Elna Baker is a writer, comedic storyteller and monologist. Her stories have appeared on This American Life, BBC Radio 4, The Moth, Studio 360, and at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. She’s written for ELLE Magazine, Glamour and Five Dials Literary Journal. As a solo-performer she created the shows: If You See Something, Say Something (FringeNYC), A Mexican-Mormon (La Mama Etc, directed by Elizabeth Swados) and A Book of Over-Dramatic Confessions. In 2007 and 2008 she was awarded residencies at both the MacDowell and Yaddo Artist Colonies. Her first book, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, will be published by Penguin on Oct. 15th. To see a live performance and read Elna’s comics please visit her website.
Judy Blume is proud to be one of the country’s most censored authors.
Richard Belzer returns for his ninth season as the acerbic character Detective John Munch on Wolf Films/ Universal Media Studio’s "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," after first portraying Munch on NBC’s critically acclaimed drama series “Homicide: Life on the Street” for seven years. His character transferred from Baltimore to New York to join the crime unit. “This is one conspiracy in which I have been a willing participant,” says Belzer, a renowned conspiracy theorist. In fact, Belzer has played Detective Munch on a record-setting ten different television series — "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Law and Order: Trial By Jury," "Homicide," "The X-Files," "The Beat," "Mad About You," "M.O.N.Y.," "Sesame Street," "The Wire" and "Arrested Development." The veteran standup comic, actor, talk-show host and author was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Due to his “uncontrollable wit,” Belzer was politely asked to leave every school he ever attended. He first worked as a reporter for the Bridgeport Post. This interest in journalism is traced directly to his days as a paperboy in his hometown. Belzer honed his life experiences into barbed comedic material drawn from other former jobs including teacher, census-taker, jewelry salesman and dockworker. Belzer and his wife, actress Harlee McBride, live in New York City while filming the series and in France during the remainder of the year.
Alice Eve Cohen is a solo theatre artist, playwright, and memoirist. Her memoir, What I Thought I Knew (Viking, 2009) was selected as one of Oprah Magazine’s 25 Best Books of Summer and won ELLE Magazine‘s Readers Choice Prize. She has written for Nickelodeon, PBS, and CBS, and her plays have been presented at theatres throughout the country. She has toured her solo theatre works—for adults and for children—in tiny theatres and high-tech performance spaces, in international theatre festivals and school cafeterias, on four continents. Her writing about the arts in education has been published in nine languages. The recipient of fellowships and grants from NYSCA and the NEA, she holds a BA from Princeton University and an MFA from The New School. She teaches at The New School in New York City. Photo Credit: Janet Charles Photography
Junot Díaz is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.
Rachel Dratch was a cast member on Saturday Night Live for 7 seasons. She can next be seen in the upcoming "Minsky’s" on Broadway, scheduled for the spring. If she ever meets a man named Ralph, she will have trouble taking him seriously.
Hannah Friedman is neither avid trapeze artist nor professional philologist. Hannah Friedman cannot talk with turtles or bend spoons with her mind. Hannah has a regular amount of toes, enjoys thick cappuccino foam, and is allergic to cat dander. She grew up in New York, graduated from Yale, and promptly took a nap. Hannah Friedman detests pretension, and therefore experiences no greater pleasure than writing all about herself in the third person. She also despises flagrant self-promotion, and encourages you to check out her TV show, blogs, plays, award-winning comedy songs, and new book Everything Sucks here and here. Hannah Friedman encourages you to follow your dreams. She aspires to save the world, or at least to invent a puppy-sized elephant.
Bob Holman is best known as a free-wheeling impresario of new poetry: slams, hiphop, performance. But he’s also written eight books, most recently A Couple of Ways of Doing Something, a collaboration with Chuck Close published by Aperture, teaches at NYU and Columbia, and is the Proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club. He’s made recent trips to the Kolkata Book Fair, Banff Arts Centre, the Costa Rican International Poetry Festival, and the Naropa Summer Writing Program. His new project is a film documentary on the Poetry of Endangered Languages, starting with his recent two month shoot in West Africa, “On the Griot Trail,” and another on Yiddish, Ladino and Arabic in Israel/Palestine.
Liz Garbus Academy Award-Nominated Director/Producer Liz Garbus is one of America’s most celebrated documentary filmmakers. She co-founded Moxie Firecracker, Inc., an independent documentary production company, with filmmaker Rory Kennedy in 1998. Her most recent project, SHOUTING FIRE: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech, premiered at Sundance this past January, and was broadcast on HBO in June 2009. Other directorial credits include THE FARM: ANGOLA, USA, which was nominated for an Academy Award, the National Film Critics Award for Best Documentary, two Emmys and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize; THE EXECUTION OF WANDA JEAN (Sundance Film Festival, HBO); THE NAZI OFFICER’S WIFE (A&E); GIRLHOOD (Wellspring/TLC); XIARA’S SONG (HBO); YO SOY BORICUA!, PA QUE TU LO SEPAS for IFC, a film about Puerto Rican Culture co-directed by Rosie Perez; and the feature-length film COMA for HBO. Ms. Garbus, along with Rory Kennedy, also Executive Produced the 2006 Academy Award-nominated film STREET FIGHT, and produced GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB, which won the Emmy Award for Best Documentary in 2007.
Martin Garbus, one of the nation’s premier First Amendment attorneys, has tried cases throughout the country involving constitutional, criminal, copyright, and intellectual property law. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court as well as trial and appellate courts throughout the United States. He has written numerous briefs that have been submitted to the United States Supreme Court; a number of which have resulted in changes in the law on a nationwide basis. Garbus has been involved in many notable cases including serving as co-counsel in Jacobellis v. Ohio (378 U.S. 184), where the Supreme Court held unconstitutional an Ohio statute seeking to regulate motion pictures and, for the first time, defined the term “national community standards.” He has represented Lenny Bruce in a criminal case in New York, successfully asserting a First Amendment defense against an obscenity charge; Don Imus when he was fired by CBS by asserting a First Amendment defense; and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez in free speech, commercial and criminal cases in California and elsewhere in the United States, all in support of the United Farm Workers. Time Magazine named Garbus "one of the best trial lawyers in the country" while other media call him "America’s most prominent First Amendment lawyer."
Dan Glickman is Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) which serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries. Prior to joining the MPAA, Mr. Glickman was the Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and also served as Senior Advisor to the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, DC. Mr. Glickman served as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from March 1995 until January 2001. Under his leadership, the Department administered farm and conservation programs; modernized food safety regulations; forged international trade agreements to expand U.S. markets; and improved its commitment to fairness and equality in civil rights. Before his appointment as Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Glickman served for 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 4th Congressional District of Kansas. During that time, he was a member of the House Agriculture Committee, including six years as chairman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over federal farm policy issues. Moreover, he was an active member of the House Judiciary Committee; chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; and was a leading congressional expert on general aviation policy. He received his B.A. in history from the University of Michigan and his J.D. from the George Washington University. He is a member of the Kansas and District of Columbia Bars.
Check out Dan Glickman’s Five Questions in LA Times Magazine!
Judy Gold Emmy Award winning actress and comedian, Judy Gold is best known as the star of the critically acclaimed long-running Off Broadway hit show 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, for which she was nominated for a 2006 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance. In addition, the show won the 2007 GLAAD award for “Outstanding New York Theater.” The New York Times called this one-woman show “fiercely funny, honest and moving." The show, based on interviews completed with over 50 Jewish mothers of different ages, ethnicities, and occupations, tells each woman’s individual story of marriage, motherhood, faith, hope, love, laughter, and acceptance. A book based on the show was launched in May, 2007 to rave reviews and was nominated for last year’s prestigious Quill Award. Judy’s new show, Judy Gold is Mommy Queerest is debuting at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal.
Most recently, Gold hosted ABC’s “The View,” where she has appeared numerous times. She has hosted HBO’s “At the Multiplex with Judy Gold” for the past 10 years, and can be seen regularly on Tru TV’s “The Smoking Gun.” Judy also hosted Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time” and the 2006 GLAAD MEDIA AWARDS, which aired on LOGO and VH1. Her TV specials include a half-hour comedy special for LOGO and she is featured in the HBO documentary, "All Aboard." Her stand-up specials include “Comedy Central Presents: Judy Gold”, Comedy Central’s “Tough Crowd Stands Up”, and Judy’s HBO half-hour special, which received a Cable Ace Award. Gold was seen in the smash hit film “The Aristocrats” and the documentary “Making Trouble.” Gold won two Emmy Awards for writing and producing “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” She was nominated twice for The American Comedy Award’s funniest female stand-up. She has also appeared on Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, The View, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Conan O’Brien Show to name a few. Gold lives in New York City with her two children. She frequently tours theatres and comedy clubs around the country. Her CD, “Judith’s Roommate Had a Baby” is currently available.
Michael Izquierdo TV/FILM: Taking Woodstock (Focus Features, Ang Lee), Meet Dave (Fox), Heterosexuals (Indie, upcoming), SuperEgo (Fox Int.), "i" in iChannel (www.youtube.com/ichannel), As The World Turns (CBS), Release (Short – Cannes Film Festival,) Monkey, Take off Your Mask (Hurry Slowly Pictures), The Sidecar (TC Pictures), THEATER: Mrs. Warren’s Profession (McCarter, Emily Mann), New Jerusalem (Classic Stage Company, Walter Bobbie), A Restoration Comedy (The Old Globe, John Rando), Mother Courage and Her Children (NYSF/Public Theater, George C. Wolfe), Priceless (EST) The Time of Your Life (Williamstown Theater Festival), The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other (Williamstown) Ishmael in Drama Desk Nominated Moby Dick (The Ohio Theater), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Theater of NJ). BA: Williams College, and MFA: NYU Graduate Acting Program.
Rachel Kauder Nalebuff is a freshman at Yale. She is the editor of the New York Times bestseller, My Little Red Book, a collection of first-period stories from women and girls around the world. Think of it as The Menstruation Monologues. The goal is to end the taboo and change the way we talk (or don’t talk) about periods. All the royalties ($80,000 so far) are going to organizations supporting women’s heath and education. In the US, the primary beneficiary is Planned Parenthood / Real Life – Real Talk. In developing countries, more than talk is needed. Girls miss school because they lack access to affordable sanitary products. Donations are going to provide clean water, private latrines, and sanitary supplies. When she’s not being the period girl, Rachel is teaching herself ukulele and baking pies.
Paul Mooney grew up in Oakland, California. As a youth, he ran away from home and joined the Charles Gody Circus, going down in history as the first African-American ringmaster. Mooney’s first professional gig in comedy was with Richard Pryor. He wrote most routines for Pryor’s "SNL" appearance, co-wrote material on "Live On Sunset," "Bicentennial Nigger," and "Is It Something I Said" albums. As head writer for the Richard Pryor show, he was responsible for the national television debuts of Robin Williams, Sandra Bernhard, Marsha Warfield, John Witherspoon, and Tim Reid. During the first year of FOX’s "In Living Color," he created the characters Homey the Clown, and the brothers Tom and Tom. Paul Mooney came into his own with his controversial debut album "Race." Mooney’s new album "Master Piece" continues to stir anger, laughter, and thought. "I always drop history" he explains "It’s knowledge. There’s always a message in my comedy and you may not get it that night – it’s like time bombs. It’ll get you a week later. You’ll understand."
Joe Paulik‘s theater credits include: A FEMINE ENDING, Playwrights Horizon; MAJOR BARBARA, Guthrie Theater; OLD WICKED SONGS opposite Michael Christopher, Westport Country Playhouse; MEASURE FOR MEASURE, 45 Bleeker Street Theater. Joe spent one season at the Williamstown Theater Festival where he appeared in CABARET AND MAIN on the Mainstage; played the role of Orpheus in Sarah Ruhl’s EURYDICE on the Nikos Stage; co-created and starred in KILROY WAS HERE at the Goodrich Theater. Television: GUIDING LIGHT (recurring). Joe received his MFA from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program in 2005.
Amy Sohn is the author of the novel Prospect Park West (released in September), as well as Run Catch Kiss and My Old Man. Her novels have been translated into five languages. She has written for such publications as Harper’s Bazaar, Playboy, The Nation, and The New York Times. She has also written television pilots for such networks as ABC, Fox, and HBO. Amy is a graduate of Brown University. She lives in Brooklyn, where she grew up. Photo Credit: Lisa Ross
Lizz Winstead As a co-creator and former head writer of Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show," and Co-founder of Air America Radio; Lizz Winstead has emerged as a critically acclaimed political writer and producer. As a performer, Winstead brought her political wit to "The Daily Show" as a Correspondent and later to the radio waves co-hosting "Unfiltered," Air America Radio’s mid morning show with citizen of the world and Hip Hop legend Chuck D, and political big brain Rachel Maddow. Lizz’ comedic talents have been recognized in Entertainment Weekly‘s 100 most Creative People issue and she was nominated Best Female Club Performer by The American Comedy Awards and has appeared numerous times on television including HBO’s "Women of the Night", “The US Comedy Arts Festival” in Aspen, “Comedy Central Presents.." and too many basic cable stand-up shows and VH-1 “50 Greatest This” and “100 Greatest That’s” to mention…. Currently Lizz is writing, producing and staring in "Wake Up World" an Off Broadway and web show in NYC that satirizes all of our beloved morning shows. Winstead continues touring the country doing stand-up and is a regular contributor on “The Ed Show” on MSNBC. To keep up to date with what’s on her mind, you can find her musing at The Huffington Post or friend her over on Facebook.