Discussion of art created in community, the role of art in building community and as an expression of community, featuring Chris Anthony, Jessica Ceballos, and Luis Rodriguez.
Readings exploring the deeply personal followed by a discussion on the line between art and life and the role of the personal in connecting to a larger community, featuring Douglas Kearney, Jen Hofer, Wendy C. Ortiz, and Amarnath Ravva, Stalina Villarreal.
Chris Anthony is Associate Artistic Director at The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. Chris is a director, teacher, actor and administrator specializing in community-based art making. Holding an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, she has taught in venues ranging from Elementary Schools to Adult Correctional Facilities. Chris oversees SCLA’s Youth & Education programs, specializing in youth development for adolescents. Recent directing credits include Lunch Lady Courage at Cornerstone Theater, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet, and Othello at the St. Louis Black Rep, and Romeo & Juliet at SCLA. She has been a guest lecturer at the UC Davis, University of Southern California, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal Poly Pomona and Laverne University. A former board member of TYA/USA, her other professional affiliations have included P.L.A.Y. at Center Theatre Group, TeAda Productions, Plaza de la Raza, and Shakespeare at the Huntington.
Jessica Ceballos is a poet who dabbles in music and photography. She’s a volunteer, community advocate, avid traveler, and cultural wanderer. Third generation Southern Californian, Jessica has been recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for her work bringing literary arts to the community. (She’s even been nominated as Angeleno of the Year !) In April of 2014 Jessica was elected into the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council(HHPNC) as a Director At-Large. As a writer, her work has most recently appeared in Cultural Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, YAY!LA, LA Examiner, La Boga, Hinchas de Poesia, Haight Ashbury Journal, EAP Journal #1, The RPB – LA Anthology, and RA, among others. She has featured at venues throughout Southern California, often with musical accompaniment. recently she’s collaborated with El-Haru Kuroi, Taco Shop Poets & Los Illegals and an LA-based jazz trio featuring Emile Porée, Aaron McLendon, and Isaias Elpes at the Grand Park stage.
As a member of the Hollywood Institute of Poetics, Jessica co-founded (along with Rafael Alvarado), organizes, and hosts the Bluebird Reading Series at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park, CA. In the past, she has hosted a monthly reading at Beyond Baroque and has co-facilitated their 20th Century Latin American Poetry Workshop. In 2013, Jessica was invited by Avenue 50 Studio to curate the Poesia Para La Gente reading series, taking place throughout the North East LA area.
Luis J. Rodriguez is a leading Chicano writer with fifteen books in poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and nonfiction. His first memoir, 1993′s “Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.” has sold close to 500,000 copies and is considered one of the 100 most censored books in the United State by the American Library Association. He is cofounder of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore and founding editor of Tia Chucha Press. He is also a renowned gang intervention/urban peace leader and has traveled throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, and Japan to read poetry, do workshops or speak. In addition, he is a Native American/Mexican healer and thinker, and has been involved in revolutionary social change for forty years. His latest book is the sequel to “Always Running,” entitled “It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing,” which in 2012 became a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Luis recently ran for Governor of California and is continuing the “Imagine a New California” campaign intersecting the three pillars of a healthy and thriving society—the environment, the economy and social justice.
Poet/performer/librettist Douglas Kearney’s second, full-length collection of poetry, The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), was Catherine Wagner’s selection for the National Poetry Series. Red Hen Press published Kearney’s third collection, Patter, in March 2014. He has received fellowships at Cave Canem, Idyllwild, and others. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Poetry,nocturnes, Pleiades, Callaloo, Fence, LA Review of Books, The Iowa Review, and The Ninth Letter. His produced operas include Sucktion,Mordake, and Crescent City. Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts, where he received his MFA in Writing (04).
Wendy C. Ortiz is a Los Angeles native. Her first book, Excavation: A Memoir, will be published by Future Tense Books in July 2014. Her second book, Hollywood Notebook, is forthcoming from Writ Large Press in 2014. She currently writes the monthly column “On the Trail of Mary Jane” about medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles forMcSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Wendy holds an M.A. in Clinical Psychology and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. A Writer-in-Residence at Hedgebrook in 2007 and 2009, Wendy is also co-founder and curator of the Rhapsodomancy Reading Series at the Good Luck Bar in Hollywood. Wendy has written op-eds for The Olympian and the Los Angeles Times, as well as numerous articles for Works In Progress in Olympia, Washington. Wendy is an adjunct faculty in creative writing and has also facilitated creative writing workshops with Los Angeles youth in juvenile detention facilities. Wendy is at work on a book based on her Modern Love essay published in The New York Times, as well as a poetry collection. She writes, parents, and works as a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles.
Amarnath Ravva has performed at LACMA, Machine Project, the MAK Center at the Schindler House, New Langton Arts, the Hammer Museum, USC, Pomona, CalArts, and the Sorbonne. In addition to his writing practice, he is a member of the site specific ambient music supergroup Ambient Force 3000 and for the past eight years he has helped run and curate events at Betalevel, a venue for social experimentation and hands-on culture located in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. He holds a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and an M.F.A. from CalArts, where he was awarded an interdisciplinary grant to help support his documentary work in South India.
Jen Hofer is a Los Angeles-based poet, translator, social justice interpreter, teacher, knitter, book-maker, public letter-writer, urban cyclist, and co-founder of the language justice and literary activism collaborative Antena. Her translation of Negro marfil by Mexican poet Myriam Moscona, published as Ivory Black by Les Figues Press in 2011, won the 2012 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets and the 2012 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Her other translations include the homemade chapbook En las maravillas/In Wonder (Libros Antena/Antena Books, 2012);sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre, a translation fromDolores Dorantes by Dolores Dorantes (Counterpath Press and Kenning Editions, 2008); lip wolf, a translation of lobo de labioby Laura Solórzano (Action Books, 2007); and Sin puertas visibles: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by Mexican Women (Ediciones Sin Nombre and University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003).
Her most recent books are the handmade chapbook Lead & Tether (Dusie Kollektiv, 2011); a series of anti-war-manifesto poems titled one (Palm Press, 2009); and The Route, a collaboration with Patrick Durgin (Atelos, 2008). She has poems, essays and translations forthcoming from Dusie Books, Insert Press, Kenning Editions, and Litmus Press. She teaches in the MFA Writing Program at CalArts and the Graduate Writing Program at Otis College of Art & Design, and works nationally and locally as a social justice interpreter through Antena. Most recently she has been hand-sewing quilted poems; her installation “Uncovering: A Quilted Poem Made from Donated and Foraged Materials from Wendover, Utah” is currently on view at the CLUI.
Stalina Villarreal is a Mexican and Chicana poet, a translator, and an instructor of English. The book (H)emötoma by Minerva Reynosa has been the main focus of her translations, for which she attended World to World, Mundo a Mundo in 2009 to workshop poems from the book. She is also the translator of “Grace Shot,” by Luis Alberto Arellano in Sèrie Alfa: Artiliteratura, “Eight Fabulous Animals” by Ilan Stavans in Eleven Eleven, and nine poems by Minerva Reynosa in the latest Mandorla. She has an MFA in Writing from the California College of the Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area. Stalina lives and works in Houston.