Wed. Feb 1st, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Downtown Santa Ana invites Authors to Take Over Their City

“Boca de Oro” festival brings 100+ Literary Artists for Downtown Santa Ana takeover

SANTA ANA, Ca — On Saturday March 4th, Downtown Santa Ana will be transformed into the Literary Capital of Orange County. Over a dozen art galleries, restaurants, historic buildings and secret spaces will double as houses of letters for literary fans to connect with local and regional writers.



“Our region is a wealth of writers and readers,” said Madeleine Spencer, festival organizer and downtown business leader. “We opened our downtown campus to celebrate local literati, and curators seized the opportunity.”

More than 100 local and visiting authors and artists took up the opportunity to showcase their work. Boca de Oro includes workshops, readings, panel discussions, open mics, performances, and thoughtful reflections. The event is free and open to the public with offerings that appeal to everyone.

For kids, daytime and early-evening activities range from bookbinding workshops and fabric painting to self-expression workshops. Santa Ana Unified School District is bringing over 500 students and faculty downtown to perform a wide variety of arts genres.

For fans of literature and poetry, Boca de Oro features readings, panel discussions, and open mics with acclaimed local and visiting authors, including Alan Tonkovich, Kevin Staneic, Ryan Gattis, Diana Tierney, Marytza Rubio, Eric Cocoletzi, Iris de Anda, Christina Chavez, Richard Bausch, James P. Blaylock, Douglas R. Dechow, Anna Leahy, Siri Suthatham Tveter, Con Safos, Marina Aguilera, Calvin Clausell, Mark Axelrod, Lisa Alvarez, Tom Zoellner, and many more.

“We are opening our Downtown to a literary convergence, where OC’s intelligentsia can recognize a warm welcome,” says Spencer of the festival. “I hope everyone takes advantage of this opening opportunity to share in the burgeoning art and literary scene in Orange County.”

For the rest of us, the Lit Fest is planned against the backdrop of Downtown Santa Ana’s monthly First Saturday Artwalk in which artists, restaurants, and public spaces come alive with music, crowds and conviviality.

Leonard Cohen fans will not want to miss this. Santa Ana Sites, a local arts presenter, is bringing Perla Batalla, Leonard Cohen’s long-time back-up singer, for an intimate performance during Boca de Oro. Perla will perform her favorite Cohen songs in English and Spanish and tell stories that celebrate the artist’s life in Orange County’s oldest church. (Note: this concert is the only “for-pay” element of the festival at $10 student/$18 general admission. All other features are free.)

Learn more about the event schedule and program online at bocadeoro.org.

Boca de Oro Schedule of Events

SATURDAY, MARCH 4TH

2-4 p.m.

“INCARCERATION” Panel I

Location: Orange County Center of Contemporary Art (OCCCA)
Moderator: Leslie Davis and Davis Glass
Panelists: Christine L. Montonna, Pat Sparkuhl, Mando Yearwood Cordova, Hon. Joe T. Perez, Jeff Elias, Fabian Debora

One of two sessions that will look at how the U.S. now confines more than 2.2 million people in its prisons. This discussion will hear from an Associate Warden, an Artist, a retired Gang Enforcement detective, a judge for the Superior Court of Orange County, a retired Public Defender, an programming/counselor and mentor at Homeboy Industries. Read LA Times coverage.

“WORDS UNLEASHED” Free Workshops for Youth

Location: Yost Theater
Produced by: Triple Threat with Ben Thomas

Providing youth of all ages with a platform to explore their individual creativity through spoken word. Recruiting help from talented singer/songwriters, slam poets, rappers, and graffiti artists, Words Unleashed will connect passionate artists with local students to empower and inspire them.

“ANOTHER FUTURE IS POSSIBLE” Science Fiction Readings & Interactives

Location: GALLERY de FOX
Moderated by: Marytza Rubio

A public space dedicated to speculative fiction and other futuristic visions. In addition to enjoying readings from Lucas Daliah Galvin, audience members will be invited to participate in activities including tarot card readings and writing letters to their future selves for a “literary time capsule.” An electronic music soundtrack will be provided by Santa Ana-based artists Spooky Action Labs.

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE AND STORY TIME

Location: AvantGarden Gallery
Moderated by: Mitch Robinson

Childhood is the time when writers catch the imagination of children with engaging artwork that makes the flow of words become an intimate experience. Children will never forget or lose the appreciation of artwork from the love of these early books. Under My Rug by Mitch Robinson and Gregor Docherty is one of those beautiful books that expands the imagination and pulls the child in with detailed artwork full of surprises.

SAUSD Student Speech Showcase: “THE ART OF PERSUASION”

Location: Chapter One Red Room
Curated by: Roselinn Lee, Santa Ana Unified School District

A student showcase of persuasive speeches, written and memorized by SAUSD students. Public speaking cultivates lifelong skill for critical thought, and it prepares students to achieve remarkable heights. See and support Santa Ana youth as they present and perform persuasive arguments on various topics and current events.

“MEMORIES OF MIGRATION” Visual Art and Audio Displays (Ongoing – Open all Evening)

Location: Santora Arts Building, Room 205
Moderated by: Eve Kikawa, Santa Ana College & Cheryl Eberly, Seeds to Trees

Bringing together two major Santa Ana educational institutions: Santa Ana Library’s “Memories of Migration Project” and Santa Ana College’s Nealley Library, Art, Dance and Literature Department, this space will have 60 migration stories mounted and will play a continuous loop of migration stories read aloud. Open all day.

4-5:50pm

“SOCIAL SCULPTURE & SILVER TOUNGES” Readings & Writing Prompts for Characters

Location: Centro Comunitario de Chapman
Moderated by: Michelle Duman

Beginning with Siri Suthatham Tveter a performance of Spoken Word to Music and Dance. Next the presentation entitled: Truth or Lies?: A Reading& Discussion of Real and Unreal Characters. Novelists Richard Bausch and James P. Blaylock, and nonfiction writers Douglas R. Dechow, Anna Leahy will read short excerpts from their latest books and discuss the ways writers build and convey characters on the page.

“INCARCERATION” Panel II

Location: Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA)
Moderated by: Claudia Ramirez and Dylan Thompson
Panelists: Joey Linnert, Alyesha Wise, Matt Cubon, Valerie Amezcua, Nestor Medrano, Jan Meslin

U.S. recidivism rates are now at 68%, and increase every year. This panel includes Friends of OC Detainees, mentor-based arts, educational, and vocational leaders who work with incarcerated youth throughout la and orange county, and a former head of Department of Probation who has become a board of Education Trustee. All are working to decrease detention rates and help detainees find a life outside of the system. Read LA Times coverage.

“POESIA Y CANTO” Open Mic

Location: Gypsy Den
Moderated by: Christina Chavez

We are the artists, poetas, musicians and creatives that bring palabra (word) to life—marrying rhythms of letter, note, and rhyme–bound by the passion of each of our family–bienvenidos a todos art forms. Tonight, we open the stage and the mic, and invite you to join us–welcome.

BOOK-MAKING WORKSHOP for Youth and Adults

Location: M. LOVEWELL
Hosted by: Rachell Eve Frazian

Rachell Eve Frazian is an artist-librarian hybrid. Rachell is a visual artist and an artist member of the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA), and works with kids teaching bookmaking, art and papercraft workshops. She is excited to bring the fun and creativity of making your own book to Santa Ana. Free. Open to all.

“CALIFORNIA’S BILINGUAL CONSTITUTION” Student Performances (4-5 pm)

Location: Chapter One Red Room
Hosted by: Kevin Cabrera

“VIVA LA IMPROV” SAUSD Student Improv Group

Location: Avantgarden Gallery
Moderated by: Leah Shapi

Improv relishes in honest and pure dialogue, action, story, and character. All are created collaboratively by the players as the improvisation unfolds in present time, without a script. Youth from SAUSD will share a wonderful taste of live improve to delight and inspire.

“WORDS UNLEASHED” Free Workshops for Youth (Continued)

Location: Yost Theater
Produced by: Triple Threat with Ben Thomas

Providing youth of all ages with a platform to explore their individual creativity through spoken word. Recruiting help from talented singer/songwriters, slam poets, rappers, and graffiti artists, Words Unleashed will connect passionate artists with local students to empower and inspire them.

“MEMORIES OF MIGRATION” Visual Art and Audio Displays (Continued – Open All Evening)

Location: Santora Arts Building, Room 205
Moderated by: Eve Kikawa & Cheryl Eberly

Bringing together two major Santa Ana educational institutions: Santa Ana Library’s “Memories of Migration Project” and Santa Ana College’s Nealley Library, Art, Dance and Literature Department, this space will have 60 migration stories mounted and will play a continuous loop of migration stories read aloud. Open all day.

6-7:50pm

“HERSTORY” Historical Fiction Readings & Discussion – Session I

Location: Robbins Nest Wine Bar & Bistro
Moderated by: Diana Tierney

Capturing the experience of women in history has never been complete. There have always been gaps in their stories. Through the lens of literature and fiction, we examine the untold stories of women from past to present. Join us as we celebrate and discuss women.

“CULTURAL REVOLUTION: SUPPORTING COMMUNITY WITH CREATIVITY” Panel Discussion

Location: Frida Cinema
Moderated by: Evan A. Senn
Panelists: Kevin Staniec, Ryan Gattis & Logan Crow

Moderated by journalist and arts writer Evan Senn, and featuring panelists Logan Crow (Director of The Frida Cinema), Kevin Staniec (Co-founder of 1888), and Ryan Gattis (award-winning novelist and 1888 founding Board member). This special discussion will examine the panelists’ varying experiences, challenges, and successes building diverse and creative cultural spaces within their communities for lovers of art, books, and film.

“BEING HUMAN” Readings

Location: Marcas Gallery

The experience of being human can be exciting or stressful, fun or depressing, but most often it’s simply confusing. These authors share through their readings a sense of our world with all its pain and suffering, its delights and disappointments? Being Human is a presentation of writing to expand and deepen this understanding of what Being Human means.

“TREEVERSATION” Community Art Project

Location: Spurgeon Tree/Calliotree, 5th and Broadway
Hosted by: Leah Shapi

The Calliotree is a public art installation being created at the tree that marks Santa Ana’s birthplace. To kick off the project, local artist Leah Shapi will be hosting a Treeversation where locals and visitors can write their inspirations, ideas and hopes for the Calliotree project on colorful scarves that will be strung up at the site.

“MEXICAN LITURATURE” Mexican Consulate Readings & Discussion

Location: La Rinconada Restaurant
Hosted by: Mexican Consulate Norma Auguirre

“MEMORIES OF MIGRATION” Visual Art and Audio Displays (Continued – Open All Evening)

Location: Santora Arts Building, Room 205
Moderated by: Eve Kikawa, Santa Ana College & Cheryl Eberly, Seeds to Trees

Bringing together two major Santa Ana educational institutions: Santa Ana Library’s “Memories of Migration Project” and Santa Ana College’s Nealley Library, Art, Dance and Literature Department, this space will have 60 migration stories mounted and will play a continuous loop of migration stories read aloud. Open all day.

“SOCIAL SCULPTURE & SILVER TOUNGES” Readings & Writing Prompts for Characters – Session II

Location: Centro Comunitario de Chapman
Moderated by: Michelle Duman

We begin with Chicano Authors known as Con Safos. These authors will discuss “Social Justice, Reflections of the Barrio.” Next a performance with Artist Marina Aguilera & The Poet Calvin Clausell. Finally we end with a reading from author Mark Axelrod.

“GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES”

Location: SAC Arts Space in the Santora Arts Building
Hosted by Phillip Marquez and Ed Fosmire

“OC: A LITERARY FIELD GUIDE” Readings & Discussion

Location: Alta Baja Market, 4th Street Market
Moderated by: Lisa Alvarez, Andrew Tonkovich & Tom Zoellner

“SANTA ANA SITES: PERLA’S HOUSE OF COHEN” Music Performance

Location: Episcopal Church of the Messiah, 614 N Bush Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Grammy nominated singer-songwriter and longtime back up vocalist for Leonard Cohen, Perla Batalla brings her powerful voice to the oldest operating church in Orange County. A veritable holy grail of sound, the concert will feature Batalla performing selections from Cohen’s great songbook as she pays homage to the late icon. Tickets $10-$18. Get Tickets Here.

“TOUNGE & GROOVE: LITERARY VARIETY SHOW”

Location: La Rinconada Restaurant
Hosted by: AvantGarden Gallery

“HERSTORY” Historical Fiction Readings & Discussion – Session II

Location: Robbins Nest Wine Bar & Bistro
Moderated by: Diana Tierney

Capturing the experience of women in history has never been complete. There have always been gaps in their stories. Through the lens of literature and fiction, we examine the untold stories of women from past to present. Join us as we celebrate and discuss women.

“TREEVERSATION” Community Art Project

Location: Spurgeon Tree/Calliotree, 5th and Broadway
Hosted by: Leah Shapi

The Calliotree is a public art installation being created at the tree that marks Santa Ana’s birthplace. To kick off the project, local artist Leah Shapi will be hosting a Treeversation where locals and visitors can write their inspirations, ideas and hopes for the Calliotree project on colorful scarves that will be strung up at the site.

“MEMORIES OF MIGRATION” Visual Art and Audio Displays (Continued – Open All Evening)

Location: Santora Arts Building, Room 205
Moderated by: Eve Kikawa, Santa Ana College & Cheryl Eberly, Seeds to Trees

Bringing together two major Santa Ana educational institutions: Santa Ana Library’s “Memories of Migration Project” and Santa Ana College’s Nealley Library, Art, Dance and Literature Department, this space will have 60 migration stories mounted and will play a continuous loop of migration stories read aloud. Open all day.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Madeleine Spencer, Festival Organizer, Boca de Oro

Phone: (714) 815-2653, Email: dhe.spencer@gmail.com

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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