Playwright, Staff Artist-in-Residence
San Francisco-based playwright and screenwriter, Isaiah's plays include Absolute Pure Happiness, produced by Three Wise Monkeys Theater Company in San Francisco, and The Pheasant, winner of The Little Theater of Alexandria 2007 National One-Act Competition. His films include Silent Anna, directed by Max Sokoloff, and Tests I Love to Take, directed by Ronald Chase. Isaiah is the assistant director of the San Francisco Art & Film Program, an arts education non-profit making the arts accessible to students. He is also the screenwriting mentor for the SF Art & Film’s Film Workshop. With his spare time, he contributes to the 2xHR art society and has been known to lurk in bathtubs at The Parlor, a monthly reading series, hosted by Chicago's Green Lantern.
Poet, Editor, Staff Artist-in-Residence
A translator, editor, published poet, and an Assistant Editor of the occasionally outrageous and radical City Lights Books team, Maia studied Creative Writing at UC Santa Cruz and lived in Paris, France, where she studied and worked in a bookshop, and began translating her first book from French.
Journalist, Critic, Observer, Social Scientist
Artistic Director for the Creative Writing Department, and Asawa SOTA graduate (Vocal 2002), Tony has been directing CW productions since 2004. Time spent in the writing program at Bennington College and the James Joyce Summer School, University College, Dublin, culminated in a BA from New College of California in literature and experimental theater. First published abroad at age sixteen, Tony is a San Francisco Youth Arts Award recipient and received the Kennedy Center Scholastic Medal of Honor for his writing portfolio. Learn more about the World of Bravo here, here, and here, too!
Heidi Alletzhauser, a former and present SOTA parent received her PsyD from the School of Professional Psychology, Wright State University, where she was the recipient of the Biodyne Merit Scholarship. As a psychologist, working primarily in the areas of trauma- domestic violence, rape, and loss through homicide- Heidi also served as an adjunct professor at Wright State and Antioch University. Dr. Alletzhauser migrated from Ohio to California, raised her four children and became interested in photography; a hobby which became a passion and now her vocation. Working regularly with talent agents and acting coaches in the Bay Area, her primary work focuses on children’s portraiture and headshots. She shoots for many local companies.and her photos have earned her featured magazine editorials. Current special projects include a photo and poetry book of The Excelsior neighborhood in partnership with Poetry in Translation, and a photo book to raise awareness of issues involved in the 2013 Trayvon Martin shooting.
A poet and essayist whose books include Vigilance (Beyond Baroque, 2005), Rituals of Truce and the Other Israeli (Parrhesia Press, 2004), The Book of Who Are Was (Sun & Moon, 1997), How to Read, too (Leech Books, 1992), and, as editor, Translating Tradition: Paul Celan in France (ACTS, 1988). Mr. Hollander teaches at Chabot College in Hayward, CA.
Director, Oakland School of the Arts
Former Asawa SOTA Principal, Mr. Harris also served as guest director for the Creative Writing department playwriting performances during his final four years at Asawa SOTA. He holds an MA in Acting and Directing from Cal State Los Angeles and has directed numerous productions, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Awake and Sing, as well as many original works by student playwrights. He is now entering his second year as executive director of the Oakland School for the Arts.
Erica has brought a “Writing Through the Arts” unit to the department for more than one visiting artist session.
Artistic director of the Erika Shuch Performance Project (ESP Project), a resident performance company of Intersection for the Arts, her work incorporates movement, text, music, and imagery. The ESP Project has had residencies and staged performances at Intersection, ODC, the Magic Theatre, and at the Theater Artaud for the SF International Arts Festival. Erika received a Goldie Award from the SF Bay Guardian and also a CHIME award (Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange).
Erika is a co-director and co-founder of the Experimental Performance Institute, an interdisciplinary BA, MA, and MFA program in residence at New College of California, and also teaches through Intersection’s Alternative Theater Institute and Dancers’ Group’s 2005 Summer Dance Intensive. A San Francisco Chronicle review (September 15, 2007) of her show 51802 can be found at this SF Gate link.
A recipient of a New Langton Bay Area Award Show for Literature and founding editor of nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts, Ms. SIngleton received an MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics from The New College of California.
Her work has appeared in a number of publications including Chain, Fence, Five Fingers Review, Callaloo, The Breast: An Anthology (Global City Press; New York, 1994), Beyond the Frontier: African American Poets for the Millenium (Black Classics Press; MD, 2002), and on the building of Yerba Buena Center for Arts.
In 2002, she was featured guest on NPR’s “Fresh Air” hosted by Michael Krasny. She has taught poetry in the San Francisco Unified School District and at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA.
A visual artist whose practice explores contexts of space, light, materiality and history, Amy's projects and collaborations with poets, architects, and composers include permanent and temporary public artworks: Groundwork, for a San Jose, CA library and The Atrium Project at Children’s Hospital-Oakland. The Natural History of Market Street was commissioned by Art in Transit of the San Francisco Art Commission and Illuminance was installed for the inauguration of Pixar’s Emeryville campus. She is currently designing artwork for the BART extension between Oakland and San Jose. Visual Design for Theater has been performed at venues including The Magic Theater, ODC, the LAB, Intersection for the Arts, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Trachtenberg’s work is exhibited and collected nationally and internationally and represented by Brian Gross Fine Art.
She received a BA in French and Liberal Studies from California State University-Sonoma and the Diplôme d’Art Plastique from L’école Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. She lives and works in San Francisco. Her website: www.amytrachtenberg.com
Saxophonist, Asawa SOTA alumnus
A jazz musician who first found his talents nurtured, to quote his website, “in the most nurturing of all environments for young African American musicians: the church.”
Mr. Wiley has recorded and performed with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Lauryn Hill, and Lavay Smith, and many others. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades from the Thelonious Monk Institute, MVP honors for the Grammy All-American Jazz Band and the Berklee College of Music Scholarship Award.
At the age of 15, Wiley released his first CD as a leader, signaling the arrival of the San Francisco Bay Area’s newest diamond in the rough. In 2007 he released his third album, The Angola Project, comprising ensemble pieces inspired by 1950s recordings from Angola State Prison. According to jazz critic Daniel King of the San Francisco Chronicle, “What makes Wiley’s album a great artifact (and great listen) is his textural range, his less-is-more compositional approach, and his patience as a soloist.”
An Asawa SOTA graduate. Wiley enjoyed returning to his alma mater to teach a Creative Writing unit on "Writing Through Music". www.howardwiley.com.
Tings Dey Happen, his third solo show, directed by Charlie Varon, premiered at The Marsh in San Francisco and won the 2007 Will Glickman Award for Best New Play before running for five months off-Broadway in NYC at The Culture Project, where it was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show. Hoyle’s previous solo shows,Circumnavigator and Florida 2004: The Big Bummer enjoyed extended runs in San Francisco before touring colleges across the United States. He also performs with his father, actor and comedian Geoff Hoyle.
Hoyle has been commissioned by The Aurora Theatre Company and has served as an artist-in-residence teacher at Asawa SOTA. His essays have been featured in The San Francisco Chronicle, SportsIllustrated.com, and Salon.
Dan holds a double degree in Performance Studies and History from Northwestern University. Tings Dey Happen received rave reviews from the Chronicle’s theater critic Robert Hurwitt during its SF run. Keep up with his adventures, shows, and reviews at www.danhoyle.com,
Visual and Performance Artist
Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Israel graduated from Roosevelt High School with a 1.59 G.P.A. He is a graduate of Laney and Vista Community College with an A.A. in English Literature, surviving UC Berkeley with a degree in English and Xikan Studies and received an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts.
His work ranges from poetry, to short fiction, to performance poems, stories, and monologues. He is extremely invested in painting and music and is the author of a series of name poems exploring the history of naming and renaming within the Latino community of East Los Angeles. Israel has been a youth mentor, tutor, and teacher to students in the Bay Area and Southern California. Ultimately, he is concerned with creating a new curriculum for a generation of inner city youth who need to see, hear, and read works by/for/from their communities as a means of appreciating writers and worlds further afield.
Poet, Translator, Editor
A poet and translator with abiding interests in Surrealism, film noir, and “the city”, Brook is the principal editor of two anthologies, Resisting the Virtual Life and Reclaiming San Francisco. His translations include Resistance by Victor Serge, My Tired Father by Gellu Naum, The Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette, and Panegyric by Guy Debord. His poems can be found in many journals, including Big Bridge, Exquisite Corpse, and City Lights Review.
Poet, Scholar of 20th Century American Poetry
Mr. Gardiner received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, writing his dissertation on the works of Charles Olson and was a Fulbright lecturer on American literature in Germany. He has published poems in Pavement and Luna Tack and essays on Olson, H.D., and George Butterick in American Poetry, intent, the H.D. Newsletter, The North Dakota Quarterly, and the essay collection Olson’s Prose from Cambridge Scholars Press. He edited and published the 2009 ALA talks on Charles Olson as Olson and Music, Olson and Place.
While working on his dissertation in Iowa City, he hosted a radio segment on contemporary poets, organized a lecture series on Mondernist and Post-Modernist novelists and poets, and worked as a typesetter on Philip Levine’s The Names of the Lost for the Windhover Press.
He is currently preparing the manuscript of Charles Olson’s Black Mountain College lectures The Chiasma: Lectures on the New Sciences of Man and working on a poem series on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice — complete with their fictional correspondence.
Inspired by current events, a wide variety of issues — from environmental crisis to international politics and war — feed into Ms. Maria's paintings and works on paper. Her interpretations range from the explicitly literal to complete abstraction, almost to the point of illiegibility. Although many issues are referenced, the work itself remains non-linear, seeking to raise questions rather than to give answers.
Raised in Binghamton, New York, Maria moved to San Francisco in 1990 to attend UC-Berkeley, where she earned a BA in Art Practice in 1993, followed by an MFA in 1998.
Maria’s work can be found in many public collections including the diRosa Preserve, Napa, California, the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, California, and the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada.
She has been awarded s a Masterminds Grant from SF Weekly;, a grant from Artadia, New York, NY, and an Eisner Prize from the University of California, Berkeley. Maria is represented by the Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco and the Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles. Her prints have been published by Gallery 16, San Francisco, Shark’s Ink, Lyons, CO, and Smith Andersen Editions, Palo Alto, CA, among others. For more information, and to see her work, visit www.karamaria.com.
Poet, Underground Hip Hop MC/Producer
After being named winner of the 1998 Youth Speaks poetry slam, Rocco went on to compete nationally and was a featured youth slam performer in the acclaimed documentary Poetic License, which aired on PBS in 2000.
Ultimately, Kayiatos’ love for words led him to hip hop. He began producing and performing in 2001 and has since released two solo cd’s and has been featured on five compilations.
Crowned producer of the year by Out Music Awards for his debut album, Kayiatos is also a prominent artist in the feature-length documentary Pick Up the Mic: the (r)evolution of queer hip hop, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and has since been picked up by LOGO. His video for the single “The Life” premiered on LOGO’s NewNowNext in mid-2007 and enjoyed a long run on the top ten countdown. Rocco's music has also been featured on season four of The L Word and its soundtrack.
The subject of a forthcoming biopic, The State of Katastrophe, Rocco has toured nationally and internationally as well as performing in dozens of colleges.
Student, Teacher, Author
A doctoral student in comparative literature at Université of Paris. Lily teaches English at Université d’Angers in France. In 2009, she transcribed and annotated The North Georgia Gazette (Green Lantern Press). She is the author of two forthcoming books, m (Corrupt Press) and graphemachines (Atelier de l’Agneau) and co-editor of the Omnia Vanitas Review, a journal of literary erotica.
Having spent more than twenty-five years in the publishing business as an editor, marketer, and ultimately, publisher of several New York publishing concerns, she is the author of numerous non-fiction works. and her most recent book, Money, A Memoir, will be published in the spring of 2006 by Henry Holt.
Composer, Performer, Arranger, Educator
An award-winning bassist, working and living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Shelby studied under James Newton and Charlie Haden. His credits include original scoring for film, theater, and dance, as well as jazz composition for his own groups, the 15-piece Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, the Marcus Shelby Trio and the Marcus Shelby Septet.
Shelby is nationally recognized for his innovative and collaborative approach to composing and arranging for text, the visual arts, dance and theater. In 2000, Marcus’ interest in composing for jazz orchestra and his work in collaboration with the Bay Area multidisciplinary arts organization Intersection for the Arts led him to form the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra comprised of some of the Bay Area’s most respected and sought-after young musicians.
Hehas been awarded two residencies with Intersection for the Arts through Theater Communications Group and Meet the Composer and in 2000 was awarded the Creative Work Fund grant to compose for the MSJO. The project resulted in the recording, “The Light.”
In 2002, Shelby was commissioned by the Equal Justice Society to compose a suite for jazz ballet in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Port Chicago Mutiny. Named by CityFlight as one of the ten most influential African-Americans in the Bay Area for 2005, in addition to composing and performing, Shelby is on the faculty at San Francisco State University and on the UC Berkeley faculty for the Young Musicians program. http://www.marcusshelby.com/
Marisa Crawford is a poet and writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY. She grew up on the East Coast, received her BA from UMass Amherst where she studied Creative Writing, Women’s Studies and Spanish, and received her MFA in Poetry from San Francisco State. Marisa’s first collection of poems, The Haunted House,was the winner of the 2008 Gatewood Prize and published by the feminist press Switchback Books in April of 2010. Her writing has recently appeared in Shampoo and Actions,Yes, and is forthcoming in an anthology of poetry for teenage girls. Marisa is Senior Editor of the nonprofit book publisher Small Desk Press and volunteers as a writing mentor and workshop leader for teenage girls with Girls Write Now.
Marisela Treviño Orta is a Poet and Playwright living in San Francisco. Her first play Braided Sorrow won UC Irvine’s Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in drama and will be the season opener for Denver’s El Centro SuTheatre. Her short play Woman on Fire was read at the 2007 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and at the Latino Playwrights Initiative’s 2006 playfest. Marisela is currently developing Woman on Fire into a full-length play as part of a commission from LPI corrdinators Austin Script Works and Teatro Vivo. Marisela is Marin Theatre Company’s resident playwright and is currently writing a commissioned play for MTC’s Nu Works workshop productions. This fall she has been slated to work with Just Theatre as part of their New Plays Lab. Marisela’s poetry has been published in BorderSenses, Double Room, Pomona Valley Review, 26: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics, andTraverse. Her literary blog can be found at http://xanga.com/mtorta.
A Creative Writing artist-in-residence from 2007-2009, Michael currently curates art and culture events for the San Francisco Zen Center. Her focus is on promoting truly interdisciplinary conversations that challenge audiences and viewers to reconsider the “inherent,” and that engage individuals in the act of empathetic deep thinking. She has co-curated and co-organized the multidisciplinary San Francisco arts event series “Go,” and has curated for galleries in Boston, L.A., and San Francisco. Michael has been published in the San Francisco Arts Quarterly, Plastic Antinomy, and serves as the internal fashion police you wish you had on the Ironing Board Collective blog. She holds a degree in Visual Studies from California College of the Arts.
Writer, Memoirist, Performer
Michelle Tea is the author of four memoirs, a collection of poetry and the novel Rose of No Man’s Land. Her first YA book, A Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, was published in January 2013 by McSweeneys. She is the founder and Executive Director of the RADAR Reading Series, which hosts the monthly RADAR Reading Series, the annual Radar LAB Writers Retreat, and the international Sister Spit performance tours. She is Editor of Sister Spit Books, an imprint of City Lights.
Writer, Blogger, Critic, Cultural Worker
A Bay Area resident, Claire has worked in nonprofit administration for almost two decades, particularly in the area of arts in the Asian American community. Her MFA in fiction came from San Francisco State University, and some of her fiction is published in McSweeney’s Hyphen,Farthing, and The Encyclopedia Project. A chapbook of her short stories, called SLIGHTLY BEHIND AND TO THE LEFT, was published by Aqueduct Press last December. She has taught writing to teens, college students, and adults, and is currently coordinating free writing classes for teens through the Oakland Book Project. She blogs at Hyphen and her personal blog “SeeLight.”
Painter, Fashion Designer, Performance Artist, Teacher
Rachel Znerold knew early on that she was different. Growing up in the Colorado countryside, she saw dazzling beauty in decomposing logs and scrawled wild designs on her sneakers. Now, as a painter, one-of-a-kind eco-fashion designer, performance artist and teacher, Rachel makes her life out of making art.
With a degree in Fine Art and Advertising from the University of Colorado in Boulder, she became a resident artist at Rembrandt Yard Gallery and taught painting, fashion design, and performance at schools throughout Boulder.
After traveling to New Zealand and Mexico to complete commissioned mural projects, Rachel landed in San Francisco, the city where her grandparents had fallen in love. She is now a member of the Mission District’s vibrant art scene.
Rachel’s work has shown at Wonderland Gallery, Secession Art & Design, Femina Potens, and Roll Up Gallery, and she has performed at San Francisco venues like the Rickshaw Stop, Dance Mission Theatre, The Box Factory, Mezzanine, 111 Minna, The Lab and at Yerba Buena Night Out- SFMoma New Media Lounge. Rachel is a most excellent high-kicker and is passionate about using art to build strong community and a culture of social activism. www.rachelzart.com
Performer, Teacher, Cultureworker
Jeffrey Alphonsus Mooney has taught and performed around the U.S. and Canada for almost twenty years. He just finished a successful run as musician/composer with Kirk Readin in This Is The Thing, and was this year nominated for an IZZY award for his music with Sean Dorsey in Bully.
Octavio Solis lives in San Francisco. His works Man of the Flesh, Prospect, El Paso Blue, Santos & Santos, La Posada Mágica, El Otro, Dreamlandia, The 7 Visions of Encarnacion, Bethlehem, The Ballad of Pancho and Lucy, Gibralter, Lethe, and Marfa Lights have been mounted at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the New York Summer Play Festival, the Dallas Theater Center, the Magic Theater, Intersection for the Arts, South Coast Repertory Theatre, the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the San Jose Repertory Theatre, Shadowlight in San Francisco, the Venture Theatre in Philadelphia, Latino Chicago Theatre Company, Teatro Vista in Chicago, Thick Description, Artattack, Campo Santo, the Imua Theatre Company in New York, and Cornerstone Theatre. Most recently, Lydia gained great acclaim in its 2008 opening at the Denver Center Theatre Company, and has been nominated for the 2009 Steinberg/ATCA Award. Solis has received an NEA Playwriting Fellowship, the Will Glickman Playwright Award, a production grant from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, the 1998 TCG/NEA Theatre Artists in Residence Grant, the 1998 McKnight Fellowship from the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, and the National Latino Playwriting Award for 2003. He is the recipient of the 2000-2001 National Theatre Artists Residency Grant from TCG and the Pew Charitable Trust for Gibraltar at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His new anthology, Plays by Octavio Solis, is published by Broadway Play Publishing.
Poet, Assemblage Artist
Truong Tran received his MFA from San Francisco State University and has received many honors including the Fund for Poetry Grant (2007) a San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grant (2003) and Intersection Writer in Residence (2003). He has shown his work locally at Intersection, APAture, Kearny Street Workshop, and a.Muse Gallery. In 2010 Truong had his first solo show at Mina Dresden Gallery and was part of (re)CLAIM at SOMARTS. Truong has published many volumes of poetry, most recently Four Letter Words (Apogee Press, 2008).
Translator, Poet, Performance Coach
Niloufar Talebi is an award-winning translator, born in London to Iranian parents. She received a BA in Comparative Literature from UC Irvine, and an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College. She studied theater with Jean Shelton and Cyril Clayton and has produced and performed nationally. In 2003 she founded The Translation Project (www.thetranslationproject.org), a literary organization and production company with innovative multimedia projects that bring contemporary Iranian literature to wide audiences. She edited and translated Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World (North Atlantic Books, August 2008). Niloufar has presented at numerous venues including the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature in New York City, The New School, The National Arts Club, St. Mark’s Poetry Project, Asia Society, the New York Public Library, Litquake, SF Public Library, ODC Theater, Theater Artaud, Berkeley Reportory Theater, Actor’s Theater, and Intersection for the Arts. She created “Midnight Approaches,” a DVD of short videos based on new Iranian poetry, as well as Four Springs and ICARUS/RISE, multimedia theatrical pieces also based on new Iranian poetry. She is the recipient of translation prizes from the International Center for Writing and Translation (2004), the American Literary Translators Association (2005), the PEN/New York State Council on the Arts (2006) and the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize (2006). Visit her at www.niloufartalebi.com.
Screenwriter, Joker, Bon Vivant
Sam Hamm turned to screenwriting when it became apparent he would never make a living as a cartoonist. His screen credits include Never Cry Wolf, Batman, Batman Returns, and Monkeybone, and he co-created, with Sam Raimi, the television series M.A.N.T.I.S. At the moment he is working on an untitled comedy for DreamWorks, a two-part Batman comic for DC, and an episode of the cable anthology series Masters of Horror, to be directed by Joe Dante. His favorite hobby is missing deadlines. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Heather Woodward, Director of Creative Writing at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts.