After-School

One Line Wonders Empower DaVerse Readers and Receivers

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager

In a word: empowerment.

Yes, yes, that word usually describes the DaVerse Lounge experience, whether you’re reading on the stage or receiving in the audience. But this one, this DaVerse Lounge event Friday, Nov. 11, at Life in Deep Ellum, was especially empowering.

We had homeschooled sisters, college students, middle school dreamers, a recent high school graduate and a local hip-hop artist, among many others, pouring their emotions onto a receptive, loving crowd of 500.

So we thought we’d reminisce the evening with a baker’s dozen One Line Wonders, just to remind us how powerful sharing our thoughts and feelings can truly be.

“I hate you, my number eight”
— A lament about moving, and the uncertainty that comes with instability.
Anna, Quintanilla Middle School

“You said you hated me; I said I needed you”
— Standing up against abuse, from love to politics, emotions to physicality.
Cici, Garza High School

“All I hear is black lives this, black lives that, but we all can’t seem to come together to prove that all lives matter”
— Looking in the mirror of humanity.
Danejah, Lancaster Middle School

“I see my life as just a joke; my emotions are an endless spoke”
— Life as seen through the lens of an adolescent.
Francisco, O.W. Holmes Middle School

“When the monster was in the closet, not the closet itself”
— An ode to a best friend, and to life.
Amanda, North Lake College

“Words are mankind’s currency; they can tear you down and build you up”
— Judge people by what they say, and nothing else.
Sisters Haley and Hana, homeschooled

“My body has scars; not from fights, but from life”
— The generational pain that forces you to be strong against obstacles.
John, high school graduate

“She was a beautiful 15-year-old girl who killed herself because of bullying and depression”
— The devastating aftermath of a tragic suicide.
Serenity, Wilmer-Hutchins High School

“I want to get high to see if I can finally get you off my mind”
— Anger from a woman scorned.
Riley, Winfree Academy

“You still got your people; we are all we got – apparently”
— The state of the country and the world today.
So So Topic (AKA Tommy Simpson), local hip-hop artist

“You’re too pretty not to smile, as if me not having a smile on my face at all times is a sin”
— A manifesto against the misogynistic world we live in
Tasa, Winfree Academy

“I made some bad choices and I heard some bad voices, but thou cannot heal when thou cannot feel”
— Changing your life around through faith before it’s too late.
Dequiris, Sam Houston High School

“I keep gagging at the memory of everything that happened”
— A cathartic note to an ex-lover.
Michael, Sam Houston High School

DaVerse Lounge thanks TACA, Dallas Mavericks, State Farm, Liberty Burger, and the M.R. & Evelyn Hudson Foundation for their generous support.

Photos by Can Turkyilmaz @turk_studio

 

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DaVerse Lounge Covets Six Word Stories

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager

What’s your story in six words?

Is it a heartbreaking, painful tale? Or is it love and light? Maybe you share something clever, funny. Perhaps it’s exercise for your creativity.

Share your six word story soonest. DaVerse Lounge is the event Friday. Life In Deep Ellum, the venue. We’re ready to receive your tale.

First, read six word stories history:

The inspirational genesis of the six word stories movement comes from Ernest Hemingway’s famous short but potent 1920s narrative – “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Six word stories would later become known as flash fiction. For decades this extremely succinct piece of prose has been testing writers’ abilities to craft mini masterpieces for receiving readers.

Jump to 2012 and the six word stories phenomenon picked up steam on Reddit, then lit the Tumblr constituency a mere two years later. The rules of six word stories are pretty basic – write six words. That’s it. You can be as creative, ingenious, heartfelt or funny as you like, but it must only be six words.

And now, back to six words. Six word stories table is ready. See space between henna, artist stations. DaVerse Lounge will provide pen, paper. We want your bold, honest expression. Stories are shared on social media. Or tag #SixWordStories_Daverse and we’ll repost.

What’s your story in six words?

DaVerse Lounge’s 12th season continues Friday, Nov. 11th from 7-10 pm at Life in Deep Ellum. DaVerse Lounge thanks TACA, Dallas Mavericks, and State Farm for their generous support.

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Vivacious Thriving Minds Student Is a Bundle of Sunshine

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager

That vivacious smile and boundless energy belong to 5-year-old Asiyale Thomas. She’s in kindergarten at Highland Meadows Elementary School. She’s also a Big Thought Thriving Minds After School student, having spent the last month in the program.

Asiyale, a bright, friendly bundle of sunshine, couldn’t wait to answer questions about her time in Thriving Minds where she enjoys outside recess. The swings, the slides, that memorable togetherness with friends fuels her already perky personality. Plus, Asiyale never felt shy or timid when she walked into Thriving Minds.

“I wasn’t afraid,” she says. “I’m brave.”

Mom April Owens knows that the Thriving Minds environment elevates Asiyale’s desire to learn, play and share.

“Anytime she’s around other kids she is really outgoing and confident,” says Owens. “She likes to go home and try to read. She enjoys learning and being a student.”

Big Thought’s 2016-2017 Thriving Minds After School program is in nine DeSoto ISD campuses, four Dallas ISD campuses and three community centers. TMAS provides academic and recreational enrichment for children beyond the normal school day.

For Asiyale, it makes her so elated to try new things. “I’m good at math,” she exclaims. “I’m good at writing words. I can’t wait to go to the first grade.”

Big Thought’s Thriving Minds After School program thanks The Pollock Foundation; Roy & Christine Sturgis Charitable Trust; City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs; Pizza Hut/YUM! Brands; The David M. Crowley Foundation; The Wallace Foundation; Target Corporation; Sid W. Richardson Foundation; Best Buy; AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy; Sammons Corporation; Theodore and Beulah Beasley Foundation; Rees-Jones Foundation; and The Hillcrest Foundation for their generous support.

Photo by Mario Tarradell/Big Thought

 

 

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Rachel Dupard Found Her Voice With TBAAL, Big Thought

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager

From adversity to triumph: Rachel Dupard is living proof. The 21-year-old native of Duncanville now calls Santa Fe home. She’s a first semester senior at Santa Fe University of Art and Design as a Contemporary Music major. Dupard is a singer whose inner voice broke through a childhood hearing dysfunction.

Her formative years in North Texas were impactful and revelatory, with more than a fair share of struggles, for the young lady born with fluid in her inner ear that complicated her hearing. Before she was in kindergarten, Dupard had already endured several surgeries and began three years of comprehensive speech therapy.

But Dupard remembers the support of loving parents and the joy of singing. She remembers the heavenly noise of singing with her church and elementary school choirs. She remembers the impact Big Thought partner The Black Academy of Arts and Letters made in her journey via five years of rigorous summer programs and three years of master classes.

“The performances during the summer programs at TBAAL gave her the confidence to be onstage and not be intimated, almost like she was on Broadway,” says LaChanda Dupard, Rachel’s mother. “That led to her audition to get into Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and then college auditions. She walked into those auditions with a confidence level built by those years at TBAAL.”

Dupard looks back on her 21 years philosophically: “My life has been aligned like dominoes,” she says by phone from Santa Fe. “I am excited about what is next in my life.”

TBAAL helped reinforce the foundation for Dupard’s singing dreams. She was in that potentially awkward teenage cusp during her first summer performance camp at TBAAL, a longtime Big Thought partner. It was 2008, and little did Dupard know how invaluable that experience would be. In fact, three years later Dupard was honored with TBAAL’s Curtis King Performing Arts Award.

“I had the best time,” she says. “They taught me how to tap into emotions, how to tell a story, your story. That is essential to being an artist. It really helped change me and helped me be the artist that I am today. “

Dupard has studied classical through childhood private voice lessons, as well as gospel, R&B, and now jazz. She’s keenly aware of her talents, while at the same time accepting of the fact that her hearing history forces her to work harder to keep pace with classmates.

“I still have to focus a little bit more,” she says. “I still have to realize that I don’t learn as fast as my other colleagues.”

But the passion burns, and Dupard has no regrets. She’s exactly where she needs to be thanks to parents, mentors and instructors that encouraged her to reach deep inside and nurture her gift. Adversity led to triumph.

“My whole life has been an adventure so far and I’m so excited about it,” she says. “It’s been a lot of trials but at the same time it’s been enjoyable. College is setting me up perfectly for the real world of music. It has helped me deal with different people. I grew up in a very loving environment with my mom and dad. They taught me how to love people. I can’t wait to see how life turns out for me.”

 

 

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Dade Student Finds Her Future Inside Mobile Tech XPerience

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager

It was a pivotal day for 8th grader Asija Woodson. There she was stepping foot inside the Dallas City of Learning Mobile Tech XPerience, the retrofitted RV that’s a technology fountain of inspiration for middle and high school students. It was early August and 13-year-old Woodson participated in Dade Tech Day at Billy Earl Dade Middle School, a DCoL Turn Up! event organized by Big Thought.

She walked inside the MTXP and immediately went to work developing computer graphics, learning computer coding, programming Lego sumo wrestlers, experimenting with robotics.

For Woodson, these weren’t mere school day activities: “I felt optimistic because I feel like I can further myself into a career trying some of the things I did that day,” she says while sitting inside the Dade auditorium.

The MTXP proved influential, a rolling treasure chest of ideas for building a future. “I just thought about myself in regards to thinking of a major when I apply for college,” she says. “Robotics has a lot to do with me maybe pursuing a career in engineering.”

Woodson admits these recurring thoughts aren’t new. Her family is diligently encouraging her to go into that field. She was even in a robotics class while in elementary school. But being inside that RV was an epiphany. Suddenly, it all clicked.

“There is a difference between family telling me and actually doing it,” she says. “It has inspired me. This really makes a difference. I can see it now.“

Photo by Can Turkyilmaz @turk_studio

 

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DaVerse One Line Wonders Stir Audience Emotions

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager

The 12th season of DaVerse Lounge splashed onto Life in Deep Ellum Friday, Oct. 7. We welcomed 358 guests, from readers to receivers, for the 3-hour emotional literacy love fest.

Among the array of spoken word poets we watched five performers do a little freestylin’. That always stirs up plenty of excitement among the audience.

But so do the words, because words are powerful. So let’s take a look at a dozen One Line Wonders and relive the magic of the evening and the potency of the sentiments.

“This love stuff sticks with you forever like tattoos”
– A lovesick manifesto written as a poem that shot straight to the soul.

“I’m done with your abuse, your burden, and your desire to use me…I can’t hate anyone that I don’t care about anymore”
– Truly potent, nerve-rattling piece about escaping a toxic relationship.

“I am what I am; I am me”
– Simple words about self-empowerment that strike a universal chord.

“The freedom not to be trapped behind the man I am”
– Proof that fixing the man in the mirror is a pathway to the stars.

“You made me who I am today because I know who not to be”
– Be independent, not a statistic, and learn from those around you.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t pretend for you anymore”
– A dysfunctional relationship leads to freedom, self-realization, and self-determination

“We went from chains, to ropes, to now bullies”
– The news of the day, police brutality against black men, via heavy, thought-provoking words.

“You traded heartache for hope, hunger for hard work”
– The plight of foreigners learning a new language as a ticket to US prosperity.

“I understand that we need to speak, but some of us can’t because we are too meek”
– Stop the bullying, and always make the bullied strong.

“Our lives are mosaics made up of pieces holding a story”
– A dramatic declaration about hopes and dreams.

“Sometimes I just want to shake the love out of us”
– When a relationship is slowly dying you’ll try anything to resuscitate it.

“You and peanuts have a lot in common – I love you so much but you are so bad for me”
– Toxic love tastes good, but then you must swallow the poison.

DaVerse Lounge thanks TACA, Dallas Mavericks, State Farm, Liberty Burger, and the M.R. & Evelyn Hudson Foundation for their generous support.

Photos by Alan Gann

 

 

 

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