Half an Hour Down, 1 Hour to Go

Posted on February 24, 2012. Filed under: Events, storytelling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

I performed my first 30 minute long storytelling show last week and I have to say I loved it. It wasn’t ideal circumstances, and it was quite a challenge, but it was a good experience and I look forward to tackling what I see as the next step in storytelling, the one hour show.

To back track a little, I was asked to cover for another storyteller at a performance she was supposed to give last week but couldn’t, due to a family emergency. I had six day’s notice to prepare and memorize thirty minutes, so I am afraid I didn’t write any new material. Instead, I took three different stories I had written in the past, created a frame to tie them all together, along with a few changes to the content, and then told them as a set.

I presented my 30 minutes as the essentials of life – work, love, and death. I started the journey with a version of this story I had performed about two years ago for SpeakeasyDC.

I thought starting with work would be a good way to warm the audience and ease them into my sense of humor and storytelling style. The story got a good response, but the next one I told was much more successful, at least as far as the decibel of the laughs I heard. In love, I rehashed the story I had told at the 2011 Sucker for Love show.

It turned out to be a good transition piece, because it started with laughs, where I had left the audience with the first story, and then ended on a somber note, where my next story, on death, picked up. This was a very personal piece I had written for the last Better Said Than Done performance I gave at Jammin’ Java.

I must say, it was really gratifying during this story to see the audience, because there were several people who were just flat out crying. And I know it sounds a little weird to be happy to have made a bunch of people cry, but considering the content of the story, that made me feel like it was a success.

Of course, now I would like to shoot for writing that one hour show. I know I can do it. I just have to finish my novel first!

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SpeakeasyDC Does Love

Posted on February 25, 2011. Filed under: SpeakeasyDC, storytelling | Tags: , , , , , |

I finally got around to editing and posted the videos of all the fantastic SpeakeasyDC performer’s stories at “The Perils and Pleasures of Romance” Show at Dance Place. The show was a sold out success and you can see for yourself how great all the performances were.

Here are the videos of the performers, in order of appearance.
Host Ayanna Dookie

Allison Kirsch

Jennifer Luu

Joseph Price

Jeffrey Brady

Jessica Piscitelli

Christopher Love

Adam Ruben

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SpeakeasyDC Valentine’s Show

Posted on February 20, 2011. Filed under: SpeakeasyDC, storytelling | Tags: , , , , , , |

“The Perils and Pleasures of Romance,” brought to you by SpeakeasyDC, was a challenging show for me.  Lots of things in my life were conspiring to keep me from doing the show, to the point where I was truly afraid it wouldn’t happen.

In my personal life, I am dealing with the illness of a loved one.  We have just had to start at home hospice care, and that home is about 350 miles from where I live, so all my non existent spare time this month has been spent either traveling to or helping out in NJ.  Of course, this is what one does when a family member needs you, but it has been both physically and emotionally draining.

A week before the show, I woke up with a sore throat.  Now, I memorize the good old fashioned way – through repetition.  I am sure there are better ways to do this, but it’s worked for me all these years so, gosh darn it, I am sticking with it.  The only problem is, if you get a sore throat the week you are supposed to be memorizing, it really puts a cramp in your style.  Then of course, four days before the show, my ear exploded, at least, that’s what it felt like.  More specifically, it was like someone shoved a hot poker into my ear, something I think I’ve seen done on “The Tudors” but hoped never to actually experience.  The sore throat, my doctor explained, led to an ear infection.  Thankfully, that led to antibiotics.

By the time our night before rehearsal came around, I was feeling mostly better – though the rehearsal ran past 8PM, my bedtime that week.  When we finally got around to story time, I started off strong and then, well, then I kind of forgot my train of thought.  I got it back after starting and stopping a few times but, considering the show was TOMORROW, I was not feeling too good about my memorization.

The other minor crinkle in things was that the show was in Northeast D.C.  This was fine, except that when SpeakeasyDC originally posted about the show, they listed it as NW – the information I had used on my blog and to send to all my friends and, for that matter, to get to rehearsal.  I ended up not being too late, thanks to having left myself plenty of time, but did have to do some scrambling that night to let everyone know about the change.

Saturday night arrived.  Dance Place had apparently sold over 100 tickets and was hopeful that they would sell out the other 100 by show time.  Show time arrived – 7PM – and the seats were looking um, well, empty.  It is always, in my opinion, harder to perform to a few people than a lot of people.  But even friends I knew were coming hadn’t arrived yet.  I think the location maybe threw some people for a loop.  We held the curtain and sure enough, by 7:15P, the place was sold out.

The show itself went great.  All of the performers were fantastic.  I will be posting more about them and videos of their stories soon, but it was a great show overall.  I felt like I hiccuped in the middle, but I had just a ton of people come up to me after the show – strangers! – who told me that they loved my story.  That felt really good and made the struggle to get to the performance so worth it.

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The Perils and Pleasures of Romance

Posted on February 9, 2011. Filed under: SpeakeasyDC, storytelling | Tags: , , , |

We just had our first of two rehearsals for this Saturday’s show.  I have to say, I was really impressed with all of the performers.  It’s exciting to be part of a show with such great storytellers.  I liked getting to hear everyone’s story in advance and workshopping them a bit like we do in my fiction writing group.  I know I got valuable feedback and hopefully everyone felt good about it.  I look forward to our next rehearsal, but even more so, I look forward to the show this Saturday.  It’s going to be fantastic.

Join SpeakeasyDC at Dance Place’s annual Valentine’s Dance Party featuring music by DJ Glowstik.

SpeakeasyDC will open the night with a line-up of poignant, hilarious, and memorable true stories about the pleasures and perils of romance. Hear stories about break-ups, make-ups, longings, and infatuations. Featuring Adam Ruben, Christopher Love, Jessica Piscitelli, Joseph Price, Jeffrey Brady, Allison Kirsch, and Jennifer Luu, and hosted by Ayanna Dookie.

Saturday, Feb 12, 2011 at Dance Place.

3225 8th St, NE (Near Brookland Metro and Catholic U)
Stories from 7-8pm followed by dance party
tickets $15

Click Here For More Info!

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Romantic Showing at Dance Place

Posted on January 17, 2011. Filed under: SpeakeasyDC, storytelling | Tags: , , , , |

Join SpeakeasyDC at Dance Place’s annual Valentine’s Dance Party featuring music by DJ Glowstik.

SpeakeasyDC will open the night with a line-up of poignant, hilarious, and memorable true stories about the pleasures and perils of romance. Hear stories about break-ups, make-ups, longings, and infatuations. Featuring Adam Ruben, Christopher Love, Jessica Piscitelli, Joseph Price, Jeffrey Brady, Allison Kirsch, Jennifer Luu, and hosted by Ayanna Dookie.

Saturday, Feb 12, 2011 at Dance Place.

3225 8th St, NE (Near Brookland Metro and Catholic U)
Stories from 7-8pm followed by dance party
tickets $15

Click Here For More Info!

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Press for Storytelling Show

Posted on August 16, 2010. Filed under: Press, SpeakeasyDC, storytelling | Tags: , , , , , , |

Well, it’s not the NY Times or the Washington Post, but it is still exciting to see my name, and all the “Oh Mother!” performer’s names in print.  The Reston Connection recently posted an article about the Nature House Storytelling Fundraiser I put together and hosted.  We raised nearly $1000 and I told three stories that evening, in addition to hosting, so the article doesn’t cover everything – BUT, it was a good review and a positive reaction to the idea of storytelling events at Nature House.

Read the full article here! Or see the reprint below.

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Nature Show Videos

Posted on August 4, 2010. Filed under: SpeakeasyDC, storytelling | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I had a fantastic time bringing together the wonderful performers for our first ever Nature House Storytelling Fundraiser, as well as hosting and performing a few short tales myself.  The event raised nearly $1000 to support programs at the Reston Nature House.  We had a great turnout for both shows and everyone is excited for the NEXT show – date as yet TBD.  I need to rest for a few months.  🙂

In the meantime, if you missed the show or just want to replay all the best moments, here are videos of each of the performers stories – in the order they were performed that evening.  Enjoy!

Jennifer Moore, www.IndulgentHealth.com, teaches mindful eating, balanced living, and guilt-free self care.  Her heartwarming story, “Alfonse,” was a great way to open the night and hook the crowd!

My first story was about my Cooter.  You will have to watch it to understand.

Adam J. Ruben – You’ve seen him on the Food Network’s “Food Detectives.”  His new book is now available in stores and online; it’s called “Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School.”

Meredith Maslich – SpeakeasyDC‘s board chair – but never boring blogger.  Meredith teaches storytelling for SpeakeasyDC so, if you are bursting with tales and just don’t know how to bring them out, she’s the woman to speak to!

Dustin Fisher  – A reviewer of our next performer’s sold out Fringe show called him “our heterosexual tour guide,” so you know this is going to good.  You can read his blog about this performance – and many others – at: stillstandingrighthere.blogspot.com

My second story was about my first kiss.  I know it’s a cliche, but it will always be special to me – and hopefully pretty funny to everyone else.


Amy Saidman is the director of SpeakeasyDC which produces true tales told live year-round, at the very least, monthly.  Check out speakeasydc.com for more info on upcoming shows!

Watch Amy’s video here!

Kevin Boggs – As an actor, Kevin Boggs as hobnobbed with the likes of, well, us.  As a professional food server, however, he’s rubbed elbows with Bono and egos with Jewel.  He was recently the star of no less than 2 sold out Fringe shows and you can hear the following story on the SpeakeasyDC CD.

My last story of the night was about how our childhood often revolves around finding a special place to go and be yourself.

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Storytelling Videos

Posted on July 15, 2010. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Below the information about our upcoming storytelling performance “Oh Mother!” are some videos of the fantastic performers lined up for July 24th.

Oh Mother! -99% Fun, 44% Clean, and 100% Natural

Date: Saturday, July 24, 2010

Time (First Show): 7:00-8:15 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Time (Encore Show): 9:00-10:15 p.m. (Doors open at 8:30 p.m.)

Location: Nature House Auditorium – Walker Nature Education Center – 11450 Glade Dr., Reston, VA 20191.

Click below to BUY TICKETS FOR:

7PM Show

9PM Show

If you have never experienced storytelling before, here’s a peak.

I am hosting – but have also concocted a little story myself.

Storytellers include:

Amy Saidman, Director of Speakeasy DC

Dustin Fisher, Comedian, Storyteller and all around nice guy – kinda

Jennifer Moore, former chef, current performer, and future storytelling star


Kevin Boggs, the man who stood up to Jewel

Meredith Maslich, writer, blogger, and drama junky

Adam Ruben, comedian, author and molecular biologist


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The Men of the House – The Nature House!

Posted on July 12, 2010. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Below the information about Oh Mother! are some videos of the fantastic male performers lined up for July 24th.

Oh Mother! -99% Fun, 44% Clean, and 100% Natural

Date: Saturday, July 24, 2010

Time (First Show): 7:00-8:15 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Time (Encore Show): 9:00-10:15 p.m. (Doors open at 8:30 p.m.)

Location: Nature House Auditorium – Walker Nature Education Center – 11450 Glade Dr., Reston, VA 20191.

Click below to BUY TICKETS FOR:

7PM Show

9PM Show

Please Note – All Proceeds Benefit Nature House!

I am hosting – but have also concocted a little story myself.

Storytellers include:

Dustin Fisher, Comedian, Storyteller and all around nice guy – kinda

Kevin Boggs, the man who stood up to Jewel

Adam Ruben, comedian, author and molecular biologist

Amy Saidman, Director of Speakeasy DC

Jennifer Moore, former chef, current performer, and future storytelling star

Meredith Maslich, writer, blogger, and drama junky

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The Ladies of Oh Mother! – Video Previews

Posted on July 9, 2010. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Below the information about Oh Mother! are some videos of the fantastic female performers lined up for July 24th.

Oh Mother! -99% Fun, 44% Clean, and 100% Natural

Date: Saturday, July 24, 2010

Time (First Show): 7:00-8:15 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Time (Encore Show): 9:00-10:15 p.m. (Doors open at 8:30 p.m.)

Location: Nature House Auditorium – Walker Nature Education Center – 11450 Glade Dr., Reston, VA 20191.

Click below to BUY TICKETS FOR:

7PM Show

9PM Show

Please Note – All Proceeds Benefit Nature House!

I am hosting – but have also concocted a little story myself.

If you have never experienced storytelling before, here’s a peak.

Storytellers include:

Amy Saidman, Director of Speakeasy DC

Jennifer Moore, former chef, current performer, and future storytelling star


Meredith Maslich, writer, blogger, and drama junky

Dustin Fisher, Comedian, Storyteller and all around nice guy – kinda

Adam Ruben, comedian, author and molecular biologist

Kevin Boggs, the man who stood up to Jewel


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