Arcadia Conrad reads April Halprin Wayland

Today we share our final video from our January 17 show at Cafe Stritch: the inimitable Arcadia Conrad reading two poems by award-winning writer, activist and educator April Halprin Wayland. It was important for us to close our Activists Unite show on hopeful note–to show that though some struggles for justice take generations to gain traction, the legacy of the fight endures.

Many thanks to the many artists, writers and activists who made our January 17 show possible. We are grateful to you for loaning us your words and your talent–and we hope you submit this week to our April 11 show!

Anyone interested in purchasing Activate, our new chapbook produced in partnership with Lita Kurth, Tania Martin, Maria Judnick and Peter Caravalho, may place an order here.

And finally, to all our fellow activists: We’re here to carry your sign.

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Melinda Marks reads Cindy Stewart-Rinier

When we were planning the lineup for our January 17 show, we staged our pieces in an intentional chronological order. The idea? To show how different generations of activists have grappled with some of the same big questions, year after year, campaign after campaign, president after president. Melinda Marks was proud to perform Cindy Stewart-Rinier’s “Under Trump, No Good Deed,” a poem particularly suited to today’s world:

Hard as it can be to grapple with the challenges of today’s world, we’re glad to promote artists whose work we feel offers a little respite, a little tiny dagger of truth, a gasp of hope in a changing environment. Cindy’s poem is included in our new chapbook, Activate, which you can order here.

We’re still looking for short stories, poems, and plays under 1500 words for our April 11 show. Got something you’re proud of? Send it along as an attachment to playonwordssj@gmail.com.

Michael Weiland reads Ken Weisner

Sometimes nothing is funnier than repeating the words “Dick Cheney.” The amazing Michael Weiland proved that by reading Ken Weisner’s comic poem, “Ghazal,” at our Activists Unite show at Cafe Stritch. Couldn’t make it? Check out Michael’s performance below:

Ken recited some poems and read his own work last week at DeAnza’s Euphrat Museum during our chapbook launch party. Want to get your hands on our beautiful new book, designed by Peter Caravalho of Black Kites Press and produced in partnership with the Flash Fiction Forum? Fill out our order form to purchase your own copy!

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Ken Weisner read at Euphrat Museum on February 28

We’re currently reading submissions for our April 11 show at Cafe Stritch–and we need more work! Submit your poems, short stories, and works of theater to us at playonwordssj@gmail.com. Please note we cap submissions at 1500 words.

Laurel Brittan reads Arcadia Conrad

One of the reasons we encourage writers to participate in Play On Words is to hear what it sounds like to have an actor interpret their work aloud. Even if the writer is a practiced and comfortable reader–or even a fellow actor, such as the inimitable Arcadia Conrad–there is such value to be had in hearing someone else meditate on one’s work. We were lucky enough to have the amazing Laurel Brittan perform Arcadia’s thought-provoking piece, “308 on 308,” at our Activists Unite show on January 17:

“308 on 308” is just one of the 28 pieces we have included in Activate, our forthcoming chapbook produced in conjunction with Flash Fiction Forum. We’re thrilled to have a few copies of this book in hand tonight at DeAnza’s Euphrat Museum, where a number of #powsj and Flash Fiction Forum readers will be reading their own work at 5 pm. Hope to see you there!

Ivette Deltoro reads Leah Griesmann

What does activism look like in the 21st century? Leah Griesmann’s flash piece, “Before the War,” offers one street-level perspective. We were delighted to include her work in our January 2018 show at Cafe Stritch–as performed by the magnificent Ivette Deltoro–as well as in our forthcoming chapbook, which you will be able to check out in person tomorrow night at DeAnza’s Euphrat museum.

Until then, however, we hope you enjoy Ivette’s performance from last month:

Want to participate in our next show? We’re reading submissions for our April 11 show through March 10. Email us your original fiction, theatre, nonfiction and poetry as attachments to playonwordssj@gmail.com. We look forward to reading your work!

Laurel Brittan reads Faisal Mohyuddin

What did you eat for breakfast on November 9, 2016, the day after the presidential election? The subject of Faisal Mohyuddin’s poem makes a pretty clear statement: Sometimes you just need pie.

In case you missed her fabulous performance at Cafe Stritch in January, please check out the talented Laurel Brittan performing Mohyuddin’s poem, which was originally published on The Rumpus:

This powerful poem is included in our forthcoming chapbook, Activate, which we will have in hand this Wednesday, February 28, at a special reading at DeAnza College’s Euphrat Museum. Join us from 5-7 pm to hear a number of talented contributors read their work–and preorder your own copy!

Ivette Deltoro reads work by Christine Stoddard

While reviewing submissions for our chapbook, Activate, we were struck by the poem “Thirty Pounds in Three Months” by Christine Stoddard. We have been on the lookout for work that reflects the anxiety and challenges of today’s political environment, and Stoddard’s piece sheds light on a reality that many people living in the United States face. We were lucky enough to have the amazing Ivette Deltoro read this live at our Activists Unite show on January 17:

You can hear Ivette reflecting on this performance in our latest episode of the Play On Words POWer Half Hour. We also recommend joining her this weekend at San Jose’s City Lights Theatre for “boom,” a play by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. This show represents the hard work of the inaugural Mini Lights Emerging Artists program, which offers experience to up-and-coming theatre professionals.

And because this wouldn’t be a POW blog post without a call for submissions, we want to remind all our faithful fans and friends to submit original fiction, nonfiction, poetry and theatre to playonwordssj@gmail.com by March 10 to be considered for our next show.

 

Melinda Marks reads “Roque Dalton, Salvador”

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Melinda Marks. Photo credit: Leo Alvarez

 

What happens when you mix revolution with poetry? An ekphrastic story by Lita Kurth, perhaps? Today we are excited to feature Melinda Marks’ January 17 performance of Lita’s “Roque Dalton, Salvador”:

This piece is one of 28 included in Activate, our chapbook produced in conjunction with San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum, Maria Judnick, and designer Peter Caravalho. Want to learn more about this great project? Join us next Wednesday, February 28, at DeAnza’s Euphrat Museum of Art at 5 pm.

#Powpod Episode 9: Ivette Deltoro, Erin Southard and Mini Lights

Podcast alert! Our ninth episode is special because it features Ivette Deltoro and Erin Southard of the Mini Lights Emerging Artist program, Play On Words’ community partner. Listen to Ryan Alpers interview Ivette about performing “Thirty Pounds in Three Months” by Christine Stoddard at our January 17 show–and get the scoop on Mini Lights, a new series in San Jose designed to support young theatre professionals as they learn to cast, direct, fundraise, and market their own productions. Pretty amazing, right?

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Erin Southard and Ivette Deltoro of Mini Lights

Listen to this special episode on SoundCloud or subscribe, rate and review in iTunes.

Mini Lights’ first show, “boom” by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, debuts next Thursday, February 22, at City Lights Theatre in San Jose. Directed by POW co-founder and casting director Melinda Marks, it features Play On Words cast members April Culver and Michael Weiland. In other words: this is a show you won’t want to miss. Tickets are on sale here.

Speaking of great art: Play On Words is currently seeking short works of fiction, nonfiction, theatre and poetry for our April 11th show. We want to read your work! Email us submissions at playonwordssj@gmail.com.