Theater and Poetry

2014 Program:

ALICIA DATTNER – comedian. Alicia Dattner is fresh off an 18-week, thrice-extended run of her hit solo show Eat, Pray, Laugh! in San Francisco as well as a world tour with stops in New York, London, Mumbai, and Los Angeles. Winner of the San Francisco Fringe Festival’s Best of the Fringe,  Best Female Solo Performer and New York United Solo Festival’s Best Storyteller Awards. Alicia is a story teller and comedian who transforms pain into peace through laughter. A long time improvisor, actor and writer, she has been a regular at Cobb’s Comedy Club and The Punch Line in SF, and has performed at The Improv, the Knitting Factory, and Gotham Comedy Club. She also has published a hilarious self-help book, Getting Shit Done, hosted a live talk show on Pirate Cat Radio, and started a circus called The Latest Show on Earth, which toured nationally. She is currently writing her third solo show entitled Sex with God. More info:


main_image-76bead04e7263dc2ee4f8849e430a7b0BONNIE WAI-LEE KWONG is a multi-media poet and software developer. She has lived in nine states and two continents. Writing is a way for her to traverse seen and unseen geographies. She has a B.A. with Honors in Comparative Literature (Japanese and English) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her book-length poetry manuscript, Ravel, has been listed as a finalist for the White Pine Press Poetry Award and the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project. Her poem “Cartographies” was nominated for a 2014 Pushcart Prize. Ravel is to be published as a poetry collection in early 2015. More info:



DSCN3433Poet CHRIS OLANDER has been writing poetry since 1984 “articulating artistic words through music, spoken word and gestures: poetry experiences of energized body language.” Olander’s poetry arises from a land based ethics rooted in science, observation and reflection. “He explores human horrors and beautiful glories of mystical revelations and all that is possible in being here now. What we make of it is what we get.” Olander has worked as a Poet/Teacher with California Poets in Schools CPITS), since 1984. He was a founding director of Poet’s Playhouse of Nevada City, 1988-99 and the Nevada County Poetry Series of Grass Valley, 2000-12. Olander has worked as an organizer for the Berkeley Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival since 2001; as a Poetry Coach for California Arts Council’s Poetry Out Loud Program since 2006 and was the Calfifornia State Poetry Coach Champion in 2007 and third place coach in 2013 and 2014. His three chapooks, “Mass Man’s Epiphanies”, “December Birds” and “Iris” have each gone to press for a second run. Olander completed four solo CD’s of his poetry in April 2013 to complement his pre-released Cd Mass Man’s Epiphanies and his chapbooks. Two more CD’s, with musical accompaniment, “Wild Women Wake” and “J. C. and the Apostles” will be released in August 2014. More info:


Kirk at Avotcja's Birthday Bash at La PenaKIRK LUMPKIN. The Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review: “Kirk Lumpkin has been an important part of the Bay Area (and beyond) poetry scene for years, hosting readings in San Francisco and Berkeley, helping to facilitate the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival [with Poetry Flash & former U.S. Poet Laureate, Robert Hass], and hosting open mikes at Burning Man.” He’s the author of two books of poetry, Co-Hearing and In Deep. He’s released two poetry/music CDs, The Word-Music Continuum and Sound Poems. He’s also released two CDs of original songs, Moondog Sessions and Positive Voodoo. He’s done featured performances of his poetry all around the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California, in Los Angeles, New York City, Colorado; Toronto, Canada and readings in England (under the auspices of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). He’ been featured on the show Cover to Cover – Open Book on KPFA radio. He has been a featured poet at events that have included two U.S. Poet Laureates, one California Poet Laureate, and three San Francisco Poet Laureates. He is on the Board of PEN Oakland. He hosted the Café International Series in San Francisco when it was voted “Best Spoken Word Open Mic” by Bay Guardian readers and has been a pirate radio DJ. He was lyricist/lead vocalist/percussionist in the jazz-rock band, DETOUR (a Bay Guardian “Demo Tape o’ the Week” winner) that has more recently morphed into the music/poetry band, The Word-Music Continuum. He was a finalist in the UNISONG International Song Contest and received an Honorable Mention in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. He worked for the Ecology Center and its program the Berkeley Farmers’ Market for over 20 years. More info:


photo-2Missy Church has been writing poetry and short stories in the Bay Area since 1998.  She is the proud parent of various chapbooks, a toddler and a memoir called “Church.”  Once a month, Missy calls her backyard, The Naked Bulb, a residential and outdoor open-mic in Oakland.  She is a co-producer of The Beast Crawl – Oakland’s first literary pub-crawl.


Kujichagulia photoPHAVIA KUJICHAGULIA. Renaissance woman, Phavia Kujichagulia, is one of the musicians and cultural artists highlighted in the Arcadia Publishing book series, Images of America: Black Artists in Oakland (2007). She is a Griot (Djialli Ba) – an oral historian who utilizes music and poetry to reveal history. This spoken word artist plays trumpet/cornet and percussion. She dynamically orchestrates African music, Jazz, and pop into a hypnotic rhapsody. Her performances include the World Drum Festival, National Black Expo, the John Coltrane Festival, and Nelson Mandela’s 1990 USA Tour. Between 1990 and 1999, Phavia Kujichagulia was the cultural director and co-leader of the African Roots of Jazz. Her production piece, The Story of Jazz, has received national acclaim in the USA. More info:



RAFAEL JESÚS GONZÁLEZ – poet. As professor of literature and creative writing, Rafael has taught at the University of Oregon, Western State Collage of Colorado, Central Washington State University, the University of Texas, El Paso (as Visiting Professor of Philosophy), and at Laney College, Oakland, California where he founded the Department of  Mexican and Latin-American Studies. He also has taught in the public elementary and high schools under the Poets in the Classroom program. His poetry and academic articles appear in reviews and anthologies in the U. S., Mexico, and abroad; his collection of poems El Hacedor De Juegos/The Maker of Games published by Casa Editorial, San Francisco (1977-78) went through two editions. He has been nominated thrice for a Pushcart price. A selection of his moon poems La musa lunática/The Lunatic Muse was published by Pandemonium Press, Berkeley, California in 2009. More info:


378244_3882705100970_771891044_nSTEVE ARNTSON. Born in the east – went with my family to Seattle, Washington and studied music at the University of Washington – afterwards found myself in Berkeley, Cal. and did some teaching and performing – was staff member at Sonoma State College 1968-72 accompanying ballet classes, rehearsing choir – discovered spoken word in the Eighties mostly in San Francisco and soon began writing and memorizing – there was the Cafe Babar, Cafe International and the Old Spaghetti Factory all in S.F. – became focussed on poetry of place, writing especially about the Oregon Coast and the Burning Man Art Festival, chronicling events there – like to bring aspects of music to the writing – also write from dreams providing I can remember the details.



10560385_1445065479107098_3394736026693734785_oTHE INCIDENTALISTS are an improv theatre group dedicated to the art of storytelling. Through audience input and live improvisation, we spontaneously create a wide variety of stories so that we all may be connected through the power and joy of this shared experience. Learn more about the art of improvisation with this special performance. Immediately following the performance will be a question and answer section with the group. More info: