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.
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.
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.
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).
In 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.
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).
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.
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.
Yes, you’re reading that right: You could be lucky enough to score discounted tickets to “The End of Time.” Intrigued?
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.
Well, Playonwordsians, we did it: we powered through New Year Nouveau. Thanks to everyone who joined us last night in person and online. We wanted to introduce you to one of our new contributors, Keiko O’Leary, whose piece, “The Golden Beauty of Carlina Johansen, Author of Milliner’s Dreams,” was performed last night by Alex Draa.
Keiko writes short stories, primarily flash fiction. She also organizes the almost-weekly writing group Write to the End. She is a co-founder of Thinking Ink Press.
Publications, Honors or Awards:
I’m proud to have participated in the Flash Fiction Forum’s first annual pubcrawl, where I read my flash piece “The Ghost of Ice Cream.” My story “White Mice” was also chosen for a Flash Fiction Forum. “White Mice” is available from Thinking Ink Press as a postcard that includes my original artwork Warning: Narrative Hazard. (Okay, I also make visual art. But shh! Don’t tell anyone.)
Since 2004 I’ve organized Write to the End, a writing group that meets most Tuesday nights. Anyone is welcome. Please visit http://writetotheend.com for details on how to attend. There you can also read articles about writing by members of our group.
Thinking Ink Press is looking for submissions. We consider any length or genre, but I’m especially interested in flash pieces for our postcards and Instant Books, since I design those. (Instant Books are small books folded from a single sheet of paper. They’re so exciting! Have you seen the one we did for Betsy Miller’s Play On Words story “Bees”?) Please see our call for submissions and our flash fiction publishing formats.
What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?
I love things like Play On Words. I found out about Play On Words because Thinking Ink Press launched the Instant Book of Betsy Miller’s “Bees” at Take Flight when Adam Magill read “Bees.”
And I’ll tell you a secret: When I was revising “Carlina Johansen,” I imagined it being performed, and I made my decisions with performance in mind. Seeing a Play On Words show inspired me to do that.
Which writers or performers inspire you?
It took me years to figure out that lead roles in Kate & Leopold, X-Men, and The Prestige were all played by the same actor: Hugh Jackman. I saw him in performance at the Curran Theatre, and even though I was in the VERY BACK row of a completely sold out house, the experience was like having coffee one-on-one. Now that’s skill! I aspire to write as well, and as intimately, as Hugh Jackman performs.
As for writers, I’ll mention Julio Cortázar. I read him in Spanish, and he writes like he’s making love to the reader. His command of syntax is insane – he can control you completely just by the structure of his sentences. I don’t know what the English translations are like, but he has a great (flash fiction!) piece called “Continuidad de los parques” (translated as “Continuity of Parks”). One of my favorite longer pieces is “La autopista del sur” (translated as “The Southern Thruway”).
Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.
I read Waiting for Godot in high school, and do I dare say I fell in love? I’ve since seen a few performances, and it always makes me laugh and feel understood, and it leaves me completely obsessed with the text. Even though I haven’t read or seen it for years, little phrases bubble up into my life from time to time: “A country road. A tree. Evening.” “There’s man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet.” The funniest part is where Pozzo makes Lucky “think” and Lucky spouts all sorts of repetitive and disjointed but conceptually connected phrases that seem to follow the structure of some sort of a logical argument. Just the rhythm of it is enough to cause uncontrollable giggling. I know there’s a lot of meaning to be found in that speech, but it’s also just plain fun. I’m sure Beckett had a blast writing that part.
Thank you for the opportunity to think about these things I love. I can’t wait to reread the pieces I’ve mentioned here. And I can’t wait to see the next Play On Words!
The rain might be coming, San Jose, but you know what else is? New Year Nouveau, our first show of 2016. We’re delighted to share our lineup for tonight’s performance, which starts at 7pm at Cafe Stritch:
“The Golden Beauty of Carlina Johansen” – Keiko O’Leary, read by Alex Draa
“Van Tribe: Dudley & Donnie” – Rick Alpers, read by Brian Van Winkle
“End of Time” – Freya Seeburger (Cellista), read by Julia Halprin Jackson and Ryan Alpers
“Fabulous Water Sports” – Roy Proctor, read by Jeremy Ryan and Ryan Alpers
For our online fans and friends around the world, we invite you to tune in to our live-stream channel, provided courtesy of the fabulous online and print magazine South Bay Pulse, at 7pm Pacific Standard Time. Intrigued? It’s easy as one, two, click:
South Bay Pulse was founded by journalists and graduate students at San Jose State University. Not only do they write great stories–they’ve mastered the art of live-streaming events such as CineQuest, and their YouTube channel hosts all kinds of great content, such as lectures from the Santa Cruz Music Festival, the SubZERO Festival, and interviews with Silicon Valley Artists. We’re delighted to be working with them on New Year Nouveau.
Bottom line: you’ve got no excuse to miss out on all the greatness that is headed your way. We can’t wait to share the work of our writers and artists. Grab a specialty cocktail at Cafe Stritch’s great bar, try out their spicy macaroni and cheese, drop us a few bucks at the door and prepare yourself for New Year Nouveau. See you there.