Category Archives: Poetry

Crazy Underneath The Trees

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Spontaneity is decidedly part of Moon Mile Run’s philosophy; if they hear about something that needs a bit of nurturing—even if it’s a last-minute Open Rehearsal to support a piece—they just might consider getting involved.
 
And they did!
How could they ignore the work of two paragons of Los Angeles’ theater history: Darrell Larson and Rob Sullivan? These two were doing “edgy and raw” theater in the Seventies, before those terms were used to describe theater.
 
Larson describes the piece, Crazy Underneath The Trees: “…not a play, not a poem, perhaps a prayer, definitely a confession, possibly an argument, seduction or negotiation? All of the above, actually, and with percussion. The latter is supplied by the inimitable MIKE TEMPO, of BONEDADDYS fame, with special guest, PAUL LACQUES on guitar.”
 
So join Moon Mile Run in Silver Lake for a COMPLIMENTARY EVENT on Monday, May 11, at 9:30 PM. Spirit Studio (3711 Evans Street, off Hyperion, 90027). Reservation are not required.
Mark Bringelson                 Michael Kearns                       Ryland Shelton
 

The Carrie Hamilton at The Pasadena Playhouse Celebrates Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in Properties of Silence

 by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
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Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.   ~Buddha

For its commemorative 25th anniversary “Properties of Silence”, produced by About…Productions in residence at The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse is currently being paired in revival with a Convergence of Women’s Voices Salon Series of poetry readings, special performances, panels and discussions. 

Written by Theresa Chavez, Rose Portillo and Alan Pulner and directed by Chavez, this short play melds two seemingly separate yet parallel stories together which ultimately discuss the struggle for self-expression.

It is a simply breathtaking piece! 

The third part of a trilogy that deals with the inner voice as a possible source of personal spiritual and political truth, the play takes place in a multi-layered dreamscape highlighting not just its gorgeous, inspired presentation, but the very real importance of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a nun of  New Spain (Mexico) who in the 17th century was an acclaimed, self-taught playwright, poetess, scientist and philosopher. 

Sor Juana focused on highlighting and revering the beauty and necessity of earthly things, people, sciences and ideas as the real blessing of God rather than falling in line strictly behind Church dogma which was suffocating and unenlightening especially for women who were brutally repressed.  She became known in her lifetime as “The Tenth Muse” and the “Phoenix of the Americas”. During her life, she also acquired what is considered to be the largest collection of scientific and musical instruments in the Americas and possessed a substantial library.  Before being silenced by the Church, she was commissioned by the vice-regal court of New Spain, residing in Mexico City, to write verse and plays, a number of which were published in Europe.  

Sor Juana was silenced by the Church for being a woman but really, for being a woman of extraordinary intelligence and reason, attributes  that were forbidden by the Church itself for women to possess.  Sor Juana wrote during a time when the subjegation of women was absolute. Intelligence shown by any woman was considered and dealt with as a disobedience and even though she was completely devoted to her faith, much of Sor Juana’s writings are said to have been destroyed as part of her penance wherein she writes (or was told to write), I, the worst of all women...

Nevertheless, a few of her works managed to live on creating a legacy that could not be denied. Even the facts surrounding whether or not she actually signed the penance papers or that she completely conformed to her silence remain loosely in debate. She is considered the first feminist writer and a Latin American treasure.  Properties of Silence is inspired by her most significant poem, “Primero Sueño” (“First Dream”). 

Properties of Silence is as brilliant as Sor Juana’s works themselves.  It is hands down one of the most evocative, intelligent, accessible writings imbued with considerable simplicity and empathy for all women, for all, period, feminist or not. 

Set in Phoenix, Arizona and told all in poetic line and imaginary dream where the players cross time and space to meet, exchange ideas and confess their fears, the piece shifts lightly from past to present through metaphor and reality until both become one.  Barbara (Elizabeth Rainey) and Tom (Kevin Sifuentes) come to grips with their troubled marriage.  Sor Juana (portrayed by Rose Portillo) confronts her own imminent silence by the Catholic Church who is forcing her to silence her pen and her scientific inquiries.

Properties of Silence and the “Post-Silence” Salon Series runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m until March 29, with one weekday matinee on Wednesday, March 25 at 2 p.m. (dark Sunday, March 22). Four preview performances take place on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m.; and Friday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. 

Post-Silence Salon Series remaining highlghts.

Red Hen Press will present poets Nicelle Davis, Laurel Ann Bogen and Amy Uyematsu on March 12 and Gail Wronsky and Alicia Portnoy on March 20.

Scholar Barbara Fuchs, PhD on March 14; and writer/performer/activist Karen Anzoategui on March 21.

Mujeres de Maiz will present poets Iris de Anda, Felicia Montes, Rebecca Gonzales and Xitlalic Gujosa Osuna on March 15, and poets/writers Las Lunas Locas on March 26.

Starring Elizabeth Rainey, Kevin Sifuentes and Rose Portillo

Written by Theresa Chavez, Rose Portillo and Alan Pulner

Directed by Theresa Chavez

Original compositions by Julie Adler

Projections by Janice Tanaka

Set design iby Akeime Mitterlehner

Costume design is by Marcy Froehlich

Lighting Design iby Pablo Santiago

Choreography by Sarah Leddy

Original prints created by artists from the first Maestra Atelier at Self Help Graphics & Art in tribute to Sor Juana will be displayed in The Carrie Hamilton Theatre lobby.

Now Playing through March 29

at The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena CA 91101

POS_graphic-medWednesday at 2 p.m.: March 25 ONLY

Thursdays at 8 p.m.: March 12, 19, 26

Fridays at 8 p.m.: March 13, 20, 27

Saturdays at 8 p.m.: March 14, 21, 28

Sundays at 3 p.m.: March 15, 29 (dark March 22)

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Reservations and Information:

(626) 396-0920 or www.aboutpd.org

ADMISSION:

General admission: $30

Students with valid ID: $15

Record Number of California Counties To Participate This Year in “Poetry Out Loud”

Poetry Out LoudThis year, 40 thousand students, a record number, will  be represented in the Captiol for the California Poetry Out Loud state finals slated to take place on March 23rd and 24th in Sacramento, CA.

“Poetry Out Loud engages thousands of California’s high school students, helping them to build self-confidence, master the art of public speaking, and learn to love the written word,” said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. “This year, we’re proud to partner with thirty-five counties across California, making this our largest Poetry Out Loud State Final to date.”

In  outstanding participation, high school students analyzed, memorized and recited their poems in California. Only a few dozen, however, will stand on the state Senate floor for the competition finals.

Nationwide, Poetry Out Loud has grown every year. More than 365,000 students participated in 2013. And California features the largest, most exciting competition of all! Join theFacebook group to follow all the action.

Judges include California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera,  Filmmaker Christopher Coppola, and Poet and Arts Leader Frances Phillips

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The California Poetry Out Loud competition takes place on Sunday, March 23 (Round 1) and Monday, March 24 (Round 2 and Round 3). The events on Monday will take place in the state Senate Chamber and be recorded by the multi-media staff in the Senate and televised and/or webcast live on the California Channel (http://www.calchannel.com).

The Arts Council’s 2014 California Poetry Out Loud state finals are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Hewlett Foundation and are expected to be standing-room only, based on the excitement generated statewide and attendance in previous years.

Participating Counties

Finalists from the following counties are expected to compete in the state Capitol: Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Humboldt, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba. (Other counties participated in the program but do not have a county winner to send to the finals.)

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About Poetry Out Loud

The Poetry Out Loud State Finals is California’s culminating competition between county winners who have shown their merit in the classroom, school, district, and county (a pyramid competition structure similar to the spelling bee). The California Poetry Out Loud champion will win $200 from the NEA and go on to compete in Washington, DC in April, with the winner’s school receiving $500 for poetry books. The California runner-up receives $100 from the NEA, with his or her school receiving $200 for books. At stake for the national finals is approximately $50,000 in scholarships and related winnings.

Public Attendance

As space will be limited, members of the public interested in attending the competition should contact Poetry Out Loud coordinator Kristin Margolis at kmargolis@arts.ca.gov. More general information, including a list of poems the students may choose to recite, can be found at www.arts.ca.gov/poetryoutloud/.

About the Judges

Christopher Coppola is the Director of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute and a member of the California Arts Council. As President of Christopher R. Coppola Enterprises, Christopher Coppola has been a champion of, and leader in, digital media for over a decade. Since 1987 he has directed eight feature films and numerous television shows as well as developing and producing content for alternative distribution and interactive platforms. He is a member of the prolific Coppola family.  Coppola is deeply committed to education. His educational initiatives include helping to build a High Definition Research Laboratory at the San Francisco Art Institute, Coppola’s alma mater. The state-of-the-art lab provides equipment for shooting, editing and viewing, enabling students and visiting artists to discover new, artistic uses for high definition technology.

Juan Felipe Herrera was appointed California Poet Laureate by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on March 21, 2012. Mr. Herrera is the author of twenty-nine books in various genres including children’s books, young adult novels, stories and poetry, and currently serves as serves as Professor of poetry in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. He was a professor and chair of Chicano and Latin American Studies at California State University, Fresno, from 1990 to 2004. Herrera’s work has received wide critical acclaim including numerous national and international awards.

Frances Phillips is program director for arts and the Creative Work Fund at the Walter and Elise Haas Fund in San Francisco. Prior to her foundation work, Phillips was executive director of Intersection for the Arts (1986-94)-San Francisco’s oldest alternative arts space-and director and assistant director of the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San SACRAMENTO – Francisco State University (1980-86). She teaches Creative Writing and Grantwriting at San Francisco State University. Phillips is the author of three small press books of poetry from Kelsey Street Press and Hanging Loose Press. She served as a reviewer and poetry review editor for The Hungry Mind Review and also has published book reviews in Montemora, Poetry Flash, The San Jose Mercury News, The Washington Post, and other publications. With Stan Hutton, she co-authored The Nonprofit Kit for Dummies (fourth edition published in November 2013). Last year, she interviewed Margaret Atwood and Jamaica Kincaid on stage for City Arts & Lectures of San Francisco.

Good Morning…What does the bee say?

BeesTHE BEE – by Emily Dickinson
(1830-1886)

Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While he, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,
His helmet is of gold;
His breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee’s experience
Of clovers and of noon!

Let Them Eat Meat – A Solo Performance by Antonio Sacre Storyteller Extraordinaire

Let Them Eat Meat, theater, comedy, greek myth, childhood obesityby Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

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Antonio Sacre is a brilliant, seamless storyteller.

I first experienced his work back in 2011 at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in The Next Best Thing, noting his “touch of the poet,” as an ode to his Bostonian, Irish-American background, which I am well familiar with, being a former native myself.

I’ve been enthralled from the beginning.  In so many ways, where the Irish side of him is concerned, I know him utterly. I mean, seriously, every time he opens his mouth to do a caricature of one of his uncles or his mom, it’s like listening to my cousin Lynn, daughter of a fists of lightening, tough, Irish cop.  And I often feel more like an insider rather than just a viewer when experiencing the hilarity of a family that uses the word “fuck” as a reverential adjective as opposed to a curse word. It really is pretty funny.  I “get it.”

Of course, there’s the Cuban side.  As Antonio likes to spin it, “everything sounds better in Spanish,”  and the great benefit of his ability to orate bilingually, lends immediacy to the audience who is therefore able to culturally grasp his alter ethnicity which is very different, and yet, so much the same.

At the essence of all of Sacre’s stories is love of family. The juxtaposition of harsh to soft dialects, all the Latin bravado, the Bostonian staccato and the sheer variety of lively personalities within his own family, creates such a robust experience, one can only say, “Wow! What a life!”

This new tale, revamped from an outstanding 2012 debut in New York City, is not very different than anything I’ve seen and heard him do so far.  An intertwine of inconceivable personal history meshed with impersonations of family members, a little bit of hyphenated action and the key element of a myth to wrap inside or around his story.

This time however, it was most definitely, rougher. Let Them Eat Meat  is a serious exposition of Sacre’s relationship with his younger brother, Harry, a remarkably vivacious, smart, kid without borders, whose self-love, determination and penchant for getting into trouble, take him to a comical/tragical edge and back.

Beginning with being kicked out of multiple grade schools, Henry asks to live with his Cuban grandmother in Miami and makes an early rise to success at age 17 as a strip club bartender with a reputation for being the most likable, jokester of a boy who can charm anyone.  But as his success graduates to being a high rolling bookie, he is eventually indicted by the Feds as a key player in one of Miami’s most infamous drug cartels.

It is a Daedalus and Icarus themed account played out for audiences as if it is completely and practicably normal.  Only, in the most unbelievable triumph, Henry, unlike Icarus, does not sink to his death from flying too high, but in Antonio’s words, “learns to swim.”

In this story Antonio focuses into his Cuban ethnicity really taking time to describe ethics, the sweetnesses, the disappointments and the realities that clearly shaped him and his brothers after their parents bitterly divorced during his youth.

It’s not a simple “heartwarming” story.  It is fierce love realized through, exasperation, mild brotherly jealousy, comforts, jokes, profiles and music that  most audiences will assume to be highly improbable, but for Sacre’s natural authenticity.

Let Them East Meat, is an aboundingly honest Sacre, extracting the profound meaning of brotherly relationships for himself and the audience while finding perspective with one of the most important persons in his life.

Delicious.

Sunday, June 30th was supposed to be the last performance, but an announcement was made that the show would be extended for another two weeks.  Check the website for more information:

http://www.thesolocollective.com
@solocollective5

La Paloma Blanca Soars in ABT’s Swan Lake: The Model Critic Reviews

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by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic
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Image by Gene Schiavone
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Paloma Herrera, partnered by Corey Stearns, beguiled the audience last Saturday night at the Met with the timeless classic, Swan Lake.
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With the familiar but always revelatory music of Tchaikovsky, the transcendent and evocative fairy tale of love, evil, and final redemption, once again flirted with perfection: the grand sets, beautiful costumes, the text book classical choreography, and flocks and flocks of dancing swans.  With this, the dancers had only to breathe life into their roles to be transported to a glimmering palace, a shimmering lake, a primeval forest–all gloriously harmonized in magical effect. And one of the most remarkable qualities to this production of a ballet en blanc is that the emotional level always remains constantly thrilling, with lush musical variety,  compelling story, and clean, visionary choreography.
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Both Herrera and Stearns lived up to the proceedings.  Herrera, a consummate professional, owns the stage, its her playground. When you look at her closely, you realize she has always had a natural facility for the art form of ballet: a natural musicality, pliant body, exceptional feet, effortless turn-out. Added to these qualities, are her childlike bearing, her charming looks, and overall confidence and comfort in her roles. Is she as fast and powerful as she once was?  No, but never mind, that is nothing; she still has the maturity and artistry to create roses on the stage.
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But for a ballerina in Swan Lake to do well in the important pas de deux’s, she must have a graceful and competent Siegfried, and not enough can be said about Corey Stearns in this role.  He, in  large part, was the frame to Odette/Odile’s picture.  Partnering, he allowed her to capture three or more pirouettes, hold her arabesques for longer counts, and lifted and supported quietly and princely. You could see the confidence that was transferred to Ms. Herrera’s  performance, that conveyed a nuance seldom seen today in his manly, quiet, and reserved demeanor.  He is light in his movements, assured in his partnering and doesn’t overact.
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As for the Pas de Trois, Sarah Lane, Isabella Boylston, and Sascha Radetsky were sharp and clean, and presented fine individualistic qualities. Sarah Lane, with her more intricate, feminine movements, Isabella Boylston displaying more jumping ablitity, and Sascha Radetsky, quickness and strength.  Together, they created a celebratory unison that was very exciting.
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Von Rothbart, the evil sorcerer, play by both Thomas Forster and Ivan Vasiliev was dramatic and well performed by both, Vasiliev playing von Rothbart in sorcerer costume, and Forster as the elegant, magical guest at the Great Hall celebration. Forster performed well, but I wanted to see a more menacing sorcerer, one that makes women swoon, and conveys magic and danger, to this portrayal. I didn’t feel it. A much taller and angular figure is called for.
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love_conquers_allI have never seen Swan Lake not to have a deep affect on audiences.  I feel it has something to do with man’s deep connection to nature, a consciousness that arose at the tail end of the Enlightenment, when culture decided in the West that not all questions could be solved through Rationality–that through poetry, a return to nature, a bridge could be gapped, something mysterious and invisible could be glimpsed. Swan Lake does this well, and is always inspiring. It captures an essence that is fundamental to us all, a sort of holiness that almost seems Christian in nature. Evil thwarted, love transcendent, order restored.
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We all feel it; grumpy old men dragged to the ballet by wives, to perhaps catch a few winks; a young boy tagging along with his tourist parents dreading the occasion; well-dressed ballerinas, now retired, soberly reliving moments in the most knowing way; financial executives suffering a bad week in the stock market trying to breathe for a moment; a grandmother out with her friend from the West-side condo for their weekly outing; to the bright, budding ballet students prancing the aisles in contained anticipation. Everyone is smitten in the end.  And if you aren’t, then you must join Dorothy to see the Wizard, for something is not right. For this ballet says the following: Love wins the day, love conquers all forces, love is power, lifts mountains, abounds like the lake, nourishes, and transports us. Sounds familiar, but we always need the reminder.
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ABT closes out its season with a week of Sleeping Beauty starting July 1, 2013.

Hollywood Fringe Is Here!

 

Get Your Tickets Today!

Hollywood Fringe 2013

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

You won’t want to miss this…  June 13-30.

Since it’s inception, The Hollywood Fringe Festival has just gotten bigger and better every year.  A brilliant undertaking that has not only brought so much more attention to small theatre in Los Angeles, but has, re-vitalized theatre altogether in this city.

New and existing playwrights, outstanding scripts and performances, from musicals to drama, comedy improv and one man/woman shows to dance, (there’s film too!) that would not normally make it to the stage at all, are showcased here to audiences desperate for edge, art, entertainment and roller coaster ride experiences.

And one of the most fun aspects of this endeavor is that The Hollywood Fringe has successfully brought people back to Theatre Row and got them walking – YES WALKING in LOS ANGLES!, curious, adventurous and enjoying the urban life of Santa Monica Blvd and it’s partnering streets, vendors, theatres and more.

I’ve got a ton of tickets already and am trying to cram in more.  But if I had one recommendation to give anyone all year round, it would be to come for the authenticity!  

In the meantime, because of the enormous expansion of the festival, they could use a little help.

Our friend Colin Mitchell at Bitter Lemons, posted a letter today by Hollywood Fringe Festival Director, Ben Hill, talking about what it takes to, in just three years, become the largest performing arts festival West of the Mississippi. And, why an extra donation helps the artists who participate to receive 100% of the box office from their shows.  It’s a win win all around.

READ THE ARTICLE HERE

GO OUT AND GET SOME CULTURE!