Whose Cause Is It Anyway?

This group of friends gathered to support causes we believe in by producing livestreamed comedy improv shows! We produce shows at least once a month streamed to You Tube with links in the comments to a particular cause we support including ActBlue.com links to politicians we support, personal PayPal links to personal fundraising causes, and charity organizations we believe in. We perform under the name “Whose Cause Is It Anyway” and also “Whose Election Is It Anyway” and “Whose Virus Is It Anyway?”

Whose Cause Is It Anyway GIF for May show

Causes we have supported include:

  1. Act Blue Fundraising for many candidates and issues we believe in: https://secure.actblue.com/
  2. The Trevor Project in support of LGBTQ+ Youth https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
  3. Personal fundraising for a friend fighting cancer: PayPal via Mr.Wednesday1066 AT gmail DOT com
  4. Stacey Abrams Fair Fight Initiative https://secure.actblue.com/donate/comedyfairfight
  5. Fredericksburg, VA Regional Food Bank https://fredfood.org

Our playlist of recorded shows is on You Tube here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9aorWZlo-mYrH0Wu3rFZFjZgVKW3NLen

Troupe Members ebb and flow but informally include:

  • Amanda Catherine Mulder
  • Andrew Harasty
  • Bill “Dai” Sutton
  • Crystal Welch
  • Emilly Miller
  • Erica Harrah
  • Laura J. Parker
  • Mary Pruitt
  • Ben Coffee
  • Michael Greenstein
  • Romni Rossi
  • Thomas TJ Carani
  • And I, Lara Coutinho-Dean, produce, livestream, direct the troupe.

If you would like to ask for us to support a cause you believe in, please leave a comment here with an email address where we can reach you. Please also include the URL for people to use for sending in money and the reasons why you believe in this cause.


Atlantia Twelfth Night Event 2021

Atlantia Twelfth Night Event, January 9, 2021 in 4 parts:

  1. The Apprenticing Ceremony of Mistress Teleri Barod and Lady Sonya Flicker
  2. The new Award of the Narwal
  3. Shakespeare at the Spanish Twelfth Night
  4. Atlantia’s Royal Bard competition

The Apprenticing Ceremony of Mistress Teleri and Lady Sonya

1) The Apprenticing Ceremony of Mistress Teleri Barod and Lady Sonya Flicker

I had the true joy of helping two dear friends, Mistress Teleri Barod and Lady Sonya Flicker, to create and livestream a beautiful ceremony marking their choice to begin a formal relationship as Laurel and Apprentice. They both spent a great deal of time discussing how to begin and structure their relationship as well as how to express it to our larger SCA community.

I helped them translate their vision into an online public ceremony including social time in private on Zoom afterwards with their chosen family. Here is the recording of their ceremony which I believe is an excellent example to share with others. They have granted permission for this video to be published publicly for all to see.  https://youtu.be/Jv3DLok2Y5k


If any folks out there would like assistance in creating and livestreaming their ceremony, of any kind, please let me know if you would like my help. I am enjoying this opportunity to use my theater and technical skills to help our community stay connected through these joyous ceremonies.

Much like our beloved Baron Bardolf, Baroness Machteld and others who serve with photography in the SCA, I charge no fee but would ask for the permission to edit and publish publicly the final recording I help create.


2) The new Award of the Narwal

A new award in the Kingdom of Atlantia for special, innovative service during the time of COVID.

Their most noble Majesties of Atlantia created a new award yesterday with an Augmentation of Arms called The Narwal (a swordfish type whale). This award is for recognizing the special service many SCAdians have devoted during the time of COVID to keep their SCA communities running.

I sincerely appreciate this action from our Crowns because the life changing of 2020 required creative problem solving to keep the SCA alive. The people included in this first round of recognition included 50 Atlantians, of which I am one. <3


My deepest gratitude is sent to Their Majesties for including me in this very special group of people. I am thrilled and humbled to be included in this group of innovators. I have seen the work of most of these folks as innovative, creative, groundbreaking, and dedicated to keeping our community alive. I am grateful Their Majesties noted that much of this work was very different from what these folks would be doing at in-person events. A special, separate recognition is a heartwarming way to say thank you.


No one knew we needed the things this group created when COVID hit in March 2020.  Their contributions to the new playbook of “How to SCA Online” is nothing short of magic.  It’s very different work to create new stuff when there is no manual, no Peer in “COVID LIFE” to ask for advice, and we’re all improvising during a global crisis. 


That walk in the dark is a challenge these folks all stepped up to.

I am thrilled to be included in this group of out-of-the-box thinkers and creators.

Link to Court’s recording (Narwhal portion starts at minute 9) https://youtu.be/YLScYP7-l9w


Atlantia's Twelfth Night Shakespeare Players

A troupe of Shakespeare players travels from London every year to wherever the Atlantian Royalty celebrates the holidays. Many great performances are done, money is made, and shenanigans abound!

3) Shakespeare at the Spanish Twelfth Night

Shakespeare appeared again at this year’s Atlantia Twelfth Night event! This year the theme was Spanish as the location of our virtual event was the Castell de Cordona. Our daring troupe of Shakepearian actors from London again braved the risks of international travel to bring the works of Shakespeare to new locations!


Unfortunately, one of our members gave away all our travel money in a fit of Christmas spirit, and now we have to busk in the street or find a new gig to make money to travel home to London!    (We usually pass the hat for our favorite organization, The Trevor Project which supports LGBTQ Youth, but this year we’re just asking folks to donate on their own at this link:  https://give.thetrevorproject.org/campaign/fundraise-for-trevor/c24399 )


Thankfully, our business contacts, Capitano Spavento and his wife Katarina, know many rich and noble patrons of the arts and will certainly help us find a well paying gig. Here is the link to the raw footage https://youtu.be/nnWb3sQ7saI  I will tweak it to include written credits later…

My deepest gratitude to the troupe of talented players from many Kingdoms for their inspiring performances:

  • Lady Meriorie Matheson
  • milord Joshua
  • Mistress Rhonwen glyn Conwy
  • Meister Frydherik Eysenkopf, called Fritz
  • Tiarna Donnchadh mac Eoin
  • Lady Catarina Caravello
  • THL Cael O’Conaill the Leafy Greene
  • Lady Edekyn O Fierhie
  • Lady Celia le Fleur
  • Lord Owyn De Wolfe
  • Baroness Sophia the Orange
  • Baron Manus MacDhai

Viewers may also notice the mentions made of many supportive patrons of the arts found in Atlantia:

  • Their Majesties Anton and Luned and their puppies
  • Their Graces Lynette and Ragnar
  • Mestra Esperanza Susanna Flecha
  • Duchess Seonaid
  • Maistreas Cellach
  • Mistress Ceridwen ferch Owain

We are very sorry that Capitano Spavento could not make connection with you on that very busy day, so we will keep in touch for later! 😉

4) Atlantia’s Royal Bard competition

For the second time ever, I entered the Atlantia Royal Bard competition. I usually don’t enter because so many other amazing performers compete for the job, but this year I felt my additional virtual skills could be useful if I were chosen.

Singing is not my strong suit, although I can carry a tune in a bucket and not embarrass myself if singing is needed. I am beginning to work on Storytelling as an artform. Although my favorite performing styles of improvisation and Commedia dell’Arte just don’t fit in traditional SCA bardic circles, this competition using video submissions inspired me to try. They asked for 1) A piece that inspires 2) A piece new-to-you 3) A period piece.

  1. For me, inspiration flows from my sister, so with her permission I sang one of the few songs I can carry in that bucket we just talked about: “Only.”
  2. My period piece was a speech from Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1 “Once More Unto The Breach” where Henry is inspiring his troops to take the city of Harfleur.
  3. My new-to-you piece was a story I’ve known about for many years but never thought to put it into a “Storytelling” format: “The Legend of Inanna” This story is very special to me for a thousand reasons: Sisterhood, my work in women’s support groups, the power of empathy to heal, and many more. I expect to keep developing this piece.

I would genuinely appreciate feedback if given gently, privately, and with a focus on helping me improve my performance. 

Out of the 6 competitors, I was not chosen as one of the 4 finalists nor 2 of the Royal Bards for the year.

That is absolutely no problem for me because there is no shame in coming in behind the other great performers who competed. Truly beautiful pieces were created by the other 5 competitors, and I am thrilled our Kingdom has two magnificent new Royal Bards!


The 6 competitors were:

  1. Me
  2. Lord Ciaran mac Breandain – an excellent vocalist/guitarist who runs global bardic circles,  teaches music theory, notation, songwriting and recently produced his first CD!
  3. Lord Ishmael Stedfast Reed – an amazing poet and storyteller whose performances were captivating to me.
  4. Lady Kame Gusukuma – a lovely performer who brought to us impressive performances from her newly discovered interests in Japanese music.
  5. and our new Rose Bard in service to the Atlantia Queen: Lady Nezhka Orshinaia who is already well known for her beautiful voice and excellent online bardic production
  6. and our new Crown Bard in service to the Atlantia King: Lord Hákon hábrok who brings together his love of music, poetry, and warfighting like the best of Renaissance Men!

I had a lot of fun producing my submission which you can see here: https://youtu.be/1XarOhEj6M0  

Mountains of thanks to Efenwealt, Pippin, and my amazing husband Manus for their help providing accompaniment music and video recording assistance.  Making this video was a fun project to do with you! <3


The Atlantia Twelfth Night event was a wonderful time of connection for me – so much so that I missed out on the lovely virtual ball where my friend Lady Nicolosa organized a TON of great dancers and music to let people connect through dancing in their homes!  And I missed all the bardic.  I just passed out on the sofa.  I am grateful to Duchess Seonaid and her staff for a truly lovely virtual event!



Laugh and Donate for Georgia Senate Races!

Whose Election Is It Anyway – Georgia Edition!

We are again producing improv comedy shows to help support the Democrats running for Senate seats – this time in Georgia!

The two US Senate seats for Georgia will be determined in special elections on January 5. The Democrat candidates we are supporting for those seats are Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock:

Jon Ossoff: https://ballotpedia.org/Jon_Ossoff 

Raphael Warnock: https://ballotpedia.org/Raphael_Warnock

These two US Senate seats for Georgia will determine the power structure of the US Senate for the next two years. If you wish to support the side of the Democrats, you can donate at the fundraising link below:


Please read up on this special election and think carefully about how you vote if you’re a resident of Georgia:  https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_runoff_elections_in_Georgia_(January_5,_2021)

LAST SHOW!   https://youtu.be/_UKHu69p5Ss   8:00pm DEC 26! TONIGHT!

Join us for improv comedy and fundraising for Georgia’s Senate Races on the side of #OssoffAndWarnock!
This will be our sixth and final show in this series supporting Georgia Democrats running for Senate. If they win these two senate seats, the democrats will run the US Senate and Mitch McConnell will be done with his turn at the helm. If you’ve ever had any complaint about Mitch McConnell, you are in good company with us! Join us for laughs and fundraising!
Mountains of thanks to our amazing cast of comic improvisors!!
Andrew Harasty
Bill Dai Sutton
Emily Miller
Erica Harrah
Laura J. Parker
Liam Pippin Vaughan
Mary Collette
Mathias Blackett
Michael Greenstein
Thomas TJ Carani
And eternal inspiration from Romni Rossi!


Commedia Movement Class Resources

Fabrizio Paladin

Capitano video: https://youtu.be/Iasc3nvVtU4 

More Fabrizio videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/fabriziopaladin/videos

Theater Classes Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Fab.Paladin/


Barry Grantham

Barry at Chalemie School: http://www.chalemie.co.uk/Grantham.htm

Review of Barry Grantham’s book “Playing Commedia” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/254685.Playing_Commedia




Laugh and Donate

I am just one person, and this is one thing I can do to fight against the bad things I see happening!

I am organizing comedy shows online to support fundraising efforts for three key US Senate races in 2020:

Amy McGrath to beat Mitch McConnell for KY Senate
Jaime Harrison to beat Lindsey Graham for SC Senate
Cal Cunningham to beat Thom Tillis for NC Senate

Here is ONE LINK to supporting our efforts for these three on ActBlue.com – a reliable grassroots fundraising organization supporting the democratic party nationwide:


(one link to rule them all and in the darkness bind them….)

Search on Facebook for my public feed under “Lara Coutinho” to see our comedy improv shows all through October! We will be running 2-3 comedy shows streaming live on Facebook each week through October! Share the link to this blog post, or the Facebook invites, or the ActBlue fundraising links!



Videos of Classes taught at eRUM – Royal University of the Midrealm

Thanks again to Andres and Oswyn and the rest of the staff of the Midrealm’s education branch for moving such great content online!

Here are the links to the classes I’ve taught for the online version of Royal University of the Midrealm (eRUM):

  • How to use Google Resources To Mimic A Website For Your SCA Hobby, 15 JUNE 20, https://youtu.be/DhIEDywRu88 
  • Commedia dell’ Arte for the Audience, 11 MAY 20, Sophie, https://youtu.be/esEYXy-RjxI
  • Conflict Resolution for People (Not Heraldry), 11 MAY 20, Sophie, https://youtu.be/gQ_K9cxc1tQ
  • Making Commedia dell’ Arte Happen in the SCA, 1 JUN 20, Sophie, https://youtu.be/0W6a6ezR7Ag
  • Taking the Teeth out of Stagefright, 8 JUN 20, Sophie and Lucia, https://youtu.be/bqeLd7MucN4
    • Second session of this class taught on OCT 11 – link to video TBA
  • My sister’s class “How To Create A Class From What You Already Know” was a class I was deeply involved in co-creating with her, she taught at Atlantia University on September 12 and at Royal University of the Midrealm on September 21. Here’s the link to the Midrealm class recording: https://youtu.be/acG2GQtWbKo 

More will come!



PS: I just have to add these links for other AMAZING classes taught and recorded at eRUM:

More Data on Coronavirus as of April 3, 2020

Coronavirus Data Dashboards

An amazing colleague of mine in Europe has compiled an excellent list of public “dashboards” that display different views of Coronavirus data. I’m sharing some of them with you now.

All the data in my previous post is still valid. The following dashboards offer many different perspectives on the same data. You as the user can dig into a high list of options for how you want to filter and view that data.

Again, be careful how much time you spend looking at this stuff. Take a break when you need to.

These two are really amazing:

ESRI – All Hazards Consortium https://ahc-covid19-ahc.hub.arcgis.com/
Map including state level restrictions compilation: https://early-alert.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/b4cff3aa546947e4812a233459b0b514

These dashboards include data compiled and presented by Germany, Italy, Virginia (USA), and even some high school kid who compiled data from the CDC and WHO.

  1. https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/478220a4c454480e823b17327b2bf1d4 – Robert Koch Institute (Germany)
  2. https://interaktiv.morgenpost.de/corona-virus-karte-infektionen-deutschland-weltweit – Berlin Morgenpost Visualizaton (Germany)
  3. https://disasterresponse.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/b0c68bce2cce478eaac82fe38d4138b1 – Department of Civil Protection (Italy)
  4. https://nssac.bii.virginia.edu/covid-19/dashboard – University of Virginia (Adds a time slider)
  5. https://www.quiverquant.com/covidtreatments – World Treatment Dashboard – free account required
  6. https://covidly.com/ – World Covid Statistics Dashboard (numerous different graph views)
  7. https://covidly.com/graph?country=United%20States#mortality – Covid Specific Country Statistics Graphs (editable by country)
  8. https://ncov2019.live/data – Covid Live Dashboard (High School kid from Washington State using CDC and WHO data)


My credentials: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laraccoutinho/ Lara Coutinho - Senior Knowledge Manager

Coronavirus Guidance as of April 3, 2020

Guidance regarding behavior must be backed up by hard data. Otherwise, your actions may be a waste of time or actively damaging. My previous blog post offered hard data sources for COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) cases worldwide (COVID-19). This blog post offers some additional guidance based on data compiled by sources I recommend as the most reliable we have.

For those folks struggling with where to find reliable data, and the interpretation of data that provides us guidelines, I recommend the following:
https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses – The World Health Organization (WHO) is the international gold standard for health related information.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html – The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers American focused guidance. This page offers an FAQ.
https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus-rumor-control – FEMA now has a rumor control FAQ.

One aspect of this crisis I have yet to find reliable data on is regarding how much one needs to clean the groceries when bringing them into the house. This is unclear because we have little data regarding how long this coronavirus survives on surfaces.
Remember, this is “Novel Coronavirus” which is a new thing never seen before. Data on other coronaviruses shows that they can live on surfaces for as long as a few days. This is what the WHO has to say about the topic:
“It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).
If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.”

My credentials: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laraccoutinho/

Lara Coutinho - Senior Knowledge Manager

Coronavirus Data as of March 31, 2020

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the Novel Coronavirus. This blog post provides a short summary of the public data available regarding cases, deaths, and recoveries worldwide.

The short short version:

Click this link to see the most up to date data regarding COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus cases, deaths, and recoveries worldwide: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

This data is presented in a map form. You can click on various buttons to filter the data to see what you want. The sources for this data are displayed as links on the map. Data is updated continually.

The moderately short version:

The data feeding this map is compiled by the Johns Hopkins University and shared publicly. Many other institutions use the same data and publish maps with a different focus to the data. For example, the US Army 5th Engineering Detachment’s Geospatial Planning Cell at USINDOPACOM (Honolulu, Hawaii) has published a map with the same data. The map looks different because the data is displayed organized by Combatant Command – the military’s way of dividing up the globe into regions.

To see the Army’s Combatant Command version of the COVID-19 data map, click here:


Army 5th Engineering Detachment Geospatial Planning Cell COVID-19 data map

Another organization compiling and sharing data is the World Health Organization. Their map is here:


World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 data map


John’s Hopkins University’s medical research institution has become the clearing house and source for the most up to date COVID-19 data, so most of the maps you can see publicly are getting their data from Johns Hopkins University.

For a quick 1 page intro to John’s Hopkins Medicine, click here: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/about/downloads/JHM-Fast-Facts.pdf

For a review of Johns Hopkins University that may give you more perspective on their stellar reputation for medical research, click here: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-medical-schools

A deeper dive into maps, data and sources:

ESRI is a company that produces mapping software. Most of the maps you can easily find online are using ESRI’s software to produce the maps.

ESRI also has a data catalog for COVID-19 data with descriptions of their sources here: https://coronavirus-resources.esri.com/

That ESRI link will give you more data and sources than you can read in a month of isolation. Click at your own risk. You may be in front of your computer for a while. 😉

About me:

I work as a Senior Knowledge Manager for Booz Allen Hamilton in support of the All Partners Access Network – www.APAN.org within the Unclassified Information Sharing program of U.S. DoD.

In plain English, my day job is managing unclassified information so users worldwide can get the information they need, when they need it, to make informed decisions.

For more detail, see my LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laraccoutinho/

Lara Coutinho - Senior Knowledge Manager