Thursday, January 31, 2008


Being terribly allergic to cats, I cannot speak with great experience about bonding with them. (There have been a few in my life who didn't get my allergies going too badly--and they happened to be amazingly friendly and affectionate and open. In my vernacular, they behaved like a dog.) But I have never been able to build a real and deep friendship with one due to my asthma problem, so cat lovers please forgive me if I concentrate on dogs for a moment.

In a truly sad weekend just past, the family dog showed what she was made of and proved once again what a stellar creature she truly is. Chloe, due to the death of my much-loved mother-in-law, had to contend with long periods of being left alone, then swarms of friends and relatives, and then three of us, sad and trying to cope, dragging about the house. She was more than intuitive--she was solicitous, caring and sensitve. She would lie by your side and both nuzzle or receive--but never longer than what her companion wanted and never with a gluttonous hunger for affection. She would listen very carefully during serious discussions, not as a sleepy, tolerant, somewhat bored hanger-on but as a committed participant. You saw her actively trying to give comfort to each individual as best she could--and clearly she tailored her behavior to each recipient. She probably didn't sleep much, keeping a watch out for all in the family. She herself was sad at the loss of her beloved mistress, and sometimes you could see a deeply sad expression on her face, but she seemed to instinctually know that she would feel better by making others feel better. As I say, it was a busy and sad weekend--but it was also one of Chloe's finer weekends, and I feel grateful to her for helping us get through it.

The pure love, kindness and attention that a pet can give is a very special and unique gift. Thus, when one can give back by helping those dogs and cats in need of a home and/or special care, one must do what one can. The animals truly appreciate it, and the gift is returned sevenfold.

On Feburary 9th, Playwrights for Pets will once again do a benefit reading for Animal Haven, this time an afternoon event on site at Animal Haven SoHo. At 3:30 pm, FABLES & FAIRY TALES FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES, an hour-long program, will entertain kids of all ages at the pet adoption center, featuring the stories SNAPDRAGON, UNCORKED, and ANDROCLES AND THE LION, performed by a talented cast of six. Your donation ($10 for adults, $5 for kids) will help Animal Haven continue their splendid work as one of the city's leading "no kill" adoption centers. You and your "child" will have a splendid time and you'll be giving back to creatures who give us so much. Here's the full information:

Playwrights for Pets presents

for Children of All Ages

Saturday, February 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm
at Animal Haven SoHo
251 Centre Street
(between Broome and Grand Streets in Manhattan)

an afternoon of readings to benefit

The Plays:


The Players:

Reservations: call 718-768-4213
or e-mail

Donation requested: $10 Adults, $5 Children age 12 or under

Running time: approx. 1 hour

Donation requested: $10 Adults, $5 Children age 12 or under

Running time: approx. 1 hour

Playwrights for Pets

SUE YOCUM, Executive Director
making theater to benefit animals in need
click here for a pdf flyer you can print out!

Hope you'll be able to attend.


Though NOT a charity event, this weekend is the final weekend of ACT THREE: ONE ACT, presented by the Queens Players in L.I.C. Friday night at 8 is program one (which includes my play, A REASON FOR ALL THINGS). On Saturday, Februrary 2nd, BOTH programs 1 and 2 will be presented, program 1 beginning at 6 pm. Here is THAT information:

A Reason For All Things
by Judd Lear Silverman
directed by Gregory Cicchino
Joe Cummings, Peter Ciuffa, Ross Pivec, Dan Rice, and Faith Wu
part of
Act Three: One Act
The 2008 Long Island City One Act Festival, January 16 - February 2, 2008
Program 1 (including A REASON FOR ALL THINGS):
Fri, Feb. 1 at 8 pm
Sat, Feb. 2 at 6 pm (Progs 1& 2, ceremony/party)
Presented by
The Secret Theatre and The Queens Players
44-02 23rd, Long Island City, NYC 11101
phone: 718 392 0304 FOR INFO
or visit their web site:
to purchase tickets through OvationTix

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Okay, okay, I don't get out much. Well, clearly not as often as I should. Not nearly enough.

I'm a little out of touch.

But I finally went to a movie today--JUNO, the delightful indie comedy released by Fox Searchlight that was made on a shoestring and made its investment back in the blink of an eye. But why not? It's smart, funny, and just plain fun. A young geeky teenage girl has a thing for her equally geeky lab partner who, until now, has been more active on the track team than in pursuing an active sex life. But the two best friends try the deed one night and, wham-bam-thank you, ma'am, the seed is accidentally planted. Juno's journey through this pregnancy is the core of the film, which should have folks laughing for years to come. Jason Reitman ("Thank You for Smoking") directs Diablo Cody's delightfully screwy screenplay with aplomb, and Ellen Page gives a smashing breakthrough performance as the pregnant teen, Juno. There is able support from her father and stepmother (played by the always wonderful J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney), and Michael Cera (who scored as the teen on the TV comedy, "Arrested Development" and in the summer's hit, "Superbad") is absolutely delightful as Juno's nerdy suitor. Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman give spot-on performances as the couple who aspire to adopt Juno's baby. Olivia Thirlby is also wonderful as Juno's best friend/confidante, and even Rainn Wilson ("The Office") turns in a humorous cameo. Clearly made to the filmmakers' particular taste versus mass market assumptions, the resulting film is clear-headed, original, touching and fun. With a lot of award-nominated films fighting for your attention (and your dollars), it's hard to know which to pick, but JUNO is an original that will standout as a genuine charmer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Well, the candidates are selling themselves, so why shouldn't the artists?

Opening this Wednesday in Long Island City is my play, A REASON FOR ALL THINGS. Based on several "true news" stories from the Internet and the newswires, REASON is a modern Cambodian folk tale of sorts, narrated by a American abroad, and explores the cultural differences between East and West, particularly in the ways we process our grief. (It is one play in an evening of one-acts in a festival of alternating programs, presented by an exciting young company, The Queens Players at the Secret Theatre.)

Here's all the info, plus links for more information and directions:

A Reason For All Things
by Judd Lear Silverman
directed by Gregory Cicchino
Joe Cummings, Peter Ciuffa, Ross Pivec,
Dan Rice, and Faith Wu

part of
Act Three: One Act
The 2008 Long Island City One Act Festival
January 16 - February 2, 2008
Program 1
Wed, Jan. 16, Fri, Jan. 18, Thurs, Jan. 24, Sun, Jan 27, Wed, Jan. 30, Fri, Feb. 1 at 8 pm
SPECIAL PERFS: Sat, Jan. 26 at 2 pm; Sat, Feb. 2 at 6 pm (Progs 1& 2, ceremony/party)
Presented by
The Secret Theatre and The Queens Players
44-02 23rd, Long Island City, NYC 11101
phone: 718 392 0304 FOR INFO
Online reservations:

for more information and directions.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Some days, there are no ideas.

Other days, there are too many, you don't know which ones to develop. So . . . in no particular order . . . but in my need to exorcise some demons . . .


"LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Television's 'Dr. Phil' McGraw said Britney Spears was released from a hospital Saturday but still needs psychological help, the syndicated programs 'Entertainment Tonight' and 'The Insider' reported in a press release . . . 'My meeting with Britney and some family members this morning in her room at Cedars leaves me convinced more than ever that she is in dire need of both medical and psychological intervention,' McGraw told the programs."

Okay. Sadness over a young woman's alarming decline aside, WHAT ELSE IS ABSURD ABOUT THIS ARTICLE? Is it that the esteemed AP Newswire and every local news program has covered every hiccup of this story (even as hundreds of men and women have been giving their lives in Iraq, as too many Americans can't afford healthcare, as divorce rates spiral and more and more children of non-celebrity parents suffer the consequences of their parents' squabbles)? Is it that "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider," both bastions of "journalistic excellence," are making this a major news item to boost their ratings? Or is it that "Dr. Phil," who is NOT EVEN A REAL DOCTOR(!!!) is making a proclamation to the world that in HIS opinion this girl's in trouble? (Nice call, McGraw--only someone of your high intellect and sensitivity could see that.) People, please. If you all REALLY cared about Brittany Spears and hoped for her to sort out her problems, you would let her be OUT of the spotlight for a while, quietly, while she sought help and got her life back together. This fishbowl will ultimately lead her down the same path others have descended (including Anna Nicole). It's like watching a televised train wreck. Shame on you all, feeding on her descent . . .

I've planted a mole in the back rooms of the campaign trail. I've put shot glasses up to the wall to hear what's going on inside. I've planted electronic listening devices in vases of obviously fake floral arrangements. And here's the dish that's come back:

"Let's attack Hillary and see if we can get her riled up. Then if she does, we can say, see, she's a girl and not tough enough. And if she doesn't crack, we can go the opposite route and say she's unfeeling, unnatural, not enough of a woman."

For Hillary's detractors, it's a win-win.

For what it's worth, the events of this week have pushed this writer to make a still-premature endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Not because she needs my endorsement, granted. She IS the best candidate, as far as I can tell--and her opponents have pushed me there before I can really determine it for myself!

Her detractors say she's not the candidate for "change." (What, like she's trying to keep George Bush in office? Like she hasn't fought for education and healthcare reform for years?) Would Edwards and Obama be campaigning on a platform of "change" if they truly had real experience to ride on in its place? In this fast-food society, in the same way that somehow "liberal" has become dirty word, now "experience" is being lumped in with being "anti-change." People who fight the good fight should be supported, not discarded with every new poseur who comes along. We all learn from our battles and our accumulated scars, but our society rejects people with experience, allowing ego to supersede hard-won knowledge. Right now, having been a punching bag extraordinaire for years for speaking her mind and having a "liberal" agenda, Hillary Clinton is the most ready to rise above the mire and take on the mess in the Mid-East and the disaster left behind by this administration at home. Barack Obama is not without his idealist good points, but he's so in love with his own idealism that he's not ready to get his hands dirty. The umbrage with which he takes any criticism tells us he's not experienced enough. Though the front runner coming out of Iowa, the Senator from Illinois seemed more like a pouty little boy who resented having to fend off any attacks or criticisms. "Sticks and stones" on the campaign trail are nothing compared to what a President these days will endure. Hillary can't be any more vilified than she already has been--and she STILL wants to do the job! Give her credit, guys!

Even my in-laws, reading certain publications, say they think Hillary lied about Whitewater and Vince Foster, yadayadayada, and so they don't like her. Name me any MALE politician who hasn't lied about something. Admit it, gang, while every other advanced country in the world has at least considered or been led at some point by a woman, the political good ole boys of this country remain sexist pigs. Even sadder, I suspect many of the WOMEN of this country don't support Hillary because she's a woman and they feel her "toughness" is inappropriate or wrong. In a recent New Hampshire poll, she was voted more experienced and capable than Obama or Edwards, but those polled didn't LIKE her as much. (If you'll recall, Americans found Bush more amiable than Kerry or Al Gore--see where that good ole boy behavior has led us?!) SHAME ON YOU, AMERICA--are we so in love with hype that the basic ability to lead, with ability and good organization skill, is less important than a person's sex? Hillary's candidacy should not have to be about being a woman--but her opponents are MAKING it so. Shame on them. And shame on you, if you don't judge her merits on their own.

Watching the debates last night, one thing became crystal clear--NONE of the candidates, Democratic or Republican, are walking in the shoes of the common American. This became most clear when it came to the topics of healthcare and illegal immigrants. A discussion of healthcare packages kept leading to mandates (and Fred Thompson has forever lost my respect by turning the word into a cheap joke to detract from an opponent's attempt to make a clear answer). Everyone kept saying that individuals should buy healthcare on the open market, yet they discussed financial penalties for those who didn't take advantage of the programs offered. Don't they know that people who don't have insurance 9 times out of 10 simply can't afford it on the incomes they receive?! Who WOULDN'T opt for affordable healthcare? The inflated costs, created by the HMOs and drug manufacturers of this country, are out of control, but rather than address that, the candidates (on both sides) seemed content to praise our system over the public health systems in virtually every other advanced, civilized nation on this planet! Are they really that blind?! We may not be able to give financial equality to all (and probably shouldn't), but being a citizen of this country SHOULD mean that you are not turned away from the very developments and improvements in healthcare that OUR TAX DOLLARS paid for!

As for immigration, again, they pretended that it wasn't an economic issue. People become illegal immigrants not because they choose to scoff at the laws of the land, but because there is no other way to financially crack through and find a better life. And some of the candidates went on and on about amnesty, yet felt that plans where financial penalties were given along with being sent to the back of the line were TOO EASY on these same poor people. National security and the prevention of terrorist threat is being used (and manipulated) by the candidates to pervert the attention of the nation on real problems, which are sadly economic in nature.

Frankly, despite all the screaming by the candidates for change, their behavior shows that they are cynically dishing out more of the same.


I was going to ruminate on the Writers' Strike, self-promote my upcoming shows a bit, and talk about some personal griefs. But this is certainly enough rant for one afternoon!