February 7th Featured Performer – Saymoukda Vongsay
Saymoukda “Mooks” Vongsay is a Lao American poet and playwright whose passion is arts advocacy. Her work has been published by Altra Magazine, The Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement, Saint Paul Almanac, Lao American Magazine, and Bakka Literary Journal, to name a few.
Vongsay pens the series Pushing the Pen, published weekly in the Asian American Press, interviewing literary artists from across the nation. She has taught and performed spoken word poetry from the Midwest to the East and West coasts, as well as in Italy and Japan.
Saymoukda is a co-founding member of the Unit Collective of Emerging Playwrights of Color and an active participant with Pillsbury House Theater’s Chicago Avenue Project. She is a 2011 Jerome Foundation/Mu Performing Arts’ New Eyes Theater Fellow, winner of the 2010 Alfred C. Carey Prize in Spoken Word Poetry (NY), and an advisory board member of the 2010 MPLS Asian Film Festival.
She is currently writing the full-length play, Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals, a commission by Mu Performing Arts. Saymoukda is pursuing an interdisciplinary Masters degree in Public Policy, Social Work, and Creative Writing at the U of MN. Get to know her at refugenius.blogspot.com
The Golden Thyme Coffee Café and the Saint Paul Almanac are pleased to announce the “Soul Sounds Open Mic,” hosted by Tish Jones! The “Soul Sounds Open Mic” series is held every Thursday, with a special pre-performance writing workshop on the first Thursday of each month.
The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Golden Thyme Coffee Café at 921 Selby Avenue (corner of North Milton Street) in Saint Paul, MN 55104. All ages are welcome, and there is no cover charge. Every first Thursday, a writing workshop will be held an hour before the open mic begins, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
About Host Tish Jones
Tish Jones, Community Engagement Director for the Saint Paul Almanac, is a spoken word artist, writer, educator, organizer, and activist in the Twin Cities. She has worked as a teaching artist with Pillsbury House Theater, Intermedia Arts, Plymouth Christian Youth Center, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis Public Schools (Arts for Academic Achievement), Kulture Klub, and many other arts organizations. She received the 2009 Artist of the Year Award from City Pages and was Female Spoken Word Artist of the Year at the Minnesota Spoken Word Association’s Urban Griots Awards in 2009.
About the Soul Sounds Open Mic
The Soul Sounds Open Mic is a platform for encouraging literacy within the Saint Paul community through leadership, mentoring, and relationship building. Unlike actors and many musicians, writers typically work in isolation, so building and supporting a literary community can be a challenge.
The “open mic” format, together with a featured performer, is designed to foster leadership; encourage connecting opportunities between established, emerging, and amateur writers; and help build, strengthen, and leverage other opportunities for the Saint Paul literary community.
Featured performers are recognized as leaders in the literary arts community and are offered an opportunity to build their own audiences. The “Soul Sounds Open Mic” also provides a space to connect writers who are spoken-word based and writers who are written-word based, within the context of being artists sharing a common literary heritage and practicing their craft in Saint Paul.
The First Thursday workshops before performances will explore specific poetic devices such as alliteration, assonance, metaphor, or specific forms of poetry to investigate when developing a piece. Workshop attendees will be encouraged to share the work created in the workshop at the open mic that follows.
About the Saint Paul Almanac
Now in its indispensable seventh edition, the 2013 Saint Paul Almanac is both a friendly guidebook to Minnesota’s capital city and Saint Paul’s eclectic community storytelling book of record, featuring essays, poems, photos, maps, and listings of events, bars, restaurants, theaters, and other cultural venues within a datebook format. Buy it now.
Available in full color, the 416-page 2013 Saint Paul Almanac includes over 160 photos and illustrations; gorgeous, hand-drawn, poster-size, pull-out maps of the City of Saint Paul and Downtown; and pull-out artwork by Ta-coumba Aiken!
A successful experiment in democratic publishing, the 2013 Almanac brought together a multigenerational group of 21 community editors to choose 132 pieces by 114 writers—without the editors knowing the authors’ identities—from hundreds of submissions.
High school students’ work appears alongside writing by grandparents, and first-time writers appear next to Saint Paul literary greats such as Garrison Keillor and Patricia Hampl.
Every person’s story is one unique part of a larger puzzle. When pieced together with all the other stories in the Saint Paul Almanac, the book transforms into a magical overview of Saint Paul’s interwoven cultures and communities, a tapestry of neighborhoods and favorite haunts.
The 2013 Saint Paul Almanac sells for $14.95 online (including S&H) at www.saintpaulalmanac.org and is available for $14.95 in independent and mainstream bookstores everywhere, as well as at libraries and coffee houses throughout the city.
Saint Paul Almanac‘s generous partners and sponsors include the City of Saint Paul’s Cultural STAR program, McKnight Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC), Minnesota State Arts Board, Lowertown Future Fund, Saint Paul Foundation, Mardag Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, Traveler’s Employee Arts and Diversity Committee, Knight Foundation, Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), Black Dog Café, Clouds in Water Zen Center, Twin Cities Daily Planet, and KFAI.
The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Golden Thyme Coffee Café at 921 Selby Avenue (corner of North Milton Street) in Saint Paul. All ages are welcome, and there is no cover charge. The First Thursday writing workshop is held an hour before the open mic begins, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.