Podcast

Episodes of the No You Tell It Podcast.

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.

Episode 50 – Pride and “Snapped!” Bonus

In celebration of Pride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, for this, our 50th podcast episode, we wanted to share some of our favorite LGBTQ stories from years past.

First up, from our recent “Snapped!” show at Dixon Place, a drag queen offers handy advice about standing one’s ground in “Lessons from The Queen,” written by Robb Leigh Davis and read for us here by story partner and Lambda Literary fellow, Mariam Bazeed.

Pride. Drag Queens. Courage. It’s all in there.

Click here to read Robb’s story, recently published on The Good Men Project.

Left: Robb Leigh Davis and story partner Mariam Bazeed. Right (top to bottom): Nicholas Maistros, Jeff Wills, Ariel Mahler, and Erika Iverson directs Molly Touger.

Next up, we revisit a show from our previous longtime home, Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village.  Author Nicholas Maistros writes of unexpected revelations during a visit with his mother in “Collecting.” Read for us here by his story partner, Jeff Wills, as part of our “Outdated” show.

Click here to give a listen to Nick read Jeff Will’s story “Lost Track” in Episode 41. 

Finally, a superfan desperately wants to connect with the Wonderful Wizard of YouTube, Todrick Hall, in Ariel Mahler’s story “Under the Rainbow, Over the Sea.” Presented here by Ariel’s story partner Molly Touger for our “Blowback” show.

Switching it up, click here to hear Ariel’s performance of Molly Touger’s “And in Local News…” in Episode 37

Speaking their partner’s piece aloud gives a No, YOU Tell It! storyteller the chance to step into another person’s shoes and experience their story on stage, a powerful way to amplify queer voices at a time when their true-life tales need to be heard and shared more than ever.

If you enjoyed these stories, please help us spread the word and share with your podcasting loving friends!

Episode 49 – Snapped! Queer Storytelling with a Twist

What begins as a simple cab ride to the airport becomes a shifting contest of power, imagination, and identity in Naomi Gordon-Loebl’s “Can I See It?” read by Kent D. Wolf in the first half of this special team-up show with Lambda Literary in celebration of Pride and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

This story swap, recorded live at Dixon Place on June 11th, 2019, was directed by Mike Dressel who was also our host for the evening.
Story partners Naomi Gordon-Loebl and Kent D. Wolf

Top left: Naomi Gordon-Loebl and Kent D. Wolf; Top right: Naomi Gordon-Loebl; Bottom left: Kent and Naomi; Bottom right: Hugs! Photo credit: David Trudo

Switching it up, in Kent D. Wolf’s story, escape from the isolation of Midwestern farm life lies in a plane ticket for a semester abroad, but first, he must negotiate permission and withstand the disappointment of both parents. Here is Naomi Gordon-Loebl reading “July 1995.”

Click here to see the full set of “Snapped!” photos and LIKE our page on Facebook for more!

Episode 48 – Crafty (Part 2)

Restoring old chairs and cooking dinner may first appear to be common creative acts but stripped down resides a pair of stories about life, death, near death, and second chances.

First up, celebrated author Rebecca Chace (Leaving Rock Harbor, June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny) revisits a true-life tale she previously thought of as complete. Here is “Painting Chairs” read live – aboveground N train and all – by Ruthy Kirwan in the second half of our “Crafty” show at The Astoria Bookshop.

Click here to check out the previous version of “Painting Chairs” originally published in The Common, June 27, 2012.

Upper left: Ruthy Kirwan Right: Rebecca Chace

Switching it up, an accomplished chef prepares for a picture-perfect entry in motherhood but is sidelined by postpartum depression. Ruthy Kirwan, author of the recently released “The Healthy Sheet Pan Cookbook,” gives us a glimpse into the unseen ingredients that go into a mother’s recipes.

Give a listen to “Tuna Casserole” read for us here by Rebecca Chace.

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