5 Reasons to Partner with #POWSJ

photo-059_tonyaExciting news: Reading through submissions for our LitCrawl show this fall, we received so many amazing pieces through the transom that we have more than enough to feature in San Francisco as well as for our next show. Our challenge? Finding a space to showcase all of this great work. Today we’re going to go behind the scenes at Play On Words to illustrate to potential community partners why you should partner with us to make these shows a reality:

  1. We bring talented, diverse, original voices to the stage. Since our founding in 2013, we’ve produced the work of over 60 writers, many more than once. These includes former Steinbeck fellows, award-winning novelists, tech writers, teachers, engineers, fellow literary producers, journalists, and–in our last show–an eighth-grader with a keen eye for narrative. Finding talent is never the hard part. Finding space, however, is.
  2. We do all our own marketing and we promote the hell out of everyone involved, from writers and actors to photographers, videographers, and venues themselves. Play On Words shows typically attract 70 patrons at a minimum–more than 140 at our last sold-out show. Our homegrown marketing is the result of partnering with people and organizations we truly believe in, and promoting their work alongside our own. We will never stop singing the praises of our beloved Blackbird Tavern (RIP), Cafe Stritch, the San Jose Downtown Association, Anne & Mark’s Art Party, San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum, Redwood City’s Dragon Theatre, City Lights Theatre and the San Jose Museum of Art. We’re always looking for opportunities to promote our downtown and Bay Area partners.
  3.  We don’t need much. Our performances are stripped down–no major production beyond having a few actors on stage. The only requirements to host a show are ample seating, a stage or elevated area to perform, and amplification. We provide a photographer and videographer and are happy to share assets following a show. Most shows are about 90-120 minutes in length with a brief intermission.
  4. There’s a message behind our work.  We pour our heart and soul into every show because we believe in the work we do—we see art as a civic responsibility and an opportunity to learn from our community. In 2017 we partnered with the Flash Fiction Forum and a few community members to create Activate, a chapbook created in response to the 2016 election. We are currently planning a show that could elevate the voices of people stuck in immigration detention. We see art as an avenue to change, and we want to partner with organizations who share these values. Our mission to elevate, promote and perform the work of unknown and established voices is behind everything we do.
  5. And finally: we are mobile, pop-up and adaptablePlay On Words exists thanks to the network of tremendous writers, artists, community partners and patrons who have made each show possible. Because we have no brick and mortar theatre, we can bring a fully-imagined, 100 percent-planned show to any venue that can support performing artists. 

Interested in partnering with us on our next show? Email Julia and Melinda (because it’s just the two of us!) at playonwordssj@gmail.com so we can get the conversation started. Let us fill your house.

 

Call for Submissions: New Terrains

This week marks five years since our first Play On Words show at San Jose’s Blackbird Tavern. With every season, we’ve tried something new–performed at festivals, partnered with Flash Fiction Forum on a chapbook, staged live readings of television shows. This fall, we’re delighted to partner with the San Jose Museum of Art on its upcoming “New Terrains: Migration and Mobility” cross-disciplinary exhibit. We’ve got our first 2019 date on the calendar–Sunday, February 24, from 3-5 pm–which means that we need you, faithful writers and artists, to share your work with us!

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What Does New Terrains Mean to You?

For our February show, we are seeking work that responds to the theme of New Terrains: Migration and Mobility. What does that mean to you? Does new terrain denote geography, movement, space? Could it be a crossing of emotional territory? Or a literal reflection on what it means to move your body, your family, your city?

Send Us Your:

  • fiction (short stories, flash fiction, stand-alone novel excerpts
  • nonfiction (memoir, short essays, meditations and reflections)
  • poetry
  • theatre (one-act plays, sketches, comedy, satire, drama)

For prose pieces, we ask you to cap submissions at 1500 words. Depending on the work of theatre, you can submit something longer if it reads quickly.

Email us your submissions to playonwordssj@gmail.com by December 15 to be considered for our February show.

Join Us for the Exhibition Kick-off: November 15

We’ve been invited to present at the museum’s November 15 partner kickoff, which will feature many of the organizations contributing to the New Terrains exhibit. Mosaic Silicon Valley will offer a number of special performances during the evening. The international creative collective known as RadioEE will roll up to the party with Autopiloto, a marathon radio transmission that will be broadcast while on-the-move in a semi-autonomous vehicle traversing the Bay Area, examining how emerging autopilot/AI technologies are transforming the world. RadioEE will be live streaming their interactions with partner organizations and visitors while at SJMA, as part of their project commissioned by the Lucas Artist Residency Program at Montalvo Art Center.

Play On Words will be reading a few show selections at the event. We’ll be there to promote our call for submissions and enjoy an evening of performance, artistry and excitement. We hope to see you there!

Tickets are available on the San Jose Museum of Art website: $5 after 5 pm, free for museum members.

 

 

New Terrains at the San Jose Museum of Art

This year marks our fifth anniversary of producing original content in the Bay Area. Every year, we’ve been lucky enough to find great collaborators–our 50+ contributing writers, many of whom we’ve gotten to perform more than once; our 20+ amazing actors, working professionals who perform regularly in San Jose and beyond; and the community partners who have exposed us to new opportunities, venues, and artists. For our 2018-2019 season, we’re thrilled to announce that Play On Words is partnering with the San Jose Museum of Art as part of its “New Terrains: Mobility and Migration” exhibit.

New_Terrains_logo_walking_RGBThrough “New Terrains”, South Bay arts organizations band together to present a series of cross-disciplinary exhibitions, programs and experiences that explore how bodies move through spaces–social, political, literal and figurative. Projects address timely topics such as transportation and urban planning, navigation and orientation, public protest, immigration and migration, and mobility in its many forms. With expanding partnerships, “New Terrains” will embrace multidisciplinary thinkers and cultural producers through a growing range of events. Collaboratively presented through spring of 2019 by organizations of all sizes and types–from museums and artist residencies to community centers and civic think tanks–events and programs will take place across the greater Silicon Valley.

We are thrilled to throw our artistic hat in the ring, and can’t wait to learn from the multitudes of creative partners involved in this exhibit. Play On Words plans to host at least one (and hopefully more) performance as part of this show, and we will be sharing a call for submissions on the theme New Terrains: Mobility and Migration in the coming months.

Until then, we encourage you to check out the amazing programming at the San Jose Museum of Art–and if you have a short work of fiction, nonfiction, poetry or theater that responds to this theme at the ready, feel free to send it along for consideration at playonwordssj@gmail.com.

 

Nostalgia-Rama: August 27 at Dragon Theatre

Neat!

Big news, Playonwordsians! We’re returning to Redwood City’s Dragon Theatre on Monday, August 27, for Nostalgia-rama, an evening of comedy and drama performed by our stellar POW cast. If you’re as tired of the news as we are, and hungry for something fun, join us for staged readings of four of our favorite television shows: The Twilight Zone, Cheers, Tales From the Crypt and Wishbone.

Will it be funny? Yes. Will it be goofy? Most definitely. But most of all, will it be entertaining? You can count on it.

We’ll be rolling out more information about the show as the day draws nearer. In the meantime, RSVP on our Facebook page to stay in the loop. Hope to see you there!

Tania Martin’s “Rites of Passage”

Tania Martin

Just what is a rite of passage–and what does it represent? The lovely Arcadia Conrad performed Tania Martin’s short piece, “Rites of Passage,” last week at Play On Words: New Horizons. We have previously performed Tania’s “Suck it Up” and “The Pink Suitcase”, and were thrilled to read more work by her.

Tania Martin
Tania Martin

 Tania writes fiction in San Jose. When she’s not teaching art to middle school students, or working on her first novel, she enjoys cycling around the Bay Area on her Bianchi road bike. She is co-founder of Flash Fiction Forum, a literary reading series focusing on short works since 2013, and she is an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. She earned a BS in geology from UC Davis and loves hiking in the Sierra Nevadas. Her work has appeared in Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Flash Flood’s online anthology, and in the collection, (After) Life, Poems and Stories of the Dead, Purple Passion Press (2015).

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?
I love the way Play On Words combines the imaginings of both writer and actor to bring a new element to the work. And as a writer, it’s interesting to see my words interpreted by someone else. It’s like I have baked a delicious cake, and then handed it off to a talented cake decorator.

Which writers or performers inspire you?
I recently listened to the audio book, Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders, and loved it so much I bought the hardcopy and read the book too. I’m a fan of Louise Erdrich, Annie Proulx, Denis Johnson, and Zadie Smith to name a few; the poetry of Seamus Heaney and Elizabeth Bishop; and re-reading the classics: especially Tolstoy, Austin, and the Bronte sisters. I have wonderful memories of my dad reading The Hobbit to me when I young.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.
My parents always left lots of books around the house, and didn’t notice me reading the Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby when I was 12, and for awhile I was terrified of being possessed by evil spirits. But now I’m fascinated by superstition and mythology, and often write superstitious characters into my stories.

Couldn’t join us last week? Stay tuned for video from the show in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out Branden Frederick’s photos from our show on our Facebook page. 

Maria Judnick’s Fowl Play

It’s not every day that you read a story written from the perspective of a chicken–and a dark, slightly absurd one at that. We were blown away by Maria Judnick’s “Sister Fowl,” a macabre, fascinating and funny piece that we plan to perform next Wednesday at Play On Words: New Horizons.

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Maria Judnick

Maria is a Bay Area freelance writer and educator whose work can be found at KQED Pop!, The Santa Clara Weekly, and various literary journals. She enjoys participating in local reading series. During the summers, Maria coordinates National Endowment for the Humanities institutes for teachers. 

Publications, Honors or Awards:

Book Chapters:

  • ‘The Name of Hitchcock!  The Fame of Steinbeck!’: The Legacy of Lifeboat. (Chapter 12). 2014.
  • Hitchcock and Adaptation: On the Page and Screen.  Ed. Mark Osteen. Rowman & Littlefield. 2014.

Essay:

  • “We Should All Be More Like Steve Martin.” The Critical Flame: A Journal of Literature and Culture. Issue 50: September / October 2017. “A New Monument.” Guest Editor Ricco Siasoco. Ed. Daniel Evans Pritchard.

Poem:

  •  “A Directed Path.” Cordoba Magazine. (pdf) 2017

Flash Fiction:

  • A Swim Lesson.” Gemini Magazine Flash Fiction Contest 2015. Honorary Mention and honorarium

Interview:

“Maria Judnick Interviews Linda Spalding.”  MARY: A Journal of New Writing.  2013

“Maria Judnick Interviews Rebecca Solnit.” 2012

 Ongoing projects:

She is also is one of the editors of Activate, the chapbook we produced in partnership with San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum earlier this year.

Follow SJSU’s Writing Center on Instagram at @sjsuwc and check out their blog 

Maria kindly answered some questions for us in advance of the show.

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

I love celebrating local artists and writers – San Jose is a vibrant community for the arts!

Which writers or performers inspire you?

How much time do you have?  There are so many writers that have influenced me over the years and mentored me.  

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

I recently discovered Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and I found myself quite moved by some of the entries. I’m envious of the great things she did with that format too!

Want to see Maria’s work performed live? Join us at 7 pm next Wednesday, April 11, at San Jose’s Cafe Stritch.

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.

 

#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.