney Carl E. Person on this topic, very soon! Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Guest Blogger: Rep. Cynthia McKinney

INTRO by Sander Hicks:


The anti-Free Speech spirit of this editorial in Bloomberg is alarming: Writer Jonathan Bernstein attacks Howard Dean for suggesting that Trump was coked up at the debate. I actually had the same suspicion, and so did author Daniel Hopsicker, who posted in on Twitter that night. How else to explain Trump's sputtering and megalomania? It was extreme, even for Donald. 

But to call on Hillary Clinton to denounce Dean for making this observation is just unnecessary. The spirit of the First Amendment is to allow a diversity of opinions, and the "truth will win out" as Milton said in Areopagitica.

Bernstein suffers from an acute sense of Conspiracy-Phobia. He's in denial that great people like Rep. Cynthia McKinney and Rep. Alan Grayson have something important to say. So, he gloats in their political defeats and holds up their silencing as the new standard for Democratic Party behavior.  But let me remind you that Alan Grayson alone, as a member of Congress, had the courage to levy hard questions at Fed Reserve officials after the meltdown of 2008. (They make for educational, and very entertaining viewing on YouTube here and here.)

Then there's the defamatory swipe that Bernstein makes at former Representative Cynthia McKinney. McKinney, in a similar way, had the courage, to confront the negligent Donald Rumsfeld, about missing trillions at the Pentagon budget, defense contractor DynCorps involvement in child prostitution, and the mysterious "war games" on 9/11 which distracted normal air defenses.

As you can see from these videos, these instances were not about "peddling conspiracy theories" but were sourced, professional, and severe for Rumsfeld and Richard Myers.

Here is Cynthia McKinney in her own words, responding to Bernstein, today. 

Bloomberg refused to publish this, so I would like to do my part, in a small way, by welcoming McKinney today as a guest blogger:



Truth Foretold, Specious Journalism, And Spurious Assertions:
The Case of Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg View, and The Charlotte Observer

While it is true that I was “booted” by pro-war Democrats who worked in concert with like-minded Republicans, your assertion of my being booted for “peddling conspiracies” deserves a deeper look.  My booting, by the way, resulted in the GOP takeover of my home State of Georgia, an outcome that seemingly makes both pro-war Democrats and Republicans (now called “globalists”) comfortable.  Therefore, I want to take a deeper look at what I did “peddle:”

1.  That Presidential candidate George W. Bush worked with his Florida Governor brother, Jeb, to orchestrate election theft in the 2000 Presidential election. Now that the public has caught up with the facts that I put on the table in 2000 and 2001 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdPhXuTzQeI), this position is supported by evidence that is available to all;
2.  That President George W. Bush received warnings about an impending attack on the US (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/11/cia-directors-documentary-911-bush-213353) and actively blocked an investigation (http://edition.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/01/29/inv.terror.probe/) into the September 11, 2001 attacks.  Now that the public has caught up with the facts that I put on the table in 2001, this position is supported by evidence that is available to all;
3.  That the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (https://www.vcf.gov/faq.html) was really set up to thwart 9/11 wrongful death lawsuits because it prevented victims’ survivors from getting justice in US Courts; I felt that victims and victims’ survivors should be able to sue the culprits as well as receive support from the Fund.  The President recently vetoed legislation that would allow lawsuits to move forward against Saudi Arabia and Congress just overrode his veto.  Fourteen years later, I am pleased that, once again, my position has been supported by evidence that has been clearly available to all for at least a decade;
4.  That the US was not justified in attacking Iraq in 2003.  The most thorough investigation into the 2003 decision to go to war against Iraq is the Chilcot Report (http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/the-report/) which found that war was not the last option and that U.S. allegations of Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq were not justified.  Now that the public has caught up with the facts that I put on the table in 2002, this position is supported by evidence that is available to all;
5.  That the then-Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, failed to perform his job during Hurricane Katrina and that thousands needlessly died because he failed the Gulf States and the country.  After joining with Republicans and writing a Congressional Report on the subject that is available to the public (www.nola.com/katrina/pdf/mainreport.pdf), my position is supported by evidence that is available to all;
6.  That a specific allegation had been made to my Congressional Office that thousands of bodies had been dumped in Louisiana swamps after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Now, we know that 9/11 human remains were dumped in a landfill (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/us/panel-recommends-more-oversight-and-training-at-dover-mortuary.html?_r=0) with such action having been deemed “dereliction of duty,” so who has conducted an independent investigation into what happened in Louisiana, in particular, with respect to body disposal?
7.  That racism exists in Capitol Hill Police Department similar to what exists in other police departments around the U.S. and that I was a victim of that discrimination after I supported a lawsuit filed by Black police officers after one of their superior officers used the word “nigger.”  Black police officers have been waiting fifteen years for justice and recently held a demonstration in support of their claim (http://www.rollcall.com/news/policy/former-capitol-police-call-attention-discrimination-lawsuits).  One need only hear the moving testimony of the U.S. Senate’s lone Black GOP Member and his interactions with the Capitol Hill Police (http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/floor-speeches/tim-scott-black-republican-emotional-powerful-dramatic-race-speech-targeted-capitol-police) to understand that my experience was surely possible.  Now, again—after the fact— that the public has caught up with the evidence that I put on the table in 2006, my position is supported by evidence that is available to all, sadly now most of all, the family of Keith Lamont Scott and all of those young people who were just recently in Charlotte’s streets.

If only the press had decided to investigate my assertions rather than castigate me for making them!  Maybe things would be far different than they are today in Iraq, Libya, Louisiana, and elsewhere.  But, instead of investigation of the inconvenient or unpleasant facts that I repeatedly put on the table, the response was a frenzy of specious journalism and spurious assertions where true journalism was needed.  Your column, with mention of my name, is an example of that.  Such “reporting” is precisely why Trump’s attacks on the media resonate so well with the American and global public.  The polling data on the public perception of the U.S. media is a damning indictment of the role the media has played in this country for too many years.  That is why the U.S. public more and more now seeks its information from foreign media outlets, the internet, “alternative” media, and less and less from “newspapers” like yours.

Cynthia McKinney, Ph.D.

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|    __o     CONTINENTAL CRITICAL MASS   
|  _`\;,_               come ride with me
| (*)/ (*)
|                  Bike4Peace Across the USA                   
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http://claritypress.com/McKinneyII.html
http://www.claritypress.com/McKinney.html
https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaMcKinneyOfficial
http://www.allthingscynthiamckinney.com/CynthiaSpeaks

Silence is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction.  OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING!

"My weapon is media, lectures, protest, organization."  Kenneth S. Carr (Dedon Kamathi)

“It’s organized crime. All you do is you call the Republicans the Genoveses and you call the Democrats the Gambinos. The people at the top, they treat it like a crap game. It’s their crap game, like they’re making lots of money. Occasionally, somebody at the table shoots each other, but the moment anything threatens their crap game, they all unite to protect it. ... They’re both controlled by the same financial, economic and corporate interests.” -Michael C. Ruppert (excerpted from the film America Freedom to Fascism)

"We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values."  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The biggest weapon in the hands of the oppressors is the minds of the oppressed." Steve Biko

"Make your spirit flexible, and nothing will ever bend you out of shape."  Wisdom by Taro Gold