Tag: Tony Bennett

We Laughed, We Cried, We Sighed

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, ALL, for a fantastic evening of story swaps, Astoria history, and music at our “Left My Heart” show! Full program here. To quote Catherine Kapphahn, “We laughed and cried and sighed.”

Interested in Catherine’s book Immigrant Daughter: Stories You Never Told Me, which was featured at the show. Grab your copy here.

Sorry you missed? Never fear, subscribe to watch the show on YouTube. Coming soon!

A huge shout out to Bob Singleton, Executive Director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, for his amazing insights into Tony Bennett’s life and music.


Read Bob’s imaginary interview with Tony Bennett in the Queens Gazette created directly from quotes from the Astoria legend and the inspiration for our ART HEART event.

Big thanks to:

  • Everyone who came out last night with open hearts.
  • The storytellers for sharing such intimate tales of love and strength.
  • The creative team for helping to bring this night to life.
  • Grove 34 for the perfect space and help getting set up.
  • Greater Astoria Historical Society for the amazing insights into Tony Bennett’s life and music.
  • Flushing Town Hall for all their support! Check out other upcoming Queens grantee events here.
  • New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and New York Foundation for the Arts.
  • AJV Media for filming and photographing the event.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for a photo album from the event, along with podcast episodes and more. If you didn’t win a copy during story trivia, the No, YOU Tell It! Ten-Year Anthology is available here.

Look! “Left My Heart” Program

Jun 05 2024 @ 7:00PM

Our “Left My Heart” show is tonight at Grove 34! Tickets are still available here.

Take a look at the four storytellers whose stories started at our ART HEART: Storytelling and Portrait Trading event, which was co-facilitated by Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons and storyteller Zach Rothman-Hicks.

Read about how engaging with Tony Bennet’s music and history from the Greater Astoria Historical Society archives inspired the storyteller’s modern-day true tales. The ART HEART portraits will be on display during the show, along with other surprises.

Content notice: Tonight’s stories are true, traded with open hearts, and, in the second half, there is a depiction of suicide. If you need a moment, please feel free to step outside at any point during the performance.

If you have any concerns, our producer and host, Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons, is happy to discuss them during intermission.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. You can learn more about suicide from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at afsp.org.

Stories

  • MOTHER’S DREAM, by January Yoon Cho, performed by Catherine Kapphahn
  • LOPSIDED STAR, by Catherine Kapphahn, performed by January Yoon Cho
  • HEAD, HEART, and SAN FRAN, by Zach Rothman-Hicks, performed by Carl M. Banks
  • THE HOUSE WHERE NOBODY LIVES, by Carl M. Banks, performed by Zach Rothman-Hicks

Storyteller Bios

January Yoon Cho, an interdisciplinary visual artist, works with video, photography, and drawing, intertwining themes of social conformity, feminism, and environmentalism. She has exhibited across the US and Europe. Notably, Cho’s The Walk Project received fiscal sponsorship from the NY Foundation for the Arts and grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and Puffin Grant for Feminist and Environmental Art. Cho has taught at Parsons School of Design, New School University, and Hanyang University (Seoul). Originally from Seoul, Korea, she moved to the US in 1990 for her art education, earning a BFA from RISD and an MFA from Parsons.

Catherine Kapphahn is a writer, educator, storyteller, and speaker. Her memoir Immigrant Daughter: Stories You Never Told Mereceived The Center for Fiction’s Christopher Doheny Award and was published by Audible. Her manuscript Miseducation of a Dyslexic Girl: a Memoir in Poems and Classrooms was recently long-listed for the Steel Toe Books Poetry Award. Catherine received grants from the Queens Council on the Arts and City Artist Corps. Her writing has appeared in Queensbound, Motherwell Magazine, Croatia Week, Newtown Literary, the Feminist Press Anthology This is the Way We Say Goodbye, Astoria Life, and CURE Magazine. Catherine is an adjunct lecturer at City University of New York at Lehman College in the Bronx, where her students’ stories inspire her. Catherine is also a yoga teacher. She grew up near the mountains in Colorado and now lives between two bridges in Queens, New York, with her husband and two sons. 

Zach Rothman-Hicks is an educator and multimedia conceptual artist who creates interactive performances and projects intended to spark reflection, dialogue, and action. He has been a New York City Public School teacher since September 2009 and an Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College since 2012 and Queens College since 2022. In April 2020, while a student in the PIMA MFA Program at Brooklyn College, he initiated Gabbing with Gays, a project that explored Emotional Intimacy in the LGBTQIA+ community. This project inspired future interactive art pieces, which were presented at the Staten Island Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Newhouse Center, Alice Austen House, Easton Mountain, Queens Public Library, Hunters Point Park Conservancy, Chashama, Culture Lab, and the 14th Street Y.

Carl M. Banks is a troubadour and musical nomad. Born in the heartland of Saint Louis, Missouri, he found his rhythm in the bustling streets of New York City, now calling Astoria, Queens, his home.  Traversing the country as a touring singer-songwriter, his lyrics and melodies echo the highs and lows of the American landscape while his stories touch on personal and profound narratives. He has been featured on The Moth Radio Hour and on WFUV’s local artist spotlight, “New York Slice.” Carl is also an ultra-marathon runner and co-creator of Queens-based “Bridge and a Slice Half Marathon” and “HotDog Eater 50 kilometer.”

Special Thanks to the No, YOU Tell It! Creative Team

  • Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons, producer, story director, host
  • Erika Iverson, founding member, dramaturg 
  • Pichchenda Bao, story coach
  • Tim Lindner, story coach and social media

***

The Greater Astoria Historical Society is the place to learn and celebrate Long Island City and its neighborhoods. Learn more at astorialic.org.

This project is supported by funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, Statewide Community Regrants Program (formerly the Decentralization program) with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and administered by Flushing Town Hall.

No, YOU Tell It! “Left My Heart” is made possible (in part) with public funds from the Queens Arts Fund, a re-grant program supported by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by New York Foundation for the Arts.

Event Information

Jun 05 2024 @ 7:00PM

Grove 34 (31-83 34th St, Astoria)

Meet “Left My Heart” Storyteller January Yoon Cho

Jun 05 2024 @ 7:00PM

One week until the show! Get your tickets here and meet our next storyteller, January Yoon Cho!!

January Yoon Cho, an interdisciplinary visual artist, works with video, photography, and drawing, intertwining themes of social conformity, feminism, and environmentalism. She has exhibited across the US and Europe. Notably, Cho’s The Walk Project received fiscal sponsorship from the NY Foundation for the Arts and grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and Puffin Grant for Feminist and Environmental Art. Cho has taught at Parsons School of Design, New School University, and Hanyang University (Seoul). Originally from Seoul, Korea, she moved to the US in 1990 for her art education, earning a BFA from RISD and an MFA from Parsons.

***

The Greater Astoria Historical Society is the place to learn and celebrate Long Island City and its neighborhoods. Learn more at astorialic.org.

This project is supported by funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, Statewide Community Regrants Program (formerly the Decentralization program) with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and administered by Flushing Town Hall.

No, YOU Tell It! “Left My Heart” is made possible (in part) with public funds from the Queens Arts Fund, a re-grant program supported by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by New York Foundation for the Arts.

Event Information

Jun 05 2024 @ 7:00PM

Grove 34 (31-83 34th St, Astoria)

Meet “Left My Heart” Storyteller Zach Rothman-Hicks

Jun 05 2024 @ 7:00PM

This show is unique because we kicked things off with an Art Heart: Storytelling and Portrait Trading community-building event to help the storytellers engage with Tony Bennett’s history and music. Read more HERE.

Our next storyteller, Zach Rothman-Hicks, is an educator and multimedia conceptual artist who co-facilitated Art Heart and more. Meet Zach and get your tickets today to hear his story swap next week!

Zach Rothman-Hicks is an educator and multimedia conceptual artist who creates interactive performances and projects intended to spark reflection, dialogue, and action. He has been a New York City Public School teacher since September 2009 and an Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College since 2012 and Queens College since 2022. In April 2020, while a student in the PIMA MFA Program at Brooklyn College, he initiated Gabbing with Gays, a project that explored Emotional Intimacy in the LGBTQIA+ community. This project inspired future interactive art pieces, which were presented at the Staten Island Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Newhouse Center, Alice Austen House, Easton Mountain, Queens Public Library, Hunters Point Park Conservancy, Chashama, Culture Lab, and the 14th Street Y.

***

The Greater Astoria Historical Society is the place to learn and celebrate Long Island City and its neighborhoods. Learn more at astorialic.org.

This project is supported by funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, Statewide Community Regrants Program (formerly the Decentralization program) with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and administered by Flushing Town Hall.

No, YOU Tell It! “Left My Heart” is made possible (in part) with public funds from the Queens Arts Fund, a re-grant program supported by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by New York Foundation for the Arts.

Event Information

Jun 05 2024 @ 7:00PM

Grove 34 (31-83 34th St, Astoria)

Fantastic Art Heart Event!

On Saturday, we kicked off our upcoming “Left My Heart” show with a fantastic Queens community-building event at Sunnyside Arts.

Join us at Grove 34 on June 5th to hear how the true tales inspired by Tony Bennett’s life and music that we brainstormed together evolved. Get your tickets here, and tell friends! 

The four NYTI storytellers, creative team, and fun friends engaged with this imaginary interview published in the Queens Gazette by Bob Singleton, Executive Director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

“Although the interview is imaginary, the quotes are real. When I started to do research to write something about Tony Bennett, I checked the Notable Quotes page on the in­ternet and found a cornucopia of comments by him and it immediately hit me that if they were brought together, it would be very reveal­ing of the man and his career, as well as his roots within the community, his hometown of Astoria. They seemed to fit a pattern and with a few hours of sorting I had an interview that he never did, but his words revealed so much of a very humble, yet extraordinary artist who always valued his deep roots in the commu­nity.”

—Bob Singleton

The Art Heart: Storytelling and Portrait Trading workshop was co-lead by our own Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons and upcoming “Left My Heart” storyteller Zach Rothman-Hicks of Gabbing with Gays, an ongoing archive of Emotional Intimacy in the LGBTQIA+ community.

First, participants took turns reading the interview aloud and reflected on Tony Bennett’s life, art, and philosophies while listening to his music. Here are some highlights:

It was amazing how humble he seemed even when achieving so much. I live by the philosophy to always keep learning, so his thoughts on getting better/longevity are refreshing to hear. The note about the bartender in Arkansas (about “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”) is so cute – I wonder if he did end up buying the first record!

Despite seeing all of the horrors of WWII, he didn’t have bitterness or regret but walked forward.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga were like two unlikely food flavors that somehow fit together.

Quintessentially old school, at the same time, he embraces what’s going on in the present.

I was surprised that “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” was originally the B-side of the record, but after hearing “Once Upon a Time,” I understand. That it is also a fabulous song. 

He made music for everyone, not just the young. I want adult music!

Is life a gift when life aligns with your gift?

Where are the negative feelings? Are they transformed into art?

Anywhere Tony Bennett performs (regardless of the size of the venue), he is 100% there. 

You need to take care of yourself and your health to be an artist. If we are dead, we can’t do anything.

Look at nature. It’s always going to change.

Next, we brainstormed personal stories inspired by the reflection and an “I Left My Heart in…” fill-in-the-blanks freewriting activity. Then, we paired people up, and they interviewed each other to learn more about the personal story they chose to share with their partner.

Finally, the story partners traced each other’s faces on transparency paper and incorporated what they heard in their stories to create a composite portrait of their partner.  The results were fantastic and will be on display at the show!

Art Heart: Storytelling and Portrait Trading

Join us for Art Heart: Storytelling and Portrait Trading on Saturday, May 11th (2-4 pm) at Sunnyside Arts. Register here.

Participants will engage with the music and history of Astoria native Tony Bennett from the archives of the Greater Astoria Historical Society to inspire and trade personal stories with a partner.

Then, the story partners will trace each other’s faces on transparency paper and incorporate what they heard in their stories to create a composite portrait of their partner.

All are welcome to this pay-what-you-wish Queens community building event and kick-off for our June No, YOU Tell It! “Left My Heart” show. Questions? Contact noyoutellit@gmail.com.

Workshop Facilitators

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is a writer, educator, and storyteller. Her recent work has appeared in HiLoBrow, Marie Claire, Hippocampus Magazine, and numerous anthologies. She designs and teaches college essay writing workshops through The Center for Fiction, House of SpeakEasy’s SpeakTogether program, and at high schools nationwide. She is the producer of No, YOU Tell It!, a nonfiction series that brings storytellers together to trade tales, speak each other’s words, and empower voices on the page and stage. Kelly Jean is also the editor of the No, YOU Tell It! Ten-Year Anthology, available from Palm Circle Press. Follow @noyoutellit for more.

Zach Rothman-Hicks is an educator and multimedia conceptual artist who creates interactive performances and projects intended to spark reflection, dialogue, and action. He has been a New York City Public School teacher since September 2009 and an Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College since 2012 and Queens College since 2022. In April 2020, while a student in the PIMA MFA Program at Brooklyn College, he initiated Gabbing with Gays, a project that explored Emotional Intimacy in the LGBTQIA+ community. This project inspired future interactive art pieces, which were presented at the Staten Island Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Newhouse Center, Alice Austen House, Easton Mountain, Queens Public Library, Hunters Point Park Conservancy, Chashama, Culture Lab, and the 14th Street Y.

André Knights is a Health and Wellness Instructor and certified LMT. He has worked with at-risk youth in an alternative school setting in the New York City Department of Education for more than 20 years. Prior to this, he worked in the Adult Literacy Program at the Brooklyn Public Library. He and Zach have collaborated on numerous social practice art projects since 2021.