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MECA's Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts Concert Series Presents The Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word.

HOUSTON -- Nation's Most Celebrated Latino Spoken Word Performers Come to Houston June 24, 2005
Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word Performance
 Friday, June 24, 2005, at 8:00 p.m.
 At MECA, 1900 Kane Street, Houston, Texas 77007
 $5.00 (All Ages) by phone at 866-468-7621
 or online at www.ticketweb.com
 $7.50 (All Ages) At The Door

 MECA Summer Youth Poetry Performance
 Friday, July 1, 2005, at MECA at 8:00 p.m.


MECA and the National Performance Network present the Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word featuring celebrated writer and Youth Speaks director Paul S. Flores of San Francisco, California, HBO Def Poetry artist Amalia Ortiz of San Antonio, Texas, and national poetry slam champion Marc Pinate of San Jose, California. The Chicano Messengers will be in town as part of MECA's summer program, leading workshops for youth interested in creative writing, spoken word and Hip Hop performance. They perform for Houston audiences on June 24, 8:00 p.m., at MECA, accompanied by local spoken word artists including Tony Diaz and the Nuestra Palabra Collective as well as the Houston Poetry Slam team members, and DJ Joe Manuel. This performance will be followed by a MECA youth poetry performance Friday, July 1, 2005, at 8:00 p.m., directed and hosted by Paul S. Flores.

The Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word are three nationally known spoken word poets from the Southwest who hope to influence more Latino youth to write and perform their narratives. With the help of the National Performance Network Creation Fund, Youth Speaks, El Centro Su Teatro, Xicanindio Artes and MECA have co-commissioned the Chicano Messengers to create an evening-length work of spoken word theater entitled "Fear of A Brown Planet." Spoken word is the fastest-growing literary movement of the generation under 35. The immediate response to contemporary issues as well the heavy influence of Hip Hop makes it accessible, engaging, educational and entertaining. Through vignettes and dramatized spoken word pieces about posthumous US citizenship for Mexican residents who died in Iraq, racial profiling in barrios of San Jose, and bitter but humorous bilingual romance when "Tu love es no good," they create a clear picture of Latino life in the United States, dispelling many stereotypes about an often misunderstood and misrepresented culture. Their show can be enjoyed by all ages. Both Su Teatro in Denver and Xicanindio Artes in Arizona previously hosted NPN residencies with The Chicano Messengers, during which the commission was initiated.

Through their residency program the Chicano Messengers create a forum and community among an ever-growing number of youth who are returning to literature and reinvesting in education through the power of the spoken word.

ARTIST BIOS

Paul S. Flores is a poet, performer and author of the novel "Along the Border Lies" (Creative Arts Books, 2001) about the Tijuana-San Diego border community where he was raised. Since 1996 he has been a member of the San Francisco-based poetry performance troupe Los Delicados, dedicated to bringing new audiences into the consciousness of Latino creative expression. He has been a featured performer at such regarded venues as The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Arts, Funk Jazz Lounge Miami, the Justice League, the National Hip Hop Festival in La Habana, Cuba, and two appearances on "Russell Simmons Presents: Def Poetry" on HBO. He is the co-author of three plays in the genre of Hip Hop and Spoken Word Theater, including "No Man's Land" with Marc Bamuthi Joseph and "The Fruitvale Project" with Elia Arce. Paul has also been a featured guest on National Public Radio's "Forum" with Michael Krasny, and has twice been an invited literary panelist at The Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. Paul is a recipient of the Creative Work Fund (2001), the California Arts Council Spoken Word Fellowship (2002) and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award (2003). He was most recently awarded the National Performance Network Creation Fund Commission to create his newest theater project "Fear of a Brown Planet" with the Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word. He has recorded on "Handbook to the Apocalypse" (Wide Hive Records, 2003), and "Word Descarga," Los Delicados spoken word CD (Calaca Press, 2001). Paul has published stories, poems and book reviews in many periodicals and literary magazines including The San Francisco Bay Guardian, The San Francisco Chronicle, and ZYZZYVA Magazine. Paul holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He is the Program Director of Youth Speaks, a nonprofit literary arts center for teenagers in San Francisco responsible for creating Brave New Voices: The National Teen Poetry Slam.

Amalia Ortiz is a San Antonio-based actor, director, activist, as well as Puro Slam grand slam champion 2000, 2001, and 2002. Named Puro Slam's 1999 MVP "based on skills, execution, winnings, and over all sportsmanship," Amalia has graced the pages of Latina Magazine for founding, co-writing, directing, and appearing in the 2-hour all female poetry/theatre piece, Women of ILL Repute: Refute!, which raised money for the Rape Crisis Center, and was presented at the Young Tongues Theatre Festival, the San Antonio Inter-American Book Fair, Latina Letters Conference, Austin Poetry Festival, Austin Book Festival, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and several universities. After participating in the Slam America National Bus Tour (Summer 2000), Amalia proudly represented San Antonio at the 2000 National Poetry Slam as the first Latina to compete in the National Slam Finals. That team placed 2nd in the nation. One of her poems was also featured in the Slam America Tour documentary film. After filming her first starring role in the independent film, "Speeder Kills" (2001), Amalia completed a 7-state spoken word tour. At the Taos Poetry Circus 2001, she placed 1st in the Open Slam and won the Tag Team Slam with partner Gary Mex Glazner. She has also performed at the South by Southwest Music Conference 2000 and 2001.

She has been awarded the San Antonio Current's editor pick for "Best Local Poet" 2002 and the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Award from Sandra Cisneros. She also performed at the nation's capital and met the President and First Lady at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Her poetry is featured on the spoken word compilation CDs "PoetCD.Com Sampler Vol. I," "NYC Urbana: the Very Best of 2003," and "The Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word." Calaca Press will also feature her on the upcoming CD "Raza Spoken Here III." Most notably, Amalia has appeared on three seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO and the 2003 NAACP Image Awards on FOX and currently tours with the female performance-poetry troupe Diva Diction, The Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word, and the Def Poetry College Tour.

Marc David Pinate is a poet, playwright, actor, organizer, and activist currently residing in Berkeley, California. Originally from Chandler, Arizona, he received his BA in Communications from Santa Clara University in 1994. Pinate went on to teach ESL social studies and Chicano Literature classes at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Jose. From 1995 to 1997 he worked with the Chicano theater company, Teatro Vision, as production manager, light board operator, actor, and workshop coordinator. Pinate also holds a Master of Arts degree in Theater Arts from San Jose State University. Along with teaching drama classes part time at SJSU, he is the Program Manager at Galeria De La Raza, located in San Francisco. Pinate is the co-founder and front man-poet of Grito Serpentino, a spoken word and music ensemble which has toured throughout the country. In 1999 Pinate was a member of the San Jose Slam Team which took first place at the National Slam Championships in Chicago that year and which also earned him an appearance on CBS's "60 Minutes" when the news program did a feature story on slam poetry. The same year Pinate founded Los Del Pueblo Actors' Lab, a grass roots NeoChican@ theater company which has mounted several plays written by Pinate including "The Mex-Files," "The Tale of Johnny Hispanic," "Amor Rabioso," "The Lunatic" and "The Journey of Isis." As a solo poet, he has performed in cities around the nation including Chicago, Los Angeles, Tucson, Washington, D.C., New York City, Albuquerque, San Diego, and Boston. Pinate's poetry, plays and short stories have been published in The Santa Clara Review, Razateca, Comfusion, Calaca Review, Zyzzyva and StreetLow magazine. With his group, Grito Serpentino, Pinate has recorded and released two spoken word CDs: the self-titled debut CD, "Grito Sepentino" (1999), and the recently released, "Para La Gente" (2001). Most Recently, Pinate began performing with the Chicano spoken word troupe, Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word. Pinate's achievements have been recognized and awarded by the California Arts Council and Arts Council Silicon Valley.

About MECA Summer Program

As always, classes give students the opportunity to explore and develop their creativity and capacity for self-expression, while also developing discipline, teamwork and critical thinking skills through individual and ensemble practice. MECA will provide approximately five field trips a week for the six weeks of the programming. Field trips include visits to the Children's Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, the Holocaust Museum, Museum of Natural Science, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Health and Science, Museum of Contemporary Crafts, a trip to the Menil Collection, the zoo, swimming at Moody Park, roller-skating and movies. Students may see artistic performances at the University of Houston, at Stages Theater, and a performance at MECA by Express Children's Theater. MECA also offers extracurricular arts classes to students wishing to expand their artistic knowledge after the end of the summer day program.

Two Summer Recitals give parents and community members the opportunity to share in the artistic achievements of MECA youth, while providing students with valuable performance experience. All of us at MECA are very proud of our Summer Program students, and all of their artistic accomplishments.

About Paul Flores NPN Residency

MECA is a member of the National Performance Network comprised of arts organizations throughout the United States. The NPN and this presentation of Paul Flores have been made possible through major funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information visit the NPN Website at www.npnweb.org.
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Date:Apr 26, 2005
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