From Homer to Me

This album of poetry, lovingly set in sound, will take you on a sonic literary journey from one of Homer’s most messed up passages, “Hanging the Handmaids”, to “I will never be sorry”, one of my most personal poems of love and loss. Between the alpha and the omega you’ll hear covers of renaissance love poetry, Henry Miller, and Infinite Jest, as well as riffs on Nietzsche, Poe and Shakespeare!

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The Igor & Millennium Guide Dog Fund

As many of you know, my dear guide dog Igor passed away very suddenly in September. I knew almost immediately that I had to make some good come out of this terrible loss, so I decided to raise funds for the Animal Medical Center, who did so much for him throughout his short life and so much for both of us during his last few days. Than, less than a month later, I received news that my first Guide Dog, wonderful Millennium, also passed on, and The Igor and Millennium Guide Dog Fund was born!

If you have already given, thanks so much!
If you have not yet, please know that every little bit counts…
The Frank Lloyd Guide Dog Fund at The Animal Medical Center in New York City provides routine and emergency care to guide dogs, free of charge. The fund is always giving out more than it receives,
please help us keep this vital service going in loving memory of:

Igor GuideDog (2009-2013) & Millennium I (1999-2013)

These are our stories…

Igor was an amazing dog in his smartness and sweetness . He was one of those rare creatures who comes into the world beautiful and leaves it beautiful. He did not degenerate like the rest of us. My dear friend Artemis suggested that he was my bodhisattva, a creature of light who suffered this life in order to teach me and then was released into the energy of the universe. We only had two years together and, right now, it is hard for me to imagine another guide dog in my future. But, as many of you know, he did have a predecessor…

Wonderful Millennium, my first guide dog, also passed away this fall in the arms of his little mistress Isabel. He was just shy of his fourteenth birthday. When he was no longer up to the task of running me around the streets of New York City, I gave him into the arms of an adorable family full of love and kids and chickens. Millennium and I had worked and played together for over 9 years. We went to Europe once, California many times, Memphis, Maine, Florida, countless shows, lectures, teaching gigs, performance gigs, bars, restaurants, etc, etc! When I was paired with him in 2001, I was just starting to lose my vision to such an extent that I found it hard to get around. Having him with me expanded my world immediately and profoundly. We had so much fun together. He helped me to establish the life and many of the friendships I have now.

Millennium was very rarely sick. He had a hearty constitution on the inside, though he was a bit of a princess on the out . (He loved soft beds, cookies and wearing pearls!) Still we very much appreciated the yearly checkups, keeping shots up to date, and occasional small emergency visits that were all covered by AMC’s Guide Dog Fund. Though they were both bred and trained as guide dogs from the Seeing Eye in New Jersey, Igor & Millennium were as different as two dogs can be. And, because I went from being a visually impaired person to being a blind person during my years with them, my relationship with each was a totally different experience.

Igor was a rock on the outside– he would always lie in the middle of the floor, and would not so much as lift his head in rebuke when mommy tripped over him, which happened, I’m sorry to say, rather often! Igor was a goof at home and super focused on the job. He loved his SqueakYourBall, and he sure could catch — even wild mommy throws! Igor pulled mommy around like she was a rag doll. He was so strong on the outside, so imposing. Often times teenage boys would jump out of our way announcing into their hands “Wolf! Wolf!” But on the inside Igor was fragile. He was allergic to 26 different environmental substances, from smoke to grasses to things that slough off humans– Yep, my dog was allergic to people!

In the past few weeks, as I’ve tried to make sense of the death of the young and seemingly healthy Igor, I can only think of it this way: for Igor, life was a drug that delivered a punch for every high. In the first month that we were together, he developed a giant nasty lip blister from his beloved Kong toy. That brought us our first course of antibiotics, anti fungal, anti bacterial drugs of what would eventually amount to perhaps twenty such courses during the past two years. He had countless ear infections and terrible skin blowouts. He was allergic to chicken which he loved. Every time we would go play in a park or in our friends’ backyards he was pummeled by his system.

In his last few months, with the help of Dr Macina and Dr Palma, it seemed we had finally gotten his allergies under control. We would visit AMC every Sunday morning for Camaya to give him his allergy shot. Igor was also on some pretty serious steroids that we were hoping to ween him off of this fall. He was looking so beautiful — a super model dog, a prince as Igor’s buddy Benjamin said– but I believe that inside, his little system was perhaps being pushed to its limits.

Though the doctors at AMC tried everything, they do not really understand what happened to complicate a relatively routine surgery to the point where his internal workings fell apart. They all knew him and loved him and were deeply upset by their inability to save him. Because of the Guide Dog Fund, I was relieved of the burden of making any medical decisions based on finances, so I know that everything that could have been done to save Igor was done. Besides offering routine vet services, AMC is also a research hospital, which gives me hope that they also will learn something from Igor.

Please help AMC keep the guide dogs of New York City healthy so they can continue to live and work happily with their people companions, who need and love them!

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We Made a play – Thank you Frigid NY!

The Spectator & the Blind Man: Stories of Seeing & Not-Seeing


Promo Video:

The Spectator & the Blind Man – from my mind’s eye to yours!
By Dr ML Godin

In order to avoid any embarrassing portrayals of blind people, I decided to make the three sighted actors who are playing blind people actually blind. No, I am not asking them to pull an Oedipus and put out their eyes, but I am making them wear spectacles through which they cannot see in two cases and in the third a blindfold. When Leslie Goshko, who will be playing the lovely blind pianist with a dark past put on her gold introspectacles (thanks to Mary Cool for that neologism!), she said this sucks! Haha! Welcome to my world! I love directing!
But in truth the show is less about physical blindness and more about all the strange permutations of metaphorical blindness especially those moments where the gaze of the mind’s eye turns inward and no longer sees or is interested in seeing the outside world. It is blindness born out of solipsism as much as out of the need for insight. It is the blindness of the artist and performer who must to a certain extent shut out the outside world in order to give birth to the inner one.
My dear friend Nellie King Solomon, who’s painting of the Café of the Blind was inspired by the first story “How I Became a Cyclops,” was my first listener. Right away she related to the idea of self exploitation and the implicit blindness that accompanies it. The Cyclops, played by Bill Chambers, wishes “to be an entertainer,” despite his awareness of the exploitation and ridicule of his blindness. It is a blast to be in front of an audience making them laugh and dance and hurl money at you, and that thrill does not diminish simply because you are the butt of your own joke. Consider any self deprecating comedian or one who’s main shtick is his identity as someone who is different from the norm. Uniqueness in entertainment is ubiquitous, and I don’t think there are any easy answers about where exploitation begins or ends, especially in this YouTube world where individual quirkiness can reach a mass audience.

The Spectator & the Blind Man is also about the egocentrism that prompts autobiographical storytelling. One must assume that some portion of her life experience will be interesting to her listeners. The show makes light of the petty side of introspection where the inner monologue of doubts and self derision are conflated with a sense of purpose and certainty of one’s unique place in the world. The six stories of Seeing and Not-seeing are reflections of myself and the people I know, who are struggling to make their way in the world as artists, inventors and philanthropists. As the director, I hope very much that my audience will see that greatness is not a monolithic structure but a process where giving birth to something new is riddled with doubt, pomposity, and crazy talk!
This project started a long long time ago in the basement of a certain New York university library and climaxes on stage at the Frigid fest in February! The show traces a jagged arc from sideshow spectacle to the invention of Braille, a curious story told in countless books on the history of the education of the blind, Here told by individuals who are more or less blind to the grand history in which they play. If that is true of the storytellers acting in my play of speculative fiction, it is also true of myself and my collaborators and our audiences who, in addition to having a raucous good time, will be involved in a political statement without really having to be aware of it and without really knowing what the end game might be. Disability and/in the arts is under construction and I’m not sure anyone can predict what the cultural ramifications will be.
At I boldly completed their prompt “my show is the only one opening this season that…has a blind writer, director, and costume designer with a sighted cast for all kinds of audiences.” Maybe that’s not true, but it feels like it is – if anyone knows another please correct me and we’ll call it a trend!
This is my first directorial experience, if one does not count all the self-directing that goes into solo performance. I am for the first time responsible for the interpretation of my words by another human being and it is exhilarating and terrifying! When asked what it was like having a blind director Bill Chambers answered: “Having a blind director makes me a lot more conscious of the lyrical nuances in my delivery. Otherwise, she is just as obnoxious and egotistical as any other director I’ve worked with.” You bet! I want my actors to show off the beauties and intricacies of my script and will accept nothing less than brilliance with material so precious to me!

I am so proud to present The Spectator & the Blind Man at this year’s Frigid Festival – Thanks Horse Trade for letting me splatter my inner landscape all over the Kraine stage!

Show Website:

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Frigid 2013!

I have a new show in the works!

The Spectator & the Blind Man: Stories of Seeing & Not-Seeing

Voilà! The dark side of enlightenment…
Set in eighteenth-century Paris, the history of Braille begins with a sideshow spectacle and ends with revolution. Well-known and unknown historical figures reveal their moments of triumph and degradation through a series of linked stories. Dramatic readings combine with sound and visionscapes to bring this original work of speculative fiction to life.

We debut at Horse Trade’s Frigid Fest:

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