Interview with Christina Martinez of #NoTeenShame

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Christina Martinez is an early childhood educator working in the culturally and linguistically diverse communities of South Sacramento. In addition, she is the digital media coordinator for MYS, LLC a project management firm based in Henderson, Nevada. Christina is a co-founder of #NoTeenShame, a national movement illuminating the need for shame-free LGBTQ-inclusive comprehensive sexuality education & equitable access to resources and support for young families. In addition to her work as a young parent advocate, she is a freelance and opinion contributor to The Sacramento Bee.

Playwright intern Sean Patrick Nill interviewed Christina to learn more about her advocacy work, #noteenshame, and the challenges arts education for educators. She’s also our #TalkbackTuesdays guest speaker on May 30 following the performance of LUNGS.

Where did the idea of #noteenshame come from? How has it developed since?

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention month. During this month, many organizations launch campaigns intended to reduce the number of teen pregnancies in the United States. Many of these campaigns seek to discourage teens from becoming parents by making a cautionary tale out of youth who are already pregnant or parenting. In 2013, the Candies Foundation launched a widespread campaign using the #NoTeenPreg hashtag and slogans such as “You’re supposed to be changing the world, not changing diapers” featuring celebs such as Carly Rae Jepsen and Bristol Palin.
I bristled at the implication of the words and immediately thought of the many young parents I knew who were changing both diapers and their communities. Across the nation, six other young mothers had taken notice of the ads as well and were thinking of ways to constructively push back against the negative messaging campaigns.

Through social media, we connected and began brainstorming ways to counteract Candies’ message that teen pregnancy somehow sentenced young parents to a lifetime of failure. Soon after, #NoTeenShame was born. #NoTeenShame is a movement led by seven young mothers, including myself, to improve strategic messaging campaigns and conversation around young parenting in an effort to create non-stigmatizing and non-shaming approaches to collaborating with young families.

We recognize that the stigma surrounding young parenthood can affect young parents in everything from self-perception to the availability of services present in their communities, as funding for programs that help pregnant and parent youth graduate from high school and gain access to health care are often de-prioritized in local and statewide budgets.

How important is arts education in early childhood development?

The early childhood period (generally defined as the years from birth to eight years old) is a critical period in which children develop and foster cognitive and social-emotional skills associated with success later in life. Arts participation in early childhood often includes such activities as music, song, and dance; drama and theater; and visual arts and crafts. As children develop, they experience rapid development of communication skills, motor skills, and perspective-taking (in other words, the the ability to see from “someone else’s shoes”). Studies overwhelmingly suggest that at virtually every stage of life, the arts can foster openness to novelty, encourage connections to people, places, things, and concepts, and promote the ability to take multiple perspectives, among other positive outcomes.

Children learn best through play. And some of the most meaningful and influential play based leaning occurs as a result of arts education.

#noteenshame fights against the stereotypes placed upon young parents and families that influence policy makers. How does story telling (particularly story telling through theatre) assist that mission?

Storytelling humanizes our personal experiences. The process offers us a way of making sense of the world around us. In addition, it can be uniquely empowering to craft our own narrative and share it with an audience.

As a young parent, storytelling through writing was my way of connecting with other mothers such as myself. I felt isolated in my experience for a long time. I began blogging in 2010 in an effort to share my experience with my community. Ultimately, this method of storytelling expanded my network and was instrumental in my connecting with the other #noteenshame co-founders across the country.

Through story sharing, we have been able to humanize our experiences and utilize these narratives as a way of illustrating the importance of respecting and supporting all parents, regardless of age.

We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from people who connect with our stories, even though they may not be young parents themselves. This is the power of story telling. It allows the listener a way to connect and relate with aspects of people’s individual journeys, which in turn builds empathy and can foster meaningful connections between people that might not otherwise have occurred.

What could B Street audience members do to assist the important work that #noteenshame is doing? What can they do to support organizations that fight for arts in the schools?

I encourage audience members to visit our website at noteenshame.org to find ways in which they can be allies to young parents and the #noteenshame mission. It is important for all of us to constantly check our biases and judgments and reflect on how they impact the way we interact with not only young parents, but the greater community.

The best way for people to support organizations that seek to bring arts to the schools is to get involved in whatever capacity you are able to. This may mean a monthly donation, fundraising efforts, or perhaps advocating on an organization’s behalf. Or better yet, volunteering time and personal expertise. Our community thrives when it is supportive of a vibrant arts culture.

To purchase tickets to LUNGS order online or call the Box Office: 916-443-5300

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B-Engaged Night: Digital Privacy podcast

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Back in March B Street Theatre partnered with the Goethe-Institut Washington to present short plays written by playwrights across the country and the globe. The topic of the night was digital privacy, with each playwright exploring the challenges of the digital age. The evening featured an hour long performance and talk-back followed by a social hour with cocktails and music.

The talk-back was recorded as a podcast by Johnny Flores of Serious Talk Seriously podcast. Below is a recording of that talk-back with Digital Privacy specialist and professor of cryptography Phillip Rogaway. His research and technical work in cryptography is paired with corresponding concerns for social and ethical issues connected to technology, especially the problem of mass surveillance.

This event was associated with Future of Privacy Forum’s The Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute plays.

#HamsOnBway reviews JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK

Drawing by Hams On Bway

Introducing guest blogger Nicole Holt, age 14, who attends theatre as #HamsOnBway. Follow her on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram (@hamsonbway) to see her photos with the cast and her unique drawings that interpret characters from the play into cuddly hamsters. There’s nothing cuter in theatre than #HamOnBway.

Junie B. Jones is a fun family-friendly show! The bright, colorful set brings you back to your kindergarten school days! Best of all, the actors really bring the story to life with their energy and silliness! A favorite scene is when the kids argue in the classroom, and the actors make it just like real life, with the tantrums, the teasing, and the crazy shenanigans! The performance closely follows Barbara Park’s book of the same name. Audiences will laugh and cheer for Junie B. and her friends! Audience participation is encouraged! The two forty-five minute acts were just right for kids of all ages! After the show, you can meet Junie B. and the rest of the cast in the lobby! They are very friendly, and they will sign your program and take pictures with you! Grab your kids and head on over to B Street Theatre to see this wonderful production!

JUNIE B. JONES IS NOT A CROOK will run in the B Street Family Series on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. until May 28. Tickets are still available here.

The History of ‘B A Part of It’: Interview with Dave Pierini

 

This year’s B A Part of It fundraiser was the final one in our current theatre. We would like to thank all our attendees for making it a sell out and a fitting send off to this location as we prepare to move into the new theatre in 2018. For this year’s fundraiser we raised more than $100,000. We hope to see you again next year, but for now here’s some background on the annual event. Interview conducted by Playwriting/Literary Intern Sean Patrick Nill.

Sean Nill: How did B A Part of It begin? What was the idea behind it?

Dave Pierini: For years, our annual fundraiser was called STARLIGHT FANTASY. This was back in the day when we just did Fantasy Theatre (School Tour, as it’s called now). And there were various activities, but it was all the basic fundraiser that every arts organization does. There was food, there was music, there was a silent auction. And for us, there was nothing special about it. Arts patrons get sort of bored with the same fundraiser every year. And we were tired of that. And we decided to do what we do best; which is make people laugh. So, Buck came up with the idea of B A Part of It. We had just started doing sketch & improv and Buck thought we could turn the auction part into actual audience participation so folks could bid on sending their friend up on stage to be a part of the show and the company would do improv games with those audience members. And it was smash hit. And it’s grown from there. We’ve added Dick Bryton and his orchestra so people can bid to sing with the band. It’s turning that old arts fundraiser on its head and making it the best party in town

Sean Nill: With the insane amount of productions happening at B Street, how difficult is it to put this event together?

Dave Pierini: Every year, I think to myself, B A Part of It is coming up in two months. It’s coming up in one month. It’s coming up in three weeks. We’re gonna be so organized and prepared a week out. And then we get so busy producing theatre at a rate like no one else in Northern California. And so, when we arrive at the week of, the event becomes a bit like Saturday Night Live. We write a bunch of sketch. We rehearse it. We make adjustments and then we put it up on Friday night. And there’s something to be said for feeling like you’re being shot out of a cannon to add a special touch to sketch. I mean, that’s why all those sketch shows are so successful on television. Little time, little sleep, and there’s an energy to that. It makes some really funny things.

Sean Nill Every year has a theme. What was this year’s theme?

Dave Pierini: This year’s theme was ‘Construction and the new theatre.’ So the sketches reflected this transition for us: construction sketches, having fun imagining what’ll be like in the new theatre, the stage was set like a construction zone. Dick Bryson and his band found every song that talks about ‘work’..

B Street Theatre would like to thank our amazing food and beverages sponsors for providing a variety of the best. You can preview that list below:

  • Catering: Formoli’s Bistro

Formoli’s Bistro was established in the spring of 2008 by husband and wife team Aimal Formoli and Suzanne Ricci. Their dream was to open a ten table restaurant with a small menu that covered the basics of simple—but in no way understated—food. Aimal, a graduate of California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, had a vision of dinning the way that he himself wanted to experience food. Aimal and Suzanne—both Sacramento natives—decided to take the risk of opening a restaurant during a fallen economy. By taking the approach of having an eclectic small menu, Chef Formoli has been able to incorporate a European influence in his food, drawing mostly from France, Spain, and Italy. Chef Formoli proudly sources his food from local California farmers. Located on 3938 J Street Sacramento, CA.

  • Beer Provided by: Markstein Beverage Company

Markstein Beverage Company, an Anheuser-Busch Wholesalers, joins with 12 breweries and a vast network of shippers to provide the most extensive and effective beer distribution system in the brewing industry. Refrigerated warehouses and computer-based inventory systems make sure our Retailers and Customers get the freshest, highest-quality beer available anywhere. They are beer providers for the Sacramento Kings, San Francsico Giants, Oakland A’s, Toyota Amphitheater, and Six Flags Discover Kingdom At B A Part of It, they will be serving Sierra Nevada, Negro Modelo, Stella Atrois, and Firestone Walker 805. Located on 60 Main Avenue, Sacramento, CA.

  • Wine Provided by: Bogle Vineyards

The Bogle Vineyards family has been farming the land since the mid-1800s and treasures its local history and wine making traditions.  For nearly 50 years, the Bogle family has seen the business transform from what was primarily corn based farming into what is now exclusively grape planted acres. The first grapes were planted in 1968 and until 1978, the farm grew grapes for other large winemakers. Then in 1978, Bogle bottled for the first time and the rest is history. Today, Bogle Vineyards sells more than 2 million cases of wine around the world, shipped to all 50 states and more than 40 countries. They are located at 37783 Co Rd 144 Clarksburg, CA

  • Tequila Provided by: El Jefe

El Jefe Tequila envisioned a luxury craft tequila in 2009, and committed to the persistent process to discover and create it. They traveled to Jalisco Mexico and met with many Distillers, only to be challenged in finding a comfortable match where they could implement their vision of a smooth tequila that would appeal to the American palate, while also maintaining the traditional methods of making quality heritage tequila. The result is El Jefe Tequila and they continue to celebrate their Ultra-Premium Tequila of unparalleled smoothness and elegance.

  • Deserts Provided by: Sweet Dozen Doughnuts

The Co-owners of Sweet Dozen, brother and sister, Jeremy and Nuny believe that creativity and appreciation for donuts is essential in making a great one. Continuing their father’s donut business, they’ve expanded it tremendously and yet have held unto a Mom & Pop Shop feeling. Their daily routine is to prepare at 2am, then serve from 6am-2pm. Their family oriented business, boldness for trying new things, and their love for the industry are what makes Sweet Dozen a bit sweeter than other shops. Located at 5207 Madison Avenue, Sacramento, CA

  • Coffee Provided by: Chocolate Fish

Chocolate Fish is considered a Sacramento treasure of a coffee shop. They roast small batches of coffee to ensure the freshest possible taste while maintaining the intrinsic flavors within the fruit. They’ve traveled all over the world, meeting several producers and finding the most diverse taste and best practices of roasting coffee. They source beans that have been harvested within the last 12 months to ensure freshness and the best quality taste, giving their customers a variety of tastes as each harvesting season changes. Located at 400 P Street and at 4749 Folsom Boulevard in Sacramento, CA.