Inclusion is Theme for First-Ever Yom HaShoah Event in May

Holocaust Survivor Dr. Jacob Eisenbach is a keynote speaker at Cypress College’s first-ever Yom HaShoah event in May. He is seen here speaking with Cypress College President Dr. Bob Simpson (right) and Photography Professor Clifford Lester (left).


Out Of The Darkness, We Can All Create Light

Holocaust Day of Remembrance (Yom Ha-Shoah)
May 4, 2016
7-8:30 p.m.

Location: By the Ponds

Yom Ha-Shoah exists as an annual memorial to over six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. On May 4, Cypress College pays respect to this Holocaust Day of Remembrance with a ceremony that promotes acceptance and inclusion, diversity and justice, no matter one’s race, religion, color or creed.

The tribute features an inspiring talk by Holocaust Survivor, Dr. Jacob Eisenbach, who will be joined by an exhibition of  the haunting and spirit-filled portraits of Survivors photographed by Cypress College Professor, Clifford Lester. At one time facing extermination, these survivors now express determination to keep the memories of the Holocaust alive.  The portraits create an enduring voice for the survivors, a voice that speaks out against hatred, injustice, stereotypes, and anti-Semitism.

This message will be accentuated by Cypress College Dance students, who will present an original interpretive performance interconnected with music and photography.

Further heightening the impact of our event will be Holocaust survivors attending in person. These survivors will light candles to commemorate six million who did not. They will help us remember what no one should ever forget.


Develop Artistically and Athletically

If you’re interested in dance, Cypress College’s Dance Department is offering a number of wonderful courses this spring. To highlight a few that are still open to join:

DANC 109 Dance Improvisation 
M/W 3-5:05

DANC 112 Jazz II taught by Nia-Aminah
THR 1:35-3:40

DANC 113/114 Tap I/II taught by Imara Quinonez
MW 11:45-1:10

DANC 230 Teaching of Dance Methodologies taught by Alana Isiguen
THR 1:35-3:40

DANC 106 Ballet II
DANC 198 Modern Dance II
DANC 109 Dance Improvisation
DANC 112 Jazz Dance II
DANC 113 Tap Dance I
DANC 130 Afro-Caribbean Dance
DANC 136 Middle Eastern Dance

Also, auditions for DANC 205 Dance Ensemble – the College’s touring dance company – will be held Monday 2/1 and Wednesday 2/3 at 4:30 Gym II, rm 125. For those invited to join, classes will take place on Monday’s and Wednesday’s at 4:30-5:45 under the direction of Maha Afra.

For more information on any of the classes listed, contact Maha Afra at 714-484-7207 or via email at
To view a full class descriptions, view the Dance section (pages 50-52) of our spring catalog. Also, check out photos of our dancers in motion.


#CypressCollege #Dance


‘Avenue Q’ Opens in Campus Theater for Two-Weekend Engagement

The musical “Avenue Q” is set to open Friday at Cypress College. The fall musical runs two weekends — October 16-18 and 23-25 — in the Campus Theater. Information and tickets are available at

@Cypress caught up with the cast of the show on the stoop of their Avenue Q apartment. Check it out.


Professional Playwright Summer Festival


The Cypress College New Play Festival provides student actors and directors a place to help develop new plays with professional playwrights from Los Angeles. We are celebrating our sixteenth summer season. Our festival won the OC weekly best of 2008:

“Mark Majarian and the rest of this community college’s theater department deserve a chorus of hosannas for launching and growing a new-play festival as strong as any in Southern California. Many of the writers-and several of the plays-have subsequently received full-fledged productions at regional and off-Broadway theaters. They provide encouragement and incentive to playwrights, a strange breed of animal that chooses to work in an artistic field where recognition is hard to come by and financial compensation nearly impossible.”

Notable playwright collaborations have been with Doug Cooney’s Long Story Short which won a design award and was invited as an “Invitational Scene” for the Region VIII, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Also, Mickey Birnbaum’s “Big Death Little Death” (developed during the 2002 Cypress New Play Festival) which opened the inaugural 2005-06 season of the Wooly Mammoth Theater Company (in Washington D. C.). Mickey’s other play, “Bleed Rail,” (developed during the 2004 Cypress New Play Festival) was performed at the Theater @ Boston Court in Pasadena. Other notable past collaborations were with Cody Henderson whose play, “Cold Tender” won the 2002 OC Weekly award, Annie Weisman’s “Be Aggressive” which was produced at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2001 and Robert Glaudini’s “Poison Tree” which was produced by the Mark Taper Forum in 2001. Michael Golamco’s play “Year Zero” which was included in last summer’s festival went on to premiere at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago in the fall 2009 and the McGinn/Cazale Theater in NYC in the spring of 2010.

Performances: Thursdays 7:00 P.M. (July 9, 16, 23, 30, and Aug. 6 @ 7 P.M.) through August 6th. There will be a discussion with the writer following each reading.

Admission: $5.00 (all proceeds support the operating expenses of the festival).

Venue: 3rd Floor, Fine Arts, FA-304 / 9200 Valley View, Cypress 90630

For additional information please contact: Mark Majarian at (714) 484-7205,

 Festival Details & Playwright Bios:

“@thespeedofJake” byJennifer Maisel, Thurs. July 9th at 7pm. (2 men, 3 women)

Emily, a professor, and Clark, a tech wizard, had that perfect soccer parent life until their 10 year old died in an inexplicable random accident. Three years later, their son gone, their marriage shattered, Emily wants Clark to release her, so she can move on, so he can move on. But Clark has another plan. He thinks he can use technology to contact Jake – where-ever it is death has taken him. A meditation on love, connection and disconnection in this increasingly distant time, @thespeedofJake contemplates the universal desire to cheat death against the backdrop of our rapidly evolving technological world.

Jennifer Maisel (Playwright)

Jennifer Maisel’s Pen West Literary Award finalist There or Here was workshopped at PlayPenn before its critically acclaimed run at New York’s Hypothetical Theatre and is in talks for a London premiere. Her The Last Seder premiered Off-Broadway after productions in Chicago, D.C. and LA. Plays include Goody Fucking Two Shoes (ATL’s Humana Festival), birds (Rorschach Theatre), Eden (Theatre of NOTE, Original Works Publishing) and Match (UArts New Play Festival). Awards: Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays Award, Charlotte Woolard and Roger L. Stevens awards; SCR’s California Playwrights Competition; two time PEN West Literary Award finalist; five time Heideman Award finalist, STAGES International finalist. Her #Sandy ran in Moving Arts’ The Car Plays at the Segerstrom Performing Arts Center and LiveGirls! in Seattle.   She was commissioned by Chalk Rep for her If You Lived Here I Would Be Home By Now for their site-specific Flash Festival in the fall of 2014. She received an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan foundation commission for Out of Orbit, developed at the Sundance Theatre Lab, the Gulfshore New Play Festival, the Berkshire Playwrights Lab and Cal Tech; Out of Orbit recently won the Stanley Award for Drama. Her newest play, @thespeedofJake, was Kilroy nominated. She also writes for film and television; her screenplay, Prodigal Son, went into production in November of 2014. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Ensemble Studio Theatre – LA Project, DogEar Playwrights Collective, Playwrights Union and the WGA.

“Vilelet” by Alex Alfaro, Thurs. July 16th at 7pm. (3 women, 5 men)

Is a moving and dramatic tale about a family caught in the generational cycle of poverty in the Pico/Union neighborhood of Los Angeles. How do you overcome your challenges, your demons? Where do you start, especially when all options that would preserve your dignity seem closed to you?

Alex Alfaro (Playwright)

Alex “Alpharaoh” Alfaro is an Actor, Writer, Director, Producer, and accomplished Spoken Word Artist in the L.A Poetry Scene. Alex is a proud member of The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG/AFTRA). A Los Angeles native, he is a founding member of Urban Theatre Movement, and is the creative mind behind SP!T Spoken Word Theatre: A show he originally developed at UTM, his artistic home.

As a playwright, Alpharaoh has studied with playwright Seth Ez-zvi Rosenfeld, award winning playwright Zakiyyah Alexander, award winning playwright Margaret Medina, and is a proud Affiliate member of The Antaeus Co. where he is part of the Antaeus Playwrights Lab. Alpharaoh’s latest one act “Why Won’t You Remember?” was born from Seth Rosenfeld’s writing workshop and was stage-read in the Spring of 2014 as part of Urban Theatre Movement’s “The Projects” reading series. His full-length play “Vilelet” was work-shopped the summer of 2014 at Vassar and New York Stage & Film Powerhouse Theater Festival at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. That fall, “Why Won’t You Remember?” was produced as part of UTM’s 2014 Urban Legends One Act Festival.

As a Producer, Alpharaoh has also served as Governing Board Member for UTM for the 2014 season. Alpharaoh is currently Producing Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Our Lady of 121st Street at the Victory Theatre Center in Burbank in association with Zubberdust Players and Victory Bare Bones. He is also producing and bringing 2013’s Smash Hit, “Don’t Talk About It, SP!T About It” To the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2015, this summer.

“Monkey Love” by Madhuri Shekar, Thurs. July 23rd at 7pm. ( 2 women, 2 men)

Reflections on her play: Sometimes I fancy myself an invisible anthropologist.

I was born in San Jose, CA, and moved to Chennai, India when I was nine. I lived in India till I was 20, and currently live in Los Angeles, but even today, I can’t quite figure out what ‘home’ is, exactly.

I grew up in India always feeling a bit like an alien- but an invisible one. I looked like everyone else for the first time in my life, but somehow I couldn’t relate to the people around me. I was a stranger on the inside, and no one could tell.

Here, of course, I’m a minority, but in one of the most diverse cities in the country, a place where most people come to, not leave from. I’m different, but in Los Angeles, that lets me blend in.

And so I observe. Whether in India, hiding behind the way I look, or in LA, just another out-of-towner among many. I’m an invisible anthropologist. Always one step removed.

And so, I write.

Madhuri Shekar (Playwright)

Madhuri Shekar is a playwright baMadhuri-Headshot-largesed in Los Angeles. Her plays include – In Love and Warcraft (Alliance Theatre, No Rules Theatre Company, and others) and A Nice Indian Boy (East West Players, Rasaka Theatre.)

She was the 2013/14 winner of the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award and an alumnus of the 2013/14 Center Theatre Group Writers’ Workshop. She has been a finalist for the Princess Grace Award for Playwriting, and the Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights Center. Her plays have been showcased or developed at the Kennedy Center, the Alliance Theatre, the Old Globe, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She received her MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC.

She is an artistic producer of the L.A.-based comedic ensemble company Better Than Shakespeare, and is a co-creator of their upcoming web series ‘Titus and Dronicus‘.

Prior to her MFA, Madhuri received an MSc/MA in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and USC. She consults in social media, content creation, and arts marketing.

“Need to Know” by Jonathan Caren, Thurs. July 30th at 7pm. (1 woman, 2 men)

Lilly and Steven move into a new apartment and meet their odd new neighbor Mark. Behind closed doors they Google-stalk him and proceed to mock his life… only to realize he can hear everything in the apartment next door. A play about the ways we process information online about one another. Do we need to know everything about our peoples’ lives? Or are there some secrets worth keeping?

Jonathan Caren (Playwright)

Jonathan is an award-winning playwright and TV writer.

His plays include THE RECOMMENDATION (IAMA 2014, The Flea 2013, Old Globe 2012, Craig Noel Award, Best New Play, 2014 Ovation, Best Play, NAACP nomination), NEED TO KNOW (Colt Coeur Play Hotel 2015), THE MORNING THE SUN FELL DOWN (MTC 7@7 2013), LET ME GO (2013 Rattlestick Fest, JPP), CATCH THE FISH (Most Outstanding Play, NY Fringe) and THE VENERABLE RAMAN GUPTA (Flea First Look Series, Sundance Finalist, New Group 2014 New Works Lab) and the forthcoming THE HOUSE THAT JAKE BUILT (IAMA 2015).

His work has been developed at theaters across the country including The Manhattan Theater Club, The Roundabout Underground, Ensemble Studio Theater, The Rattlestick, Williamstown, Ars Nova, The Pasadena Playhouse, The Keen Company, Colt Coeur, Woodshed Ensemble, Berkshire Playwright’s Lab, Rogue Machine, The Elephant as well as developmentally at The Lark, New York Stage and Film, The Jewish Plays Project, Partial Comfort and in The Samuel French OOB Festival and The Old Vic in London.

He is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, The New York Stage and Film Founder’s Award Winner, a two time recipient of a Fellowship to SPACE @ Ryder Farm, a two-time Lecomte du Nouy award winner and a recipient of the Theater Publicus Prize for Dramatic Fiction. Additionally, he was a finalist for the Laurents/Hatcher Award, a nominee for the Otis Guerney New American Playwright’s Award.

In Television, Jonathan wrote pilots for FOX, CBS and Wind Dancer Productions. He wrote for the C.W’s MELROSE PLACE 2.0 and was recently a staff writer for Kenya Barris’ (BLACKISH) new show for B.E.T.

He is a graduate of The Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwright’s Program at The Juilliard School and Vassar College where he studied mythology and religion. He’s a member of Partial Comfort and originally hails from Los Angeles..

“Jellyfishpine” by Michael Yichao, Thurs. August 6th at 7pm. (1 women, 3 men)

Emily loves Jack. Jack loves Emily – just never at the same time. A play about relationships, growing up, missed connections, time machines, quantum entanglement, and immortal jellyfish.

Michael Yichao (Playwright)

Michael Yichao is a playwright with a BA in English and Theater from ASU and an MFA in acting from California Institute of the Arts. With a strong interest in theatre for and about young people, Yichao’s works are often a blend of naturalistic and surreal elements, prose and poetry. His plays have received recognition from the Kennedy Center’s American Colleges Theater Festival (2012, 2013, 2014), Playwright Center’s Many Voices Fellowship (finalist 2013), PlayPenn (semi-finalist 2015), Crystal Ruth Bell Residency (finalist 2014), Last Frontier Theatre Conference (2012), and Great Plains Theatre Conference (2014). His plays have been produced at the Bath Fringe Festival (2014), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2013), and at theaters in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Boston, St. Louis and Chicago. In addition to playwriting, Yichao also writes for TV (Chinese sitcom 艾特洛杉矶) and themed entertainment (Disney Imagineering).

‘TRANSPLANTS’ Opening Reception March 19; Exhibit Runs Through April 16



An opening reception of the new exhibition “TRANSPLANTS” takes place tonight in the Art Gallery, from 6-8 p.m. The exhibit continues through April 16.
Transplants in an exhibition reflecting on relocation with work by Flora Kao, Olivia Prime’, and Bari Ziperstein. Each of these artists, like so many of the residents of Los Angeles, were born and raised in different cities or countries. Since migrating, their unique artistic practices have been informed or transformed by their lives in Los Angeles.

“TRANSPLANTS” – Curated by Alexandra Lippman
In the Project Space: Jeremy Kidd’s “fictional realities.”
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 19, 2015 from 6-8 p.m.
Exhibition Dates: March 19, 2015 – April 16, 2015.

Art Gallery Opens First Exhibit of Spring Semester

HardEdgeShowPosterThe first Art Gallery exhibition of 2015 opened on Thursday evening. The exhibit features the beautiful work of fifteen internationally recognized artists in “Surface to Edge” — curated by Carl F. Berg. In the Project Space is “Christine Taber: a quindecennial retrospective”

The exhibition continues through March 5.

Color field and hard edge painting are two divergent but related spheres of abstraction. While focusing on the interplay of colors, these two deviating forms of abstraction come together to explore the relationship of color to the viewer. Optical phenomenon is at play creating illusion through the use of color and form.

Artists include: Adam Berg (sculpture), Quan Dang (painting), Mara De Luca (painting), Tom Dowling (painting), Mieke Gelley (painting, drawing), Teresa Iaria (video and sculpture), Dion Johnson (painting), Andy Kolar (sculpture and painting), Doug Meyer (painting) John Monn (painting), Ruth Pastine (painting), Yong Sin (painting), Gary Szymanski (painting), Carolee Toon (painting), and Richard Wilson (painting).

Celebration of Dance Concert Dec. 4-7


This semester’s Celebration of Dance concert opens tonight at 8 p.m. Additional performances are on Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6, also at 8 p.m., and on Sunday, December 7 at 4 p.m. Tickets information is available at General admission is $15, with discounted admission of $12 available for seniors, students with valid ID cards, and children under 12. The box office can be reached at (714) 484-7200.


Photography Student’s Image of Rare Whales Appears Across the Globe, Including NBC Nightly News

A photograph by student Lasanthi Benedict was published widely, including on NBC Nightly News.
A photograph by student Lasanthi Benedict was published widely, including on NBC Nightly News.

Lasanthi Benedict, who is enrolled in Cliff Lester’s “Available Light” Photo 118 course, had photographs from an eventful whale-watching trip picked up by media outlets — including NBC Nightly News and the Associated Press — across the globe.

On Monday (October 6, 2014), Benedict was part of a tour off the Orange County coast when the group came across what the Newport Beach-Corona del Mar Patch called a “super-rare pod of sperm whales.”

She told classmates in Lester’s course that by the time they headed back to shore, news crews were circling in helicopters and racing to the area by boat. She called the Associated Press and her photographs began appearing in publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle, the Patch, Southern California Public Radio,, Yahoo News, the Orange County Register, and NBC Nightly News. In addition, publications abroad also used her photographs, Benedict said.

Study Abroad in Rome for Spring 2015 Application Deadline is November 1


The Study Abroad Program is headed to Rome for the spring 2015 semester. Two Cypress College faculty — Ed Giardina and Kathryn Sonne — will lead the learning experience.

Study Abroad is open to all Cypress College and Fullerton College students. Applications are due by November 1.

Students can obtain more information about the program, and view a short video, on the Study Abroad Program page for Rome on Facebook or by sending an email to Professor Giardina.

Giardina is an interdisciplinary artist and teacher who lives and works in the Los Angeles area. His research interests include design, media theory, technology, and contemporary art. He is an Asscociate Professor in the Art Department at Cypress College where he works with students in the Advertising & Graphic Design Program and the Art Computer Graphics Program.

Sonne is an English professor,  teaching topics such as critical thinking, reading and writing about literature and film, and is a regular participant in the Study Abroad Program — “where the literature literally comes to life,” she says. In addition, Sonne is the director of the Cypress College Honors Program and the Cypress College Service Learning Program.

Dr. Simpson’s @Cypress Weekly Newsletter for September 5, 2014


The September 5, 2014,  edition of the @Cypress newsletter from Cypress College President Bob Simpson is now available.

This week’s headlines:

  • Estate Donation of $409,000 Believed College’s Largest Bequest
    >   Funds from the Sheron Huston estate will be used to establish an endowed scholarship for Cypress College students.
  • Cypress College Auto Students Dominate CNCDA Scholarship Awards
  • Students Sought for CA Board of Governors
  • Add/Drop Deadline is Sunday, September 7
  • Study Abroad in Rome for Spring 2015 Application Deadline is November 1
  • Transfer Center Schedules TAG Workshops, 1-on-1 Appointments
  • California Community Foundation Selects Tsuno for Prestigious Fellowship
  • “This Week,” “They Said It,” and “Chargers” Features
  • Plus @Cypress Bonus Material, including photographs from “Welcome Back,” men’s soccer, and the CNCDA scholarship presentations.


Visit to view the complete @Cypress archives if you want to have a look at previous editions.