Issue 5: The Contest Issue

Norman Ball and Lonnie Glass (The Next Bob Dylan) are a song writing team based in Virginia and Toronto, respectively.  A collection of their first CD, Beggarman's Ball, performed by Lonnie, is available at Spotify.  Norm's Latest CD with the band Razorwire n' Voodoo is available there, too.

Tom Barbash (Judge, And So It Begins) was a winner of the California Book Award for his novel The Last Good Chance. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller On Top of the World. His short fiction has appeared in Tin House, Story, The Virginia Quarterly Review and other publications.

The Village Voice says Black Flamingo (sometimez) “has a daring, homegrown sound with a punk rock heart. Her music gets to the point, while rudely dancing around and mocking the rules of traditional rock.”  A mother of two, Black Flamingo (AKA Rew) co-produces and performs in Mamapalooza, the annual, multi-city festival that glorifies Moms That Rock! In 2005, NBC’s “Today in NY” featured Black Flamingo in a segment that included a taped performance, interview, and a behind-the-scenes snapshot of her rock/mom lifestyle.  She performed at SXSW & MMC in 2006 and at Jazzfest 2005. Since winning the Battle of the Babes on in 2001, she’s headlined at the renowned CMJ Festival and is featured regularly on the Oxygen Network.  Black Flamingo on Spotify 

Timothy Buckwalter (original cover art, “Moneybag Drawing 06” and Welcome Page art, “Tell me, do you think God cares?”) is an artist based in Berkeley, California. He has exhibited at Lizabeth Olivera Gallery in Oakland, CA; Braunstein/Quay Gallery in San Francisco, CA; Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland, OR; Rebecca Ibel Gallery in Columbus, OH; and DeChaira/Stewart Gallery in New York City. Timothy Buckwalter’s drawings often feature cartoon-styled figures writhing around in their own emotional turmoil.

Colleen Morton Busch (My Butter Likeness) received her MFA in poetry from Penn State University in 1994. She has taught at universities in New Orleans and Beijing, and was a senior editor at Yoga Journal magazine. Her publications include poetry, creative nonfiction, short fiction, reviews, and feature articles in literary magazines and mainstream media. In 2003, she was honored to have her poetry included in the Poets Against the War anthology. She is currently working on a novel.

Aneesha Capur (Lion’s Teeth) is a writer who currently lives in San Francisco. She is working on her first novel.

Xandra Castleton (Judge, Film) is a writer and filmmaker whose first feature film, Full Grown Men, recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Xandra writes, develops and produces films through Grottofilms. The first two Grottofilms productions were the award-winning short films Compulsory Breathing and Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, which she co-wrote.  Prior to founding Grottofilms, Xandra was the series producer of Independent View, a public television show about the independent film, which earned her an Emmy award for her portrait of director John Waters.

Maxine Chernoff (Judge, Poetry) is the author of seven books of poetry, including World: Poems 1991-2001 and Evolution of the Bridge: Selected Prose Poems. Her six collections of fiction include the New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 1993, Signs of Devotion. Both her novel, American Heaven, and her book of short stories, Some of Her Friends That Year, were finalists for the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. She edits the literary journal New American Writing.

Debra Di Blasi (The Quiet Stones) is the recipient of many writing and art awards, including the 2003 James C. McCormick Fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. Her books include The Jirí Chronicles &Other Fictions (forthcoming from FC2 Books in 2007), Prayers of an Accidental Nature (Coffee House Press), and Drought & Say What You Like (New Directions), winner of the 1998 Thorpe Menn Award. Her fiction has been adapted to film, radio, theatre, and audio CD in the U.S. and abroad. She is president of Jaded Ibis Productions, Inc., a transmedia corporation™ producing most notably, The Jirí Chronicles, a mélange of fictive audio interviews and music, videos, print, web and visual art. (

Samuel Driessen (Hypnotized) is a 24-year-old dedicated singer-songwriter from just outside Chicago, Illinois. He has been writing and performing for 14 years. He is constantly seeking new venues and searching for other musicians with the same dedication.

Jason Farnham (First Man on Mars) has opened for national touring acts, and his music has been featured in independent films, as well as professional ballet and magic productions. Born in Brookyln, NY in 1975, Jason started playing the piano at age four. He is in the process of completing his debut pop album, Barriers, in Toronto, Canada, with Juno-nominated producer Doug Romanow.  On the other end of the musical spectrum, Jason's self-produced instrumental/New Age piano album, Special Times, can be sampled and purchased by visiting

John Frank (Guns in the Family) is from Chicago and is currently working on a collection of essays called Gone Feral.

Alethea Hannemann (Rainbow Children) is a freelance writer in San Francisco. When she's not scribbling, eating oysters, or watching costume dramas, she's walking, trying to see every block in the city.

Amy Harrison’s (The Keep) short experimental narratives reshape “real life” events or moments to evoke the presence of unseen forces. Her work has shown at Slamdance Film Festival, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, New York’s Film Forum, and Pacific Film Archives, among others. 

Rosalie Howarth (Judge, Music) has been with San Francisco's KFOG for 22 years, programming and hosting the popular Acoustic Sunrise show for the last 15. She also produces Live from the Archives the Show each week. Away from KFOG, Rosalie writes and co-hosts the internationally syndicated radio show The Putumayo World Music Hour, heard on 125 stations around the world.

Barbara Helfgott Hyett (Memo from Antarctica) has published four collections of poetry: In Evidence: Poems of the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps, Natural Law, The Double Reckoning of Christopher Columbus, and The Tracks We Leave, poems on endangered wildlife of North America. Her new collection, Rift, is due in 2007. She directs POEMWORKS: The Workshop for Publishing Poets, in Brookline, MA.

Mike Hyden (Where Are My Car Keys?) has won numerous awards for his music. Just do an Internet search on “Mike Hyden song contest.”  He placed first in the Austin Songwriter's Group Annual Song Contest, which won him a professionally produced demo at Denny Martin Studios in Nashville. He was so pleased with Denny's work that he had two more demos recorded there.  Mike still considers himself primarily a lyricist and would love to collaborate with accomplished melody writers. 

New England native Susanna Kittredge (Imaginary Translation: Night Towards Dawn) is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. Her poetry can be found in recent issues of the journals Fourteen Hills, Transfer, Parthenon West and, and in the Faux Press anthology Bay Poetics. During the day, Susanna is the Office Manager at the architectural firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. 

Lev (Conversation) is the creator of the ultra low-budget comic/animation series “Tales Of Mere Existence.” He began it in 2001, based on gleefully embarrassing thoughts and stories from his own life.  Films from the series have shown on Comedy Central’s late night show Jump Cuts, as well as in innumerable festivals and screenings, and have gathered a substantial cult audience on the Internet. Lev has continued the series in a self-published comic book that is sold with a DVD of the movies, and plans to continue with it in this cross-media way from now on. The Book/DVD is available at Lev's website,

Paul McConnell’s (excerpt from Interstate 40, Cycles I-V) poetry has appeared in publications such as Dear John, Big Scream and Sic Vice and Verse. He has also published fiction in The Artist at Large and the Muse Apprentice Guild. He is currently looking for a publisher for his breakout novel The Rotten Bridge, A Gypsy Love Story.

Heather McDonald (But These Children Are Real Sweet) grew up in North Carolina and earned her MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco. She took first place in The Big Ugly Review’s debut “And So It Begins” contest and her work has appeared in The Big Ugly Review and Creative Urges. She is currently tough loving her first novel.

Edie Meidav (Judge, Flash Fiction) received the Bard Fiction Prize for Crawl Space, a San Francisco Chronicle and Electric Review Best Book of 2005, and also wrote The Far Field: A Novel of Ceylon, winner of the Kafka award for best novel by an American woman.

Terry Power (Madamfo) is a songwriter and audio engineer currently living in Vancouver.  He most enjoys a good long walk to observe the nooks and crannies that make themselves visible from this angle. This is where he finds much inspiration.

Scott Prendergast’s (Happy Birthday) first feature length film, Kabluey, is currently in post-production with Whitewater Films. He took the project through the 2005 Film Independent (FIND) Screenwriter Lab, the 2005 FIND Producer Lab, the 2006 FIND Director Lab, the 2005 IFP New York’s Director Lab, and the LA Film Fest and Filmmaker Magazine’s 2005 Fast Track Program.  Prendergast's short, Anna Is Being Stalked, played at the Sundance Film Festival 2002 and 30 other film festivals worldwide. The film was picked up by the Sundance Channel and His short film, The Delicious, has played at over 40 film festivals worldwide, was shown on the Sundance Channel, and is available on the premiere edition of Wholphin, the new DVD magazine from McSweeney’s.  His film, Saragossa, was made as a part of Fox Searchlight’s Searchlab program, and his film My Life was made for and shown on MTV. Prendergast wrote for MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch for two years, and he was trained as a comedy improviser and sketch writer with the Groundlings. He is an Eagle Scout, a disgraced MENSA member and heir to the Heath candy bar legacy (but not the fortune).

Michelle Richmond (Judge, Short Story) is the author of the story collection The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress, which won the 2000 AWP Award for Short Fiction, and the novel Dream of the Blue Room. Her new novel, Ocean Beach, is forthcoming from Bantam. Her stories have been published in Glimmer Train, Playboy, Other Voices, the Mid-American Review, and many other magazines. She teaches creative writing at California College of the Arts.

Julia Scheeres (Judge, Nonfiction) is the author of Jesus Land, a memoir, and has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Wired, and other publications. 

Nina Schuyler’s (Road Trip) first novel, The Painting, was published in 2004. She currently teaches creative writing at University of San Francisco.

John Speck and The Bacon Bits (Prestame tu Planeta) began with a boy in the basement of a Mt. Baker rental in Seattle many years ago, and they refuse to stop until they see the Radio City Rockette's lifting their legs in perfect unison to their Cha Cha Chicharron sounds. In the meantime, they continue to check off boxes of places they've performed, from fancy hotels to avante garde art shows, dive bars to dynamite New Year's celebrations. The domain of "Smiley Faces" is where The Bacon Bits do their thing, and that means anywhere you can dip a dancer or tip a cocktail.

Anne Trumbore (Spite) lives and writes in Oakland. She has written ad copy for over 400 movies and television shows and teaches grammar and composition at the Education Program for Gifted Youth at Stanford. This is her first published piece of nonfiction.