Top 5 Tuesday: American Authors who went to War


1.) Shel Silverstein

author of Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree, A light in the Attic

 Shel Silverstein, author of The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends, began drawing cartoons for the military newspaper, “Stars and Stripes”, in the 1950s, when he served in Japan and Korea.


2.) Roald Dahl

Author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach

Dahl was a fighter pilot in World War II,  until he got shot down in the Libyan desert, which left him with head injuries that eventually caused him to have terrible headaches. One of Dahl’s first published works was a piece for the Saturday Evening Post called “Shot Down Over Libya,” which became a popular article and helped encourage him to try his hand at writing.

[information taken from here]


3.) Mario Puzo

author of the Godfather Trilogy (novels and films)

Mario Puzo was brought up in a poor family in New York. He served in Germany in World War II and later went to college on the GI Bill.

[ information taken from here]

4.) J.R.R. Tolkien

author of The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit, & Multiple critical essays including Beowulf: the Monsters & the Critics

Tolkien was a survivor of the trenches of World War I, who wrote that “a real taste for fairy-stories was wakened by philology on the threshold of manhood, and quickened to full life by war.”



5.) Jack Kerouac

author of On the Road, The Subterraneans, & Big Sur

“Before he became a famous novelist of the counterculture, Jack Kerouac enlisted in the U.S Naval Reserve. He lasted through only 10 days of boot camp, spent more than two months in a psychiatric ward and then was deemed ‘unfit for service.'”

( Los Angeles Times )

Link to Jack Kerouac Artwork:

Girls on Film: Sex and Gender in Hedwig and the Angry Inch


I recently rewatched Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a glamrock, gender-bending musical that holds a very special place in my heart.  In a world where subjectivity is lost in favor of rigid, boring stereotypes, a film which welcomes interpretation is refreshing. As simple and comforting as it would be to reduce sexuality to GAY, STRAIGHT, LESBIAN,  & BISEXUAL, we cannot. There is no truth in that. Sexuality & Gender Identity are messy and complicated. They exist in spectrums, not uncompomising boxes.

The film itself is about a transgender woman left deformed by a botched sex-change operation (hence The Angry Inch), so the plot itself is one which offers commentary on the lives of people living in the grey area of gender identity. But what’s more striking is the creative risks that the director takes with the film’s form in order to deepen his commentary.


The film takes elements from multiple genres (musical, animation, romance) and combines them to create a new style which emphasizes the fluid nature of sexual identity. In fact,  the film’s amalgamous style makes it difficult to place it within a specific genre. But this is not an accident nor is it a flaw. The interweaving of different styles strongly reflects the ideas explored in the story, providing cohesion.

origin of love

As a woman who has always struggled to define her sexuality, I am comforted (moved even) by the nonjudgemental approach  that the director takes when portraying these characters. With a subject as unconventional as this, I think it is important to encourage  the audience to relate on a level that is independent of  stereotypes. Love is complicated, and so are we. The End.


People are too complex to be categorized neatly, and Hedwig gives us the opportunity to see the complex mixture of thoughts, feelings, and anxieties that are born from believing just the opposite. In fact, the film points to confusion and self-loathing as inevitable developments of strict definitions of gender and sexuality.  Hedwig’s internal conflict is in part, the result of her need to please those around her– to fit into our culture’s standards of beauty.


I don’t think that the pressure to be beautiful is the film’s focus, but I do believe that the danger of internalizing fashionable opinions (whether they relate to beauty, gender, or art)  as objectively true is touched upon. The story shows us that  just as people morph and change, so do the shared truths of entire groups..entire countries.


Hedwig’s transition from male to female is paralleled by the erection and destruction of the Berlin Wall. To cross the wall and gain freedom, Hedwig must surgically alter himself. Shortly after this, the wall is demolished, suggesting that the restrictions placed on expression and identity change (sometimes drastically) over time. Hedwig is then tragic and pathetic, because his hardships have been rendered meaningless. We get the sense that conforming to cultural standards of gender or beauty, always leads to misery.

In the last scene of the film, Hedwig discovers that through love, we share so much of ourselves, that we morph into each other. Though relationships can be painful, they lead to rebirth and reinvention. For some, this film is odd, erratic and sort of hard to relate to, but I felt connected to it in a special way. As an outcast, as a woman, as a sexually confused person. And it helped me to understand that blurring boundaries of gender, sexuality, and artistic form can deepen our understanding of beauty and our capacity for empathy.


 by Angie Hoover-Hillhouse


The Nerd Guru: Are Video Games Art?

There is a debate I loathe, but which I feel I must address as it feels the need to keep rearing its scaly head from the public consciousness; “Are Video Games Art?”


Those who pose this question are missing the forest for the trees, judging videogames for their exploitative elements instead of acknowledging the design and collaboration that goes into the medium. People look at game content and see violence, running jumping, reacting quickly. They see something that is titillating, pornographic and entirely reactionary. But video games of today offer a level of creative agency that cannot be found in games of the past/ other mediums of art. This agency is what turns entertainment into self-expression. The ability to experience, discover, and create your own narrative in a medium that would typically be inaccessible (film/animation) .


Unlike a painting, a novel, or a sculpture, a video game employs  teams of hundreds, working together, to create worlds that are then handed to their fans to be shaped and developed. The curtains raise, the scenes play out, and art is achieved. There are entire labyrinths of imagination laid out for each and every one of us to explore. Great, collaborative artwork the likes of which had never been dreamed before the modern age.


I have slaughtered innocents, rescued princesses, saved the universe, lost a daughter, loved and lost… all through this medium. I did things that I never could have attempted in our own world! Because of that, I have felt, seen, and expressed things that I never would have; and isn’t that what art is all about?

by Mitch Schiwal & Angie Hoover-Hillhouse

Top 5 Submission Guides & Writing Resources for Poets/Authors


Top 5 Tuesdays

Top 5 Internet references for Writers and poets who want to improve and submit their work



This site is extremely useful.  It offers information about where and how to to submit poetry and fiction work. The site also provides answers to common questions about submitting and guides for formatting.


Close the pop-up window when you reach the site in order to access content.

This website is no longer updated at this address, but I offer this link because it allows you to view content without becoming a member. Script Frenzy is very useful to all writers. It offers writing guides that focus on every form of creative writing as well as recommendations of free and cheap writing software.



By far one of the best places to visit if you are interested in finding high quality literary magazines to read and submit to. This site allows you to browse a directory of lit mags, contests, and other content. It also offers basic writing guides and forums where you can receive feedback on your work.


This site provides free resources for authors seeking representation as well as instructions for new writers who are unfamiliar with the query process. The search is very simple, and the agents are listed by the genres that they represent.


This is an excellent site for playwrights who do not have the ability to produce their own work. It offers solicitations for plays. These calls often ask for plays  of specific lengths on specific themes. It’s helpful in that it can provide direction to those who are struggling to write something new.

Our L.A. Event Picks: 6/24/13


Frank Henenlotter’s “That’s Sexploitation!: A Visual History” (WORLD PREMIERE!)

   a documentary featuring rare and lost clips of the sexploitation genre

Tuesday 06/25/13 Doors open at 09:50 PM Show Time 10:15 PM

tickets: $12



 Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen star as a a fifteen-year-old girl and her twenty-five-year-old boyfriend who slaughter her entire family and several others

Saturday 06/ 29 Doors open at 7:30PM Show Time  9:00 PM

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Tickets: $12



Bertrand Blier’s surreal cinematic exploration of the war of the sexes

Sunday 06/30/13 Doors open at 08:45 PM Show Time 9:15 PM

tickets: $12


The Occasional Review: Sects, Cults, and Mind-control


at the Cinefamily



The clips themselves were outrageous, I will never forget the final 5 minutes of the night, when  we watched in horror and delight as newly-initiated fanatics shook spastically in the nude while throwing pillows at each other.

The Cinefamily is an independent theater in Hollywood which focuses on making movie-going a social experience through creative, film-related events. The theater itself was once a silent movie theater, and the old marquee still hangs above its entrance: a charming detail which encompasses everything you feel upon entering: nostalgia, warmth, and a loving appreciation for art and film.

  Last week, Meaghan and I  attended “Sects, Cults, and Mind Control”, an artful and informative look at how cults use mind-control techniques to gain and keep followers. Through lecture, bizarre clips, and montages of news footage set to music, the event provided insightful commentary about how the birth of psychology set the stage for the concept of social engineering. The desire to understand the human mind, many times, is fueled by the desire to manipulate and control the thoughts of others.

The clips themselves were outrageous, I will never forget the final 5 minutes of the night, when  we watched in horror and delight as newly-initiated fanatics shook spastically in the nude while throwing pillows at each other. But the absurdity was only a fraction of the event’s intrigue. What keeps us coming back is the intimate setting and sincerity of all the people who work there. There were maybe 100 people in attendance, and the curators of the event spoke to their audience as if they were old friends gathering for beer and cheetos in the  living room.

– Angie

New Goodies


Starting today, our site will incorporate

several new and exciting weekly features including



Every Monday at 2pm, we will provide information about what our top 3 art & film related events in Los angeles for the upcoming week.


Tuesdays at 9, we will be offering fun, theme-related top 5 picks from The Show Tell Project Editors.


Fridays at 11, we will be offering theme-related articles about gender issues in film & television



 Insightful commentary on theme-related issues from Mitch Schiwal: Dungeon-Master, comic book expert, and Guru of all things awesome.