Co-Existing in Tokyo


I never imagined I’d go to Tokyo. I always said there was so much to see in the US that the thought of traveling overseas seemed so… foreign to me. But, in the Fall of 2016 I found myself with the opportunity to travel to Japan with a group of 12 -14 year old female gymnasts, two of their coaches, a parent chaperone and my husband, the delegation leader, for an 8 day adventure. We had an itinerary filled with a mix of tourist and insider opportunities, as one of the coaches was Japanese and returned to his home country […]

Smackdown: What the Arts Could Stand to Learn from Sports


I like sports, but I love sporting events. Few experiences rival the theatricality and pageantry of, say, a pro football game, from fanatical fans to enthralling entrances – all with constant emotional engagement. Wait a second – isn’t that what live performance is supposed to do? The most popular sports go well beyond entertainment: they captivate the community, inspire across generations, and build unrivaled anticipation. So in team spirit, what if creatives borrowed from our better-funded brother industry? Because let’s face it: in arts parlance, a pro sports team is really a repertory company of skilled improvisers (albeit, very well-paid ones). Am I telling you to […]

How to Win at Sports


  Like many other Americans, one of my defining childhood memories is baseball. Fenway Park was a menagerie of chaos and uncouthness then: the rowdy blue-collar crowd, the swearing, the harassing of the Yankees even if there was no Yankee within a hundred miles, the cult-like chanting to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. I loved going to Fenway with my father in the 1980s and 90s. Attending a game was a right of passage, but as a young girl, it felt extra special. I was tough enough and athletic enough to be one of the boys and experience the curse of […]

November 2018: Changing the Game

Ciara and James 2

Yeah, we know. We’re working that sports metaphor to death here at Pregame. But it’s warranted. Whether we admit it or not, we’re playing to win. So why do we compartmentalize the lessons learned in and from sports? Especially in creativity and art, we act as if sports don’t exist. Blame it on a vague feeling of competition (and perhaps, in the professional realm, resource envy), but those of us who create and innovate often overlook the value of principles like repetition, discipline, and form on the path to success. The approach to being successful in physical endeavors has much to […]

The Ritual of Mindful Goals

Sanaz Mazinani, May You Make Your Dreams Longer Than The Night 1968-2018, detail, 2017, Photographic print on habotai silk, 60 x 60 in.

Whenever you enter the field of play, it’s usually with some semblance of a goal in mind. Unless you’re hopelessly enthusiastic or a small child, the conceit of being happy just to be there rings a little hollow. Even the most starry-eyed rookie has something in mind when they approach the field for the first time. Getting into the game, let alone the right one, can be hard enough; your industry may be oversaturated with talent and not enough places to put it, or perhaps you’re a big fish in a small pond, whose appetites are grander than your colleagues. […]

Past Present Podcast: North Carolina, Pot Legalization, and Alabama Football

North Carolina

On this week’s show, Natalia, Neil, and Niki debate the decline of democracy in North Carolina, the trend toward legalization of marijuana, and the dominance of Alabama football.   North Carolina In a recent piece for U.S. News & World Report, Niki argued that North Carolina had become a “laboratory of illiberalism” because of recent measures to disenfranchise voters and strip power from elected officials. Natalia outlined North Carolina’s history as a state of “business progressivism.” Neil recommended Bill Chafe’s classic work, Civilities and Civil Rights, for how it complicates North Carolina’s legacy as a progressive state. Pot Legalization Eight states and […]

Past Present Podcast: The World Series, Texting and Driving, and Vegas, Baby!

Las Vegas

In this week’s episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil debate the history of the world series, texting while driving, and the history of Vegas. The World Series The presence of the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series is making history! Niki discussed Sterling HolyWhiteMountain’s essay for on what it meant to grow up on the Blackfeet Reservation as a fan of the Cleveland Indians. Natalia recommended Philip Deloria’s book Playing Indian for a history of how white Americans have appropriated Native American customs, dress, and habits. Texting and Driving Distracted driving, especially while texting, has become the drunk driving of the […]

Past Present Podcast: Colin Kaepernick, Burkinis, and Crime at Walmart

National Anthem

On this week’s Past Present podcast, Nicole Hemmer, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, and Neil Young discuss Colin Kaepernick and the national anthem, the burkini, and crime at Walmart. Colin Kaepernick San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained seated during a recent pre-game national anthem in protest against racial discrimination in the country. Neil argued Kaepernick likely chose that moment to lodge his protest in reference to other black athletes who have done the same, such as at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Natalia observed that non-political events like athletic competitions often provided useful moments to make a protest, like Beyonce’s 2016 Super Bowl performance that […]

Creative MVP: Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is creating in theater, site specific performance, and creative ecosystems.   He is an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, the winner of the 2011 Alpert Award in Theater, and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. He is the founding Program Director of the exemplary non-profit Youth Speaks, and is a co-founder of Life is Living, a national series of one day festivals designed to activate under-resourced parks through hip hop arts and focused environmental action. Marc recently premiered the Creative Time commission “Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos” in New […]