Tag: Lambda Literary

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

Thank You for a Great “Defiant” Show!

Special thanks to:
Everyone who came out!
Our amazing storytellers!
Our lil’ crew!

Left to Right: Tim Lindner, Erika Iverson, Moncho Alvarado, Marcos Stafne, KJ Fitzsimmons, Desi Waters, and Bobby Hankinson. Photo credit Sachyn Mital

Culture Lab LIC at The Plaxall Gallery for the perfect venue.
Lambda Literary for being our partner for this event.
The Brooklyn Book Festival for including us as a 2021 Bookend Event.
The Astoria Bookshop for supplying our prize books.
City Artists Corps: A $25 million New York City program to get all of us show makers back out and making shows.

Sachyn Mital (www.sachynmital.com) for the fantastic photos! Click here to view more photos from the show on our Facebook page.

“Defiant” Program

Sep 28 2021 @ 7:00PM

Doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7 pm
  • Proof of vaccination is required for entry
  • Due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, the City of New York strongly recommends everyone wear a mask whenever they are in a public, indoor setting, even when it is not required, and in any setting where you do not know who around you may be vaccinated.
Take a look at our “Defiant” storytellers who are trading true-life tales.

Tonight’s Stories!

You’re Gonna Be Sweet, Boy written by Bobby Hankinson, performed by Desi Waters, and directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Meltdown written by Desi Waters, performed by Bobby Hankinson, and directed by Erika Iverson

Imaginary Rules written by Marcos Stafne, performed by Moncho Alvarado, and directed by Erika Iverson

Dead Familia written by Moncho Alvarado, performed by Marcos Stafne, and directed by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Listen carefully because we’ll be doing story trivia for a chance to win storyteller Bobby Hankinson’s anthology, Welcome to Kweendom: LGBTQ Comedians Make Pride Personal with Stories of Love, Loss, Sex, and Everything Under The Rainbow.

Click here to order the book now from our friends at The Astoria Bookshop.

Huge thank you to the Brooklyn Book Festival, Lambda Literary, City Artist Corps/NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and The Astoria Bookshop for helping make tonight’s show possible!

On a personal note, I’m in awe and grateful to see No, YOU Tell It! return for a live performance and working hard to bring the series back for a full season in 2022.

Switching stories to embody each other’s experience in a live performance creates the kind of empathetic connections that are essential 19+ months into a pandemic.

Want to show your support? Here are 3 great ways:

  1. SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter for updates.
  2. SHARE the No, YOU Tell It! Podcast far and wide. Available on our website and your fav podcasting platforms.
  3. DONATE through our fiscal sponsor The Field. Plus, it’s tax-deductible.

Thank you!
Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Event Information

Sep 28 2021 @ 7:00PM

Culture Lab LIC, Gallery B (5-25 46th Avenue, Long Island City, New York, NY 11101)

Meet “Defiant” Storyteller Desi Waters

Sep 28 2021 @ 7:00PM

Fabulous second story meeting last night! Check out our Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Event and meet our next “Defiant” storyteller Desi Waters.


Desi Waters is an actor, singer, writer, and director.  Her favorite roles include: Mrs Corry in “Mary Poppins,” Mabel in “Fame: The Musical,” The Nurse in “Romeo and Juliet,” Mariya in “Uncle Vanya,” Doggett in “Locked Up B*tches,” Lovah in “WELP!”  and as a vocalist for “President Clinton’s Birthday Celebration at Radio City Music Hall.”  TV: “The Big Help” for Nickelodeon, “The Blacklist,” “Broad City,” “CityKids: The TV Series,” and “Power.” Her daughter made her  debut in June 2018. Proud member of SAG-AFTRA. www.desiwaters.com

Event Information

Sep 28 2021 @ 7:00PM

Culture Lab LIC, Gallery B (5-25 46th Avenue, Long Island City, New York, NY 11101)

Meet “Defiant” Storyteller Bobby Hankinson

Sep 28 2021 @ 7:00PM

Our “Defiant” show is two weeks away! Meet our first storyteller Bobby Hankinson and come out on 7/28 for a chance to win a copy of WELCOME TO KWEENDOM from The Astoria Bookshop.

Photo by Mindy Tucker

Bobby Hankinson (he/him) is a Brooklyn-based writer, performer, creative and full-time homosexual. He is the host and producer of Kweendom, a live LGBTQ comedy and storytelling show, which TimeOut NY described as “consistently dope” and Thrillist called “extremely gay.” He also edited WELCOME TO KWEENDOM, published by Wheatfield Press in 2021, featuring essays from LGTBQ writers and a foreword by Alan Cumming. In addition to performing across the country, Bobby is pop-culture writer for leading LGBTQ website Towleroad.com. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, VICE, Gothamist and more.


Event Information

Sep 28 2021 @ 7:00PM

Culture Lab LIC, Gallery B (5-25 46th Avenue, Long Island City, New York, NY 11101)

Save the “Defiant” Date

Sep 28 2021 @ 7:00PM

Our Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend event is on! We’re teaming up with Lambda Literary again for a night of queer storytelling with a twist.
The four curated storytellers are working together to develop their true tales inspired by the theme “Defiant” on the page. Come out to Culture Lab in Long Island City on 9/28 and watch as they swap and present each other’s stories on stage. Plus, literary prizes from The Astoria Bookshop!


Event Information

Sep 28 2021 @ 7:00PM

Culture Lab LIC, Gallery B (5-25 46th Avenue, Long Island City, New York, NY 11101)

New “Defiant” Show!

“Words can wound but they also have the capacity to heal.” – Kent D. Wolf, NYTI Snapped!

As Pride month comes to a close, we are thrilled to announce that for our next show, we are once again teaming up with Lambda Literary for an evening of queer storytelling with a twist!!

More information soon about No, YOU Tell It! “Defiant” coming in September as part of the 2021 Brooklyn Book Festival and produced in partnership with Lambda Literary and The Astoria Bookshop.

Happy New Year!

Like so many, 2020 was not what we expected. We were rehearsing for our first show at Sunnyside Plays and looking forward to an in-person Lambda Literary story swap when COVID-19 cases exploded in NYC back in March. Our future quickly became uncertain and we weren’t sure if we’d be swapping stories ever again.

Despite technical difficulties, a different genre of performance, and a huge learning curve, we were pleased to deliver two virtual story swaps. We hope listening to the stories provided a needed respite.

Storytelling has both the power to elicit empathy and create connection, and though we couldn’t physically be together we hope both of these things came through the screen. We’re especially grateful to everyone who came out to support the storytellers. And if you missed the shows, check out our podcast!

From top left clockwise: Heather Quinlan, Sokunthary Svay, Gail Thomas, Charlotte Marchant, Nita Noveno, Calvin S. Cato, Nancy Agabian, Nicole Shawan Junior.

Our virtual shows raised nearly $1000 for the Woodside/Sunnyside Community COVID-19 Food Relief Group – You can still donate here: Use the dropdown to indicate Covid 19 Sunnyside/Woodside Food Distribution (or Venmo @KellyJean-Fitzsimmons who will collect and donate).

In the spirit of giving, we appreciate any end-of-year donations you are able to make in support of  No, YOU Tell It! Make your tax-deductible donation directly here or through the DONATE button below – any and all amounts help make shows like “Precious” and “Coming  & Going” possible.

And LASTLY, thanks to all of our partners and elves behind the scenes who helped along the way, including but not limited to: The Brooklyn Book FestivalLambda LiteraryRevisionary Writing and Editing LLCAstoria BookshopQueens Council on the Arts, Amanda Sisk, Noah Diamond, Erika Marit Iverson, Mike Dressel, & Tim Lindner.

Until next time, check in on our podcast where you can listen to any of our past shows on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram @noyoutellit for the latest updates and information on upcoming events in 2021!

Wishing you all the best for a bright new year,
Kelly Jean

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.

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