Welcome a Casa de Tia Chucha’s

Welcome a tu casa!

This is where you’ll read about events and workshops and other wonderful things happening in Sylmar, Pacoima, San Fernando and surrounding areas where Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural has and continues to touch lives.

Diary of an Open Mic Whore

Yes, I’m an Open Mic whore. I will admit it. I get high every time that I come out of an open mic, energized and ready to get inspired or inspire someone in the audience. Open Mic is my new obsession, my new drug when I get high just watching great performers, poets or musicians touch me in ways that I would have never imagined.
I found myself in an Open Mic. I was lost, desperate, lonely. I thought that I was all alone in the Universe. I really thought that poetry was dead. I thought that philosophers, writers, artists were extinct and, unless my name was Stephen King or Maya Angelou, there was no writer or poet within a ten mile radius. And I’m glad I was wrong.

If you’d like to know my dirty little secret, here it is: there is probably an open mic going on around you NOW that you didn’t even know about within a 10 mile radius of where you live right now.
Would you like to know another secret? I found an open mic for EVERY single night of the week!!! That’s right!

Open Mic Whore recommends:

Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in Sylmar (San Fernando Valley near City of San Fernando) where there is Open Mic every 2nd, 4th and 5th Friday of each month is hosted by Jeffery Martin while Noches de Canto y Poesía (with Alejandro Molina) is done every first and third Friday as well. This was my first and still favorite open mic of all.

Mental Mondays at House of Brews which has been hosted by yours truly, but is best conducted by Evy Spiritluvchild, happens only once a month though so mark your calendars for the last Monday of every month at the House of Brews in City of San Fernando.

Writer Wednesdays with Jessica Wilson located at the former Bob’s Espresso Bar on Lankershim Blvd at the heart of the NoHo Arts District. Perfect for writers, poets, musicians, stand up comedy and even magic.

Soapbox Sessions over at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Encino hosted by Jason Brain. A little intimidating since it’s outdoors and there’s a lot of action going around the area so I only go there when I feel the force is with me. Every Thursday starting at 7. Check it out!

Tuesday Night Project, currently on hiatus but it’s near Little Tokyo and some of the best performers I’ve ever seen in Los Angeles. After Tia Chucha‘s, of course (wink, wink)

Holy Grounds is another cool spot with a very nice patio area (currently being remodeled) and has the Zzyxz Writers open mic there (check out their website for details).

Eastside Café located over in El Sereno happens once a month and is hosted by spiritus and sister poet Iris de Anda, only third Thursday of every month starting at 8ish…

La Palabra Series at Avenue 50 Studio. This one is usually on the last Sunday of the month and hosted by big hooped earring wearing Karinneh Mahdessian. Cool art exhibit plus great features and even time for open mic for y’all. Love the circle of love there and the sound of the train is always cool.

Beyond Baroque in Venice is beyond amazing!!! Also hosted by the Los Angeles Poets Society founder and president (she’s a member, too) Jessica Wilson does this once or twice a month on Sundays. Check their website, too! If you ever feel like an actor on a real theatre stage with stadium seating and cool lighting and awesome people then you MUST check it out!

Corazón del Pueblo. Only been there once and I’m definitely coming back. Wednesday nights.

The Last Bookstore. This is a very, very, very laaarge, humongous, bigger than life open mic. Not sure if that’s your thing but definitely great poetry and talent.

And last, but not least, another secret: there’s so many more open mics, all you gotta do is check out openmikes.org
I could have saved you all that trouble from the beginning, right? Sometimes I can be an Open Mic Whore!!! That’s right, I am a whore!!! Deal with it!!!

©2014 Open Mic Whore

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Why No Se Habla Español?

Hola! Welcome to the No Se Habla Español anthology website created especially with you in mind. How do I begin? I guess I should start with the concept behind No Se Habla Español, that’s a good way to start…
So the idea came about after thinking of writing prompts to help me begin writing up my next piece. I wasn’t sure why I started thinking of the statement: “No se habla Español” and why it resonated with me, I must have read or heard it before and, for some reason, I began writing all these different stories with that prompt in mind. I was quite surprised that several stories and pieces started to develop and pretty soon I had three stories written down while others started to formulate in my head.
Then I thought: why not expand this writing prompt to my literary community of the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles and beyond? I saw the potential that that prompt can generate, how many stories can be told from a real experience or based on real events. So many people have so many stories to tell.
And so that’s how this collaboration started with the help of activist, poet and writer Michael Ray De Los Angeles as well as poet, writer, theater actor Alejandro Molina in developing an anthology that speaks about our Hispano community, our struggles, our obstacles as well as our triumphs, our successes and our powerful stories of how we overcome this stigma that we are not allowed to express our cultura and native tongue that is so rich and complex, ever growing and ever changing.
Let your voices be heard, loud and clear! Here we are allowed to speak out however we want to, whether it’s English, Spanish or Spanglish… As long as we are heard!
Deadline is December 6th 2014!

For more info and submission please visit: https://aquihablamos.wordpress.com

Born From a Kiss

I was born from a kiss
Soft lips,
Moist,
Lingering lipstick that refused to smear
I was born from a kiss
And I live to smell your sweet perfume
To be your love fool
To be the grass you walk on
To be the ginger in your tea
I was born from a kiss
Effervescent
Passionate
Blue
Wild red
And flawed
And there I shall live

©2014 VS

Seeds (9/11 We Shall Never Forget)

Seeds that fell through the cracks
Melting with hot steel and fuel
Melting with corpses of civilians
And heroes
Black and white
Christians and Muslims alike

Seeds that refuse to grow
Thirteen years ago today
For the longest Time
They remained dormant
Wounds went too deep
In the heart of America

Stripped of our pride
Stripped of our freedom

Tears of wives crying over their husbands
Mothers crying over their children
Tears kept falling
Into the endless pool
Tears shed by humanity
Silent tears that strengthen our core…

Thirteen years
Seems like it was just yesterday
Towering infernos in the Big Apple
Angels falling from the skies
Eyes covered in disbelief
They intended to plant terror
In our own backyard
And for a moment they succeeded.

Seeds that were buried in the rubble
Buried with our pain and sorrow
Time wiping our tears and fears away
Seeds that now begin to grow
And turn into beautiful sunflowers
They rise like tall towers
Reminders of our fallen heroes
Their voices silenced forever
But we still hear their voices
In days like today.

We shall never forget
We shall never forget
We shall never forget.

Where is my Voice?

I want my voice back.
Where did it go?
It was here the other day or so,
There was no stopping my mouth from spilling words of wisdom
Words of encouragement
Words of praise
But none for me…

Where is my voice?
Hidden between the cupholder in my car?
Under the bed?
Under the kitchen sink?
In my iPod? In my cellphone?

Where did I last heard it?

I miss my voice
I miss it so much
I don’t know what I do without it
I need my voice
I need it now

Next time I get my voice back
I’ll lock it up under lock and key
I don’t ever want to lose it again

Words of encouragement, I need you
Words of wisdom, I need you
Words of my heart and my soul, I need you now

Where is my voice? Haven’t found it yet…
Let me look under the sink, or between the lines of the book I read or maybe between the lines that are written.

That’s where I still hear my voice, if ever so low and quiet. I can still hear it between my heartbeats and my deep breaths. It’s still there… My voice just needs time…

©2014 Victor Sotomayor