Tag Archives: Genne Murphy

QUEER MEMOIR: WORKSHOP!

Have you been wanting to share at Queer Memoir but feel unsure how to put together your story?

No problem, we’ll work on it together.Bring your notes and thoughts and we’ll scheme both as a group and later, one on one, to

-Find the narrative arc (every good story has a beginning, middle and end)

-Figure out the best way for you to share you story (read from a prepared draft? read from notes? tell spontaneously? )
-Talk about dealing with performance anxiety and other discomforts.

Time and place TBA, but most likely in Brooklyn (Prospect Leffert Garden) between 2 and 4 pm. Date is Saturday October 6th.

The idea is that you’ll come away with a story ready to share at Queer Memoir, and we’ll book you for an upcoming show.

If that doesn’t happen, that’s cool too, we can keep working with you.

Or you might decide you’re not ready yet. That’s cool too.

Anyway the point is we WANT to HEAR YOUR STORY.

Please share this like, eight million times and bug your friends who might be interested but need encouragement. We’re going to be doing massive outreach, but TELL US who Queer Memoir is leaving out and we’ll try and find those people.

Email queermemoir@gmail.com with questions, interest or concerns, complaints, or just a good recipe for homemade pesto.

You can also rsvp on facebook.
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The Seven Traditions of Queer Memoir

Genne and I [Queer Memoir co-founder Genne Murphy] have been trying to figure out what has made Queer Memoir so popular. Queer Memoir evolved in a city where EVERYONE. IS. ALWAYS. LOOKING.FOR.THE.NEXT.BIG. EXCITING. THING:

“Look, it’s a bear doing burlesque juggling cupcakes covered in glitter with a spoken sorry music video starring a Laverne and Shirley drag duo playing in an all harp band.”

Yet, Queer Memoir is about one person standing alone on a stage (mostly without a stage present) and saying “I have a story I’d like to tell” and people come out, in droves, and stay out, and put up with our temperamental venue heating and sitting on horrible five buck bucket chairs from Ikea (not to discourage you, we do actually have regular seats as well). Perhaps it’s because while we Respect The Glitter, we are not glittery, not at all.

What has evolved over these past two and a half years is an event with certain characteristics we’ve started calling the Queer Memoir Traditions. We’ll probably add to this over time, but for right now they are…

#1. We always start the show with “welcome storytellers.” Sometimes we try and do it in unison (when Genne’s in town, that is) and sometimes we say it one at a time. Stage awkwardness aside, we start begin each event this way because we want to remind the audience that truly, we are all storytellers.

#2 We introduce each storyteller by first name only. Because we want to hear a range of voices, we don’t discriminate against the Well Connected And Well Accomplished Queers, but everyone gets the same intro. “And now, we’ll hear from [insert first name here] After storytellers share, we encourage them to tell us all about their latest project, book, show, pet or whatever it is they’d like the audience to know about.

#3 We don’t do “trigger warnings.” We don’t ask our performers to give any kind of special advance notice about the content of their stories. Our performers share first person, true stories in other words, stuff that really happened to them. Sometimes these are intense, sad, scary and sometimes they’re funny and oftentimes they’re both. Sometimes these stories can make those of us listening uncomfortable and we think that’s AWESOME because it’s at the edge of discomfort that healing and change can happen.

As for a story itself serving as an actual clinical trigger of a post traumatic experience, we are assuming that folks who attend Queer Memoir are adults in charge of their own emotional health. We encourage stepping out of the venue if things become overwhelming and there are always folks present to talk with afterwords if you need support.

#4. We trust our audiences to support our storytellers. Just say “I’m nervous” and you’ll see what we mean! (edited July 2017 to add: we recently found out that our friend Bevin Branlandingham borrowed this “I’m nervous (they say awkward) ” + participant applause for her Fat Kid Dance Party video that has over a million hits!).

#5. Queer Memoir is cheap and, if possible, free. Most of our events are 5-10 bucks sliding scale to cover expenses, but no one is ever turned away for lack of funds. Sometimes when we have a collaboration with another arts org, we don’t have this flexibility, but if you want to come and don’t have the cash, always email us. We’ll make something happen.

#6. Queer Memoir doesn’t happen in a bar.

#7. Queer Memoir is an event of deep honesty. That doesn’t mean you’ll always hear dramatic or traumatic stories, although sometimes that might be the case. It just means you’ll be hearing people sharing just a level or two deeper than they normally might and that the audience supports our storytellers in this. And it almost always means you’ll be actually LOLing at some point, since humans seem to be funnier the more honest they are!

March 26: HOME

Our March line-up is off the hook! We’ll also be debuting our new “One Word Memoir” audience participation project.

ABOUT OUR STORYTELLERS:

Geleni Fontaine
Robin Cloud
Taueret Manu
Paul Blore
Kate Bovitch

GELENI FONTAINE
Warning: This bio relentlessly and awkwardly resists gender pronounery! Geleni Fontaine is a fat, queer, Latina/o transperson; has been living and thriving in Park Slope, Brooklyn in the same apartment since the age of four; and has been witness to many layers of gentrification. As a lifelong poet Geleni has studied with Eileen Myles and other seasoned writers, and at many workshops including the Writer’s Voice at the West Side YMCA, but has been AWOL from the NYC poetry and writing landscape for many years. A licensed acupuncturist and registered nurse, Geleni is working to integrate a background in human rights and anti-violence activism with hands-on healing and empowerment work. Geleni is a former board member of the Audre Lorde Project, the first queer people of color center for community organizing in the U.S., and current board member of NOLOSE, an organization dedicated to ending the oppression of fat people and creating vibrant fat queer culture. Today Geleni practices out of home, treating folks in a living room clinic and working to help them create personal and social change toward a loving and more just world.

ROBIN CLOUD
ROBIN CLOUD is a New York City based comedian, writer and actor. Robin can be seen sharing her comedic observations to the masses at Caroline’s, Gotham Comedy Club, The Broadway Comedy club and many more; at times in the form of characters Jerri Beige, Angela Davison and Super Cunt. Robin is also called upon to be the master of ceremonies and is proud to have teamed up with fantastic artists such as Toshi Reagon, Doria Roberts, and Brown Girls Burlesque Performance Group.

Robin’s sassy, politically charged delivery coupled with her on point character work has gotten the attention of the press and Robin was just included in GO NYC Magazine’s Top 100 Women We Love.
Robin’s solo show “Tales from the Big House” has been in the Fresh Fruit Festival, Emerging Artist Festival, and the Hot! Festival at Dixon Place. Tales is a comical coming of age story about a young African-American woman who gallantly claims her lesbian identity at the age of 16 only to find that coming out is only the beginning. Robin’s writing was highlighted in Time Out New York’s Gay Pride Issue as the quote of the week and feature story about comedians telling their hysterical coming out stories. In the fall of 2008, Robin was awarded a month long writing residency at the Hedgebrook. During her time there she developed a new solo show, which will debut later this year.

TAUERET MANU
Taueret Manu is a New Yorker to the marrow. She loves the divine, sriracha, pitbulls, friction, hibiscus juice, pink prosecco, sexual currency, poetry, and rioting. She dislikes White Santa/White Jesus/White Male God, the prison industrial complex, and the NYPD.
She blogs at afrotitty.tumblr.com

KATE BOVITCH
Kate Bovitch is a third culture kid, on-and-off pop culture junkie, and one person craft revolution. Kate holds a BFA in Creative Writing and once wrote a master’s thesis on sexual desire and lesbian poetry.
The Boston Globe has called her “a series of contradictions”.

PAUL BLORE
Paul Blore is a Philadelphia-based activist, public speaker, writer and performer. Currently, he is Director of Development for Power Up Gambia, bringing reliable energy to healthcare facilities in West Africa through solar power, as well as the Interim Development Coordinator at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood. He’s written, directed and/or produced a number of creative works, including plays, movement pieces and a short film. He was also very involved in fundraising for the recent 50-State Story Tour of I’m From Driftwood, an online repository of first-person written and video stories from LGBT people all over the world.

As always, your hosts and producers:

KELLI DUNHAM

KELLI DUNHAM is a ex-nun, butch-identified stand-up comic and author of four books of humorous non-fiction, including two children’s books being used by a conservative home schooling association in their science curriculum. She has appeared on Showtime, the Discovery Channel and was once asked to emcee a livestock auction. Her website is kellidunham.com. She is the co-founder, with Genne Murphy, of Queer Memoir.

GENNE MURPHY is a Philadelphia native, playwright, and arts educator. She is the co-founder, with Kelli Dunham, of Queer Memoir (queermemoir.com). She’s passionate about the intersection of the arts, social change, and community-building. Genne works for Philadelphia Young Playwrights, a local arts education non-profit, and is involved with initiatives to expand new play development in her hometown.