Presenting Page to Stage Playwright: Diana Burbano

Last but definitely not least, we would like to present Diana Burbano.  Her play “Gargoyles” is about a disfigured British WWI soldier who takes refuge in a small South American village to escape from his past and from society.  There he encounters Aurora, an ex-silent film star and sculptor, living a bohemian life away from Los Angeles as she waits for her divorce to be finalized, and her teenage daughter, Daisy.  As he reluctantly allows the women into his life, an uncomfortable love triangle forms forcing him to seek another refuge. 

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Diana Burbano: 

 What was the inspiration or motivation to write the play selected for Page to Stage: That’s What She Said?

I was inspired by a Smithsonian article about facial injuries in WWI. I couldn’t find much information about what happened to the men who had been repaired and lived with their injuries, so I made it up.

 How long have you been writing and who encourages you to write? Who are your influences?

I have been writing for the past decade. I started to write because I never saw women like myself onstage and I wanted to fix that. My great passion is writing interesting roles for Latinx women. My influences include Octavio Solis, Jose Cruz Gonzalez, Paula Vogel, Sara Ruhl, Lisa Loomer.

 What do you find gratifying or freeing by writing for theater that you don’t find in writing for other mediums?

The use of language. I can write the way I wish people spoke, and include poetry as everyday language.

 What are five things you can’t live without?

Bowie/Prince/Lou Reed/Phillip Glass

The gym

Travel

My bed

My anger

 What was the last book you read?

Under the Big Black Sun a history of Punk by John Doe.

 What do you have coming up next?

I will be in North Carolina at Actors theatre of Charlotte, nuVoices playwrights program with “Ghosts of Bogota.

 “Gargoyles” is directed by Elvia Susana Rubalcava and will be performed Sunday, September 1 at 3pm. For more information on Diana please visit her website at http://dianaburbano.com/index.html.  To purchase tickets for this show, please visithttps://www.ci.brea.ca.us/1236/Page-to-Stage-Playwrights-Festival-2019

 

Presenting Page to Stage Playwright: Kate Danley

Our next playwright is Kate Danley.  Her play “Bureaucrazy” is a quick-witted farce in the style of Commedia, two secretaries who hate their jobs navigate office politics and compete for a step up the corporate ladder.  When their boss accidentally chokes on an oatmeal cookie in the office right before departing on a trip to Peru, their attempt to hide the truth results in a true comedy of errors. 

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Here's what Kate had to say: 

 What was the inspiration or motivation to write the play selected for Page to Stage: That’s What She Said?

I went to the New York Renaissance Festival to do some book research, and saw these two actresses in a random show called The Washing Well Wenches.  Their comedic brilliance knocked me off my feet.  As I was driving home, I realized I couldn't think of a single script that could put their genius on display.  Oh, sure, there were a ton of plays where guys could throw themselves around the stage like Chris Farley, but girls?  I was stumped and that made me sad.  I'm a firm believer, however, that if you see a problem, it's up to you to come up with a solution.  So, I wrote Bureaucrazy.

 How long have you been writing and who encourages you to write? Who are your influences?

I started writing in the 4thgrade, but became a full-time author in 2010.  I belong to some online writing groups and have weekly phone calls with friends who hold me accountable.  But as far as influences… gosh… Pinter… Shakespeare… Gracie Allen… Tina Fey…  too many to count!  I see live theatre at least every other week, and it is in the darkened auditorium, watching everyone onstage, that my heart goes, "I want to play, too!"  Writing seems like the easiest way for me to get into the sandbox.

 What do you find gratifying or freeing by writing for theater that you don’t find in writing for other mediums?

I love the fact it is a living, breathing art form and that it succeeds only if it showcases the best of every member on the team.  It demands that you look at your fellows and ask yourself, "What delights me about you? What is it that fills me with a sense of love and wonder and excitement?  What do I see that I wish others could see in you?"  As a former actress, there is nothing like getting a script that allows you to finally show off a hidden corner of your soul, and as a playwright, I have the power to make that happen.  And what happens in theatre is magic!  I have a play called Building Madnessthat had a premiere up in Canada.  A guy and a girl met for the first time as they auditioned for the comedic leads, and they landed the roles.  And they fell in love.  And now they are engaged to be married.  I have yet to have someone say, "I was spouting on about your 300-page book on vampires at a job interview and now we're getting married!"

Nowhere else but theatre, you know?

 What are five things you can’t live without?

Live theatre, British television, loveliness, travel, and coffee

 What was the last book you read?

I read several terrible books a week that are not even worth mentioning, but the last great book that I’m still swooning over is The Toy Makersby Robert Dinsdale. It's really good, yo.

 What do you have coming up next?

I wrote an adaptation of my Victorian penny dreadful, A Spirited Manor, and I'm hoping to bring it to the stage (somehow!) in 2020.  Probably doesn't have a ghost of a chance *nudge nudge* but I won't be scared off from trying!  Boo!

 “Bureaucrazy” is directed by Rose London and will be performed Saturday, August 31 at 8pm. For more information on Kate, please visit her website at www.katedanley.com. To purchase tickets for this show, please visit https://www.ci.brea.ca.us/1236/Page-to-Stage-Playwrights-Festival-2019

Presenting Page to Stage Playwright: Emily Brauer Rogers

Next up, we are presenting Emily Brauer Rogers.  Her play “The Paper Hangers” is a modern surreal take on Charlotte Perkins Giman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, a mother struggling with postpartum depression takes refuge in The Countryside tended by her husband and her mother.  Instead of conforming to her family’s and society’s ideals of motherhood, she is enticed further into her own self by the characters that she encounters. 

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Let’s meet Emily: 

 What was the inspiration or motivation to write the play selected for Page to Stage: That’s What She Said?

I had several friends saying to me that I should look at Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and think about doing it, but I brushed them aside for a while not sure what I wanted to do with—as I thought about it at the time—“a woman who goes crazy.” (It’s so much more than that). And then I heard a story of the radio about Charles Dickens trying to lock up his wife because he wanted a divorce and the anger I felt made me finally say, “You have to look at that short story.” When I did, I easily found ideas about how I wanted to look at women’s mental health, who believes us and who doesn’t, who gets to control how we’re treated, and how do we reconcile these ideas of motherhood and work. I decided to call it The Paper Hangersbecause to me it’s really about the societal structures that hang the wallpaper that seems to entrap women.  

 How long have you been writing and who encourages you to write? Who are your influences?

Playwriting has been something I’ve been in love with forever. I’ve been writing since I was 7 or 8 and I would make my cousins perform in plays of mine. I recently found an old folder full of handwritten copies and they’re hilariously horrible. Since then, in high school, I wrote a mash-up of Shakespeare and fairy tales for young kids encouraged by my high school director, Mary Lenning. I continued in college writing a ton of experimental one acts and ten-minute plays and then went to get my MFA at University of Southern California in Dramatic Writing. I’ve been working at my craft for many years, but I still feel like I’m learning new things every day. And in terms of encouragement, I have a wonderful group of friends, collaborators, and supporters that give me great feedback and advice. And my husband, my number one always pushes me to keep writing.

My influences are Caryl Churchill, Tom Stoppard, Sarah Ruhl, Madeleine L’Engle, Haruki Murakami, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and Jenji Kohan. It’s an eclectic mix, but that probably also describes my writing as well. 

 What do you find gratifying or freeing by writing for theater that you don’t find in writing for other mediums?

I’m a collaborator by nature so I love giving the piece over to actors and directors to see what they do with it. They often bring new life and interpretations that strengthen the piece and help me see it in ways I never thought about. I love that theatre isn’t realism; it can interpret the text in so many magical ways. And I love that theatre creates a mini-world onstage that the audience participates in as well and goes on a journey for the hour or two you spend with it. 

 What are five things you can’t live without?

Chocolate, particularly malted milk balls.

Wine.

Theatre. 

Of course, my family.

My computer. 

 What was the last book you read?

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years ofPilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. He’s one of my favorite writers because of his magical realism and his ability to make us feel the loneliness of his characters—and in that way makes us feel like we’re not so alone. 

 What do you have coming up next?

The Paper Hangersis going to have a reading in Nashville, TN and my play Gemini Complexis going to be part of GreenReads at Theatricum Botanicum. 

In terms of writing, I’m working on a female baseball play call Bloomer Girls that follows a barnstorming women’s team of the late 1800’s as they travel through the West. And you can  always follow what I’m up  to on my website, www.emilybrauerogers.com.

 “The Paper Hangers” is directed by Katie Chidester and will be performed Saturday, August 31 at 3pm along with “Deanna and Paul” by Dagney Kerr. For more information on Emily, please visit her website at www.emilybrauer.com. To purchase tickets for this show, please visit https://www.ci.brea.ca.us/1236/Page-to-Stage-Playwrights-Festival-2019

Presenting Page to Stage Playwright: Dagney Kerr

The second playwright we are presenting is Dagney Kerr.  Her play “Deanna and Paul” is a quirky non-linear romance between an unconventional waitress and an uptight customer who just wants to have a cup of coffee and read his newspaper. These seemingly opposite personalities learn to dance together and try to make a go of it. 

 
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Here’s what Dagney has to say: 

What was the inspiration or motivation to write the play selected for Page to Stage: That’s What She Said?  

I didn’t really have one.  When I write I usually start from an emotional place.  A mood. A feeling. This particular piece I was feeling lonely. Isolated.  I was lucky enough to channel those emotions and my imagination took over from there. I write stream of consciousness taking turns writing from each characters point of view and then I put it all together. When I’m proud of what I wrote I look back and say, ‘How did I write that?’ That means I was in my artistic flow. I also wrote this piece in a small coffee shop so I’m sure that setting had some influence as well. 

How long have you been writing and who encourages you to write? Who are your influences? 

About ten years ago I wrote a monologue and performed it in my acting class. I remember the teacher saying, ‘You found your voice. Keep going.’  After that I wrote a couple successful one-women shows.  But my work really took off when I joined a writing group four years ago.  That’s where I wrote my first full play. My audiences encourage me to write.  When people tell me they were moved or entertained by my work that’s always a good reminder to keep creating.  My influences come from people I meet and observe in life. I draw from my own experiences as well.

What do you find gratifying or freeing by writing for theater that you don’t find in writing for other mediums?  

Oh man I love writing for theater.  Dialogue can go on forever.  Monologues can rattle on. I love telling a full story in one night rather thinking how can I sustain a story over several seasons of a TV show.  Or tell the story visually like in Film. I also love writing for theater because of the relationship with the audience.  In theater it’s just the actors, the words and the audience.  No editing. No cameras. It’s spontaneous.  A unique experience that lasts only one night and can never be duplicated again. 

What are five things you can’t live without?  

Wow. Five is a lot! Oddly I’m a person that feels they can live without much. I guess that 's revealing about my personality.  Animals come to mind.  I don’t have any at the moment, but I adore them.  I’d be a little lost without my overpriced Shea butter chap stick. You’ve never seen someone freak out like I do when they can’t find it.  I suppose I could try other brands if they ever discontinued mine.  But it really is a weird obsession. I buy it in bulk so I never run out.  Dancing is important to me.  I feel like if I keep going my answers are going to be super lame….like TV and Food. So I’ll stop here. 

What was the last book you read? 

A friend recommended, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’.  I get ten pages in and fall asleep.  Then I start again. I keep falling asleep. It’s not the book. It’s me. I never fall asleep reading plays. But books make me really sleepy. So that’s what I’m attempting to read at the moment.  Check back with me in 2020 and see if I’ve finished it. 

What do you have coming up next?  

I have a film that I wrote that’s doing the festival circuit.  It will premiere at LA Shorts International Festival. I’m also an actor and continue to work in TV, Film and theater. I’m working on a book about my experience on jury duty.  I’m constantly trying to stay busy and inspired.  

“Deanna and Paul” is directed by Angela Cruz Martinez and will be performed Saturday, August 31 at 3pm along with “The Paper Hangers” by Emily Brauer Rogers.  To purchase tickets for this show, please visit https://www.ci.brea.ca.us/1236/Page-to-Stage-Playwrights-Festival-2019

 

 

 

Presenting Page to Stage Playwright: Synida (Syn) Fontes

The Page to Stage: That’s What She Said Playwright’s Festival is less than two weeks away and we couldn’t be more excited!! Everyone has been working so hard to put these Staged Readings together and we can’t wait to have an audience. 

In order to introduce our writers, we asked them to answer a few questions about themselves and their inspirations.  Today, we are presenting the first of our authors, Synida (Syn) Fontes. Her play “Butterfly in the Ashes” is an unflinching and darkly comedic look at the lives of four Mexican-American women.  Woman and her Friend bicker and stick together as she goes through a pregnancy, deals with her ward, Mariposa, who lives completely in a childish fantasy world of her own, and avoids her intrusive overbearing aunt, Tia. It’s a peek into the mundane happenings that bind people together and how the ghosts of the past come to live in future generations. 

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Without further ado, let’s get to know Syn Fontes:

 What was the inspiration or motivation to write the play selected for Page to Stage: That’s What She Said

It's kind of like I had Multiple Personality Disorder (D.I.D.) and I wanted to give my alter egos a voice. I was giving myself permission to express my thoughts without a filter, and just hoped that people would laugh more than be offended. I wanted to explore the definitions of     "(in)sanity" compared with individual realities--which I find greatly varying from person to person, and very flexible rather than finite. i.e. What is "crazy" to you? What is "real"? Perhaps those we most consider "mentally ill" are simply exquisitely sensitive to the effed-up the world we live in.

How long have you been writing? 

I have been writing stories since I could read and write. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Fleming, gave me my first "reading". I read to the class my (extremely) short story about being a princess.(But, of course.) 

Who encourages you to write? 

Fellow writer/decades long-time friend/adoptive Jewish mother, Dev Ross, award-winning screenwriter (she won an Emmy and  Humanitas), who is wonderfully prejudiced when it comes to her baby (me). (i.e. I'm the prettiest, smartest, most talented, etc.) Also, the SUPER BAD-ASS women writers of LA FPI (Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative) as spearheaded by our intrepid leader, Ms. Jennie Webb!

Who are your influences?

 I've long said that I want to be the female Oscar Wilde/John Leguizamo combo.

 What do you find gratifying or freeing by writing for theater that you don’t find in writing for other mediums? 

Theater has no limits, even regardless of funds (i.e. lack thereof) because of suspension of disbelief. The audience being present--right there with us-- allows them to go along with us, frees their imagination. Watching something happen right before our eyes allows us to believe in it.

What are five things you can’t live without? 

A mind that creates, a body that dances, the music in my head, the fire in my soul, and a voice for screams, song, and laughter.

 What was the last book you read? 

"Be Honest--You're Not That Into Him, Either" by Ian Kerner, PhD/sex therapist (like a sexy Dr. Katz, lol)

 What do you have coming up next? 

I am developing a one-woman show called “Romance Rehab”, or, “Dating Detox”, or…..”Pussy Power--and Power Outages”...alas, working titles, about the romp and rollercoaster of a super-sexy  spinster (haha, I love that word) and her (MIS)adventures in love (and stuff resembling it...and stuff not remotely like it.) 

I am also organizing the bits and chunks of a juicy tell-all about my lifetime experience as a nanny and governess worldwide with all the trimmings--oligarchs, royalty, celebrities, bodyguards, devious domestic staff, and--yes--cheating husbands dumb enough to go on OKCupid with clear photos of themselves! GUARANTEED BESTSELLER. Makes The Nanny Diaries look like Mary Poppins. Really.

“Butterly in the Ashes” is directed by Heather Enriquez and will be performed Friday, August 30 at 8pm.  To purchase tickets for this show, please visit https://www.ci.brea.ca.us/1236/Page-to-Stage-Playwrights-Festival-2019 .

Writers and Directors Gather for First Page To Stage Meeting!

Last Tuesday, Project LaFemme participated in the first Meet and Greet with the writers and directors for the upcoming Page to Stage Playwrighting Festival at the Curtis Theatre in Brea. What an inspiring evening!

We are co-producing this weekend of new play readings by local female playwrights coming up August 30 - September 1 with the Curtis Theatre. After reviewing over 400 submissions of full length and one act plays back in April, it has come down to 5 new plays that are being presented. Last week’s Meet and Greet brought together the writers with the directors of these staged readings for the first time. We gathered at the Curtis where introductions were made, Curtis Theatre Artistic Director Kris Kataoka conducted a tour of the theater and then it was time to get down to business. Festival Director Heather Enriquez conducted the inaugural production meeting and we ended the evening with a champagne toast. We are so excited to be launching this project!

It was so amazing to finally meet the writers who created these awesome pieces and to see this project start to take flight. Next step: Auditions coming up next week! August 5th and 6th at the Curtis Theatre! For more information on auditions, please see our previous blog.

Here’s a couple of photos of the first meeting:

Auditions for Page to Stage New Works Festival Coming Soon!

ACTORS! Want to work with us? Come be a part of 5 new & exciting local Playwrights when we have auditions for the Page to Stage Festival at the @curtis_theatre! Check our website for info about audition sides or the Facebook event Curtis Theatre created. Character breakdown coming soon. 🎭

Calling all actors! Auditions for the Page to Stage Playwrighting Festival at the Curtis Theatre are only a month away!!

Project La Femme is co-producing this festival of staged readings of new works by women writers with the Curtis Theatre and we couldn’t be more excited. We received over 400 submissions, and we have been working all spring to read them and narrow it down to just five. Directors have been invited and now we just need you! Please join us on August 5th or 6th to audition to be a part of this unique festival. Below are the 5 pieces that we will be presenting with a brief synopsis, and you can find a character breakdown here. Can’t wait to see everyone at auditions!

Butterfly in the Ashes by Synida (Syn) Fontes

Director Heather Enriquez

Butterfly in the Ashes is the study of four Mexican-American women living somewhere between "I Don't Give A Flying Fuck" and "Trying Desperately To Fly--the Hell Outta Here". Not a portrait, but surveillance footage of their interdependent relationships through mental illness, imposed guardianship, twisted fairytales, the "light side" of abortion and alcoholism, and why the he'll those Girl Scouts never come up with any new cookie flavors that someone would actually like.

The Paper Hangers by Emily Brauer Rogers

Director Katie Chidester

Based on Charlotte Perkins Giman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, The Paper Hangers takes a modern look at Me’s struggle to deal with postpartum depression when society, particularly her mother and husband, expect a new mother to embrace motherhood and domesticity. 


Deanna and Paul by Dagney Kerr

Director Angela Cruz Martinez

Deanna's a quirky waitress with a strict no tipping policy. Paul's a surly customer with a tight lid on his heart. Their lonely worlds collide one day in a small-town diner, where one cup of coffee can change everything. 

Beauracrazy by Kate Danley

Director Rose London

Grace and Amy are just two regular girls working as secretaries in a soul-sucking office. But when their boss chokes on an oatmeal raisin cookie, it starts a domino effect of death and disaster in this female-driven comedy about office politics and classism. 

Gargoyles by Diana Burbano

Director Elvia Susana Rubalcava

Aurora, a sculptor and ex silent film star, moves her teenaged daughter Daisy to a small village in Mexico, far from temptation and men. Their dull existence is upended when a “monster” moves into their secluded village. The monster turns out to be an English soldier with a disfigured face. Daisy is fascinated and takes him on as a project. Aurora in her desire to protect Daisy from all hurt, takes on the Soldier herself. She soon discovers that, both monsters, they have much in common. Aurora has to choose between her self loathing and fear, and the promise of an unconventional love with a man who has suffered as much as she has.

SpeakUp

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We are so excited about some MAJOR projects that we’re currently working on.

Mark you calendars for our return to Fullerton Artwalk with the Hibbleton Gallery at the Magoski Colony. We are teaming up with another arts advocacy group, Opulent Mobility, to explore the intersection of feminism and disability through a visual arts exhibition. Look for this on Friday February 1st 2019.

Also, we’re gonna have a fundraiser! Yes, we can’t believe it either.

The incredibly talented people at Gay Olde Time Events are partnering with PLF to throw a night of 1920s speakeasy glam party - all in the name of supporting future projects in our community. The tickets to this event are limited but they include open bar, refreshments, music, dancing and prizes!

November 17th, 2018 at 7pm.

We can’t reveal too much about this yet but if you are interested in attending, reach out to us to reserve your seat! Email us here: info@projectlafemme.com

Project #WomenGetLoud is Happening!

We're so so excited about presenting our first ever live show as Project La Femme. This was a long time coming since the members of PLF are all performance-based and trained. 

Project #WomenGetLoud

Experimenting with visual art and social conscious art projects has been eye opening and we certainly will continue to produce them. Doing this show for International Women's Day was a surprise opportunity and the very best part of curating this show is seeing the talent from our friends and colleagues who are willing to contribute for an up lifting night of art and sisterhood.

Also, all proceeds will go to She Should Run, a way for us to amplify women's voices in the community and support issues that affect us all. 

Join us on March 8th for an incredible night of for all women and our whole community!

Free Speech is Alive and Well in Fullerton


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Free Speech . There is a barrage of talk on free speech these days .. the war on free speech , freedom of speech rights , where to draw the line on free speech , what constitutes freedom of speech? the list goes on, and on . This blog is not about answering those questions or queries but to highlight a very cool , very progressive forum we have recently found that encourages free speech in a personal way .

   In a world and climate of unknowns of free speech - it is refreshing that the Free Discussion Society exists and it exists within our tiny community of Fullerton Ca  - What pray tell is the Free Discussion Society you might ask ? Well , Project La Femme set out to find out just that !

   After meeting Bam Paul at our last event and finding out that he runs a salon style forum for the hot button topics plaguing our society day in and day out - we knew we needed to see what it was all about. So what is it about ? The Free Discussion Society is a group formed by Bam Paul for people to get together, answer their thoughts and feelings on the presented topic - and gasp .. talk about it in person ! Yes, you read that right .. not by commenting on a Facebook feed , not by sharing an article on someone Else's thoughts that reflect their own ideology , not by having heated words via Twitter - TALKING IN PERSON ! It might not seem revolutionary, we have all been talking to each other since we could format our thoughts into language -  but in this day and age where posting a meme via social media seems to be the norm of expressing our feelings on any given subject , talking seems really refreshing.

   So you might be thinking .." so you just got into a room with strangers and talked about a hot topic , so what ? " Well this is precisely why we felt the need to go - " What is this all about ?" was the main thought.

   Well for starters let me talk you through what we experienced. Once a month Bam does his thing at Max Blooms coffee stop in Fullerton. We showed up , got some hot tea ( regardless of the fact that it was nearly 100 degrees on the 15th of October) We sat down , more people filtered in until there was about 20 - 30 people gathered on couches , cafe table seating and random chairs. Several people greeted us , asked if it was our first time etc. It must have been obvious that it was .. but no one seemed to care and several people mentioned they'd been to at least ten of these. I had no idea what to expect- just that the prompt was "What needs to be done about the issue of homelessness , who is responsible?" Honestly , I was hoping to be a fly on the wall , listen intently and that would be it. I was wrong ( just a side-note , I'm really thrilled I was wrong about this)

   SO here is how this Free Discussion Society works .. Bam began by telling all the participants that he will be doling out Scrabble tiles , we will be going in order from A-Z , and that we were to speak freely on the topic/prompt of the night, after everyone has had a chance to speak we would go around the room again and Bam would ask for more insight from us.

   What ?!! I have to speak on a topic in front of strangers ! Do I even have any thoughts to contribute , are they even worth hearing - So after the fear subsided - I figured lets just go on this ride , let's see what happens. So we started at A .. everyone in the room , whether prepared or not, spoke. It was insightful , and even though some radical answers came from a few participants everyone listened....intently. We went around the room again and some compounded on their thoughts , some spoke about how others thoughts were perspective changers for them and they would take them into consideration.

   You might be asking .. why doesn't she tell us some of the thoughts .. what were the answers?. Well , I thought about making this a book report and sharing the answers , comments , musings of the other participates as well as my own .. but at the end of this experience my thoughts are this - The topic matters .. however it matters more that this forum exists and if you get the chance to experience this for yourself - you should. If you live in Fullerton or anywhere near - go to the Free Discussion Society. If you don't ... talk to people , in person. We hide behind our screens and we hide behind the idea that talking to strangers or even those we know about hot button topics is off limits - It's not. If we all start talking and LISTENING !! ( that's the big one) in person , we might get a better understanding of topics and others perspectives. That's it and I for one am thankful to have had the opportunity to attend the Free Discussion Society and will be back.

Also - here is an awesome article on the Free Discussion Society and some more info.

https://www.fullertonobserver.com/single-post/2017/09/22/Free-Discussion-Society-at-Max-Bloom%E2%80%99s