TOMORROW, innovative and energetic spoken word collective ForWord will take the [common ground] stage as part of our March 1st “MERGING MICS” collaboration show with Tuesday Night Project— rumor has it, they’ll be performing some new work. The four-member crew took some time to share about the importance of art+community in their lives:
I love Hip Hop. With that being said, I’ve experienced art playing a significant role in my community. I grew up amongst those who used pencils, microphones, sidewalks, cardboards, aerosol cans, city walls, vinyl records, and mixers to get through the day. Honestly, I was never a master of the four elements, but a sheet of paper and a sharpened pencil went a long way. When I stepped into the open mic scene, I was exposed to not only emcees, but singers, musicians, and poets who all valued the freedom of self-expression. While some nailed high notes and others jammed on guitars, it was through spoken word poetry where I found myself and was able to meet so many good folks during high school, college, and still now. In this community, art is more than a role for me, for us. It is the reason to live. This community I live in and love so much is art expressed.
I think art has been a really effective way to communicate within the community, especially for those who are not comfortable articulating in plain language their feelings and concerns. I feel really lucky to have spaces like TNP and cg— spaces for people to gather, share stories and ideas, connect, and grow together. When they can come together in spaces like TNP and cg and one can feel a part of that, it just feels like you’re a part of something bigger, working toward something bigger than yourself and that’s kind of nice to think about.
The best, and perhaps most convenient, aspect of art is that it’s accessible to everyone. By accessible, I mean it can be enjoyed both as a spectator and a participant. Even further, it is emotionally appealing to the masses and, with respect to the APIA community, has been a vessel for increasing our visibility in the mainstream. The more Asian faces I see on the screen, the more I remember and am self-affirmed: we exist!
Art offers a new avenue to express yourself. There are times when pictures, photographs, dance, paintings/murals, music, and poetry/spoken word hold the attention of an audience longer than a regular conversation. We can utilize that time to talk about politics, world issues, life or whatever else. In the APIA community, and any community for that matter, art is utilized as a way to bring issues that are affecting us into the forefront of the mainstream conversation.
Our “MERGING MICS” show is tomorrow! Bring a friend or ten, and RSVP here. See you soon!
Photo: ForWord on stage at our June 2011 show. Credit: Scott Chan
YES! We will be here tomorrow! See YOU there? Please? =).
But other than that, it is a FREE show of spoken word and music. Come by!
This is our first performance since the 2011 APIA Spoken Word and Poetry Summit, Twin Cities. We are still on that natural high from all the beautiful people we’ve met and shared the stage with last weekend, so get ready for an energetic show TONIGHT in Pomona, CA!
This is a super late post, but as the old saying goes, “Better late than never.” I know Mark made one earlier which you can read HERE, but here is my personal post. =).
On Monday, June 27th, 2011, forWord featured at Speak Easy in Downtown LA. Speak Easy had been going through some hard times finding a new venue. Without a doubt, we surely will Harlem Place Cafe. It had become a home to all of us. But more than anything, we have come to learn that home is not just bricks and wood or speakers and a mic. Family is what makes home. For us, this was the Speak Easy family so where they moved, we moved because family sticks together.
So the week before, they held their open mic at Beer Belly. This time around, the family congregated at The Last Bookstore on 453 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013, which I must personally say is fantastic.
The room is basically a library filled with books and intricate designs laced the walls, such as the head of a mighty mammoth, which reminds us of the movie, Jumanji. In any case, this was the first time they held the open mic here. Lady Basco, Tara Malia, Nicole Rush, and Jessica Mahone made it happen and they invited us to be one of the features for this night along with the beautiful and soulful singer, Jamie Lee. So essentially, we were the first features at this new venue and we were more than happy to share the stage with everyone there.
As forWord, Stephanie, Susan, and I performed “The Things They Said” to start off our feature which was our newest group piece at the time. Mark performed a classic piece entitled, “Realization.” As a way to come full circle, we ended the night with “Writer’s Block” which was the first piece we ever performed at Speak Easy.
Now it has been a long time since this feature, but from what I remember, it was a positive night filled with music and poetry (as always). Here are some pictures I was able to salvage from the night:
Thanks to all the performers from the comedians to the emcees to the poets to the singers to the musicians to the listeners who brought all their energy to lift up Speak Easy as high as imagination would take us. Thank you to Speak Easy for making everything possible! As Lady Basco would say, “You shine, I shine, we all shine together.”
Speak Easy is the first open mic venue where we have become regulars and we do not have any plans soon or ever to stop visiting. So if you are ever in the area, come by and let’s share the home that is Speak Easy. The more, the merrier. I have said this time and time again, but we love the Speak Easy family!
To be up to date, The Last Bookstore has become the NEW OFFICIAL LOCATION for Speak Easy on 453 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Open mic is every Monday from 9:00 PM to Midnight. Sign-ups are at 8:30 PM.
So there I was procrastinating trying to do something productive and then Nicole Rush of SpeakEasy contacted me and asked if we’d like to feature at SpeakEasy that evening. In short the answer was: YES! In long, the answer was: HELL Y-E-S! SpeakEasy is our Open Mic home and even though it’s all the way in Downtown Los Angeles, we always try to make it to the open mic, most nights, we don’t even perform, we just go there to listen to all the amazing artists, to support new artists, and just be a part of the loving atmosphere.
The hostess with the mostest, Lady Basco
Thanks Nicole, for giving us this opportunity.
Kasi’s first time at SpeakEasy…so professional every time she touches the mic.
Photos from the forWord feature (Credit goes to Kasi for taking the pictures):
Stephanie, Eddy, and Susan kick it off with “The Things They Said”
Mark with a “Realization”
And to come full circle we did “Writer’s Block” since it was the first piece we ever did at SpeakEasy.
Thanks to Steph for catching my lines when I messed up…
…and when you fall down, you just gotta pick yourself back up and give it all you’ve got.
Just want to give a shout out to the dude in the foreground, sorry I didn’t catch your name, but the dude was from Utah and he decided to spend his last night in Cali at Speak Easy…I thought that was just really cool.
Beanie Manifesto - I really enjoyed this piece you performed!
Karla Moxley talking about Psychology
Clive let’s people know that he is Mr. Impossible and this time with a beat. Also shout out to the 2 dudes he invited to SpeakEasy that he ran into on the way here, that was really cool of them to check out the venue too.
Dante Basco showing some love to the new space.
Tara Mali and Jami Elle colab
It’s an honor to be around so many artists that do what they love and at the same time collaborate and support one another. If I could give one word to describe SpeakEasy it’s: Family and we are honored and thankful to have an opportunity to feature in this space. Also thanks to Kasi for coming by and performing and also, Eddy’s sister, Mariel was there to show some love.
And speaking of the space, it’s a really awesome bookstore with incredible acoustics for poets that don’t want to use mics and adds. I think SpeakEasy found a new home at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles 453 S. Spring St. in Downtown LA.
We are forWord, an arts collective with an emphasis on spoken word and creative writing. We aspire to encourage self expression, connect with other poets, and improve our creative skills in the process.
Susan Diep, Eddy M. Gana, Jr.,
Mark Maza, and Stephanie Sajor
Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on these pages are copyrighted by forWord. All rights reserved. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. Therefore, reproduction, modification, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.