Category Archives: Poetry

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!

The Lord’s Lover: Gia On The Move Reviews

Juliet Annarino in The Lord's Lover
by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

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Seated at a small club table in the dark, inserted me right back into my early New York City gritty, speakeasy days, where live, storytelling was outlandish, the sky being the limit to an open imagination.

This time around was no different, except that The Lord’s Lover was in the room. Filling the space with its soulful sound, erotic, David Lynch like noir, blinking art and raw, beautiful burlesque, the Mad Hatter gathered all his wisdom and biting truth together to tell an awful satire about love and God, inspired by ancient myth.

The Lord’s Lover expressed the purely evocative through a gamut of lust, fantasy, shame, sourness, stasis and sarcasm.  The devices of parody were curious and often had a carnival-like effect.  But above all, this one performance, unlike any other, as I have not seen another of its kind in recent days, offered a wise fool’s impact.

A convoluted rondeau that involved text, poetry, live musical interludes and multi-media appealed purely to the senses.  But then, they weren’t aiming to tell a linear tale; a benefit to the cast and a satisfying release for an audience who needed more than just theatre.  This was theme driven high drama!

I honestly thought I was in for a “friendly, dirty comedy.”  I was if fact astounded to be “falling down the rabbit hole” of often peak, perceptive wit, engulfed in a sort of theatre in the round, which used the entire second floor of Los Globos to engage its audiences.

There were a few dry spots in the purely spoken dialog.  But this experience was well worth the ride and the ticket, I might add.  The Lord’s Lover is written and directed as well as all music and lyrics written by Juliet Annerino goddess supreme of the Torch Ensemble and strongly supported by a troupe of unique players: Jim Bolt, Tori Amoscato, Ruben Maldonado, Rebecca Diamond, James Maverick, Stream Gardner, Skip Pipo, Ruman Kazi, Andrey Priadkin, Robert Walters and Morgan Schutte.

The musicians of the performance were a knock out!: Juliet Annerino, Vox; Jimmy Williams, guitar; Reggie Carson, bass; Tori Amoscato, vox harmony; Clinton Cameron, drums; Blaine McGurty, keyboards.

And kudos to special effects, video, make up sound, lighting, costumes, etc. for an effective blending of artistries that created all of the special for this event.

Whether it comes and goes, stays or makes a comeback, The Lords Lover leaves an indelible mark in the mind, body and soul.  Who knows what will surface next.

“The truth? The truth has set them free.  I let them go! Their on their own now. Cruel. Cruel! ” ~God

Playing every Wednesday until April 24th.  Don’t miss the last performances.  You will regret it!

Artfully, sexy, colorfully bizarre and just a little wicked!

The Lord's Lover

Now playing at

WORTH THE TICKET!

WORTH THE TICKET!

Los Globos

Now playing in the downstairs room at 8pm Wednesdays through April 24th

40 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Call for tickets: 323-666-6669 or visit TheLordsLover.com

Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move, Departed actress

A Poet Speaks: Quentin Has On His Mind…

Quentin VolvertI know a poet.  A very young man looking at the world with a completely different perspective than my own.  Through his words I see what I don’t normally look for.  I am hearing the Gen Y voice.  I admit that sometimes I find it sad and shocking.  But life is not always beautiful for everyone.  Often experiences are so extremely opposite.  But I think in poetry we can come together.  We can see each other, hear each other and truly open our hearts and minds at an honest meeting ground.  So this morning, I told Quentin that I would publish his words that he sent over spontaneously (all the way from Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium).  No we’ve never actually met in person only online.  But I think he’s a divine youthful spirit in the world, on his way, on his journey to meet a destiny like the rest of us.

by Quentin Volvert

I seek the dust wandering in time,
Just in time to plant the rose and iris
To take up my blood flowing monsoon
Perhaps intoxicated by the flights of Alice.

Just in time to plant thorns
Who love their venom I hallucinating
Me an old Indian in a sunny vineyard
Singing constantly coaxing me the illusion.

Just time to perch on top of the tree
Observing the ambulance wander among the living kingdom
Of luxuriance. Tell me who is in the ambulance?
Who are the others who pay?

The wind cries of drunken nights I wander and white
In dust time. The time wandering proliferates
In our souls. Behind the comet, seeks its mark
In the dust, leaving the rest, the rest is hunting.

What are one of Quentin’s influences?

Musings of a Sunday Afternoon — but isn’t it Monday?

Well yes.  Of course it’s the beginning of the biggest week of the year – the most critical week in the life of every single American with our current election.  Take a big breath and plunge.

For those of you who are Astrological devotees, this should be a page turner for you…Election Day falls on the very first day of one of the most powerful Mercury Retrogrades we’ve seen in some time.  It’s probably going to get messy out there, confusing, electronically defusing or at least be VERY surprising.  We’ve decided to go with the flow on this one.

Here in California the Battle of Prop 37 has been raging.

If you’re unfamiliar with the proposition in short it’s to force genetically modified foods to have a label. So far the food industry has spent millions in California advertising against it. Those that are for the bill are not backed by big companies and as such have raised significantly less at this point.

I recently got a couple of videos from Chris at Kinkling Inc. who is donating his time to spread the word.  Below is the first of a set of videos.  Make up your own mind.


You can can view the rest by clicking the links below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhKmJ5JU8f4&feature=plcp
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlPm6KfLmX4&feature=plcp
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ8ZVCSv7NA&feature=plcp
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BvnXzWPyQc&feature=plcp

The WoodCutter’s Song… The Poor Man Renewed

Welcome, red and roundy sun,
Dropping lowly in the west;
Now my hard day’s work is done,
I’m as happy as the best.

Joyful are the thoughts of home,
Now I’m ready for my chair,
So, till morrow-morning’s come,
Bill and mittens, lie ye there!

On Saturday evening I visited the Fifth Floor Gallery on Chung King Road in Chinatown and saw for myself how two artists can make a true global difference in theory, craft, skill and marketability.

Dynamic duo Leo and Lishu of El Dot Designs have taken their OTIS educations on the road, country to country teaching local farmers who are living outside of their own communities and globally marginalized, how to use abundant natural and sustainable resources to create home goods while learning better ways of building.  What makes this work is that the designers go into a country and live for an extended period of time (so far they’ve visited Nepal and India), teaching modern design and how to apply it to furniture making craft.  Local communities immediately benefit educationally and are able to provide lower cost goods to native buyers.  On the bigger scale, it’s an opportunity to provide other countries such as the US with sustainable goods that are practical, useful, truly chic and simply beautiful.

“Bamboo in Nepal is considered a poor man’s wood.  It is so available that no one wants to use it.  But when we show the people pictures and videos about its use and application they get excited.  Bamboo is so incredibly renewable.  It’s durable, pliable and it converts 30% more CO2 than a regular tree.  A big part of our job is just convincing [them] of the benefits.”

And just for the record the El Dot team also constructs a great part of their US made goods from fallen trees.  No intentional chopping and cutting.  Just by pure donations and left-overs.  (They’ve even taken a request or two.)

The yield is amazing.

Sipping and Such…

I woke up on Sunday morning and knew I needed flowers.  As visions of outdoor gardens floated through my  fantasy, it occurred to me that along with a breezy tip-toe through the tulips,  Afternoon Tea was just the thing.

So I threw my spontaneity headlong into a reservation at Chado Tea Room on Hollywood and Highland, put on my prettiest dress and sandals and walked to the 2nd floor hideaway.  I got my flowers in the tea.

Scones, cakes and cucumber sandwiches were complimented by my current reading (and properly so) The Whitney Women and the Museum They Made – A Family Memoir by Flora Miller Biddle.

A definite girls afternoon, it was fun making new tea loving friends hailing from India (they really loved their Chai!) and looking forward to being invited to the upcoming festival (to be announced soon).

Tongue and Groove Eats Write at Muddy Leek Underground Supper Club Nov.3

On Saturday,  November 3rd @ 7pm Tongue and Groove will EAT WRITE in Highland Park hosted by the Muddy Leek Underground Sustainable Gourmet Supper Club and an evening with seasonal hors d’oeuvres, tapas, house brew & specialty wines.

As an award winning chef and member of Greenopia, Chefs Collaborative & Slow Food Nation, Whitney Flood is well -known for using seasonal organic local foods in developing his menus and his eagerness to experiment with new and unusual parings; a theme that will be topped off that evening by a visit from Boston born, Cuban/Irish/American, internationally touring writer and storyteller Antonio Sacre and singer/writer Alina Simone and a surprise guest poet; surrounded by unique and one of kind artwork of Moryork Gallery.

Tickets $70 for 1 Ticket / $120 for 2 (all inclusive) - Purchase tickets here: http://www.bonmelangecatering.com/muddyleek/?page_id=48

Antonio Sacre is a particular favorite with Gia On The Move.  Having experienced his work for the first time at the 2011 Hollywood Fringe Festival with The Next Best Thing it was clear that his deeply affectionate yet hilarious style of describing life growing up caught between two almost completely opposite cultures, Antonio is a poet of extraordinary proportions.  Get a taste here:

Alina Simone is a singer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY, known for her sparse instrumentation and raw delivery. She was born in Kharkov, Ukraine and came to the U.S. at a young age as the daughter of political refugees after her father refused recruitment by the KGB and was blacklisted for ‘refusal to cooperate.’  She first started singing in public, in the doorway of an abandoned bar on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas; soon after the releasing her first EP, Prettier in the Dark (2005). Get a taste here:

Tickets $70 for 1 Ticket / $120 for 2 (all inclusive)

Purchase tickets here: http://www.bonmelangecatering.com/muddyleek/?page_id=48

MuddyLeek Underground is a sustainable supperclub put on by Chef Whitney Flood & His Partner Julie Retzlaff.   bonmelangecatering.com/muddyleek

The Model Critic Reviews: Roundabout Theatre Company’s Cyrano De Bergerac

Reviewed by Carlos Stafford The Model Critic for Gia On The MoveCYRANO DE BERGERAC
by Edmond Rostand
Roundabout Theatre Company
Reviewed by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic
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Douglas Hodge explodes onto the stage and delivers an athletic, braveheart performance in a new robust production of  the great Cyrano de Bergerac, newly opened at the Roundabout on 42nd St.
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Armed with impeccable costumes, flashing sword play, Rostand’s rhymed couplets, inspired direction, and Cyrano’s plumed hat, Hodge delivers with swaggering panache.
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But of course, his Himalayan nose proceeds him, this colossal peninsula, this mighty stalactite, this ample perch for a bird–his nose arrives before he does.  But just as Cyrano’s nose has been his lifelong burden, it too has become his unwitting source of strength through his own separateness. For who is Cyrano, if not one of literature’s most inspiring romantic heroes–a lover, a poet, a fighter, a wit, a knight, all rolled into one. A man standing on the social fringe, unloved by his own mother; a man who has the integrity, humor and courage to stand audaciously alone, free and independent, to boldly speak truth to power.
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For all of his virtues, Cyrano will never miraculously transform from frog to prince and dine at the banquet of love. He imagines love, he divines love, he poetically rhapsodizes. But he keeps his heart quiet for the one he has always loved, Roxanne, and instead uses his profundity and wit as weapons to satirize the powerful, the false and the pompous.  He lives his life through word and deed, duels with imposters, and defends his friends. He is loved by his fellow soldiers and poets, but one must never mention his nose, or be met with forty inches of Toledo steel.
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We know Cyrano through film, stage, and literature, and it remains a work to be revisited.  As we see, the parallels to human nature are constant throughout the ages, and presently, as America struggles with its own identity crisis, of who we are as a nation, inspirational, ethical, and moral pieces as these will always be metaphorically welcomed. Yes, it can be corny and fatuous to a skeptic, but at heart, a very poignant and universal fairy tale for adults.
Cyrano is secretly in love with Roxanne from a distance. Roxanne, however, has seen a new recruit, Christian, and falls madly in love with his good looks.  She asks Cyrano to a secret meeting while Cyrano’s heart races, thinking she will finally declare her love for him. Instead she tells Cyrano that she loves Christian, and asks Cyrano to protect him from the other troops.  When Christian finds out of Roxanne’s love he implores Cyrano to write letters to Roxanne since he lacks the wit and charm.  Cyrano agrees and Roxanne falls hopelessly for his romantic, poetic words. In the famous balcony scene, Cyrano speak eloquently for him as well; his fine sequestered words wins a kiss for Christian. He then watches bitterly as they later marry.
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DeGuiche, the nobleman and captain of the brigade also loves Roxanne but is thwarted.  He represents everything Cyrano despises.  Richly outfitted, socially favored, and pretentious, DeGuiche represents the vices of aristocracy, and is played wonderfully by Patrick Page. When DeGuiche finds he has been outwitted, he  quickly dispatches Christian to the front lines in the pending war with Spain, so the marriage can never be consummated.
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Roxanne, played by Clemence Poesy, is a pretty and elegant presence, but whose character is mostly a catalyst in the play .Next to Hodge, who delivers his lines with power, bold inflections and style, her lines sounded mono-tonal and inaudible at times.
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The Direction by Jamie Lloyd (Old Vic, National, Royal Court productions) was brisk, fast paced and full of surprises.  Ragueneau’s (Bill Buell) bakery shop scene, with five apprentice bakers at their tables was hilarious, contrasted to the quiet convent scene at the end, years later, presented a wide range of emotional energy and meaning.
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Visually, the sets and costumes by Soutra Gilmour were impeccable. The costumes from the early 17th Century were strong, gutsy, and added a vivid, authentic atmosphere. Cyrano in his pantaloons, blouse, waist coat, sword and hat was perfect, as well as DeGuiche in his finery. Soldiers, friends, and nuns added to the look, and underscored the fine ensemble acting.
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At its core, this is a play about one man, Cyrano. Cyrano has no property, no family, no fortune, but speaks out against falsehoods, is loyal to Roxanne to the cathartic end. Unprotected, he dangerously has many enemies as he exposes sham and deceit. Edmond Rostand wrote the play in the late !9th Century, about a Cyrano de Bergerac who actually existed, a friend and contemporary of Moliere; however Rostand”s Cyrano is only loosely related. The play is about beauty, love, loyalty, endurance, and character and must be savored and reflectively appreciated. This production hits its marks on the nose.
Cyrano de Bergerac began previews on September 14, 2012 and opened officially on October 11, 2012 at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway (227 West 42nd Street). This will be a limited engagement through November 25, 2012.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
Tuesday–Saturday evenings at 8:00pm; Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00pm
Previews began on September 14, 2012 
Opening Night: Thursday October 11, 2012
7:00pm Early Curtain Performances: November 13–23, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012 evening performance: 7:30pm

Monday, November 19, 2012 evening performance: 7:00pm
Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 22, 2012: no performance
Complimentary Talkbacks: A discussion with the actors following the performance (subject to change without notice): Saturday, October 13 at 2pm; Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 2pm; Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 2pm; Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 2pm.
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Visit the website for ticket information and purchase:

AMERICAN AIRLINES THEATRE

227 West 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10036  |  Ticket Services: (212) 719-1300  | http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/Cyrano-de-Bergerac.aspx

Band of WYATT: A Sweeter Urban Music Adventure

Maddy Wyatt has long been a celebrated mainstay of New York’s singer/songwriter scene, with her lilting voice and hummable melodies earning comparisons to artists such as Feist and Stars.

Accompanied by Paul and Alex, her symphonious siblings, the three have been making music together since banging on pots and pans as kids. With the addition of Zach Lane (bass) and Dana Haynes (keys, vocals) WYATT  has morphed from a solo effort for Maddy alone to a collaborative adventure.  Since releasing their debut EP as a band in the summer of 2011 they have been making uniquely lyrical, completely unpretentious rhythms, appealing to the ears of audiences ranging from college kids to indie rock elitists; earning praise at festivals such as SXSW and CMJ.

Wyatt believes that music should take care of you, wrap you up like a comfort blanket.  I found out in person exactly what that meant when last month I experienced Maddy Wyatt touring on her own, making a stop at LA’s Room 5 Lounge on La Brea Ave.

Singing from the heart she changed from sotto voce to full body clear in a moment – as poetic and uncomplicated as the notes strung on her guitar.  “I have a feeling you’ll sneak up on me,” she sung.  And as I listen amazed and enchanted by her breathy vocal variations, occasionally accompanied by friend and fellow performer Daniel Zaitchik, I retorted in my head, “I have a feeling too Maddy.”  Evocative and moving but without heaviness, Maddy was truly like a perfect, bright August summer day that pulled on your heartstrings with September right around the corner.

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Gia: Kind of fun that you can use your own name WYATT and that happens to be only the coolest name for a band…lol…What do you think really sets WYATT apart from other indie bands?

Maddy:  Thanks! Well, with three of us in the band having that last name, it seemed like the logical choice. I had all sorts of crazy name ideas, but my brothers Paul and Alex were like “Yeah…let’s just call it WYATT.” I think the sibling thing is something that sets us apart. We’ve been making music together, on some level, since we were really little, so there’s a common language there that’s unique to us, I think. But the types of music we each gravitated towards (me towards folk, Alex to jazz, Paul to psych rock) all influence the WYATT sound, which I think creates a unique experience for the listener. It continues to surprise them. And us!

Gia: Your new song, “Leonah.”  It’s really sweet and fun.  There’s an innocence about it.  Can you give me a little bit of insight into it?

Maddy: Lyrically, it’s one of the more abstract songs we’ve got. I’d been thinking about the name Leonah for a while, just how lovely it was…and then Paul came to me with this chorus melody that was a perfect fit for it. It’s a very kinetic song, musically, and the words mirror that – it’s all about movement – getting out, getting away, having adventures, and having someone around who wants to have them too.

Gia: The music in Leonah is so earthly and yet urban.  What was your inspiration for it?

Maddy:  Musically, Paul was the impetus for Leonah. I think he’d been wanting to write something more repetitive and atmospheric for the band, but also a real honest rock song, which I think is what it became. It’s one of the quickest, easiest collaborations we’ve had – one of those songs that just came together – and one of the first times I felt like we were really on to something as a band.

Gia: …and the video…the imagery…friendship, joy, love…it also feels like a sort of internal journey, a little bit of a discovery…am I way off the mark with that?

Maddy: No, that’s great. Our friend and awesome video artist Brian Hissong directed the video, and I think he captured the essence of the song so well – which, for lack of a better phrase, is “do what the fuck you wanna do.” You know? Live your life, be true to your heart’s desires, and surround yourself with the people who will give you the freedom to do so, and love you for it.

Gia: I’m told a full-length album is also in the works.  When can we expect that?

Maddy: Yes! We’ll start work in earnest on the full-length in the fall, hoping to have it done by spring, right around SXSW time.

Gia: You are the singer/songwriter of the group.  What kind of pressure goes along with that.  How does the band stay balanced and sane?  Is that even possible?

Maddy:  I’m certainly the main singer and write a lot of the material, but we’ve become a much more collaborative band over the past year or so.  Paul and I write together so often now and arrangement-wise, it’s a real collaborative effort with the band.  Dana and Zach bring a lot to the table on keys and bass, and the band’s dialogue for what works and doesn’t work just gets more open and exciting as we roll along.  Communication a a big dose of humor keep us fairly sane, I think.

In terms of steering the ship, that naturally falls on me, and can get a little overwhelming once in a while…but, one thing at a time, right? And lists. I’ve gotten a lot better at making lists, and checking things off. Very satisfying.

Gia:  Maddy, with all of the songs you’ve written, learned, played, sung, what does your music really mean to you?

Maddy:  I think of our songs as a document, a way of getting through and holding onto the crazy difficult and gorgeous moments of life.  I’ve said for a very long time: music should take care of you, and that’s the kind of music I aim to write.

Kickstart the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival and Support Your Local Arts Community

Watch the video hosted by Hollywood Fringe Festival Director, Ben Hill, by clicking here. This link will also take you directly to the Kickstarter page.

This June hundreds of artists from all over the world converge on Hollywood for two weeks of shows, laughter and merriment at the third annual Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Countless mysteries lurk around every corner; shows that tickle, entertain, challenge, enlighten and overwhelm. Simply put, the biggest arts celebration in the West.
As we strive to improve the Fringe year over year, the expense of spectacle, mirth, and promotion weigh heavily on our financial resources. With costs rising and avenues for institutional funding shrinking, the sad truth is that the Fringe could disappear without your help.  And so we ask you – humbly, earnestly, and urgently – to reach into your pocket to support the Hollywood Fringe.  We need you more than ever. We have partnered with Kickstarter.com to raise an ambitious $20,000 for this year’s festival. If we reach that goal, the funds are released. If we don’t reach it, we get nothing (and you pay nothing).  CLICK HERE to sponsor the Hollywood Fringe Festival (make sure to check out the video on that page for more details).
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When the founders began this venture over 5 years ago, we had no idea this artistic movement would generate so much excitement in the global arts community. Our first year alone attracted over 170 artistic groups. We were blown away when our second year brought more than 200.
This year, our sights are set even higher.  We are launching new programs for standup comedy, music, students, internships, and environmental sustainability. Our central gathering point is a beautiful (some might say ‘epic’) two-storied complex with multiple stages, a concierge station, student and family events and lots of space for the community to gather, plan and converse.  It goes without saying that these initiatives come at great expense and sometimes the breadth of our ambition overtakes the availability of our resources.
We are a nonprofit which means we seek a percentage of our operating money from good people like you; those that understand that access to culture is critically important to our society and our community.  We know times are tight and all of us are counting our pennies; truly any amount, large or small, can make a huge difference.
Please consider helping a cause that matters to all of us.  A world without art is a cold place.  For a few weeks a year, the Fringe warms us up.  We want to keep it that way.
Kindest Regards,
Ben Hill, Executive Director
Hollywood Fringe 2012
Visit our Kickstarter Campaign to sponsor us today
Learn more about the Fringe at www.HollywoodFringe.org
Send any questions to support@hollywoodfringe.org