Category Archives: Events

THE HOMEBOUND PROJECT ANNOUNCES LINEUP FOR FIFTH AND FINAL EDITION AIRING AUGUST 5–9 ·

(Via John Wyszniewski, Everyman Agency.)

Laurie Metcalf, Kelli O’Hara, Brian Cox, Austin Pendleton, Daniel K. Isaac, and More Premiere New Work by Craig Lucas, Lena Dunham, Sylvia Khoury, Stephen Karam, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Among Others, with Guest Directors Pam MacKinnon and Scott Ellis

Over $100,000 Raised To Date For No Kid Hungry – Can Help Provide Up To 1 Million Meals For Children In Need

Anonymous Donor Matching All Donations for Series 5 Up to $20,000

Following an “ambitious” (New York Times) debut on May 6 with an “extremely impressive roster of leading actors and writers” (Time Out New York), The Homebound Project is pleased to announce the lineup for its fifth and final edition of new online theater benefiting hungry children affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Co-creators Catya McMullen and Jenna Worsham, along with their all-volunteer team, are also pleased to announce that over $100,000 has been raised to date for No Kid Hungry, a national campaign working to end childhood hunger. Through No Kid Hungry, this amount can help connect kids in need across the country with up to 1 million healthy meals. For this fifth and final edition of The Homebound Project, an anonymous donor will be matching all donations, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000.

The playwrights in the fifth edition of The Homebound Project, airing August 5–9, 2020, have been given the prompt of “Homemade.” Participating actors, playwrights, and directors include:

Brian Cox and Nicole Ansari-Cox in a work by Melis Aker, directed by Tatiana Pandiani;

Joslyn DeFreece in a work by Lloyd Suh, directed by Colette Robert;

A work by Lena Dunham, directed by Maggie Burrows, performer TBA;

Ryan J. Haddad in a work by Christopher Oscar Peña, directed by Jaki Bradley;

Daniel K. Isaac in a work by Sylvia Khoury;

Andy Lucien in a work by Donnetta Lavinia Grays;

Laurie Metcalf in work by Stephen Karam;

Kelli O’Hara in a work by Lindsey Ferrentino, directed by Scott Ellis;

Austin Pendleton in a work by Craig Lucas, directed by Pam MacKinnon;

Cesar J. Rosado in a work by Basil Kreimendahl, directed by Samantha Soule;

Amanda Seyfried in a work by Catya McMullen; directed by Jenna Worsham; and

Johnny Sibilly in a work by Korde Arrington Tuttle, directed by Jenna Worsham.

The fifth edition of The Homebound Project will stream online beginning at 7pm EST on Wednesday, August 5 until 7pm EST on Sunday, August 9. View-at-home tickets are currently on sale at homeboundtheater.org and begin at a donation level of $10. Complimentary viewings for first responders and essential workers have been made possible by an anonymous donor. Each collection from this independent theater initiative is available to stream over a strictly limited 4-day period.

Founded by playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna WorshamThe Homebound Project is an independent online theater initiative created to help feed hungry children affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Each edition features a collection of new theater works written by homebound playwrights and recorded by sheltering actors.

The Homebound Project features costume consultation by Andy Jean, original music and sound design by Fan Zhang, and video editing and design by Jon Burkland/ZANNI Productions

“The child hunger crisis needs our attention at this critical and traumatic national moment,” says co-creator Jenna Worsham. “We are monumentally grateful for the exquisite work of our volunteer artists and generous support from audiences around the world. As The Homebound Project draws to a close for now, our shared mission to help those most vulnerable during this crisis should and will continue.”

“Hungry children in our country are facing one of the worst crises we’ve seen in our lifetime. But thanks to generous partners like The Homebound Project and its donors, they’re not facing it alone,” said Billy Shore, executive chair of Share Our Strength, the nonprofit behind the No Kid Hungry campaign. “We’re truly grateful for this support that will help feed children during this pandemic and the long recovery ahead.”

“1 in 4 children in the U.S. could face hunger this year because of the coronavirus – and that includes many in New York City,” said Rachel Sabella, director of No Kid Hungry in New York. “The Homebound Project is proof that everyone can play a role in helping these kids, whether you’re an actor, producer, writer, director, viewer or otherwise. Kids need whatever strength we’re willing to share in this fight.”

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OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND, ‘GONE WITH THE WIND’ STAR, DIES AT 104 ·

(Tim Gray’s article appeared in Variety, 7/26; photo: Associated Press; via Pam Green.)

Olivia de Havilland, one of the last remaining actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age, two-time Academy Award winner and star of “Gone With the Wind,” has died. She was 104.

Her publicist Lisa Goldberg confirmed the news to Variety, saying de Havilland died from natural causes on Sunday at her residence in Paris.

De Havilland’s former lawyer Suzelle M. Smith said, “Last night, the world lost an international treasure, and I lost a dear friend and beloved client. She died peacefully in Paris.”

Numerous Hollywood figures paid tribute to de Havilland upon the news of her death. SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris extended her sympathies, saying, “Olivia de Havilland was not only beautiful and talented, she was a courageous visionary and an inspiration to generations. She was a marvel and a legend. Rest in peace.”

The striking brunette won best actress Oscars for “The Heiress” and “To Each His Own” in the late 1940s, and was Oscar-nominated for “Gone With the Wind,” “The Snake Pit” and “Hold Back the Dawn.”

She was known for her sincerity, fragile beauty and beautiful diction, and for bringing dimension to sympathetic characters. When she made a rare foray into villainous roles, she was expert. But the public preferred her as a heroine, which suited her well, since she said it was harder to play “a good girl” rather than a bad one.

Described as “the last surviving star” of “Gone With the Wind” for more than 50 years, after Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard and Clark Gable died much earlier, she rarely capitalized on that fact, staying mostly out of the limelight and preferring to live a quiet life in France.

De Havilland was beloved in France, where she received the prestigious Legion of Honor in 2010 from then President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Thierry Fremaux, the director of the Cannes Film Festival, paid homage to de Havilland on Sunday, noting that she was the first female president of Cannes’ jury in 1965.

“At a time when we question the place of women in cinema, we must remember Olivia de Havilland for her strength in facing off the studios to liberate actors from contracts which exploited them,” said Fremaux. “Strength and courage which she never stopped demonstrating through her career and her life. As for the rest, she was a queen of Hollywood and will also be revered as such in the history of cinema.”

(Read more)

ENTERING A PARIS THEATER, WARILY, AND FINDING A WEIGHT LIFTED ·

(Laura Cappelle’s article appeared in The New York Times, 7/16; Photo:“Ionesco Suite,” directed by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota at the Espace Cardin in Paris. Credit…Jean-Louis Fernandez; via Pam Green.)

Audience members seemed to be asking one another, “Are we really doing this?” But the over-the-top physicality of “Ionesco Suite” was worth it.

After three months of coronavirus-related restrictions, the anxiety doesn’t go away readily. Setting foot inside a Paris theater for the first time in late June, I worried that it was too soon. The audience sat on three sides of the Espace Cardin’s smaller stage — with appropriate gaps — and many people looked at one another furtively, as if to ask: Are we really doing this?

Yet about midway through “Ionesco Suite,” a medley of absurdist scenes by the French playwright Eugène Ionesco, something gave. Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota’s production, first seen in 2005 and much revived since, piles on a series of eerily over-the-top characters, and on this occasion, the seven actors contorted their faces as if their lives depended on it. From feet away, their physical freedom was so tangible that I found myself laughing and wanting to cry; a weight was lifted that no amount of at-home live streams could have made lighter.

French artists are relatively lucky. Performers around the world are at the mercy of infection levels and public policy, and the spread of Covid-19 has been curbed enough in France, for now, that all theaters were allowed to reopen from June 22. Additionally, government funding for the arts means that playing to smaller audiences isn’t a ruinous proposition, even though viewers must leave an empty seat between themselves and other groups.

Still, only a small number of venues have opened their doors. Nearly all summer productions and festivals had been canceled because of the lack of rehearsal time and uncertainty, so many producers have elected to wait until next season.

The Espace Cardin, administered by the Théâtre de la Ville, was first. “Ionesco Suite” was part of “The Wake,” a 48-hour event that comprised performances, concerts and readings at all hours in and around the building. There is no telling who, exactly, emerged from lockdown with a pressing need to listen to Dante’s “Divine Comedy” at 3 a.m., but perhaps that was the point: At last, we could do something unnecessary.

Outside this celebration, small-scale productions are understandably getting the bulk of programmers’ attention. Through the end of July, the Théâtre de la Ville is putting on family-friendly plays with tiny casts at two venues, the Espace Cardin and Les Abbesses, while the Théâtre de Belleville opted to present one-person shows.

Under normal circumstances, all would very likely be overshadowed by more extravagant projects. Theater for young audiences, especially, tends to get short shrift. “Venavi or Why My Sister Isn’t Well,” a penetrating play about grief at Les Abbesses, was first performed in 2011 and has toured extensively since, yet it isn’t nearly as well known as it should be.

Its author, Rodrigue Norman, was born in Togo, and the plot is based on the belief there that twins are sacred beings, feared and celebrated as demigods. The only actor onstage (the highly likable Alexandre Prince) plays Akouété, who dies as a child, leaving his twin sister Akouélé behind.

A soliloquy from beyond the grave sounds grim on paper, but “Venavi,” directed by Olivier Letellier, delicately explores the need for closure after such a loss in terms that the many children in attendance could understand. Since Akouété’s parents don’t acknowledge his death, his sister’s growth is stunted as she waits desperately for him to return from “the woods,” where she is told he has gone.

(Read more)

QUEER KIDS, NERDS AND SWORD FIGHTS: IT’S THE HOT SCHOOL PLAY ·

(from The New York Times, 7/2; Photo: The New York Times; via Pam Green.)  

This is a narrative about youngsters who make up tales. This is a narrative through which ladies wield swords, queer youngsters are cool and nerds rule the earth.

This is a narrative about “She Kills Monsters,” and those that find it irresistible.

Qui Nguyen’s spirited play about discovering your actual and metaphorical households, in addition to your self, by means of Dungeons & Dragons did nicely sufficient when it premiered on the Flea Theater in 2011 — Eric Grode referred to as it a “deceptively breezy and somewhat ingenious comedy” in The New York Times. The play ran, closed, and Nguyen moved on, most notably to his acclaimed semi-autobiographical breakthrough “Vietgone,” and writing gigs for Disney.

“She Kills Monsters,” in the meantime, had simply gotten began. In the intervening years, it has blossomed into considered one of America’s hottest exhibits, with 797 productions (carried out and deliberate) between 2013 and subsequent 12 months. Of these, one was an expert revival, 144 had been by beginner firms and a whopping 652 had been performed on faculty and school campuses.

“We’re coping with themes that each excessive schooler, each school scholar confronts in some unspecified time in the future, whether or not or not it’s this concept of the underdog or familial wrestle or sexuality or gender,” mentioned Kelly Trumbull, who’s co-directing a web based manufacturing slated for July 12 on the University of Pittsburgh, the place she is a educating artist. (The dwell 7:30 p.m. webcast is free; the present will stay accessible for a small price till July 26.)

In the present, the teenage Tilly dies early on in a automotive crash and her older sister, Agnes, should take care of not simply with grief however with how little she knew about her sibling: studying a pocket book left behind, she learns that Tilly was a role-playing aficionado, as an example, and that she had a girlfriend in her recreation world. (The presence of sturdy feminine characters is one other large issue for the present’s reputation on campuses, as ladies are usually overrepresented in drama departments.)

These topics don’t fly in every single place, however obstacles have solely energized followers of the play. DeAnna Tart, who runs the theater division at Trinidad High School in rural Texas, needed to overcome many hurdles earlier than she might enter her manufacturing of “She Kills Monsters” within the 2017-18 version of her state’s University Interscholastic League contest.

“It could be very comedic, nevertheless it’s additionally very tragic,’’ she mentioned by phone. “It dives into sexuality, which some folks deem controversial even for top school-age college students, sadly.’’

Once her principal gave her the greenlight, Tart needed to observe the competition’s parameters, trimming for size and enhancing out some curse phrases, whereas preserving the present’s integrity. “And we gained the state championship,” she mentioned. “It was fairly superior.”

Nguyen, 43, is delighted by the eye the script has obtained, even whereas sounding a little bit nonplused.

(Read more)

DIXON PLACE: THE HOT FESTIVAL—THE NYC CELEBRATION OF QUEER CULTURE ·

JULY 6 – AUGUST 1, 2020

 

Theater, dance, music, literature and homoeroticism for the whole family! Since 1992, it remains the longest running festival of its kind in the world. 

 

In support of LGBTQ+ people of color, a portion of donations & ticket sales will be donated to: Ali Forney CenterAudre Lorde Project, Black Visions CollectiveDestination TomorrowGays Against GunsINCITE!Marsha P. Johnson instituteNational Black Justice CoalitionNY Transgender Advocacy GroupThe Okra Project and more.

 

The HOT Festival is made possible w/public funds from NYC Dept of Cultural Affairs w/the City Council and NY State Council on the Arts w/the support of Gov Andrew Cuomo & the NY State Legislature; and donors like you.

 

WEEK 2 SCHEDULE

 

 

 

MON JUL 13, 2020 6:30 PM

PREMIERE ON YOUTUBE

HAND WASH

Jeff McMahon

Frenemies share a fret-over via Zoom. Social Distances (camera-close): new short works written & directed by Jeff McMahon.

Tickets & more info >>

TUE JUL 14, 2020 7:00 PM

LIVE ON ZOOM

A Socially Acceptable Breakdown

Patrick Roche

Acclaimed poet Patrick Roche blends storytelling, poetry, dance and comedy, challenging us to find connection and laughter through our many breakdowns.

Tickets & more info >>

TUE JUL 14, 2020 8:30 PM PREMIERE ON YOUTUBE

Experiments & Disorders Goes Virtual

Sur Rodney (Sur) and Bishakh Som

Fiction, nonfiction, poetry & performance texts by the most adventurous, cross-genre established & emerging writers.

Tickets & more info >>

 

 

JUL 16 – 25, 2020

LIVE ON ZOOM!

Spanking Machine

written & performed by Marga Gomez

directed by Adrian Alexander Alea

In “Spanking Machine” GLAAD Award-winning writer/performer Marga Gomez shifts across gender, latitudes and generations in a darkly comic memoir about the first boy she ever sloppy-kissed and how it made them gay forever. “His real name was Agamemnon Perez Jr. but he shortened it to “Scotty” because he thought Agamemnon sounded too Cuban.” By turns funny and disturbing, Gomez recounts growing up brown and queer in Washington Heights, sadistic nuns on poppers, tender vampires, childhood misdemeanors, parental post-nasal drip, fear, assault and suppressed memory. The 70-minute show will blend Marga performing live from her “virtual stage” with footage from Spanking Machine’s final invited dress rehearsal before the pandemic.

 

Tickets & more info >>

 

HAMILTON REVIEW – BROADWAY HIT IS NOW A BREATHTAKING SCREEN SENSATION ·

(Arifa Akbar’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/30; photo: The Guardian.)

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical is smart, witty, funky and leaves us reflecting on America’s past and future

Hamilton was hailed as revolutionary theatre in 2015, with its rapping 18th-century statesmen, its funky, feelgood hip-hop and a cast predominantly comprising actors of colour. It went on to conquer Broadway and West End audiences. How does that original Broadway staging fare on the flat screen, streamed by Disney+ in the midst of lockdown?

It spoke to the moment then, and it speaks to us now, say director Thomas Kail and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star, in their short, socially distanced preamble to this highly anticipated film of the show. “We are all thinking about what it means to be American,” they add. Even if these words are not in direct reference to the America of the past few weeks, with its upsurge of anti-racist protest, their story of the Caribbean-born immigrant hero and founding father of the US, Alexander Hamilton, speaks to us obliquely of all that remains neglected in America’s history while shifting the parameters at the same time.

Its rousing opening scenes remind us of that great American ideal of equality and speaks of slavery and civil rights in the 18th century. “I never thought I’d live past 20. Where I come from, some get half as many,” sings Hamilton at the start, and his words echo the dangerous fate that awaits so many of America’s black or immigrant underclass now, as debate around Black Lives Matter protests has highlighted.

Even more remarkably, it keeps all the power of a live performance while simultaneously adding a filmic pizzazz including some breathtaking aerial shots. There is extraordinary direction – again under Kail – so that the cameras capture the mise en scène of theatre without losing any of the closeup intimacy of film.

(Read more)

BEYOND BROADWAY, THE SHOW DOES GO ON ·

(from the New York Times, 7/4; Photo: The New York Times; via Pam Green.)

Inside a former firehouse in Richmond, Va., a lone actor performs “The Picture of Dorian Gray” for audiences as small as two. In a Denver parking lot, theatergoers in cars watch, through their windshields, four performers costumed as grasshoppers. On a 600-acre property in Arkansas, a cast of about 130 re-enacts the story of Jesus for several hundred ticket-holders spread across a 4,000-seat outdoor amphitheater.

The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered Broadway through the end of the year (at least), and the nation’s big regional theaters and major outdoor festivals have mostly pivoted to streaming. But even as infections surge in the United States, many theaters are finding ways to present live performances before live audiences.

Of course, there is social distancing. Also, in some places, masks. Temperature checks. Touchless ticketing. Intermissionless shows. And lots of disinfectant. At the Footlights Theater, in Falmouth, Maine, actors will perform behind plexiglass.

But these precautions mean there is dinner theater in Florida. Street theater in Chicago. Drive-in theater in Iowa.

Members of Denver’s Buntport Theater, thinking drive-in theater would be pandemic-proof, tried to imagine what kind of creatures belong on a lawn. Their solution: “The Grasshoppers.”Credit…Rachel Woolf for The New York Times

“Our commitment is to do live theater — there’s a huge difference between that and seeing something on a computer screen,” said Susan Claassen, managing artistic director of Invisible Theater in Tucson, Ariz., a state that has emerged as a Covid-19 hot spot. The theater, which has been running a four-character play called “Filming O’Keefe” indoors, installed an air ionizer, allowed patrons in only one-quarter of its seats, mandated that they wear masks, and put on a show.

“Our theater got its name from the invisible energy that flows between performers and the audience,” Claassen said. “Even with 22 people in the audience with masks on, that energy is so strong.”

There are also financial reasons for continuing: Some theaters say they cannot survive a year without revenue.

“We’d rather go down creating good theater than die the slow death behind our desks,” said Bryan Fonseca, the producing director of Fonseca Theater Company in Indianapolis. The company plans to stage “Hype Man,” a three-character play by Idris Goodwin, outdoors, for 65 mask-wearing patrons. “I am hopeful and also very cautious,” Fonseca said, “careful that I don’t create a problem.”

By putting on shows, some theater artists are, in effect, making the case that it is a mistake for the industry to wait for New York to lead the way, given the risks there. “Someone has to be the first to take that cautious step into the dark to see what works and what doesn’t,” said Phil Kenny, a sometime Broadway producer who has a role in “Willy Wonka” in Orem, Utah.

But even in New York City there are signs of theatrical life. Food for Thought Productions, a company that presents staged readings of one-act plays, is planning to restart in a private club on July 13, with Louise Lasser and Bob Dishy performing and attendees required to have taken coronavirus tests.

“If we can prove that we can do this safely, maybe other groups can do safe theater as well,” said Susan Charlotte, the founding artistic director.

(Read more)

CARL REINER, MULTIFACETED MASTER OF COMEDY, IS DEAD AT 98 ·

(From the New York Times, 6/30; photo: The New York Times; via Pam Green.)

Carl Reiner, who as performer, writer and director earned a place in comedy history several times over, died on Monday night at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 98.

His death was confirmed by his daughter, Annie Reiner.

Mr. Reiner first attracted national attention in 1950 as Sid Caesar’s multitalented second banana on the television variety show “Your Show of Shows,” for which he was also a writer. A decade later he created “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” one of the most celebrated situation comedies in television history, and teamed with Mel Brooks on the hugely successful “2000 Year Old Man” records. His novel “Enter Laughing” became both a hit Broadway play and the first of many movies he would direct; among the others were four of Steve Martin’s early starring vehicles.

He won praise as an actor as well, with memorable roles in films like “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming” and, more recently, “Ocean’s Eleven” and its sequels. But he spent most of his career just slightly out of the spotlight, letting others get the laughs.

His contributions were recognized by his peers, by comedy aficionados and, in 2000, by the Kennedy Center, which awarded him the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. He was the third recipient, after Richard Pryor and Jonathan Winters.

In his performances with Mr. Brooks and before that with Mr. Caesar, Mr. Reiner specialized in portraying the voice of sanity, a calm presence in a chaotic universe. But despite his claim to the contrary, he was never “just the straight man.”

(Read more)

MISERY AND MEGALOMANIA: HOW DAVID ADJMI BECAME A PLAYWRIGHT ·

(From The New York Times, 6/24; photo: The New York Times; via Pam Green.)

It took David Adjmi 10 years to write his new memoir, “Lot Six” (HarperCollins). The last four months were spent ensuring there were no legal issues.

“I never wanted to write a roman à clef but it ended up being that because you can’t use all these names,” the playwright said recently. “I had enough trouble already,” he added, laughing.

Perhaps he was alluding to his satire “3C,” which brought on a legal battle with the copyright holder of the sitcom “Three’s Company.” (Adjmi won the case in 2015.) Or perhaps the reference was to his experience at Juilliard, when he fell on the bad side of a teacher he calls Gloria in the book.

Adjmi’s Off Broadway debut, “Stunning,” in 2009, drew from his childhood in Brooklyn’s Syrian-Jewish enclave. The book’s title refers to a pricing code for three, an odd number associated with gayness — “as in three-dollar bill,” he said. The stylized, bitingly funny show, and its author’s unorthodox back story, attracted the attention of HarperCollins. Adjmi, now 47, set out to compose essays about his cultural influences, but started sliding toward more personal territory — a move his publisher encouraged.

“They said, ‘You need to make it about how you became a writer,’” he recalled.

Adjmi may be a relatively niche playwright (the memoir ends with the closing of “Stunning”), but his lifelong devotion to art as an identity-defining tool of self-expression gives the book a fervid tone that is hard to resist; his talent for laugh-out-loud funny set pieces does the rest.

He is the same in conversation, pin-balling from raucous laughter to tears, and sending an interviewer to the dictionary to check out what “agon” means (it’s ancient Greek for conflict, naturally).

“David is so witty and he’s also quite precise,” said the actress Cristin Milioti, who counts “Stunning” as one of the best shows she’s ever done. “The way he writes is so rhythmic.”

It’s not a surprise, then, that music features prominently in Adjmi’s new stage projects. These are edited excerpts from the conversation, by FaceTime from Los Angeles.

Your life has not always gone smoothly but the Juilliard period, with the instructor you call Gloria, stands out as a painful low. How did you recover?

To this day, I talk to my peers about that experience and they’re like, “No, she likes you, she cares about you.” I think I was looking for a certain kind of permission, and I had to give myself the authority. Art is a disruption, you’re declaring war in a certain way, you’re telling everybody else, “This is my point of view.”

(Read more)

THE ANGLE PROJECT IS INVITING YOU TO SHARE YOUR STORY ABOUT COVID-19 HEALTH PROFESSIONALS ·

The Angle Project is inviting you to share your story.

We are creating a storytelling series to showcase humanity behind the COVID 19 pandemic. TAP is seeking partnerships with hospitals, community organizations, and individuals who had direct experience with battling the virus and who would like to share their stories with us. We will then develop the stories and produce an event where the storytellers will have an opportunity to present in front of a live audience.

What do we look for in a story? A detailed account of a personal experienceThe event described in a story can be big or small, joyous or sorrowful (or both); most importantly, it has to be personal and transformative.

We are specifically interested in hearing from first responders, persons of color, seniors, refugees, and immigrants. For the live presentation in front of an audience (planned for late fall or early winter this year), The Angle Project will organize an expert panel discussion that will follow the performance and have a reflective and interactive conversation about the systemic changes that are necessary to take place today to strengthen and uplift our society and the less advantaged communities in particular.

If you wish to be a part of the project, please email Irene at info@theangleproject.com with “Heroes of Our Time” in the subject line.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

contact the Angle Project at info@theangleproject.com