After presenting John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” to an enthralled audience at the 31st International Steinbeck Festival in Salinas on Aug. 7, Poetic Justice Project actors have been invited back to open for writer Luis J. Rodriguez next month.
Poetic Justice Project, a theatre company of formerly incarcerated actors, will present scenes from their musical drama “Off The Hook,” set inside a California prison. The event begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Sherwood Hall, 940 N. Main St. in Salinas. Tickets are $10 for Steinbeck Center members, $15 for non-members and $7 for students with IDs. Call 831.775.4726 or purchase online at steinbeckstore.org.
Luis J. Rodriguez is convinced that a writer can change the world. Through education and the power of words, Rodriguez saw his own way out of poverty and despair in the barrio of East L.A. An award-winning poet, he shares his story in his memoir, “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.,” which explores the lure of gang life.
His other books include “Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times” and “It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way: A Barrio Story.” His sequel to “Always Running” will be released in October and is titled “It Calls You Back: A Writer’s Odyssey through Love, Addictions, Recovery and Healing.”
Among his awards are a city of Los Angeles Arts Fellowship, a Sundance Institute Art Writers Fellowship, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, a Lannan Fellowship for Poetry, an Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature, an Algonquin West Literary Award, a California Arts Council Fellowship, the 2001 Premio Fronterizo, and an Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award, presented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
A program of the William James Association, based in Santa Cruz, Poetic Justice Project creates original theatre examining crime, punishment and redemption with formerly incarcerated writers, artists, musicians and actors. Currently in production is “Women Behind the Walls,” written by Claire Braz-Valentine.