LABA EAST BAY 2020 FEllows


Rachel Berger is a designer in Oakland, and associate professor and chair of Graphic Design at California College of the Arts. Her practice investigates the relationship between design and culture through self-initiated creative projects; writing on contemporary culture, design, and education; and freelance work with non-profit and mission-driven organizations. Previously, Rachel worked at SYPartners in San Francisco and at Pentagram Design in New York. She holds an MFA in Graphic Design and a BA in American Studies, both from Yale University.


Bruce Bierman first wed his versatile theater skills (acting, dance, playwriting and directing) with his own cultural tradition when he adapted the short story, Gimpel the Fool, into a klezmer musical for his senior thesis at U.C. Santa Cruz. Now, he co- directs the Yiddish Theatre Ensemble in Berkeley where he has staged The Megillah of Itzik Manger and several cutting edge Yiddish cabarets. He is a celebrated Jewish dance master throughout California and served as the dance dramaturg for two productions of Paula Vogal's 'Indecent' at the Arena Stage and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He currently serves on the teaching faculty of the Stagebridge Theater Company in Oakland.


Marika Brussel is a contemporary ballet choreographer based in San Francisco. Her work has been commissioned by companies around the country, including ARC Dance, Columbia Repertory Ballet, and Emote Dance Theater. She has been part of Doug Varone's Devices, ODC's Pilot program, and was a 2019 Choreographic Fellow at UNCSA. Grants include 2 Fleishhacker Opportunity Grants and a grant from the Classical Girl.


Sara Felder is a solo theatre artist whose work juggles personal narrative, social justice and circus shtik. Felder’s topics include Yiddish culture (Shtik!,) Abraham Lincoln’s depression (Melancholy, A Comedy,) the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (Out of Sight,) grief (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction,) and a traditional Jewish lesbian wedding (June Bride).  As a juggler, Felder has toured with San Francisco's Pickle Family Circus, Joel Grey's Borscht Capades and the Klezmatics' Totem and Taboo. Her work has been honored by the Headlands Foundation, the Creative Work Fund, the California Arts Council, the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Leeway Foundation. Felder currently teaches Theatre and English at San Francisco State University.


Artist Miriam Dym is a self-taught systems thinker with a practice rooted in performance and drawing. She uses strategies from design, engineering, and business to run years’- long systems experiments which address something that bedevils her, such as "why do we make so much trash?" or "how does an irregular pattern behave?". Dym’s live performances incorporate labor or micro-manufacturing (sorting trash, logo removal, diagramming human relationships) with tangible by-products such as schematics and plans; quasi-functional objects and tools; and unfinished ("raw") materials. Dym has shown or performed at spaces including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Oakland Museum of California, SFMOMA (which collected her work), the Contemporary Jewish Museum, YBCA, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, PØST, and Pierogi.


Caroline Kessler is a poet, editor, and facilitator currently living in Oakland. The author of Ritual In Blue (Sutra Press, 2018), her work has appeared in The McNeese Review, Sundog Lit, The Susquehanna Review, and elsewhere. She is the co-creator of Index/Fist, a zine-making collective, and holds an MFA in poetry from Washington University in St. Louis.


Kiki Lipsett is a musician, educator, and performer. Her work meets at the intersection of social justice and music. Kiki runs and teaches in an arts program for youth experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. As a trained vocalist, pianist, and guitarist, she uses her music background to support youth in developing their vocal confidence, writing their own music, and expressing themselves fully. Kiki writes music, sings with various Bay Area groups, and for the past several years has written, directed, and performed in an original feminist, political, comedic, musical retelling of the Purim story.


Jake Marmer is a poet, performer, and educator. His poetry collection, The Neighbor Out of Sound was published by the Sheep Meadow Press in 2018. He is also the author of Jazz Talmud (Sheep Meadow 2012), and his klez-jazz-poetry record Hermeneutic Stomp was released by the Blue Fringe Music. In the Bay Area, Jake performs with the Cosmic Diaspora Trio. Jake is the poetry critic for Tablet Magazine and works as the Education and Programming Director of the Bronfman Fellowship.


Dan Schifrin has taught creative writing at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State, served as writer-in-residence at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and co-curated the exhibition “Beyond Belief: 100 years of the Spiritual in Modern Art” for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is the author, among other things, of the play Sweet and Sour, and a forthcoming memoir about fatherhood and science fiction. A former columnist for both New York Jewish Week and the J, he is the winner of the 2016 Wilner Award for Short Fiction from San Francisco State University.


Sarah Stone has written for and taught on Korean television, reported on human rights in Burundi, and looked after orphan chimpanzees at the Jane Goodall Institute. She teaches for Stanford CS and is the author or co-author of three books, including her new novel Hungry Ghost Theater. The book, a finalist for the 38th Northern California Book Award in fiction, is a family story about addiction and mental illness that brings together experimental dance theater, Jewish history, Abu Ghraib, Dante’s Inferno, the neuroscience of empathy, world hunger, and the colliding mythologies of six different hells.