Monday, January 18, 2010


A proper introduction of Regina would take its own blog. Here is a girl who is all action. Regina is a 1L (first year Law Student) at Cardozo (Yeshiva University) in New York City. In addition to her academic achievements (highest GPA in her undergraduate class at Pace University, Recipient of Pace's Board of Trustees Award in addition to numerous other department honors) she is a humanitarian. Having traveled extensively throughout South Asia, Africa and Central America, Regina is committed to working towards peace, justice and equality for all. Look for her on the Supreme Court in 30 years!

1. Who Are You?
I'm Regina Gennari, a 23 year old law student from New York.

2. What do you believe in?
Social change, equality and the importance of positive thinking.

3. What kind of change do you want to see?
I want to see widespread, sustainable change in all sectors, so its hard to pinpoint a specific area. I'm working towards a law degree so I can work on international human rights issues, specifically those affecting women and children in developing countries.

4. If you could be doing anything with your life right now what would it be?
Exactly what I'm doing right now. I'm satisfied with where I am and where I'm going.

5. What are you craving right now?
I'm sitting in a Belgian airport, after a two week study abroad trip through Rwanda and Tanzania. Right now, I'm craving New York and a hot shower.

6. Talk about a piece or art, performing arts, music or writing that changed your life.
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird inspired me to pursue law. Don't we all want to be Atticus Finch one day?

7. What motivates you to do what you do?
My faith and belief in a better world.

8. Talk about a defining moment of your life. What happened? What did you take away from it?
I worked at the Palm Tree Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2008. My life has not been the same since then. My experience changed my perspective on the world and I realized how privileged I was, simply by being born in the US. Deeply affected by the poverty and corruption overtaking Cambodia, I was inspired to work on issues pertaining to developing countries.

9. Create a required reading list for the world:
To Kill a Mockingbird, A Problem From Hell by Samantha Power and the New York Times.

For more pictures of Regina, check out:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


There's really no need for me to introduce Mariah, because (as you will see by her answers) she speaks for herself. She is a NY based playwright and activist, working hard to end violence against women and for gender equality. Mariah is a force that will soon take the NYC theatre scene by storm (she's already started!). Remember her name because she'll be among the next Eve Enslers and Sarah Ruhls. When you're done here, check out her blog at

Who Are You?
Well, the intro to my blog describes me as "just your average uppity, moderate-liberal, occasionally androgynous, pansexual, vaguely Christian, feminist, humanist, sensualist, gender activist/ playwright/ lover of human beings." So that's a good place to start. I suppose I write "feminist" plays, but I try to approach feminism as a broader thing than just "hey stop oppressing us please." "Optimist" should probably be in there too.

2. What do you believe in?
I believe in listening. I believe in laughing at ourselves and at tragedy. I believe in some higher something or other, and I believe that this higher something is neither male nor female (or both), and that it has a sense of humor. I believe that every feeling you create, good or bad, comes back to you at the end of your life. I believe that a little androgyny is good for the soul. I believe that art can and does change the world, but not often enough. I believe in gratitude. I believe in forgiveness. I believe in paying it forward.

3. What kind of change do you want to see? Where do you see yourself fitting into your idea for change?
I want America to have a healthier relationship to gender. Not that America is unique in its unhealthiness in that regard, but it's a great place to start, since we pride ourselves on being the Greatest Place On Earth. I hope that by the time I'm a grandma, it will seem absurd that gay marriage was ever illegal; that in 2009 there had never been a female president; and that sexual and domestic violence statistics were as bad as they are today. I hope people become more open to the idea that gender is fluid; I hope idiotic gender stereotypes in sitcoms and romantic comedies and commercials become passe (not only are they frequently boring and unfunny, but they also become self-fulfilling prophecies). And I hope that we can let go of the notion that only psychos and supervillains ever commit rape, come to a clearer understanding as a culture of what rape is, and, ultimately, eliminate it.

So that's a lot of grandiose stuff to hope for, and on one level it seems kind of silly that I'm pursuing these ends by writing plays - hardly a means of reaching the masses anymore. But I don't appear to have much choice in the matter. Whether it's a lesbian riff on Romeo and Juliet (Ampersand: A Romeo & Juliet Story), a deconstruction of gender stereotypes (The All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret, coming up at Under St. Mark's in March 2010!), or a neo-noir play about a man who'll do anything for the woman he loves (A Man of His Word), I kind of can't help writing plays about sex-'n'-gender politics. But, it does no good to paint these issues as black and white, or to pretend that people who do terrible things aren't people. If we don't ask why, if we only vilify and refuse to probe, nothing will change. I want to provoke and unravel, not preach.

I'm also of the opinion that the world needs as much joy as possible, so my plays are often full of things that make me happy. So there's often a party scene, and dancing, and lots of making out. And I think my plays get funnier as time goes on, or at least goofier. I believe in more carrots than sticks- if you lure people in with funny or sexy, you can sneak your message on 'em.

4. If your life had a soundtrack what would be on it?
Nina Simone. Amanda Palmer. Some badass-sounding stuff from the Matrix soundtracks, to make me feel cool when I'm just walking around. Pink Floyd. Some crazy cello tracks by Apocalyptica or the Vitamin String Quartet. Imogen Heap would probably score the love scenes. Murder By Death. It would be an extensive soundtrack. I think most things should happen to music.

5. If you could be doing anything with your life right now what would it be?
I'd be getting paid to write plays that reach lots of people and change people's perceptions about themselves, and have the means to pay my favorite artists what they're worth to collaborate with me. And right at this moment someone would be feeding me grapes.

6. I Can't Live Without...
Music, hugs, or the Internet. Oddly enough I could probably live without theater for a while and be OK. I go months without movies, or books, but I need music.

7. What are you craving right now?
A Depeche Mode song, "Wrong," and sleep.

8. Talk about a piece of art, performing arts, music or writing that changed your life...
Pink Floyd's The Wall infiltrated my head and my life somewhere around my sophomore year of high school, in all its epic glory. I love that album for so many reasons, but a few of them are: it allows you to fill in some blanks yourself; it ends ambiguously, putting the power in the hands of the listener to decide what happens; and it doesn't take itself too-too seriously. And it rocks out like whoa. There's probably nothing I've written since that hasn't been subconsciously or consciously influenced by The Wall.

9. What motivates you to do what you do?
As a theater artist, if you haven't seen anything great in awhile, it's easy to forget why you're doing what you're doing, but then you see a totally transcendent play and remember, oh! That! I'm supposed to do that! That happens maybe 5-10 times in a year (if you're a persistent theatergoer), but those 5-10 times are worth the mediocrity of everything else you saw that year. As an activist, I have to admit, I get burnout sometimes and I don't want to read any articles about which group of women in the world is getting raped or tortured today. But eventually, I just have to keep doing what I do because my apathy-guilt will consume me otherwise. Plus, some dude will most likely catcall me at some point and get me angry enough to start activist-ing again.

10. If you were best friends with any historical figure who would it be and why?
Probably Lord Byron. He was a troublemaker.

11. If you were a character in your favorite fictional storyline (this could include a book, play, film, television series etc.) what would it be? How would your character be intertwined within the story line that already exists?
I want to be in a Lady Gaga music video. I'd be an alter-ego of Ms. Gaga, in some kind of chainmail tutu and 2-feet-wide sunglasses, maybe killing somebody or eating strawberries.

12. Talk about a defining moment of your life. What happened? What did you take away from it?
When I was in The Vagina Monologues, we watched a documentary about how music videos contribute to a rape culture, and it contained a very graphic rape scene from a movie whose name escapes me now. I wasn't a rape survivor at the time, but had to leave the room crying. The girl who followed me out tried to calm me down, explaining that she knew that sometimes memories were triggered by this documentary. When I tried to explain that no memory had been triggered, that it hadn't actually happened to me, she seemed to lose concern. This confused me, even though I couldn't put it into words then. Why did the fact that I didn't have a directly correlating life experience make my response less significant? I didn't realize at the time that it would be a defining moment, but since then I've been more acutely aware of the occasional hypocrisy of compassion - how we pick and choose who is most worthy of our concern, and lose interest if people's experiences haven't been awful enough for our standards. And I try not to do that.

13.Talk about the best day ever.
Last year, my mother secretly flew me and all my siblings home for my Dad's 70th birthday, and we all surprised him at a ballgame. When he saw us, he screamed every old-guy-non-obscenity in the book (i.e. "holy jumping catfish"). It was the cutest thing ever. We spent the whole weekend eating, drinking, and going to the beach. I wish Dad would turn 70 every year.

14. Who is/are your hero?
The first person who comes to mind is Amanda Palmer. She's not a balls-to-the-wall activist, but she's all about creating community, and setting up environments where people can connect with each other (and with her) and spread as much love and joy as possible. I also have to give it up for Joan of Arc - former farmgirl leading an army at age 17 = badass. And Lenelle Moise is the kind of do-it-all goddess I'd give anything to emulate; everything she creates just glows. She's got the Midas touch.

15. Create a mandatory reading list for the world:
The Gendered Society by Michael Kimmel - an incredibly smart yet fun approach to gender roles, by a straight white dude.
The entirety of Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics series - some of the finest, most imaginative storytelling I've ever encountered, with a scope that encompasses basically EVERYTHING. Really. Everything.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - a gender-bending, uber-American (in the way that immigrant stories are the most American stories of all), gorgeously written epic.
Repeat 7 Times (or anything) by Lenelle Moise. Read her poems out loud to yourself. You'll feel loved.
The completed plays of Sarah Kane, which you should also see whenever you get the chance (but bring a friend - you'll need a hug)
Fight Club, because even if you don't like it, this book and movie defined a generation (for worse, I think)
That Pretty Pretty, or, The Rape Play by Sheila Callaghan, if you missed it at Rattlestick. Some of the most cruelly hilarious, inventive skewering of sex politics I've ever seen.
The Vagina Monologues, if somehow you've managed to avoid seeing or reading it thus far.
Angels in America (see above).

For more pictures of Mariah, visit: