Allison Landa Finds Love

One of the best parts of curating Play On Words shows is cultivating relationships with artists whose stories we learn over time. Such is the case with Bay Area writer Allison Landa, whose book Bearded Lady shares a first-person account of living with an adrenal condition that causes excess hair growth as well as obesity, infertility, and male-pattern balding in female sufferers. Over the years we’ve gotten to see this story blossom and gained insight into the main character, whose perspective of the world is shaped in part by her physiological experience. When it comes to new terrains, however, this character is caught off guard by one thing: love. We’re delighted to perform “When the Bearded Lady Found Love” this Sunday, February 24, at the San Jose Museum of Art.

Us
Allison Landa

Allison is a Berkeley, CA-based writer of fiction and memoir whose work has been featured in The Guardian US, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and The Mighty, among other venues. Landa earned an MFA in creative writing from St. Mary’s College of California and is represented by Miriam Altshuler of DeFiore & Co. She is a city of Berkeley Civic Arts Grant awardee, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and recipient of the Ginny Rorby YA Scholarship Recipient at the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference and the Lee Standiford Memorial Scholarship Recipient at Writers in Paradise. Her residencies include Playa Summer Lake, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and The Julia and David White Artists’ Colony.

Her work has been featured, not only here at POW, but also at Flash Fiction Forum, Why There Are Words, Lip Service West, Quiet Lightning, Porchlight SF, Fireside Storytelling, About Last Night Storytelling, Get Lit, Anne and Mark’s Art Party.

Allison will be teaching a class called “Writing From the Edge” at the Book Passage in Corte Madera on March 30 from 10 am to 4 pm.

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?
I love this series! I’m so honored to see my work go live in the hands of a talented actor!

Which writers or performers inspire you?
Stephen King and Jackie Collins. Seriously. Spalding Gray. Dave Eggers. Charles Blow. Tommy Tomlinson. Joyce Maynard. You, probably.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.
Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman. She has no qualms about being seen as a difficult-to-like narrator in the name of candor. I also loved seeing Robin Williams live at Bimbo’s years ago. RIP, man.

Join us at 2 pm February 24 to see Allison’s work performed live! Reserve your ticket now to gain free admission to the San Jose Museum of Art and RSVP on Facebook to let us know you’re coming.

Our New Horizons

On Monday night we gathered to rehearse for tonight’s show and the air crackled with electricity. Each story, poem and piece is dynamite, and our seasoned cast is more than ready to light up the stage at Cafe Stritch. Play On Words has existed for five years, and in that time we’ve gotten to meet so many amazing artists, writers, performers and patrons of the arts. Every show is special and every show is different. Tonight we bring Play On Words: New Horizons to life.

29790535_1241367555997066_1930253660190529930_nJoin us at 7 pm to witness amazing performers read work by the following fabulous writers:

1) “Teacher of the Year” by Arcadia Conrad

performed by Melinda Marks

2) “The Boy in the Van” by Marilyn Horn-Fahey
performed by Arcadia Conrad
3) “Dear Espanol” by Anjela Villareal Ratliff
performed by Ivette Deltoro
4)  “Bearded Lady” by Allison Landa
performed by Laurel Brittan
5) “Pence” by Michelle Myers
performed by Michael Weiland
6) “Receiptless” by Dallas Woodburn
performed by Jeremy Ryan
7)” Bleeding Heart” by Christina Shon
performed by Laurel Brittan
8) “Rite of Passage” by Tania Martin
performed by Arcadia Conrad
10 MIN BREAK
9) “Your Superpower” by Ann Hillesland
performed by Ivette Deltoro
10) “Construction” by Jon Ford
performed by Adam Weinstein
11) “Sister Fowl” by Maria Judnick
performed by Ivette Deltoro
12) “Toilet Paper Glove” by Valerie Fioravanti
performed by Melinda Marks
13) “Birthday” by Valerie Castro Singer
performed by Laurel Brittan
14) “Fisherman and the Cloak” by Charlene Logan Burnett
performed by Ron Feichtmeir
15) “Journalissimo” by Griffin Lamachy
performed by Michael Weiland
New Horizons will also feature live drawing by Michelle Frey (Instagram/boule_miche and @michellange on Twitter) and Clifton Gold of Luna Park Arts. Michelle teaches weekly live drawing classes at the School of Visual PhilosophySpecial thanks to our photographer Branden Frederick and videographer Ryan Alpers.

Allison Landa is “Not the Madonna”

At Play On Words, we love meeting fellow Bay Area writers, so we were delighted to receive a wonderful submission by Allison Landa. Join us January 6 at Cafe Stritch to see an excerpt of “Not the Madonna” performed live!

allison landa
Allison Landa

Allison is a Berkeley-based writer of fiction and memoir. A graduate of St. Mary’s College’s MFA program in creative writing, Landa’s work has been featured in Salon Magazine, You and Me Magazine, Word Riot, Toasted Cheese and Defenestration, among other venues. She has taken the stage at events including Flash Fiction Forum, Why There Are Words, Lip Service West, Quiet Lightning and Porchlight SF. She is represented by Miriam Altshuler of DeFiore and Company and is currently revising her memoir into a young adult novel. She shares her home with her husband, son and two manic Labrador-Australian Shepherd mixes. Stalk her at allisonlanda.com.

Recent Publications:

  • Salon Magazine
  • CherryBleeds
  • Word Riot
  • Defenestration
  • You and Me Magazine
  • Toasted Cheese
  • Swill
  • Sparkle & Blink
  • Cease, Cows

Honors:

  • Finalist, SheWrites Passion Project
  • Nominee, Micro Award Contest

Awards:

  • Fellow, Mendocino Coast Writers Conference
  • Fellow, The MacDowell Colony
  • Fellow, Playa Summer Lake
  • Fellow, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts
  • Fellow, Julia and David White Artists’ Colony

Upcoming projects:

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

It’s an exciting opportunity to see my work interpreted in a new and fresh way. Also, I dig San Jose.

Which writers or performers inspire you?

In no particular order: Stephen King, Jackie Collins, Michel Houellebecq, T.C. Boyle, Spaulding Gray, Ann Packer, Persimmon Blackbridge, and likely you.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

Gone with the Wind, both as a book and as a movie. Scarlett O’Hara rocks my world and has ever since I first read the book at 6 – yes, 6! – years old. I was kind of a weird kid. Not much has changed.

Sign up for our new email newsletter, RSVP for our January 6 show, tweet us, catch up on Instagram…and if you see us in San Jose we’ll usually accept a high five

As a reminder, our January 6 show will be collecting $5 donations at the door. We also will be live-streaming this show with South Bay Pulse–stay tuned to learn more!