The IRT Theater Deaf Emerging Artists Festival (D.E.A.F.)

The IRT Theater Deaf Emerging Artists Festival (D.E.A.F.) is an annual one-week program of performances, screenings and workshops aimed at creating common ground for Deaf and hearing artists.
D.E.A.F. 2010: June 1-6
All events at IRT: 154 Christopher St., #3B
Individual Tickets $9.99 for Shows and Workshop

June1&2 (Tues./Wed)-7pm
MO2 Productions: UnContentED Love

An hour long visual presentation of spats, physical fights, repressed desires and lovers misunderstandings. And perhaps a hopeful kiss. This production takes many of the pearls created by Shakespeare and makes a new necklace. These re-strung fun old scenes take on new life and meaning. These excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays are performed in a striking visual presentation that includes ASL, VGC [Visual Gestural Communication], spoken English, and physical movements. The poetry comes alive in this accessible bringing together of characters from Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Two Gentlemen from Verona and more.

Directors: Monique Holt and Tim Chamberlain
Stage Manager: Thadeus Brown
Light Designer: Norah Matthews
MO2 Ensemble: James Caverly, Colin Analco, Sandra Frank, Aaron Halleck, Amelia Hensley, Annette McAllister, Michael Sprouse, and Caroline Suggs

June 2  (Wed)-8:30pm (Free)
Open Mic Night

(Taking Stage Night) Tonight YOU take the stage! Do you have a monologue? A poem? Can you tell a great story or maybe dance? When you come to see this show you will have an opportunity to sign-up to step on stage yourself. You can join the regular performers, NYC professionals, NTID students, published poets and people who are taking that first big risk of showing what they can do to an audience or you can sit back relax and watch a variety show. At the end of the evening everyone will have time to drink, be social, chat and share ideas.

June 3 (Thurs)- 7pm

Every BOX has six sides, twelve edges, and eight corners. It is consistent. It is what’s expected. It does not change. We often make ourselves slaves to finite expectations. When does our BOX become a prison?

Told predominantly through movement, this theater piece contemplates the safety, the comfort, and the joy of the BOX we know, all the while asking us to consider the possibilities that can arise when one is willing to step outside of that with which we are familiar and perhaps love more than anything else, in order to experience or perchance even to create something new.

Are you intrepid, or are you content with the finite definition of happiness and success that our social order dictates? Find out as you take this theatrical journey exploring a life lived inside and outside the BOX.

BOX made its debut at the 2009 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. “. . . thought provoking, innovative, interesting . . . not for traditionalists.”-

June 4 (Fri.)-7pm

David Rivera and Douglas Ridloff are the yin and yang of ASL. The storytelling masters complement each other as DR2 salty and sweet, funny and dark, hot and cool. The duo hurls story after story celebrating the tribulations and triumphs of Deafhood in academia and life beyond, hitting every single ASL genre: poetry using handshapes and numbers, cinematic storytelling, stand-up comedy and a fun thing called duo signing. Their voiced performance provides the link between Deafhood and the rest of the world. You just have to come and see for yourself.

June 5 (Sat.)-2-4
Del-Sign workshop

Del-Sign workshop, a fun hands-on acting workshop using a fusion Physical technique blending the foundations of Francois Delsarte movement and the Foundations of American Sign Language taught by Luane Davis Haggerty, Ph.D. co-Founder of IRT and professor/director for the National Technical Institute of Technology Performing arts department, with the assistance of NTID Student actors from the recent production of “Little Women”.

June 5 (Sat.)-7pm
Eddie Swayze: ASL poetry performance
Film screening: Miriam Nathan Lerner: The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox

In 1984 at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York, poet Allan Ginsburg gavea reading attended not just by hearing audience members, but by several deaf people as well. Some had been translating English poetry into sign for years, but had not yet experimented with the idea of composing original poetry in American Sign Language – which is never written, but communicates through rich and intricate signs and body gestures that must be seen to be understood. An audience member translated part of Ginsburg’s written poem Howl into sign language: the phrase hydrogen jukebox. Watching the translation, Ginsburg was floored. He experienced an Ah ha! moment, and so did the entire audience. A new ASL poetry was born that night. It’s a literature of the flesh. It is kinetic, gorgeous, heart-rending, sexy, and its history makes beautiful cinema.

In The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox, Lerner has collected years of archival footage showing the proto-history of deaf poetry all the way back to the first filmed rendition, and proceeding to the Ginsburg breakthrough and decades beyond.

June 6 (Sun.)- 2pm
Andy Vasnick

In a special presentation from New York Deaf Theatre, Andy Vasnick, a Deaf
actor who was last seen in the motion picture, “Gerald”, as a young man’s
recently-discovered grandfather who happens to also be autistic, shares some
special experiences he’s had over the years, and takes questions from the
audience, too.

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Yoga Wagon


I fell off the yoga wagon.

Haven’t been to a class in over two weeks. My life is shifting right now, causing my schedule to bumble around. First, my spouse and I are preparing to move to Virginia. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from where we are now, but we still need to pack up and load every dish, book, and piece of furniture. I’ve been donating stuff and shredding files like crazy. I started playing tennis again, and I’m adding a writing class as well as a writing workshop to my week. Not to mention my freelancing is picking up, I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen due to Clean Eating, and my husband and I are dealing with the emotional turmoil of fertility issues as we try to start a family. The yoga studio is a good 30-minute drive from my house. No wonder I haven’t been making it over there lately.

I remember when I was a law student I was particularly stressed out one semester. At the time I was debating adopting a puppy. “Try to minimize the stress in your life,” my parents cautioned. I adopted the puppy anyway, but I thought it was good advice. Even though I’m excited about the events in my life (moving, taking a class, more work assignments), change takes its toll. What can I do to minimize the stress?

I let go of a column that I enjoyed writing but that didn’t pay. I asked my husband to take over some of the dinner duties (grilled salmon, yum!). My parents are going to help with the move. Also, there is a yoga studio that is closer to my current place. I’ll try it out next time. I feel calmer already.Š

Wasa with Ricotta Cheese, Pistachio and Raisin Spread


½ cup skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoon raisins
4 teaspoons pistachios, shelled and chopped
½ ounce dark chocolate, grated
3 pieces WASA Light Rye


Soak raisins in a bowl of boiling water until soft (approximately 10 minutes). Drain and return to bowl.
Add ricotta cheese, honey and pistachio nuts to bowl. Mix well.
Spoon equal amounts of spread on crispbreads and top with grated chocolate.

TIP: Substitute cottage cheese for ricotta cheese if desired.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 149
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 13 mg
Sodium 113 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Protein 7 g
Calcium 13% of required daily value

Napping Yoga

After a couple of weeks away from yoga, I wanted to ease back into the practice. So I went to a restorative class this morning. It was a new studio, and I wandered back to the office to sign in as “Drop In.”

“I’m a drop in too,” I heard another woman say. “This is restorative yoga, right?” the woman continued. “The kind where you lay around and rest?”

The yoga instructor smiled. “Yes. I call it napping yoga.”

It’s a fitting name because it’s so deeply relaxing. Today, we opened with a few side stretches and twists. The rest of the class we spent in Reclining Bound Angle Pose, Seated Forward Bend, Waterfall, and Savasana.

It was heavenly

Special Occasions

The street is cleared of traffic, the tents are up, and the vendors are selling summer squash, cherries, and herbs. It’s the second week this season the farmers’ market has been open in town, and my husband escapes from the office so we can enjoy lunch together and wander by the open-air booths. We buy bread (baked from scratch) from one of our favorite vendors and discuss what we can grill, cook, and drink over the next few days.

As we walk, I start thinking about how I’ll be spending a lot more time at farmers’ markets this summer than I have in the past – it’s easier to find local, sustainably-grown food here than at the grocery stores. I’ve always enjoyed farmers’ markets, but I’ve tended to reserve them for “special occasions.” When I lived in Los Angeles my friends and I would load up with market goodies before going to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, or for a picnic at the beach, or if we had guests coming to town.

With over 3500 farmers’ markets in the United States (visit to find one near you) there are plenty here on the east coast where I currently live. I’ll be visiting more of them over the next few days to get a feel for the ones I prefer, talk to vendors, and gather local meat, eggs, and more fruit and veggies. I know I have my work cut out for me this summer as I learn how to prepare meals, can tomatoes, and make my own salad dressing. But taking the first step and creating the intent to eat clean is one of the biggest hurdles. Besides, it feels good to realize that what used to be a “special occasion” will now be a part of daily life.

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