Brian Alessandro's first novel, "The Unmentionable Mann," was published on September 2015 by Cairn Press, and received positive reviews from Huffington Post Gay Voices, Examiner.com, and The Leaf, as well as a feature spread in HiConcept Magazine. Bloom—a literary journal that counts as its advisory board members Edmund White, Dorothy Allison, and Christopher Bram—excerpted a chapter of the novel in Vol.5, No.2. "The Unmentionable Mann" was also featured at the 2016 Tucson Festival of Books. Alessandro's first feature film, “Afghan Hound,” has been screened at the Left Forum, is part of a quarterly trauma training program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in NYC, and has streamed on Amazon and Netflix. Additionally, Alessandro's short stories and journalism have been published in Hamptons.com, Humdinger.com, and Dan’s Papers, and his one-act plays have been performed by New York City theater companies, The Neighborhood Playhouse, Monarch Theater Company, and Love Creek Productions. He is currently working on his first libretto, "The Bashful Queen." He holds a Master of Arts in clinical psychology from Columbia University, taught courses in human sexuality and the psychology of gender at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, and currently resides in New York City. In 2016 he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his short story "Mandarin Slang," first published in HiConcept Magazine.
From hand-coding small non-profits' websites to product/project managing some of Time Inc's most recognizable digital brands (RealSimple.com, ThisOldHouse.com, Health.com, MyRecipes.com), Lupe Rodarte has been working in various capacities--producer, technical front- and back-end developer, operations, product management--in digital media for nearly 20 years. He's as comfortable laying out and executing digital and brand strategy as he is firing up Photoshop and editing photos or wading into lines of PHP code. Lupe earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College in Fine Arts, and has pursued his interests in computer science and design at Columbia University's School of Continuing Education and Parson's School of Design, respectively. He currently owns a digital media firm offering custom digital solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses: arterodarte.com. Lupe is also a proud member of the Tohono O'odham nation.
Laura Schleifer created the word 'artivist' to describe her vocation as an artist-activist. A graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts and pro-intersectional vegan writer, theater artist and educator, her work has spanned the globe, from the Middle East, where she performed for Palestinian and Iraqi children on a theater/circus tour, to China, where she taught literature, cinema, writing and drama to Chinese high school students, to Nicaragua, where she taught English/drama, to arts mentoring NYC homeless and at-risk youth with the Actor's Theater Workshop. Her original feature screenplay, "The Feral Child," was a Sundance Screenwriters Lab finalist, and her short play, "Toys in the Hood," lead to a $2000 NYC Arts grant for the First City Theater Co. Additionally, she wrote the commissioned libretto for a new musical based on the Joseph Conrad novel "The Secret Agent," and wrote a one-person-show, "A Little Champ Takes on The World," that was staged in a workshop production at the People's Improv Theater. She has performed her poetry, songs and monologues at various off-Broadway theaters throughout New York (Cherry Lane Theater, HERE, Flea Theater, Theater for the New City, etc.) with the Theaters Against War network, and was invited to perform her poem "A Voice in the Wilderness" on WBAI FM. She has also given talks and chaired and organized panels on various social justice issues at a number of university conferences, including American University, Hunter College, Pace University, and NYU. Most recently, she has taught courses on Israel and Palestine and on Utopianism at Wesleyan University's Green Street Arts Center, and is currently working on a book involving animal rights psychology and philosophy for Vegan Publishers. She is truly thrilled to find a home for her fiction and other creative work in The New Engagement, and to work towards elevating and amplifying other creative voices that have not yet had the opportunity to be heard.
Contact Laura at: [email protected]
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