Are you a theater enthusiast, an experienced playwright, or a talented performer looking for recognition?
The Obie Awards is the perfect stage for both novice and seasoned artists. Thanks to a collaboration between The Village Voice and the American Theatre Wing, the Obie Awards celebrate the highest calibre of off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway theater to honor progressive work, support groundbreaking ideas and advance theatrical careers. The event is held every year in New York City, and prizes are given out for outstanding acting and performance, design/music, direction, playwriting, and special citations. Obie accepts applications from competent individuals regardless of where they live. The awards are given to encourage and recognize original performances, as well as to nurture and grow talents. The Obie Awards have given recognition to some of the most well-known playwrights and artists, such as Heidi Schreck, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Benj Pasek. For many years, the Obie awards were thought to be reserved for formal presentations. However, the awards were made informal to provide limitless opportunities for individuals worthy of recognition.
Most Obie Award winners received training at the actor’s studio, through moderated sessions, workshops, and readings. The Actor’s Studio is an important platform to foster creativity. It is an NGO whose members have been influential in many American theaters since World War II. It is one of the best training facilities for the Stanislavsky Method of Acting. The Method, developed by the organization’s founding artistic director Lee Strasberg, is a set of methods and exercises that revolutionized acting across the globe. Artists are encouraged to use their memory and emotional experience to prepare for a significant role. The place offers a conducive environment where actors collaborate without the pressure of commercial agents. Professional actors, directors, and playwrights can improve their craft and discover the range and depth of their talent with the aid of The Actors Studio.
10 Foreign Films with the Most Unforgettable Love Stories
By Roberta Seret, PhD
I have two loves – literature and film. The most powerful love stories jump off the pages or off the screen, narrating different types of love turmoil, journeying through danger and obstacles to find love. The best love stories occur when love triumphs over evil.
In the past twenty years, I have taught film through my NGO at the United Nations and at New York University. It is a love story that captures my students the most. Their 10 favorite love stories in foreign films deceit different ways of loving, but they all try to overcome these obstacles to find it. Although they may not always get their happy ending, it’s always worth the risk:
1. JOJO RABBIT – (New Zealand) 2019, director Taika Waititi. During World War ll, ten-year-old Jojo is being brainwashed as a Hitler Youth. Strangely, his mother allows this, for it is her only way to protect him. We see how deeply a mother loves her son as she prepares him to be independent. Simultaneously, the director expresses his love for the future of children to do what’s right.
2. HONEYLAND– (Republic of Northern Macedonia) 2019, directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary and Best Feature Film, this story recreates a Paradise Lost and its destruction by a greedy man. Love for beauty and nature, and the desire to recapture it, is represented by honey – becoming extinct – and man’s inhumanity to lose it.
3. NEVER LOOK AWAY – (Germany) 2018, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Based on the life of the famous painter, Gerhard Richter, the director recreates the artist’s search for Truth. It is only through love for Art that the artist can find peace. It is this tumultuous search that pushes him/her to create.
4. CAPERNAUM – (Lebanon) 2018, director Nadine Labaki. Lost children, abandoned, hungry, and forced to go against their conscience, are victims of war-torn Lebanon and Syria. The director opens her heart by using her hand-held camera to capture how children suffer in their struggle to survive. It is through her love for these children that we understand and want to help.
5. FACES PLACES – (France) 2017, directors Agnes Varda and JR. At 89-years-old and one year before her death, famed filmmaker, Agnes Varda embarks on a road trip to show her appreciation to the people of France. As a token of her deep love, she offers them a new type of art – photos of themselves – while she is making a film of their acceptance. Photography mixes with cinematography, the moving image fuses with still art, to show the director’s love for people and give them Art.
6. LION – (India/ Australia) 2016, director Garth Davis. The true story of 5-year-old Saroo, who gets lost on a train in India and cannot communicate in a different dialect to return home. He is placed in an orphanage and adopted by a couple from Tasmania, Australia. Twenty-five years later, his obsession to find his biological mother is proof of his filial love.
7. TONI ERDMANN – (Germany / Romania) 2016, director Maren Ade. A father loves his ambitious, modern daughter and wants to help her understand what happiness and love are. But the generational gap proves to be stronger than his quest. Despite his struggles and sacrifices, she answers when she sings Whitney Houston’s song, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”
8. PHOENIX – (Germany) 2014, director Christian Petzold. Nelly survives World War II because she is obsessed at Auschwitz to be loved again by the man she loves. She does return to him but disfigured, and he does not recognize her. Deceitfully, he schemes to help her survive the traumas of her past. But as she learns the truth, will her love forgive him?
9. IDA– (Poland) 2013, director Pawel Pawlikowski. Ida embarks on a spiritual journey to choose between a life of love and family, or God and religion. As she voyages toward the answer, she learns about her history and what the material world can offer. But she keeps repeating, “And then?” She realizes it is love for God and the spirit that can offer her the truest love.
10. CASABLANCA– (USA/ Morocco) 1942, director Michael Curtiz. This is the best love story of all. For those who will see this film for the first time, I am jealous. This is an American movie made in Morocco with an anti-Hollywood ending. It shows and answers what is true love? What we see on the screen is a love that hurts – for all of us. And yet, love must be experienced, and this film must be seen!
Roberta Seret, Ph.D., is the director of Advanced English and Film at the United Nations for the Hospitality Committee and Founder of the NGO at the United Nations, International Cinema Education. She is the author of the Transylvanian Trilogy, with Love Odyssey releasing March 23, 2021. Visit her website for more information.
Art is generally connected to creativity and original work. The ability to design something that has not been seen before is the driving force behind most artistic minds. Unfortunately, some people choose to take advantage of the creativity of others rather than come up with their own content.
To make matters worse, these people also fail to give credit where it’s due, instead trying to pass these reproductions off as their own. Plagiarism has become a growing problem in the pop art world, with many emerging artists having their work stolen by others looking to make a quick buck. Some of the more scandalous incidents that have happened in this genre include:
Andy Warhol vs. Patricia Caulfield
Andy Warhol is considered one of the founding fathers of pop art culture. His works offered new forms of expression that connected art with the advertisement industry and celebrity culture. Because of his prominent position in the industry, the discovery of his plagiarism came as a shock to the world.
In 1964, the artist released a new series known as “Flowers,” which took the industry by storm. The work consisted of a beautiful floral design printed on various silkscreens. It was soon discovered, however, that instead of creating an original portrait of flowers,
Warhol had used a photograph by artist Patricia Caulfield –which had been published in a 1964 issue of Modern Photography. This shortcut led to Warhol’s first lawsuit, as Patricia lodged an official complaint in 1966. Any such situation leads to disgrace and as a student, you are also recommended professional plagiarism checker for students in the UK. It ensures 100% unique work and this instills confidence in you that you are writing plagiarism-free and then submit the academic work.
Zara vs. Tuesday Bassen
In 2016, Zara, a prominent fast-fashion retail brand from Spain, clashed with Los Angeles based independent artist Tuesday Bassen. The dispute arose because of the global brand’s use of the illustrator’s pin designs without her consent.
The designs had been added to a new line of Zara’s products, with Bassen only finding out when her fans contacted her after noticing the similarities. Zara showed no remorse for their actions, refusing to acknowledge any wrongdoing.
The retail brand even pointed out that complaints related to the similarities in design were insignificant compared to the overall traffic that the company attracted. This callous response caused uproar within the artistic community. It also highlighted the struggles endured by independent brands and artists in the industry when going up against big corporations.
Lili Chin vs. Kohl
In 2016, Lili Chin, another independent artist from Los Angeles, filed a complaint against mega retail store Kohl for the use of her work without permission. The lawsuits consisted of copyright infringement and unfair competition charges.
Lili demanded damages that could have reached up to $1 million. The complaint was based on the retailer marketing her drawings of “Boogie the Boston terrier” on socks and t-shirts sold in their stores. The drawings were based on a 2011 poster designed by the illustrator, showing the dog in various poses.
Lili Chin pointed out that she sold similar merchandise with the same designs on them. She also mentioned that part of her proceeds went to dog rescue organizations, with Kohl’s actions reducing the amount of charity she was able to give to this worthy cause. In the end, the two parties settled out of court.
Modern Dog vs. Disney/Target
Another dog-based design was at the forefront of artwork plagiarism in 2013, when Modern Dog sued commercial giants Disney and Target over the use of an image that had featured in one of their books. Unauthorized copies of the picture had been printed on t-shirts and sold by the two major corporations.
The companies’ online plagiarism checker was found at fault when they tried to argue that the illustrations involved fell under a technical rather than creative category. The image in question was a collection of sketches of different small dog faces.
In the summary hearing, the court ruled in favor of the complainant and awarded Modern Dog with broad copyright protection for all 26 drawings.
Forever 21 vs. Valfré
Ilse Valfré is the third Los Angeles-based artist to suffer plagiarism at the hands of a major corporation. In 2016, the Mexican-born designer created a cartoon-based design of a rainbow featuring pastel colors and white puffy clouds. Less than a year later, fashion giant Forever 21 released a similar design.
Both emblems featured matching colors and were branded on the back of iPhone cases. Further investigations by the complainant found that Rue 21, another major retail corporation, had also plagiarized three other designs from Valfré – in the production of their stereo earbuds.
These examples of plagiarism highlight the need for strict regulation policies when it comes to the protection of copyrighted work. Independent artists deserve recognition for their productions, and, unfortunately, some major companies would rather try and plagiarize these designs than pay the artists for their work. Luckily, the growing influence of social media has made it harder for companies to get away with this act.
Judy Nelson works for an NGO based in East Africa, where it runs programs to spread awareness about education for all. She is their lead content writer and editor and also works part-time as a thesis and dissertation writer for an online academic writing service. In her free time, she plays with her pets, drives to the countryside and learns caricature drawing.
At 22 years old, Isabelle Fries has started to make a name for herself in the music industry. Not only is she gifted in her art, she has an extremely large heart.
Born in Sydney, but raised in Denver, Colorado, Fries found her inclination for singing at a young age. “I knew I wanted music to be a part of my life since I was about 7, but as I got older I was able to recognize that it is a labor of love for me,” she expressed. “I have never searched for fame through my music.”
Not long after, she discovered her heart had room for another love, philanthropy. At just 15 years old, Fries became the first youth board member and youth leader for the Global Livingston Institute (GLI) an NGO in Uganda who’s mission is to educate students & community leaders on innovative approaches to international development and empower awareness, collaboration, conversations and personal growth.
Through working with this organization, Isabelle travelled to Uganda to teach, perform and empower. In 2017, Fries performed in front of 20,000 people in Uganda at the annual iKnow HIV Awareness Concert Series along with other musicians from around the world, using music to breakdown barriers, bring people together and provide free medical testing and awareness for HIV for over 8,500 Ugandans.
“I became a part of GLI when I was 15 and fully threw myself into their mission and their work. It is what opened my eyes to one of my passions I am now pursuing in international education. They really focus on young voices and drawing on perspectives from all types of individuals which is why I was asked to be on the board at such a young age. GLI is truly one of the most important things in my life so I could not be more thankful to be a part of it.”
This wasn’t the only organization Fries carried out philanthropic work with. She volunteered in Haiti with The Road to Hope, an International Affairs Intern with Creative Visions in Malibu, California and a community worker with CEPIA in Costa Rica.
For twelve years, she swam competitively breaking records, winning State Championships and being a leader on her teams until complications from several autoimmune disorders forced her out of the water. This was never a part of her plan, but she was able to alter her life’s path and kept pushing through
“It is not something that I let control my life or hold me back from living. I take care of myself in every way I can and find strength in what I am able to do and learn new ways to improve my way of life,” she expressed.
One of Fries’ missions with both GLI and BCF is to raise awareness for water safety on Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda by teaching swimming to prevent drownings. By working closely with GLI and the headmaster of the Kazi Primary School, Fries has been able to carry out this initiative, as well as implementing academic, music and sports curriculum.
She said that the community of Lake Bunyonyi changed her life by seeing how they are such powerful and driven people. “I don’t go for my own benefit or to be a ‘white savior’ ,” she asserted. “When I work in Uganda, I give the individuals I work with support and resources and they truly do the rest.”
Isabelle was fortunate enough to meet one of her long time role models, Michael Phelps. Fostering a relationship with someone who has shaped her life in so many ways in and out of the water has been such a blessing, says Fries. This lead to her working with the Michael Phelps Foudation (MPF), where she took the opportunity to become certified in their “IM Water Safety Program” which is implemented in The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
When given the opportunity again to combine her music and philanthropy through the MPF, she couldn’t resist. Isabelle was asked to open for country singer, Eric Church, at a MPF benefit concert in Chicago at the iconic Arcada Theater. “Swimming is an incredibly big part of my life as I was a serious competitive swimmer from the ages of 5 to 18, therefor having the chance to combine my music with my love and passion for swimming and water safety was very special and meaningful.”
Now a recent graduate of The University of Southern California, Fries splits her time living between Denver and Los Angeles, continuing to pursue her passions: music and philanthropy, while working in Denver at a non-profit dedicated to mentoring students. Isabelle holds a degree in International Relations with minors in Spanish as well as Non-Profits, Philanthropy and Volunteerism.
While studying at USC, Isabelle was fortunate enough to catch the eye of Grammy-winning, multi-platinum producer/mixer Rob Chiarelli, who she’s fostered an incredibly close relationship with.
She began releasing music signed with Chiarelli’s label Streetlamp records this year, already finding a widespread and loyal audience across all music platforms using her rich, soulful vocal that could be compared to the sound of Lauren Daigle or Adele. She recently released her 6th single, a raw piano ballad called “All We Had. When people listen to her music, Fries always wants to make them truly feel – whatever that feeling may be. Through channeling lyrics with her songwriters from her own life experiences, the emotions she is able to elicit are special to her.
While the music may be interpreted differently for each unique individual, her raw style is something she hopes help guide those listeners on whatever journey they want to take. “I’ve always said, I love music because it lets you feel something you didn’t think you could.”
This is definitely something she mirrors artistically with one of her musical inspirations, Amy Winehouse. Growing up performing jazz music, Fries describes this genre as a big part of her musical identity, so she was instantly drawn to Winehouse’s style which she catalogs as “authentic, raw and groundbreaking. Amy created music unapologetically.”
But Fries’ number one music icon is Sir Elton John. “His music was always around me when I was growing up. My parents loved all music from that time and exposed me to it at a very young age which is one of the reasons it is the type of music I love the most.
However, Elton John’s music was different for me, it felt like poetry and real emotion. His sound and songs are like stories that you never want to end. When I began to listen to him more I realized this is the type of music I want to sing and be a part of.”
Feeling very blessed to have found such a supportive team, guiding her in finally being able to put her own original songs out there into the world, she is excited to evolve using her music to help create change, perform live again, and continue to build upon her body of work. While she’s away in the studio recording, we’ll be out here patiently waiting for more music, while she continues to use her voice to make the world a better place.
Frank Lambert’s soul had hemorrhaged dry long before he volunteered for his present deployment. He just didn’t know it yet.
The battle-hardened surgeon had seen action in Rwanda, Burundi and Chechnya. Some of the bad memories he had suppressed. Others came to him only in nightmares, which he could never quite remember. His service had been one known for faultless, hard work in the operating room and afterwards, hard drinking to keep the demons out. Most recently he had substantially turned himself around — made himself better — at least that’s what he thought.
But life in the civilized world of Boston operating rooms had not been enough for him. He soon needed to feel the rush of adrenalin which propped up his self-identity.
Volunteering with an NGO that operated a forward relief station under NATO protection, he found himself in the middle of the Yugoslavian Civil war of the 90’s. He thought it was a simple mis-understood conflict in Europe — the civilized world after all — what could be horrible about that?
But as the conflict raged around Sarajevo, Frank and his nurse ally, Gwen Pakin, felt isolated from the main conflict. Until the inevitable arrived. The girls and young women who had been raped. Naturally, the two elected to do the procedures to free the girls from the captivity of unwanted pregnancy.
With each of his five daily cases, Frank became mesmerized by the splashing of the red evacuation bottle. Torn between gladness for the life he had restored and sadness for the life he had taken. Each one eating away at another part of his soul.
A cousin of mine, a battlefield trained ex US Navy anesthetist, recently volunteered to work in the ICU at Columbia Presbyterian hospital in Queens NY. Nothing in her training had prepared her for the month she spent there, looking after COVID-19 patients. Loosing an average of six patients per day is not a normal experience in anybody’s books. She told me she managed to suppress the bad parts of her experience.
Which is exactly what Frank had done all his working life. Especially in combat areas where each reparation of a torn human body whether it was by suturing, exploring a bodily cavity, amputation or some other surgical alchemy, was exactly the sort of thing that would result in a non-surgeon being recommended for a long stay in a psychiatric prison. But Frank, entrusted by regulatory authorities and accustomed to the controlled carnage of surgery as he was, had learned how to cope. At first suppressing the memories in a dark corner of his soul. And when the burden became too great, unlike my cousin, he began to self-medicate. At first with a little, but as the painful psychological provocation became too great, with more and more alcohol.
Such is the plight of many first responders, whether civilian, or in the military. If not alcohol, then another substance.
Even though nurse Pakin recognized that Frank was better than on his last deployment, she quickly saw through him, because she had issues herself. A life rocked by personal loss and service in conflict zones, no matter how altruistic, had left her with emotional scars too.
So Frank wasn’t quite able to compartmentalize his new reality. He wasn’t able to separate the liberation of a woman from her rape, from taking the life of her unborn. He knew just as well that the simple procedure would never return the woman’s soul to its rightful place after the tortuous transgression.
Frank found his trigger in the swirling red evacuation bottle on the wall of his makeshift operating room. The bottle that drew him in at the end of every case, one at a time, and separated him one more degree from his freedom, as he developed a new found affinity for a different bottle of liquor.
This type of scenario plays itself out repeatedly in our every day society. There’s no need to go to a war-torn area to meet an antagonist like the dark genocidal Kamenko Hradich, who has all the surface veneers of a gentle family man, until he reaches his breaking point. We know this all too well.
The people who deal with this type of suffering are right here. These first responders are all around us. Many of them as yet unaware of their trouble. We only need to recognize them.
As for the issue of war rape – It is so easy for us to sit in our comfortable space when bad things happen elsewhere.
Two hundred or so girls are kidnapped in Africa to the service of some African war lord. We see it on the evening news. We turn it off and say to each other, well I’m glad that is over there, as we roll over onto our pillows and go to sleep.
And still we don’t make the connection. The one that #Me Too is making. The one that is circulating in the most genteel corridors of our society, as well as our schools. The notion that a certain treatment of women is alright, as long as it never gets called out.
The systematic rape of thousands of women occurred in a civilized area of Europe, alongside the most monstrous genocide since the holocaust. What does it take for that sort of thing to boil over in another advanced society?
My guess is, as Frank followed his adrenalin rush from case to case, he didn’t have a chance.
New York – August 2, 2018 – Thomson Safaris and Thomson Family Adventures have appointed Geoffrey Weill Associates to handle their public relations needs in North America, it was announced today by company President Geoffrey Weill.
Created 38 years ago by the dynamic married duo of Rick Thomson and Judi Wineland, Thomson Safaris specializes in personally crafted trips to Tanzania. To this day, Thomson Safaris uses only local guides in its hand-picked itineraries, offering access to people and areas of the Serengeti that other outfitters can’t.
The company’s Kilimanjaro Treks are some of the most highly respected tours in the region,with the most qualified guides and a 98% summit success. Committed to quality and care, all of their guides are Wilderness Responder Certified. A founding member of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project – an NGO advocating for the rights of porters, Thomson has distinguished itself by upholding the highest standards for the treatment and compensation of porters, launching such initiatives as Porter Appreciation Week in 2018.
Thomson Safaris is the recipient of both a “Tanzania Conservation Award” and “Humanitarian of the Year Award” from The Tanzania Tourist Board. Thomson’s sister nonprofit, Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC), was started by Thomson Safaris co-founder Judi Wineland and a group of guests who wanted to bring educational resources to developing regions in Tanzania.
In 1998, with young children, Judi and Rick answered a need by creating Thomson Family Adventures, catering to families of all sizes and composition. Today, Thomson Family Adventures is still the only tour operator in the US exclusively dedicated to family travel. Pioneers in what is now a burgeoning niche market in the travel industry, Thomson Family Adventures now offers more than 90 itineraries and covers regions of North, South and Central America, Africa, Asia and Antarctica. The company also offers specialized tours specifically for teens and millennials, age groups often overlooked in the family market.
“We are thrilled to be adding Thomson Safaris and Thomson Family Adventures to our portfolio of unique travel products,” said Ann-Rebecca Laschever, Executive Vice President of WEILL. “Although they have been offering first-class safari and memorable travel experiences for several years, they are not as known in the industry as they deserve to be. We look forward to changing that.”