Christopher Bernard reviews Overnight at The Flight Deck, in Oakland

A Beanstalk Grows in Oakland
Gritty City Repertory Youth Theatre, Lower Bottom Playaz, Ragged Wing Ensemble, and Theatre Aluminous
The Flight Deck
Full ensemble in Overnight. Photo by Serena Morelli

Full ensemble in Overnight. Photo by Serena Morelli

What would you do if you woke up one morning to discover that a skyscraper, all glass, steel and corporate facelessness, had appeared on your neighborhood block literally overnight, like Jack’s fabled beanstalk?

Would you question your sanity? Start a riot? Burn it down? Apply for a job there?  All of the above?

The world over, this has become hardly a fantasy in many people’s lives: in China, entire “megacities” have sprouted in little more time, some of them still awaiting their first inhabitants, ghost cities, cargo cults of the wishful thinking of bureaucrats and over-zealous developers. Shanghai, Guangzhou, Dubai, Tokyo are well-known for big buildings going up with unnerving speed.

Even in the Bay Area it’s hardly an exaggeration, as entire neighborhoods in San Francisco are transformed from low-rise villages to immense forests of office and condo towers within months. Continue reading

Synchronized Chaos April 2017: Sacred Mysteries



This is the month when Jews celebrate Passover and Christians celebrate Easter, a time of spiritual insight. During a season when the weather is changing , we consider the way life continually renews itself and appreciate that it happens, even though we don’t entirely understand how and why.

The contributors to this month’s issue explore important questions and probe the edges of our understanding during this time of sacred mystery.

J.D. DeHart’s poems ask how much we know about our world, how much do we want to grasp, and how much this comprehension benefits us.

Gordon Hull shows through gently humorous, absurdist writing how our world throws piles of confusing information at us every day and it’s easy to get confused.

John Grochalski also explores absurdity. His speakers find themselves in uncomfortable, impossible situations that come, not from surreal imagination, but daily life in a social and economic landscape that seems inhospitable for ordinary people.

J.K. Durick’s writing probes the process of narrative creation and the consequences of devaluing truth.

Elizabeth Hughes’ Book Periscope review column highlights the long-time appeal of mystery novels. Many people enjoy the suspense and adventure of a good thrill and puzzle.

In a quirky essay about two strangers from seemingly disparate lines of work, Donal Mahoney compares editing a manuscript to surgery. Both fields involve quite a bit of art as well as technical skill, a competence that we can’t yet reduce to a set of instructions.

J.J. Campbell shoots out some raw, tough-minded advice about making the most of life, while Sudeep Adhikari points out the irrationality of destroying life here on Earth while we search intently for it outside our solar system.

Benjamin Blake crafts pieces filled with imagination and self-examination, yet grounded in our physical world by their specific locations or vivid imagery.

Mahbub’s poetry calls attention to the continuity of ordinary life. Grass grows, people love, minds think, water lets us see our reflections.

In Joan Beebe’s pieces, humans are dwarfed by the power of nature, shown in the sky at sunset and also by our emotions when we experience loss and heartbreak.

Allison Grayhurst’s poetry looks at cycles in relationships, connection and loss. Her pieces have a tribal and timeless feeling, reminiscent of the Biblical commentary in Ecclesiastes.

Michael Robinson’s pieces evoke spiritual searching, as a curious child and then as a thoughtful adult aware of the world’s hardship.

Christopher Bernard reviews the poetry collection The Territory of Dawn: Selected Poems of Eunice Odio, translated by Keith Ekiss. The poems, as he describes them, represent a spiritual quest informed by modernity and open to the findings of science. Living in the ‘real world’ does not have to mean abandoning the search for and celebration of life’s beauty and meaning and purpose.

We at Synchronized Chaos Magazine wish you a wonderful and thoughtful time as the seasons change and you welcome the new chapter of life.






Elizabeth Hughes’ Book Periscope


A Fool and His Honey by Charlaine Harris


This is a book I checked out from my local library. Charlaine Harris is the author of the Sookie Stackhouse series which became a series on cable TV. This series is the Aurora Teagarten series. Aurora Teagarten comes across many dead bodies throughout each of the series and then goes about solving the crimes. It is well written and really keeps the reader engrossed throughout the whole book. It is very hard to put down the book once you start reading. She has your attention from the very first page. I recommend this to anyone who loves Charlaine Harris books and others. This is a series in which you don’t need to read the first in order to know what is going on. You can pick up any book in the series and get interested right away. Definitely worth the read!


Shot Through Velvet : A Crime of Fashion Mystery by Ellen Byerrum
In this “Crime of Fashion Mystery”, Lacey Smithsonian is touring the Dominion Velvet factory in Black Martin, Virginia with her boyfriend Vic Donovan, a security specialist/private investigator. As they are touring the plant, they come upon a body tied to a spool of blue velvet immersed in a vat of blue dye. The victim is a very much despised person in upper management at Dominion. What ensues is a hilarious and adventurous story that will keep you turning pages until the end. This is another brilliant murder mystery by Ellen Byerrum.  A must read for mystery lovers. I personally loved this book.
Death on Heels by Ellen Byerrum
Death on Heels is another book in the A Crime of Fashion series. In this installment, Lacey Smithsonian, the fashion reporter for the Eye Street Observer in Washington DC, goes to Sagebrush Colorado to interview Cole Tucker her ex-fiancee, who has been arrested for the murder of three women. She doesn’t believe that he is the murderer, until during her interview in the jail, he throws Lacey over his shoulder and makes a break for it.
He takes off and explains to her that certain people are vey interested in all of his land for the minerals under the land. Now Lacey has to decide whether her ex fiancée is a murderer or just a jerk, and if she is going to help him get to the bottom of it and try to prove his innocence. This is another page turning adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. I definitely recommend Death on Heels for the mystery lovers out there.
Please request these books from your local neighborhood bookstore!

Poetry from Gordon Hull

The Boggling Facts

As my mind is boggled,

Boggled I will be,

Begging to stop the boggling of what I see,

Boggling is what they do,

Boggling me and you,

Boggling what do I mean?

Boggling you have seen,

Boggling they think we believe,

Once the boggling has stopped then life will be true,

So why are we boggled or baffled if we believe what they say,

Boggling is the governments way,

Boggle us here,

Boggle us there,

Boggle us everywhere,

So let’s stop the boggling,

Or as what our government likes to say,

Alternative fact by the way…


Poetry from Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Gratuity Rex


He told his driver to take him to the airport

and since he was the driver

he drove to the airport

and he thought about tipping the driver

the conversation was friendly



but something about the driver irked him

some people just don’t get on


so he decided to be polite

but firm


unloading his own bags

from the trunk


and since the airplane would not be invented

for another half century

he had to sit in the airport terminal

for quite a while


before his


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Poetry from Joan Beebe


Universal Human Sorrow
There are times when life seems to overwhelm us
We become trapped in a world of our own and
Imperfect we are not,  but
 We still strive for peace and harmony in our home
Sadly it seems all efforts are wasted.
Our hearts cry out for love and understanding.
Time seems to stand still in this place of longing
Nothing seems to change and we become
A prisoner of a broken heart
The day is ending but the lowering sun
Has not given up its radiant glow across the sky.
Watching this beautiful panorama before me,
I see a streak of silver as the sun reflects its
Light upon a plane causing an almost
Magical luminous effect.
I am entranced by the sight above me
And as I continue to watch that plane,
I feel and sense the awesome power of nature
Because, in unexpected ways, we are able
To witness such a blending of nature and man.

Poetry from Allison Grayhurst

 Love is not a shell
I tell you I am waiting for a new friend
to share these beautiful riches, to feel
safe with and to feel whole.
I tell you I am waiting for new and
permanent members of our clan – for all of us
here, striving for rich connection and finding
that most people will only go so far, most people
blend in without steam and then move on, on to where
the demands of intimacy are minimal and accountability
means making, defending, excuses.
I tell you I am happy for those who walk with me, and
my arms are open. Food is on the table.
By the edge,
the fire drifted from the sands
and all my tribe bit the bolt
hard. For life was hard,
and our ceremonies of perseverance,
of letting go, and of holding on
were all we had.
Shadows and senselessness walked
across our movie screen.
I put it all in our backyard –
the carcasses of mourned dead animals,
the memories of betrayal and grief, people
that never tried and those
that tried but just not hard enough.
I put them there and buried them close to the fence,
behind the evergreens, near where the sandbox used to be.
I told everyone tales of ‘true blue’
and the phone would ring
and then it would stop
and everyone of us held hands. We prayed.
We knew this was just a time of scarcity and soon
it would be a time of plenty:
We knew the joy of loving one another.

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