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The Spark File with Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien
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The Spark File with Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien

Author: Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien

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Your one stop shop for creative ideas and inspiration. Each week on The Spark File podcast, Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien reach into their spark files and share stories, ideas and fascinations to ignite your imagination. Obsessed with creativity, Blackwell and Camien also talk with artists and makers, movers and shakers who have taken the spark of inspiration and fanned it into a flame. Hear from inspiring creatives like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sara Bareilles, Eric Stonestreet, Jonathan Groff, Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich, Zachary Quinto, Leslie Odom Jr, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Billy Eichner, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Karen Olivo, Sutton Foster, Michael R. Jackson and many more about their passions and their failures, their inspirations and their aspirations. Refill your creative fish pond with new ideas and fresh perspectives. Listen, then take it and make it!
114 Episodes
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This week, Susan and Laura have the honor of spending time with artist extraordinaire Dax Valdes of Hollaback, discussing their free bystander intervention trainings aimed at making the world a better, and safer, place for us all.  Tune in to hear how you can make a difference in ending harassment in all its forms.
This week, Susan and Laura dive into two new sparks of creativity - the attention economy that will literally eat up all of your time (if you let it) and the Einstein Time concept that will allow you to make more time, if you need it!
This week, Susan and Laura talk to poet, teacher, speaker Taylor Mali. Called "a ranting comic showman and a literary provocateur" by The New York Times, Taylor is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series “Def Poetry Jam”.  He is a four-time National Poetry Slam champion, in fact, we've read one of our favorites Taylor Mali poems, “What Teachers Make” on a previous episode of The Spark File and we're so thrilled to get this time with him to catch up and talk shop!
This week, Laura and Susan take a deep dive into the fascinating tale of betrayal, corporate espionage, and family feuds that resulted in the world's most famous breakfast cereals, and how the feedback process can work in service and support of the artist to the benefit of all.
This week, Susan and Laura have a bloody delightful time talking with Sir Richard Eyre, whose creative work has spanned all manner of Arts -- directing theatre, film, television and opera, as well as writing books and plays.  He has guided Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Dame Judi Dench and many more to some of our favorite performances. His insight from decades of experience is both practical and inspirational, and at 75, he is far from finished! 
This week, Susan and Laura offer up two new sparks of creativity - the many ways we can be sparked to make art out of art, plus, a myriad reflections on the tumultuous past few weeks, and how reflecting might just put us on the path to healing. Tune in, get inspired, and then take it and make it!
This week on The Spark File, Susan and Laura explore how an Upper Limit Problem (as defined in The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks) might be keeping you from pursuing or completing your creative goals; AND file under "Insight from The Greats"-- storytelling secrets gleaned from the David Sedaris masterclass.
This week, Broadway performer turned meditation and mindfulness expert, Emily Fletcher gives us all the details on how learning to meditate makes us better at life. The mastermind behind Ziva Meditation, Emily has our mental support covered -- now including Ziva Kids!
This episode of The Spark File is dedicated to the memory of one of our creative heroes, Sir Ken Robinson. Laura shares the tale of how Ken walked into her life and left an indelible mark on her creativity and on The Spark File company she and Susan are now building. Be sure to check out the Imagine If Festival going on now online at Imagine-if.com, celebrating the life and the legacy of Sir Ken Robinson.  
This week, Ryan J. Haddad, writer and star of Hi, Are You Single? (now playing virtually through February 28 at Woolly Mammoth Theater) shares secrets of storytelling via solo shows. His passion for centering "gay, disabled and arabic communities" is palpable and essential. Susan and Laura celebrate Ryan's message to us all - "You don't have to wait for anyone to approve. Your stories are compelling."
This week, Susan and Laura have the honor of speaking with Kenyatta Emmanuel, musician, singer, songwriter, and storyteller. Kenyatta shares his personal story of how, on October 21, 2019, he exited a New York state prison after 24 1/2 years incarcerated, and at 6pm that same evening, he performed at Carnegie Hall. In this episode, Kenyatta shares his creative process, his commitment to uplift, and the constant desire to be in "the zone." 
The Spark File is kicking off February celebrating Black History Month while asserting that Every Month is Black History Month! Creative sparks fly with conversations about Jackie Shane, William + Ellen Craft and more! Plus, E.B. White's Here is New York is the little classic you need. The mighty NYC has been through much in it's storied history. It is resilient, ever changing and changless at the same time. We heart NYC.
This week, Susan and Laura have the pleasure of speaking with Billy Eichner about his many creative endeavors, including Man on the Street, Friends from College, and making his singing debut on The James Corden Show. We even get a glimpse into the new gay rom-com he's writing, plus some truly helpful advice -- stand up for yourself, say what you need to say to get the quality of work you envision. 
This week on The Spark File -- news you can really use! Two hot sparks of inspiration, starting with the book Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski, and the ways we can complete the stress cycle to avoid feeling fried. Physical activity, breathing, laughter -- all serve a higher purpose in our overall wellbeing. Next, the documentary My Octopus Teacher illustrates how a man's extraordinary relationship with a cephalopod brings him back from the brink of burnout, restores his energy, his human relationships, and his creative expression.
Recorded LIVE from The Spark File New Year 2021 Creativity KickOff,  Susan and Laura have a lively conversation with the one and only TONY Award winner Laura Benanti! Laura took some big leaps during the quarantine, and shares how an idea from the heart spilled onto instagram and grew into an HBO Max special -- Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020. Plus... one of the stars of that very show, Fischer Barnett, joins in on the fun, sharing her experiences on the show, and how her creativity has evolved over the course of this year.
Riding high from the recent Spark File New Year 2021 Creativity KickOff, Susan and Laura discuss the highlights, and share two sparks inspired by the event - the enduring artform of Haiku, and the power we yield when we make things together, such as the work done at quilting bees, crafting bees, raising bees -- also known as collective creativity.
What a way to ring in the New Year! This week on The Spark File, Susan and Laura dig in deep with Uber Maker Sutton Foster. In addition to her TONY Award winning career on Broadway, and in film, television, and music, Sutton is a maker extraordinaire -- cross stitching, crocheting, drawing, teaching and writing. Her upcoming book (tentatively called HOOKED: How Crafting Saved My Life) is all about her life seen through the things she has made.  Sutton shares with us just how powerful it is to always have something of your own.
This week on The Spark File, Susan and Laura are serving up two pipin' hot sparks... Join them as they suss out their obsession with Jane Austen -- is it the repressed sexual tension? the perfect witty, cutting remark? And listen as they dig into their memories of the toys that shaped our childhoods and what might be made of them now... From the Draw-a-Face Doll to the Little Lady Electric Range, Weebles that wobble, and Willy the Waterbug sprinkler... memories (and sparks) are tied up in these toys!
This week, Tiffani Gavin, the new Executive Director of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, shares her passion for supporting emerging artists, and the desire to educate the world on the scope and impact of the industry overall - with the Broadway Community Project.
This week on The Spark File,  Susan and Laura offer up two sparks of inspiration... First, Helene Hanff and her classic theatre book, 'Underfoot in Show Business' paints a picture of the early days of Broadway; and then the infinite spark power of secrets kept and secrets shared.
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