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F R O M T HE PR E S I D E N T
arlier today, I hosted a co m m unit y m eetin g (remember t hos e?) at w hic h we celebr at ed and engaged in a dialogue. For the majority of our readers— Goddard grads—that sounds f a m i l i a r, I’m sure. At least yo u are familiar with the dialogue
The campus looks better than it has in years, giving us a collective sense of improvement and (at last!) a reduction in the deferred maintenance. Speaki ng o f the ca m pus, t he Gr eat wo o d Gardens have won a prestigious award from the Cultural Landscape Foundation. Log onto the found a t i o n ’s website, w w w. t c l f . o r g, and see “Landslide 2006.”
“ L e t ’s not forget history, even the troubled and troubling times, but let’s also express joy that at this moment we are thriving, and doing so with integrity and élan.”
part. Sometimes in our past, either there have been too many challenges to make us feel like celebrating or we have just been too … what’s the right wo r d — maybe distracted … to celebrate healthily. The days of dialogue remain. I’m sure you wo u l d agree there will never be a Goddard without dialogue, some of it difficult. But now I also want to insist that we pay attention to celebrating as we reinvent Goddard. What to celebrate? To name a few things: The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, our accrediting agency, has determined that we are an essentially sound institution and reaffirmed our accreditation until 2010. An anonymous donor gave us the largest single gift from an alumnus/a in Goddard’s history, $500,000 in honor of board member (and Tim Pitkin’s daughterin-law) Clo Pitkin. Our enrollment continues to grow steadily, and we have an ambitious growth plan to increase our f u l l - t i m e - e q u i valent number to about 1,000 over the next several ye a r s . We have made organization-wide strategic and tactical planning a clear institutional priority, with an integrated planning process to make sure all the puzzle pieces fit together. The Board of Trustees is at its largest size and steaming ahead at full speed as the policy-setting and o versight entity of the college. I hope you will join us in this celebration, and I know you will join us in the continuing, albeit occasionally difficult, dialogues. You, as alumni and alumnae of this unique institution, are, after all, the best evidence that we have reason to honor our past, celebrate our present and anticipate our future. L e t ’s not forget history, even the troubled and troubling times, but let’s also express joy that at this moment we are thriving, and doing so with integrity and élan.
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s a child growing up in Salem, Mass., Hillary Smith found fertile ground for cultivating an interest in s p i r i t u a l i t y. “Because of Salem’s reputation as the site of the infamous Salem witch trials, it has become a kind of mecca for people interested in alternative spirituality and philosophy,” Hillary says. “So, as a kid, I had easy access to these ideas as well as the people who practice them.” She would spend her days combing the local witches’ markets and bookstores, searching for information on ESP, reincarnation, astral projection—“any subject dealing with the mystical or metaphysical.” To d a y, as a student in Goddard’s individualized studies M A program, Hillary is still searching, still delving into “the mysteries of the unknown and unseen.” Her musings have e vo l ved somewhat since her days in Salem, and she has focused her master’s program on consciousness studies. “I began my Goddard studies with the question, ‘What does it take for large shifts of consciousness to take place within society and within the individual?’” Her thesis, which she says emerged from Goddard’s organic, “magical process” of following your instincts and following the path of your learning, concentrates on “ Paradox and the Reconciliation of Opposites.” It looks at the different, sometimes antagonistic forces that exist within the individual and explores how one might bring them into a complementary existence, or “oneness.” She likens it to the Jungian psychology of bringing opposites of the self into wholeness, “instead of getting sucked into the confusion and chaos of feeling like yo u ’re separated into t wo different people.” Although this may seem a we i g h t y subject, Hillary is no stranger to intellectually-challenging puzzles. She has spent her life grappling with the intangible. After leaving her native Salem and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from New York Unive r s i t y, Hillary left the East Coast and landed a job in New Mexico as a writer and editor for an alternative weekly magazine. For two years, she explored and wrote about metaphysical subjects, gathering a group of friends with interests similar to her own. A l t h o u g h her magazine writing gave her a chance to delve into her own spiritual interests, she found it, likewise, to be limiting. “ Writing has been a passion of mine for a long time,” she says. “I think I decided at one point that I wanted to get out of journalism as my career because it was taking away from my own creative juices.” It was then that her path took another turn and she wa s introduced to shamanism, or the spirituality of indigenous
Hillary Smith during her time with shamans in the Peruvian Andes.
peoples. “I found that it really spoke to me and called to me,” she says. For the next several years, she threw herself into shamanism, studying and taking workshops on the subject and finally traveling to Peru to study with shamans living in the Andes Mountains. “The shaman is an individual who has the ability to go into altered states of consciousness and gain extrasensory knowledge and healing powe r,” she explains. “They’re the healers and visionaries for their community. ” She worked with the Q’ero people, the last of the Incas who l i ve in the High Andes, and spent time in the jungle as well. Her experiences led her to write two books on the subject, both under the name Hillary S. Webb (Webb is her middle name): Exploring Shamanism and Traveling Between the Wo r l d s : Conversations with Contemporary Shamans. The latter is a compilation of interviews with medicine people from around the wo r l d . “One of the great things about shamanism is it’s provided me a set of tools for having some extraordinary experiences with consciousness,” she says. She found the consciousness studies program at Goddard almost by chance, through a link on a website she was visiting. She says the program has given her the chance to stretch her previous experiences into new areas. “Yo u ’re there with people who can speak at such interesting and deep leve l s . ” With her August graduation just around the corner, Hillary says she is ready to move on to “whatever is next,” but she is going to miss Goddard and its people tremendously. “I’m completely in my element when I’m at Goddard.” —by Kelly Collar
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Connecting Activism and the Nation’s Capital
B ill Goodfellow’sbrings up political commentator Whenpundit James sounding board is Pennsylvania. speaking of Pennsylvania, he and
Carville. “You know what Carville said about Pennsylvania, don’t you?” he says. “‘There’s Philadelphia on one end, Pittsburgh on the other, and then in between you have Alabama.’”
Bill grew up in the Alabama part— BY ALLISON KRUISE (MFAW) graduating from Mercersburg A c a d e m y, rural Chester County to be exact, where he made his way to Boston University to “the most exotic people we met were Catholics.” But this study political science. The switch from an A l a b a m a - l i k e place is where he goes to find “grounded” people. It’s the town in Pe n n s y l vania to the BU campus, “the hot bed of place where he learned that if you don’t understand the radical liberalism,” was a change Bill says he was more than people outside of Washington, D.C., yo u ’re wasting yo u r ready for. He attended during the height of the antitime. Vietnam War movement, a time period he considers a culA lifetime anti-war activist and an experienced analyst tural revo l u t i o n . of U.S. aid policies, Bill is the executive director of the “There was a tremendous energy and all sorts of politiCenter for International Policy (CIP), which he co-founded cal activity. There was at least a demonstration a month in in 1975, three years after he finished studying in the Boston,” he says. “I was never a real insider, but I wa s Southeast Asian studies program at the Goddarda l ways in the middle of things.” Cambridge Graduate School for Social Change (GCGS). His main duty was to organize people. He jokingly “ I ’m doing what Goddard wants me to do,” he says. “I points out that he was given “special status” as an activist got to D.C. in the early ’70s and started doing what I wa s due to his family’s comforttrained to do.” able financial situation. The CIP is a progressive research and advocacy organiDuring and after his time at zation whose effect on Washington rests mainly with its the unive r s i t y, Bill traveled to allies in the legislative branch. “We work in partnership conferences in Canada and with our allies and try to enlist the support of interest Europe to meet with represengroups and activist organizations to bring other members of t a t i ves from the Vi e t n a m e s e Congress around to our point of view,” Bill says. g o vernment. At the conferThe CIP has several programs that try to change unjust ences, he also came in contact international policies. For instance, its Cuba program focuses with Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden on ending the 44-year U.S. economic embargo of Cuba and and Fred Branfman, who we r e the ban on Americans traveling to Cuba. all top American anti-wa r The journey to making “change in Washington” his activists at the time. l i f e ’s work started when he was an adolescent. Bill, whose “Meeting with the parents and the majority of his family are Republicans, Vietnamese helped me gain a found intellectual solace with his Aunt Charlotte. She wa s better sense of who the Bill Goodfellow (G-C ’77) a professor at Wellesley College for 32 years and a ve r y ‘ e n e m y ’ was and what their p r o g r e s s i ve liberal. o b j e c t i ves were,” he says. “They saw us as occupiers a n d “She was the only liberal on my father ’s side—a i n vaders, while A m e r i c a n s were told we were liberators.” Kennedy-type liberal,” Bill says. “She was an amazing He started the groundwork for his career while attendwoman.” Each ye a r, he spent a month with his aunt, trave ling BU, working part-time as a bartender, becoming a pro at ing in the United States and abroad and being exposed to charming customers, honing the skills of a sharp salesman political and societal ideals lacking at home in Chester County. and collecting excellent tips. “I like to this think this wa s Taking what he could from his aunt’s tutelage and after the real beginning of my fundraising training.”
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He also studied with Howard Zinn, the author of A People’s History of the United States. Zinn, a leader in antiwar activism, became Bill’s mentor early on. “He is the most charismatic teacher we had. He was at the center of eve r ything,” Bill says. “He wants people to be skeptical. He taught us that those in power write history, own newspapers and dictate the narrative of our lives.” Zinn was also the one who steered Bill to Goddard, saying, “Even revolutionaries need graduate degrees.” Zinn recollects the situation with a bit more detail, saying he nudged Bill toward Goddard’s Cambridge gates because he
continuation of American funding of the wa r. “When I we n t o ver there, I didn’t know the end was so near. ” He calls his final months in Cambodia “the most intense t wo months of my life.” He became the IRC’s “Cambodia expert” when he moved into a once-ritzy, non-air- c o n d itioned, electricity-less hotel. Although he first chose to take a penthouse suite on the top floor, he quickly decided to m o ve closer to the ground when another patron told him of the rockets that crashed through the top floors of buildings. “ You didn’t have to go far to watch a battle,” he says. “I n e ver experienced death until I was there. I saw so much
“Meeting with the Vietnamese helped me gain a better sense of who the ‘enemy’ was and what their objectives were. They saw us as occupiers and invaders, while Americans were told we were liberators.”
thought it would give him the breathing room and the thinking room he needed. “It would encourage him to take the initiative in organizing his own education,” Zinn says, “and he would encounter teachers and students who we r e on his political wa velength and make him part of a community where he would feel comfortable.” At first Bill was a bit skeptical about going to graduate school, wanting to get out and get invo l ved instead. “I didn ’t want to be an academic. I wanted to be an activist.” Zinn introduced him to Dr. Cynthia Frederick, his future professor at Goddard and, at one time, the director of the school. She and her expertise are Bill’s fondest memories of his time at Goddard. “She was so disciplined and smart and stern. She brought academic rigor into the program,” he says. U l t i m a t e l y, going to Goddard was serendipitous for him. He and just two other students worked with Frederick in the Southeast Asian studies program. He says that it wa s n ’t the subject matter at Goddard that has stuck with him but the methodology and Frederick’s unique abilities. After completing his studies at Goddard, he took the analytical and organizational skills he learned into a wo r l d that needed social change. He took these things with him to Washington, D.C., when he attended a Nixon counter- i n a ugural rally and was offered a job: Fred Branfman asked Bill to come work at the Indochina Resource Center (IRC). A f t e r a trip to Boston to collect his old VW bus, he headed back to D.C. to become a researcher and fundraiser at the IRC. “ We saw ourselves as a bridge between the activism-academic world and the policy wo r l d - Washington, D.C.,” he explains. “We understood that Washington matters.” In December 1974, he took his analytical skills to Southeast Asia and spent six months in Vietnam and Cambodia, researching and writing papers opposing the blood and gore.” He came closer to death than he wo u l d h a ve liked when a command post he visited came under attack. He remembers diving behind palm logs that we r e more like caves and mortars blowing up dust and dirt mere feet from him. “It was a very dicey hour or two.” Bill came back to the United States in May 1975 due to the evacuations of Americans, but also because he was “an a n t i - war activist without a wa r.” When he arrived back in Washington, the IRC closed down, and Bill and three other people opened up the Center for International Po l i c y. It is here that he continues to advance the need for social change—the same thing Goddard promoted with the help of Cynthia Frederick. Taking his education and his experience, along with the help of others, Bill kept with the cause to try and make sure history did not repeat itself. “We opened up the CIP i n order to keep lessons of the war alive,” he said. “We wa n ted to bring activists together to develop relationships with key senators and congress members in Wa s h i n g t o n . ” He has lived in the nation’s capital ever since. He live s there now with his two children and wife, Dana Priest, a Washington Post reporter who won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting. As the executive director and the only co-founder still with the center, Bill is in charge of keeping alive a $3 million budget by fundraising and writing proposals to foundations, organizations and individual donors. Jokingly, he humbles his job duties by saying that he just “writes letters to rich liberals.” In all seriousness, he takes prides in his life’s work. He says he remains committed to the CIP’s mission of promoting a U.S. foreign policy based on international cooperation, demilitarization and respect for basic human rights.
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eborah Nadoolman Landis has a knack for making something out of nothing. An accomplished Hollywood costume designer, president of the Costume Designers Guild and a 1972 Goddard alumna, Deborah has shown her ingenuity creating costumes for such films as Animal House, T h e Blues Brothers, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Coming to America, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination.
Born with a love of drawing, painting and BY KELLY especially history, she says “it was serendipitous that I actually found costume design—the one profession that met all of my interests.” I called Deborah at her home in Los Angeles to learn more about her career and the path that led her to Hollywood. “I was always interested in costume design,” she says, “from birth.” Her nascent interest took root during her childhood experiences at Camp Laughton, a camp for the deaf her parents owned in the Catskill Mountains. Her mother, a we l l - k n o w n teacher and school principal for the deaf in New York City, ran the camp for over 30 years with Deborah’s father. Among her many memories of camp are Tuesday night “bunk nights,” in which every cabin had to put on a s h o w, complete with costumes, for the rest of the camp. Deborah would scour the campground—the cabins, bathhouse and dining hall—in search of costume materials. “I always said I could make anything out of a paper place mat, a bath t o wel and sheets,” she says. “As the world saw in Animal House ... 20 ye a r s of bunk nights.” She made all the togas for the film’s infamous toga party, a scene credited with introducing the toga party to popular college culture. “They we r e n ’t couture, but they’re what the eve n i n g required.”
Recalling the film, which she made with her husband, director John Landis, Deborah says she had never been to a fraternity party, and her husband had never even been to college, having been expelled from high school in the 10th grade. “John had never been to a fraternity in his life, and we made the fraternity movie of all time.” She collaborated with her husband, whom she met at 19 through her Goddard friends, on more than 10 films, including An American We rewolf in L o n d o n and Trading Places. She also worked with Steven Spielberg on Raiders and 1 9 4 1, Louis Malle on C r a c k e r s, and Costa-Gavras on M a d C i t y. D e b o r a h ’s early passion for history formed the foundation for her work. She says historical research is one of the most important tools for making “credible and authentic characterizations.” During her film work, she would start the design process by learning eve r ything about t he film’s chara c t e r s — where they were born, who their parents were, where they lived and their socioeconomic background. “ E very costume designer, whether t h e y ’re designing C r a s h or Pride and P re j u d i c e, goes through the same process,” she says. “People tend to think that costume design is only for period and fantasy [films], when the best costume design is done every day
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on contemporary and modern films.” Recent films like S y r i a n a and B ro k e b a c k M o u n t a i n, she says, have done a “beautiful” job with costume design. A n o t h e r good example, and one of her favorite recent movies, is Tr a n s A m e r i c a. “I cried,” she says. “And how much more of a hardened, sophisticated, jaded audience could I possibly be?” But before becoming a “hardened” movie industry insider—before her c a r e e r, two children and adva n c e d degrees in costume design—Deborah was a Goddard student. Getting to Goddard A sea vo yage seems an unlikely place to begin a Goddard education, but that’s where Deborah’s started when she was just 15. She and her family were sailing home to New Yo r k after a visit to London when they met Jack Sheedy, a fellow passenger who happened to be a Goddard professor. Their acquaintance and his musings about the college made an indelible impression on her, one that stayed with her through high school. “He had so impressed my family and had so impressed me with his warmth,” she says, that when it came time to look at colleges, she journeyed to Plainfield for a first-hand look. “When I went up to Goddard to visit, I felt at home there,” she says. “It was natural for me.” E ven before her trip to Goddard, Deborah was already versed in the language of experimental education. As a child, she says she was “unidentified learning disabled, or ADD,” and she was kept back by her testing anxiety. “I was desperate to get out of the New York City school system,” she says. “I knew that I had a lot more to offer than testing had shown.” Her frustration led her to read S u m m e rh i l l, by education pioneer A.S. Neill. She was so captivated by the book that she wrote to Neill and began a “wonderful correspondence” with him; she has kept his letters to this day. Deborah describes her time at Goddard as an incubation period—a necessary rite of passage. “This was a place for special people who didn’t fit into other, more conve n t i o n a l settings,” she says. “It was filled with a creative, groundbreaking group of folks.” Some of these folks were David Mamet, who was her t h eater T.A., and classmates William H. Macy and Howa r d Ashman, who later became a playwright and lyricist. Deborah also became invo l ved with the Bread and Puppet
Photos: a taste of Deborah Nadoolman Landis’ costume design. Left top, Deborah Nadoolman Landis; left bottom, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); immediate left, Animal House (1978); bottom, Coming to America (1988).
T h e a t e r, which was in-residence at the time at the Cate Farm. It was her i n vo l vement with other creative spirits and her artistic work as a student that led her to consider costume design as a c a r e e r. She remembers having a conve r s ation in the cafeteria with Mamet and Paul Vela, head of the theater department, about the viability of costume design as a life’s vocation. “That wa s the turning point,” she says. After graduating from Goddard, she gathered experience as an assistant in the Champlain Shakespeare Festiva l and in summer stock before enrolling in UCLA’s master ’s program in costume design. After she’d received her M . F.A., she worked at NBC television a s a costume wardrobe stock girl. While she was cleaning and sorting costumes, she developed her own costuming skills thanks to her supervisor and mentor, Angie Jones, who made sure she had a full apprenticeship in costume design. “By the time I got to design a movie, I was totally prepared,” she says. “I always considered myself as one of the most resourceful people on the planet.” Promoting the Profession To d a y, with a full career as a wo r k i n g designer to her credit and a Ph.D. in the history of design from the Roya l College of Art in London, Deborah spends her energies raising awareness of the profession, both in and out of Hollywo o d , and reaching out to other designers. “Costume design is a 2 4 - h o u r- a - d a y, seve n - d a y a - week endeavo r, with no time to do anything,” she says. “Yo u ’re lucky if yo u continued on page 21
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S k y, a literary journal featuring the work of MFAW faculty and alumni/ae. w w w. t a r p a u l i n s k y. c o m Kelsey (Rogers) Perchinski (IBA ’0 1 ) of Portland, Maine, produces artwo r k for nonprofit fundraising and hosts a c h i l d r e n ’s radio show on WMPG (online streaming at w w w. w m p g . o r g) . She is beginning to produce independent radio productions and hopes to do more vo i c e o ver wo r k . Joan Peters (IBA ’0 4 ) of Candler, N.C., works as a mental health professional at a state agency that provides assistance for persons with mental illness, substance abuse challenges and deve lopmental disabilities. Her newe s t hobby is creating stained glass pieces featuring lesbian and gay themes. Jan Quackenbush (MFAW ’0 5 ) o f Binghamton, N.Y., had a one-act play, S t r a w d o g, produced by the Know Theatre Company as part of its third annual Local Playwrights and A r t i s t s F e s t i val in Binghamton. David Robson (MFAW ’0 6 ) o f Wilmington, Del., had a short play, Yo u R a n g, produced in the Acme Theater P r o d u c t i o n ’s New Works Wi n t e r F e s t i val in Maynard, Mass. He also
r e c e i ved a $5,000 fellowship from the D e l a ware Division of the A r t s . Forrest Roth (MFAW ’0 4 ) of Buffalo, N . Y., is a “flash fiction” writer who was featured in a Buffalo News a r t i c l e on the genre, which features supershort stories that stand on their own as works of art. He organized a reading series devoted to flash fiction at the Big Orbit Gallery. Kristan Ryan (MFAW ’0 2 ) of Brooklyn, N . Y., will publish a novel, The Hair Princess and the Hog Temple Incident, this fall (Behler Publications). She wa s recently promoted to assistant vice president of student affairs at the Interboro Institute, a business-centered college in New Yo r k . Robert Sheely (PSY ’0 5 ) of Coralville, I o wa, works as an addictions therapist in the department of psychiatry at the I o wa City VA Medical Center. Jessamyn Smyth (MFAW ’0 4 ) of Gill, Mass., had a short story, A M o re Perfect U n i o n, nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her play, Jenny Haniver, opened at The Shea Theatre as part of the second annual Playwright’s Festival of New Works. Her theater company in Western Massachusetts is called
Basilisk Productions. Margaret Konwawennontion (Kelly) Stacey (IBA ’0 1 ) of Kahnawa k e Mohawk Te r r i t o r y, Quebec, credits Goddard for helping her to recognize aspects of her curiosity that traditional u n i versities don’t allow or value. Mark Thellman (MFAIA ’0 5 ) o f Merchantville, N.J., provided photographic illustration for a book by Marianne Hieb, Inner Journeying t h rough Art Journaling: Learning to See and Record Your Life as a Work of Art (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2005). Nagueyalti Warren (MFAW ’0 5 ) o f Lithonia, Ga., published a poem, “ G r a n d m a ’s Girl,” in the April issue of Essence Magazine. Sarah Wash (MFAW ’0 5 ) of Minneapolis, Minn., had an article, “The Healing Po wer of Flowers,” in U t n e m a g a z i n e ’s March/April issue. Lowell Williams (MFAW ’0 6 ) o f Nashua, N.H., writes to say that the original version of The Warmth of the C o l d won best original new play at the New Hampshire Theatre Awards in Manchester, an award based on writing, not the production itself.
DESIGNING WOMAN, continued from page 13
can get to the ladies’ r o o m . ” She is in her fifth year as president of the Costume Designers Guild (Local 892), the union representing wo r king Hollywood costume designers. She also teaches at the U n i versity of Southern California and at the American Film Institute and earlier this year gave a class at the Wo m e n Directors Workshop. She has turned to her first love—history—to pen a number of books chronicling the work of Hollywood designers, including S c reencraft: Costume Design (Focal Press, 2003) and 50 Costumes / 50 Designers ( U n i versity of California Press, 2005). This fall, Regan Books/Harper Collins will publish her coffee table book, D ressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume D e s i g n. The University of California Press will also be publishing her doctorate in two volumes; the first, Deconstructing Glamour, will be ready in 2007. Her books help shed light on the costume designer ’s role in storytelling, in making fictional characters come to life. When I mention that costume designers also seem to influence popular fashion, Deborah says she has never been interested in fashion. “What I’m interested in is culture and how the stories on screen move us.” She says that when fashion comes from film, it’s because a character has “touched” the viewe r. She points to the costume she designed for Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost A r k, which became a cultural icon. “It’s because people l o ved his character. ” Deborah feels people would understand more fully what costume designers do if they would think of them as cultural anthropologists instead of designers. “ I t ’s so much more than a jacket and a hat,” she says. “It really becomes a thread in the culture; it becomes part of the zeitgeist.”
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An Interview with the Comedian
PAGING DR. KATZ:
by Bonnie Blader (MFAW ’97)
onathan Katz, actor, writer and comedian, has a wit so quick that the jokes that come in a conversation with him come as a surprise even when you expect them. He quips as easily as most people breathe and can’t stop, he has half-lamented to his wife, Suzi, probably in a joke.
Suzi Kaitz and Jonathan Katz go back a ways. They met on Christmas day in 1979. “Suzi didn’t know it was Christmas. I didn’t know it was 1979,” Jonathan recalls. Suzi’s sister, Sharon, had attended Goddard, as had Jonathan’s sister, Phyllis, before him. When Suzi and Jonathan met, she was a neuro-anatomist and he was directing a six-piece band. They married and “have kids every nine years like clockwork.” So far they have two daughters, 23 and 14, and live in Newton, Mass. In the spring, Comedy Central released the first season of D r. Katz, Professional Therapist on DVD. The cartoon features Jonathan as Dr. Katz. All of his patients are comedians. “Dr. Katz really was a show about a father and a son,” Jonathan reports, “and they had a kind of very sweet, loving relationship.” The series ran for six seasons, garnered an Emmy, a Peabody Award, and two Cable Ace Awa r d s , and was distributed internationally. Jonathan spoke with me by phone about his work and life. BONNIE BLADER: Tell me about Goddard. J O N ATHAN KAT Z : I arrived at Goddard when it was still hip to be a lost loser. I was so thrilled to meet other people who were also slightly displaced in the world. I came in 1965, only they had no place to put us, so we waited in our cars for more than three years until they built Northwo o d . B B: Who were your mentors there? J K: Paul Vela meant a lot to me. He was very wonderful, and he actually gave me the sense that there are things about theater that might be fun. Then [David] Mamet showed me how it could be fun for the audience, too. B B : He was your classmate? J K : Yes, David wrote a revue at Goddard and cast me and three other people in it, and Paul Vela, and he did something very unconventional and brave for Goddard College. He charged eve r yone 50 cents to come in and see the play. Do you know why? BB: No. J K : He wanted to pay the actors. It was my first experience in the professional theater. B B : And experiences beyond Goddard? J K : One of the first jobs I had after Goddard was for the New York City Department of Parks. I had a job title, Mr. Games, and I’d travel around with the puppet show from playground to playground. New York Parks had a puppet t h e a t e r. We ’d go into really scary—for me—neighborhoods, and I would have to keep the kids entertained until the puppet show started, and many times I would have to say things like, “Simon says, ‘Put down your weapons.’” That was my first job in the real wo r l d . B B : Who were your mentors after Goddard? J K : Oh, so many. A comedian who has since passed awa y named Ronnie Shakes. He died as a very young man of a heart attack. Woody Allen as a comedian, not as a parent so much. My wife. B B : Were you trying to learn something specific from each? J K : Well, Ronnie Shakes was somebody who knew how to write a joke in a way that was so beautifully elegant. I’ll g i ve you an example of one of my favorite jokes of his. It’s about therapy: “I’ve been seeing the same therapist for about 12 years, and yesterday he said something that brought tears to my eyes—‘No hablo Inglés.’” I love telling that to people who have n ’t heard it before because it’s a very efficient and elegant way of making people laugh. B B : So making a joke is an art and a skill? J K : Yes.
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B B : How do you work? J K : My days begin with me going into my recording studio in my home and recording this make-believe radio show called “Hey, We ’re Back.” I get very lost in it because I can imagine that it’s on the air and people are listening, people are calling in. So I have a very active, maybe hyperactive , imagination. I think—and this is going to sound a little pretentious—part of being able to create stuff is a certain kind of ability to confuse reality with make-believe, which also could be called psychotic. There’s a certain amount of craziness invo l ve d . B B : And about how long might you work on your imaginary program? J K : Until I get hungry or thirsty or want another cup of coffee. B B : Is there some point where you say, “This is a good idea.” J K : Or I say this is a good idea but I have a funnier idea, because my ideas and my jokes are always competing against each other. I have about six episodes of the makeb e l i e ve show. B B : And what will you do with it? J K : I have a manager in New York and an agent in Los Angeles, so I get to play make-believe all day and then they get to try to turn it into income. And, occasionally, it doesn’t turn into income; it just turns into something I find amusing, and you might hear it on public radio, which is possibly the least lucrative form of entertainment. B B : Do you have a favorite type of comedy? J K : I ’m drawn to death and morbidity as a comedian, but I also like silly. I like physical comedy. Danny Kaye is somebody who used to make me laugh. Steve Martin … that’s a whole different kind of comedy I’ve never mastered. B B : Do you ever think about who your audience is? For example, you say death and morbidity is your favorite subject matter … J K : Well, I’ll give you an example. This is one of my favo r i t e jokes: “My aunt died this week. She was cremated, and we think that’s what did it.” If an audience goes to a comedy club and the comedian says something of a sexual nature, or something intimate, there’s a certain kind of discomfort and tension that allows for comedic release. I like to make people slightly uncomfortable with comedy, and in life, I think. B B : How would your youngest daughter describe your wo r k to someone else? J K : T h e y ’re my toughest crowd, my family. My 23-ye a r- o l d has been giving me a courtesy laugh for about 15 years, and
my 14-ye a r-old is much funnier than me, so they know that I ’m in the comedy business, but they are not particularly amused. B B : As a comedian, have you always been able to make ends meet? J K : I have n ’t always been able to make them meet, but I’ve been able to make them acknowledge the existence of the other one. That is such a cryptic joke. Boy, that’s probably a joke you could deconstruct at Goddard. B B : I’ll probably laugh when I rehear it on the tape. J K : It wa s n ’t so good. B B : Can we get back to … ? J K : Oh, yes. My wife was often the breadwinner in our fami l y. When I asked her recently about how she felt living with somebody who wa s n ’t earning enough money on a regular basis, she said, “It was different because you had a dream.” So I wa s n ’t just your typical slug. I started out writing songs, you know. I was a songwriter long before I was a comedian. B B : H a ve I heard your songs? J K : I have a song that was recorded and released as a single called “No Place for a Lady.” It was recorded by a guy named Buzz Kason and was released in Denmark. [BONNIE BLADER TRIES NOT TO LAU G H ] J K : So it was released in Holland. B B : Interesting place to be released.
Jonathan Katz during one of his nine appearances with David Letterman.
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J K : E very once in a while, I get a check—every three ye a r s — for less than $5, and that money continues to flow. I wrote a song with David Mamet called “This Heart is Closed for Alterations,” and that was recorded on Mork and Mindy, a TV show, and aired, so for that song, every once in a while, I get a check for $11. B B : Yo u ’re pretty creative . J K : A c t u a l l y, right now, it’s almost a born-again creative thing. Born again is a poor choice of words, but it’s kind of a surge, a creative surge. B B : I know that you have multiple sclerosis. Has it found its way into your creative life or had an impact on it? J K : Well, certainly, the physicality of my work has changed. The last movie I did was with Eddie Murphy, D a d d y D a y c a re, and the director of that movie was very accommodating because he wanted me in that particular role. One of the things I’m very good at and I’ve always been good at is asking for help. When you have a disability, you can either get angry about people not accommodating you or you can ask them to help you. But the thing I’ve discovered is that i t ’s easier to live with MS than to pretend not to have it. A n d t h a t ’s almost like my mantra. B B : Do you restrict yourself in any way with regard to yo u r comedy? J K : My guideline is that if it makes me uncomfortable, it’s probably not a good idea. I have an enormous capacity for being inappropriate. And I live in a very politically correct town. Just to be safe, I refer to eve r y b o d y — w h e t h e r
t h e y ’re gay, s traight, black or white —as an Asian. B B : What degree did yo u graduate with? J K : A B.A. It’s better than the MS. B B : In what? J K : You know, no one e ver asked. I just said I went to Goddard and I winked. But everything I learned helped me in some odd wa y. I’m a dayd r e a m e r, and there wa s n e ver a better place to do that. At Goddard, I learned about music, acting, writing and, yes, making fancy boxes out of clay and fine glass. I learned to sulk while other people danced in time to the music. BB: Do you have any advice for aspiring performers? J K : My advice to aspiring performers is get a notebook and a tape recorder, or if it makes sense a video camera ... and d o n ’t be afraid to borrow liberally from yo u r s e l f .
Above: the cover of the D r. Katz DVD. Below: Jonathan performs with his band, Katz and Jammers, circa 1980. Another Goddard graduate, Andy Pitt, plays the guitar at left.
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A L U M N I / A E P O RT F O L I O
Tammy Vitale (IMA ’97) “Tammy Vitale’s first book, Shift, is a blueprint of her journey through social change to self actualization. It is a triumph over dark forces and the internal quarrels that eventually turn into strength. Women’s self realizations are surprisingly the same: mainstream, women poets live through a sense of isolation, guilt, then the powerful current of hope that uplifts the poem from the page.” —Grace Cavalieri, The Montserrat Review Xlibris Corporation (2004), $10
urban American did not know. Finding herself in a setting like that of many a classic English novel, both enchanting and treacherous, Rathbone shares hard-won lessons in dealing with a grand but crumbling Georgian mansion. The Quantuck Lane Press (2005), $23.95
ACROSS THE HIGH DIVIDE
Lisa Alvarado (MFAIA ’04), Ann Hagman Cardinal, Jane Alberdeston Coralin Sister Chicas tells the story of three young Latina friends in Chicago. They meet while working on the school paper, but during their weekly coffee dates, they form a friendship that gives them the sisters they never had. Together, they struggle to figure out their identities and learn how to fit their rich heritage into their lives as modern Norteamericanas. NAL Trade (2006), $12.95
Laurie Wagner Buyer (MFAW ’01) “In poems touching, tough and erotic, Laurie Wagner Buyer ’s new collection explores the passion and pain of a woman’s journey into her sensuality and her quest for a partnership promising self-fulfillment on every level. Writing from a sensibility that is as feminine as it is unsentimental, she probes the deepest heart of women’s relationships—their turmoil, their tenderness and their wrenching fragility.” —Kathlene Sutton Ghost Road Press (2006), $13.95
DANCE MOVEMENT THERAPY: A HEALING ART
Fran J. Levy (RUP ’67) Dance Movement Therapy: A Healing Art, now in its third edition, has won the acclaim of dance educators and creative arts therapists worldwide. It includes, among others, new sections on multiple personality (dissociative disorder) and physical and sexual abuse. Third edition (2005), $60
Belinda Rathbone (GGP ’77) “I knew when I married the man that I married the mansion,” begins Belinda Rathbone’s captivating memoir of her relationship with a Scottish laird—and with his 400-acre ancestral home, the Guynd. But there was much that this
G o d d a r d A l u m n i / a e : H a ve Yo u P u b l i s h e d a B o o k ? S e n d u s a c o py fo r i n c l u s i o n i n t h e A l u m n i / a e Po r t fo l i o ! P l e a s e s e n d n o t i f i c a t i o n s a n d b o o k s t o : S a r a h H o o ke r, G o d d a r d C o l l e ge, 1 2 3 P i t k i n Ro a d , P l a i n f i e l d , V T 0 5 6 6 7 .
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ALUM N I /AE CORNER
G e t i n t o uc h w i t h t h e A lu m n i /a e O f fi c e : s a r ah . h o o k e r@ g o dd a r d .e d u ; t ol l - fr e e , 8 6 6 - 6 1 4- A L U M S e n d a c l a s s n o te o r u p da t e yo u r ad d r e s s : a l u mn i n o te s @ g o d da r d . ed u ; w ww. g o d d a r d . e d u / a l u m n i / u p d a t e s. h t m l
Regional Gatherings : On March 11, when the Board of Trustees met in Port Townsend, Wash. (a new residency location for the MFA in writing program), local alumni/ae met with Alumni/ae Director Sarah Hooker. They were ve r y excited about Goddard expanding to the West Coast and we r e familiar with Centrum, the local arts and education center at Fort Worden State Park that hosts Goddard residencies.
On April 21, Baltimore alums Marlo (RUP ’97) and Matt Saindon (RUP ’98-’01) hosted Goddard graduates at the Clipper City Brewing Company, where Matt works. Sixteen alumni/ae enjoyed the event, capped off with a tour of the facility and beer tasting. David Hoffberger (ADP ’81) took Alumni/ae Director Sarah Hooker to an Oriole’s game. Jim Feeney (RUP ’64) and Joan Appel (ADP ’77) organized a gathering on April 22 at the Philadelphia home of Philip Zuchman (GGP ’73) and Deborah Gross-Zuchman (GGP ’81). Several of the 13 alumni/ae who attended shared crea t i ve artwork. Alumni/ae Director Sarah Hooker and Dean of Finance Daryl Campbell gave updates on Goddard and e n j o yed the hospitality of the Zuchmans.
Above, Baltimore alumni/ae gather at Clipper City Brewing Company. Top left, Marlo (RUP ’97) and Matt Saindon (RUP ’98-’01); top right, Dick McClary (RUP ’69), Jean and Ed Adams (RUP ’70-’71); lower left, Dorris Alcott (ADP ’80) and Mary Hardcastle (MFAIA ’04); lower right, Marshall Anders (ADP ’79) and Charles Rahn (ADP ’77).
3-D Map of Goddard: Teresa Stockman (RUP/IBA ’ 0 3 ) g a ve Goddard the results of her final study: a three-dimensional relief map of the Greatwood Campus and Pratt L i b r a r y. The 18- by 24-inch map is accurate to scale in its e l e vations and buildings, and it is intricately detailed. Next time yo u ’re on campus, check it out in the Alumni/ae Corner. New Alumni/ae Publications: Two literary magazines have issues coming out—Tarpaulin Sky (w w w. t a r p a u l i n s k y. c o m ), edited by Christian Peet (MFAW ’03), and The Pitkin Review ( we b . g o d d a r d . e d u / p i t k i n ), edited by current MFA students.
Above, alumni/ae gather at breakfast in Port Townsend. Left, Gabriel Jacobs (RUP ’51); right, George (RUP ’51) and Jane (RUP ’51) Ansley. Graduates gathered at the home of Philip (GGP ’73) and Deb Zuchman (GGP ’81) in Philadelphia. Left, Jim Feeney (RUP ’64), Daryl Campbell (Dean of Finance), Elizabeth “Frankie” Rollins (MFAW ’01) and Rebecca (Hearn) Vaughan (GGP ’81). Right, Philip Zuchman, Joan Appel (ADP ’77) and Susanna Mayer (IBA ’03).
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