Art

New playwrights announced for Art House INKubator project

Art House Productions has officially announced the 2020-2021 cohort of its INKubator Program, a year-long process for a select group of six playwrights in residence at Art House Productions. This year’s playwrights are Andrea Coleman, Izzi D’Esposito, Madeline Dennis-Yates, Nathaniel Foster, Aja Nisenson, and SMJ. This will be the 3rd Annual INKubator New Play Festival, a six-day marathon festival scheduled to take place in May 2021.

Playwrights will meet virtually over the next several months with program director Alex Tobey to share new work, receive feedback, and develop a first draft of a new play. Meetings are expected to be in-person when it’s safer to do so. Each writer will team up with a director and actors to present a public reading in May as a part of INKubator.

In addition to monthly meetings, playwrights will receive free admission to performances, mixers, and other events at Art House Productions. Audiences will also have the opportunity to participate in conversations with the writers, directors, and actors following each performance.

Andrea Coleman is a Brooklyn based writer, performer and lawyer originally from Virginia. She writes sketch comedy, standup comedy, screenplays, stageplays, and her Medium articles have been viewed online over half a million times. The law comedy show she created and stars in, Woke Laws, has been featured in The New York Times, TimeOut NY, NPR, and aired on PBS. She has toured her standup at SF Sketchfest and written and executive produced five short films which have been selections at 16 film festivals.

Izzi D’Esposito (she/her) is a New York based playwright and songwriter. Her work has been produced or developed at The Playwrights Realm, Workshop Theater, Homegrown Theater, the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Ars Nova, Arts Tristate, Carnegie Mellon University, Horizon Theater, Boise Contemporary Theater and more. She has a

This Interior Designer Turned Her Cookie-Cutter Town House Into a Personal Art Gallery

“The biggest challenge was using what was already here but making it better,” says Tiffany (left). “This isn’t our forever home, so I had to be really smart about what I decided to spend money on and what just needed a small facelift. It’s way easier to bring your full vision to life without any restrictions, but the fun part is figuring it out with those limitations.”

“The biggest challenge was using what was already here but making it better,” says Tiffany (left). “This isn’t our forever home, so I had to be really smart about what I decided to spend money on and what just needed a small facelift. It’s way easier to bring your full vision to life without any restrictions, but the fun part is figuring it out with those limitations.”

When interior designer Tiffany Thompson bought this two-bedroom Portland, Oregon, town house in 2016, she was working at Nike and viewed its close proximity to the company’s headquarters as a major benefit. It also didn’t hurt that she had access to a community pool and tennis court, or that the drive toward her street was lined with towering trees. But the deciding factor, Tiffany remembers, is that it had a certain Pacific Northwest luxury. “What initially drew me to this place was the amount of natural light it received. It’s pretty bright all of the time,” Tiffany says. “Coming from Miami where it’s usually sunny, the thing that scared me most about purchasing a home in Portland was that it was going to be dark and rainy seven months out of the year.”

The challenge would be turning this cookie-cutter town house into a personalized haven. Tiffany was surrounded by a blank canvas. Luckily, her boyfriend, Julian Gaines, is a fine artist. “With all of the art, we want to evoke emotion and really let them be the highlight of our home,” she says. “Being with an artist is amazing because I have endless items to choose from.”

“For the dining room art, Julian imagined himself being next in line on his way to heaven and seeing the person in front of him receiving his halo,” she says. The table is from Lillian August, and the surrounding chairs are from Design Within Reach. The Studio Eero Aarnio Mini Pony Chair in the corner was found at Finnish Design Shop.
“For the dining room art, Julian imagined himself being next in line on his way to heaven and seeing the person in front of him receiving his halo,” she says. The table is from Lillian

This Tiffany Thompson Turned Her Cookie-Cutter Town House Into a Personal Art Gallery

“The biggest challenge was using what was already here but making it better,” says Tiffany (left). “This isn’t our forever home, so I had to be really smart about what I decided to spend money on and what just needed a small facelift. It’s way easier to bring your full vision to life without any restrictions, but the fun part is figuring it out with those limitations.”

When interior designer Tiffany Thompson bought this two-bedroom Portland, Oregon, town house in 2016, she was working at Nike and viewed its close proximity to the company’s headquarters as a major benefit. It also didn’t hurt that she had access to a community pool and tennis court, or that the drive toward her street was lined with towering trees. But the deciding factor, Tiffany remembers, is that it had a certain Pacific Northwest luxury. “What initially drew me to this place was the amount of natural light it received. It’s pretty bright all of the time,” Tiffany says. “Coming from Miami where it’s usually sunny, the thing that scared me most about purchasing a home in Portland was that it was going to be dark and rainy seven months out of the year.”

The challenge would be turning this cookie-cutter town house into a personalized haven. Tiffany was surrounded by a blank canvas. Luckily, her boyfriend, Julian Gaines, is a fine artist. “With all of the art, we want to evoke emotion and really let them be the highlight of our home,” she says. “Being with an artist is amazing because I have endless items to choose from.”

“For the dining room art, Julian imagined himself being next in line on his way to heaven and seeing the person in front of him receiving his halo,” she says. The table is from Lillian

How to Perfect the Art of Going to the Bathroom Outdoors

Travel restrictions have led many Americans to look for outdoor adventures in their own regions. This has created a spike in the number of people who are hiking and camping for the first time. The Washington Post reports a significant increase in sales of guidebooks and hiking books, and my own visits to MEC (a Canadian outdoor gear retailer) have revealed startlingly empty shelves that, staff members told me, are a result of people buying whatever they can to facilitate outdoor adventures. 

This is a good thing, as long as people are following good wilderness etiquette. One of those rules is disposing of human excrement properly – a topic that’s understandably gross, and thus does not get discussed as openly as it should, considering how important it is. Leave No Trace issued guidelines this year in light of changing recreation patterns due to COVID-19 that addressed the problem of human waste, saying,

“In an attempt to understand local issues in our consistently changing scenery, we usually ask land managers, ‘What are the most common impacts you deal with?’ Nine times out of ten the response is, ‘Improper disposal of human waste is our number one issue.’ This is a sad realization. Improper disposal of human waste can contaminate water sources, is unsightly and can transmit disease between humans and animals.”

How Should You Do It? 

First, do some research ahead of time. Find out if there are public toilets available where you’re going and if they’re open during the pandemic. Make sure you go to the bathroom before you leave home and don’t fill yourself up with too many liquids.

Second, pack the essential items. Anyone who’s hiking or camping should take along a small trowel, some WAG bags, a Ziplock bag, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper (unless you want

The man behind the Huntington’s Chinese Garden art

Before he left China in 1986, Che Zhao Sheng’s shifu, or teacher, said to him, “After you go to the United States, share some of our Chinese culture with them if you have a chance.” The shifu was a penjing master, the man who taught Che the art of creating miniaturized trees and plants in pots, pruned and constricted over time to take the shape and spirit of their full-size siblings.



a blurry image of a man: The Huntington's resident penjing artist, Che Zhao Sheng, in the newly expanded Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. (Josie Norris / Los Angeles Times)


© Provided by The LA Times
The Huntington’s resident penjing artist, Che Zhao Sheng, in the newly expanded Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. (Josie Norris / Los Angeles Times)



One of Che Zhao Sheng's penjing at the newly expanded Chinese Garden. (Josie Norris / Los Angeles Times)


© (Josie Norris / Los Angeles Times)
One of Che Zhao Sheng’s penjing at the newly expanded Chinese Garden. (Josie Norris / Los Angeles Times)

Today, more than three decades later, the student is fulfilling that legacy, and in a major way. Che is specialist gardener for the penjing court, the Verdant Microcosm, in the newly expanded Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.

A spry 69-year-old with a broad-brimmed straw hat and a water bottle tucked into the side of his workman’s pants, he is surveying the 21 penjing brought from his home garden, plants that have been unloaded in a cluster on the ground. He points out the varieties — Chinese elm, olive, ficus — then suggests we go look at one of his favorites down the hill.



a vase with flowers in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Che Zhao Sheng places a penjing on its stand in preparation for the Chinese Garden expansion's opening. (Josie Norris/Los Angeles Times)


© (Josie Norris/Los Angeles Times)
Che Zhao Sheng places a penjing on its stand in preparation for the Chinese Garden expansion’s opening. (Josie Norris/Los Angeles Times)

The court is composed of winding paths, whitewashed walls and occasional pieces of gnarled Taihu rock imported from Lake Tai in China. We pause before a twisting