Some of the Dharma @ Lit Hop 2024

Friday August 9

Some of the Dharma

Isabella Russell-Ides | Karen Minzer | Rod Russell-Ides

7-9pm @ Oak Cliff Cultural Center

223 Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208

Isabella Russell-Ides  will perform selections from her newly-released book Ova: Collected Works 1972-2024. She is the embodiment of the trickster feminist dakini and maestra of shapeshifting writing styles, a genre masher, poet, playwright, and author of two novels of speculative fiction —White Monkey Chronicles (International Book Award Finalist, Jemma Award) and The Godma’s Daughters (International Book Award, Visionary Fiction, Indie Reader Notable Book of the Year.) Her breakout book of poems, Getting Dangerously Close To Myself, is a landmark in the Austin poetry performance scene of the 1980s.  Her first play, a country western musical, Nashville Road, premiered in Austin, Texas at Center Stage on Sixth Street (co-written with Rod Russell-Ides.) She has also received critical acclaim for her works, Leonard’s Car (“Outstanding New Play”, 2009 Nora’s Playhouse, NYC,) Fortune Cookie Smash (2007 Best of Fest, Frontera.) She is noted for the poetic and heightened language of her texts. More recently, her two-woman show, Joe & Louisa (in which the character Jo March bargains with her author, Louisa May Alcott) won a 2019 DFW Critics Forum Award for Outstanding New Play. Coco & Gigi, her existential and feminist take on Waiting for Godot, won the 2008 DFW Critics Forum Award for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Ensemble. Her breakout play, Leonard’s Car, plunges into the deeps of a mother on the verge (“Outstanding New Play” 2009, Nora’s Playhouse, NYC.) She is noted for the poetic and heightened language of her texts.

Rod Russell-Ides is a landscape artist, musician, songwriter, novelist and poet—a former Dharma Broad. His music collaborations include Kenny Withrow of New Bohemians and Paul Simon (The.) He was born on a hospital gurney in Oklahoma in 1946. He grew up in Kansas until his father sent him to prep school in Connecticut thus ending his life as a cowboy. His family exploded when he was fourteen and he had to re-invent himself in the middle of nowhere in the great American tradition, a talent he has pursued ever since. At various times he has been a go cart and motorcycle racer, a Mad Man, a rocker in Texas, a composer, a garden designer (rodrussellides.net), a landscape sculptor, and author of a ground breaking memoir Sparky and the Dipshit. His work as a sculptor has carried him to the wilds of Alaska. He designed and built the largest man-made waterfall in the state. In France, he studied and mapped the Grotto of Lourdes to replicate it in Texas for the Archbishop of Houston. He lives in Dallas with his wife, Isabella Russell Ides. 

Karen X aka Karen Minzer is a writer/poet/wanderer, published by the Austin Sun in the 70s, Paris Records in the 80s, Wowapi in the 90s, and Lamar State University’s anthology of Texas Beat Poets in 2018. Minzer was born in the mid-1900s and went to high school in an obscure Texas town. She rode horses and did country chores. She moved to UT Austin and gravitated into the leftovers of the SDS publishing scene. #Another flop of a revolution. In 1975, she moved to Dallas and collaborated in art escapades while working for Roxy and Judy Gordon’s graphics company. One day after the fly-by-night Yippie Smoke-in at City Hall, she discovered the poet Robert Trammell reading poetry at Old City Park–across the street from her home at the historic (grungy) Ambassador Hotel. She was the only audience member. Reading poems to an empty room became a life-mission. Instead, Minzer became a punk band lyricist-shouter with The Panics and toured sketchy clubs. #EnoughAlready. She produced Dial a Poet Television for Cable Access TV and archived the work of dozens of writers from all over the USA. Beginning in 2005, she staged the poetry pageants Dharma Boards I-IV. In 2010, she became executive director of WordSpace, curated hundreds of visiting and local writers, washed the dishes and took out the trash. #NeverEnough. She is co-recipient, with Dee Mitchell, of the 2015 Dallas Observer MasterMind Awards. Minzer holds an MFA from Naropa’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, where she once studied with Allen Ginsberg & good friends. She is currently a Humanities PhD candidate at UTD. The Final Oral Defense for her creative writing dissertation, Outrider Witness takes place a week before her Lit Hop reading. #RideAndDie. The whole academia thing has just about killed her, except that she has practiced and taught yoga for decades. She claims it has played an integral role in her health and resilience

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