News from the world of No You Tell It

Alum Fun Update: Jenn Wehrung’s “Takin U Back”

Along with being the co-host of Laugh It Up, Astoria, Jenn Wehrung from our “Three Strikes” show also has one of the funniest and most entertaining podcasts around.

Give a listen to Takin U Back, where Robb & Jenn dissect a given year in terms of pop culture, history, and more! Three episodes – 1977, 2003, 1968 – available on iTunes or Soundcloud with more soon.


See you on May 10th for our No, YOU Tell It! “Mayday” show at The Astoria Bookshop.  Check back for info on the storytellers!

Alum Fun Update: Alex Gray’s “Photo Play”

Alex Gray first switched-up her true-life tale in our Urban Dwellers show. Later, she took part in an impromptu on-the-spot story swap with our own Mike Dressel. Click here to give a listen.

Coming up on March 21st – ONE NIGHT ONLY performance at Dixon Place – is Alex’s original piece Photo Play about personal snapshots: how they connect us, shape our identities, and dictate the stories and memories that remain after we’re gone. Alex workshopped portions of the script our NYTI alumnae sessions, which she stated were –

“Invaluable in helping me clarify the characters and hone the overall intention of the piece. As rehearsals roll on, I’ve been thinking a lot about those early sessions, and how having the opportunity to hear the text read aloud and (gently) teased apart with helpful questions was a crucial part of the development process. I am so grateful to have had the attention and input of NYTI’s talented crew.”

Did we mention Photo Play is one night only? Click here for more info OR here to buy tickets.

With original music by Ben & Kris Stoker, and a cast that includes Coco Conroy, Ivanna Cullinan*, Jane Kahler*, Renita Lewis, and Margaret O’Sullivan. Original portraiture by Steve Baird.

We are so proud of Alex and excited to see how what we read in those early sessions comes to life on stage. Hope you can join us on March 21st!

Don’t forget to SAVE THE DATE for our next show! No, YOU Tell It! “Mayday” at The Astoria Bookshop on May 10th.

Back at it! News, Alum updates, and Upcoming Reading with our own KJ

Good news! The NYTI creative team has emerged from hibernation and is busy planning a NEW SHOW this spring at The Astoria Bookshop. Save the date, May 10th! Check back for more info and updates about all the wonders our NYTI alum storytellers have been up to since switching up their true-life tale.

First up, our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is a featured reader this Sunday, March 4th, as part of the Literary Sundays reading series at Maple Grove Cemetery. She will be reading her personal essay, “Easter Eggs,” recently published in the anthology From Pantyhose to Spandex: Writers on Job Redux, which is available on Amazon.

Hope to see you there. The event is FREE, plus light refreshments!



February 27, 2018 Post Comment News

Newtown Literary’s Book Trivia Night!

We were excited to play – and WIN – this year’s Newtown Literary Book Trivia Quiz.

Eeeking out our victory by only ONE POINT over the fabulous team Poetry & Coffee, we took home a big bag of prizes including books, gift cards form Astoria coffee, tickets to the Museum of the Moving Image and, of course, BOOKS!

Click here to read some of the trivia questions we rocked. How many could you get right?

The money raised will help Newtown Literarying bring a kids writing contest, podcast, and professional development panels to Queens in 2018!

Submissions are now open (through 1/10/18) for Issue 12! Submit your work to Newtown Literary at:

It was great to get the crew together after being on hiatus. The wheels are turning as we make plans for No, YOU Tell It! 2018. Check back for more news soon!!

November 19, 2017 Post Comment News

Boundless Tales TONIGHT

Our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is excited to be one of six Queens-based emerging writers – along with Victoria Adler, Jamey Hansen, Jason Ferguson, Katie Flanagan, and Claire Zajdel – reading work at tonight’s Boundless Tales at The Local in LIC.

Click here for more info and to RSVP via Facebook.

Founded in 2011, Boundless Tales: A Series for Emerging Writers gives a platform to the best emerging writers in Queens, NY, the city’s largest and most diverse borough.

Writers! Boundless Tales is now accepting submissions from Queens-based emerging writers for their second reading of the season in February. Click here for  submission guidelines and pass the word along!


“Share Our Stories” Collages

Our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons’ SU-CASA artist residency at the CCNS Woodhaven Neighborhood Senior Center recently culminated with a “Share Our Stories” final event featuring story collages made from the participants’ memoirs.

Take a look some the stories the fine folks at Woodhaven shared!

Click here to view the rest of the collages on our Facebook page.

“Share Our Stories” Event

Earlier this year, our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons was awarded a 2017 SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant through the Queens Council on the Arts to positively impact the well-being of older adults through arts-based activities. Her residency at the CCNS Woodhaven Neighborhood Senior Center culminates this Friday, June 9th, with a “Share Our Stories” showcase at the center.

Starting at 1 pm, this special event features storytelling, story collages, songs (and snacks!) inspired by the true-life tales the fabulous folks at Woodhaven shared with her, and each other, for the past few months. Kelly Jean is thrilled to be co-hosting this story-palooza with her Sip-N-Scribe partner in crime Jenn Wehrung (NYTI “Three Strikes” alum, Laugh It Up, Astoria!).

We’re also stoked to share that NYTI “Legacy” artist Sha-Nee Williams  returned to created an original painting of one of the workshop participant’s beloved cat. This stunning piece, which will be on display at the event, was based solely on Susan’s written description (see below) of her cat, Candy.

Susan’s cat, Candy, as imagined by Sha-Nee Williams

My cat’s name is Candy. She is 12 years old, but she is pretty frisky for her age. Her coloring is very hard to describe, but I would say she is dark gray with some calico in the back. She is a short-haired cat with a long gray tail. Candy is a big fat cat, very roly poly with a white tummy and white feet, but she is orangey around the legs. My God, I don’t even know how much she weighs! Maybe 15 pounds?

We feed her moist food in the morning and dry at night. Candy used to love Temptations but suddenly she doesn’t like them anymore. She is a very docile cat, sleeps all the time. We got her from the North Shore Animal League. We wanted an older cat. She was about eight years old when we took her home and that was four years ago. She has a tiny cry, “meow, meow, meow” with a tiny little mouth. Sometimes she doesn’t even make a noise. She just opens her mouth and a tiny “peep” comes out. I remember she used to have a tiny ball with a bell that she played with a lot, but it got lost.

Candy always sleeps next to me, she is very attached to me. She stares at me with these big beautiful eyes. I tell there that she’s “my pretty little girl” and she blinks her eyes. Blinks them slowly, as if I was putting her asleep.

Ready for more? Join us this Friday, June 9th, at 1 pm at the CCNS Woodhaven Neighborhood Senior Center (89-02 91st St, Jamaica, NY 11421) to hear some stories, see story collages made from the writing generated during the weekly memoir workshops, sing songs, and eat snacks!


Partners of the 2017 SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant

Galaxy Girl

We reached out to artist Letisia Cruz – one-half of the dynamic duo at Petite Hound Press – and asked her to create an original piece inspired by our upcoming show theme “Blanked.” The result was Galaxy Girl!


We asked Letisia what inspired her to create this interstellar image and here is her reply:

Galaxy Girl was inspired by the theme BLANKED. To blank or to be blank is to be devoid of information, such as a blank page or a blank wall. But it is often in moments of absolutely emptiness that we are most in tune with nature and the natural (dis)order of the universe. As the arrow of time moves forward and the universe continues to expand, so does our capacity for chaos. The world we live in is both terrifying and fascinating. This drawing is my small contribution to disorder. With disorder comes endless possibilities.

For more fantastic work from Letisia Cruz check out Petite Hound Press – a miniature press based out of Las Vegas and Miami run by two tattooed, poetry-writing, art-loving ladies. Visit

Come out next Wed, September 14th for No, YOU Tell It! “Blanked” at Jimmy’s No. 43 at 7pm!

Special No, YOU Tell It! “No Regrets” Show at FDU

Our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons was stoked to spend the week at Fairleigh Dickinson University working with the incredible students in *FDU’s low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing on how to read their fiction, nonfiction, or poetry with a little oomph (as we like to call it). She also produced a special No, YOU Tell It! show with a trio of alums from the program.

After an intense 10-day writing residency at the Florham campus in Madison, NJ packed with workshops, lectures, visiting authors, and a killer outdoor dance party – No, YOU Tell It! “No Regrets” (theme intentional) had the formidable time slot of 10 am on the final Sunday morning.

No Regrets collage

But switched-up storytelling knows no bounds as the crazy talented Heather Lang, Letisia Cruz, and Taz Ruffilo (pictured left to right in the top row) wrote and performed three amazing pieces, keeping everyone captivated down to the residency’s last moments.

Over the past month, the trio participated in intensive story workshops and rehearsals with Kelly Jean, and the final result both broke and warmed our hearts. A huge thank you to René Steinke and all of the brilliant faculty, students, and alums at FDU’s summer residency, especially our “surprise guests” at the show Renee Ashley and Patrick Joshua Laskey!

Want to bring a No, YOU Tell It! workshop to your school, organization, or office? Click here to learn more or contact us at

*FDU’s low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing is ideal for students who want a more flexible academic schedule. Students attend two 10-day residencies each year, one in August at FDU‘s Florham campus in Madison, New Jersey, and one in January at the university’s Wroxton campus in Oxfordshire, England. Throughout the remainder of the school year, as they write and revise their creative work, students work one-on-one with their mentors and participate in online workshops. Click here to learn more about the program and how to apply.

Visit Us at The Queens Book Festival!


We are excited to be part of major literary explosion in Queens! The Queens Book Festival is happening this Sunday, August 7th, at Kaufman Astoria Studios.

Come visit us at the No, YOU Tell It! table for some literary swag, information about upcoming shows and workshops, and other fun surprises.

The Queen Book Festival is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and FREE to the entire community with a wide range of activities suited to families and folks of every age!

Click here to check out the full schedule of literary happenings!

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