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Tongues in trees, books in brooks: Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

April 23, 2014


“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.” William Shakespeare

Here it is the day after Earth Day and many consider it William Shakespeare’s birthday!  It’s even trending today on twitter, at least in the LA region. According to Wikipedia, his birth date is unknown but he was baptized on April 26, 1564 and other sources claim his birthday is this date; oddly, he died on April 23 also, in 1616.

So today is as good a day as any to say:

Happy Birthday, Will! And thank you for all your good words and works!

May we all find a few moments this Earth Month and National Poetry Month to find the tongues in trees, to listen to the books in brooks, to hear the sermons in stones, and to know the good in everything.

We may not be Shakespeare but we can all be inspired by what the Earth has to say to us.

So get out into nature and go for walk! Bring a book, a collection of Will’s sonnets, or even a play! Bring a notebook and try some writing practice, see what the earth has to say to you…



Happy Earth Day 2014! What action will YOU take to promote environmental and social justice??

April 22, 2014
1913410_488054104633266_85005011_o“Our livelihood is intimately tied to the food we eat, water we drink and places where we recreate. That’s why we have to promote responsibility and conservation when it comes to our natural resources.”  Mark Udall
(If you are looking for more inspiring images with quotes for Earth Day 2014, scroll through this blog –there are a lot!–or please go to our Facebook page: Ventura College Earth Day:
On April 22, over a billion people in over 190 countries are expected to take action on Earth Day.
What action will you take? How will change your lifestyle to promote both environmental and social justice?

If you live in the Ventura California area, p
lease join us today at Ventura College’s FREE FAMILY FRIENDLY Social Justice and Environmental Justice Earth Day 2014 from 2:00-9:30pm in the lower quad by the bookstore and student center.  Please bring your classes, and invite your students, neighbors, and family. Parking will be free from 2-10pm in the West Lot by the gym.

We are encouraging people to picnic on the grass, and ride or bring bikes to learn how to fix them. Check out interactive exhibits by Gwendolyn Alley’s English 1A students and community non-profits including VCCOOL and the City of Ventura.

Performances will be on two stages–the quad stage and the Alive TV stage featuring the “The Big TV Set: TMSL Deluxe 2013″ a 26’ replica of a Zenith 1974 TV set  and performance space designed by Steve Knauff, MFA UCLA.

Headliners are Alice Bag, author of Violence Girl: A Chicana Punk Story, reading and performing; Tony Fletcher, author of multiple books including Boy About Town, who will DJ and read and discuss his writing and research process with English Adjunct and event organizer 1926837_489822841123059_1379436454_nGwendolyn Alley.

The schedule includes music by VC and UCI grad Abel Garcia; music and lecture by poet Linda Ravenswood, ABD; spoken word and poetry by Pat Payne Taos Circus Heavy Weight Champ; living history and poetry by Gwendolyn Alley; comedy by Sharon Gorsch; poetry by Ventura County’s Poet Laureate Mary Kay Rummel and VC grad F. Albert Salinas, MFA; Aztec dance from two local performance groups. Here’s the complete schedule:
2pm BLUE GOLD: WORLD WATER  WARS SCI-313In every corner of the globe, we are polluting, diverting, pumping, and wasting our limited supply of fresh water at an expediential level as population and technology grows. The rampant overdevelopment of agriculture, housing and industry increase the demands for fresh water well beyond the finite supply, resulting in the desertification of the earth. Corporate giants force developing countries to privatize their water supply for profit.
2:45pm Abel Garcia, VC, UCI grad, reggae influenced singer/songwriter (quad stage)

:15pm Tony Fletcher: award winning author of books about REM, The Clash, Keith Moon, The Smiths, autobiography Boy About Town; reading & DJ set (Alive TV stage)

4p Spoken Word/Performance (Alive TV Stage)

“The Flower Wizard of California—

Theodosia Burr Shepherd presented by her daughter Myrtle Shepherd Francis”

Mary Kay Rummel, Ventura County Poet Laureate

F. Albert Salinas, MFA, VC, CSUCI grad

Pat Payne, Taos Poetry Circus Heavyweight champ

:45pm Linda Ravenswood, MFA, ABD, The Ravenswood Jones (quad stage)
live performance with discussion of music and social and environmental justice

:15pm Danza Kalpulli Kuauhziuatl directed by Ygnacia Gonzalez from Ojai (quad)

:30pm Alice Bag, author Violence Girl: A Chicana Punk Story, lead singer of The Bags, reading, discussion, music (accompanied by guitar, Alive TV)

:30pm Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc, led by Veronica Xochitl Valadez (quad)

:45pm Comedy/Spoken Word (Alive TV)
Pierpont Rats: “Royals/Rested” parenting parody by 9, 10, 11 year old boys

Sharon Gorsch, Eco Standup

Gwendolyn Alley, Pat Payne: commissioned poems on “Water”

:15pm Tony Fletcher, author, dj, musician (Alive TV)

8pm Spoken Word/Comedy (TBA)

:45-9:15pm Abel Garcia

Read more…

#EarthDay2014: Music + Environmental Justice + Social Justice + Poetry + MORE

April 21, 2014


Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day!

How will you celebrate our Earth? What action will you take? What good will you do?

Tomorrow I am excited about Ventura College’s Earth Day which I am organizing and where I will be performing poetry, doing a living history monologue written by my mom, hosting on the Alive TV Big TV Set, and basically running around like a chicken with my head cut off keeping track of  speakers, performers, Aztec dance, exhibitors, andVCEDtonyquote more!


The event is FREE and family friendly. Ride your bike over or park for FREE in the west lot by the gym. Bring a picnic and relax on the grass. Check out the interactive exhibits or wander over to the library and read a children’s book or two.

While our headliners are Alice Bag (5:30-6:30pm –read  more about her and find links to her blog and her Wikipedia page) and Tony Fletcher (3;15pm and 7:15pm –read his website), from 2-930pm the event is jam packed with great stuff (see schedule below) starting and ending with Abel Garcia who writes, 

Read more…

Poseidon in Pasadena + Lucidity: A poem for Earth Month

April 20, 2014

PoseidonPasadenaP1Over April 11, 12, and 13, my family headed north to the rolling oak dotted  hills behind Santa Barbara to attend the Lucidity Festival.

We had helped with production and it was fun to find projects that we had worked on scattered about the festival (more on that in a later post).

We were also involved with the Big TV Set which served as the Alive TV Stage at Lucidity.  I helped on there on Friday and Saturday but on Sunday I was on the stage more often than not.

One performance that I did was of the complete 5+ minute poem that I wrote about water and power in Pasadena as a commission (pictured is part of it). In it, I talk about the Greek God Poseidon–who was actually at Lucidity with his Queen and a court of mermaids!


I told Poseidon about the poem that I had written that honored him and asked if he would be willing to change from his God form with his tail into his human form and join me on TV. And he agreed!

Pictured also is the first part of the poem that I read (you can also read about it here) and which I will read again on Tuesday Earth Day at Ventura College again on the Big TV Set. It will be about 645pm; hope you ca join us! For more about Ventura College Earth Day, please visit out facebook event page.

Here’s the rest of the poem: Read more…

For Malbec Day: 7 Reasons Why I Love Malbec

April 17, 2014

Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator:

Happy Malbec Day today April 17! How will you celebrate?

Originally posted on wine predator:

Have you discovered Malbec yet?

Chances are you’ve had it in a Bordeaux blend, but you may not have had it by itself because

View original 419 more words

Recommended Read for Earth Month: Violence Girl by Alice Bag

April 10, 2014

violencegirlorderformIf you’re into music, grew up in the 70s, are curious about the LA punk scene, or life growing up in East LA, Alice Bag’s book Violence Girl is for you!

“The birth of the 1970′s punk movement as seen through the eyes of Chicana feminist and punk musician Alice Bag. Set against the colorful backdrop of an East LA childhood and the Hollywood Punk Scene, this alternately harrowing and hilarious coming of age tale surveys the sweeping social changes of two decades through a lens of subversive art and thought.” Published by Feral House, 2011.

Alice Bag Photo by Martin Sorrondeguy at the Masque, 2014.

Alice Bag Photo by Martin Sorrondeguy at the Masque, 2014.

Right now I’m taking pre-orders, then you can pick it up Ventura College Earth Day Tues April 22, hear her perform and read, and get her to sign it and personalize it! Only $18 and a great read!

“If I could have a punk show where people were on the same wavelength as me, then that could be a community that works together to achieve common goals. We could be a force that changes the world. And you could be a leader. You can be the person making the change happen, not just someone who is along for the ride. Punk rock really taught me that I had much more power than I realized.” Alice Bag Interview with Elona Jones for Bitch, May 2013
Photo by Martin Sorrondeguy at the Masque, 2014.

Come hear Alice Bag Tues April 22 from 630-730pm. Come early to check out the displays and vendors and hear poetry, speakers, authors, and music. Also appearing at Ventura College Earth Day: readings and dj sets by award winning music historian Tony Fletcher (books on the Clash, REM, The Smiths, Keith Moon and more).

Roosevelt, Recyling, Lucidity

April 6, 2014

VCEDRooseveltTheodore Roosevelt
“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources … But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil and the gas are exhausted.”


Learn more about VC Earth Day 2014

Reduce. Recreate. Reuse. Recycle.

It starts with you.


NOTE: In addition to breaking a small bone in my hand making it hard to type, I’ve been having some frustrating problems with WordPress and losing content before it gets published. Like the rest of this post…which was all about how so much of the great art at Lucidity is upcycled–taking old stuff bound for the landfill and turning it into useful and beautiful fun pieces that will grace the Lucidity Festival grounds!

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