Jane play reading in Chicago on July 24!



Directed by Iris Sowlat, followed by "Never Go Back" panel
Monday, July 24 at 7:30 PM - 10 PM
To benefit the Chicago Abortion Fund

Place:
Pride Arts Center, Broadway Theater
4139 N Broadway St, Chicago, Illinois 60613

Buy tickets here


Facebook page for event here

This event is co-sponsored by the Chicago Area Women's History Center and Shout Your Abortion 773.


Play reading at 7:30pm. At 9 PM, panel, "Never Go Back (to When America Wasn't So Great Again)," featuring Jane member Jeanne Galatzer-Levy, pro-choice political expert Aileen Kim, playwright Paula Kamen, and moderated by Alicia Swiz. Reception to follow by the Chicago Area Women's History Center.

Featuring actors: Amber Ray Snyder, Anna Wolfe, Chloe Bluml, Caitlin McManus, Kaitlin Stewart, Shannon Webber, Whitney Pipes, Erin Caswell, Lyla Whedbee, and Zach Hebert

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THE PLAY: In the current debate about abortion rights, we often forget how dangerous life was for women when abortion was illegal. But in Chicago at that time 45 years ago, women Chicago knew whom to call for help: Jane, the legendary feminist abortion service, also known as "the best-kept secret in Chicago."

From 1969 to 1972, women who ran “Jane” were mostly unassuming: college students, “hippie housewives,” and antiwar activists. But they led extraordinary double lives, running the most active underground abortion service in modern history, the one safe alternative for about 11,000 women from all backgrounds.

This play, based on original interviews with women who ran and used this service -- and men who supported it -- tells their story.

In the panel afterward, we will discuss how to never go back to those perilous days, when America, for women, really wasn't so great. We will focus on a very timely Illinois bill with that goal: House Bill 40, which will likely go to the governor for approval at the end of July. That bill would guarantee that Illinois, an enduring safe haven for choice for the entire Midwest region, uphold abortion rights if Roe v Wade is repealed.

The director, Iris Sowlat, is a proud company member at Pride Films & Plays. She is a Chicago-based director whose work focuses primarily on feminism, queerness, and (dis)ability. She is also an Artistic Associate at Stage Left Theatre. Iris has directed and/or assistant-directed for Pride Films & Plays, Stage Left Theatre, Broken Nose Theatre, 20% Theatre, The Chicago Fringe Festival, Fury Theatre, and Talif Productions. This summer, Iris is producing and curating SheFest at Pride Films & Plays, and writing and directing Narratives of Achromatopsia for the Chicago Fringe Festival, and will direct the short play Barbarism for Collaboraction's Peacebook festival.

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LOCATION details: Play and panel at the Broadway theater of the Pride Arts Center, at 4139 N. Broadway. (Not their other nearby theater, the Buena, which has a different address). Suggested payment is $10, with half of proceeds going to Chicago Abortion Fund. Parking is very tough, even maddening, in that area, so we recommend public transportation.

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THE PANEL: "Never Go Back to (When America Wasn't So Great Again)": Abortion Access and Feminist Resistance in the Trump Era," features
-- Jean Galatzer-Levy, a former member of Jane and one of the arrested "Abortion Seven"

--Aileen Kim is the outgoing co-chair of Personal PAC's Future Voices Council and associate at Civitas Public Affairs Group, where she works on campaigns focused reproductive rights and justice and women's equality.

--Alicia Swiz, also the MC, is a co-founder of Shout Your Abortion 773 (the Chicago chapter of Shout Your Abortion). She is the creator of Sluttalk, a conversation that raises awareness of slut shaming and encourages sex positivity through performances, workshops, public dialogues and social media.

--Playwright Paula Kamen, who also contributed research to the 1995 PBS documentary about Jane, is the author of four books, including All in My Head and Finding Iris Chang. Her papers from researching the Jane play are on file at the Special Collections Library at Nothwestern.

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For supporting HB 40, we recommend visiting https://personalpac.org/take-action?2 for the latest updates, and PassHB40.com for volunteer opportunities (e.g. canvassing, phone banking, etc.).
 

Jane play offered for #togetherforabortion events

The play, about the legendary feminist underground Chicago abortion service, is available free of charge for activist events, It offers at least 9 diverse and substantial roles for women and could not be more timely. Based on original interviews, it tells the story of the legendary pre-Roe underground abortion service, Jane, which was known as “the best kept secret” in Chicago form 1969-1973. It offers inspiration about the power of women organizing, but also warns about the harsh realities of illegal abortion, even in the most ideal DIY circumstances.

The play, which officially debuted in 1999 and has been excerpted in several “best of” stage scene and monologue books, has had about 20 readings and productions, mainly in fringe feminist theaters and at universities during the George W Bush years. Now, with abortion access under renewed threat, I"m relaunching this campaign, especially for the Roe anniversary in January 2018.

We recently had a sold-out reading of this play in Chicago last summer, co-sponsored by Shout Your Abortion 773 and the Chicago Women's History Center. More than a dozen colleges have also used it for successful events, such as at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Director Annika Spear, who also wrote an article about the feminist documentary style of the play for Frontiers, gave this recommendation:

“I directed Jane as a fundraiser event for the Santa Barbara Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice Coalition’s Roe v Wade anniversary event. There were numerous merits to incorporating activist theatre into the event: It was an excellent way to get university students involved. By connecting the university to the event we were able to cross collaborate with the Feminist Studies Department and the Theater and Dance Department. Kamen’s multiple versions of the script as well as her “Student Organizing Guide” makes the play accessible to non-theatre practitioners. A major strength of this play is its activist potential! ”

For more info on play, see my Jane page or the listing on the National New Play Network. Email paulakamen@gmail.com for details or for a script.

All In My Head tenth anniversary marked on Migraine Again!

I’m thrilled to have parts of the book excerpted regularly in the amazing and informative website, migraineagain.com. All are about things I learned the hard way, the only way I learn anything. This first excerpt is about food anxieties related to migraine meds. Read about the website founder — another Paula’s story — and her wisdom about managing chronic migraine here. The website is a great resource. I recently bought two futuristic ice packs, the Migraine Hat and the IceKap, recommended there. Ice is definitely my drug of choice.

Jane play now with National New Play Network

For more info on the play, its production and publication history and, a new testimonial about activist potential, go to the NPX website

Also feel free to email me at paulakamen[at]gmail.com about more info or obtaining a sample copy.

The play, based on original interviews with women who ran and used this legendary underground abortion service, is available as a full-length play and then in shorter student-adapted versions. It is available for no charge to theaters and student groups planning pro-choice fundraisers, especially for #togetherourabortion and #shoutyourabortion events. And especially for January events marking Roe v. Wade in the US and the Morgentaler decision in Canada.

“Jane” play featured in special “Roe v Wade” issue of feminist journal

Annika Spear, who was a co-director with the 2011 production of the play at the University of California Santa Barbara, writes in the new issue of Frontiers how the play shakes theatrical conventions by actually dramatizing an abortion on the stage, and by tweaking the “documentary play” format. A goal now for 2014 is to finally get this play published, after dozens of staged readings and productions, often by student groups who groove on the many roles for young women and the resonance of this story of underground abortion today.

Tribute to my late father from the Society for Consumer Psychologists

He was a pioneer in joining the fields of psychology and business, as mentioned on their website. Some of his colleagues from Amoco also commented about his contributions on his page from Chicago Jewish Funerals.

My father’s official name was Dr.Joseph M Kamen (with the M standing for “middle initial”). He changed the name in the 1950s from Joe Kamenetzsky. I’m not even sure if that was the spelling, but I know it was a long name with lots of consonants. He died January 30, 2014, very suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack. This March 26 would have been his 85th birthday.

Since then, I’ve been trying to get his achievements recognized. One of the most notable is that he was very likely the inventor of the post-baccalaureate degree while a professor at Indiana University NW in Gary, Indiana in the 1970s.  But I’m having trouble documenting this because he pushed it through on the down low without approval of the mother ship in Bloomington, in fear that the official process would cause it to die, or delay it for years. So he never tooted his own horn publicly about it. The degree was mainly meant for women who had perfectly fine liberal arts college degrees, such as in psychology or sociology, but who needed to get a job quickly in a practical field to support their families. This degree in accounting fulfilled that purpose at a low cost to the student, and just 36 hours of required class. According to Dr. Sid Feldman, my dad’s dean at the time, who supported the program, these graduates had a very good record of getting certified as CPAs. The program was so successful that other Indiana University campuses introduced the degree,and then it spread to possibly hundreds of universities nationwide. That program is still going strong.

He also pulled an impressive prank on an Ivy League business journal in the 1980s or 1990s of a fake article, titled something like, “The Metaphysics of Pricing.” to satirize excessive lingo in business. It was replete with charts and statistics, and utterly bogus.  I know the journal was furious afterward and blacklisted him from publishing with them ever again. This was mentioned in an essay about him in the journal Teaching Business Ethics in 1997, by the late R Rosenberg then of the Technion in Haifa, Israel. i But I’ve been unable to find the journal. The odds are that the journal redacted any reference to it in its electronic listings, but the original is out there somewhere in paper. If anyone has a lead for me, I much appreciate it.