July 20 – “Sticks and Stones” (in Philly!)

Our first Philadelphia salon, in Partnership with First Person Arts!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 8pm

The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tickets- $10 ($8 for First Person Arts Members)

Advance tickets at salons.firstpersonarts.org

Or visit our facebook event page to RSVP and purchase tickets.

PHILADELPHIA- First Person Arts is proud to partner with the NYC-based salon series Queer Memoir for an evening of storytelling through the lens of queer experiences.  The theme “Sticks and Stones” will guide a line-up of queer and LGBT storytellers as they share real stories drawn from their own lives.

Presenters are noted Philadelphia theatre artists, writers, storytellers and community organizers, including:

  • Chris Bartlett, Executive Director of the William Way LGBT Community Center
  • Rae Drew, First Person Arts storyteller
  • Kevin Glaccum, Producing Artistic Director of Azuka Theatre
  • Justin Jain, actor with the Arden Theatre Company and Berserker Residents
  • Maura Kelly, co-founder of the Philadelphia Dyke March
  • Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, award-winning author
  • R. Eric Thomas, First Person Arts storyteller

Co-hosted by Queer Memoir founders Kelli Dunham and Genne Murphy. (www.queermemoir.com)


Chris Bartlett is the Executive Director of the William Way Community Center and a gay men’s health community organizer. Throughout the 1990s he directed the SafeGuards Gay Men’s Health Project in Philadelphia. He also led the LGBT Community Assessment in Philadelphia, a project that gathers data about LGBT communities in order to make recommendations regarding community organizing, health, housing, and economic development. He co-facilitates the Gay Men’s Health Leadership Academy, and has helped to convene the Gay Men’s Health and LGBTI Summits. He can be found on Twitter at http://twitter.com/harveymilk.

Rae Drew is a transgender-identified human who often feels like an odd weed growing through a crack in the sidewalks of our binary gender system.  Rae is a professional creative manipulator of words and images, and an unprofessional outdoors [hu]man who hikes, bikes, and kayaks as often as possible.

Kevin Glaccum is the Producing Artistic Director of Azuka Theatre and has been a member of the company since he created the role of Guillaume in Azuka’s inaugural production of La Rue des Faux. For Azuka he has directed productions of Whisky Neat, Greek Active, Kid Simple, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Barrymore Nomination; Best Director of a Musical, Philadelphia Weekly). Other credits include The Rocky Horror Show (Arcadia University) and Iron Kisses (Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Theater Festival). Before turning to directing he appeared in Azuka’s productions of Metamorphosis, Friends and An Artist’s Workshop. Kevin is a member of The Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

Justin Jain loves making original theatre. In addition to working with Swim Pony Collaborative Arts, Justin is a founding member of The Berserker Residents, whose original work includes Philly Fringe hits The Jersey Devil, The Giant Squid, and The Annihilation Point. As a performer, Justin has worked with the Arden Theatre Company, Azuka Theatre, Theatre Horizon, People’s Light, and several others. Justin is a proud 2010 graduate of Artists U! Up next: A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Shakespeare in Clark Park and The Very Xmas Christmas Carol Holiday Pageant with Theatre Horizon. http://www.berserkerresidents.com

Maura Kelly has lived in the Gayborhood for 17 years and has no plans of leaving it.  She works at a (you guessed it) non-profit.  Her favorite claim to fame is being one of the founding members of the 1998 Philadelphia Dyke March. She is most happy when surrounded by awesome, lovely queers who, having a shared experience of oppression, lift each other up with love, flirting, support and fierce community.  Okay, mostly the flirting.

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan is a writer from Harlem, New York. Her fiction has appeared in publications worldwide, including Callaloo, Best New Writing, Crab Orchard Review, The Minnesota Review, Bloom, Lumina, Philadelphia Stories, Baby Remember My Name, Baobab: South African Journal of New Writing, X-24:Unclassified, and others. A 2006 Best New American Voices nominee, she has received numerous honors and awards from Temple University, The Boston Fiction Festival, New World Theatre, the NAACP, among others. She holds a B.A. from Smith College and an M.A. from Temple University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, and is completing her first novel.

R. Eric Thomas is a playwright, storyteller and intermittent blogger. He is currently finishing a collection of essays entitled “Enormously Awkward: (Mostly) True Stories + Things That Were Better Left Unsaid.”


Kelli Dunham is an ex-nun, award-winning stand up comic and author. Her books include How to Survive and Maybe Even Love Nursing School (FA Davis, 2004), How to Survive and Maybe Even Love Your Life as a Nurse (FA Davis, 2005), The Boy’s Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU (Applesauce Press, 2007) as well as the 2008 version for girls. She is a contributor to numerous humor anthologies including Love’s Funny That Way (Sterling Press, 2006), Squeaky Clean Comedy (Andrew McNeil Press, 2005), She’s So Funny (Andrew McNeil Press, 2004), and Dangerous Families (Haworth Press, 2004). She is the co-founder, with Genne Murphy, of Queer Memoir. http://www.kellidunham.com
Genne Murphy is a Philly native and playwright. She is the co-founder, along with Kelli Dunham, of Queer Memoir. Genne is the General and Program Manager for Philadelphia Young Playwrights (and a 1999 alum), sits on the task force of the Philadelphia New Play Initiative, and is a member of the InterAct Theatre Company Playwrights Forum. Locally, she has had readings or performances of her plays and monologues with Azuka Theatre Company, Flashpoint Theatre Company, Madhouse Late Night Cabaret, and in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.


Queer Memoir is a New York-based salon for new work inspired by a monthly theme, a safe space to share memoir writing and performance, an opportunity to give voice to a collective queer experience, and preserve and document a complex queer history. Queer Memoir provides an avenue to share queer lives and celebrate the ritual and community-building value of storytelling. http://www.queermemoir.com

The First Person Salon Series is a forum for established and emerging artists to present memoir and documentary art. Focusing primarily on local artists working across various media, the First Person Salon Series provides an opportunity for artists to share their work, processes and inspirations. Past presenters have included poet Sonia Sanchez, photographer J.J. Tiziou, writer Lorene Cary, and muralist Steve Powers.

About First Person Arts: Founded in 2000, First Person Arts transforms the drama of real life into memoir and documentary art to foster appreciation for our unique and shared experience. First Person Arts believes that everyone has a story to tell and that sharing our stories connects us with each other and the world. First Person Arts supports the development of memoir and documentary work by artists from all walks of life and provides opportunities for their stories to be heard in programs throughout the year. Regular programming includes twice monthly StorySlams at World Cafe Live and L’Etage, quarterly Edible World events, the First Person Salon Series and the annual First Person Festival of Memoir and Documentary Art at the Painted Bride (November 10-14, 2010). Visit www.firstpersonarts.org.

One response to “July 20 – “Sticks and Stones” (in Philly!)

  1. Dear Genne and Kelli,

    I really enjoyed and was moved by the stories in the Philly show. It was a great night of stories: fierce, vulnerable and yes, sexy! with a great diversity of readers who encouraged my friends and I to talk about our Sticks n’ Stones stories of confrontation as we hung out after the show. Thanks Storytellers! (audience, host, presenters) hope to come to the series in NY sometime.

    Also, great job in your role as hosts. Love the “how to help a nervous reader” skit in the beginning as it gave the readers permission to fess and ask for help! for being nervous, and gave us as audience a cheering job to do to urge them on. I would want the same permission and fun support if I were struggling on stage. Appreciate your encouraging queer stories from people who are both new and experienced as presenters on a stage. I’ve presented/taught and have read poetry in public, and think often about the energy/reciprocity between host/performer/audience and how to make the best situation for all. Also like the stories about each performer after the presentation when you knew them personally or were familiar with other work they have done. Thanks for introducing and facilitating these stories.

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