11.13.15Web Series Premiere and Book Awards!
Hello universe. It's been a while since I've updated here!
I am very pleased to announce that Book 3 in The Land of Curiosities trilogy, Red Eye of the Buffalo, received a GOLD medal for Adventure Fiction for the
Book 1 in The Land of Curiosities Trilogy, Adventures in Yellowstone, received a BRONZE for Nature Conservation for the
I also acted in a webseries called HARD DECISIONS directed by Eli Rarey. It's an interactive webseries involving aliens, drag queens, thruples therapy, and AIDS awareness. What more could want? It will be released on November 23rd. Stay tuned!
10.17.14Professor Neil and the Completed Trilogy
Somehow, I became Professor Neil and I'm loving it! I am teaching creative writing at American Jewish University in Los Angeles. Of course, using Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird as core reading. This past summer and fall was a whirlwind. I did multiple book signings in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks since book 3 came out in March. (That's right - did I mention the completed trilogy??) Long live the Ecoseekers. I was also faculty at the Jackson Hole Writer's Conference, teaching dialogue through improv. I've continued to expand the family programming at the Silverlake Independent JCC, with our Learning Center now at 90 kids. I was also a scholar and artist in residence at Am Shalom synagogue in the suburbs of Chicago. Here's to another year of fun filled productivity!
04.25.13Hey, Park Ranger!
Friends: much to update. I worked with the indelible Natalia Duncan Macker and Thomas Macker to create music video for my song, "Hey, Park Ranger." The Jackson Hole News & Guide Says: "“Hey, Park Ranger" is a quirky and cute music video about author and songwriter Deanna Neil’s obsession with rangers in uniform."
Very true. Watch it here.
You'll hear that I added a new song to my site, which is roughly titled, "do, do." It was created, in part, for a promotional video for Appalachian State University.
Man, writing a book takes a long time. After the writing comes the editing, then the illustrators and then the acknowledgements and the layout and it seems like a whole village needs to come together for the thing to be printed. Even so, the final book in my triology, "Red Eye of the Buffalo," will be out this summer. Hooray!
I've been teaching a lot, as well, mostly in the Jewish community. I'm working as the Director of the Jewish Learning Center at the Silverlake Independent JCC and have nearly a dozen private students. As a generally non-religious person, I call myself a "Jewish Identity Mentor and Ritual Officiant" for the mostly unaffiliated. When I'm not creating my own art, I feel very lucky to engage with families in such a meaningful way.
06.08.12Electronic Music Stardom & More!
In only a few weeks I'll be attending the Jackson Hole Writer's Conference and hopefully meeting Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent. I will be returning to Camp Ramah at the end of July as Teaching Artist in residence. I am delighted to announce that BOOK 3 in my trilogy is currently in edits. After a painful discarding of nearly 100 pages of writing, I started over with much better results. I am also in discussions with a producer about writing a short film to hopefully be shot in Wyoming in September. Musically, I continue to collaborate with the incredible Sally Dworsky and Craig Wedren and plotting my own album. Krusht has also turned me into an electronic music star, which is awesome.
Earmilk writes: "The enchanting assistance from Neil places this song around the melodic churning of Twin Sister. It's everything your ears are desiring towards the end of the day."
Take a listen here.
11.11.11Storytelling Event and Book Club
This Sunday I'm premiering a story I wrote called "The Bird and the Fish" at a live storytelling event at 7pm. I'm excited about it.
And a book club I'm starting, The People of the Book Club, will force me to read scary religious texts cover to cover, just so I know what the fuss is about. I'll be hanging out in Jackson Hole quite a bit this winter. I'm in discussions with the Teton Music Festival about bringing Opera education to their schools through the MET live broadcasts. My play, Fracturing, will also get a reading at the Off Square Theater.
09.12.11Into the Fall
Suddenly, the summer has passed. So say we all (obviously "fracking" has taken on different meaning for me lately). I worked with Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and began a creative writing program for the kids, which churned out some incredible pieces! My play, "How do we get out of here?", also premiered with the Northwoods Ramah Theater Company under the direction of Annie Levy (http://www.annieglevy.com). Unfortunately, i got bronchitis and had to cut some of my book signings in the parks short. I was, however, the first author to sign at the new Yellowstone Association bookstore at Old Faithful! In a piece for Zocalo Public Square, I pondered technology in the parks after a trip to Alaska. http://zocalopublicsquare.org/thepublicsquare/category/where-i-go/
Soon, I'll be back at Yale University singing for the High Holidays.
04.08.11My Play is Playing!
My play, Fracturing, is being produced at Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina next week! Thanks to Steve Harders for finding me and making it happen. In more theater news, the Northwoods Ramah Theater commissioned me to write a play for this summer. More to come on that as it takes shape.
The internet is a funny place. I recently discovered a few French blogs that picked up my Huffington Post piece on ecologically friendly lady products. My favorite one begins, "Deanna Neil writes books for children. She is also really good at math!" I'm so glad I took French for all those years, just so I could translate that myself.
I'm also delighted to say that my voice has been circling the internet via KRUSHT, and the new EP release from AM discs. I'm am those "floating vocals bubbling through."
01.27.11Writing Contest Winners
We've announced the winners of the "My Land Your Land: Public Lands Writing Contest for Children and Young Adults," and you can read the winning entries on the EcoSeekers Website. They'll really inspire you--promise! Tomorrow night I'll be singing a few original quirky ditty's for "Sit 'n Spin"at the Comedy Central Stage in Hollywood. Somewhere along the way I became funny. (Who knew?) But to keep my more serious writer's pencil sharpened, I've started to freelance regularly with Zocalo Public Square, a fascinating organization that brings ideas and speakers to the Los Angeles area. And I get to ask brilliant people like Guillermo del Toro silly questions. To a new year!
11.28.10A Month of Variety
One thing to be thankful for this holiday season: toilets. In my latest HuffingtonPost blog I interviewed Shawn Shafner of the POOP project about World Toilet Day and why sanitation awareness is important. The weekend before Thanksgiving I was in Kentucky performing a Storahtelling show I co-created called Wrestling Change, about why it's so difficult for people to confront the past and themselves in order to grow. It went famously, and we conducted our Maven workshop for an interesting interfaith crowd.
Before heading to Chicago for family gatherings and EcoSeekers research at the Newberry Library, I premiered my one-woman band "Sexy Librarian" at Jamye Waxman's "Sexy Tales and Other Intimate Acts" (not for kids) at EL CID. LA Weekly said I "had the crowd rolling." If you missed it, I'll be singing a few songs in Fogel Foot's Holiday Revue at Taix on December 17 in LA .
Last night I finally got to see the play that I wrote, Fracturing, based on Henrik Ibsen's Enemy of the people. It was very exciting and I couldn't have been more pleased with the cast, direction and set design. Nytheater.com gave us a starred review, Science Friday gave us a shout out, and I was inspired to write more about "fracking" or "hydraulic fracturing" in the Huffington Post. The play, which is running on the Lower East Side of NYC, closes this Sunday. Success!
05.13.102010 Nautilus Award for Book 2 and YALE!
I am delighted to announce that "The Land of Curiosities: Lost in Yellowstone, 1872-73" received a 2010 Silver Nautilus Book award for teen fiction. In their own words, "The Nautilus Awards recognizes Books and Audio Books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living & positive social change, while at the same time they stimulate the "imagination" and offer the reader "new possibilities" for a better life and a better world."
In other eco-news, I addressed various options for greener "lady products" in my most recent Huffington Post blog. It's gotten some fun comments.
Look out Yale! After 4 years as a cantorial soloist for NYU's reform Jewish high holiday services, I will be heading over to Yale University for the fall of 2010. I can't wait to meet and sing for the students at the Slifka Center! This Sunday I am also working with Storahtelling founder Amichai Lau-Lavi in Los Angeles to explore more innovative approaches to story and spirit for the Jewish ritual of bar/bat mitzvah.
03.10.10Green Play; New Little Kids' Book
We're almost at the ides of March. Watch out! There's much to report from camp Neil. I was commissioned to write a modern adaptation of Ibsen's classic "An Enemy of the People" for the Sweeter Theater in New York. I'm focusing on hydraulic fracturing for the environmental issue.
In EcoSeekers news, we have a new little kid's book that is currently being reviewed and approved by various national parks. It's called "Time for Parks". For all of you loyal "Land of Curiosities" fans, I haven't forgotten about you. I'm still working on book 3...even though it's taking longer than I thought. I want to make it awesome for you!
In performing, I recently MC'd a great purim show in New York and had my first solo MAVEN performance with Storahelling in PA. I've also recently learned the Ukulele! So keep your ears open for new recordings soon.
12.22.09Holiday Rush for Land of Curiosities
For anyone who has come to this website looking for a copy of my book, "The Land of Curiosities", there is good news and bad news. The good news is that after an ad in the New York Times, a lot of people went out to purchase the book. The bad news is that some of our major retailers are out of stock. We are working with our distributor to solve the problem, and hopefully you'll be able to pick up a copy as soon as possible. Go to our website at www.theecoseekers.com and see a list of where you can purchase the book. Some stores, including the national parks, are carrying it. Happy holidays!
10.09.09I moved to Los Angeles
Well, at least in physical being. I am missing New York terribly, but so far the beach is pretty great as well. Not that it matters very much anyway, as I'll be back in New York in November for my winter SCHOOL TOUR! I will be visiting schools in the New York area, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles. If you are interested in having me come to a school near you and lead some workshops, write to me on the CONTACT page. (As a side note, I was in discussion with Dar Williams about joining forces for a joint school tour--but that has been put on hold. I only mention this because Dar Williams is awesome and it would have been such an honor to teach with her. And it makes me feel special.)
08.15.09New Huffington Post Blog and Obama Visit
View some of my recent writings on a new blog at the Huffington Post:
Today, by coincidence, I happened to be at Old Faithful selling my books when Obama was there. It was exciting. I will try to write about it, so be on the look out. I will be back in Moose, WY until the 25th.
06.24.09Mombo and Happiness
I just wrapped up an incredible two weeks in Chatham, NY with legendary writer/producer Bernie Kukoff who was directing a new play called Mombo, by Alan Gelb. The fact that we performed it for two nights in a torrential downpour (it was in an outdoor tent venue), and still got laughs, seemed to be a good sign. We were literally shouting over the pelting rain. It was a wonderful and hilarious show, and hopefully more will come of the experience.
Speaking of funny, next week, July 1st is the one-night-only concert reading of Happiness is the Problem: A phonographic Novel. The music is there, we've got comics for act I, now all we need is the audience. Hopefully suburban Chicago will find the trials and tribulations of 3 brooklyn roommates set to opera music a side-tickling theater experience. After that, it's on to signing books in Teton and Yellowstone National Park.
04.07.09Earth Day and Summer Musicals
Keep your eyes peeled for an interview in USA Today about book 2, "The Land of Curiosities: Lost in Yellowstone, 1872-1873," to be released on Earth Day. Also in honor of the release, I'll be doing book signings and speaking at Unity Charter School in New Jersey and participating in Earth Day New York at Grand Central.
In performing world, I recently finished a workshop of Six Seeds: The Persephone Project and act 1 of Jason Cady's new opera about happiness being derived from slug juice. This summer I'll be bringing it and a new piece by Avi Fox-Rosen to Chicago with La Red Music Theater, where I'm artistic directing workshop/readings of new musicals. I will also be performing in La Red's main stage production about 9-11.
11.07.08Moonbeam Book-Award Winner!
The Land of Curiosities:Adventures in Yellowstone, 1872-1873 won 2 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards for 2008. I received a gold for "Best First Book" and a silver for "Pre-teen fiction- Intermediate/Middle Grade." This is in addition to making it as a finalist for the Benjamin Franklin Award for "Best First Book (Young Adult/Fiction). Yippee!
09.24.08New Teaching Artist Position, Book II, Mayim Rabim Tour
This year I am a teaching artist for Opening Act , working to teach theater and improvisation to artistically underprivileged NYC high school students. The kids are incredible, eager and talented. They will be constructing all original monologues and scenes. I myself have resumed acting classes with June Stein, professor of film at Columbia University. I will be going on tour with Ayelet in November with Mayim Rabim and throughout the year I will be mentoring two educators at CSAIR in Riverdale on how to become Storahtelling "Mavens", and in just a week I'll be returning to NYU to be a cantor for the 3rd year in a row! Many exciting performances and teaching experiences this year.
I am also happy to announce that I submitted my first draft of Book II of "The Land of Curiosities" for review by my editors. I did successful book signings throughout the summer at Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone, and recently did a signing at Green Brooklyn.
Oh, and check out this review of my cabaret.
03.02.08Solo Show--5 performances only
Enter Night returns to Don't Tell Mama's in the brand new back room. The show has evolved a lot and will include original audio and street interviews, and--yes--original music. Also, check back soon for singing dates at P.S. 122 with Ayelet Rose Gottlieb and the Best of the Boroughs festival. In non-singing world, I completed my first radio feature in December for Public Radio International and I have been freelancing for American Public Media as well. (I also just returned from the 1st Air America Radio cruise in the Mexican Riviera). My book The Land of Curiosities is available on Amazon and at Whole Foods. I am currently working on book 2 of the Yellowstone series (www.theecoseekers.com).
The long summer absence has ended and there is much to report. London was a great success on the Battersea Barge. I almost moved there. Although not listed on the site, I sang for the Jewish high holidays for the reform student congregation at NYU again this year. We had about 500 people for Kol Nidre. And the biggest news is that I created a company with my brother called The Ecoseekers (the site, www.theecoseekers.com will be up within the month) and I wrote a children's, historical fiction chapter book. It will be in print in about two months. This December is another gig with The Artificials in my new neighhorhood--Park Slope, and I am in the process of creating some new cabarets. I'll keep you posted.
New on the site: Video and An Opera for the Post-Madonna Prima Donna.
05.06.07London or Bust
I will be performing Enter Night on the Thames River at the end of May. I've been working with publicist Laura Davis to make it a great show, so send the word out to all of your friends in the UK.
An update on the last few months: I went to Georgia and North Carolina with Storahtelling, where I played a somewhat psychotic biblical version of Rachael Ray/Martha Stewart. Last night I completed a successful residencey at BRIC with Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, a production that boasted talent from Germany, Montreal and Israel. I started freelancing with a new commercial agent at Paradigm and with Dale Davis at Davis/Spylios Management--so hopefully you'll see me touting soap or other products very soon!
New on the site: A voice over demo and a word document of my resume.
I just returned from my first experience in an independent feature film. It was a six person crew travelling from New York down to North Carolina. I was one of two actors and I played an angel that took human form in order to collect data for heaven. It was directed by Nathan Summerlin and there was no script--all improv!
New on the site: headshots by Laura Rose
This month was eventful. I sang from a balcony at the Waldorf Astoria.
By popular demand, Dreams and Nightmares will have a second showing in December. So if you missed it, now is your chance. Part III has been postponed until January.
Check for my cameo at the end of this Duke Cunningham video, sponsored by Working Assets Anti-Corruption Fund and organized by Laughing Liberally.
10.13.06Goodnight Songs Series
...begins October 18th. There were so many songs under this theme that I had to cut for the first show, I decided to just do more. Come to one, come to all three, they will all be different and very relaxed in the downstairs lounge of The Tank.
Air America Radio filed for bankruptcy today.
09.09.06High and Holy
It's the Jewish high holidays and that means lots and lots of singing--and my first time chanting Kol Nidre. The Senior Storahtelling Repertory Company began generating material at rehearsals on Monday and we will be touring throughout the country this fall. I will also be taking a scene study intensive at The Barrow Group in Manhattan through December.
New on the site: Lullaby by Billy Joel, roughly recorded by Gelfand Productions in New Jersey.
New on the site: The Stabat Mater has arrived. Take a listen, Isaac did a great mix.
Travels:I will be on the Greek island of Santorini for week at Atlantis Books. (It is run by a friend of mine and was rated the best book shop in the world by The Guardian UK.) Spontaneous performances may occur. Then I will be in London seeing theater and stewing about future projects with David Richenthal and hopefully finding a venue to perform "Goodnight Songs." For the ides of August I will be back in New York upstate, improvising, writing and pow-wowing with Storahtelling at the company retreat.
Coming soon: A jazz gig at Mark Ipri's flower shop in New Jersey in October and video clips from "Goodnight Songs."
Recording the "Stabat Mater" by Pergolesi for Isaac Everett (www.isaaceverett.com) and later in the week, recording for Jason Cady and The Artificials (www.myspace.com/jasoncadyandtheartificials).
Welcome to my new website. It's a work in progress, so check back soon for updates.