New York City

Artists and Mental Illness Interview Series: Ilana Simons

Artists and Mental Illness Interview Series: Ilana Simons

Ilana Simons is an artist and clinical psychologist currently based in New York. She has produced many short animations, featured in Hyperallergic, Electric Literature, and the Sundance Film Festival, and is the writer of A Life of One’s Own: A Guide to Better Living through the Work and Wisdom of Virginia Woolf. In August 2016, Simons performed her play, All Together Now, a multimedia solo show that premiered as part of the FringeNYC festival. The play involves an intimate, immersive experience, in which a small audience of twenty lies in a handmade tent, while Simons projects videos onto the ceiling and narrates. She explores her memories, the house she grew up in, her love, her divorce -- and, ultimately, how she came to make things, and see things, as she does today.

Simons sat down to speak with me shortly before a 3-month trip to work with refugees in Greece. In this variation on the Artists and Mental Illness interview series, she offers her perspectives as a woman both psychologist and artist, whose story is a unique mix of cerebral, vulnerable, eclectic, and raw.

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Nomadic Performer Interview Series: Amber Nelson

Nomadic Performer Interview Series: Amber Nelson

Amber Nelson is a Brooklyn-based comedian who regularly hosts the weekly comedy showcase, Live From Outer Space at Cobra Club in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Other notable show performers include John F. O'Donnell, Erik Bergstrom, Max Bruno and Ben Kronberg.

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Nomadic Performer Interview Series: John F. O'Donnell

Nomadic Performer Interview Series: John F. O'Donnell

John F. O'Donnell is a Washington, D.C.-based stand-up comedian and political correspondent for Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp on RT America. Since acquiring a Congressional Press credential, he has actively covered the U.S. presidential primary debates on location for Redacted Tonight, racking up memorable encounters with Donald Trump supporters, Republican party members like Lindsey GrahamRudolph Giulianni, and Karl Rove, as well as Green Party supporters unhappy that candidate Jill Stein was not part of the debates.

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Artists and Mental Illness Interview Series: Caits Meissner

Artists and Mental Illness Interview Series: Caits Meissner

Caits Meissner is an award-winning poet, artist, and educator dedicated to the transformative power of creation. Meissner’s poetry has been featured in Drunken Boat, The Literary Review, and The Offing, among many others, and she has been awarded first place prizes from the Pan-African Literary Forum, the Ja-Nai Foundation, and City College's The Jerome Lowell DeJur Prize in Creative Writing. Her multidisciplinary poetry book, Let It Die Hungry, will be released in October 2016 on The Operating System, and she is currently writing with Re(Emergent) Theatre, an ensemble in collaboration with people recently released from prison. She teaches as Writer-in-Residence at Bronx Academy of Letters, and faculty at City College and The New School. Meissner’s courage, like her art, is both nuanced and full of love. In this interview, she shares her experiences with belonging, identity, healing—and what it means to grapple with grey.

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