100 Word Stories–Live

How short can a story be, and still be a story? This Saturday, Julia Halprin Jackson read 5 one-hundred-word stories at Play On Words’ Lit Crawl show in Clarion Alley. See if you can count along to “When Life Gives You Lemons,” “Bilingue,” “Crunchy,” “Like,” and “Career Day”:

If you like writing flash fiction, please send to us at playonwordssj@gmail.com. Our inbox is hungry for submissions.

Coming soon, to Clarion Alley…

Play On Words is thrilled to represent South Bay at the 2014 LitCrawl in San Francisco on October 18! This show celebrates our one-year-anniversary as a collaborative reading series–and as such, we’ve curated an exciting show that showcases some of our most frequent contributors:

Leah GriesmannLeah Griesmann‘s stories have recently appeared in Union Station, The Cortland Review, J Journal: New Writing on Justice, The Weekly Rumpus, and PEN Center USA’s The Rattling Wall. A 2010-2011 Steinbeck Fellow in Fiction, she is the recipient of a 2013 DAAD grant in fiction and a 2014 MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She is currently at work on a collection of stories.

Jimmy Allan read Leah’s story “Slave” at our October 2013 premiere. We will be performing an excerpt of her story “The Unigirl” in San Francisco.

Kirstin Chen is the author of Soy SaKirstin Chenuce for Beginners. A former Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, she holds an MFA from Emerson College and a BA from Stanford University. She has received awards from the Sewanee and Napa Valley writers’ conferences. Her short stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Hobart, Pank and others, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best New American Voices. Born and raised in Singapore, she currently lives in San Francisco, where she’s at work on her second novel, set on a tiny island off the coast of southern China in 1958.

Melinda Marks performed an excerpt of Soy Sauce for Beginners at our February 2014 show. (You can watch it here!) We will be performing her short story “Boys on the Roof” in October.

Brian Van WinkleBrian Van Winkle graduated from Southern Oregon University with a B.S. in Theatre Arts. He is a member of the Pacifica Table Readers. We performed Brian’s play “The Way I Picture it in My Head Is…” in February, and it was such a big hit that we are bringing it with us to San Francisco. He is a regular POW performer.

Nicole Hughes

Nicole Hughes completed an MFA in fiction writing from San Jose State University. Her story “Impasto Portrait” was published in Liebamour. As an MFA student, she was awarded the 2011 Ann Lillis Creative Writing Scholarship and the 2009 and 2011 James Phelan Literary Award. Nicole is one of POW’s three co-founders and the current events manager at Kepler’s Books. We’re thrilled to see her perform “Illimitable Space” in October.

Melinda MarksMelinda Marks has performed in the Bay Area for over 20 years, and has more recently begun trying her hand as a writer of short plays and as a director. She holds a BA from UCSC in Theater with an emphasis in dramaturgy, and an MA from San Jose State in Theater Studies. She will be performing her own translation of Dante’s short poems in October. As POW’s casting director, she has performed in every show. Check out our YouTube page to see a sampling of Melinda’s performances.

Julia Halprin JacksonJulia Halprin Jackson has an MA in fiction from UC Davis. She has received scholarships to the Tomales Bay Writer’s Workshops and Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. Her work has appeared in West Branch Wired, California Northern, Fourteen Hills, Flatmancrooked, Sacramento News & Review, Fictionade, Fiction365, Catalyst and Spectrum. She will be reading a selection of 100-word-stories at our LitCrawl event–and as a POW co-founder, she is thrilled to bring South Bay writers to San Francisco.

Ryan Alpers

Ryan Alpers teaches English and journalism in San Jose. He has a B.A. in literature from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a teaching credential from San Jose State University. While studying at the College of Creative Studies, he was published in the CCS Literary Magazine “Spectrum” and awarded the CCS Brancart-Richardson Award for fiction. A regular POW performer and contributor, he will be reading a few pieces for the October show.

Jeremy RyanJeremy Ryan is a POW actor who has performed as Chester “Cosmo” Collier in It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play! at Broadway By The Bay. Other favorite roles include Biff Loman in Death Of A Salesman (Broadway West,) Dennis Shepard/Aaron McKinney in The Laramie Project (Foothill Theatre,) and Chevalier Danceny in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dragon Theatre.) Jeremy is a graduate of the Foothill Theatre Conservatory. You can watch his performance of Adam Magill’s “Only Customary” here. He will be performing at our October show.

So…what are you waiting for? Swing by the Mission District’s Clarion Alley on Saturday, October 18 at 6pm to check out our one-year-anniversary show!

We’re All “Sweet On You”

If you’ve never seen an insulin pump before, it looks a lot like an iPod. Our May show featured a short monologue by #POW cofounder Julia Halprin Jackson called “Sweet On You.” A draft of this piece was originally performed at UC Santa Barbara exactly 10 years ago. It seems fitting to have this piece performed by the stellar Melinda Marks a few weeks before Julia and her partner Ryan tie the knot. Curious? Here’s what you missed:

Thanks, Melinda, for this beautiful reading. Shot Bloks and Gatorade for all!

 

Up Close and Personal with Adam Magill’s “Only Customary”

We at Play On Words have developed a taste for the fast, funny and ridiculous sketch. Cue playwright Adam Magill. Last May we produced his piece, “Only Customary,” at the Blackbird. Jeremy Ryan and Brian Van Winkle stole the show; Nicole Hughes and Julia Halprin Jackson made a quick appearance as well. There’s no better way to start your Friday than a little pants-ing action. You’ll see what we mean:

Big thanks to Adam, Jeremy and Brian for their hilarious and well-timed work. We hope you adopt some new, eh, customs, this Friday.

 

Play On Words: Spring Fling

The days are getting longer. The air is ripe. Students are graduating. People are getting married. It’s about time spring had one last hurrah, don’t you think? Join us next at 7:30pm next Thursday, May 22, at San Jose’s Blackbird Tavern for Play On Words: Spring Fling. We’re excited to announce our spring lineup: 

Jessy Goodman

Jessy Goodman is an imminent graduate with an MFA in fiction at SJSU. She recently one multiple awards for her writing, including the Lois King Thore Short Story Scholarship and the Owen Broyles Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement by a Graduate Student. Jessy is also fiction editor of The Rumpus.

Andrew Christian

Andrew Christian is a high school English teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Jose. He holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Creative Writing from CSU Chico as well as a teaching credential from San Jose State University. While studying English at CSU Chico, he was published in the CSU Chico literary magazine, “Watershed” and was featured in the 30th Anniversary Edition of “Watershed.”

Julia Halprin Jackson

Julia Halprin Jackson‘s work has appeared in West Branch Wired, California Northern, Fourteen Hills, Flatmancrooked, Sacramento News & Review, Fictionade, Fiction365, Catalyst and Spectrum, as well as selected anthologies. Julia has been awarded scholarships from the Tomales Bay Writer’s Workshops and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. She has an M.A. in Creative Writing (fiction) from UC Davis.

David WirthDavid Wirth has spent the last two years accidentally developing a belly, which only recently got round in a way that can be seen through a t-shirt.  Since this development, watching superhero movies has, in terms of his psyche/self-regard, become a challenging experience. Further, David Wirth lives in Salinas, where he is nearly always surrounded by beautiful things, especially in the early morning and late evening, when the light is really nice.  He likes words.

Sarah Lyn Rogers

Sarah Lyn Rogers is an MFA candidate at San José State University, where her emphases are fiction and poetry. She was this year’s recipient of the Academy of American Poets – Virginia de Araujo prize for her poem, “Rat Race.” When she’s not writing, Sarah is a mentor and copyeditor for Society of Young Inklings, and the assistant fiction editor for The Rumpus.

Christine Keating is a writer/director living in San Francisco. Directing credits include Little Shop of Horrors, Can’t Thread a Moving Needle, War Brides, and The Vagina Monologues, as well as staged readings at Custom Made Theatre, TheatreWorks Young Playwrights PRogram, and Santa Clara University. Recently, Christine assistant-directed Good People at Marin Theatre Company and Silent Sky at TheatreWorks. Writing credits include A Girl in Pink (Reading: stageRIGHT Theatre, Seattle), The Sisters Sirene (co-written with Amelia Bethel, commissioned by the 2014 SF Olympians Festival) and an adaptation of Sam Shepard’s short stories, day out of days (Reading: Magic Theatre). She would like to thank Play on Words for this wonderful opportunity! You can look at her face and read some things that come out of her brain at http://www.keatingmarie.com.

Introducing This Week’s Lineup

In the mood for a good story? A funny ten minute play? How about both?

Join us as we return to San Jose’s Blackbird Tavern this Thursday, February 13, at 7:30 pm. We are thrilled to showcase original work from six Silicon Valley writers, performed by local actors. Here’s our lineup:

First up is “Menage a Un,” a short play by Melinda Marks, performed by Brian Van Winkle, Jeremy Ryan, and Melinda. This piece plays with the awkwardness that accompanies unexpected romantic reunions.

Next we’re proud to feature “Platonic Affairs,” an excerpt of former Steinbeck fellow Kirstin Chen’s forthcoming novel, Soy Sauce for Beginners, which has been named a January pick by O, The Oprah Magazine and Glamour, and Chen has been named one of USA Today’s “New Voices”. Melinda Marks will be performing the piece.

Our first poem, “Vibration,” is by Darrell Dela Cruz, a recent graduate of San Jose State University’s MFA program. This wonderful piece captures the charged spirit of romance and will be performed by Adam Magill.

The next poem, “Here,” is written by Metro journalist Gary Singh and explores one writer’s journey to pin a story down. For 450 straight weeks he’s also penned a creative newspaper column for Metro, San Jose’s alt-weekly newspaper, an offbeat glimpse into the frontiers of the human condition in Silicon Valley. His poem will be read by Ryan Alpers.

Adam Magill will read Eli Hansen’s bombastic satire, “The State of Generation Y.” Hansen is an MFA student at SJSU, specializing in poetry. He graduated from San Francisco State University in 2011, where he served as the poetry editor of Transfer.

Our final piece is a comic play, “The Way I Picture it Is,” by Brian Van Winkle. Brian is a recent graduate of Southern Oregon University, where he received a B.S. in Theatre Arts with a minor in Shakespeare Studies. He is also a graduate of the Foothill Theatre Conservatory and a member of the Pacifica Table Readers. His piece will be performed by Adam Magill, Jeremy Ryan, Melinda Marks, Ryan Alpers, Julia Halprin Jackson.

We hope to see you there! Don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook!