HEAR ME ROAR:
Aya de Leon is a writer/performer working in poetry, fiction, and hip hop theater. Her work has received acclaim in the Village Voice, Washington Post, American Theatre Magazine, and has been featured on Def Poetry, in Essence Magazine, and various anthologies and journals. She was named best discovery in theater for 2004 by the SF Chronicle for "Thieves in the Temple : The Reclaiming of Hip Hop," a solo show about fighting sexism and commercialism in hip hop. Also in 2004, she received a Goldie award from the SF Bay Guardian in spoken word for “Thieves…” and her subsequent show “Aya de Leon is Running for President.” In 2005 she was voted "Slamminest Poet" in the East Bay Express. Aya has been an artist in residence at Stanford University, a Cave Canem poetry fellow, and a slam poetry champion. She publicly married herself in the 90s and since 1995 has been hosting an annual Valentine’s Day show that focuses on self-love. Aya has released three spoken word CDs, several chapbooks, and a video of "Thieves..." Since becoming a mom, she has been working to transition from being a touring performer into being a novelist. She is currently working on a sexy feminist heist caper. She is the Director of June Jordan's Poetry for the People program, teaching poetry, spoken word, and hip hop at UC Berkeley. Feel free to visit her website that has barely been updated since her daughter was born three years ago: ayadeleon.com
Raquel Gutiérrez cut her teeth on Los Angeles performance art when she interned and house managed at Highways Performance Space in the year 2000. Raquel is a performance writer, playwright, and cultural organizer, studied in university settings and performed in a variety of locations, like the Salvadoran countryside, cabarets, galleries, San Antonio, more universities, Pico-Union, etc. In 2001, Gutiérrez was one of the co-founding members of the performance ensemble, Butchlalis de Panochtitlan (BdP), a community-based and activist-minded group aimed at creating a visual vernacular around queer Latinidad in Los Angeles. Raquel also co-founded other queer women of color projects and Latino projects, Tongues, A Project of VIVA and Epicentro Poetry project. Raquel has published work in Ambientes: New Queer Latino Writing (edited by Lázaro Lima and Felice Picano), Los Angeles Weekly, Make/shift magazine, Journal of Chicana/Latina Studies, and Izote Vos: Salvadoran American Literary and Visual Art (published by SF’s Pacific News Service). Currently, Raquel is working on a novel while being the Manager of Community Partnerships for Cornerstone Theater Company, a leader in community-based theater-making in the United States.
Chinaka Hodge is a poet, playwright and screenwriter. Originally from Oakland, California, Chinaka graduated from NYU in 2006, and is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in Writing for Film and TV at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Chinaka was a member of the U.S. Artist Delegation to the World Social Forum in Narobi, Kenya in early 2007. She was the Assistant Director of Suzan Lori Parks’ 365 Plays, 365 Days, at its San Francisco debut in November 2006. Her first independently written play, Mirrors in Every Corner, commissioned by SF’s Intersection for the Arts, is a 2010 Rockefeller MAP Fund grantee. Her work has been featured in Teen People Magazine, Newsweek, The San Francisco Chronicle, Theater Bay Area Magazine, San Francisco Magazine, Scholastic Magazine, Current Magazine, The Annual Women of Color Film Festival, PBS, NPR, CNN, C-Span, and in two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry. Chinaka is the oldest of seven children, split between six parents and five households. In short, she’s a true product of blended-family, Northern California and the late 90s. She aspires, above all else, to be an outstanding great-grandmother.
Carrie Leilam Love is a writer and community artist from Oakland, California. She was a real book nerd growing up, so it surprised no one when she received an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. She likes to write poems and stories about people struggling to love themselves and each other, which is totally the dominant narrative of the human condition. Some of her poems and stories have been published by Diner Journal, Intersection for the Arts, and others. She recently performed in Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance, and was invited by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU to speak with distinguished company about cultural representation and the responsibility of artists. Formerly, she was a contributing editor for Ironing Board Collective, where she wrote about the intersections of politics and sartorial choice. In 2011 she founded The Ephemory Project in memory of her brother, a website and organization dedicated to using creativity to heal communities and raise awareness about epidemic violence. In her free time, she has pursued at one time or another and to varying degrees of success: gardening, triathlon, roller derby, and quilting. Currently she is the BayView Community Artist in Residence for WritersCorps, a program of the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Dawn Robinson is a genderqueer writer and filmmaker who calls Oakland, California home. Dawn is a two-time Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging Writer, and seeks a wider conversation on issues of race, gender and sexuality and firmly believes in the organic creative spark in each of us; the work we do is part of a global continuum of gratitude, rage, rebirth and irreverence. For Dawn it's pie over cake, salty over sweet, crunchy over creamy, beach over snow, dogs over cats, and fire over ice.
Featured in the HBO Documentary Asians Aloud, Kit Yan tell stories through slam poetry from the lens of a queer and transgender Asian American from Hawaii who travels all over the world on tour. Through touching love poems, coming out stories, and comedic tales of his childhood. New York Magazine describes his art as “knockout spoken-word” while Curve magazine says “incredible slam poetry” and Bitch magazine states that: “The eloquence of Kit’s spoken-word delivery lies in the anti-racist, anti-homophobic, gender-inclusive, language that ties his lyrics together.” Kit’s work has been taught at universities all over the world from Singapore to San Francisco State to Harvard. Kit is on Campus Pride's Top 25 LGBT college campus
speakers and artists hot list and is dedicated to creating positive social change. In 2010, Kit appeared in a census psa focusing on same-sex couples and people of color. Kit also spoke to over 200,000 from the stage of the 2009 National Equality March, performed on the 2009 San Francisco Pride main stage, and earned a top three spot at the
2010 National Queer Slam. Kit Yan is the first ever Mr. Transman 2010.