“Artist”: A poem by Noa Mendoza

Artist

by Noa Mendoza

Paint me the blue in your eyes
A hierarchy of colors and the lines
Of sidewalks chapped and blistered
With too many dreams and too little sky

Paint me your hands and sell them back to gray
Judge my colors, not my voice, you say
Propped on a painted pedestal sits
The sliver of sidewalk melted with sky
Road marks across your wrists

Now you sensitize my pupils and make me look
Past blank canvases and single spots of black
To mazes of patterns and fingerprints painstakingly set
Squint and I can still see blue
Carved and colored and engraved in stone

Paint me the letters of your name
Broken up space made to disintegrate
Reducing everything to what is underneath
For all to remember

“Do Not Destroy”: A poem by Shanna Williams

do not destroy

by Shanna Williams

what if i want my roots back
want to dig into my skin and
pull them out of wet soil
wrap them around my neck
in spirals, all the way down
to my ankles

my birth rights are
written across my palms
the lines in my hands
are in hebrew

i want to know what it’s like to believe
in something and i want to know
what it’s like to be a part of something
a cultured community
of curly hair

i feel like my roots are waking up after
a long nap and they’re stretching up
and my body is shaking
my eyes are watered down
and my skin is taking in all the sunlight
that i’ve missed; i’ve been
blocking my view with a hate
for god, with a hate
because if there’s a god
why did my puppy die
why can’t i seem to figure out what to do with my life
why does my soulmate live in a different state

i want to grab my
religion by the neck
and i want it to fight
back and spit in my
face and beg me to
believe in it

 

Shanna Williams is a vegetarian from San Francisco and no, she doesn’t have her nose pierced or ride a Fixie bicycle.

Performance Review: Bramani Spiteri on Opera San Jose’s Production of “The Pearl Fishers”

A Review of Opera San Jose’s performance of The Pearl Fishers at the California Theatre

By Bramani Spiteri

 

 

 

 

 

A journey of forbidden love, secrecy, revenge, and regret, Opera San Jose’s 29th season, “Secrets
Revealed” opened on September 8, 2012 with French composer Georges Bizet’s The Pearl
Fishers at the California Theatre. Set on the shores of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) a village of pearl
fishers looks to Zurga, played by returning resident baritone Evan Brummel, as its leader.
Shortly into the first act, Nadir, a past rival and current friend of the new king, arrives. The role
of Nadir is filled by another returning resident company member, tenor Alexander Boyer.

The opening scenes of the opera prove to be less than tantalizing, with plenty of fault to go
around. There were, however, a few diamonds in the rough. The set and costuming create
great depth and color in most aspects, although a large head reminiscent of the 1990’s game
show Legends of the Hidden Temple proves a distraction. Only once, later in the first act, when
Nadir lies in front of the huge sculpted features after singing “Je crois entendre encore” does the
beautiful symmetry in posture and lines add to the visual interest of the set; it is otherwise a poor
choice.

A much-anticipated rendition of “Au fond du temple saint”, the famous duet where Nadir and
Zurga proclaim their dedication to their friendship and denounce the lustful wonders of an
unnamed priestess, does nothing to improve one’s impression of the first act. Boyer certainly
outshines Brummel during their duets, but neither is particularly spectacular. Brummel struggles
to project sincerity and neither stays on pitch.

Performers were not helped at all by a poorly tuned orchestra. Unfortunately, this was only
accentuated by the beautifully composed dissonant tones of Bizet’s pieces. Conducted by
Anthony Quartuccio, music director of South Valley Symphony, the orchestra seemed to
compete with performers, especially during the program’s featured duets.

 

 

 

 

 

In her company debut, Cecilia Violetta Lopez enters as Leila, the veiled virgin priestess, come
to pray for the fishers’ safety and honor her commitment to chastity. Lopez quickly becomes an
indispensable asset in an otherwise-shaky Act One. And although the dancers could seem heavy
on their feet at some points, choreographer Lise la Cour provides relief to the opening act by
incorporating ethnic lines into ballet form in an incredibly beautiful manner.

With the plot well on its way, the company completely redeems itself in Act Two, set in the
midst of the night. Lopez and Boyer are fabulous together as their characters, Nadir and Leila,
discover each other once again and fall to the will of their love despite the priestess’s oath to
the village and Nadir’s promise to Zurga. Silas Elash delivers a wonderful performance as
Nourabad, the priest tasked with keeping watch over Leila who unknowingly seals the couple’s
fate when he reveals the priestess’s identity to Zurga after they are found out by the villagers.
Zurga’s love for her flares, but his jealousy pushes him into rage. He condemns his friend and
the woman he loves to death. The orchestra has a shining moment of its own as a beautiful
cascade played on the flute transitions seamlessly into the clarinet. The sounds of the instruments
melt together creating an incredible alloy of talent. This is what the audience came to see!
The curtain closes on Act Two, and one is hopeful that the third and final act will continue this
upward trend.

Act Three brings an exciting twist of fate to the story, turning jealousy into remorse. Brummel
completely contradicts his earlier performance, filling the intimate theatre with the beautiful
baritone melodies of the third act. Lopez, Boyer, and Elash carry their strong performances
from the second act through to the end. The chorus balances male and female parts beautifully,
creating a fierce array of tones, a background that allows the soloists to shine.

With opening night jitters a thing of the past, it is a shame that the opera will only be running
until September 23rd. Fortunately, The Pearl Fishers is only the beginning of the 2012-2013
season. We expect that Opera San Jose will continue to deliver exceptional performances
throughout the year.

Bramani Spiteri is the coordinator of the performance arts network Soul Expressions (www.BramaniSoulExpressions.com). She can be reached by email at Bramani@BramaniSoulExpressions.com and by phone at 304-282-6826.

Performance Review: Synchronized Chaos on a cold reading of Lily Sauvage’s “The Importance of Being Dolly”

Good news for the folks who were craving for news of Oscar Wilde’s relatives: Lily Sauvage is working hard on The Importance of Being Dolly, and Synchronized Chaos had the privilege of attending the cold reading. The play revolves around the life of Oscar Wilde’s sexy niece, Dolly. Dolly is uber-gay, witty, and of course abuses drugs and booze.

Synchronized Chaos knows it all and even if “advice should only be passed on”, our humble opinion follows anyways.
When talking of Wilde, one expects the unpredictable. Let the plot swing; Oscar will be proud of you! Do not hesitate to abuse the uncle’s witty quotes–he doesn’t mind, he is dead. Mellow on the gay topic and the same goes for the drug abuse. Deja-vu, except if Dolly would dig deeper into the subject and contemplate on her motivational reasons to indulge in those illicit substances.

Poetry from Beyleigh Van

The Golden

If I sit here.
In the golden
I sit here
Where the light falls slanted through
the paint chipping trellis
where it catches on the
petals of the buttercups
and pools in the yellow
centers of jasmine
bounces
off the spine of the bee who
hums almost silently
just now in the Golden
Summer.

If I sit here and
sip mint tea
green.
out of a glass cup that
whorls and dimples like
the mint leaves
seeping,
run my fingers down the
Paint chipping trellis
and the slats of the porch
painted to match if I
sit here and
Pull the roots of the buttercups
from the dirt and
weave them through the jasmine
Disturb the bee hovering
over their sweet scent,
pull their roots still
clinging to dirt and rocks through my curls.
If I sit here
in the Golden Summer
with golden flowers in my golden hair
If my eyes catch the sunlight and hold it there
Could I keep my toes in the edge of the summer?

 

The Minnow Dance

You can turn your body like
a school of minnows.

body glitter coats you and sheds
like scales
You are one writhing silver being.

You are naked and
tender
the wind burns you and you never knew
knew you could turn like that
and you like it.

Do you like it?
My hands on tender hips
scales rubbing onto my fingers
like body glitter
making me as sliver
We are one writhing silver being.

One school of minnows darting
under the surface
light flickers reflects
and for a moment
we are the sun.
But I can feel a thousand pluses
beating from my fingertips temples hips and I
know that the sun isn’t this alive
doesn’t
burn as hot as your breath on my
cheek.

We are minnows
one seething mass of silver flesh
a tornado school of fish
in flux.

 

Alpine

North.
We wear sweaters
fingers caught
in the hems of sheep’s hair
fingers caught in curls.

I am winter blonde
hidden
and just beginning to be beautiful.
You are summer brown and you
unfurled in full glory
a long time ago.

We travel North and into Alpine
swathes of snow over
dust dirt and
the empty arms of
trees reaching
Tangling their fingers
in the clouds so wispy
thin that they don’t snap the delicate…

You
and the North
good with a cup of tea
and never making miss summer
good under blankets
in front of a fire
fingers in the sheep hair
in the fleece and
coughing over
the pine smoke burning
faces warm with contained flame.

 

Winter White.

She wanted to be as warm.
the way the snow melts in rings
around it’s roots
and the ground is a little
less frozen.

She loved the solemn faces
grown into the bark
haggard lines and
sleepy eyelids
she like how none of them smiled.
How the moss
the only green in all
of this winter white
blank white
the ground and the sky and the water
white
how the moss clung to the only
other warmth how
water rolled down
those weather beaten faces
like sweat.

The effort in stillness.
Control.

How the moss drank it
spilled it
stained themselves a darker green
living green against
the blackening bark faces and the
white
ground sky water
white.

Vast and unbreathing
cold white
cloudy ice
rubber room white.

She wanted to
leave her footprints under the tree
she was here and living
with other living

but the ground was still
to frozen between
the roots and
however warm they
may be they
weren’t as warm as:
the cloudy ice sky
sun shining cold
and white.

Bay Area Artist Spotlight: Bink$ Win$ton

In this issue, Synchronized Chaos is spotlighting a new single from an extremely talented Bay Area-based hip hop creator. The song is “STOP!”, from the not-yet-released EP “MANish,” and the singer is Bink$ Win$ton, whose artist’s statement you can read below

Bink$ Win$ton is a new hip hop artist originally from Oakland, CA. His independent brand, Dolla Bill Entertainment, was created in 2006 and is part of a larger network (Cali House) which includes other artists, consultants, and management. 

As an artist, Bink$ has never been known to “pull any punches”. His writing is often brutally honest and tends to reflect the blue collar perspective of the people from the Bay Area. His music conveys a “realness” that in some ways gets lost in today’s hip hop culture. Bink$’ music is most often identifiable to the average man and woman, not only in “the ghetto”, but also in other communities where people face common issues (which may only look different). 

He frequently performs locally (most often with his childhood friend K.nighshift and Deejay Crimson), and has worked with other artists such as The Dime (Richmond, Ca) and has collaborated with artists from Grizzly Bear Entertainment (Jersey City, Nj). His promotional video “STOP!” is from his upcoming EP entitled “MANish”. 

More of Bink$ Win$ton’s music and info can be found on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and Reverbnation; while he is managed by Blue Funk Management out of Oakland, CA (blue.funk.mgt@gmail.com).

And now, without further ado, here’s the music video for “STOP!” It was directed by Cynthia Blancaflor of Rising Star Productions, produced by Bres$Ez for Rapture Entertainment, and filmed in Oakland.

Be sure to take a look at Bink$’ social media pages:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BinksWinston

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BinksWinston

ReverbNation: http://www.reverbnation.com/binkswinston

“Mercy”: A poem by Mykel Mogg

Mercy

by Mykel Mogg

Before I explain to you, understand:

I am a sea queen with
gray hair and metallic nails,
ripping oysters and pearls apart with my fabled
fangs. I am a sussurus at the bottom
of a well, giving off heat and
tectonic tension. I used to be a woman
but now I am too slippery to pin down.
I am a poultice of
underevolved life, of kelp and bacteria.

Before I explain to you, understand:

Fish do not feel pain
fish do not mercy.

Before I explain to you, understand:

She was a young thing.
No, I mean it, she was a young thing,
so young she wasn’t human. Atavistic young thing.
So young her tail still swept the floor.
So young she didn’t understand when I

Her eyes were shameless,
aimlessly hungry.
So young she didn’t understand when I

unlatched my jaw and hid her in the back of my throat