LAUREN ELIZABETH NEAL
grew up in Dallas-Fort Worth's world of brisket and church, finally escaping to New York at age 21. There she worked as a sales agent at Cinetic Media on such titles as Precious, The Kids Are All Right, Life During Wartime, Meek's Cutoff, and Trouble the Water. She was then the point distribution executive on the theatrical release of Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop. After earning her master's degree in History and winning international fellowships for writing, Neal conducted original research and wrote the story for a biopic developed by Broad Green Pictures. Her second project with Broad Green involved research and development material for Straight Outta Compton screenwriter Andrea Berloff and Terrence Malick's producers.
Neal researches, writes, and presents on how the city spaces that we craft fuse with our racial, gender, and class politics to determine the communities we build. In 2014, she received grants and awards for her research from the Southwest American Popular Culture Association and was awarded the inaugural Editorial Fellowship for the Center for the Study of the Southwest, where she worked on Southwestern American Literature, Texas Books in Review, and Sound Historian. Her research is the first study of the Ku Klux Klan's meteoric rise to political power in Dallas; her article on graffiti, race, and the New York subway was published in Dissent; her article on segregation and the Los Angeles subway recently appeared in Guernica; and she wrote a series spotlighting diverse artists and activists for AfterEllen, the number one website for LGBTQ women. Her short story, Pioneer Noir, was a finalist for the Summer Literary Series prize, and she was awarded a residency at the SLS program in Vilnius, Lithuania, where she studied under Alex Halberstadt and Eileen Myles. As a writer-in-residence at the Grin City Collective in 2015, she created the public interactive poetry installation All My Saints for the Rurally Good Festival.
Neal has written and directed two short narrative films, CLEAN (2008) and Falling From Olympus (2005), which was selected for the student showcase at the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival. Her photography series Baltic Pride was exhibited at the HER/LA Art Festival in Los Angeles in 2015. She is the co-creator of ADVOCATES, an irreverent web series satire about a gay non-profit organization.