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Spoken Word

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Wyatt Act: Poetry Style SlamRock at a Dictionary Dance Party

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 11:53 AM

  • Seth Lael

Guinevere Q has long been known 'round these parts to be a fast-talking, no-nonsense, down-to-party mo-fo with no worry of running out of things to say. Anyone involved with the 16th and Mission scene or any of the circles that intersect with Viracocha probably know she can speak in tongues, and it's in part that talent of hers that inspired us to interview her for The Write Stuff. When I heard she started a band combining music and spoken word and that they were throwing a Dictionary Dance Party at Bottom of the Hill, I figured it was time to check in.

The band's called The Wyatt Act, and Q describes the sound and vibe as "high-energy, experimental, psychedelic, transgressive SlamRock for dancing! We love performance poetry," she wrote by email, "and we LOVE to put on a wild, entertaining show!" They try to feature at least one guest poet per show. Let's take a look:

How did the band come about? Did you meet the other members at 16th and Mission?

In a way, we merged together from the intersecting scenes of street corner poetry, activism, and the music community in San Francisco. We wrote "20 Motherfuckers" for 16th and Mission and played it there for the first time that same night. Our song "Rock Paper Scissors" was inspired by the decision-making process for who performs next when people jump into the circle at the same time. The song is dedicated to Richard Gutierrez, who creatively documented 16th and Mission with his two films, "Sweet Onion Salad" and "Rock Paper Scissors."

Breakfast met trumpet player extraordinaire Karissa McKelvey from the Brass Liberation Orchestra, San Francisco's best protesting marching band. We met our wacky and talented guitar player, Seth Lael, through Balanced Breakfast, which is a meet up of music industry professionals founded and based here in San Francisco. I got involved with Balanced Breakfast through Andy Strong's poetry project at Piano Fight.

We LOVE to bring that live, Dans la Rue feel to our performance. We're lucky enough to have the opportunity to feature guest poetry performers at our shows, including Charlie Getter, Casey Anne Gardner, Jon Bennett, and Baraka Noel aka Jung Marx. Viracocha has been an incredible inspiration in bringing performance poetry and rowdy music together.

As bandmates, we also share similar social justice causes. There tends to be a political undertone to most of our songs. Some are more overt than others, but we always try to keep it comical and danceable. We're honored to be doing a Pussy Riot-esque set for Zarina Zabrinsky's The Arts Resistance for the Right to Love: In Support of LGBT Rights in Russia at Liminal on Friday, May 29.

What's the process of songwriting like for you guys? I'm always so interested in how people combine music and writing.

First, we write poems. Those poems become lyrics. Then those lyrics grow into songs. In my opinion, poetry loathes being whispered into crumbled books in quiet cafes. Poetry wants to breathe, to be belted out, to be danced with, to vibrate down to the core of the soul!

Anything else you can tell me about the show that's not on the invite?

Our Dictionary Dance Party will feature a sexy burlesque performance by Clavicle Cupcake, an exuberant freestyle by Baraka Noel aka Jung Marx accompanied by an improvised piece in a style we call "The Dead Phish Incident" and free drinks for the first 20 motherfuckers to say "The Wyatt Act" at the door!

  • Ange Tran
The Wyatt Act is:
Breakfast - Sax, Keys, Guitar
Guinevere Q - Bass, Vocals
Jason Young aka Young Sun - Drums
Karissa McKelvey - Trumpet, Guitar
Seth Lael - Guitar

Upcoming shows:
• April 21: Dictionary Dance Party - Bottom of the HIll
• May 8: Battle of the Bands - Lennon Studios
• May 9: Guinevere Q's 1st Annual 29th Birthday Party - Mutiny Radio
• May 29: The Arts Resistance for the Right to Love: In Support of the LGBT Community in Russia presented by Zarina Zabrinsky - Liminal and All Points

The Wyatt Act: Dictionary Dance Party, Tuesday, April 21, 8:30 p.m., at Bottom of the Hill,1233 17th St., $8.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Disruptions, a #BlackLivesMatter Spoken Word Event and Panel Discussion at Red Poppy

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 11:00 AM

  • Red Poppy Art House

For months now, we’ve heard the call from protestors urging America to recognize that #BlackLivesMatter — and #BrownLivesMatter, and #TransLivesMatter. A movement that looked to be sputtering out in late winter has lately seen renewed vigor, with protests against police violence breaking out across San Francisco and Oakland just this week.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Party People: The Heart of Revolution

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM

You can practice and perfect a borrowed revolution, but what if you could make your own?

That radical idea rumbles from the basement of Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor program and gives rise to Party People, the cage-rattling production opening October 24. Incubated in workshops and residencies, fermented in the steep juices of creative minds, and injected with the energy of of live video, hip hop, jazz, rock, gospel, blues,

Latin rhythms, and spoken word, Party People unpacks the legacy of the Black Panthers and Young Lords through the eyes of young counterculturalists at an art opening.

Written by Universes (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, and William Ruiz), an international, racially-mixed ensemble known for possessing a rumble of their own, Liesl Tommy, associate director at Berkeley Rep, directs. Party People premiered in 2012 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). Since then, the play has undergone renovation.

Tommy entered the scene a full year before the OSF opening and said in an interview that collaboration has been a pivot point all along. Centralizing the voices of people interviewed, writers, dramaturges, Artistic Director Tony Taccone, the cast, Tommy and the rest of the creative team has meant change. But isn’t that the heart of revolution?

That rhetorical question wasn’t the only one we had. Here, Tommy answered further queries by email.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Write Stuff: Tatyana Brown on Being a Few Miles Ahead of Successful

Posted By on Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 1:00 PM

  • Benjamin Lzicar

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

Tatyana Brown is the founding Captain of The Lit Slam, a San Francisco-based, live-audience curated literary show and poetry journal. She ranked 4th at the 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam and has toured North America ever since, facilitating workshops and performing at venues for storytelling and poetry. Her work has appeared on NPR's storytelling show, Snap Judgment, and she holds the distinct honor of winning the longest consecutive string of XXX Haiku Deathmatch Championships at Oakland's Tourettes Without Regrets.

When people ask what do you do, you tell them ... ?

Some or all of the following: I publish an annual poetry journal based on live audience responses to a monthly reading series (which I also curate and produce). I tour all over the country performing my own poetry, teaching writing/performance workshops, and giving talks on subjects ranging from slam as a contemporary American literary tradition to how to tell ethical dirty jokes to practical methods for interrupting and dismantling systemic oppression in real time. I write essays about creativity, privilege, and my experiences as a working class queer progressive artist. I talk about my feelings way more than the average citizen and am perpetually annoyed with my inability to eat gluten. I climb on things I shouldn't. Sometimes I cry in public. I collect bad ideas and silly hats with a near professional level of expertise.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Write Stuff: Chris Peck the Town Crier on Cultivating Personal Language and Being Part of a Continuum

Posted By on Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 12:07 PM

  • Austin Peck

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

Chris Peck The Town Crier has been recording and performing "hist-hop" and "song-rap" since his first cassette in 1994. His music has been featured on MTV UK, Current TV, the Wall Street, and in his own purple videos. Projects include Ancient Baby, a homemade album to be released on vinyl; I Wish the King, his first novel; and LOAN, a band just getting started. Peck teaches guitar in San Rafael and can often be found crying a capella on the corner of 16th & Mission.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Paul Corman-Roberts Talks East Bay Lit and Beast Crawl's Hat Party Fundraiser

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 2:00 PM


Last year, inspired by the timely coming together of what seemed to be countless writing posses via social media, and with Litquake as an inspiration and a model, a handful of writers decided to throw a festival in Uptown Oakland that turned into 125 authors reading in 25 venues in three hours -- all for free. Appropriately, they called it Beast Crawl ("East Bay" being "beast" in pig latin). The gathering's second annual edition is right around the corner, and to raise funds and generate excitement, the organizers are throwing a hat party on Monday that will feature live music from Wreck This Place and Titan Ups, plus a raffle with prizes donated from local businesses. We thought this was a good chance to check in and see what The Beast Crawl Collective has in store for us this year.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Write Stuff: Guinevere Q on Playing God and the Pitfalls of Success

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 7:30 AM

  • Julie Michelle

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

Guinevere Q is a force of nature pumping out language like a geyser or a hot lava flow in venues all over San Francisco, notably Viracocha, and more recently with The Wyatt Act. An encounter with Guinevere is like when you go hiking in the hills and are suddenly engulfed by a ground level cloud or find yourself standing on a cliff in a gale or stumble across an unexpected waterfall. Somewhat overwhelming, but really very nice.

See Also: The Write Stuff: Miquila Alejandre on Making Eye Contact and Being Enough

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Write Stuff: Baruch Porras-Hernandez on Mexican Batman and Becoming the First Husband

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 9:30 AM

  • Rhi Neuroptik

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

Baruch Porras-Hernandez is a writer, organizer, and actor who has performed as a featured writer in Washington D.C., New York City, Canada, and all over California. He was born in Toluca, Mexico, and grew up in Albany, California. Since 2009 he's been the head curator and organizer of The San Francisco Queer Open Mic, and his manuscript The Trees, They Hate the Birds the Most, was a finalist for the Write Bloody Publishing poetry contest.

See also:

The Write Stuff: Sarah Griffin on Death by Squirrels and the Hormones Inspired by Brilliance

The Write Stuff: Ethel Rohan on the Writer's Curse and Fog On Demand

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 10 Bay Area Literary Events of 2012

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 11:25 AM

  • Ian Tuttle

I attended at least 134 literary events in 2012. Below are my 10 favorites. I've considered mainly two factors in compiling this list: the quality of work, and how interesting or memorable the experience was. The latter category intentionally allows for many considerations, which I enjoyed keeping in mind while looking back over the year.

I have not included many outstanding solo readings (D.A. Powell, Lyn Hejinian, and Adam Johnson come immediately to mind). Also, memorable readings as part of a show that didn't quite make the top 10: Ali Liebegott and Gypsee Yo, specifically, will always stay with me. While re-watching shows to make decisions, I came across Donald Dunbar (visiting from Portland): "This poem only works if you're touching somebody you don't already know." In that spirit, these were some of my favorite literary experiences this year. 

See also:

The Write Stuff: Zack Haber on Wiggling and the Fun in the Difficult

The Write Stuff: Tim (Toaster) Henderson on Running Toward the Disturbing

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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Write Stuff: Tim (Toaster) Henderson on Running Toward the Disturbing

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 7:30 AM

  • Zoe4Life Photography

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

Tim (Toaster) Henderson and I met in the basement of Viracocha six months ago, when we both realized that being far from home in S.F. is a good experience to have when building a new community. He is an artist, an educator and a renowned spoken word performer, recently representing Berkeley in the Individual World Championships.

See also:

Words That Need to Be Retired in 2013

The Write Stuff: Eric Raymond on the Intersection of the Necessary and the Mystery

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