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This information was just published through the Actor’s Equity Assoc. Newsletter. Since I know a lot of starving singer/songwriters I wanted to help get the word out:

The Performing Artists’ Medical Clinic offers free medical services to low-income musicians, dancers, actors and other performing artists. It is staffed by doctors of the Venice Family Clinic. Prescription medicines and referrals to psychiatric services are also available at no cost. This service is offered twice monthly. Contact Dan Kitowski at The Actors Fund (323-933-9244 ext 32) for eligibility criteria and appointment information. Income requirements apply.

Yes on Prop. 15 – YesOnProp15.org

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Elections Should Be Won, Not Bought

Why California Needs Reform

California’s campaign finance watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, reported that candidates and elected officials have directly raised over $1 billion since 2001, even under voter-approved, restrictive fundraising limits. Meanwhile, California’s problems have gotten worse.

We want our elected leaders focused on finding solutions to our challenges, not raising money for their next campaign! Under the California Fair Elections Act, candidates and elected officials will be able to get out of the money game and back to solving California’s problems.

Proposition 15 represents fundamental election reform that will allow candidates and elected officials to get out of the fundraising game and get back to solving California’s problems. Authored by then-Assemblywoman Loni Hancock and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the California Fair Elections Act will appear on the June 8th ballot.

A Pilot Program for the Secretary of State Election Campaigns

Proposition 15 will create a pilot project to make voluntary public financing available to candidates running for Secretary of State in 2014 and 2018.

  • To Qualify:  Secretary of State candidates must show broad grassroots support by receiving 7,500 $5 qualifying contributions and signatures from registered California voters.  They must also agree to strict spending limits.
  • Fair Elections Candidates Receive:  Enough Fair Elections funds to run competitive primary campaigns ($1,000,000).  If they win their primary they receive enough funds to run competitive general election campaigns ($1,300,000).  A candidate may also receive “fair fight” funds if they are outspent or if outside groups attack them or support an opponent.
  • Fundraising Prohibitions:  Participating candidates would be prohibited from raising or spending money beyond what they receive from the fund.  They are banned from raising any money for their campaign from lobbyists, their clients, or anybody else.
  • Strict Enforcement:  Participating candidates must follow strict reporting requirements and can only spend on legitimate campaign expenses.  Violators would face fines, possible jail time, and prohibitions from running for office in the future.

Taxpayer and public funds are protected.  It will not increase taxes or take away from other important programs.  It is funded primarily by registration fees on lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist employers, with no taxpayer dollars going to candidates. Currently lobbyists only pay $12.50 per year in California, among the lowest rates in the country.

Why the Secretary of State?

The Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing and regulating the state’s lobbying activity and the integrity of our elections, and the California Fair Elections Act will assure voters that the Secretary of State is focusing on his or her duties, not worrying about raising campaign contributions.

I wanted to tell you about Global Zero, an international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons. Presidents Obama and Medvedev just signed a historic agreement to reduce their nuclear arsenals. With Russia and the US standing ready to lead, the following months could see the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons, but that will only happen if we seize this moment. To join me and the hundreds of thousands of people in every country in the world who believe in zero, click below:


We must now choose between two very different futures. In one, nuclear weapons continue to spread, increasing the chances that a country or terrorists use them, with catastrophic consequences. In the other, all nuclear weapons are eliminated according to a comprehensive global agreement for phased and verified reductions.

We want to show world leaders that the public supports the idea of a world free of nuclear weapons as they prepare to attend a special summit organized by President Obama to address this global crisis.

To sign the declaration, click below. Please forward this to all your friends and family, we need to have as many signatures as possible before we deliver it to leaders coming to the Obama Summit.


Thank you for being part of the solution!

I recently took a writing workshop from  prize-winning poet, journalist, author and teacher Deborah Edler Brown.  




She calls it “Digging the Well”.  Ms. Brown creates an environment that allows you to mine experience and imagination that you may not have known was available to you.  I found myself writing from the heart in ways I’ve never felt able to access before.  This experience shows me that there are possibilities to explore, not only in writing my non-fiction projects and my songwriting, but in other areas of life that I choose to pursue that I had once thought beyond my reach.  I have seen a very personal, specific example of how many of our imagined limitations are self-imposed.  I will always be grateful to Ms. Brown for that insight.   May your 2010 be a year full of exploration and discovery.

This week my good friend, acting coach Jeanne Hartman, will be traveling to Hong Kong to teach another series of master classes in acting technique. Here in Los Angeles Jeanne has been my acting coach and director on a number of theater, radio and voice-over projects so I can truly say that I am envious of the students who will be attending her classes next month. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Jeanne talk about acting. Her insights and clear descriptions of the tools an actors needs to build believable characters are invaluable.

We tend to accept that investing emotionally in your character is necessary when we think about non-musical performances. But I consider it just as important when your job is to sing a song in a musical theater or live concert performance. In my work as a singer/songwriter in a folk rock band I often have the opportunity to watch other artists perform. The singers that I enjoy the most, the ones I remember and want to see again, are the ones who know how to connect with their audience. Because they invite us into their experience. Their performance makes you feel something. But in order to have an experience to share the performer must know how to create that reality for themselves and then commit to the emotional investment that will draw your audience into your imagined reality.
Which is where grabbing the chance to study with Jeanne Hartman comes in.

I recently watched a young singer/songwriter sing her original tunes. She sang well and her songs were well-written. But she sat at the keyboard and stared at her hands never making eye contact with the audience and never giving us any clues as to what she was thinking or feeling. She made no effort to connect to what she was singing about. Without that connection to the material you are performing there is little chance you’ll be able to connect with your audience.

Using the same set of tools that actors use to create believable characters the singer can make a song real for themselves. Which will make it real for the audience.

In the November 16, 2009 Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times there is a review by Randy Lewis of a concert that has in it this paragraph:

“He coaxed shimmering, pulsating tones from his Lowden guitar and unleashed dazzling tones and fills that never came off like Guitar Hero grandstanding because they were always inspired by, and in the service of, the emotional heart of each song.”

I’ve learned to treat my song lyrics the same way I would a non-musical monologue or dialogue in a scene. The techniques I’ve learned from coaching with Jeanne lead me to discoveries about the song’s content and my reasons for singing it that allow me to find the emotional center of the song.

So, for all you singers out there, go to the events page and sign up for Jeanne’s workshops. OR contact her through her web page and make an appointment for a coaching session:


Because a song performed without the emotional investment made possible through the use of the actor’s homework is just a lot of notes.

Tara Sitser - Leadership Member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project

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