Monday, December 27, 2010

Kiss My Mistletoe

I went with my husband to see Josefina's Lopez's latest play Kiss My Mistletoe at CASA 0101. It was as hilarious as it was outrageous. Kiss My Mistletoe pokes fun of issues women face during the holidays. The show was broken up into 12 skits that ranged in themes from nosy family members inquiring about why they aren't married yet, TSA pat downs, to food cravings during the holidays. The scenes were as bold and daring as Josefina herself. I was gasping "Oh my God!" and laughing to a point of tears when Josefina was getting patted down in a skit.

What I loved the most about this experience was the interaction between the audience (made up of mostly women) and the actors on stage. We were shocked and laughing so hard, the actors reacted to our loud roars. It made them chuckle and have to pause before they could continue with their lines. That moment, sitting there in the audience, reminded me of a scene from one of my favorite movies, Cinema Paradiso.

In Cinema Paradiso, a filmmaker goes back to visit his hometown and recalls when he fell in love with movies at his village's theater and formed a close friendship with the theater's projectionist. For several decades, the theater brought the people together and was the heart of the community. There’s a warm scene in the movie where the villagers are at this quaint Sicilian the theatre, enjoying a movie and rolling with laughter. CASA 0101 reminds me of the theater from the movie Cinema Paradiso.

The skits were a reflection of our culture and our times. Hollywood couldn't have produced a movie quick enough to poke fun of TSA pat downs, and our stories are unrepresented on the big screen. That's why local theater houses are so critical. Grassroots theater houses such as Casa 0101 in Boyle Heights, or Breath of Fire Theatre Ensemble in Santa Ana bring the community together to celebrate our culture and share our stories.

CASA 0101

Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble

Theme Song from Cinema Paradiso

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Sacred Circle: A Writer's House

My sister and I met our Sacred Circle (writing group) at one of the writer's house in November. It was everything I imagined a writer's house to look like. I opened the gate of the white picket fence and entered  through a white trellis with colorful flowers dangling from the top. Large trees gave the front entry shade, while the colorful flowers and the water fountain added a retreat like feel to the house. Inside artwork hung all around the walls, cultural artwork that made evocative, unapologetic, sexual, sensual statements. And then there were the books, all over the office and throughout the house. I thought I had books. Not! There were more books than I think I'd ever have the time to read. After we shared appetizers, we sat around a large table and a few of them, but not me, shared their work. It was a completely different feel than being at a bookstore patio with the cold wind, a metal seats and table, and noisy nosey passer-bys. Here it was fitting that we were surrounded by books and outspoken art as our only witnesses.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Writing A Monologue

I'm working a monologue I've been piecing together that came out of an idea from Josefina's Writing Workshop. I have a very rough draft of 6 pages I need to mold into 3. I wrote paragraph by paragraph taking breaks in between. Writing a personal memoir or monologue is a lot more taxing than writing a review or feature piece. They say writing is a solitary job but so far I have come across many writers in my classes, online blog and writing communities, my sister, and my Sacred Writing Circle that it feel fills me, and I feel like I'm not alone but rather on a pilgrimage with them.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I thought I'd share with you a site I heard about through Story Salon. Story Salon is a group of storytellers who get together every Wednesday at the Coffee Fix coffee house in Studio City to share their stories in an open mic experience. Thanks to the wonder of the Internet, you can listen to archived Podcasts through their website and at Story Salon YouTube Channel.

In their own words: 
"STORY SALON began in a North Hollywood coffee house in 1996. The rules of the show are simple: Five to seven minutes of original material performed by the writer. This open policy, embracing a sort of ’free-range’ writing, results in one of the most eclectic hours of performance available."

Some of the events have a common theme. In the Fall Classic, the storytellers gathered to share their autumn tales. The stories have replaced my routine of listening to music while I’m getting dressed in the mornings. Listening to them is like sipping warm hot chocolate on a cold winter Sunday while sitting bundled with a warm flannel blanket and good book-very rich indeed.

Story Salon @ Coffee Fix
Every Wednesday, 8pm @ Coffee Fix
12508 Moorpark St
Across from Studio City Library,
Studio City
$4 minimum

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Go Your Own Way - Women Travel the World Solo

I'm devouring the book, Go Your Own Way. It’s a collection of travel essays by a very diverse group of women who travel abroad solo. The stories are as unique as the women and the places themselves. Julianne Balmain in Wolf Pleasures purposefully travels unaccompanied in New York City to follow her own whims in search of a perfect breakfast, while Holly Morris chases wild boars through the jungles of Borneo in Snake Eyes of Borneo.

Traveling abroad alone can be a dream or nightmare. Stephanie Elizondo Griest is reluctantly alone in Abandoned in Uzbekistan when her travel companion takes off and she has to wait for her visa to clear. But Alexia Brue breathes a sigh of relief when her clingy travel buddy decides to join their college friends on the Eurail in French Laundry.

Even though we are by ourselves, we are never really alone thanks to the kindness or insistence of strangers. In Resisting Florence, Lucy McCauley declines an invitation from a kind stranger to go and take a look where a crowd had formed to see the “Perseo”. Traveling alone, Lucy doesn’t let her guard down, not even for a handsome friendly Italian old man. After he leaves, she curiously wanders to take a look and realizes she would have missed out on an opportunity of a lifetime had it not been for the thoughtfulness of a stranger. Katie Krueger befriends a persistent local she was trying to shake off and almost falsely accused of steeling her wallet in Unwelcoming HospitalityWhile traveling alone through Mexico, Michele Peterson decides its time to move on when nosey hotel clerks, intent on preserving her honor for her husband, spy on her in Armed and Dangerous.

I’m half way through the book and enjoying each adventure.