The Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word



The Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word are Paul S. Flores, Amalia Ortiz and Marc David Pinate, three nationally known spoken word artists. Initiated as a performance project in association with Centro Su Teatro of Denver, Colorado Xicanindio Artes of Mesa, Arizona, MECA-Houston, TX and the National Performance Network, the group began performing around the country in the Fall of 2003.

"This is poetry about Chicano and Native experience, but told in a contemporary voice, with rhythm, hip hop beats, and in many different tones, " says Paul S. Flores, a spoken word poet from San Francisco, California. Taking poetry out of the café and putting it into the theater, while adding a DJ is the way the Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word hope to broaden the idea that poetry is only for romantics, misfits and coffee shop revolutionaries. "The audience will be challenged to follow the quick pace of language. But once they adjust, it will be a lot of fun."

“We are the inheritors of a Chicano literary tradition started in the 70’s,” adds Arizona born National poetry Slam champion poet Marc Pinate, referring to the Chicano art movement of the late 1960s and 1970s that produced such boundary-pushing writers as Alurista and Jose Montoya as well as Chicana poets like Sandra Cisneros and Anna Castillo in the 1980s and 1990s. “But we also represent a new voice and new generation of poet-performers whose aesthetic, language and themes reflect a slick, more urban, more Pan-Latino feel.”

Amalia Ortiz of San Antonio, Texas has been to multiple national poetry slams and has performed on Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO. Her poem "Tu Love Es No Good", removes the tone of anger often identified with Chicano poets, and instead plays with the comedic side of heartbreak: "Tu Loves es like/that station wagon I crashed way back when/I could have tried to fix it/Pero, ya pa’ que?/ Sin aseguro/No sirve/Es basura/Tu love es nogood." 

The Chicano Messengers play “Fear of A Brown Planet” premiered in 2005 in San Francisco and toured to four cities nation wide. Developed and Directed by Tony Garcia, “Fear of a Brown Planet” is the story of three Chicanos who find themselves in an internment camp with no memory of how they arrived at the camp. The three character are made up a stubborn construction worker, a grassroots labor party lawyer and a socialite trophy wife. Fear of a Brown Planet is a browning of Jean-Paul Sartre’s NO EXIT, taking us on a journey into the dark prison of the mind. 

Paul S. Flores is nationally produced playwright, and the award winning author of Along the Border Lies. He has appeared on Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO, and is a cofounder of Youth Speaks in San Francisco, the national leader in arts programs for teens focusing on creative writing and spoken word. 

Marc David Pinate is a National Poetry Slam Champion and has written several plays, as well as produced and directed many theater and literary programs for youth. As the front man-poet of the spoken word and music ensemble, Grito Serpentino, Pinate has released two spoken word CDs and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.

Amalia Ortiz has appeared on three seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO, and is a National Poetry Slam Finalist. Amalia has worked with young women around the issues of violence and abuse in the Chicano community of San Antonio, creating a touring theater group based on these issues.