Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mend, Build & Grow: Supporting the Arts

I am often asked, "Why should I give to the arts?" In an age where the Arts are the first to be on the financial chopping block, I often feel like I am in a full-time culture battle. It is hard to measure, to hold, to evaluate, or to truly know the impact the arts will have on someone.

If I asked you, "What is your favorite band?" Some warm glow might rush over you. You would become enthusiastic, and remember the first time you heard this band, how you felt. If I asked if you had taken dance classes as a child, you might remember the smell of the studio, your first recital, the way your mind had to work to learn a combination. How can we measure what these artistic activities inspired you to do, how they influenced your personality, or how they shaped your decision-making skills.

Miranda Wilson, Company member, Post-Show Coyote's Dance with Title One Pubic School Students
The arts make us think. They make us ponder. They help us form connections, create empathy, explore our feelings. Imagine never being exposed to the arts? Living in a society that refuses to fund the arts in our theaters, parks, classroom, in our every day lives. In America, we are getting closer to this scenario everyday. Artists are demonized, marginalized, looked down upon. I know. I am an artist. I struggle for my place on our economic ladder everyday.
Audience Member Enjoying Treehouse Shakers' Hatched.
Photo Credit, Bob Bader
As a child, the arts were my home. I felt cared for. I felt connected to something bigger. I felt strong when I was around the arts. Reading a book, I was inspired by the story, the words. Going to dance class, I was inspired by the discipline. Being onstage in a play, I loved the community of my fellow actors. The arts have been my lifeline for as long as I can remember. I know I am not unique or different. The arts are the lifeline for many people. I am intensely committed in making sure that the arts survive in our culture. I am committed to the mission that the art Treehouse Shakers' creates, continues to influence and shape young people.

The Company of Let's Talk About IT! Post-Show with High School Students
Our culture can no longer do without the arts. The headlines are filled with people arguing, hurting, fighting, killing. We are a society who needs a good dose of thought-provoking, culture-enhancing, empathy-creating, life-confirming art forms. We need to be inspired with creative ideas, made aware of social challenges, bring nurture back to the human arena.
When you give to the arts, especially when you are giving to the arts that serve young people, you are giving to the building, mending, growing of our society. Creative thinkers who solve problems, business leaders who know how to work together, community champions who can help rebuild neighborhoods.

This October is Treehouse Shakers' annual virtual auction. Every bid supports Treehouse Shakers. Just by placing a bid, even if you don't win the item, you are helping us bring one more low-income child to the theater, helping us pay for one more rehearsal for our company members, helping us create a new dance-play that will have an impact. We need your support, as does the culture of our society, to help us achieve this mission. Thank you for supporting the arts.

Treehouse Shakers' Virtual Auction

October 8-24, 2013
Every Bid Supports Our Mission!

Thank you.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Finding A Way Without Words

I have always loved words. I spoke early in life, and was reading picture books by four. Words make sense to me. They calm me down when I am feeling anxious, pick me up when I am feeling down. They are my daily companions. My lifelong partner. I love to make rhythms, puzzles, riddles with their meanings. I love to tell stories, I love conversation, I love to read, I love to write. Words are my eternal oasis.

When we first started Treehouse Shakers, we had to discover how our creative process would work. Over the years, we perfected our process. I wrote the script and then the words and the story were infused with choreography. This process worked for us for many years. But no artist can keep making art in the same way. Otherwise it becomes stagnant, boring to the maker, and then boring for the viewer. With Hatched I wanted to push the creative process in a new way. Making a piece for such young children, I wanted the story to be visual, tactile, auditory. There are no words in Hatched. Only the sounds of the animals and the musician's live score. To think I made a story without my most beloved companions--words--amazes me.

Audience Members During Hatched: Our tactile part of the performance for very young audiences
In our next piece, Under The Tangle, Emily* is the choreographer, and creator. She is also pushing the process. She is taking her movement to build story. Beginning with layers of choreography and imagery, Emily has created a rehearsal environment rich with improvisation, conversation, movement. The story is there, just not etched into a script, the performers are finding new ways, as artists, to make story through movement. The words will follow as this new process unfolds.

Under The Tangle Rehearsal, August 2013. Dancers were given images by the
choreographer to help build the movement story. Images on floor by Jaime Zollars.
About Under The Tangle
Visually vibrant, Under the Tangle, choreographed by Emily Bunning, tells the story of an adolescent girl lost in a labyrinth using modern dance, absurd costuming, and minimal text. The mysterious maze not only provides an intriguing set of challenges but is also the metaphor for her journey into adulthood. Throughout her journey, she twists along the maze finding numerous clues and meeting many unusual characters; a flock of whispering black birds, a haunting shadow that plays hide and seek, and a crone who swings on a ladder dangling from a grim tower. Under the Tangle, for ages 8-13, is an artistic adventure filled with obstacles, relationships, and discoveries, which strengthen the young girl’s character and enlighten her path.Under The Tangle will premiere at The Ailey Citigroup Theater, May 2014
*Emily Bunning is Treehouse Shakers' Co-Founder, Artistic Coordinator & Choreographer.

Photo Credits
Top photo by Bob Bader
Bottom Photo by Ashley Chavonne

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Stories for My Daughter

When I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now five, I often performed with her inside the womb. I told stories to audiences until the final week of pregnancy and performed with the company until the seventh month. She developed in her embryonic sac, infused with stories. At the time, I was working with students ages two to eighty. So she heard nursery tales to ancient folklore, rich with deep and divine meaning.

Some of My Favorite Stories to Tell From #augustbreak2013 #day3
When she was born, I comforted her that first night, telling her some of my favorite rhythm stories. She fell asleep listening, nursing, content. She knew these stories already, having heard them throughout her early development. The chanting and repetition, cradling her to sleep.

Mom and Daughter, 2013
By two and a half, I was able to tell her stories reserved for my kindergarten students. She repeated the phrases in our every day activities. She often requested stories of witches and fairies. She knows every princess story from Hans Christian Anderson, and the variations from different parts of the world.

Each year, she grows her roots farther into the rich soil of folklore. She is fully engaged, listening to tales from Old Ireland, The Americas, Italy, The Caribbean, Africa. After a long day, she still wants me to cradle her with story. We play stories, tell stories, and listen to stories throughout our day. May our relationship always be nurtured through story.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The August Break

How fun is this? I'm doing The August Break with Susannah Conway. Nancy Moon, our wonderful Treehouse Shakers' publicist (check out Moon PR), gave me a gentle nudge to do this. This is a great way to enjoy August, with my iphone, and really get the most out of it. Knowing that in only a few quick weeks I will be knee deep in our Virtual Auction, Touring, and Fundraising for the new piece, Under The Tangle. 

So today's prompt, breakfast. I started the morning off writing, drinking very light coffee and eating granola. Mostly I was writing the new tech rider for Hatched, and getting our fall mailings ready for schools. The nitty gritty of working as an artist is not always so creative. I am not sure I'll keep up each day on the blog, so follow me on instagram, and hopefully I will figure out Flickr by the time the month is over.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

16 Years: The Journey, The Wooster Group & Natural Disasters

I haven't written since April. Mostly because May marked Treehouse Shakers' 16th performance season. I have wanted to write a blog about these 16 years, but haven't been able to wrap my head around how many years have passed since the beginning. 

Mara & Emily at This Year's Benefit Celebration in May
Emily and I started young. The year, 1997. I had been in this city for barely a year; pounding the pavement, auditioning, go-sees, castings. I was two years out of college and experimenting in the downtown theater scene. I was hooked on the Labyrinth Theater, in awe of Naked Angels, and hoping I would bump into William H. Macy in the UWS. I was a fan of Steve Buscemi and didn't take the subway for weeks just to save money to see the Wooster Group on a weeknight. I was surrounded by friends, new friends, and a gritty hell's kitchen scene to call home. I'll never forget Emily and I discussing the idea of our company. It seemed so fresh, thrilling. Let's call it Treehouse; let's call it Treehouse Shakers for the idea of melding dance to story; let's call it Treehouse Shakers Movers and Shakers. And for 10 brief seconds, I listened as Emily, always the internal banker, justified how we would support ourselves also as a moving company. Emily can lift, she's always been the go to lifter in the company, but me, I've got toothpick arms. Or did. Moving a piano seemed awful, the biggest tragedy, and downright impossible. So we we were born Treehouse Shakers. Like that.

No business plan.
No artistic long-term plan.
No marketing plan (we didn't even have computers).
No board.
No company.

But we did have a script. I had written my first play a year earlier, "Dance of My Daughter." Emily took that script and created movement that told the story so powerfully. My words lay still upon the page, but with her amazing talent they moved, they split apart. She created dance, imagery through movement. A few months later we had a fully staged show at the Ensemble Studio Theater, and packed houses. The adrenaline rush, our sense of accomplishment, our creating, was just too good. We couldn't stop.
Mara and Emily PR photo for Outside of Kissing Rock 2002
But we did get smarter. We worked smaller for awhile, came up with budgets, discovered the ins and outs of the non-profit world and worked. No pay. Worked harder. Small stipends. By 2001 we had our process down. We worked out of a small space close to the World Trade center. We always left rehearsal smelling of Indian food from the restaurant downstairs. When 9/11 happened I guess we just didn't think to stop. The only way we knew how to make the world better, was to make art. It saved us. NYC stood still in sadness, broken hearts, and pain so acute, just glancing at a stranger on the subway would make both people cry. Humanity was a small, thin tightrope. Art was the mat below the rope, the on-call therapist, the audience still with breath.

We made more dance-plays. We began leaving NYC to tour. We grew. We began working in the schools, raising money, cultivating followers, donors.

THS Company on tour in Arizona 2005
The recession hit. It hit the whole country. Then it swallowed us. The small arts company in NYC. We suddenly had less grant monies to apply for, less donor giving, but we still had children who needed the arts. We stayed. We felt like we were going to be swallowed into our own third world country. We ran up our first debt, and yet we kept making work. We tried to slow down. But it didn't last long, and suddenly the wave, the crush of the downturn, lifted. I think. We hope.

There is so much that has happened to us in 16 years. We have created twelve original shows, five of which are currently on tour. We have created our process, taken it apart and worked it in different ways, kneading it, questioning it, and baking it again. We both have married, have children, moved out of Hell's Kitchen. But we are still the same. We have met, performed and taught tens of thousands of young people. We have performed in homeless shelters, world renown festivals, and Broadway style theaters. We have driven our company through New York City, the desert, the mountains, the beaches. We have been through a terrorist attack, natural disasters, financial doomsday. But we are still the same. We are not stopping. Artists do not turn off what they must do.

After 16 years I still love to write, to tell stories with words. Emily still loves to make dance. To tell stories with movement. That will never change. I still want to run into William H. Macy, think Naked Angels is genius, and the Lab company changed the performance landscape. Steve Buscemi will always rock. And Treehouse Shakers, a non-profit dance theater company, is still hard at work, celebrating its 16th year!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Interview:: Hatched: Life on The Farm

Recently I was interviewed by Flushing Town Hall about why I wanted to make Hatched: Life on the Farm, which performed at the historical and beautiful space on March 24, 2013. The show was sold out, and the audiences were fantastic! I think it goes without saying that the Executive Director, Ellen Kodadek, is programming extremely thoughtful, artistic and high quality work. All of the events in her season, are events that I am excited about bringing my own family to see.

Here is an excerpt of that March interview. Enjoy!

What were your influences that led you to create this piece? Rural background, Animal Farm?
I was influenced by work being created in Europe and Canada. They have been creating work for very wee audience members, creating the genre of “Baby Drama.” I wanted to take it one step further and be one of the first American artists to explore this genre, while making the entire experience not only theatrical, but a hands-on exploration. I like to say that Hatched is part-farm, part interactive museum and a full theatrical experience. I came up with the farm, since I know that baby animals are popular with this age. Small children are fascinated by baby animals and learning about baby animals. At the same time the baby animals reflect the kids in the audience, who are newly hatched themselves, learning about first time experiences, just as the baby animals in the performance.
Hatched is born!
Performed through movement, handcrafted puppets, and very little human dialogue, Hatched is set amidst an American family farm. The chick is met by a feisty old rooster, a wobbly calf learning to walk, a baby lamb and a noisy nest of baby birds. Through movement, the characters discover their newly born bodies; the calf learns to walk, the baby birds attempt to fly, and the lamb makes a new friend with the curious hatched chick. Young audience members are encouraged and narrated to interact and play with the characters onstage; they give the chicks their feed, milk bottles to the lamb, and worms to the baby birds. Three performers, who are the dancers, actors and puppeteers, narrate the piece through movement, animal-speak and some story dialogue. Original live guitar music vacillates between American Blues, folk, and a charismatic underscore for the animals. Hatched is a beautiful and delicate tale, told through exquisite visuals, music, and the exploration of newborn animals.

My intent is that babies in the audience will be enticed and delighted by the animal sounds, textures, and movements, while toddlers will enjoy watching and imitating their favorite farm animals as they come to life. Preschoolers will delight in learning about life and activities on the farm, and older kids will be able to enjoy the show purely for its theatrical magic through the performers, puppets and set. I want this experience to begin their relationship to the theater, helping to build future audience members, as well as lovers of imagination and artistic expression.

One of our first showings of Hatched. Audiences feed the lamb a milk bottle during the performance. 
What's next for you after the show at Flushing Town Hall?

Hatched will perform at Long Island Children’s Museum March 28 & 29, Brooklyn Arts Exchange April 14, BAM’s Fisher Hall May 7, Ailey Studio Theater May 9-10, 16, 17 & 19. We also have our performance of Coyote’s Dance performing at New York Historical Society & Museum April 28.

The company backstage before Hatched at Flushing Town Hall

Our company will also be leading residencies on dance, world storytelling, Shakespeare, and creative drama for preschoolers and kindergarten students in several schools.

What do you do for fun when you're not creating art?
I feel that everything in my life feeds my creative work. My favorite thing to “do” is to spend time with my own family. I love exploring the city and life through the eyes of my daughter. My husband, who is an actor and Host for AOL’s Saving Experiment, loves to make our family laugh, so our home is always filled with humor and creative play. When I’m not creating my own work, or working on Treehouse Shakers, you can find me exploring a museum, writing, seeing live dance, theater, or music. 

Anything else you would like to add?

Growing up my mother, a painter, and my father, a notorious family storyteller, exposed me to new experiences and creativity. My Treehouse Shakers’ business partner, Emily Bunning, and I grew up together in Southwest Wyoming. We attended art classes every Saturday with her Great Aunt Susie as our teacher. Over the years we have come to realize how amazing our childhoods were in terms of creativity, opportunity and play. We also never stopped playing as children. Our life work is dedicated to giving children of all ages, no matter their income, the opportunity to be exposed to high-quality performance which hopefully sparks their own curiosity in the world, empathy for others, and creative thinking. In our minds, art truly is the best building foundation for life.

The performance has an underscore of live music by the talented Anthony Rizzo

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Shifting Landscape of Theater for Young Audiences: Searching for (and Creating) New Maps

This week's post is from a wonderful colleague, writer and visionary, Kim Peter Kovac. It felt necessary to include Kim's blog post, exposing the rich landscape of theater for young audiences. It is within this landscape that Treehouse Shakers' is constantly navigating, as we also push our own artistic boundaries and visions. May the field, that Kim so eloquently explains, continue to emerge, shape, change and grow.

By Kim Peter Kovac

In the world of theater for young audiences, the ground is shifting under our feet: unstable and unfamiliar, far less funding, and the zeitgeist is way different than just a few years ago. As we look ahead, we have little idea what the future will look like. This is very scary.

And very exciting.

There are changes afoot in all the corners of our field, both in the United States and internationally. New paradigms of work are being driven by individuals, by theaters, and by service organizations; some are reactive, some proactive. Some stem very directly from the ongoing worldwide economic situation, but certainly not all, as some have been bubbling up for years. Since change precedes insight, and pattern recognition is an inexact science, we can’t even recognize all the changes that are emerging. Here are a few that we can.

Organizational Tectonics/USA
The three major organizations dedicated to performances for young audiences and theater education in North America are slowly but surely creaking their way together toward more mutual acceptance and cooperation.

These are the American Alliance for Theater and Education (AATE, primarily, as you might imagine, theater educators at all levels); International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY, primarily presenters at performing arts centers, agents, and touring types) and Theater for Young Audiences/USA (primarily producers and others from the TYA regionals). While some individuals and theaters are part of two of the organizations, probably few are in all three.

A few years back, the three organizations operated individually, in their own silos, and even people not influenced by long-standing feuds or misperceptions tended to operate within fairly narrow rails. It’s way different now—the leaders of the three organizations are communicating regularly and making a point of attending each others’ major events. Across the map, we are moving toward open collaboration on significant projects, and ongoing exploration of future collaborations.

Organizational Tectonics/International
It’s not news that the world is changing and becoming far more interconnected, and it’s heartening to see how much our TYA theaters—all over the world—are embracing and collaborating with work from other countries and cultures.

The major international service organization for TYA companies is ASSITEJ (a French acronym), the international association of theaters for children and young people, with national centers in eighty-plus countries. Ten years ago, this organization, founded during the Cold War, had a strong undercurrent of national politics and elitism, the feeling that that the gold standard was European text-based theater, performed by adults for young audiences. Something not always clear to people in the United States is how, in some countries, being affiliated with ASSITEJ is way more significant than affiliation with the theater service organizations in this country.

Much of that has changed, some organically: there’s an openness to diversity of art forms and cultures and a realization of the importance of arts education and youth theater (performed by young people for young people). Additionally, recent constitutional changes have broken the cycle of exclusion caused by participation in the organization being limited to only those who are members of sometimes restrictive national centers. Now, participation is far more open, an artist or a theater can be an individual member of the international association, or you can participate through networks of researchers or playwrights. In the future, people will have far greater choice in their national and international networking, and artistic maps are being drawn. Practitioners may choose to network by country, region, profession, or interest, such as theater for the very young or theater for social change.

New Ways of Creating New Work
Not too long ago, touring performances for young audiences and presenters lived, for the most part, in a straightforward transactional model. Presenters, working through agents, bought shows that producers created. A few of the producing TYA theaters did some touring, and almost none of them presented work.

There are new models taking shape now.

In addition to more co-productions (happening in all the pockets of theater in the United States), a number of our TYA producing theaters are beginning to present touring work and realize it’s a way to enhance offerings, save money, and not dilute their own artistic product. Additionally some producing theaters are exploring what might be called run-outs or sit-downs, where an in-house production would not tour in the traditional sense but have an extended run at one or two presenting houses.

Major presenting houses, including the New Victory Theater in New York and PlayhouseSquare Center in Cleveland, have created terrific programs to help develop new work.  IPAY has just launched a major program toward the same end.

Any of a number of theaters whose audiences are primarily adults are now commissioning and producing work specifically for young audiences of families, more and more each year. One example: last year the Barrymore for outstanding production of a musical was won by the Arden Theatre for its commissioned version of Hans Christian Andersen’s little-known story, The Flea and the Professor. Another: Lydia Diamond’s adaptation of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye was commissioned by Steppenwolf for Young Adults and transferred to the New Victory Theater in New York City.

Increased Inclusion of Art Forms and Artists
Our colleagues in Australia use the acronym TYP, or theater for young people, to include pretty much any performance for young audiences—including but not limited to theater, dance, music, puppetry, circus, physical theater, and others—essentially any performance that occurs in a theater. The TYA world in the United States is becoming more and more open to both using other art forms as part of our ongoing theater work, as well as not being so strict in defining what “theater” is.

There’s a part of live performance that might be called “theater by, for, with, and about persons who are Deaf or with disabilities” (try saying that quickly three times). It’s often called “disability arts” internationally, is now being called “inclusive arts” by some our colleagues in the United Kingdom. Whatever you call it, there’s more and more focus on this part of our field, and our ways of defining it are being broadened. A recent international convening in Washington around this subject has begun to open new connections.

Leadership Transitions
There’s been talk for a number of years around the (sadly clichéd) phrase “the greying of the field.” Two recent transitions, though, strike a particularly resonant chord: Roger Bedard has retired from the terrific Child Drama program at Arizona State University and Onny Huisink and Saskia Janse have stepped back from artistic leadership of the exemplary Speeltheater Holland.

Buckle your seat belts, because it’s likely a lot of folk who have been essential to the growth of the field will be stepping back soon. It’s not appropriate to name them (the evidence is anecdotal and speculative), but trust me on this one. The chatter used to be about how it didn’t seem we were seeing the next generation of artists, managers, and educators. They’re out there though, and in some ways better equipped to move the field forward than when those of my generation were twenty and thirty-somethings—the training and mentoring exist at much higher levels and the field is far more accepted than back in the day.

In a just a few years, though, the names of the leadership will be very different, and we know they’ll be taking the field down exciting new roads

The Emerging Emergence
A quick and dirty (and somewhat broad) definition of emergence is that it’s the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions, where the group is smarter than any one individual, where the whole is smarter than the sum of its parts. There are any number of examples of emergence we can point to in the US theater world, including, the rise of the regional theaters in the fifties, embracing nontraditional/colorblind casting in the seventies, renewed focus on playwrights, and new work in the nineties.

Reading the tea leaves, it seems clear we’re presently in the midst of another great emergence in theater for young audiences, all over the world. As with all emergences, there are some key players but really, it’s led by no one and everyone.

One way to look at these winds of change is to remember that at the start of a voyage, prudent sailors write in their log books “From A toward B.” Think about that for a moment—not “From A to B,” but “From A toward B.” It’s breathtaking in its simplicity and wisdom, all the more so since it should be obvious. During a sea journey conditions may well change, forcing sailors to reconsider not only the course, but even the destination.

We’re in this soup (read: voyage) together and need to recognize that while it can be scary that we can’t control everything swirling around us, we can control more than we think. Our old ways of mapping our practice may not be viable, but we’re creating new ones. It’s a great adventure with a bright and exciting future, just over the horizon.

Kim Peter Kovac is the Producing Director of Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences, Vice-President of ASSITEJ International, on the boards of TYA/USA, and co-founding editor of “Write Local. Play Global.” the international TYA playwrights network. 

Originally posted January 27, 2013 on HowlRound, a Center for Theater Commons., this piece is being reposted with permission.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Teen Bullying: A Crisis for the Whole World

There is an epidemic going on in this country, and it feels like teens are at the epicenter. Every time I read another story of a school or a home shooting, I cringe to think that the attacker is a teenage boy, who was bullied. There are also too many heartbreaking stories of girls who have met the perils of their bullies on social media, then mocked and commented on by people outside the bullying clan. Sometimes the girls run away, sometimes they are victims of a violent attack. All of these scenarios have the same desperate ending. In this world where violence receives the loudest voice, our teens are feeling that this is the only place to be heard. To be noticed.

In 2009, Treehouse Shakers premiered Let's Talk About IT! our original dance-play for teens. The piece deals with issues of the adolescent; body image, peer pressure, media influence, love, relationships, friendship and yes, bullying. With all of the horrors that continually fill the crime reports, it is this bullied child that haunts me. The mentally unstable boy, the outcast girl, the bullied child who grows into a violent adult.

Treehouse Shakers' Let's Talk About IT! 
In Let's Talk About IT! there is the weaving of the retelling of the classic Little Red Riding Hood throughout the piece. In our version, Little Red is the most popular girl in school, with name brand clothing, and a posse of mean girls who tout her coolness. The Wolf, is always being picked on for his Big Ears, Long Nose, and Hairy Body. He likes to dance, mostly to Motown, wears glasses, and is seemingly very awkward in his coming of age. He is also desperately in love with Little Red. He wants more than anything to ask her the prom. When creating this piece, I never ever realized how important the bullying aspects would be.

Let's Talk About IT! at Peter Jay Sharp Theater, NYC
The Wolf scares Little Red

I vividly remember High School in a small town. I had lots of friends, yet, on occasion I was still mocked. I was mocked for being in plays, wearing outdated clothes from the thrift store, dancing strangely to my favorite music at school dances. Yet, no amount of mocking could take me down. I wanted to stand out. Once I made it to Interlochen Arts Academy, I was relieved to fit in. I was finally in a school of artists. Not all kids, though, ever find their perfect place.

My Senior "Prom" at Interlochen Arts Academy with fellow thespian, Jeff Marshek.
The entire school went Roller Skating instead of a typical High School Dance.

I remember kids in my small town High School who never found their social place. They were bullied, and made the permanent outcast. A few summers ago, I came across a posting on Facebook of one such family. Every single child in that particular family had been mocked and made fun of in High School. On that Facebook thread people, all adults, were still posting hurtful posts about this family. The bullying continued. I often wonder what happened to that family. They aren't on any of the social media outlets, and since they never made friends, I don't know anyone who knows them. Today, those same kids might be filmed being made fun of and posted to You-tube for the whole world to join in on the ridiculing. Or perhaps worse, they could be the ones to walk into the local High School with an assault weapon, just to be noticed by the entire world. To finally be heard.

Treehouse Shakers' Let's Talk About IT! 
January 30 & 31, 2013 @ 11 am.
The Ailey Citigroup Theater
405 W. 55th St. (Corner of 9th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
Tickets: 212-715-1914
Call for Group Rates, or Students Ticket Pricing
Or Visit Treehouse Shakers