Santa Maria Sun / Music
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 12, Issue 48
Heart and hopeThe Poetic Justice Project gives locals a chance to get creative and move forward
By JOE PAYNE
A local nonprofit is throwing a party in celebration of love, hope, and creativity. The Poetic Justice Project is an organization for previously incarcerated community members to enjoy a creative outlet in the community. The upcoming Bleeding Hearts Valentine’s Bash is a benefit for the organization and will feature a few local bands, including one with members who benefit from the program.
The Poetic Justice Project, under the umbrella of the William James Foundation, supports original theater productions created by and starring previously incarcerated individuals. The program fosters talent and encourages members to create and write their own plays, poetry, or songs. The themes and topics vary from silly to serious, from love and hope to justice and freedom. The project has produced original plays, as well as productions of classics such as Of Mice and Men, and some of its members even performed a show at Alcatraz.
“It’s hard for many of these people to find work and housing. They are often treated as second class citizens even after they have served their time,” said Melody Stanford, event and development coordinator for the Poetic Justice Project. “This program helps people deal with what they are going through and this helps them do that in a very positive way.”
The upcoming Bleeding Hearts Valentine’s Bash will feature several local bands: Bare Feet is a young group from Orcutt that plays reggae rock; Prey 4 Phyre performs original tunes; and there will also be performances by Poetic Justice Project artists. Prey 4 Phyre actually has a few members who are a part of the organization and are acting in an upcoming production.
Prey 4 Phyre is made up of Maux Samuel on guitar and vocals, singer MarciJean Fambrini, drummer Rob Carter, and bassist Dusty Musgrave. The group was founded by Samuel and Fambrini, who met in a recovery program and started collaborating and writing music together.
“It came about really fast,” Fambrini said. “Within about two months we had 12 songs, all originals. It just came so easily.”
Fambrini joined the Poetic Justice Project after Samuel invited her to one of the organization’s stage productions. She is now involved as an actress, along with Samuel, who are both preparing for the organization’s upcoming production Planet of Love by Poetic Justice Project director Deborah Tobola. The Bleeding Hearts Valentine’s Bash will help support the upcoming show. The Poetic Justice Project relies entirely on donations and fundraisers to continue its productions. All proceeds from the Valentine’s bash will go toward the program.
“There’s that transitional period where people are getting out of prison or jail and they don’t really have a community that is supportive of staying out,” Samuel said. “This whole creative process that we go through and the bonding; we take care of each other.”
Added Stanford, “In the media, prisons and prisoners are usually portrayed in a negative light. This actually lets prisoners discuss these things in their own words instead of letting other people speak for them.”
The event will be held at the Santa Maria Veteran’s Hall on Tunnel Street. Prey 4 Phyre will perform before Bare Feet. Both bands have profiles on reverbnation.com.
“Being able to experience a new chapter in my life, and to do it with other people who are going through the same thing, it’s really great,” Fambrini said. “Whether it be a band on stage or a play, there is a certain energy up there when people are getting a chance to be reborn.”
The Wicked Shamrock in Lompoc plays host to the Mid-Western reggae rock group Jon Wayne and The Pain performing live Feb. 11 at 9 p.m. at the Wicked Shamrock, 143 North H St., Lompoc. Cost is $5. More info: 736-9132.
Songs for St. Jude’s
St. Joseph High School presents a benefit concert for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital featuring performances by bands The Only Rational Thing, Time for Secrets, Brandon Martinez and Cody Taecker, and Liquid Grasshopper on Feb. 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at St. Joseph High School, 4120 S. Bradley Road, Santa Maria. Cost is $4.
Contact Calendar Editor Joe Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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