Okay, here it is. My Miley Cyrus post.
I wasn't going to do this. Not because I've been living under a rock, unaware of the pop star's recent antics, but because I've been hoping that she'll just go away. I've kept track of conversations about her, with people like Tressie McMillan Cottom
, Syreeta McFadden
, and Big Freedia
expressing how I've felt about Miley's choices much more eloquently than I could (seriously, click those links. They're essential reading). And, after so many mic-dropping moments of brilliant commentary, I really hoped Miley would just get the message, hang up her own microphone, and fade away from the center of pop culture attention.
But no. We're still talking
about Miley. Only now, much of the conversation
is about Miley's sexual expression and whether or not we should be encouraging her to put on more clothing
. And I'll be honest. In the grand scheme of things, considering the current degradation
and the historical exploitation framing the context of what's been happening with Miley, I really could not care less about what Miley chooses to do with her own body.
So, even though I'm well aware that there are plenty of issues
more important than Miley Cyrus, I've taken a moment to write about Miley. Because these conversations touch on issues that go far beyond the power of a half-naked pop star, and to me, it's important that my perspective isn't forgotten. That's why I'm sharing this poem, which I wrote in response to a Saturday Night Special
prompt of "wiggle." Read on to find the wiggle, and see if you can hear why on some level, while I hate to admit it, Miley matters to me. miley and me
I haven't been on the submission train as much as I wanted to be, but I've sent out a few pieces for publication. Most have earned rejection letters, and I'm adding those to the pile of rejections I can learn from
. But this week brought good news - an acceptance, and one I was really hoping for! Saturday Night Special, an East Bay open mic that invited me to be a featured reader last October, has put together an anthology zine with the work of some of the show's readers from the past year. That mic has heard from some spectacular writers, so I'm honored to have one of my poems
published among theirs. The poem is a piece that's important to me, so I'm glad to be able to share it with folks who are important to me, too. Tomorrow night is Saturday Night Special's anniversary reading. The anthology will be available to purchase, and I'll be there to read, along with several of the other featured writers.
I'm really looking forward to it. The event begins at 7 pm at Nick's Lounge in Berkeley. For more information on the zine, the reading, and the pre-reading potluck and generative writing workshop, visit the Saturday Night Special Facebook page
. Here's a taste of the delicious words in the anthology - one of the featured readers, Chanel Timmons, singing and reading her beautiful poetry at January's Saturday Night Special.
I wanna take a moment to give the East Bay some love. Because, too often, talk about the Bay Area's lively literary scene fails to reach beyond the limits of San Francisco. Because some of the liveliest, realest, most engaging literary artists I know hail from across the bridge. And because some of those artists have put together a really exciting night, the first of its kind in Oakland. Tomorrow night, July 7th, is the first annual Beast Crawl (get it? "East Bay" is "Beast" in Pig Latin). Beast Crawl
is Uptown Oakland’s first literary “pub” crawl, a free
festival featuring more than 125 poets, writers and performance artists in a single night, spread out over three hours and 25 local galleries, bars, restaurants, cafés, and storefronts.
One glance at the schedule
and you'll see that Beast Crawl is full of fabulous events. Leg 1 begins at 5 pm, and your choices include Cave Canem fellows at Lyrics & Dirges
, jamming with the Three Times Bad Band
in the Giant Burger parking lot, and more
. Leg 2 is at 6:30, with chances to witness the cultural exchange and inter-generational dialogue of Generations Literary Journal
, a special collaboration between Saturday Night Special and Grinder
, and more
. And the final readings of the night will start at 8 pm for Leg 3
. I'll be reading at Leg 3's Hella Soulful
, which is shaping up to be a dynamic, spirited, provocative event. I just can't wait. And the night still won't be over - the finale will be the after-party at Paradiso
, kicking off at 9 pm.
Visit the Beast Crawl website
for more information, including venue map, full event schedule, and author bios.
I already know Hella Soulful
's gonna be a great event, because I've done events with two of the other readers before. Safiya Martinez is co-host of one of my favorite local readings, the Living Room Reading Series, where I read last year
. Around the same time last year, I was a feature
at Saturday Night Special. My co-feature was Nathan Jones
, another Hella Soulful reader, and trust me, you don't want to miss a chance to hear him read. The rest of the Soulful line-up includes poet Jessica Dailey, artist Mica Valdez, and musician i.Ameni, with host Roger Porter.
Check out this video of a soul-shaking performance by i.Ameni for just a taste of what the night will bring.
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.
It's October, which feels to me like a turning point, at least for Bay Area writers. This time last year, I was relatively new to this blogging business, and I shared my giddiness
in anticipation of my first event as a featured reader
, taking place during Litquake 2010. Now, it's almost time for Litquake 2011, and it feels only right to take a moment to pause. To reflect on the past year, and to look forward to the next chapter in my life as a working writer, or something like it. For a review of the last year, see the archives. It's funny to me that I now have many of my experiences from over a year of my life
chronicled in blog form. For the next chapter, read on. There are many exciting events coming up, to launch the New Writers' Year. I'm realizing how much I've missed blogging over the last few busy weeks
, so that's one thing for me to look forward to - blogging regularly again. Here are a few more:
- Introducing Matrices at LitCrawl Phase 1, October 15, 6 pm. That's right, it's time for Litquake, San Francisco's Literary Festival. LitCrawl takes place on the final night. Start your journey on this literary crawl through the bars, laundromats and alleys of the Mission at Public Works, to witness the launch of Matrices Press.
- What is Matrices Press? It's a new project and publication, based on a longing to hear from those dynamic voices that are silenced too often. I've been helping Rajshree Chauhan, editor of Matrices: Origins, a publication launching during Litquake. Matrices: Origins features the work of myself and others, and we're accepting submissions for another anthology, to be published in 2012. Check out the details here!
- That's What She Said! October 19 & 20, 8 pm.I've teamed up with my good friend, improv genius and actress Elaine Gavin, and our amazingly awkward comedy duo will be featured at this variety show of women doing comedy, poetry, music and more. Join us at The Garage, and look out for future performances!
- Saturday Night Special, an East Bay Open Mic, October 29, 7 pm. I'm the featured reader at this special Halloween edition of Saturday Night Special! You have the option of participating as well - not only by dressing up and competing in the costume contest, but also by reading in the open mic! Or, you can just come to hang out, of course. Join us at Nick's Lounge in Berkeley. Got any ideas for literary costumes for me? Send them my way!
You can always stay updated on what's coming up by visiting my events page
. As you can see, I'll have a lot to write about, so come back often for the next year of blogging. Happy Writers' New Year! What are your resolutions?