What does love look like, act like, feel like? Sometimes it is possible to be overtaken by a feeling, a person, a moment in time. We were so moved by Nita Duarte Lambert’s poignant performance of “When the Bearded Lady Found Love” by Allison Landa. Watch her February 24 reading at our New Terrains show at the San Jose Museum of Art:
Big thanks, of course, to Allison and Nita, and to Ryan Alpers for filming and Branden Frederick for taking photos of this wonderful afternoon.
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.
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.
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.
Join us at 7 pm to witness amazing performers read work by the following fabulous writers:
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 Philosophy. Special thanks to our photographer Branden Frederick and videographer Ryan Alpers.
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 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.