Off-campus, he’s known for his luscious black hair, inspiring books (Part Asian, 100% Hapa, Mixed and Paper Bullets) and directing experience. On campus, he’s still known for his luscious black hair, but also for his spoken word skills and teaching abilities. Here, students know him as Professor Kip Fulbeck.
As the instructor for Art 137: Spoken Word, the accomplished artist teaches students to use their voice as an artistic medium. He tells them to, “get over themselves, it’s not about them.” It’s about the art that they have the potential create.
Every quarter that his course is offered, students jump at the opportunity to work alongside Fulbeck. As a pioneering poet, he challenges his students to produce their best work with limited time. At the end of a rigorous 10 weeks, they are expected to perform their pieces in a showcase at the MultiCultural Center.
Thursday, Dec. 10 marked the day of their debut. Fulbeck’s class of 17 students performed outstanding poems at the event “Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Piece: An Evening of Spoken Word.”
First up was communication major Hannah Gunter. Setting the stage as a space for self-discovery, the second-year’s poem “Pale” relayed the skin color-based jokes she puts up with because of her pale white skin. Admitting that the not-so-funny comments furthered her insecurities, Gunter uncovered the self-consciousness that comes with being pale. She painfully repeated the worst joke she’s ever received, “You’re so pale, I can see your thoughts through your forehead.”
Continuing the identity-themed poetry, Jacky Martinez performed “Bastard.” Confidently standing in her bright red dress, she told her story of being raised by a single mother, whom she loves for her strength. But to the people who have pitied, doubted or shamed Martinez, she said, “I am a bastard, and I am proud of what I am.”
Shanni Liu also went the identity route, albeit in a sillier way. Wearing an oversized sweatshirt dress, big glasses and witty humor, Liu delivered “Nerdy Girl” and compared her quirky self to “Sporty Girl” and “Pretty Girl.” Not your typical Asian Baby Girl, 20-year-old Liu is “mystery behind the scenes” and embraced her nerdiness.
While the spotlight shined on Liu, senior Ava Morton spoke of her sleepily roaming the darkness in her poem “Night Boogie.” The Art and Anthropology double major considered trading her nightgown in for a straight jacket when she said, “the fact that I don’t know what I’m capable of … That’s what keeps me up.”
Jungah Son was a class act, a girl who ran onstage with a backpack and socks and no shoes, ready to divulge in her obsessions and phobias. Amusing the audience with her pacing and fidgety hand gestures, Son worriedly pointed to a girl in the crowd. Uncomfortable with the even number of people sitting in front of her, Son asked, “Can you please move?” before running down the stairs, saying “Never mind, I’ll sit there…”
With lots on his mind, Vijay Marsharani’s poem “Dying Quickly” justified his hurried lifestyle with his “early expiration date.” Restlessly tugging on the bottom of his black t-shirt, the self-proclaimed “old-looking young dude” admitted to having cold feet after his decision to leave UCSB after four quarters. “Dying Quickly” acted as a farewell because Masharani is almost 20, moving to Baltimore and, according to him, is getting old.
Another poem that touched on leaving home was third-year biology major Dylan Ginoza’s “Ostentation County.” He described his hometown, O.C., in a negative fashion, with its gated communities, real housewives and straight-A students who teach poor L.A. kids English. It’s a place “printed on Hollister shirts … You watch my lifestyle on TV and people worldwide want to buy it.”
Katelyn Carano delivered a message about life after this year in “Circus Herpes.” Graduating this year, Carano plans to “set aside [her] ego and use [her] body for a message to share” in Las Vegas. Performing tricks with a hula-hoop throughout her poem, she exclaimed, “I want circus herpes!”
Herpes aside, Patrick Lo set the mood for romance with “Baby Mama.” Describing a night he and his roommates contemplated their single lives, Lo told of the love story that began in summer quarter. Dedicating his poem to the “one consistent thing in [his] ever-changing [life],” he wooed the audience with his witty one-liner, “I hate having morning breath but goddamn, I love the breath of [her] essence waking up next to me in the morning.”
“Online Dating” featured Tori Fischer, Sandra Gomez, Stephanie Gudanets and Andrea Ward as they struggled to find love via the interwebs. Fischer was looking for a hot fling; Guadnets wanted a cozy-like love; Ward craved a bible-study partner while Gomez pined for a big hairy beard. After failed efforts, they each got a perfect response, only to find out that their dream messages all came from @radsteve69.
While these four women searched aimlessly for love, fifth-year Erzsebet Vincent described her already-found love. In “Muse,” Vincent shook her multi-colored pixie cut, opening her eyes wide and screaming “You! Fuck you. I love you.” Like Waldo, she finds her muse in all of her poems, because even when he broke her art, it kept her making art.
Masters student Nataly Moreno told about the time she fell for Mr. Detached when making her own art on Photoshop. In “Birds and Boys,” curly-haired Moreno told of her asshole-detecting parrot Olivo. And how no matter the love interest, “they all turned out to be assholes.”
Aside from poetry about identity and love, Madison Lowery took a different route for her performances. Her poem “Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Pee” was a direct bash on “pee-shy peeps,” people who forgo the biological process when others are sitting in stalls next to them. Stomping around in black combat boots, Lowry prided in her “tenacious, golden tsunami” pee stream.
In a second hilarious poem, “Carrots for Dinner,” Lowery sang about her raw food diet in which she forced herself to eat carrots every night. But when the funky poet dismissed the other veggies in her life, Lowery was left dancing with her stuffed carrot across the stage. Holding the carrot in her arms like a baby, she crooned, “I know you [carrot], I walked with you once upon a dream,” to the tune of Sleeping Beauty’s “Once Upon a Dream.”
From sleepwalking to circus herpes to carrots for dinner, Fulbeck’s class captivated the MCC Theater, and the audience rose in a standing ovation. Professor Fulbeck ran to the mic and gave awards to class MVP Masharani and runner-up Vincent.
Fulbeck’s class has spoken now, and we will forever hold their pieces.