Jens Köhler

Jens Köhler, founder and president of Urgent Beauty Squad LLC, is a poet and cultural practitioner based in Los Angeles and Toronto.

All things Jens on this website. Or just the Jens inventory.

Q: What kinds of things do I make?

Word things. Collaborations. Insights. See CV below.

Q: What are my interweb series of tubes?

Twitter: @jenskohler

Q: What's A Great Way To Spend $1,000 on my Work?

Buy literally anything on this website by any artist whose work speaks to you. Hire me for a day.

Q: What is one tool you would find in my workspace?

Bundled Crayola markers grouped for specific projects (until I finally use up my seemingly endless quantity of markers that the kids don't use anymore and that I cannot bring myself to throw away because, like books, I don't throw away art supplies).

CV

PUBLICATIONS

The Lonely Impulse, Issue 0001: “ART POWER: 1) BLUF,” 2020.

Now We Are Seven, poetry, with illustrations by Mike Bailey. Los Angeles; Urgent Beauty Squad, 2017

The Emu Dialogues (co-authors: Luciano Iacobelli and Robert Marra), poetry. Toronto: Quattro Books, 2015

But Sir! (a passionate friendship in five chapters), (co-author / co-illustrator Luciano Iacobelli), a hand-made book, Toronto: LyricalMyrical Press, 2005.

In collections: Stanford University, University of Alberta, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Western University, University of Toronto, Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, Queen's University Documents Library, Princeton University Library, Harvard College Library, Yale University Library, Dalhousie University Killam Memorial Library.

COMMISSIONS

“More of Werter,” an ekphrastic poem inspired by and displayed with the print “MORE of WERTER – THE SEPARATION,” etched by Thomas Rowlandson, for the “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis” show at DENENBERG FINE ARTS, Beverly Hills, 2017.
 
TALKS

Mike Check, Check with Michael,” spoken word piece, for the celebration of the life and work of composer Michael Colgrass, Walter Hall, University of Toronto, Nov. 10, 2019.

PRODUCING

Ensemble theater

Was a founding member of JACK, which was active in Los Angeles from 2007 to 2016. JACK is four theatrical artists (Jens Köhler — the “J”, Annette Reid — the “A”, Carlos Carrasco — the “C”, and Kent Minault — the “K”) driven by a shared desire to create resonant artistic experiences for the community while exploring the art of storytelling in multiple formats. Having worked together for many years at the Classical Theatre Lab, the quartet formed their own entity (initially, The Classical Project), assembled a company of actors and produced a series of workshops focused on developing a unified approach to the challenges inherent in making rhetorically complex language accessible to contemporary audiences while developing an ensemble mentality and approach to performance.  

The workshop sessions covered vocal production, movement, theatre games, poetic scansion and text analysis and were led by invited professionals from the Los Angeles theatre community such as Roderick Menzies, Associate Artistic Director of E.S.T. L.A.; Robert Machray of the Antaeus Theatre Company, actor and director Allan Miller, actor Don McLeod, and Stephanie Nash, a specialist in text and scansion. The group also began to experiment with media.

In 2010, JACK was granted a residency at the Park La Brea Residence Complex, and donated a series of cultural events to this community.  These included:

Plays...
A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This production moved to the S. Mark Taper Foundation Amphitheatre for TreePeople’s summer series in Coldwater Canyon Park.
Diggerly Dos, one-man show, performed by Kent Minault (and featuring the original, period photographs of fellow Digger Chuck Gould) that captured the oral history of Kent Minault, an original member of The Diggers, an influential group of late-1960's Bay Area counter-culture performer-activists. It was also performed in various other venues in California and Europe.
Carbonfish, an original one-act Earth Day agitprop play
Euthyphro (staged reading from Plato’s Trial and Death of Socrates, directed by Elizabeth Huffman)
The Tempest (staged reading)

Curated/rehearsed poetry evenings with actors and musicians...
14 Lines, an evening of Shakespeare sonnets set to music by film music arranger and composer, Jonathan Sacks
John Brown’s Body, Stephen Vincent Benet’s book-length poem
March April May: Poems about Spring
Love These Days, poems of love and relationships for Valentine’s month
Poems for the 99
Gallup Apace: Poems of Love and Relationships
Poems We All Should Have Learned In High School

Independent Theater

TRASH: An Inspired Fantasy, Sketch Theatre production, co-wrote/directed/produced with Greg Salman. Presented at the Joseph Workman Auditorium at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, Toronto, 1988.

Film/video

This poem is called (short), co-directed/produced with Greg Salman, 2015
Let Me Finish (short), Executive Producer, JACK Productions, 2014
Lossed (short) (executive producer), JACK Productions, 2014
How to Spot a Narcissist (short), Producer, Rat B Productions, 2011
CERT PSA (short), Producer, Kohler Schwartz Productions LLC, 2010
Honesty, Pencil, Rose (short), Producer, JACK Productions, 2010

Audio

The New Subalterns, Episode 1 - These Little Things,” Producer, Eartraffic, 2012;  “Episode 2 - Um, Where's the plane?,” Producer, Eartraffic, 2012


ACTING (selected)

THEATER:

Amadeus

 

Valet

 

Hollywood Bowl (LA Phil)

The Comedy of Errors

Antipholus of Ephesus

Parson’s Nose (L.A.)

 

SPIN

Col. Ted Bond

Theatre 40 (Beverly Hills)

Dr. Faustus

Faustus

Classical Theatre Lab (L.A.)

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Nick

It’s a Mystery / Classical Theatre Lab (L.A.)

Cat Among the Pigeons

Bois D’Enghien

Classical Theatre Lab ((L.A.)

Troilus & Cressida

Achilles

Classical Theatre Lab (L.A.)

Mercadet

De La Brive

Antaeus Theatre (L.A.)

Elizabeth the Queen

Marvel / Hemmings

Classical Theatre Lab (L.A.)

Trial By Jury/Legal Briefs

Chorus

Antaeus Theatre (L.A.)

Much Ado About Nothing

Seacoal (& u/s Verges)

Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven)

Breathing Under Water

Buddy

MCC Theater (NYC)

A Long-Ago Bruise

solo piece - written for me by Julian Sheppard

MCC Theater (NYC)

Receiver

The Voices

Synchronicity Space (NYC)

Hot Keys

Ensemble (+ cast recording)

P.S. 122 / Jeff Weiss (NYC)

Dig The Dirt (Baal)

Preacher

78th Street Lab (NYC)

Habeus Corpus

Dennis Wickstead

The Snarks (NYC)

Who’s Left

Sam Ayam

Nada (NYC)

Romeo and Juliet

Friar Laurence

Mount Royal Shakespeare Company (Montreal)

 FILM

 

 

This Poem is Called

Self

Jens Köhler and Greg Salman

Lossed (short)

He

JACK Productions, dir. Carlos Carrasco

Honesty, Pencil, Rose (short), finalist International Family Film Festival.

Jonathan

JACK Productions, dir. Carlos Carrasco

Angle (short)

Man

Illumination Productions, dir Rick Walls

Mad Dawg

Ken Dahl

Leo Films, dir. Greg Salman

The Tempest Tost (short doc) -- NOTE: this was a precursor to his later full-length doc The Voyage of the Saint Louis.

Narrator

dir. Maziar Bahari

Genesis, Say What? (animated short)

God

dir. James Waese


MUSIC

Founding member of The Gargantuans, performed in Toronto venues like The Rivoli, and The Cabana Room, and released a cassette, Gargantuan, 1987-1990.

Performance Training

The Classical Project (guest instructors included: Rod Menzies, Kent Klineman, Stephanie Nash, Bruce Katzman, Allan Miller, Don McLeod).
Acting: Fred Kareman, Robert LuPone, Antaeus Academy (Dakin Matthews, Phil Proctor, Jeanie Hackett, et al.), Classical Theatre Lab
Scene Study: June Stein (Circle Rep.).  
Voice:  Chuck Jones, Katie Bull, W. Steven Lecky.  
Stage Fencing: Joe Daly (HB Studios).  
Fencing (foil): Swordplay LA.
Experimental Theater: Johannes Galli (Galli Theater), Leese Walker (Strike Anywhere), Daniel Mroz, Internationale Akedemie der Traumfabrik.
Playwrighting:  A.S.K. Theater Projects Playwrights Labs (Los Angeles)

And - anyone I have ever acted or performed with or for.

EMPLOYMENT

2017 - present
President
Urgent Beauty Squad LLC, Los Angeles

Art, Ideas, Creativity. You are here.
Consulting services, nonprofit development. Clients: Awakening Recovery, Point Foundation, Los Angeles LGBT Center, GLAAD, and others.
Creative coaching for individual artists.

2015-2017, 2005-2011, 1999-2002
Consultant, freelance
New York and Los Angeles

Fundraising (institutional grants, individual giving, Board development) and program development for nonprofit clients: GLAAD; Outfest; Camp Bravo; Valley Performing Arts Center (now known as The Soraya); The Foundation for a National AIDS Monument; JRW Consulting; Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA); African Kids In Need; The Telesis Foundation; National Center for Learning Disabilities; and Access Theater.

Pro bono consulting for: The Classical Project; Artist Salon; Wildwoods Foundation; Places of Peace; Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE); Beyond the Bell (LAUSD); Open Fist Theatre Company

Business services for tech companies: Method In Mind; MeBox Media

Writing clients included Hollywood Schoolhouse, Wisdom Says, Inc., and Black Fury Entertainment, Nickelodeon; and the then-owner of soulsearching.com

2011-2015
Director of Institutional Giving
Foundation Relations Manager
Los Angeles LGBT Center, Los Angeles

Grew the corporate and foundation fundraising team at the largest LGBTQ organization in the world. Subject matter covered and presented included arts, arts education, policy, medicine, social services, legal services, research, advocacy, seniors services, veterans services, primary care, community organizing, trans health, and others.

2011
Instructor
UCLA Extension, Los Angeles

  • Taught “Successful Grant Proposals,” a nine-week course that ranged from grant prospecting to writing narratives and creating budgets. Developed new syllabus.


2007-2011
Partner
Kohler Schwartz Productions LLC, Los Angeles

  • Optioned “Acceptable Risks” by Jonathan Kwitny and developed screenplay, HEROES FOR GHOSTS, by Doug Cooney, about Martin Delaney, Project Inform and Southern California’s contribution to fighting AIDS in the 80s and 90s (FYI, it featured the character of a young Anthony Fauci).
2002-2005

Marketing Communications Director
Grants Manager
GLAAD, Los Angeles

Supervised four direct reports responsible for the external communications of this national civil rights organization, including website content, print publications, and press and public relations for annual GLAAD Media Awards.

As the first full-time grants fundraiser for this national LGBT civil rights and media advocacy organization, I grew a portfolio of foundation, government and corporate funders. I began to develop my thinking on what living in an age of information warfare requires of good actors.

1996-1999
Director of Marketing and Development
Associate Literary Manager
MCC Theater, New York City

Responsible for earned and unearned income for this Off-Broadway theater: foundation, corporate and government grants; individual giving; group sales. Managed and wrote all grant proposals and final reports to individuals, corporations, foundations, and governments. Wrote all copy for fundraising letters, newsletters, flyers, press releases, as well as reports to the Board of Trustees. Organized funder luncheons, group sales, and interns’ tasks.  Funding sought and received for general operating support, arts-in-education, literary development, specific productions, and capital improvements (e.g. making restrooms ADA-compliant).

Managed the flow of 1,000 play scripts per year, farming them out to a staff of freelance readers, then returning them to the authors.  Maintained a database of authors and readers.  Handled all correspondence with agents, playwrights, partner organizations, Board members.  Assisted in the development of plays under consideration. Shortened turnaround time on the slush pile from four months to four weeks. I learned how incredibly helpful and respectful it is to communicate a clear, quick “no” to aspiring partners. Produced discovery readings.

1995-1996
Casting Assistant
Bernard Telsey Casting, New York City

Scheduled auditions, scouted real people in the field, monitored audition rooms, generated client expense reports, was audition reader, took a lot of Polaroids. Assisted casting on Broadway shows, Off-Broadway and regional theater, radio and television spots.

1986-1992
Freelance Writer and Researcher
Toronto and Montreal

Staff Writer for The GoldenAge Key, 1988-1989
Researcher for TVOntario’s “Rock and Roll and Reading” (Linda Rainsberry, producer), provided content research on race and child abuse
Copywriter for small businesses and bands (press releases, coupons, catalogs)

Op/Ed:

“An Esperanto-only sign law?” The Toronto Star, December 27, 1991
“Cleanliness may be a virtue: but it doesn’t excuse dullness,” The Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1990
“Earth Day: Even politicians can’t spoil it,” The Toronto Star, April 20, 1990.
“If Quebec goes, so do I,” The Toronto Star, March 21, 1990.

Features:

“Toronto WordPerfect add-on wows States,” Toronto Computes!, Vol. 6, No. 8, 1990
“IBM PS/1 users getting free Suzy,” Toronto Computes!, Vol. 6, No. 8, 1990
“Pocket-sized database on the way,” Toronto Computes!, Vol. 6, No. 8, 1990
“Alex gets mixed reviews,” Toronto Computes!, Vol. 6, No. 8, 1990
“Knocking at the House of Love,” The Magazine, Vol 1, No. 2, 1990
“Plunderphonic: The Sound of Music,” I.C.E. Magazine, Issue 7, 1990
“pez says,”  I.C.E. Magazine, Issue 6, 1990
“Nice City. Needs Color.” I.C.E. Magazine, Issue 6, 1990
“Butch Black Bangs Stats,” I.C.E. Magazine, Issue 5, 1990
“Jr. Gone Wild has been everywhere. A few times.” Jam, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1990
“Rave about Brave,” Jam, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1990
“Love Machines,” I.C.E. Magazine, Issue 4, 1990
“a nice story about a canadian writer,” I.C.E. Magazine, Issue 4, 1990
“The Black Earth Spreads to North America,” Jam, Vol. 1, No. 6, 1989
“Two Acts - One Island’” Jam, Vol. 1, No. 6, 1989
“Kids and Guns,” I.C.E. Magazine, Issue 3, 1989
“New Skies for Jellyfishbabies,” I.C.E. Magazine, Issue 3, 1989
“Hang your Scissors at the Door,” Jam, Vol. 1, No. 5, 1989
“Reaching Out and Touching Alanna Myles,” Jam, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1989. (Reprinted as “Alannah Myles,” Jam, Vol. 1, No. 6, 1989)
“Sing Till You’re Green in the Face,” Jam, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1989
“Roots Rocks ‘Our World’,” Metropolis, Vol. 2, No. 17, 1989
“Regarding Andrew Cash,” Jam, Vol. 1, No. 3, 1989
“Covering Territory with Moe Berg,” Jam, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1989
“Time, Gentlemen!” writing as Bif, with Dianne Collins, Rock Express, No. 120, Nov. 1987
“They Call him ‘Jaws’” (writing as Bif), Hot Sounds, Vol. 1, Iss. 2, Aug. 1987

Reviews:

“Horror of a distant story illuminated,” review of The Long Night of White Chickens by Francisco Goldman, The Gazette (Montreal), August 1, 1992
“Gripping story of survival and rescue in Arctic,” review of Death and Deliverance by Robert Mason Lee, The Gazette (Montreal), July 19, 1992
“The Patron Saint of Liars, by Ann Patchett, The Gazette (Montreal), June 27, 1992
“Arcadia, by Jim Crace, The Gazette (Montreal), June 27, 1992
“Graceland, by Laura Kalpakian,” The Gazette (Montreal), June 27, 1992
“Micmac culture restored to our collective consciousness,” review of The Old Man Told Us by Ruth Holmes Whitehead, The Gazette (Montreal), September 7, 1991
“Art and Artifice: a fictional correspondence produces an unusual book,” review of Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock, The Gazette (Montreal), Aug. 31, 1991
“From the dark side: demons and a 500-foot lizard,” review of Creed by James Herbert, The Gazette (Montreal), June 29, 1991
“Suzy’s good for first-time users,” Toronto Computes!, September, 1990
“A Rose By Any Other Name Is Called Mr. Tango,” Success City, Vol. 1, 1990
“The Razorbacks/Live a Little/WEA,” Jam, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1989
“The Pick-up Artist” (writing as Bif Man), Chitney Magazine, Vol.1, No. 3, 1987

PUBLIC SERVICE

Governing Board member, Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, 2005-2007, Served two-year term as elected representative of Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Region 2, a volunteer position under City Charter

  • Co-Chair, Community Liaison Committee
  • Member, Outreach Committee
  • Member, Public Safety Committee
  • Ethics and Open Government course, LA City Ethics Commission
  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Level 1 (LAFD)
  • Emergency Preparedness Ambassador (LA Emergency Preparedness 
Department)

Advisory Board, #StillBisexual
Advisory Board, Reading Opens Minds
Read newspaper articles for the blind, via VoicePrint, The National Broadcast Reading Service (Canada)

EDUCATION

M.A., Performing Arts Administration, New York University.
B.A., Religious Studies, McGill University.
Internships: Brooklyn Academy of Music; Tikkun Magazine; MCC Theater; Radio Charivari 98.2 (Regensburg, Germany)

SEED Alternative School (North America's oldest public alternative secondary school)

Ontario Scholar 1990
Theatre Ontario Award 1988

OTHER DISTINCTIONS

2015 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar (they call them "Fellows" now)

 

If you made it this far.... wow. Thank you for your interest.