I met Jan Levine Thal years before she met me. I used to admire her inspirational witty front line activism in the 1980's and at some point during that special decade I bought the book "Commie Dearest: Digressing Diatribe by Jan Landers Thal lifted from the Madison Insurgent, 1988-91" and loved her even more. Finally one day, because this is Madison, I was invited to a dinner party where Jan was also a guest. Slowly and progressively after that introduction (thank you Robin & Alistair), our circles cycled closer until at some point I realized we had a bona fide coffee date worthy friendship. My admiration for this remarkable woman has not wained in the last 20 years, it has become stronger. She wrote me about her latest project of passion:
My current passion is the Kathie Rasmussen Women's Theater, which just got its incorporation papers and will do its first public reading in the fall. We aren't ready to accept money (waiting for a nonprofit fiscal receiver) or scripts (will do published work first) yet but your best vibes, and those of your friends who support women in the arts would be just peachy. Our mission is to put plays written by women on the stage (less than 17 percent of all plays produced nationwide are written by women -- I'm not sure whether that includes children's theater which wouldn't exist if women didn't write for, administer, and teach -- though happily talented men are involved as well). We also want to train and promote women directors and designers. Because we can count on fewer than ten fingers the number of women directors in Madison, a town with TONS o theater. I could go on, but you get the idea. Men are most welcome to act, design, be involved, of course.