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

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 (

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.)


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 More general information, including a list of poems the students may choose to recite, can be found at

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

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


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.


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:

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

by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic
Image by Gene Schiavone
Paloma Herrera, partnered by Corey Stearns, beguiled the audience last Saturday night at the Met with the timeless classic, Swan Lake.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.



The Lord’s Lover: Gia On The Move Reviews

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


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



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

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?