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Video interview with Nina Serrano and Paul Richards The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Forty Years in the Making - YouTube

Julieta Kusnir interviewing Nina Serrano and Paul Richards about Forty Years in the Making.

Julieta Kusnir interviews Nina Serrano and Paul Richards about the publication of their play The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg in book and ebook form by Estuary Press. The play was originally written and performed in 1976 about the famous atomic spy case of the 1950s, which sent Ethel and Julius Rosenberg to the electric chair. Now, forty years later, the play, a courtroom and prison drama, is now experiences a revival with new 21st century performances in Texas and Toronto, Canada, which prompted the publication.

The new volume includes the original 1976 script by Nina Serrano, Paul Richards and Judith Binder; and the 2016 revised script by Jacob Justice, of Bryan, Texas. The book’s publication is occasioned the authors’ excitement over the Canadian production taking place in Toronto in November, 2018, produced by the Jewish Community Theatre company, Teatron, at the Toronto Center for the Arts.

In the video interview, the authors invite school theater departments, community and professional theater companies to consider producing the play. It has become shockingly clear that the Rosenberg’s story is more relevant than ever. The book is easily available on Amazon.com.

“The shame, if we die, will dishonor this generation, and pervade history until future Americans recapture the heritage of truth, justice and equality before the law.”

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

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A Story That Will Not Die! “In short we did not get a fair trial and we were framed.”Julius Rosenberg Toronto Play and Book Announcement

Every Autumn, they say the veil between the living and the dead becomes permeable. Ghosts rekindle the collective memory demanding vindication to have their story truthfully retold and their place in the sun reclaimed. In North America, we celebrate this as Halloween, All Soul’s Day or Day of the Dead.

In this context, I will fly to Toronto, Canada to witness the second 21st Century production of The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg taking place on November 8 -17, 2018,  at Toronto Center for the Arts Studio Theater produced by the Toronto Jewish Theatre.

The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg is a play written in 1976 by Nina Serrano, Paul Richards and Judith Binder. We originally wrote and produced it in the San Francisco Bay Area, toured it to local colleges and performed it on local media KPFA-fm and KQED-tv.

The story is about betrayal, a brother’s betrayal of his sister and his brother-in-law. It is a play set in the eye of the anti-communist hurricane known to history as the McCarthy era. A play about a couple with two young children caught up in the scape-goating hysteria of a new world war, the Cold War. It is a play that follows a young couple to their deaths, clinging to their love for each other and their children, and the only truth that matters, their truth. A truth they are willing to die for, even if it means making their two small boys into orphans. It is a play about a trial that mesmerized people around the world, watching in horror as the heartless American state puts them in the electric chair and throws the switch sending them into eternity and infamy.

A Tragic Play in the Tradition of Euripides

Following the age-old format of theatrical tragedy, we created the plot. The Rosenbergs had to die for the sake of the American empire’s war to destroy its socialist rival, the Soviet Union. Ethel and Julius were sacrificed to the anti-communist Gods in the same way the Iphigenia, in Euripides’ tragic play, was sacrificed to the ancient gods for the sake of the patriarchal Greek State on its way to the legendary Trojan War. Only the Rosenbergs, unlike the Iphigenia, did not go quietly. They protested the injustice and proclaimed their innocence to the very end, as did their supporters worldwide.

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were an American Jewish leftist couple caught up in the famous “atomic spies case” of the conformist 1950’s. Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, David Greenglass, was a pawn and victim of the anti-communist inquisition in full force in the late 1940s. He was accused of stealing materials from the Los Alamos Labs in the 1940s where he worked in New Mexico. When the Soviets exploded their first atom bomb in 1949, the charges against Greenglass escalated into stealing atomic secrets and giving them to the anti-capitalist enemy, the former Soviet Union. To escape the death sentence and save his wife and children, Greenglass falsely implicated his sister and brother-in-law, the Rosenbergs.  Even though, as we all know today, there were no atomic secrets. The US government conjured up fake science hidden behind secret classified documents. This “evidence”  that no one has ever seen, sent the Rosenbergs to the electric chair, leaving behind their two small boys orphaned in 1953. As a reward, David Greenglass received a reduced sentence of 10 years and his wife remained free to raise their children.

Now, decades later, new productions of the play are taking place, first, in 2016, in Bryan, Texas, and upcoming in November 2018, in Toronto, Canada. We invite theater companies everywhere to produce the play. Contact us for more information.

Book Announcement

To celebrate this renewed interest in The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Estuary Press is publishing the play in paperback book and ebook formats. This new book includes the original 1976 version, and the updated 2016 version by Jacob Justice of Bryan, Texas. The original version is most suited to community theatre as it requires only a small cast. The Jacob Justice version is suited to a school production as it has a large cast and more physical action. The ebook version allows for easy downloads of paperless scripts on the actor’s cellphones.

The play tells the Rosenberg’s story almost entirely from the transcript of their trial and from their letters. It was performed on stages, on television and radio in the late 1970’s. Nina Serrano played Ethel Rosenberg. Paul Richards played David Greenglass and Judith Binder directed and narrated the play.

The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Book Cover. Cover Art by Beryl Landau.

Estuary Press’ new volume, includes Nina Serrano’s introductions to both versions of the play telling the story of the play’s origins and its 21st-century revival. The new publication offers school drama departments and other theatre organizations access to a play for our times that combines great drama with history and themes relevant and important to everyone.

“The shame, if we die, will dishonor this generation, and pervade history until future Americans recapture the heritage of truth, justice and equality before the law.”

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

The post The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Update appeared first on .

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People’s Poet Laureate of Vallejo CA

Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano featuring DL Lang - YouTube

DL Lang and Nina Serrano on Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano featuring DL Lang. June, 2018, Vallejo, California.

DL Lang known to friends as “Diana” is a welcoming and accessible poet who invites Vallejo poets to write and perform for this diverse and beautiful community. DL is one of the most active California laureates leading Vallejo community and library poetry functions and writing for its civic and public events.  Her own poetic work is easy to embrace, understand, and feel. She writes from her love of this place, nestled between two nourishing rivers and the glorious Bay.

Following in the pioneering footsteps of the awesome 1st poet laureate of Vallejo, Ginea Brice, DL continues to lead local poets into community happenings that widen the conversation. Poetry injects hope, lyricism, and spirituality into the universe. Its impact aims at the mind and heart where direct action is born. DL Lang helps carry the banner for social change to create the loving world we want with liberty, justice, housing, safety, food, education, healthcare, and poetry for all.

Her most recent achievement as of this writing is the publication of her new book of poems, The Cafe of Dreams. She has also just  completed editing an anthology of poems by Vallejo poets and some others. This Book, Verses, Voices & Visions, will be celebrated this coming  March 2019, at the Vallejo’s John F. Kennedy Library.

Nina Serrano interviews DL Lang, Vallejo’s Poet Laureate, on Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano on June 8, 2018. DL Lang reads from her own works, discusses her eleven volumes of poetry and shares her love of Vallejo, California.

About Nina Serrano: Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 84 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.com or contact her publisher at estuarypress.com. For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.

About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, paulrichards@estuarypress.com or visit estuarypress.com for more details.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; paulrichards@estuarypress.com

The post Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano Featuring DL Lang appeared first on .

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Sixth Poet Laureate of Benicia, California

Johanna Ely Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano Interview - YouTube

Johanna Ely interviewed on Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano

Johanna Ely is a strong lyrical force among the Benicia poets, hosting readings and publishing two books, Transformation and Tides of the Heart. She became the sixth poet laureate of her beloved Benicia from 2016 to 2018.

Johanna Ely always wrote poetry. She was a girl who loved reading and books. Poetry was part of her private world. But love and community drew her into the public arena when she met her partner, Oakland Sam. He recognized the power and beauty of her poems, encouraging her to share her work publicly at poetry reading and community gatherings. She continues to produce the Benecia First Sunday Poetry Series, and frequently appears on Art Beat, the local radio station, OZCAT, as well as in live Bay Area poetry readings.

Francisca Maria Felipa Benicia de Vallejo

The full interview includes readings of several of her poems that reveal the charms of Benicia, known as the love poem capital of California. Her poetry is romantic, lyrical and joyous as Johanna herself. Her poems confront the roots of the injustice we struggle against today, as she conjures up poetic stories about the inner lives of the historic women of this area, like Francisca Maria Felipa Benicia de Vallejo, after whom Benicia was named, and Concepción Argüello, Benicia’s 19th Century legendary heroine.

Concepción Argüello, from San Francisco’s Boat House Murals.

The video interview and reading is part of my new series, Literary Dialog with Nina Serrano. It is the third of the series , the first being, Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth with translator, poet Arturo Mantecon. The second is an interview with Ginea Brice, first Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California and author of A Way With Words.  The series can be seen here on my website, ninaserrano.com and on my YouTube channel.

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Trailer for the 3rd Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano featuring Johanna Ely

I Am Tired of Waking Up to the Faces of Dead Children - YouTube

Full Interview Premiers Here on August 18, 2018

Nina Serrano with Johanna Ely who reads her poem I am Tired of Waking Up to the Faces of Dead Children

Johanna Ely, Benicia, California Poet Laureate emeritus (2016-2018), speaks out about the school shootings in her poem entitled I Am Tired of Waking Up to the Faces of Dead Children. A retired elementary school teacher, the active poet and mother shares her concern. This moving poem is part of the third episode of Literary Dialog with Nina Serrano to be released on August 18, 2018 here on my website. 

Students March for Our Lives, March 24, 2018, Benicia, CA. Photo from Constance Beutel video on her YouTube Channel.

After the February 14, 2018 Florida school shooting, youth took up the leadership of the gun control movement. Johanna Ely read I Am Tired of Waking Up to the Faces of Dead Children at the March For Our Lives rally organized by Benicia high school students on March 24, 2018. Students nationwide began intensive voter registration campaigns among young people about to become eligible to vote on their 18th birthday. They also began a campaign of direct confrontation of gun lobbies and politicians who take money from the NRA. While mainstream media would like us to believe that the nation is divided on gun control, polls show that the majority of Americans want stronger restrictions on buying guns.

About Nina Serrano: Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 83 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.comor contact her publisher at estuarypress.com. For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.

About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nina Serrano’s novel, Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, paulrichards@estuarypress.com or visit estuarypress.com for more details.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; paulrichards@estuarypress.com

The post Johanna Ely: I Am Tired of Waking Up to the Faces of Dead Children appeared first on .

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A New Series Interviewing Fabulous Writers and Poets

I have been sharing my passion for literature and the spoken word for over half a century! This passion underlies writing my own poems, plays, fiction, radio scripts, and blogs,  directing theatre and films, or hosting interviews with authors, or leading poetry writing workshops in schools and cultural centers for children and adults.

As I approach my 84th birthday I am happy to announce the launch of “Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano,” a new series featuring fabulous writers and poets reading from their own works in conversation with me. Produced by Estuary Press, the series will appear on my Youtube channel and on my website. The series, “Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano,” is designed to spread the love of language as we move in resistance to the forces of hate, ignorance, and cruelty.  Created in our Vallejo, CA,  home studio, the series opens new possibilities for me more compatible with my current mobility and energies.

In each program, I interview writers and poets who, like Estuary Press, share a commitment to peace, justice, and a healthy planet. I dialog with artists who play with language and expand its meaning to make ideas and feelings available to the viewer.

Please subscribe (in the column on the right on this page) to receive an email notice and a link to the next program. They’ll leave you inspired with fresh thoughts and new perspectives.

“Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano” will also air on my KPFA radio programs La Raza Chronicles  2nd and 4th Tuesday at 7 pm and  Open Book 2nd Wednesday of the month series. as well as occasionally excerpted for the Cover to Cover Nina and Jack show on the first Wednesday of the month.

Arturo Mantecón and Nina Serrano on Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano. May 29, 2018. Click this image to see the video.

The series began with my May 29, 2018 interview featuring Arturo Mantecón, translator of the Mexico City beat poet, Mario Santiago Papasquiaro’s Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth.

Genea Brice and Nina Serrano on Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano. Click this image to see the video.

The second episode features my interview with Genea Brice, the first Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California, reading from her book, A Way with Words
More episodes are in production and will be announced as they happen. Subscribe and stay in touch.

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