Queer Memoir: TATTOOS (Part of the Gotham Storytelling Festival)

Charlie S final postcard
With our featured storytellers….(bios below) , check out our facebook event for the latest info and more great quotes from our storytellers!

Charlie Vázquez is the Director of the Bronx Writers Center and author of three novels, many short stories and occasional poetry. He is the New York City Coordinator for Puerto Rico’s “Festival de la Palabra” and would love it if you followed his author page on Facebook or his Twitter profile, @CharlieVazquez

Charlie Solidum is a American Pinoy healthcare worker, educator, and activist based out of Brooklyn. Additionally, he has the pleasure of co-facilitating monthly support groups for trans/gender non-conforming/non-binary teenagers in Rockland County, the area where he grew up. Charlie used to write a lot of stories, but doesn’t get to much anymore now that livejournal is no longer much of a thing. Social anxieties be damned, Charlie actually really quite enjoys speaking in front of a sizable assembly of people – all the better if it’s a room full of queers.

Ashley Young is a writer, editor, and teacher living in New York City. She has been publishing poetry, non-fiction and fiction since 2010, appearing online and in print magazines, including Elixher, Autostraddle, Rkvry Quarterly, and more. She appears in Seal Press’s anthology “Hot and Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion” and University of Wisconsin Press’s “All About Skin: Short Fiction by Woman of Color”. She is a 2011 VONA poetry fellow and a 2012 Lambda Literary non-fiction fellow. She received her Bachelors degree at Hampshire College where she studied education and theater. Ashley is currently working on an Audre Lorde inspired biomythography “The Liberation of the Black Unicorn,” a new collection of poetry as well as a play. Ashley edits under her business Black Unicorn Productions and hopes to soon publish and produce work by Queer and Trans writers of color.

Stephanie Schroeder is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn. She has written for The Guardian, Curve Magazine, GO! Magazine, Station-to-Station, Life of The Law, Lambda Literary Review, FiftyistheNewFifty.com, and other outlets. Her work has been anthologized in the classic queer anthology That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, in the Lammy-nominated Here Come the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage, and in the collection Easy to Love, But Hard to Live With: Real People, Invisible Disabilities, True Stories. Schroeder is also the author of the memoir Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies & Suicide.

For the last 17 years, Robin has been a staple in the New York City performance scene. She has been listed as one of Go! magazine’s Top 100 Women We Love, twice, and recently, graced the cover of Diva Magazine for their “body issue” and was featured as one of twelve New York City celesbians. Robin has been featured in several articles about gay marriage and lesbian fashion in the Washington Post, and Gayweddings.com. In the Spring of 2016, her non-fiction prose will be published in Outside the XY: Queer, Brown Masculinity. In addition, Robin regularly participates in several reading and storytelling series including Queer Memoir, Drunken, Careening Writer’s, Mixer Reading & Music Series and Risk! Currently, Robin is in production for her short film Out Again and a documentary about the Ebony Horsewomen of Hartford, CT.

Kelli Dunham is the genderqueer nurse-comic-author-ex-nun hybrid so common in modern Brooklyn and the cofounder of Queer Memoir. Kelli was one of Velvet Park Magazine’s 25 Significant Women of 2011, was named to the 2012 Campus Pride Hotlist and has appeared on Showtime and the Discovery Channel and nationwide at colleges, prides, fundraisers and even the occasional livestock auction. She is also an RN and has written five books of humorous non-fiction, including two children’s books being used by Sonlight conservative home schooling association in their science curriculum. Kelli’s fifth book, Freak of Nurture, a collection of humorous essays published by Topside Press caused award-winning author Barbara Carellas to give Kelli the moniker “the David Sedaris of the genderqueer dyke world.” Kelli’s is a frequent contributor to OXJane.com. You may have also seen Kelli’s unique humorously concerned voice in articles on Refinery29, The New Republic, Thought Catalog and Autostraddle and the NPR Health Blog. Kelli’s 5th comedy CD, “Gender Envy” will be released November 1st.

Molly McCloy is a three-time NYC Moth Slam winner with work published in Slate, Nerve, and Swink. She holds an M.F.A. in Nonfiction from The New School, and teaches at Pima Community College in Tucson. Currently on sabbatical, Molly is touring Mad Dog Grudges, her one-woman show that unravels her screwed-up family’s legacy of violence and addiction, explores the ridiculousness of grudges, and asks what it takes to forgive others…and yourself. To learn more about upcoming performances go tomollymccloy.com or email molly.mccloy@gmail.com to sign up for the email list.

Please note: this is part of a festival and is a ticketed, not sliding scale, event. However, if you’d like to come and you can’t do the whole price, please email kellidunham@gmail.com for a discount code. THANKS!.

Queer Memoir: SELFIE

CHE POSTCARDAlthough we often take off the summer from Queer Memoir events, this year we’ll be doing two shows during the months of June and July.

June saw us above the Out of the Closet Thrift Shop telling stories about STRENGTH, in collaboration with Brooklyn Pride.

But for the end of July we have a very special treat: we’ll be talking about SELFIES at the Wild Project, in collaboration with the Fresh Fruit Festival.


Che Gossett
Kip Davidson
Cecilia Gentili
Rebecca Weinberger
J Mase III
Zachary Wager Scholl
Lady D


Che Gossett
Che is a Black trans/femme, a proud theory queen and academic gossip girl who’s in an open relationship w/ academia and an intimate relationship w/ ideas.

Zachary Wager Scholl

Zachary is a writer, performer, educator and cultural worker. He is a member of the Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee, The Man Meat Collective, and Jews for Racial & Economic Justice. Most recent written work include “Zelig Zisman,” published inInsatiable: Stories of Lesbian Desire; and “Sisters,” published in the Heels on Wheels forthcoming anthology.

Cecilia Gentili
Originally from Argentina, Cecilia Gentili has embarked on an incredible journey of transformation, ultimately turning her into a widely respected advocate for trans rights in New York City. Currently, she serves as the Trans Health Coordinator for the APICHA Community Health Center, while continuing her work as a mentor and an advocate within her local community in Jackson Heights, Queens. She was also a contributor to Trans Bodies,Trans Selves, a resource guide for transgender and gender non-conforming populations and is a board member at PERSIST and TransLatina Network.

Kip Davidson
Kip Davidson is the product of a family of artists. Writers, illustrators and painters abound, while drinking problems and bipolar disorder, acknowledged and denied, also run rampant. Kip has interest in the healing of difficult moments in life by addressing pain through written and visual expression. A former basketball player, leatherboy, graphic designer, burn survivor, and New England ocean enthusiast, Kip has discovered the power of play and nature as wonderful teachers in embracing life.

Rebecca Weinberger
Rebecca is a fat, queer, rooftop gardener in Brooklyn. She’s obsessed with her plants and the food she can make from them. She is also one of the main organizers of the Big Fat Flea

Queer Memoir: STRENGTH (in collaboration with Brooklyn Pride)


Queer Memoir 5th Anniversary!


Yup, we can’t believe it either. It’s our fifth anniversary and we’re having a Very Special Show.


Bowery Poetry Club

308 Bowery NYC

Sunday February at 3.30 PM (we’re starting on time)

With our amazing storytellers:

M. Taueret Davis

Sarah Schulman

Erica Cardwell

Elana Lancaster

Robin Cloud

J Mase III

Drae Campbell

Vivien J Rotundo

Kelli Dunham, co creator of Queer Memoir, will be hosting!




We’ll also have health insurance navigators present from Callen-Lorde to provide free help with applying for health insurance and obtaining financial assistance to help pay for it. Get covered before Open Enrollment ends on Feb 15th.

Queer Memoir is New York’s first and longest running LGBT storytelling series; giving voice to our collective queer experience and preserving and documenting our complex queer history. Every month, we host some of Queer New York’s best known performers, and folks who have never been on a stage in their lives and bring them together to celebrate the ritual and community building value of storytelling.

Queer Memoir was founded by comic storyteller Kelli Dunham and playwright Genne Murphy in January 2010. In four years they have created more than 75 events, drawing in over 7200 audience members and 365 different storytellers. Queer Memoir has collaborated with 13 arts organizations in four states, conducted almost a dozen storytelling workshops and used dozens of venues including the MTA, sharing stories on both the A and Q Trains.


Queer Memoir: SECOND THOUGHTS (this time in PHILLY!)


We’re really looking forward to our matinee showing of Queer Memoir: SECOND THOUGHTS in Philly!

Sunday September 28 at 3 pm

William Way Community Center

1315 Spruce Street

Philly, PA

(BTW, you can get last minute updates and RSVP on our facebook event)

Queer Memoir is a storytelling series for all of the LGBT community; giving voice to our collective queer experience and preserving and documenting our complex queer history. At every event, Queer Memoir hosts some of the queer world’s well known performers, and folks who have never been on a stage in their lives, bring them together to celebrate the ritual and community building value of storytelling.

This event’s storytellers:
Robin FM
Cassendre Xavier
Colleen O’Connell & Connie Youkon
R. Eric Thomas
Debra D’Alessandro
Susan DiPronio
Wesley Garis & Kelli Dunham

5-15 bucks sliding scale, no one turned away! If you don’t have the cash, please just show up, no worries, we want you there!

Queer Memoir was founded by comic storyteller Kelli Dunham and playwright Genne Murphy in January 2010. In four years they have created more than 85 Queer Memoir events, drawing in over 7200 audience members and 365 different storytellers. Queer Memoir has collaborated with 13 arts organizations in four states, conducted almost a dozen storytelling workshops and used nearly a hundred venues including the MTA, sharing stories on both the A and Q Trains.

More about our storytellers:
R. Eric Thomas, a playwright and stand-up dramedian, has been hailed as “one of the best storytellers in Philly” by the Philadelphia Weekly. His plays include Will You Accept This Friend Request?, Always the Bridesmaid, and The Spectator. His play When You Put It Like That It Just Sounds Ridiculous was a finalist for the 2014 City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting. Eric has performed throughout the country, can be heard on the wildly successful RISK! and Soundtrack Series podcasts, and gave a talk at the 2011 TEDxPhilly conference. He is currently the host of The Moth in Philadelphia. rericthomas.com

Robin is a teacher, writer, mother, wife, and great lover of the almighty Candy Crush. She drives a Prius, yet regularly wastes paper and sometimes forgets to recycle.

Cassendre Xavier is a Leeway Transformation Award-winning multi-media artist based in Philadelphia. She coined the term “renaissance negresse” in 2002 to describe her work as a musician, writer, fine artist, and actress. As a member of Philly’s LGBTQI community she has worked at Giovanni’s Room bookstore, produced events and support groups at the William Way Community Center, participated in the Lesbian Visibility Project, performed at many wimmin’s venues including Miriam’s Tambourine and SisterSpace Weekend, and shared the stage with openly lesbian performers Pat Humphries (of emma’s revolution), Tret Fure, Toshi Reagon, Alix Dobkin, and Lucie Blue Tremblay, among others. She worked for Labyrinth: The Philadelphia Women’s Newspaper (Editor/Journalist/Poet circa 1990-1994), is the author of the former Black/Out column of Philadelphia Gay News, and her writing has also been published widely including Dykes with Baggage: A Lighter Side of Lesbians in Therapy (ed. Riggin Waugh/Alyson Publications), We’Moon: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn 1999 & 2001, respectively (Mother Tongue Ink), The Butch Cook Book (Ed. Lee Lynch, Nel Ward & Sue Hardesty, TRP Cookbooks, June 2008), and The SandMUtopian Guardian: A Journal of BDSM Realities. Cassendre is a proud longtime subscriber and contributor to the Lesbian Connection magazine as well as a winner of Go Magazine’s “100 Women We Love Class of 2010”. Visit Cassendre at http://cassendrexavier.com/

Connie and Colleen will celebrate 31 years in August. Over that time they’ve: Held twelve jobs; owned eight cars; parented five cats; lived in four neighborhoods; owned three couches and two beds; started one business apiece; were civil-unioned (a/k/a a New Jersey marriage); and still express undying love and affection for one another.

Debra D’Alessandro is host and producer of Amazon Country (airing Sundays at 11pm on WXPN 88.5 FM and live streaming at http://www.xpn.org/xpn-programs/amazon-country . Founded in 1974 (and led by Debra since 1996), Amazon Country is the nation’s longest running lesbian/feminist radio program. For five seasons ending in 2005, she hosted weekly call-in TV talk shows, “Philly LIVE: Your Gay and Lesbian Community Connection” and “OutLoud” on WYBE public television. The two-time Emmy-nominated “Philly Live” was America’s first live gay-themed television talk show.Debra’s ‘day job’ is as a public health program manager at a local non-profit.

Susan DiPronio lives in Philadelphia and founded Pink Hanger Presents a project dedicated to giving voice to the unique life experiences of women, transgender and genderqueer individuals.Susan’s poetry recently appeared in Sinister Wisdom, Corset Magazine, The Avocet, Defenestration and Spillway Literary Journal. Their memoir “Laurel” was included in the memoir chapbook from First Person Arts and their personal essay: “Damaged:A journey of healing from sexual assault” is included in the book “The Survivors Project: Telling the Truth About Life After Sexual Abuse.” Susan was a 2013 recipient of The Transformation Award from the Leeway Foundation.

Wesley lives in Philadelphia, where he’s currently studying to become a teacher. He’s an avid gamer, comic book reader, sci-fi enthusiast, and all-around super nerd. He writes for several online gaming publications, including the award-winning start-up Hardcore Games

Survey Results PLUS Call for STORYTELLERS for our FALL SEASON!

Hey Queer Memoir fans..er people who are interested in Queer Memoir.

Thanks to everyone who filled out the Queer Memoir survey over the summer! Queer Memoir is coming up on its fifth year, and I’m really grateful for the continued success of this event and how it really seems to be speaking to folks in the LGBT community who want to make sure all our stories get told.

At the same time, I know there are folks and parts of the community we aren’t reaching…and so it was very helpful to hear about how QM can be more open, more welcoming and what kind of venues and themes are of most interest to folks.

The comprehensive results are below, and the themes for this fall and winter were chosen as a direct result of votes on the survey. A few things that were notable about the results:

  1. More people said they would go to a venue which was populated with aliens with barbed anal probes than said they would go to Queer Memoir held on Staten Island. I don’t know quite what to say about that, except maybe I shouldn’t have included sarcastic options in an survey. Or maybe people are really afraid of Staten Island. Live and learn.
  2. Queer Memoir is an exceptionally well attended event (we have never had a QM in which we had less than 45 people present; our average attendance is 85.7 since the beginning of the series). When I talk with folks at the event about why they attend, people usually say they heard about it word of mouth, so I assumed that meant people come because a friend is sharing a story. Surprisingly, that’s not what the survey said: 55 percent of people say they attend any given Queer Memoir event because the theme engages them versus 25 percent because a friend is performing. Although this makes sense, in retrospect, because many people didn’t like the idea of a LIE themed show, and it was our most poorly attended event in the last year.
  3. Back in the day, I was worried about us not having a set venue but over time I’ve become more relaxed about it. What makes Queer Memoir what it is has to do with the depth at which the storytellers share. People seem to get what we’re doing even if we are a roaming show. In addition, I’m enjoying the variety of venues we’ve used and I’d love to do even more nontraditional venues…like I’d love to have an event in a laundromat sometime soon. I think it keeps the show from feeling repetitive and that’s amazing. At the same time, something I realized from our roaming nature is that certain venues don’t feel welcoming to certain folks. For example, QM has always skewed younger than the population of LGBT people at large, but I noticed when we used a more mainstream, Manhattan-based venue (the Bowery Poetry Club) our average age went up. So it’s important to have some shows in those kind of spaces, even though those spaces are often much more expensive.
  4. Another surprising thing about venues: we’ve always been very specific about what we need 1. Reasonably priced so the event can be sliding scale/no one turned away 2. Wheelchair accessible 3. Non-bar atmosphere.  However, according to the survey only 14 percent of people would NOT attend the event if it was at a bar. That made me rethink the possibility of holding QM in a bar, at least once in a while. Obviously this is more about my preferences rather than the preferences of those who attend QM. However, I think there are some circumstances in which storytellers would be less likely to share at a bar, especially those who are unsure/taking a big risk and those are the folks I most want to reach. So QM won’t become a bar event, but maybe we could do a QM in a bar once or twice a year or so without the the world coming to an end.
  5. People were most interested in these themes: NYC loneliness, mistakes, chosen family, work and assimilation, so those will our next themes. This fall’s events are

Friday September 19 at 7 pm (LES) Queer Memoir: NYC LONELINESS

Friday October 3rd at 7 pm (LES) Queer Memoir: MISTAKES

Sunday November 23 (in conjunction with the Lesbian Herstory Archive’s 40th Anniversary) Queer Memoir: CHOSEN FAMILY

We are recruiting storytellers for all three shows as well as a “I HATE THE HOLIDAYS” event in December, time and location TBA.

  1. Are you interested in sharing at an upcoming Queer Memoir? Email kellidunham@gmail.com with 1. which show you are interested in 2. a one to three sentence summary of the story you would tell 3. a little about yourself (ie do you perform all the time, have you never done this, what makes you interested in doing this, anything else I should know) We aren’t just looking for performers, you don’t have to ANY experience in order to share on the Queer Memoir “stage.” We believe we are all storytellers, and we can work with your to craft the narrative and we will cheerlead you every step of the way…that’s a promise!
  1. If you want to support Queer Memoir, so we can run our free workshops and occasionally use a more expensive venue, I (Kelli) am offering my comedy CDs free for download, with the option of doing a donation of any size to support QM. You can also download them for free, or if you hate Kelli’s comedy, that’s cool, you can just contribute to support QM and know that your bucks or going to help other queers be able to share their most precious stories. You can do that on Kelli’s website here;  ignore the bit about Labor Day, we didn’t get this post up until now so we are extending this until mid-September.

Further results from the survey:

Have you been to QM ?

68% a few times

27% never

5% a bunch

Have you shared at QM

Never but would like to 52%

At least once 26%

Never, but it’s cool, I like being an audience member 22%

If you haven’t shared at QM, why not?

Never thought about it 44%

Couldn’t relate to themes 28%

Timing not convenient 17%

Venues don’t seem like my kind of place 11%

Feel afraid to talk in front of people 11%

Don’t know how to put together a story 11%

Other reasons (the rest)

What would keep you from coming to a QM event?

Venue on Staten Island 57%

Venue not close to a subway 57%

If venue was full of space alien with barbed anal probes 52%

Cover was 10 bucks instead of five 33%

Space not wheelchair accessible 33%

Held in a bar 14%

In Brooklyn 5%

In Manhattan 5%

When you go to QM, why do you go?

Interested in theme 55%

Someone I know is telling a story 25%

Like the event overall 10 %

Kelli keeps bugging me about it 5%

What else is going on in New York? 5%


Sunday August 10th at 3.30 PM

Bowery Poetry Club  308 Bowery

5-15 bucks, no one turned away, RSVP on facebook

Remember those days of August in childhood when you just couldn’t stop reading THAT book that made your little queer heart SING? Queer Memoir’s August event is all about telling stories about the stories that made us who we are…

With our amazing cast of storytellers:
Kathleen Warnock,
Kyle Lukoff
Morgan Goode
Erica Cardwell
Karalyn Jeanne
Leah Strock
Sophia Vazquez-Pazos
AND NOW, Red Durkin!

Kathleen Warnock is a NYC-based playwright & editor. She was editor of Best Lesbian Erotica for five years, and had a lot of fun with it. She hosts the Drunken! Careening! Writers! reading series at KGB Bar the third Thursday of every month (since 2004). Her plays have been seen in New York, London, Dublin (Ireland and Georgia), and regionally. Currently, “Some Are People” is running at Philly Gayfest through August 23. She is curator of the Robert Chesley/Jane Chambers Playwrights Project for TOSOS and Ambassador of Love for North America for the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, and by day she is Googly.

Sophia Vazquez-Pazos is a contradiction on just about every expectation. An introvert that plays on social media (nycphoenix on twitter). A non-writer with professional publications, a now silent blog and notebooks of angsty poetry. An infertile from a community known for its fecundity. A sober drunk for the past seventeen years. A sexy fat girl in a world of size 4 supermodels. A married bisexual queer girl who loves drag, disco, show tunes and classic Hollywood and goes to church more often than Pride events. A radical social worker playing nice with the system for now. Sophia lives with these contradictions quite happily in Washington Heights with her butch husband Maribelle and her two kittehs, Florencio and Talula.This will be her third time at Queer Memoir and she is still nervous.

Kyle Lukoff still has the first book he ever read independently, with his name and the date inscribed in the front cover (Old Hat, New Hat, starring the Berenstain Bears, August of 1989). He started working at Barnes and Noble as a summer job soon after he turned sixteen, and continued to work at different locations for a decade, during and after college. In 2009 he realized that library school existed, and he received his Masters of Library Science in 2011. He is now the librarian at a private elementary school in Chelsea, and spends most of his working hours talking about books to young children.

Morgan Goode is a storyteller and photographer living in Brooklyn. The video of her story “Sugar and Spice,” which tells the tale of her middle school adventures with a squiggle wiggle writer, has over 4,000 views on YouTube. She’s an editor at large at prettyqueer.com and is currently working on a nonfiction novel, a black comedy about the aftermath of her father’s suicide, to be released this fall on Topside Signature Press.

Leah left her childhood home in Yonkers in the summer of ’76 to share a summer sublet in the East Village with three friends. She was in her last year of high school, eager, underage and ready to explore all that the city had to offer.
Her adventures included being chased by Lesbian Feminist Separatists when she tried to tear down their “cocksucking causes cancer” banner at the Gay Pride March… hitchhiking her way down 2nd avenue from chic lesbian lounges on the Upper East Side… hanging out at Bonnie & Clydes in the West Village and ending up later that evening in a full fledged orgy. The summer of ‘76 was a wild ride… and with it came Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown.

Karalyn hails from the working class suburbs of NYC and has lived in Brooklyn for fifteen years. As a cross-cultural adoptee and orphan, she writes and ruminates on issues of attachment; as a social worker, she is captivated and humbled by our ability to make meaning from trauma and loss. After flunking out of college in 1996, she worked as a burger flipper, closet designer, mural painter and executive recruiter before completing her BS in Experimental Psychology through CUNY’s adult degree program in 2007. She earned her MSW in 2009.

Erica Cardwell is a queer romantic, educator, and activist. . Her essays and reviews have been featured in The Paper, The Feminist Wire, Ikons Magazine, and the upcoming edition of Black Queer. Throughout the city, she has shared her work at La Galleria, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Brecht Forum, Raw Fiction reading series, In The Flesh, and, post Hurricane Sandy in Kelly’s apartment for Queer Memoir: Awkward. Her webseries, Prints, was a part of Alternative Realities a black lesbian reading series WOW Cafe Theater in December of 2013. Currently, she oversees the art, culture, and women’s programming at The Hetrick-Martin Institute. Erica lives in the land of make believe in Astoria, Queens. You can read more of her work atwww.theomnivorous.blogspot.com.