The Operating System


illustration by tom joyce

With Poetry Month recently ended, I find myself having separation anxiety from the influx of lovestuff our 30/30/30 series was made of.  I’ve been excited to note that our poetry community’s efforts have been making the rounds — that connections are being established, gratitude circulated, and love received amongst circles of readers, friends, our terrific contributors, and many of the profiled poets, as well.
Of course, to everything there is a season and by no means does April’s close equate an end to Exit Strata’s commitment to mutual appreciation. In fact, it gives us an opportunity to shine more, and well deserved light on our ongoing AWESOME CREATORS profile series, the inauguration of which slipped in on little cat feet amidst the Poetry Month festivus.
What a bunch of awesome folk we’ve got in the bullpen to introduce to you this season! We could not be more excited, and since I’ve always been the kind of kid who wants to wear ALL her new clothes RIGHT AWAY I just *had* to share.
I’ve given you mini preview schpiels here, in case you want to w(h)et? your whistle.
You can look forward to conversations with:
“If anyone can save the book biz it’s @R_Nash. Watch Richard run” 
– Andrew Keen, Author of The Cult of the Amateur
RICHARD NASH is an independent publishing entrepreneur—VP of Community and Content of Small Demons, founder of Cursor, and Publisher of Red Lemonade. For most of the past decade, he ran the iconic indie Soft Skull Press for which work he was awarded the Association of American Publishers’ Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing in 2005.  Last year the Utne Reader named him one of Fifty Visionaries Changing Your World and picked him as the #1 Twitter User Changing the Shape of Publishing. He has spoken on the history and future of reading, writing, and publishing across the world, from Melbourne to Toronto to Helsinki to Seoul—Chris Anderson characterizes his Publishing 3.0 talk as “the best I have ever seen.”
Ever since discovering Red Lemonade in its earliest beta, I’ve been hot on Richard Nash’s trail — and was quick to find that he was (like so many people predicating the shift towards a commons-model) easy to contact and eager to enter into dialogue.
If you just can’t wait to get a taste of how he’s changing your world (without you even knowing it) you can start here, at this Publisher’s Weekly article from 2009, “Don’t Call it a Comeback: The Past and Future According to Richard Nash.”
SIGNIFIED is a web-based multi-platform documentary project that aims to increase visibility of queer identified individuals and organizations as well as create local, regional, and international networks for community organizing and resource sharing.  The project is comprised of an ongoing web series of short video profiles, an online platform for educational resource exchange as well as an ongoing discussion forum featuring the work of a diverse range of queer people and organizations.
Like ExSt, Anna and Jessie envision a world wherein collaboration, support, communication, and co-creatively inspired/documented living – in relation to that world – is a norm. Their project, now in its 3rd season, draws individuals and groups from every imaginable background, discipline, and community to speak to the ways in which queer identity/culture play a role in moving our society forward towards this new paradigm.
If THE CLAQUE sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the theatre company that produced Mark Snyder’s recent lab run of A Decent Stretch. We’re excited to share more of what the Claque’s up to, but also to introduce you to its tireless founder and director, Nick Leavens. Here’s a taste of what he’s had his hands in:

NL is a director, producer and writer with a focus on new works.  His directing credits include: NEW YORK: Lieutenant of Inishmore (assistant director, Broadway/off-Broadway), Research: a novel for performance, Unpleasant Men(|theclaque|), OkayNo Bueno (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Wipe Away(Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Festival), Meanwhile in BaghdadApocalypse: Book One (New York International Fringe Festival), Be True to Your School (At Hand Theatre), Speaking in Stomachs(SITEfest 2010) Family BondingLove MatchThe Arab and the Restless(New York Arab-American Comedy Festival), Wishing Time (Vital Theater), DJ Jesus (The Funny) as well as countless readings.

In addition to his role at |the claque| he is a resident director at Ensemble Studio Theatre, a founding member of Brooklyn based performance and writers collective BOOMSLANG, is the President/Co-founder of vanity production company Coleavens Industries, was the Artistic Director/Producer of the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival in 2010 and the Producer of The Funny 2004, 2005. Nick was the Company Manager of Atlantic Theater Company from 2005-2007, Bay Street Theater in 2005, Pennsylvania Center Stage in 2003, Production Manager of Vital Theatre in 2004 and an Equity stage manager Off-Broadway.  He worked as a Warrior Poet at MoMA, he dreams at night of flying, breathing under water and how the third person plural is far superior to the third person singular… We do… We do… For more information, specifically an old picture with the caption “coming soon,” visit


You know who said, “you should talk to [prolific writer] Joe Riippi”? Nick Leavens. Of course it turned out we knew a million people in common, such is the literary way. But regardless of the source, we’re excited to talk to JR about his experiences with publishing the old way, the new way, and just in general about his take on having this writing sickness that you just can’t shake…. not to mention, where exactly he thinks the dividing line of poetry and fiction lies, and where exactly that leaves the shadowy, secret, fabled fiction community. 
Joe is publishing two books this year,  A Cloth House and Treesisters. His previous books are The Orange Suitcase and Do Something! Do Something! Do Something!.
Velcrow Ripper’s documentary project, “OCCUPY LOVE,” which recently exceeded its $50,000 crowdfundraising goal on IndieGogo, asks the question, “how are the economic and ecological crises that we are facing today a great love story?” 
…and it shouldn’t surprise you that he and his crew have generously offered to share this love, and their story, with the Exit Strata community. Nor that we wish to help promote this project in every way we can.  And if that weren’t incentive enough to become interested, read on: (from their site)
A profound shift is taking place all over the world. Humanity is  waking up to the fact  that the current system that dominates the planet is failing to provide us with health, happiness or meaning.  The dominant paradigm is based on separation, as exemplified by the financial system, and the corporate emphasis of profits before people.   
This crisis has become the catalyst for a profound transformation:  millions of people are deciding that enough is enough –  the time has come to create a new world, a world that works for all life.  We have experienced an extraordinary year of change, from the Arab Spring, to the European Summer, and now, erupting into North America: the Occupy Movement.  
This is a revolution rooted in compassion,  direct democracy, and shared power, as opposed to the “power over” model of the corporate world view.  The new story is one of Inter-dependence.  Love is the movement.  As the Occupy cry goes: “We are unstoppable. Another world is possible!”
Their crew has been filming at Occupy Wall Street since the first day, and have filmed the historical General Strike at Occupy Oakland,  and have filmed at Occupy Canada.  They have recently returned from tracing the evolution of the movement in Europe, and now Ian McKenzie is travelling Asia for more stories.
The film features an incredible cast of visionaries, both the well known, and the everyday heroes who are emerging in this fledgling movement.  So far we have interviewed:  Charles Eisenstein, Marina Sitrin, Judy Rebick, The Yes Men, Angaanaq, Clayton Thomas Muller, Tom Goldtooth, Bill McKibben, Malik from Occupy the Hood, Rebecca Solnit, Drew Dellinger, Don Tapscott, Jeremy Rifkin, Asmaa Mahfouz, Penny Livingston Stark, Rob Hopkins, and more.
Teaser videos can be found at
Lastly but not in the least leastly, we’ve got the incredibly passionate team bringing you the second annual New York Poetry Festival on Governor’s Island. We’ve been in conversations with Stephanie Berger and Nicholas Adamski regarding Exit Strata’s great desire to engage poetically-situationally-disruptively with a public at said festival, and by and large we can not express our gratitude for any community that seeks to realign the spheres of poetic output with the public ear and eye. We believe that poetry is for everyone and we have simpatico souls in these tireless organizers.
Do we ever get down with their mini bio:
The New York City poetry world has largely isolated itself to a small and Balkanized circle. The Poetry Society of New York moves through and opens up that circle to unite the community of makers with the community of appreciators in new and mysterious ways.
Here, here! We’re excited to engage the community in the works of the Poetry Society as they seek to grow and promote the discipline, and to spread the word about this summer’s event.

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