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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Village News
To entertain or to be entertained
Valley Stream grows cultural arts program
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
John Blenn and SallyAnn Esposito, who have known each other since their days of working at Sam Goody at the Green Acres Mall, have teamed up to bring several new arts and entertainment classes to the Valley Stream Community Center.

Want to be a comic, a band manager or a playwright? Look no further than the Valley Stream Community Center.

The village will be hosting a series of courses to help people achieve success in the entertainment industry. The programs will be led by John Blenn, who has experience in many facets of the arts.

Blenn has been editor of Good Times Magazine, the publisher of Long Island Entertainment, the general manager of the Westbury Music Fair and is professor of music business at Five Towns College. He also written and acted in plays, served as a band manager and publicist, and performed and critiqued stand-up comedy. “I’ve always had two or three jobs at once,” he said.

Beginning Sept. 26, Blenn will launch a series of eight-week courses at the Community Center in Hendrickson Park. The classes will take place on Thursdays through November.

“The Art of the Music Business” will be held from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. Blenn said the course will focus on how to market a band. He will teach skills including how to assemble a press kit and how to build an audience.

With so many bands trying to make it big, Blenn said he will share techniques that can help a group stand out above the rest. “For anyone who thinks it’s easy these days, it’s never been harder,” he said. “There’s so many steps you have to take just to be in the mix.”

Blenn said the course is for both managers and musicians. Often, he said, band members want to know what is expected from their managers.

“Playwriting” will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Blenn, who has written more than 75 staged plays, will discuss how to create a narrative, how to develop memorable characters, and the essential elements of both comedy and drama.

Blenn said the course won’t be him just talking for an hour. Participants will have a chance to write and have their work critiqued. He said the goal will be to make writers aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

This is his first time teaching a playwriting course, though he did lead an informal four-week program at a coffeehouse in Wantagh a few years ago. He also has a new writers series with his theater company.


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