I'm back from my MFA residency, and I can't think of a better welcome back to the Bay than tonight's event. I'm reading some poems as part of the special National Queer Arts Festival edition of That's What She Said! It's a variety show featuring a bunch of crazy-talented women, so I'll just be trying to live up to my place on this brilliant line-up. The poems I'm reading are supposed to be funny, and though it's quite possible that the audience will laugh at me and not with me, I know I'm going to have a blast. The show is hosted by the fabulous host of all hosts, Wonder Dave, and by Caitlin Gill, whose comedy is really blowing up on the scene
lately. The lineup promises, laughs, music, and more - visit the show's website
for details. My residency was a lot of work, but it was also so much fun, reminding me that one of my reasons for writing and performing is just to enjoy myself. So, That's What She Said! Queer Arts Edition is the perfect way to settle back into doing what I love here at home, and it's also the perfect setting for showing up as my real, strange self. You may remember that I was part of a previous edition of That's What She Said!, as half of the comedy duo The Hermana Sisters. You can watch videos from that show here on Vimeo.
It was so much fun! So I can't wait to be part of the fun again tonight, at 8 pm, at The Garage's new location, 715 Bryant St in San Francisco. Hope to see you there!
Click to see a bigger version of this poster! I know, we're pretty cute.
If you've been reading this blog recently, you already know what's up - it's Wellness Wednesday at CUAV, and this week I'll be helping facilitate as LGBTQ survivors of violence gather for food, games, and art. Visit www.cuav.org for more info. Wellness Wednesdays are new to CUAV this fall, and so far, one of the best things about them is that they're so much fun. You might say that we have so much fun playing games, sharing food and creating art that we forget it's all for the sake of healing. But it's not so hard for me to believe. One big lesson I've learned from working with everyone from the community movers of POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights) to the young folks of The Beat Within is that creating social change can, indeed, be a whole lot of fun.
At CUAV, we're building community power and helping each other heal, all with smiles on our faces. It's a beautiful thing.
I love knowing that you can change the world and have fun doing it.
Having fun reading at
The Living Room Reading Series
Laughter is a big part of my life these days, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I've been feeling free to write with more humor, and that work has been showing up at readings such as Saturday Night Special and the Living Room Reading Series. In fact, I think doing readings is part of what's been pushing me toward humor. It's great to feel the audience respond, and if that response comes after the reading in the form of applause or compliments, that's great. But it's even better in the moment to feel the room on a journey through the work, and hearing laughter is one of my favorite ways to feel that. And I've been engaging more directly with humor through the Hermana Sisters, the comedy duo I've created with my good friend Elaine Gavin.
While preparing for our debut performance at That's What She Said!, Elaine and I tackled some hard questions - How can we challenge what's offensive through humor without being offensive ourselves? Where do we draw the line between censorship and awareness? And what's more funny - Viagra or laxatives?We ended up taking on some of the subjects most important to us, all while laughing, and without crossing those lines we believe shouldn't be crossed. The most important thing, we reminded ourselves nervously as our debut drew closer, was that we were having fun. Still, there was a sense of something larger than that, an awareness that we would be both laughing with our audience and sharing perspective. Our tentative version of what the show's feature, Morgan, delivered in this hilarious, poignant stand up set from her point of view. See how we did as the Hermana Sisters here
. It's easy to think that doing hard, heart-breaking work, like trying to help improve the lives of the world's most vulnerable people
, would be a downer most of the time. Sometimes it is pretty sad. But the thing about creating change is that we're creating positivity, spreading the good news of better days just like we spread our smiles. Looking forward with laughter.More fun this week - Tomorrow, November 17, I'll be attending InsideStoryTime Twists and Turns, featuring an amazing lineup of Ishmael Reed, Frances Lefkowitz, Sona Avakian, Kenton K. Yee and Matthew James DeCoster. And on Sunday, November 20, I'll be celebrating my birthday with an afternoon reading at The Clattering Loom!
I owe this blog a recap! I've been keeping busy with a variety of events
, including some exciting new projects, so here's a quick recap of all that's been going on. Deeper reflections to follow.
Regie Cabico reads at
Lit Crawl for Matrices
- Matrices Press. Matrices Press debuted during Lit Crawl 2011, the final night of the literary festival Litquake, with a reading by the writers of Matrices: Origins. Writers included myself, Regie Cabico, Laura Wolfe, Willy Lizárraga, Antonio G. Fernandez, and the anthology's editor, Rajshree Chauhan. I mentioned that I needed to have fun that night, and it was indeed a fantastically fun evening. And even more than that, it was an event that made waves.
As co-host and collaborator of the next Matrices anthology, I felt unbelievably honored to be there as the event unfolded. The other readers' work was just breath-taking, and the sense of how vital this work is resonated throughout the audience. And the waves are continuing to flow. So far, we've received submissions
from Canada, France, Africa, and throughout the United States for inclusion in our next anthology. It's going to be amazing. Catch some video from the event here
, and visit the Matrices website at www.matricespress.net
to learn more about the project and how you can submit!
The cast of That's What She Said,
hosted by Wonder Dave
and Caitlin Gill
- The Hermana Sisters. The Hermana Sisters also made their debut in October, at the all-female variety show That's What She Said! Actress Elaine Gavin and I joined forces to take on cultural appropriation, women's roles in the art industry and more, all with a sense of humor.
The entire show was just magnificent, and it was so much fun to be a part of it. You can watch all of the second night performances here
. Folks have asked if the Hermana Sisters will perform more in the future, and the answer is yes! Check back soon for more information.
Wellness Wednesday participants helped
create this altar for a
Dia de los Muertos event with PODER
- Wellness Wednesdays. I've been part of the circle of CUAV members putting together Fall Wellness Wednesdays at the offices of CUAV (Community United Against Violence). And it's been absolutely wonderful to see what grows each week as LGBTQ survivors of violence come together for community fun, healing and food. Learn more about Wellness Wednesdays at CUAV's website.
I dressed as Gwendolyn Brooks
for Saturday Night Special
- Growing as a reader. I've been having so much fun at readings. At Hollie Hardy and Tomas Moniz's Saturday Night Special, I featured with the incredible Nathan A. Jones and readers in costume brought their best to the open mic. And at the Living Room Reading Series, I read among such great writers as Dan Langton. It was an unforgettable experience.
I feel that I've been growing in general in my writing, but especially in the realm of being able to read my work. It's a really good feeling, to be able to use such tools as humor, honesty and imagination to create work that can both draw a response from a room and feel true to my voice. I'm really looking forward to my next reading, at the Clattering Loom on November 20th. Find the details on my events page.