DaVerse Lounge

Six Word Stories Station Engages DaVerse Lounge Crowd

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager

Six Word Stories took DaVerse Lounge by storm last Friday evening as 88 attendees stopped by the Six Word Stories station and wrote down their personal tales in half-a-dozen words.

We were blown away by the engagement, and the thoughtful stories. Here’s a small sampling of the beauties we enjoyed:

I’m under construction and never happier!

Your melody, my harmony, our symphony.

I am more than six words.

Organized chaos in one beautiful dream.

I can’t is not an option.

Follow your heart, free your mind.

Amazing stuff, huh? Here at Big Thought we thank Communications Manager Pholesha Johnson for doing the research that led her to suggest the Six Word Stories phenomenon as a DaVerse Lounge self-expression exercise. The even greater news is that Six Word Stories will be implemented at all DaVerse Works middle and high school poetry clubs. Also, these same middle and high school poetry clubs will be offered the national Six Word Stories project curriculum.

Need a refresher course on the Six Word Stories history? Revisit our recent Six Word Stories piece.

All of this Six Word Stories excitement spilled onto the Big Thought staff, too. We got into the six word spirit. Here are the gems we came up with:

What’s thought about is brought about.
— Rob

Determined not to cry, she laughed.

The cemetery brings it all back.
— Anne

Wisdom shared by age is golden.
— Sally

Whose lips do I adore more?
— Laura

Art will always be restriction free.
— Shianne

Love whatever arises, no matter what.
— Sarah

Insert witty comment, give me credit.
— Brandon

Love yourself first, then love others.
— Kristina

A pub in London was destiny.
— Maria

Memories of loved ones carry me.
— Phyllis

Good communication keeps the employees happy.
— Bill

DaVerse Lounge – share space, be embraced.
— Will

You should laugh, love, cry everyday.
— Erin

Shower me in happiness and love.
— Katelynn

Need to be fearless and stronger.
— Jose

Escaped the Friday Night Lights effect.
— LeAnn

Life is About Refocusing and Recharging.
— Mario

DaVerse Lounge thanks TACA, Dallas Mavericks, and State Farm for their generous support.

Photo by Can Turkyilmaz @turk_studio

Big ThoughtSix Word Stories Station Engages DaVerse Lounge Crowd

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


Big ThoughtOne Line Wonders Empower DaVerse Readers and Receivers

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.

Big ThoughtDaVerse Lounge Covets Six Word Stories

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




Big ThoughtDaVerse One Line Wonders Stir Audience Emotions

Spoken Word Poetry Essential for Sam Houston Students

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager

Spoken word is a calling. Engaging in the kind of self-expression that means baring your soul through poetry in front of a receptive audience isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity.

The members of the Spoken Word Poetry club at Sam Houston High School in Arlington need this essential nutrient. For them it’s a matter of survival, like food and water. In the last four years, these teens have almost singlehandedly built a 15-member club officially sanctioned by DaVerse Works, the middle and high school arm of DaVerse Lounge, a joint partnership between Big Thought and Journeyman Ink.

Led by a dynamo Sam Houston faculty sponsor, Chezelle Fiske, and equipped with the DaVerse curriculum, the school’s Spoken Word Poetry club continues to grow organically. Members meet every Monday at the school’s Little Theater from 3 to 4:30 pm. At the recent Sam Houston High School Activities Fair, held October 5 just outside the courtyard, Fiske and her dedicated kids were representing in full force. They set up a quaint booth that featured lots of glitter, performance pictures, DaVerse Lounge memorabilia, flyers, brochures, and great video footage.

“We have been able to take it from here to here,” says Fiske as she stretches her arms to show the leap of progress. “It’s a big movement here at Sam Houston. Kids have a lot to say and want their voices to be heard. This program has taken off by itself.”

But it does have plenty of reinforcement. Ricardo Garza, a renowned spoken word instructor who personally knows DaVerse Lounge creator Will Richey and Dallas Youth Poets founder Joaquin Zihuatanejo, is Sam Houston’s spoken word teacher and also a Big Thought teaching artist. Richey and DaVerse Lounge mentor Alejandro Perez Jr. have held spoken word assemblies on campus.

Spoken Word Poetry club president Michael Buentello, a 17-year-old senior, has read on the DaVerse Lounge stage. His personal journey with spoken word inspired fellow classmates he’s watched transform since their involvement in the movement.

“There has absolutely been a change,” he says. “I have seen so many people be able to express themselves. They have an outlet. I find myself more capable of articulation. I used to have a hard time saying what is on my mind. Not anymore. The emotion of it is so strong. It is required. So many people here need to say what is on their minds.”

For Spoken Word Poetry club vice president Savanah Jackson, another 17-year-old senior, this is her way of coping with the complications inherent while navigating the teenage minefield in 2016.

“It gives me a great platform for what is going on in the world,” she says. “Poetry is another outlet. This is the problem and here is the solution. Poetry helps me find that solution. Once you start writing you come to the realization, and that’s when I figure out what the solution is.”

The Spoken Word Poetry club keeps growing – 25 members is the goal – and the enthusiasm for DaVerse Lounge remains passionate. The club will put on two performances at the school Oct. 13, at 9:15 am and 5:30 pm, fueled by DaVerse Lounge. SWP members are ready to make the pilgrimages to upcoming DaVerse Lounge events Nov. 11, Dec. 9, Feb. 3, March 3 and April 7 at Life in Deep Ellum.

Richey couldn’t be prouder of the DaVerse legacy at Sam Houston High School. “Those students are spoken word ambassadors,” says Richey. “I can’t wait to receive them at DaVerse Lounge. I love Chezelle’s energy. They really have something special going on at Sam Houston.”

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

Photo by Mario Tarradell/Big Thought


Big ThoughtSpoken Word Poetry Essential for Sam Houston Students

Spoken Word Movement DaVerse Lounge Returns For 12th Season

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager

Your best friend – that free-spirited, creatively sparked buddy that always makes you feel special, worthy – took a summer vacation. But now this cherished companion is back, ready to provide a safe haven for self-expression.

We’re talking about DaVerse Lounge, the spoken word movement that’s been a cultural signpost since its inception in 2005. DaVerse Lounge kicks off its 12th season October 7 from 7-10 pm at Life in Deep Ellum. That’s a milestone show that ushers in a new era.

DaVerse Lounge Season 12 will feature six events instead of the customary four. The expanded spate of shows is in direct response to the local and educational groundswell created at each DaVerse Lounge. In addition to the October 7 kick-off extravaganza, catch the DaVerse magic Nov. 11, Dec. 9, Feb. 3, March 3 and April 7, all at Life in Deep Ellum.

So what does the return of DaVerse Lounge mean? For more than 2,600 participants that have already stepped on the DaVerse Lounge stage, it means the chance to read again, to express their most intimate thoughts before a receptive audience. For countless other hopefuls, it means the opportunity to be heard, to be instantly accepted.

For the approximately 600 readers and listeners that attend each DaVerse Lounge, it means another evening basking in a free-flowing environment that welcomes and nurtures youth as well as adults with raw, honest spoken word, R&B-jazz music from Melody Memory bandleader and DaVerse Lounge mentor Alejandro Perez Jr., and impromptu painting.

What does DaVerse Lounge mean to the people behind the scenes – and in front of the crowd?

DaVerse Lounge means unconditional love and soulful acceptance.
– Will Richey, Creator, DaVerse Lounge

DaVerse Lounge means a cross pollination of the arts, culture, and communities reigniting creative conversation.
– Alejandro Perez, Jr., Mentor, DaVerse Lounge

DaVerse Lounge means using my bravery to not only share, but mostly to listen.
– Joel Triska, Owner, Life in Deep Ellum

DaVerse Lounge means freedom for teens around the Metroplex, the opportunity to speak and be heard.
– Shianne Patrick, Youth Development Specialist, Big Thought

The 2016-2017 season of DaVerse Lounge, a partnership between Big Thought and Journeyman Ink, promises a series of thematic shows. While those themes are still evolving, they will include collaborations with 29 Pieces, The Original Carter Literary Society (David W. Carter High School), and Big Thought’s Creative Solutions.

Anticipation is high as season 11 concluded on a decidedly electric high note. The April 2016 DaVerse Lounge drew 640 attendees, the largest turnout of the season. Forty-one students performed; 28 high schools, 13 middle schools, 3 elementary schools and 2 colleges were in the house; 17 of those schools were outside of the Dallas city limits, including McKinney, Mansfield, Greenville and Sam Houston high schools; and 13 Big Thought-supported DaVerse clubs attended.

Big Thought partnered with DaVerse Lounge and Richey’s own Journeyman Ink in 2009, after DaVerse’s first four years at the Dallas Theater Center. The relationship has been symbiotic, fueled by a three-tiered approach that includes learning via a school curriculum, practicing with the after-school DaVerse Works clubs, and performing at the DaVerse Lounge open-mic events. More than 200 DaVerse Works poetry club members use their own middle and high schools as platforms for self-expression.

So you see, DaVerse Lounge is that cherished best friend that means many things to many of us. One sentiment is certainly universal: We’re so happy it’s back.

DaVerse Lounge thanks TACA, Dallas Mavericks, and State Farm for generously supporting DaVerse Lounge.

Photo by Joseph Brewster









Big ThoughtSpoken Word Movement DaVerse Lounge Returns For 12th Season