Tag: Zach Rothman-Hicks

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!

Next Show! NYTI “Left My Heart”

Jun 05 2024 @ 7:00PM

Grab your ticket for our next show! Four curated storytellers will trade tales inspired by the music and history of Astoria native Tony Bennett from the Greater Astoria Historical Society archives. Plus, story trivia for fun literary prizes.

Want to meet the storytellers and share your story before the show? Join us on May 11 for ART HEART: STORYTELING AND PORTRAIT TRADING at Sunnyside Arts. All are welcome at this pay-what-you-wish community event. Register here.

Storytellers:

Carl Banks

January Yoon Cho

Catherine Kapphahn

Zach Rothman-Hicks

 

NYTI Creative Team:

KJ Fitzsimmons

Pichchenda Bao

Erika Iverson

Tim Lindner

***

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.

Event Information

Jun 05 2024 @ 7:00PM

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

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.

 

Queens Community Arts Grant

We are extremely grateful to Flushing Town Hall for awarding No, YOU Tell It! a Queens Community Arts Grant as part of the Statewide Community Regrants program funded by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

Click here for the full list of grantees. This funding will support two special 2024 Queens shows produced in partnership with the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

First up! Save the date for No, YOU Tell It! “Left My Heart” on June 5th at Grove 34 in Astoria.

Featuring

Storytellers:
Carl Banks
January Yoon Cho
Catherine Kapphahn
Zach Rothman-Hicks

NYTI Creative Team:
KJ Fitzsimmons
Pichchenda Bao
Erika Iverson
Tim Lindner

Thank you, FTH and NYSCA!!