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Come see a staged reading of Judy Veramend's "Men Around the World," Wednesday May 8 at the Next Theatre, Evanston, IL.

The show starts at 8 PM. You can buy tickets through Brown Paper Tickets, searching under "Chicago Writers' Bloc Festival." In the meantime, enjoy a couple of the many anecdotes that were a springboard for this newest play:

Sketches of two episodes from Men Around the World, May 8, at the Next Theatre, Evanston, IL, as part of the Writers' Bloc Festival. Get your OFFICIAL POSTER here!


How Much for an Encounter?

Washington, D.C., 1990

At the time I was about thirty-five and expecting no trouble, at least in my own country. My husband and I were waiting on opposite corners at Union Station for a Latino couple to pick us up for a marriage encounter retreat we were giving. We'd never met the couple, so we were holding our notebooks up high, showing the words "Marriage Encounter" emblazoned across a heart. 15 minutes went by, then 30, then 45... After more than an hour I was shifting my feet in my sneakers when a man approached. Hmmm... he didn't look Latino; he was tall and pale, with a receding hairline. But hey, you never know. As he came up I saw the gold wedding ring on his hand.

"How much?" he mumbled.

"How much for what?" I asked.

"How much for an encounter?"

I smiled brightly. Maybe he wanted to take his wife on a Marriage Encounter weekend! "It's only 150 dollars," I said, "And you are so going to enjoy it!" He started circling me, looking me up and down. What on earth... Maybe he was wondering how reliable my information was. I was in an old sweater, jeans, and sneakers...

He completed the circle, looked me in the eyes and said, "That's too much!" and walked away. What? What?

Depression set in. My husband came over. "What's the matter, Judita?" he asked.

"Do you think I'm worth 150 dollars?"

"You're worth more than a million dollars," he smiled.

Sometimes my husband says just the right thing. I smiled back.


Skinny-dipping in a loch

Somewhere in Ireland, 1996.

I must have been forty-three or so when my ten-year-old daughter Teresa and I drove up to a tiny jewel of a lake, or a loch, as the Irish called them. As we parked a young man came out of the water and picked up his to¸c wel. He walked over and said, "You have to go for a swim. It's marvelous."

"My daughter has a swim suit, but I don't," I answered.

"That doesn't matter—you can go skinny-dipping. All the Irish go skinny-dipping in the lochs. I know, I'm from 'round here."

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Sure, sure. Our local expert, Eugene McCabe, even put that in his latest book."

"Really? I just had tea with Eugene McCabe," I said.

"What a coincidence," he grinned, "I am the nephew of Eugene McCabe."

"Really?" I couldn't believe it.

"Really. Trust me, all the Irish go skinny-dipping in the lochs."

"But—I don't have a towel," I told him.

"Take mine." He put it in my hand.

"But how will I get it back to you?"

"Ah, don't be worryin' about that. It's a little souvenir for ya. You enjoy the water. See, I'm leavin' now. Bye." With that he got in his car and drove away.

I put Teresa's swimsuit on her and soon she was splashing away. OOOh I was dying to go in. I looked around. The nephew of Eugene McCabe was nowhere to be seen. All the company I had were a few distant cows.

I took off my clothes and ran splashing into the water. It was glorious! I even started dancing and splashing at the water's edge, singing, "I am an Irish goddess!"

Finally we got out of the water and dried ourselves off. As we finished getting dressed I heard the sound of a car in the distance. Whew! That was close, I thought, as I drove back to our bed and breakfast.

Upon arrival the landlady noticed our dripping hair. "What have you been doing?" she asked.

"I went skinny-dipping in the loch."

"Skinny-dipping in the loch?" she gasped.

"Sure. All the Irish go skinny-dipping in the lochs. The nephew of Eugene McCabe told me so."

She turned white, then red, then started to laugh, and laugh, and cry, and laugh. I couldn't get a word out of her. We went upstairs and changed for tea, came down, and she was STILL laughing. Finally she gasped, "The Irish don't go skinny-dipping in the lochs. And—Eugene McCabe has no nephew!"

The next morning she was still laughing. She said she'd been up half the night laughing. As we left she begged me to come back soon.

Well, I put on quite a show for the non-nephew of Eugene McCabe.


BPT logo_drop_small     NextTheatrelogo    ChicagoWritersBloc-blogo 

 The true story and inspiration for "Men Around the World"'s How much for an encounter? episode article from 1997 is below!




 SEPTEMBER 1, 2012


Alegrías y lágrimas, true immigrants stories which are now a full blown musical, will be performed on the following dates at the Raven Theater:

Sunday Sept. 30

Monday Oct. 1

Tuesday Oct. 2

Get your FREE official poster HERE!! (Suitable for framing). Please consult the flier for ticket information. It will be a lot of fun; don't miss it since it may be the last series of Chicago performances. We have been working very hard throughout the summer preparing this show.

And now for something completely different (as Monty Python would say), my one woman show, "Men Around the World," will be performed at the Next Theatre in the Writers' Bloc Festival, May, 2013. I will get back to you with exact dates. I'd call it a provocative comedy; you will not be bored! Do I have some stories for you! And don't worry—I always change the names to protect the guilty—oops—I mean innocent!

Hola! News Flash of the Month! I am now an official Amazon kindle author, along with my great co-author Brian Whiteson, who also designed the cover of our sci-fi thriller, Into the Black Hole.

You might be wondering, NOW what is Judy up to? Well...

Imagine black holes created by major research scientists bent on—Glory? –Nobel prizes? –Undermining their colleagues?

Imagine these same black holes being prevented by Watchers from a distant planet, horrified that humans' bent for self-destruction could swallow up their own planet, and the Milky Way Galaxy.

All this and much, much more is contained in the heart-stopping sci-fi thriller, Into the Black Hole, by J.A. Kearns and Brian Whiteson, physicist.

You can download the first two chapters for free onto your kindle. After you get caught up in the excitement, you can purchase the whole book for only $4.99.

You'll notice I created a pseudonym based on my original family name, Kearns, for this newest "baby."

It's very exciting to become Amazon kindle authors; Brian and I are planning two more books in the trilogy. The next one finds our protagonists, Michelle and Scotty, on the move to protect humanity—and maybe much more—from the doings in Cern, Switzerland.

Upcoming event: excerpts from Judy Veramendi's " Alegrías y Lágrimas/Happiness and Tears" at Venceremos!

Join the Occupy Chicago Rebel Arts Collective for music, poetry and performance celebrating the spirit of solidarity and struggle!

Friday, April 27th


Meeting Hall at corner of Cullerton and Carpenter in Pilsen

1038 W. Cullerton, Chicago IL

$8 suggested entry fee

Cash bar

Featuring music from Rebel Diaz and Dirty Surgeon Insurgency, poetry from Laura Yes Yes, excerpts from Judy Veramendi's " Alegrías y Lágrimas," and more acts to be announced!



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The most recent performance of Judy Veramendi's play Alegrías y lágrimas (Joy and Sorrows) was Monday October 24, 2011.

Featured: New songs, new dances, new tales from Cuba, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Honduras,  and Mexico. This performance was a successful fundraiser for Centro Romero. All proceeds benefited Centro Romero.

Brought to you by:

The Cervantes Institute, Erie Neighborhood House and The International Latino Cultural Center. 


Intertwined in a moving and beguiling way, these are the stories of Latino immigrants and refugees who have studied at Centro Romero, Chicago, Il.

Download your poster for the 2011 show here:

More photos here

Upcoming 2012 Performances at:

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About Ms. Veramendi

Judy Veramendi was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She spent the first sixteen years of her life in Park Forest, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She remembers reading, and reading, and reading, then looking around wondering, "Is reality always going to be so boring?"

Apparently not... when she was sixteen, her father was offered a four-year-long consulting engineer project in Argentina and the whole family voted to go on a "South American adventure".

Judy remembers feeling blissfully seduced by Brazil: “the bright tropical light, brilliant diaphanous colors, sensuous way of walking of the Brazilians…”

She thought, "I want to learn to be more free-spirited!" And so she did, for the most part, during her adolescence in Argentina…

After finishing high school in Buenos Aires, she returned to the US for two years of liberal arts education at Northwestern University, then completed her B.A. education at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

It was in Spain that she first "met" the great revolutionary poet Delmira Agustini. Her Latin American Literature professor, Pedro Correa, introduced her one day in class, saying she was the first woman to really write like a woman in the Spanish language. Judy initially scoffed, but then read her poetry and found out she was so unique… She wrote her thesis about her, under Professor Correa's guidance, and then found out she had so invaded her mind and soul that she could not shake off the need to write more about her, translate her poetry into English, make her story known to the English-speaking world…
Judy Veramendi

In the meantime, she got married, had three children, and published over 30 short stories in various anthologies, in both English and Spanish, besides co-authoring 20 textbooks.

She taught in both English and Spanish in various venues: community college, university, high school, grade school, and even kindergarten.

She gave presentations for her book publishers in both the U.S. and overseas.

Still, every few years she would pull out a poem of Delmira's and try to translate it, fail miserably, and put it away again. Then one night, she woke up with an idea for a new approach: instead of translating her poems, she would let Delmira's voice come out through Judy’s own poetic voice… And it worked! She enrolled in an MFA program at Columbia College, and wrote a first draft of her novel about Delmira as her thesis project.

She received a Fulbright Senior Scholar award, and a follow-up Fulbright, to research Delmira in Uruguay. Since then she has had the thrill of seeing her play about Delmira produced in two hemispheres, in spring 2003. Performances continue in the U.S. and other countries.

She has published her novel about Delmira, "The Empty Chalices/Los cálices vacíos" in both English and Spanish. It is presently being distributed in Uruguay, Spain, and the U.S.

“I can truly say that I have seen my dream come to life before my eyes.”

 Video from my little play, an adaptation of Carlos Fuentes’ Chac Mool.