Catching Up

Yowza. How about that heat, amirite? And that pandemic thing? whewww…

So let’s see… It has been A While…what have I been up to in all this time (yeesh, it’s been MONTHS) since I wrote last? I mean yeah there are several reasons that are totes legit why I haven’t given all you lovelies anything to lurk over (like, not having any real events happen on account of… well, the PLAGUE), but really that’s only reasons and not excuses. So here I am attempting to air out, fluff up, and put out this blog again. let’s hope on a regular basis. (I know, I know, you’re all holding your breath…)

And so, I thought it’d be mildly amusing to do one of those What Is Jenn Zuko Up To Right Now posts that used to be much more frequent. /cracks knuckles/ Here goes…


My teaching is, ironically, still going strong. Remember how, before the pandemic, I was attempting a career shift? Well that got derailed in the shutdown, and I was relegated to sticking with the shitty job I have, than fly to others which I know not of. Plus, as an adjunct, I don’t get paid for unemployment. Better safe than sorry, and hey–I got to teach stage combat (in a pandemic-modified way), and have been given consistent online courses at DU /knock on wood/. Some of the DU courses were new to me, too, so that was fun. Masterworks of Fiction? Cool. Visual and Physical Communication? Sign me up! And the Capstones I’ve advised have run the gamut from a comedic memoir about trauma, to a volume of poetry, to this quarter where I’m working with a student’s High Fantasy novel about a world where cat-people engage in meditation and spiritual practice. Pretty cool stuff.

Speaking of current classes, I’m just in the first phase of both Summer sessions of DU and Metro. At the former, I’ve got the abovementioned Capstone to advise, as well as two online Visual and Physical Communication courses. I’m loving those–we read some of Paul Ekman’s work, and I get to nerd out about Lie to Me, one of my favorite shows… and at the latter, I’m doing that online course called Staging Cultures you’ve heard me describe before.

As far as near future when it comes to work?

No idea yet what’s in store for me in the Fall at DU, but at Metro I’ll be doing Staging Cultures again and a fully revamped Intro to Theatre course. It’s been de-colonized by a new prof, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the class is like to teach now. No idea if I’ll ever be getting a Stage Movement class ever again–said prof has basically taken it over, but time will tell. Also not sure when I’ll be back into attempting a career change yet (speaking of), but I’ll keep you all in the loop on that. Boulder Startup Week was a travesty, mainly because of the platform they were using, but don’t let them hear me say that…


I was in a couple Zoom theatre productions through the pandemic, but you saw me advertise those. Especially if you’re following me on the Visage Tome. Live theatre is only now crawling back out of its hole, and I’m swooping in as best I can.

I have a couple potential fight gig irons in the fire for the near future but I haven’t gotten confirmation on each, so I’ll wait to announce those once I know for sure.

Denver Unique Week of Fashion was a hoot–it’s rare that a woman of my stature gets to be a fashion model, and I walked the catwalk for four different local designers that week, at various cool Denver venues (a few of which gave me ideas for the future of Blue Dime Cabaret…).

Friend Kerry form college is a filmmaker now, and she brought me on to her upcoming dystopian fantasy movie, called Suffer. I choreographed and directed the fight scenes for it, and did so over Zoom, which was a fascinating process. I haven’t done a lot of fighting for film–most of my experience is in live theatre–so that was neat. I look forward to seeing how that turns out. The stills and updates they regularly share on Instagram look really cool.

Future theatre stuff?

Besides those two fight gigs that I haven’t heard from yet, we at Blue Dime Cabaret are in talks to return to regular shows as soon as may be. Nothing set in stone or on calendars yet, but our return is indeed imminent.


I hope to be a bit more regular here on this blog, and I also have ambitious ideas of picking up my pen-name blog again too. This is a lot of writing for a woman whose job entails a lot of writing, but again–not an excuse. We’ll see how it goes. I can at least be, say, weekly, here? At the very least. Okay, now I’ve promised you. So be it.

I’m working on a big BIG project, too–a memoir-ish book tentatively titled A Strong Woman Under The Gaslight. It parallels the emotional abuse I suffered in the same 20 years from both my husband and my job as adjunct faculty. Now that I’ve plunged full speed ahead in the writing of it, I’ve also added the third thread of the abusive nature of a life in the theatre. It’s exhausting work, but important work. I think it’s going to be a pretty damn good book, too–it’s shaping up.

Said memoir wouldn’t be… well I was going to say it wouldn’t be as good as it is, but if I’m honest, it wouldn’t be at all if it weren’t for the brilliant and intrepid Herb Childress, author of The Adjunct Underclass, Slush, and others, who has agreed to the insanely difficult job of being my writing coach and guide through the process. It’s because of his work on my weekly submissions to him that this work is going at all, let alone so well, and I am quite excited to see how this whole book pans out.

Near future of writing stuff? Well eventually I do want to get this memoir thing published, but that’s neither here nor there, and that’s more like far future. But eminent SAFD-connected journal The Fight Master is publishing another of my articles in an upcoming issue. This time, it’s a cobbling together of a bunch of material from my many presentations on The Fight Is The Story. I’m passing revisions back and forth between the editor and me on that right now, so that’s a thing that’ll happen soonish.

Another reason why I haven’t been writing here. But again, not an excuse. Just a reason.


I’m living mostly with the SO in Centennial/Greenwood Village right now, with brief forays into Boulder to visit doctors and dentists and the Birdhouse. Less liminal, but still a bit so. Going to Goth Prom but no longer Denver Comic Con, which has been fully rebranded and has lost me, frankly. We”ll see about Page 23.

And I’m fully vaccinated. So. Pucker up.

From Insta, the other day. The gladius I’m wielding was a birthday gift to the SO.

Festive Reading

I was a part of this beautiful group reading of an excerpt from A Christmas Carol. This turned out so great—what an awesome mix of voices and a cool spooky choice of scene for Xmas 2020. Enjoy!


“We’re Marley & Marley…wooooooooo”🎶

Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #7: Violence is Normal

My latest (and final) Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope article is live! Tell me what you think here or there.

A Wandering Road

Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #7: Violence is Normal

by Jenn Zuko

Guh that ad always makes me cry. Ahem…/attempts to salvage eyeliner/

Why does it make me tear up?

I think maybe it’s the sort of chantlike description of this trope (boys will be boys = men are violent), and the bare bones showing of what it means to say No to this norm. But the norm is powerful and real, and even in this supposedly enlightened year of Our Lord 2020, it’s still a powerful message being given to our boys and men today. And let’s be real: #metoo is directly and literally because of this … well I was going to call it a trope because that’s what I’m talking about with this series of articles, but this one is far, far more than a trope; it’s ingrained not only in our arts and our pop culture, but…

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Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #6: Mr. Mom

The latest in my Problematic Tropes series is ready to read, and it’s an incendiary one!

A Wandering Road

Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #6: Mr. Mom

MrMomThe 1983 movie Mr. Mom is a comedy whose humor hinges on the particular misogynistic toxic masculinity trope that I have named after it, because it epitomizes the trope so well. 

Basically, the premise of the movie is this: a man is relegated to homemaking when he gets fired from his job, and his wife ends up going to work as a high powered ad exec in order to pick up the income slack. Shenanigans, both in the form of Mr. Mom not being able to cope with housewifery, and Mrs. Mom finding herself in sexist danger at her “man’s work.” All is well, though, at the end, when both find their way back to their gender-norm jobs which they are best and safest at.

Thus is the basic description of the Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope that personally pisses me off the most…

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|| AUGUST 2020 ||

I have the great honor and pleasure to be the Featured Poet in this month’s Versification zine! I’m chuffed to bits. Here’s the issue for your perusal:

versification has moved


is dedicated to

all survivors


hate, abuse, oppression, and injustice.


Banana Bread

By Shufei Ewe

420 sifts by quickly,

everyone is still getting baked––

the powder just looks different.


9:47 |By Stephen J Golds

in the morning

eating breakfast out of a ripped plastic bag in a parking lot of an isolated

seven-eleven with gut ache and the shakes wondering if she was right after all.



By Gina Marie Bernard

the very first time, i am twelve—

unscheduled, ill prepared.

blood trickles; i imagine an arroyo.

he grinds my cheek to carpet

and prompts me not to tell.

Sara Dobbie

Kip Knott

Evening Walk after the Divorce

By Kip Knott

Two cops stand over the body of a man

I’ve sometimes given loose change.

They wrap him in plastic. In the body bag’s zip

I hear my ex-wife brushing…

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Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #5: Sassy Gay Friend

My latest on A Wandering Road is live! I was worried about what a mess it was, and also about being a mouthpiece for a population I’ve never been, other than friends with. But I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback already, which makes me feel better. Let me know what you think, yeah?

A Wandering Road

Problematic Toxic Masculinity Trope #5: Sassy Gay Friend

by Jenn Zuko

Brian Gallivan’s series of sketches called Sassy Gay Friend retells several classic stories under the premise of: what if _insert straight female character here_ had a sassy gay friend? Countless calamities of the catastrophic type have been nipped in the bud by our good friend the SGF (I highly recommend the Eve one, though the Hamlet one is great too). What Gallivan is doing as a writer is taking an old stereotype trope character and showing how the stereotypical traits of the SGF could actually be good things in certain scenarios. What the series does, too, is to make us question the inherent misogyny (not to mention homophobia) of much of our pop culture classics, inviting us to think as we laugh.

sassygayfriendad_largeSassy Gay Friend is a pretty well known trope already (even TV Tropes has it on their…

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Problematic Tropes on A Wandering Road: #4: NERD!

Friend Jason has opened up his blog to the continuance of the Problematic Toxic Masculinity Tropes articles, since we chatted about them on his podcast and since Writers HQ has discontinued their publication. And ‘cos he’s a nice guy like that.

So! Here’s the first on A Wandering Road, being the fourth of the PTMTs. Enjoy it here, and you can also listen to how it morphed from The Tale of the Nerd and the Neckbeard to just NERD!

Thank you!

Good news, everyone enrolled in Stage Movement this Spring semester at Metro:

Since there were a few of you signed up that are graduating seniors? The department head went to bat for the class and IT’S ON, PEOPLE!

I’ll see you next week! In the meantime, I must go update my syllabus…..

Actual footage of me in gratitude to Scott. Or, actually, Jori & Gustavo doing their Rivals scene from the 2015 class. One of the two.

Sign up for stage movement: Please do, part 2



Actual footage of me looking at the current Stage Movement roster…


Know what’s real neat about Stage Movement class?

It’s the final performance, that I get to cast

from each and all students, end-of-semester, of course.

They put on four plays, Dr. Seuss is the source!

You might think college students doing kid stuff

for a final exam, is all easy fluff.

But there you’d be wrong: I’m happy to say

that the Dr. Seuss plays are a challenge: yes way.

The complex language and character work’s worth

the price of tuition (well, not that much)—the dearth

of props, costumes, and sets all make for a show

the likes of which make each student grow.

So sign up right now! Please sign up for class!

Sign up one and all! Sign up en masse!

If I don’t get at least twelve students by the date,

the class’ll be cancelled. It’ll be too late.

Sign up for Stage Movement: A Plea in Multiple Parts


There are only…how many students signed up for Stage Movement?!

It’s that time of year again, lovely lurkers. What? No, I don’t mean the holidays–I mean the time when I go into conniptions of panic, worrying that not enough people are signed up for this Spring Semester’s Stage Movement class at Metro, that it’ll get cancelled and I’ll be out my (already meager) living. So I hereby am going to post the many reasons why Stage Movement is a fun and essential course to take for any student.

Reason #1: Period Movement

Each semester Stage Movement is offered, the second major unit of study is scenes from restoration comedy The Rivals. The center of the unit in this class is all about how to navigate the corseted and otherwise elaborate costuming of the 1700s, and we learn a lot about oldy-timey social constructs, body language of the time, and fan codes. (No, not semaphore, silly, the old flirtatious kind…)

Because we have zero budget for the class, this unit always ends up dressed in a delightfully postmodern mashup of corsets on the outside of the clothing, and odd approximations of period costumes, like: bathrobes and scarves tied high for the men to simulate frock coats and jabots, everybody breaks out the heels, and every so often I’ll get a student who wants to do their scene in drag, as above. This is always a hoot, and a challenge as well–the best kind of challenge is the fun kind. Oh, and? We get to open the sword box for this unit, which is always exciting, especially for those who haven’t gotten to break them out in stage combat class.

There’s your first of many reasons to get my Stage Movement roster up to 12. Stay tuned for more.