We “Audition” at Anne & Mark’s Art Party


Last month we were thrilled to perform a Best Of Mashup show at Anne & Mark’s Art Party, a wonderful event at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. We followed an awesome open mic at the Spoken Word Lounge, which included live music by the Mountain and the Moon. We kicked off the evening with a recreation of Brian Van Winkle’s “Audition,” as performed by Michael Weiland, Ivette Deltoro, and Adam Weinstein:

Many thanks to everyone who joined us on September 24! If you are interested in participating in future shows, please email us at playonwordssj@gmail.com. We are at work on a podcast using audio and video from past shows.

5 Reasons You Should Art Party It Up

Have you heard of the Santa Clara County gem that is Anne & Mark’s Art Party? We here at Play On Words had the chance to check it out in 2014 and were blown away by what we found. Want to get inspired? Here are five reasons you should go to the Art Party this year:

  1. Amazing visual art. The Art Party fills the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds with gallery after gallery of visual art–paintings, sculpture, performance art and more.
  2. Badass live music. We’re talking jazz, blues, opera, folk, rock, classical, and world music. Can’t go wrong.
  3. Fire. The Art Party creates its own Playa, a la Burning Man, featuring fire spinners, master welders, and all kinds of bright and vibrant pieces.
  4. Food. Bounce from food truck to truck! You won’t go hungry. Did we mention that there’s a great bar too?
  5. Spoken word. Check out the Spoken Word Lounge to see Silicon Valley writers read works of flash fiction during the fabulous Flash Fiction Forum–then stick around for Play On Words’ Best Of Mashup at 8pm!
Art Party, 2014. (Ryan Alpers / for POW)

Other things you should know about the Art Party:

  • The week-long arts fest lasts from September 24 – October 1.
  • Tickets to the opening night gala, when Play On Words performs, are $39.
  • To gain entrance for the full week of awesomeness, purchase an all-inclusive pass for $150.
  • Night owl? Buy the 10 at 10 pass for only $10–and gain entry starting at 10 pm.

Click here to buy your tickets now.

We’ll be rolling out our POW lineup over the next week, so stay tuned to see which fan favorites will be making their return. This event is a great introduction to Play On Words, as we’ll be trotting out some hilarious, absurd, and thoughtful work by local writers. Hope to see you there!

Anne & Mark’s Art Party 2016


We’re delighted to announce that after our hiatus, we will be presenting a best-of Play On Words show at Anne & Mark’s Art Party on September 24. This tremendous opportunity is afforded to us by our friends at San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum. Here’s what you need to know about this one-of-a-kind experience:

  • Anne & Mark’s Art Party: An Occasional and Irrational Art Fest is a week-long celebration of art at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Every year this exhibition gets bigger and more fabulous, showcasing art in all its forms.
  • The Art Party covers 34K square feet of interior gallery space for visual art
  • 300+ artists including visual, music, dance, fire, art cars, spectacle, spoken word, live painting, film and fashion
  • Food trucks and bars

Play On Words will be presenting original work on Saturday, September 24, the first night of the week’s festivities. Over the next few weeks we will be releasing more information about the show, which will be a mashup of our most popular performances.

Interested in joining in the fun? Buy your Art Party tickets here and get ready to explore a whole world of fun.




Betsy Miller’s “Collectibles”


Do you have enough Betsy Miller fiction in your life? We thought not. That’s why we were delighted to share more of her work at New Year Nouveau in January at Cafe Stritch. Watch Melinda Marks read Betsy’s “Collectibles”:

Betsy also writes under the name Bethany Gray. This same piece was previously published by Evil Girlfriend Media. She is one of the co-founders of Thinking Ink Press, a small independent press. She is currently working on a children’s picture book, Brooklynn Bunny’s Super Boots, and on a young adult novel called Dance, Interrupted.

Pratibha’s “Night Subway Crawl”


Happy V for Victory weekend, Playonwordsians. We’re delighted to share our next featured video from January’s New Year Nouveau show, showcasing the talent of Pratibha Kelapure and Taylor Sanders. Watch Taylor perform “The Night Subway Crawl,” as filmed by the handy team at South Bay Pulse:

POW fans will remember Pratibha’s work from previous shows. Pratibha is a writer, editor, literary coach, and performer. She is the founding editor of The Literary Nest journal. In her previous life, she served the Silicon Valley as a VLSI Software engineer. Other than that she is a wife, mother, and a community volunteer–she even volunteered to help us collect donations at January’s show (thank you!). This spring, she is hosting a writing contest through the Literary Nest for fiction, poetry and logo design. Deadline is March 30! Learn more here.

Thanks to all our fabulous writers, readers and friends who joined us in January.



Arte en Movimiento: London

poster baja

Playonwordsians: 2016 is off to a banging start. Our January 6 show at Cafe Stritch was a rousing success–and don’t worry, we do have footage coming!

In the meantime, we wanted to share the work of international artists that inspire us. Lorenzo Hernandez is an accomplished professional photographer whose work has taken him around the world, from Barcelona to New York to London. In case we have any fans abroad–or in case any of you fabulous writers and artists have plans to be in London this month–we’d like to share some information about his latest art opening, Art On the Move (Arte en movimiento).

poster bajaIn Art On The Move (Arte en movimiento) Hernandez captures the pivotal moment the Spanish art scene in London is currently going through, as well-established artists are being joined by a great number of newcomers seeking to progress in their respective careers and contribute to the cultural melting pot that defines this city.

Thanks to an event organised by the Spanish Embassy in October 2014, Hernandez had the opportunity to meet a wide variety of professionals of great talent, share experiences and talk about their respective projects. It was then when he realized that the contribution that the Spanish talents are making to London’s multicultural mosaic had to be reflected in an exhibition and a book of black and white portraits, conceived as a time capsule for future generations.

During nine months Hernandez moved around London, portraying fifty Spanish artists in their work environment and, camera in hand, inviting them to talk about their particular vision of this city. All these conversations and images are gathered in the book Arte en movimiento, which was launched this month in London.

As a complement to this exhibition, there will be a debate between the photographer and some of the artists that have participated in this project at the 12-Star Gallery on 23rd February at 6pm.

Lorenzo Hernandez started his career at the age of thirteen and has lived and worked in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, Paris and Milan, among other places. After having lived in London in the 1980s, he returned to this city in 2013. His most recent projects are the books LONDONvista and Manifashion, published by Aurora Boreal®. He is currently working on a book of portraits of Latin American writers.


Introducing the World of Bethany Gray

Melinda Marks reads "Collectibles" by Betsy Miller at New Year Nouveau. Photo: Andrew Christian.

Last week we were delighted to perform another piece by Silicon Valley writer Betsy Miller, who also writes under the pen name Bethany Gray. Melinda Marks kicked off New Year Nouveau by reading her story “Collectibles.” We’ll be posting video from that performance over the next few weeks, though in the meantime you can watch the show in its entirety at South Bay Pulse’s YouTube page (see Part I and Part II).

Melinda Marks reads “Collectibles” by Betsy Miller at New Year Nouveau. Photo: Andrew Christian.

Bethany Gray writes stories about things just below the surface of your life that you can almost see out of the corner of your eye. Gray lives in Silicon Valley, where she also writes about passive-aggressive wireless equipment that wants you to think it’s your fault. But it’s totally not.

Publications, Honors or Awards:

Betsy Miller is the author of The Parents’ Guide to Perthes, The Parents’ Guide to Clubfoot, and The Parents’ Guide to Hip Dysplasia. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and in various magazines and publications.

Upcoming projects:

Betsy Miller
Betsy Miller, also known as Bethany Gray

I’ve recently started using the pen name Bethany Gray for my speculative fiction set it apart from my children’s health books. My story “Collectibles,” which was performed at Play On Words, is a Bethany Gray story that was edited a bit for length. You can read the full-length version online at Evil Girlfriend Media, where it was published as an EMG short. You can also read “The Language of the Dead” at Youth Imagination magazine. That’s a spooky story for teens that was published for Halloween. As 2016 unfolds, stay tuned for more Bethany Gray stories, and possibly a Betsy Miller book.

 What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

I love seeing the actors bring stories and plays to life. The shows are a lot of fun.

POW Discount for Cellista’s “The End of Time”

Ryan Alpers and Julia Halprin Jackson read the prologue to "The End of Time" by Cellista at Cafe Strtich, January 6, 2016. Photo by Leo Alvarez.

Yes, you’re reading that right: You could be lucky enough to score discounted tickets to “The End of Time.” Intrigued?

Ryan Alpers and Julia Halprin Jackson read the prologue to "The End of Time" by Cellista at Cafe Strtich, January 6, 2016. Photo by Leo Alvarez.
Ryan Alpers and Julia Halprin Jackson read the prologue to “The End of Time” by Cellista at Cafe Strtich, January 6, 2016. Photo by Leo Alvarez.

Last week, at New Year Nouveau, we performed an excerpt of a piece written by Freya Seeburger (Cellista), a professional cellist, entrepreneur and performer based in San Jose. We were drawn to this piece because of its historical significance–it introduces the story of the “Quatuor pour la fin du Temps,” a historic quartet composed by Olivier Messiaen while held captive in a Nazi prisoner of war camp in 1941. Ryan Alpers and Julia Halprin Jackson read an excerpt of Cellista’s introduction to this famous piece of music, which she will be performing with the Juxtapositions Chamber Ensemble on February 20, March 12 and 13 at San Jose’s Anno Domini gallery.


Why do we love Cellista’s work? In addition to being an accomplished musician, her performances tell stories. Freya often incorporates multimedia elements into her shows; she collaborates with amazing designers and artists, and through her work with Juxtapositions, creates opportunities for fellow working musicians. For the End of Time shows, she’ll be performing with violinist Ishtar Hernandez, clarinetist James Pytko, and pianist Naomi Stine. Not only that, but she invited American artist Barron Storey, publisher of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Chronicles, to create artwork inspired by Messiaen. This original work will be on display at Anno Domini starting February 5.

Also–you can now view the full footage of our January 6 show on South Bay Pulse’s YouTube channel. To see us perform an excerpt of Cellista’s work, watch Part II. We’ll be posting excerpts from this footage on the blog over the next month or two.

If you haven’t had a chance to see Cellista perform, this is your perfect opportunity. She’s offering a special discount on tickets to her February and March shows for Play On Words contributors and fans–but you have to act fast, because there are only 10 discounted tickets available. All you have to to is click here and enter the code “playonwords.”

Want to learn more about her work? Check out her blog to learn more about how she discovered Messiaen’s quartet, and why she feels that San Jose is the perfect place to perform his important work.