Monday, December 05, 2005

Will the Real Robin Epstein Please Stand Up

Turns out dreams do come true! Yes, I've long wanted to appear in the New York Times, and this weekend as I was browsing through Arts and Leisure, my name finally appeared in the Gray Lady. But, in one of those "someone up there has a sense of humor" moments, my discovery quickly turned into a "careful what you wish for" reminder. Fortunately it wasn't a bad book review or a piece critical of my other work. It was instead that after reading this unhappy missive, I realized I had written it!
Whose Company?

To the Editor:
Re "Who's Afraid of Sarah Schulman?" by Jesse Green [October 23]: In her letter [Nov. 13], Linda S. Chapman's concern with accurate theater history seems to encompass only her personal connections in that world, while streamlining others out of existence. In particular, I was disappointed and discouraged that Ms. Chapman characterized More Fire! Productions as "her" (Schulman's) theater company.
Dorothy Cantwell and I founded More Fire! Productions in 1979 and produced four plays before Ms. Schulman joined us in 1983.
Both the article and the letter complain about the lack of recognition for lesbian theater artists. Yet whether through ignorance, self-interest, or deliberate self-aggrandizement, the small world of lesbian theater artists is seeking to benefit by writing me and Dorothy, my (yes, straight!) friend and collaborator, out of our rightful place in lesbian theater history.

Robin Epstein
New York
I was intially confused: after all, I had no memory of writing the letter, and though I do know someone named "Cantwell," he's no Dorothy (or claims not to be.) It therefore took me a minute to realize that it was one of the other Robin Epsteins who had, in fact, written to the paper on our behalf. And I'll confess, it upset me a little.

Why am I agitated? Is it because Robin Epstein has just outed herself in the paper of record. Of course not. Many of my girlfriends are lesbians. But this woman makes us sound frickin' ancient! Did she really have to say she started the company in 1979?!? Good lord, Robin, no one will ever buy that we're 23 if you keep doing math like that!

But I suppose I have very little right to be upset since I'm sure the serious dramatist Robin Epstein probably has a beef with me since Shaking Her Assets is the first listing when you Google our name. I also wonder what whole food nutritionist Robin Epstein thinks when she realizes the rest of us have gone into the Arts (like San Francisco Robin Epstein, the radio producer who got to interview Billy Bragg.) Then of course, there's serious journalist Robin Epstein who wrote Citizen Power, which was blurbed by Jesse Jackson. And let's not forget the Jewish Robin Epstein who writes recipes about latkes and discusses baby topics on the web.
But on the whole I have to say I am impressed by the work of my namesakes, and would one day like us all to gather in a room where we can discuss the effects of the mean spirited taunts and nicknames we suffered as children (Robin Red Breast, Robin Laid An Egg, etc.) Of course it'd be only fair to include all the Renee Kaplans running around, too, especially because I have a feeling they could get us a great deal on real estate in Tulsa, OK.


Blogger Robin said...

That's right, I actually thought about including him in my post, but couldn't remember his or his namesakes name. But thank you "Steve Merel," of Karaoke Revolution fame.

December 05, 2005 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Citizen Power Robin Epstein here, in Brooklyn, though the book is about Kentucky. I guess I'm not as earnest as I used to be, as acquaintances have assumed I'm the Robin Epstein who writes racy sex columns. But who is the San Francisco Robin Epstein who interviewed Billy Bragg? I interviewed him too, for the Progressive, umpteen years ago. I did it over the phone, though. I wonder if he thought he was being interviewed a second time by the same person. But back to being Robin Epstein, don't y'all hate it when people sing "Rockin Robin, tweet, tweet, tweet" to you?

March 27, 2007 3:51 PM  
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