Tag: The Astoria Bookshop

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.

Congratulations “A Muse” Story Partners!

Poets and stand-ups trading true-life tales inspired by a theme was a jumping-off point for our Brooklyn Book Festival Event… Our four storytellers ran with that aMUSE-ing idea and all took fantastic leaps last night.

Congratulations to our story partners on fully embodying each other’s stunning stories and captivating the crowd. There was standing room only at The Astoria Bookshop but not a word was missed.

Top left: Pichchenda Bao, Carolyn Castiglia; Top right: H.E. Fisher, Ellie Dvorkin; Bottom left: Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons, Ellie Dvorkin, H.E. Fisher; Bottom right: Carolyn Castiglia, Pichchenda Bao

Meet “A Muse” Storyteller Carolyn Castiglia

Sep 17 2019 @ 7:00PM

Meet comedian Carolyn Castiglia who is rehearsed and ready to “aMuse” you.

TONIGHT! 7 pm SHARP at The Astoria Bookshop.


Carolyn Castiglia is a stand-up comedian you may recognize from her television appearances on Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, HLN, NickMom, Lifetime, fyi, WE tv and more. Or from the thousands of live performances she’s given here in our great city of New York. She lives in Brooklyn with her 13-year-old daughter and their very handsome cat.

Don’t miss this special evening of poets and comedians trading true-life tales!


Event Information

Sep 17 2019 @ 7:00PM

The Astoria Bookshop (31-29 31st St Astoria NY 11106)

Meet “A Muse” Storyteller Pichchenda Bao

Sep 17 2019 @ 7:00PM

Tuesday! Arrive at The Astoria Bookshop early to grab a seat (and wine!) and stories start at 7 pm SHARP. Rehearsals begin tomorrow but first, meet “aMuse” storyteller Pichchenda Bao.

Pichchenda Bao is a writer and poet. Born at the end of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, she was an infant when her mother carried her across the Thai border. She and her parents arrived in the United States as refugees. Now she lives, writes, and raises her two young children in New York City. Her work has been published by Newtown Literary, the Stilt House zine, and great weather for MEDIA, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is a 2019 Aspen Words emerging writer fellow.

Event Information

Sep 17 2019 @ 7:00PM

The Astoria Bookshop (31-29 31st St Astoria NY 11106)

Meet “A Muse” Storyteller Ellie Dvorkin

Sep 17 2019 @ 7:00PM

Second story meeting for No, YOU Tell It! “a Muse” is tonight! The full group is coming back together to workshop each other’s revisions in preparation for next week’s Brooklyn Book Festival event at The Astoria Bookshop. First, let’s meet our next aMUSEr, comedian Ellie Dvorkin.

Ellie Dvorkin is an actor/writer/host who is best known as one half of the hilarious comedy music duo “Mel & El”. Hailed as “outrageous” by The New York Times and “ready for prime time” by The New York Post, Mel & El have brought down the house at Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, Gotham Comedy Club, Upright Citizen’s Brigade, 92Y, and onboard Atlantis gay cruises. These days, El’s bathroom humor can be seen/read on MomCaveTV, but it is most appreciated by her five-year-old son Charlie, who loves to talk about butts. See more at elliedvorkin.com and welcometothemommyshow.com.

Event Information

Sep 17 2019 @ 7:00PM

The Astoria Bookshop

No, YOU Tell It! “a Muse”

Sep 17 2019 @ 7:00PM

Join us at The Astoria Bookshop for this special BKBF Bookend event! FREE. We are bringing poets and stand-ups together to develop their nonfiction stories inspired by the theme “aMuse” on the page.

Top L: Pichchenda Bao, Top R: Carolyn Castiglia, Bottom L: Ellie Dvorkin, Bottom R: H.E. Fisher

They will then trade tales to present each other’s story on stage. Storytellers include:

Pichchenda Bao (Newtown Literary, 2019 Aspen Words emerging writer fellow)

Carolyn Castiglia (Comedy Central, NickMom)

Ellie Dvorkin (Mel& El, MomCaveTV)

H.E. Fisher (The Rumpus, 2019 recipient of The Stark Poetry Prize)


Click here to RSVP via Facebook. More info on our “aMuse” storytellers coming soon…

Event Information

Sep 17 2019 @ 7:00PM

The Astoria Bookshop (31-29 31st St Astoria NY 11106)

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.

Episode 47 – Crafty (Part 1)

The stress of planning and executing a family vacation to Las Vegas leaves the narrator of Vaughn M. Watson’s story with a need to escape, resulting in a low-key cannabis caper.

From the first half of our “Crafty” show performed live at The Astoria Bookshop, whoosh of the nearby N train and all, here is Marianthy Karantzes reading “Getting Crafty at the Dispensary.” Directed by Erika Iverson.

Top left: Marianthy Karantzes, right: Vaughn M. Watson

Switching it up, the familiar of rhythms of vacation life on the coast of the Ionian sea lull the protagonist of our next story into a sense of security, until the clues that something may be amiss become too hard to ignore.

Vaughn M. Watson reads “Her Own Personal Ithaca” by Marianthy Karantzes. Directed by Mike Dressel.

Stories were performed live on 2/27/19. Podcast episode narrated by Mike Dressel.

No, YOU Tell It! “Crafty” was 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.

Fantastic “Crafty” Show!

Packed house for our “Crafty” show at The Astoria Bookshop last night! Stories were swapped, prizes won, books signed.

LIKE our No, YOU Tell It! page for more pics and SUBSCRIBE to our podcast on iTunes or AudioBoom as new episodes featuring last night’s stories are coming soon.

Ruthy Kirwan, Rebecca Chace, Vaughn M. Watson, Marianthy Karantzes


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