Category Archives: Writing

California Public Libraries and JukePop Team Up for the Summer Writing Project

BHP-Postcards-01-MSCThis popped into the email box this morning and definitely needed a share. Sounding somewhat like annual NanoWriting events, the Summer Writing Project is a must for all aspiring/and or already publishing authors to get words on paper and a voice out in the ether!

Black Hill Press and JukePop are collaborating with California Public Libraries to advocate writing and support reading with their Summer Writing Project.

This joint venture presents authors with the opportunity to craft their novellas a chapter at a time with immediate quantitative and qualitative feedback from their readers, while also broadcasting their words to an audience eager for the next great storyteller. The Summer Writing Project begins on June 1, 2014 and continues through August 31, 2014.

Learn how to participate (click the link)

In the meantime, check out this cool video called:

Hey Kid

Black Hill Press author Arianna Basco reads from her Contemporary American Novella entitled Palms Up. This mini-documentary was directed by Brendan Mitchell with cinematography by Jordan Raabe.

Tongue & Groove is Back at the Hotel Cafe, Hollywood This Sunday!!!


“Tongue & Groove” is back this Sunday with its monthly offering of short fiction, personal essays, poetry, spoken word + music.  Produced by Conrad Romo, this  month features: J. Dylan Yates “The Belief in Angels”, Marley Klaus, Michele Matheson “Saving Angelfish”, David Kendrick, Lauren Eggert-Crowe  and  music by  Amilia Spicer.

Sunday March 30th
6-7:30 pm
The Hotel Cafe
1623 1/2 No. Cahuenga Blvd.
Hollywood, Ca 90028
$6.00 (Dude…you can afford it!)


Here’s the line-up:

J. Dylan Yates was raised on a on a tiny, New England peninsula. Her debut novel, “The Belief in Angels”, was written over the course of many years while she attempted a number of BA-related jobs, including: teaching, corporate training, real estate, nursing, interior design, parenting, and reluctant housewifery. Prior to publication, her book won the Alexis Masters Scholarship Award at the February 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference. Yates is a professional musician.

Michele Matheson lives in L.A. with her husband, son and daughter. She has been an accomplished actress from an early age, both in film and television, and has also found success as a singer and keyboard player for bands such as Action Daddy and The Black Tales. Currently, she is working on her second novel as well as doing illustrations for a children’s book, and she is thoroughly enjoying her new life as a mom.

David Kendrick  came to Los Angeles by way of a phone call from the legendary Kim Fowley. He has played with 90 bands more or less. Some of note have been Gleaming Spires, Sparks, DEVO and Andy Prieboy. He is an avid collector of odd art and some of his finds have appeared in Clown Paintings by Diane Keaton. David’s ongoing music project – “The Empire Of Fun” to date has released a box set plus six other collections, including the fiction story  CD set “I’m sorry Mr. Kendrick, there’s a skull inside your head.” Recently he has had essays on cycads and fear published by the Laboratory Arts collective Hymn magazine.

Marley Klaus is a former Emmy-nominated 60 Minutes producer who also created the award-winning California public television newsmagazine, California Connected. After leaving journalism, she co-wrote a pilot for a television series with Tom Fontana, her short story “Cleaning Up” was a finalist in the 2008 Faulkner-Wisdom short story competition, she’s working on a novel, and is going through whatever training newcomers get in the seven major religious traditions and writing about it in her blog: The Heathen Learns.

Lauren Eggert-Crowe is a well rounded writer of poetry, essays, book reviews, interviews, and cultural reportage. She was raised in rural Pennsylvania and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from The U. of Arizona. She was voted Best Poet of Santa Cruz in in 2010 and 2011. Her poetry has also been set to music, in “Diary of a Black Widow,” a multisectional song setting by contemporary composer Christopher Pratorius, which premiered with the Santa Cruz Chamber Players in 2010. She has written 2 chapbooks and has published the highly regarded feminist ‘zine, Galatea’s Pants

Amilia Spicer has performed across a good portion of the USA, appearing at many festivals and clubs. She has two CDs Like and Engine and Seamless. Her music has been described as intimate, dreamlike, lighthearted, and moody.

Come early!  Seating is limited and they start on time!

There is usually ample street parking, but meters need to be fed till 8pm.  Read the signs carefully, but don’t park on Cahuenga. There is a parking lot right behind the club for 6 bucks or so or there are other lots on Selma between Cahuenga and Cole for 5-6 dollars.

Man Up at Studio C Artists – Gia Reviews

Man UP

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move


“You won’t like it, I promise.  But it’ll be good for ya.”

Studio C Artists is currently presenting a new original solo work “Man Up” by NYFA Fellowship and Critics Choice at BACA recipient (also Bourbon Street pilot) writer, Jonuel Pozo, performed by writer/actor/dancer/choreographer Derek Ringold.  It’s a “no holds barred”, scathing dissertation of what it really means to be a Peter Pan and asks the question: “But for gay men… is it ever really possible to leave Neverland?”

Set smack in the middle of a young gay man’s life, “Man Up” excavates debilitating inner dialogs, blighting insecurities and spiraling behaviors.  Exposed are nightly episodes of raw sex, recreational drug use, and bad boy on boy relationships, one of which turns extremely violent. “Man Up” leaves barely a stone unturned on the road to perdition for Mr. Ringold who is caught in a self-imposed rerun of, “I can’t get a man to love me.”

Mr. Ringold uses dance, multimedia, and the spoken word to explore the hurdles faced by gay men trying to make the transition into manhood. This production is a personal journey which follows Mr. Ringold’s own soul search to become a responsible adult male and leave behind the ever-present temptations in the gay male world to remain one of the Lost Boys of West Hollywood.

Truthfully, if I were a hard core WEHO party boy, on one hand I’d get a kick out of watching some other “girl” losing it on stage.  But on the other hand, I might get a bit queasy looking into this mirror.

Apart from shock value entertainment, which this show really isn’t (although the elements are outrageous), what “Man Up” does is far more interesting and purposeful; this story crosses “party lines” and gives a fairly neutral point of view about everyone, gay or straight, who struggles between the fantasy of staying young and fabulous forever and passing into the land of maturity.

With maturescence there is an opportunity to step into one’s true personal power. Being an adult has a lot of upside – stability, money, career fulfillment, relationship fulfillment; goals, dreams and desires no longer on hold or hard to achieve; less chaos, more happiness. But making that change also means you can never go back. It is the false perception and fear that our naïve, carefree, devil-may-care, more sexy self, will be left behind forever. And it gets Mr. Ringold almost every time.

However, Mr. Ringold is fortunate.  He has an encouraging mom, whom he loves, an off-handed lucky encounter with a guidance counselor who challenges him to take on a mentorship role, and a slew of ancient ancestors who visit in the night, through clouds of smoke and dance, and who push him to making the one cataclysmic decision to change his life.

This is a story to really “get down” with.  It’s so honest, filled with truth, humor and hope.  There’s no where to hide and it can hit you where it hurts.  It’s wonderfully dressed with the decadent shenanigans of Mr. Ringold and firmly supported by the precise writing of Mr. Pozo. Most important, in a very straightforward way, it clarifies the “struggle” and how every one of us gets to “the other side” while failing, falling, overcoming, achieving and even inspiring (others).

“Man Up” not only exposes Mr. Ringolds, but our own, greatest fears and the potential for our greatest joys.

TicketsTwo Thumbs Up!  This show is truly a success story for Mr. Ringold and a MUST SEE while it’s still here.



A Solo Performance by Derek Ringold

 Directed by John Coppola
Written by Jonuel Pozo & Derek Ringold
Produced by Michael Sonntag
Visual & Audio Mike Stathopolous

Studio C Artists
6448 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

October 5, 18, 19, and 26 @ 8:00pm

General Admission – $15.00 in advance ($20 at the door)

Approximate running time: 1 hour

Rogue Artists Ensemble: Have You Seen This Heart?


by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move


Dark and twisted, Rogue Artists Ensemble managed to captivate audiences with a macabre take on the classic Italian tale (with a twist) Pinocchio. Not a dry eye in the house? Definitely not me.

Gia On The Move has been following this “still in development” project since last October, it sounded so promising; and Sunday’s live reading did not disappoint. Staged scenes, a newly conceptualized Pinocchio puppet, 3D animations, a variety of special effects and SONGS (oh yes they DID!) truly made for an intriguing, attention-keeping experience.  Still in evolution, I’m betting that only good things can come from this show when it finally gets on its feet for real.

Read the breakdown below and follow Rogue Artists Ensemble, a unique company well-versed in the art of puppetry, on Twitter, Facebook and their website for updates.  You will NOT want to miss this!

Rogue Artists Ensemble, theatre, puppetry


Geppetto a suffering man, yearns to reconnect with his lost family and gets much more than he bargained for. In this world-premiere play for mature audiences the cricket is killed, Blue haunts us all and the Dog Fish lurks in the corner waiting to help you confront your fears.  As you live, and you die, what will you leave behind?

Over ten years in the making, Rogue Artists Ensemble’s PINOCCHIO will be a visual feast, combining masked and unmasked actors, highly expressive physical performance, dance, interactive sets, multiple puppetry traditions, projected media, sophisticated special effects and illusions. 

Pinocchio is supported in part by the Jim Henson Foundation, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.


Saturday Remembrances

love, loss, fear

#FridayReads – Lionsgate Acquires TV Rights To #1 New York Times Bestselling Series Crossfire

crossfire PM


Bookworms who follow the Award Winning Author Sylvia Day, are about to be caught up in CROSSFIRE!

The Crossfire series, which debuted only last year, was recently optioned by industry giant Lionsgate, for a new television drama.  The story of Day’s passionate couple, Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell, is being adapted for TV in what is destined to be a smash hit. Kevin Beggs, president of the Lionsgate Television Group, and executive vice president Chris Selak, are overseeing development for the studio.

The Crossfire Book Franchise of adult novels has sold over 12 million copies worldwide since its debut last year and had become a global phenomenon, topping bestseller lists in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia.

Entwined with You, the third and most recent book in the series, sold over 550,000 copies in its first week alone, becoming a #1 New York Times bestseller. The second novel, Reflected in You, also debuted as a #1 New York Times bestseller and was Penguin UK’s fastest selling paperback ever! The first novel in the series, Bared to You, was named one of Amazon’s Top 10 romances of 2012 and recently returned to the New York Times bestseller list.

“Sylvia has created an enduring, sexy and edgy story, and we’re looking forward to working with her to create a show that both excites and connects with audiences as her books have done.”

urlLionsgate is home to the highly successful book-­‐to-­‐television series Orange is the New Black which debuted on Netflix to critical acclaim in July and was picked up for a second season before its premiere. The studio also produces the blockbuster movie franchises Hunger Games and Twilight which have collectively grossed more than $4 billion at the box office worldwide. (For information, please visit:

The project was brought to Lionsgate by producers Jeremy Bolt of Impact Pictures (Resident Evil, Pompeii) and Stephanie Johnson of Clover Entertainment, Inc.


The Crossfire series centers on Eva Tramell, a young, up-and comer in the advertising world, and billionaire businessman, Gideon Cross, who are both trying to overcome their devastating and abusive pasts. As they are intensely drawn to one another, both physically and emotionally, the two must find a way to heal each other in order to move on and establish a healthy romantic relationship. Populated with a diverse cast of secondary characters and a vibrant Manhattan setting, Crossfire is both a contemporary and timeless tale of love and the fight for redemption.


Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of more than a dozen award-winning novels sold in 40 countries. Day is a #1 bestseller in 20 countries. She is presently serving as president of Romance Writers of America, an association of 10,000 writers. For more information please visit:


Saturday Inspiration

Saturday Inspiration

Unmoderated: A Reading of Eastsider Comments at The Hollywood Fringe

Unmoderatedby Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move


I was far too exhausted to really sit in on another show on Saturday night (6/9). But as I was already at the Fringe Mainstage, coming out of another preview performance which had just ended, I decided to jump in to this last minute, late night, pay what you can offering, and give it a whirl.  Unmoderated: A Reading of Eastsider Comments is a sampling of thousands of comments that were left on neighborhood blog in 2012, dramatic and funny.  They range from anti-hipster rants to show downs of sympathy and anger over victims of violence in neighborhoods from Echo Park to Silver Lake.

To note, this is a staged reading.  There is no dramatic movement choreography, no costumes, no sound effects, no music.  It is serious stage dramedy truly at its best presented by 8 tremendously gifted actors who, through merely character voice changes, bring to life entire neighborhoods along with their varied collective and individual opinions about the one thing we all find hardest to deal with in city life, change.

Change happens all the time whether you like it or not, whether you are a perpetrator, a bystander, a beneficiary or a victim.  To live in an urban environment is to be a legatee of fast moving history that splashes over us again and again in waves that disintegrate our old ways of life, to be replaced by new ones.  And it can break our hearts just as much as it brings us joy. In the city, the past is our present is our future.

Unmoderated, is simply brilliant in its undertaking.  Audiences who prefer whoop de do reviews, heavy dramas, improvs and pure entertainment may have difficulty sitting through this intriguing web of ordinary people speaking their minds.  On the surface it is deceptively dry material.  But not really…  Local Angelenos, however, will find it powerful, honest, close to the bone and possibly very hard to “take a side” as they listen to what could even be their own ongoing internal dialogs.  Unmoderated is so well done, so well put together. Anyone who really wants to discover inner city LA needs to sit in on this presentation. Excellent!

TheEastSiderLA blog is still running and you can check out all of the community dialogs and more presented in this play.

Two More Performances: Fringe Mainstage 6209 Santa Monica Blvd. map

Saturday June 15 2013, 6:00 PM

Thursday June 27 2013, 10:00 PM

Running Time: 1 hour


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.



On the Road to Pontelandolfo! Finding Family On Mother’s Day

On the Road to Pontelandolfo!

Nona's Mulberry Tree

My wonderful friend, mentor and former director Midge is starting a new family today on Mother’s Day.  It’s a family investing in its roots by travelling to Italy.

I love this idea.  What an inspiration!  Check it out.  Consider subscribing!  I’ve already done that (jealously of course – lol).



The Youngest Female Playwright in America Comes to Hollywood

zkZK Lowenfels is a 20 year-old female, and this summer when her play stages at the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival, she will be the youngest female playwright in America.

Making her playwriting debut with Sewer Rats at Sea – a daring genre-bending production that is a playfully crooked cross between clever bar banter and a JD Salinger novel, Lowenfels will be showcasing an even more important issue in American theatre:

Female playwrights represent less than 17% of all staged plays and staged productions in this country.

This will make her premiere a whopping triumph for herself and young women everywhere, along with The Hollywood Fringe’s decision to “break from the ordinary” and present her play.

Hollywood Fringe 2013“The Fringe Festival is a great opportunity to showcase ZK’s brilliance,” commented Aaron Lyons, a veteran director of the festival, to be held this June, who initially surprised by the age of the playwright, also commented “It’s a fantastic script with such a strong base. It hits you on so many levels.”

The drama plays out at sea as characters trapped on a yacht find their secrets slipping out. The tension mounts as one final, all-important secret looms ahead like an enormous iceberg in the fog, a truth that will shipwreck the status quo and cast preconceptions into freezing water.

Writing has always had a place of high importance in Lowenfels life at a very young age.  And it could also be said that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  Ms. Lowenfels had great influences starting with her great-grandfather, avant-garde poet Walter Lowenfels, fueled by the works of some of his friends and fellow troublemakers (Beckett and Henry Miller, among others). She’s been writing since age 5 and published since age 7.

Z was also encouraged by the rave reviews of her readers, and the help of her closest friend, young producer Gia Vangieri. Assisted by the muscle of Mr. Lyons (Pulp Shakespeare, Rise) this summer her words will come to life  in Los Angeles.

Tickets go on sale May 1

sewer rats at sea

Show dates are:

Theatre Asylum 

presented by Combined Artform · 6320 Santa Monica Blvd · 3239621632
Theatre Asylum map

Theatricum Botanicaum Gives The “Izzy” to Playwright Michael Gene Sullivan

Botanicum Seedlings,” Theatricum Botanicum’s development series for playwrights, announced yesterday, the recipient of its 4th Annual “Izzy” Award. The winning play is Recipe by Michael Gene Sullivan.

RECIPE-smFirst presented as part of last year’s spring playreadings, Sullivan’s comedy is about members of a vigilantly progressive baking circle who raise funds for revolutionary causes.

After its June playreading (directed by Jen Bloom and featuring company actors including Ellen Geer), Recipe was performed at Theatricum as a celebrity benefit. The August, 2012 staged reading was directed by Geer and starred Cloris Leachman, Amy Madigan, Wendie Malick, Jean Smart and Lisa Bonet.

The Izzy is named for Theatricum’s late dramaturg, Israel Baran, who passed away in 2007. To honor Israel’s keen mind, sharp tongue, and ear for language (despite the fact that he was frustratingly deaf), the Izzy was established to recognize the Seedlings play that “speaks to us the loudest.”

“This is quite an honor!” says Sullivan, a critically acclaimed playwright based in San Francisco. “First it was super-cool to have the script read and directed by such a talented group of women at a socially aware theater, but now winning this award is unexpected, and wonderful icing on the cake. Which is appropriate for a show called Recipe!”

Since its inception in 2002, Botanicum Seedlings has established itself as a vital resource for writers across the country. The series has been instrumental in the development of over 100 new plays, at least 25 of which have gone on to be published, win awards and receive major productions.

In addition to its public playreadings (scheduled later in the summer), now produced by John Maidman, Seedlings recently added new programs for playwrights: writing workshops and dramaturgy led by Theatricum playwright-in-residence Jennie Webb: The Seedlings Playwrights Workshop (the next session begins June 8; deadline is May 1 for playwrights to submit materials), Private Dramaturgy and Family Story Workshop.

13newloWill Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum is celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a year full of events.  For more information on Botanicum Seedlings and new programs for playwrights call (310) 455-2322 or visit Visit them on Follow them on twitter: @theatricum.