Podcast

Episodes of the No You Tell It Podcast.

Episode 60 – Defiant (Part 2)

The second half of our “Defiant” show drops us back into the peak of the pandemic, where our hero is taking Zoom calls and setting office policies from the solitude of his home.

As he struggles to define what’s right and what’s wrong while navigating a breakup and suburban judgment, he finds someone he’s willing to break the rules for.

Here is “Imaginary Rules” written by Marcos Stafne and performed by Moncho Alvarado.

Top left: Moncho Alvarado, Top right: Marcos Stafne, Photo credit: Sachyn Mital

Switching it up, we hear a heartbreaking series of letters to loved ones. Through imagery, history, and imagination, our second storyteller longs for answers and actions about the ongoing crisis and cruelty at the American borders.

Listen, as Marcos Stafne reads “Dead Familia” written by Moncho Alvarado.

For our “Defiant” show we were not only excited to be back as an OFFICIAL 2021 BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL BOOKEND EVENT but to share these incredible stories in front of our first live audience in two years at a brilliant new venue, Culture Lab LIC!

Thank you, thank you to the Brooklyn Book FestivalLambda Literary, and City Artist Corps for helping to make No, YOU Tell It! part of New York City’s creative resurgence

Episode 59 – Defiant (Part 1)

This first “Defiant” story finds us, as described by the narrator, “on the precipice of Real Teen Shit.” In a small New York town, a teen explores his identity while working at the local Serenity Sweets Cafe developing friendships with the town rebels and navigating questionable adults in and around the shop. Balancing his good-boy persona with a newfound comfort from his “island of misfit toys” our narrator carves his own path.

Written by Bobby Hankinson and performed by Desi Waters, here is, “You’re Gonna Be Sweet, Boy.”

Bobby Hankinson (top right) and Desi Waters (top left) trade true tales! Photo credit: Sachyn Mital

Switching it up, tensions are high at the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall. A clumsy daughter fights back tears and curiosity during worship, afraid to rouse her mother’s wrath. A pinch and piercing stare is just the beginnings of a spiraling rage in this epic tale of expression, power, and, ultimately, acceptance.

Here is “Meltdown” written by Desi Waters and performed by Bobby Hankinson.

For our “Defiant” show we were not only excited to be back as an OFFICIAL 2021 BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL BOOKEND EVENT but to share these incredible stories in front of our first live audience in two years at a brilliant new venue, Culture Lab LIC!

Thank you, thank you to the Brooklyn Book Festival, Lambda Literary, and City Artist Corps for helping to make No, YOU Tell It! part of New York City’s creative resurgence

Episode 58 – Alum On The Spot Swap

Ever Google, “What to do when an ex-boyfriend rejects your extended olive branch?” the first storyteller in our Valentine’s Day throwback podcast did, before peeling herself off the floor to attend a book signing in an attempt to get her groove back—or at least to get moving.

First up from our alum on-the-spot story swap is “Waiting for Sedaris,” written by Shelley Gazes and performed by Mark Woollett.

Alum storytellers Shelley Gazes and Mark Woollett swap stories on the spot.

Switching it up, we find our next storyteller in an awkward meeting with his fiancée’s older relatives. Crowded in a hot Iowa living room dimmed by an ex-husband’s shadow, a near-death experience makes for a memorable afternoon.

Our second story, written by Mark Woollett and performed by Shelley Gazes at QED Astoria is “Olive.”

QED, like so many performance venues, has been hit hard by the pandemic. To send some love their way and get some fun goodies for yourself or others, you can SHOP QED’S ONLINE OR IN-STORE BOOK & GIFT SHOP!

You can also make donations on their website in increments starting at $5. Or, if you prefer other payment methods, they accept PayPal & Chase QuickPay using the email address QEDAstoria@gmail.com and Venmo as QEDAstoria.

Any and all donations are greatly appreciated to help support this valuable member of the Queens artistic community!

Episode 57 – Precious (Part 2)

Kicking off the second swap from our Precious show, our narrator time travels between Brooklyn and Oklahoma where she cares for her aging mother after her father’s death. Confronted with memories and physical artifacts from her past, she gains a new perspective on the hometown she had so desired to escape as her two worlds collide.

Our first story is “Home,” written by Gail Thomas and performed by Nita Noveno.

Top: Gail Thomas; Bottom: Nita Noveno

We’re not in Oklahoma anymore! Switching it up, our next storyteller reminisces on a ritual (insert animal) slaughter and roast in her Filipino community in Alaska, conjuring her fear and resistance to a cultural norm.

An homage to the gradual influence of tradition and its impact on one’s identity and the collective’s, our second story, “Gathering (1973)” was written by Nita Noveno and performed by Gail Thomas.

Similar to last week’s podcast, we asked the storytellers to draw what three grocery items have suddenly become precious since we last rehearsed in March. It becomes immediately clear how much they’ve (haven’t we all?) gained a new appreciation for basic necessities.

Huge thanks to our friend Amanda Sisk who directed the brush-up rehearsals for our virtual story swaps!

No, YOU Tell It! “Precious” is made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

Episode 56 – Precious (Part 1)

The top five answers are on the board – name something that is Precious. Our first story delivers us right into the mind of its author. But this seemingly humorous daydream leads her to recollect lost lives and haunting memories that have shaped the way she lives and copes.

Written by Heather Quinlan and read by Sokunthary Svay, here is, “Survey Says”

As you will hear, we asked each of our storytellers to draw and present three grocery items (other than toilet paper) that have become precious to them since we last rehearsed in March when we had to postpone our original show as COVID-19 cases surged in NYC.

What became clear is how much we all have gained a new appreciation for basic necessities.

Top: Sokunthary Svay; Bottom: Heather Quinlan

Switching it up, we’re headed down to the Paradise City where two Cambodian refugee adolescents stumble upon Guns’n’Roses and experience a means of catharsis from Axl’s screeching voice.

Whether searching the library or recording cassettes, the discovery and pursuit of music lead the narrator to find her own voice, even if it takes a lifetime.

Here is “I Heard Some Chords” written by Sokunthary Svay and read for us by Heather Quinlan.

Huge thanks to our friend Amanda Sisk who directed the brush-up rehearsals for our virtual story swaps!

No, YOU Tell It! “Precious” is made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

Episode 55 – Coming & Going (Part 2)

The first story in our second “Coming and Going” swap places us in a New England suburb during the COVID-19 pandemic. A woman leaves her city life and is thrust into the role of caretaker for her elderly parents where, much like the pandemic, there is no end in sight. Experiencing a role reversal with her stubborn father and carefree mother, our narrator comes face to face with her own fears, testing her faith and patience as she struggles to keep her loved ones safe.

“The Faith of Candy” was written by Nancy Agabian and is read for us here by Charlotte Marchant. Charlotte’s reading was directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons.

For this, our first virtual show, we asked each storyteller that if we, the listeners, wished to summon them directly to our room what three items might we place in a magic circle to do so. As you see and will hear, a wide variety of ingredients are needed to complete the spell.

Top: Charlotte Marchant; Bottom: Nancy Agabian

Following the arrests of the riotous Weathermen after the Days of Rage in 1969, our second storyteller finds herself in prison, where reputations precede the inmates and communication is bangs, taps, and whispers through the ventilation system. Finding herself in a platonic relationship with a man named Cookie, the narrator grapples with her identity, the future of the revolution, and women’s roles in both.

Written by Charlotte Marchant and read by Nancy Agabian, our second story is “Cookie.” Nancy’s reading was directed by Amanda Sisk.

No, YOU Tell It! “Coming & Going” was AN OFFICIAL 2020 BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL EVENT and made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Episode 54 – Coming & Going (Part 1)

Have you ever wanted to be someone else? The opening story of “Coming & Going”— our second team-up show with Lambda Literary — follows Calvin…or as he’d like to be known, Craig, as he travels to Florida to become someone new. This journey to overcome grief caused by a death, a breakup, and an unforgiving New York City reveals that what we seek might already be inside us, even if we have to imagine our future with a new set of eyes once in a while.

Nicole Shawan Junior reads “Becoming Someone Else in Florida” written by Calvin S. Cato.

Nicole’s reading was directed by Amanda Sisk.

Bonus: For this, our first virtual show, we asked each storyteller that if we, the listeners, wished to summon them directly to our room what three items might we place in a magic circle to do so. As you see and will hear, a wide variety of ingredients are needed to complete the spell.

Top: Calvin S. Cato, Bottom: Nicole Shawan Junior

Switching it up, our next story takes us on a trip to the west coast where two lovers seek comfort in each other’s sanitized arms during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the backdrop of 2020’s chaotic energy, the two women must navigate their coping mechanisms, fears, and ultimately their love for each other in order to confront their futures — together or on their own.

Nicole Shawan Junior’s timely story, “Finding Our Way Back Home,” is read for us here by Calvin S. Cato.

Calvin’s reading was directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons.

No, YOU Tell It! “Coming & Going” was AN OFFICIAL 2020 BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL EVENT and made possible (in part) by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Episode 53 – Stargazing

Our first story transports us to Lake Sunapee on a summer afternoon. Sounds peaceful enough, right? Except, once there, we find the narrator and his brother plotting over how to bait a porcupine (read: wild turkey hunter). The afternoon of googling best practices for said task leads to an examination of fear and how similar we actually are to our furry, or spiky, friends.

Today’s podcast is a #throwbackthursday to 2015 and our inaugural show at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s summer MFA creative writing residency. Read for us here by his story partner Becky Fine-Firesheets, give a listen to “Ascension” written by Cory Johnston.

We are thrilled to share that Cory’s story was recently published by the Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review.

Click here to read along.

Stargazing Storytellers

Right: Cory Johnston; Left: Becky Fine-Firesheets

Switching it up, our second tale considers a different type of stargazing in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. A not-so-glam neighborhood is overrun with Boardwalk Empire and Girls extras, leading our narrator to dream of how her messy, poop-dancing, newly adopted boxer Bear could become a dog legend. As nostalgia for a neighborhood not to return increases alongside her rent, she strives for happiness in spite of the big city working against its own residents.

Cory Johnston reads “A Bear is Born” written by Becky Fine-Firesheets.

Happy Birthday to Becky!! As well as a big congratulations for being awarded a 2020-2021 Pen Parentis fellowship for her story, “2021.”

“Ascension” and “A Bear is Born” were directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons.

Episode 52 – a Muse (Part 2)

Our first story finds a dyed-in-wool New Yorker facing unforeseen suburban horrors. Negotiating neighborly encounters that make her question whether to recalibrate her moral barometer to keep up with the Joneses. Or, in this case, the Weavers.

Kicking off the second half of our special Brooklyn Book Festival event at The Astoria Bookshop, here is Ellie Dvorkin reading “The Neighbor’s Muse” written by H.E. Fisher.

Top left: Ellie Dvorkin; Top right: Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons and H.E. Fisher; Bottom left: Story partners!; Bottom right: H.E. Fisher

Switching it up, in our next story, a daughter fails to find anything amusing about her lifelong role of caretaker. Her mother’s recent health scare causing her to rethink the responsibilities we take on, the ones put upon us, and what it takes to release yourself from burdens of the past. H.E. Fisher reads “Fun” written by Ellie Dvorkin.

For this 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival event, we partnered with The Astoria Bookshop for a special evening of poets and comedians trading true tales inspired by the theme “aMuse.” Stories performed live on September 17th, 2019.

Storeis were directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons who also narrated this episode.

Episode 51 – a Muse (Part 1)

First up, Pichchenda Bao’s “Speak, Muse” contemplates the roles we are assigned in life and the roles we adopt: refugee, American, daughter, mother, artist, citizen; the compromises we make for survival and the ways we interpret silence, and ultimately how we can expand, not contract, our relationship to each other and the world.

Read for us here by Carolyn Castiglia.

Story partners: Pichchenda Bao and Carolyn Castiglia

Switching it up, in Carolyn Castiglia’ s story “A Friend Request,” the author looks back at a time in her early twenties when she chose comfort over vulnerability and suffering over fulfillment. A small gesture reminds her how people who pass through our lives can show back up on our radar years later to remind us how we’ve weathered life’s storms.

For this 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival event, we partnered with The Astoria Bookshop for a special evening of poets and comedians trading true tales inspired by the theme “aMuse.” Stories performed live on September 17th, 2019.

“Speak, Muse” was directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons.

“A Friend Request” was directed by Erika Iverson.

Podcast narrated by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons.

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