Stephen Blackburn

Rif Hutton rehearses as Frederick Douglass

At the 2013 ALMA Awards (American Latino Media Arts)

My screenplay FATTY & BUSTER helped me win an endowed James Michener Fellowship

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“One of the best collections of Southwestern short stories I’ve ever read.” —Michael Scott Myers, screenwriter of The Whole Wide World, starring Vincent D'Onofrio and Renee Zellweger.
“An eloquent voice for Americans too often ignored or scapegoated."
- Booklist

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Star of BOULEVARD NIGHTS Richard Yniguez (l) with Coach Tony Huante at handball courts in Commerce, California (2009)
UPDATE: July 2015

Just a brief note for today. have been meeting when possible with the irascible and inimitable DANNY MORA, who's mentoring me on my screenplay ROLLOUT! It's inspired by the true story of Tony Huante, an amazing man who for 20 years coached kids from the barrios of East L.A. and City of Commerce, producing several pro national champs, but more importantly, keeping lots of kids out of gangs and in school. Hope to have a new draft of the feature script by September.

Danny's an amazing man himself, with a long career in the entertainment world as a nationally touring standup comedian who back in the day worked the same stage as the just-starting-out Jay Leno and Robin Williams; as a screenwriter (LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, among others); and as an actor (most recently seen in MCFARLAND, USA, opposite Kevin Costner). He coaches lots of actors as well, and counsels various other writers and artists, such as LA CUCARACHA creator Lalo Alcaraz.

More soon.

* * *

Meanwhile, I have been working hard on expanding the 20-minute Douglass piece to a full-length one-man play titled FREDERICK DOUGLASS—UNEXPECTED. We did a stage reading of the piece at the Flight Theatre in the Complex in Hollywood at the end of May to an invitation-only audience of industry people whose feedback we trust. Rif Hutton starring as Douglass, David Wendell Boykins directed, and Consuelo Flores (my wife) produced. That version ran 97 minutes. The current draft runs 85.


Here's just some of what packed-house audiences had to say about LINCOLN ADJACENT:
• "WOW! With a stellar cast, amazing writing, and smooth flow, Lincoln adjacent is a supreme pleasure to watch."
• "A riveting play with breathtaking performances ...A powerhouse of stunning writing by Roger Q. Mason and Stephen Blackburn."
• "Powerful and compelling interconnected stories with a stunning cast."
• "These are personal stories, heart-wrenching in their honesty and in the hands of such capable actors."
• "Thoughtful and insightful writing comes alive with a stellar compelling cast."
• "A terrific theatre outing."

Read more audience reviews at

LINCOLN ADJACENT won a Hollywood Fringe Festival ENCORE PRODUCERS AWARD and was extended for two performances in July. My 20-minute, one-man play about Frederick Douglass, was one of three short plays comprising LINCOLN ADJACENT, a production by Onion Creek at this year's Hollywood Fringe Festival. My wife Consuelo Flores co-produced with Roger Q. Mason, who authored the other two short plays.

Frederick Douglass escaped slavery, educated himself and became a riveting political agitator, one of the great men of the 19th century. An advisor and gadfly to Lincoln, Douglass’ manners and eruditeness helped convince Lincoln of the humanity of African Americans. Douglass prodded and convinced Lincoln to let black men fight in the Union Army to win on the field of battle freedom for all African Americans. Without the legions of black soldiers, the Union might very well have lost the war, or at least made peace with the Confederacy without ending slavery. Without Douglass, there probably wouldn’t be any movies about Lincoln. My contribution to LINCOLN ADJACENT takes place decades after Lincoln’s death, when Douglass in his twilight years remained a respected, yet still controversial figure, even among African Americans.

"A Grecian extravaganza... always engrossing and fun to watch" —Backstage Photo by Joel Daavid
Fierce Backbone Theatre Company produced THE ROCK OF ABANDON on a frayed shoestring at the 99-seat Lillian Theatre in October-November of 2012.

The production looked great, with well-paced direction by Tiger Reel, strong acting by the enthusiastic and diverse cast, and we garnered great reviews.

"Riveting" — Photo by Joel Daavid

When blacklisted dramatist Euripides (Jim Hanna) turns sleuth in order to avenge the murder of a courtesan who jilted him years ago, his investigation unmasks blackmail and treason, putting him on a collision course with the powers-that-be, including the charismatic, rapist general Alkibiades, who has beguiled Athens into launching an unnecessary war.

Photo by Joel Daavid

"This masterpiece delivers twists and turns worthy of Hitchcock himself." —

Assemblyman Kritias (Gary Rubenstein), General Lamakos (Jeffrey Wylie), Ambassador Lycos (Drew McAuliffe), and General Alkibiades (Todd Babcock, back right) toast preemptive war in THE ROCK OF ABANDON, inspired by historical events. Written by Stephen Blackburn, directed by Tiger Reel.

Photo by Joel Daavid
Costume ladies of the gods Antoinette Muto (l) and Kim Little (r). They created for us the wonderful period costumes. Their company, Muto-Little, based in Larchmont near Paramount Studios, has built the costumes for scores of movies, tv shows and Disneyland shows, and for stars including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Rhianna, and more recently, for the Billboard Awards, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber. Thanks Antoinette and Kim!

I'm now seeking another production, with a budget that will support the large cast and epic nature of the story.

An eloquent voice for Americans too often ignored or scapegoated. —Booklist Buy from Northwestern University Press


Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Stephen Blackburn grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. He graduated as a Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin, earning his MA in Radio-TV-Film. He was an endowed James Michener Fellow in screenwriting and fiction 1995-1997, earning an MFA — yet again from the University of Texas.

From interviews and collaboration with noted national homeless organizer and activist, the late Ron Casanova, Blackburn wrote Each One Teach One: Up and Out of Poverty — Memoirs of a Street Activist (Curbstone Press, 1996), which Kirkus Reviews lauded as “A valuable firsthand account of a street survivor’s harrowing experiences.” The book is now available through Northwestern University Press.

On January 15, 2002, Blackburn was the featured author of PEN International's winter lecture series in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He read from his book The Extinction of Rhinos in Mexico: 9 Tales of Life and Death (Xlibris, 2001).

In October and November of 2012, Fierce Backbone Theatre Company in Hollywood produced his play THE ROCK OF ABANDON, a noir murder mystery featuring the notorious playwright Euripides as the detective.

Blackburn lives in Los Angeles with his wife Consuelo Flores, who has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Antioch University.