Tag Archives: readers’ theatre

It’s the end of our 2016 season, and on Friday, October 28, Bonnie Jo Campbell has something to say about mothers and daughters

bonnie-jo-campbellI’ll begin with an early warning: I can’t be objective about Bonnie Jo Campbell. I’m a fan. I love her dark, twisted, often funny stories and how she’s willing to take them as far as they will go, and then,  even further. I love the sunny, ever-optimistic way she lives her life. I’m in awe of how she’s very serious and disciplined about her writing, but playful when it comes to presenting herself as a writer, despite her burgeoning reputation as a leading author of what’s been called “rural America’s postindustrialbonnie-and-flannery landscape.”  What other writer,  compared to the great Flannery O’Connor, would show up at appearances for her short story collection Mothers, Tell Your Daughters with Flannery herself at her side, or rather a lifesize, cardboard version of Flannery?

Flannery won’t be with us when Bonnie Jo appears as the featured writer on Friday October 28 at Stories on Stage Sacramento, but she is bringing something just as fun – comics! The graphic artist Monica Friedman, a former student of Bonnie Jo’s (as am I – full disclosure) created six-panel versions of all sixteen stories in Mothers Tell Your bjc-daughters-of-the-animal-kingdom_edited-1Daughters, and we’ll have copies of the entire book at the event. “Daughters of the Animal Kingdom” is the story we’ve selected to be read, and here’s the graphic interpretation.

What else about Bonnie Jo?  Nearly too much to report, and that’s just about her writing. Mothers Tell Your Daughters recently won the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association’s Great Lakes, Great Reads Award for Adult Fiction. She is also author of the novel Q Road and its prequel, the New York Times best-seller Once Upon A River.  Her previous short story collection American Salvage was a finalist for the National Book Award AND the National
Book Critics Circle Award. Her first story collection, Women and Other Animals, won the AWP Award for Short Fiction. She’s a Guggenheim Fellow. She’s won a Pushcart Prize, the Eudora Welty Prize, and the 2009 CBA Letterpress Chapbook Award for her poetry collection  Love Letters to Sons of Bitches. She teaches in the Low-Residency Program at Pacific University, and next spring, she will serve as the Mary Rogers Field and Marion Field-McKenna Distinguished University Professor of Creative Writing at DePauw University. When she’s not writing or teaching or making appearances or giving readings bonniejocampbell-and-donkeyshe tends to her two donkeys, Jack and Don Quixote, raises chickens,  practices martial arts, rides her bike long distances, brings in the hay on her mother’s farm and makes an exemplary elderberry wine. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan  with her husband, Christopher. www.bonniejocampbell.com.

 It’s always a pleasure when a former “emerging” writer becomes a featured writer, and kristin-fitzpatrick-2this month we are very happy to welcome back  Kristin Fitzpatrick. Her first short story collection, My Pulse is an Earthquake, was published in 2015 by West Virginia University Press. Her work has appeared in Colorado Review, The Southeast Review, Best of Gival Press Short Stories, Epiphany, and Ventura County Star. Her writing has also been chosen for the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and The New Short Fiction Series. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Jentel Artist Residency Program and The Seven Hills School. Originally from Michigan, she now lives in California and teaches writing at CSU Channel Islands. There’s more at her website www.kristinfitzpatrick.com

Our readers this month are two Stories on Stage audience favorites: Kelley Ogden and Tara Henry.

Kelley Ogden 2Kelley Ogden  is an accomplished performer, director and producer whose work has been seen throughout the area. Co-founder of acclaimed fringe theater company, KOLT Run Creations, Kelley has performed with Capital Stage (most recently in How to Use A Knife and The Totalitarians,) Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, Main Street Theatre Works and Theater Galatea among others. Kelley earned her BFA in Performance from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago.

Back for the 4th time at Stories on Stage, Tara Henry is a familiar face to local theatre-

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goers. Recent performances include roles in Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and The Fantasticks at Sacramento Theatre Company; Emma in The Behavior of Broadus at Capital Stage, and Dromio in A Comedy of Errors at the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, among many other Shakespeare productions. She also appeared as a Fantasy Festival 28 cast member with the B Street Theatre.

Our featured writer for October

Bonnie Jo Campbell

author of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters

with Kristin Fitzpatrick

readings by Kelley Ogden and Tara Henry

Friday, October 28, 7:30 PM at the Auditorium at CLARA

(The E Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts)

a $10 donation is suggested

 

As we end our seventh season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to be proud of the excellence in literary fiction we have presented to a growing Sacramento audience. Last year’s featured writers included Tobias Wolff, Elena Mauli Shapiro, Sharma Shields, Ann Packer, Karen Bender, Kathryn Ma, T. Geronimo Johnson, Bonnie ZoBell, Adam Johnson, and Naomi Williams. This year we presented Anthony Marra, Vendela Vida, Kim Stanley Robinson, Lori Ostlund, Mary Volmer, Jodi Angel, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and, in a new partnership with the Los Rios Community Colleges,  created an evening devoted to the best writing from their prize-winning literary magazines. As a completely volunteer organization, supported by donations, we’re elated by the fine writers we’ve brought to Sacramento, some of them for the first time, and excited to continue to present more fine writing read by actors to Sacramento lovers of literature.

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July at Stories on Stage Sacramento: Mothers, Daughters, Earthquakes, Aftershocks

Maureen O'Leary wanket 4In October of 1989, Maureen O’Leary was a student at UC Santa Cruz, a “cranky nineteen-year-old with very few friends, very little passion for anything or anyone.”  At 5:03 on October 17, she was at her job at the Ace Hardware store in downtown Santa Cruz when the Loma Prieta earthquake struck and the building collapsed. She ducked under a desk and was spared: several other people in the same building were not. The event changed her instantly, and inspired the fictional narrative of her newly published novel The Ghost Daughter (Coffeetown Press,) in which the earthquake triggers an aftershock of discovery for two mothers and a long-ago abandoned daughter.   Advance praise for The Ghost Daughter  includes this from National Book Award finalist Karen Bender: “Maureen O’Leary excavates her characters’ hearts with precise honesty, exploring the ways connections between mothers and daughters, friends and lovers stretch, break, endure. A beautiful and moving book.”  Maureen is the Stories on Stage Sacramento featured writer for July, and you can read her harrowing account of survival in her blog https://maureenolearyauthor.com/2016/07/01/the-day-i-died/. She’s also the author of the novels How to be Manly and The Arrow, She won Heyday Books’ Sacramento Valley Writing Contest for Poetry, and her short stories and poetry appear in Esopus, Night Train Journal, Brackish Vol. 2, Revolution John, Prick of the Spindle, The Gold Man Review, and in Shade Mountain Press’ anthology The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women. She’s been featured in Sacramento Magazine, teaches at Christian Brothers High School, and lives in Sacramento with her husband and two daughters

Krista MinardAppearing with Maureen is editor and fiction writer Krista Minard. Krista’s short story “Resurgence” focuses on an earthquake of a more subtle kind: a memory that haunts a mother, who can’t separate it from fears for her pre-teen daughter. . Since 1994, Krista has been editor of Sacramento Magazine and of several bridal publications. As a fiction writer, her short stories and essays have been published in Susurrus, Paper Wings and Soul of the Narrator. She attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers fiction workshop in 2011. She lives in Folsom with her husband, two nearly-grown daughters and two black cats.

Elise Marie HodgeReading an excerpt from The Ghost Daughter will be Sacramento actress Elise Marie Hodge, a Stories on Stage favorite and owner of EMH Productions. a company dedicated to putting
time and energy into creative work as a producer, director, actor, and writer to
help facilitate opportunities for other artists in these same arenas. Elise has
produced, directed, acted and written over 20 shows for the stage in
Sacramento for the past six years, having last been seen in Goodbye Freddy by
Elizabeth Diggs at the Geery Theatre. She is currently in production for an
original work titled These Lonesome Roads by Dan Fagan for September of
2016. She has split her time equally between Los Angeles and Sacramento,
receiving awards along the way for her efforts in theatre, TV and film. She has
been a member of the 68 Cent Crew Theatre Company in LA for the last 10
years

Victoria GoldblattVictoria Goldblatt will read “Resurgence.”  She’s been a Sacramento performer for over 20 years in a variety of films, commercials, community theater and voice overs for TV and radio.. The former Casting Director for Stories on Stage in Sacramento, she was a member of the Steering Committee for the Sacramento’s Playwrights Collaborative for the past seven years.

Stories on Stage Sacramento at the Sacramento Poetry Center, Friday July 29. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30. A $10 donation is suggested.

Now in its seventh season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction to a growing Sacramento audience. Featured writers for 2015 included Tobias Wolff, Elena Mauli Shapiro, Sharma Shields, Ann Packer, Karen Bender, Kathryn Ma, T. Geronimo Johnson, Bonnie ZoBell, Adam Johnson, and Naomi Williams. The lineup for 2016 includes Anthony Marra, Vendela Vida, Kim Stanley Robinson, Lori Ostlund, Mary Volmer, Maureen O’Leary, Jodi Angel, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and, in a new partnership with the Los Rios Community Colleges, an evening devoted to the best writing from their prize-winning literary magazines. As a completely volunteer organization, supported by donations, we’re proud of the fine writers we’ve brought to Sacramento, some of them for the first time, and we’re excited to continue to present more fine writing read by actors to Sacramento lovers of literature.

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History, Two Ways – at Stories on Stage Sacramento

 

On the menu at Stories on Stage this month: History, Two Ways. Two writers, two approaches that tease new flavors from dry facts.

Mary Volmer, in Reliance, Illinois,  uses a moment in time, an era, as the setting for her characters, and gives a beating heart to 1870s Illinois,  where a young woman with a disfiguring birthmark overcomes poverty and her own mother’s betrayal to discover her life’s purpose through the help of some of the most colorful proto-feminist characters you’ll ever meet.

Jordan Fisher Smith, in Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial,  and the Fight Over Controlling Nature  uses one specific, horrific event ts as a way of opening our eyes to the larger issue and meaning of a moment in time. In 1972 a Yellowstone hiker is killed and partially eaten by a grizzly, triggering a lawsuit against the department of the Interior and igniting a raging debate among environmentalists over what to do when nature has been disrupted by human beings. How do we go about repairing it? How much should we try to control or manipulate it in order to heal it?

Mary Volmer Jordan Fisher SmithWe don’t usually feature non-fiction at Stories on Stage Sacramento but these are compelling issues tackled in different ways by excellent writers. We’re excited to present these two very different uses of history as a jumping-off place. Mary Volmer is a Grass Valley, CA native and a much-praised writer of historic fiction (Crown of Dust and her just-published Reliance, Illinois.Crown of Dust, set during the Gold Rush, earned a Publisher’s Weekly starred review and drew praise from The New York Times Sunday Review of Books for “investing her pioneers with piquant inner lives and a poker-faced lyricism.” Similar praise has arrived for Reliance, Illinois, published in May 2016: Booklist singled out its “rich cast of characters and well-evoked setting” and Publisher’s Weekly noted its “smart touches of humor.” Mary earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College. a master’s from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook. She teaches at Saint Mary’s College and lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Nevada City writer Jordan Fisher Smith spent 21 years as a park and wilderness ranger in California, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska. In reviewing Engineering Eden, Booklist praised Smith as a “galvanizing storyteller fluent in the conflict between environmental science and politics.” He’s also the author of Nature Noir, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2005 pick, and an Audubon Magazine Editor’s Choice. His magazine work has appeared in TIME.com, Men’s Journal, Aeon, Discover, and other places, and he’s been nominated for awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Jordan is a principal cast member and narrator of the documentary film “Under Our Skin,” which made the 2010 Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature, and he appears in a 2014 sequel “Under Our Skin 2: Emergence.”

Mallory MonachinoReading an excerpt from Reliance, Illinois will be Mallory Monachino. A newcomer to Stories on Stage, Mallory recently returned to Sacramento after a year spent in Los Angeles studying with renowned acting coach Doug Warhit. She was last seen on stage in Sacramento in the EMH production Look Back In Anger and was the female lead in the short film Labyrinth, written and directed by Lonon Smith. A former competitive synchronized swimmer, Mallory works as a yoga instructor.

 

Matt Rives 2Reading an excerpt from  Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature is Matt Rives, an actor, musician, and stand-up comedian. In addition to several Stories on Stage readings, Matthew has played lead roles in  Noises Off and A Comedy of Errors and has performed by invitation at Laughs Unlimited, The Sacramento Comedy Spot, and Luna’s Café. His notable roles include “Franz Liebkind” in The Producers and “Buck Barrow” in Bonnie and Clyde with Runaway Stage Productions. Matthew also played the role of “The Captain” in the world premier of Frankenstein with Resurrection Theatre. Most recently, he played the role of Tom/Narrator in Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Mr. Aarons in Bridge to Terabitihia, and Henry Higgins in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

 

Stories on Stage Sacramento at the Sacramento Poetry Center, Friday June 24. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30. A $10 donation is suggested.

Now in its seventh season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction to a growing Sacramento audience. Featured writers for 2015 included Tobias Wolff, Elena Mauli Shapiro, Sharma Shields, Ann Packer, Karen Bender, Kathryn Ma, T. Geronimo Johnson, Bonnie ZoBell, Adam Johnson, and Naomi Williams. The lineup for 2016 includes Anthony Marra, Vendela Vida, Kim Stanley Robinson, Lori Ostlund, Mary Volmer, Maureen O’Leary Wanket, Jodi Angel, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and, in a new partnership with the Los Rios Community Colleges, an evening devoted to the best writing from their prize-winning literary magazines. As a completely volunteer organization, supported by donations, we’re proud of the fine writers we’ve brought to Sacramento, some of them for the first time, and we’re excited to continue to present more fine writing read by actors to Sacramento lovers of literature.

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Prizewinning twosome at Stories on Stage Sacramento, May 27

Lori Ostlund Anne Raeff 2We’re excited and so, so pleased to bring you not one but two featured authors this month. Lori Ostlund and Anne Raeff are both powerful and lyric writers, partners for more than 20 years and now, married. Other things you should know about them: they once owned an antique shop called “Two  Serious Ladies,” referencing the novel by Jane Bowles, they’re both teachers who work primarily with immigrants and each of them has won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, one of the most coveted short story prizes in America. And, most importantly for Sacramento lovers of great fiction, they’re making their first joint appearance at Stories on Stage Sacramento on May 27,2016.

Among examples of the universal praise for Lori Ostlund‘s 2009 Flannery O’Connor Lori OstlundAward-winning collection, The Bigness of the World (newly issued in paperback,) is this from Publisher’s Weekly. “…Ostlund’s artful prose is playfully complex and illuminating, evocative and unsentimental…each piece is sublime.” The collection also won the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award, and the 2009 California Book Award for First Fiction. After the publication of her debut novel After the Parade in September 2015, no less an authority than the New York Times praised it as “a powerful debut…provides considerable pleasure and emotional power.” The novel won starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, was on the “best books of 2015” list for both NPR and Buzzfeed, and was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize.

Anne RaeffIn her praise for Anne Raeff‘s winning collection The Jungle Around Us, legendary Flannery O’Connor Award editor Nancy Zafris explains why she selected the work for the 2015 prize:  “A wonderfully mature vision informs the stories of The Jungle Around Us, stories that risk being termed old-fashioned—if old-fashioned means ditching self-consciousness and cleverness and bringing back hard-earned intelligence and historical weight and putting them all under a single multicultural roof. The miracle of these stories is their ultimate simplicity and intimacy even as they weave together numerous global threads.”  Anne’s stories and essays have appeared in the New England Review, ZYZZYVA, and Guernica, among other places. Her first novel, Clara Mondschein’s Melancholia, was published in 2002. She’s a child of immigrants and much of her writing draws on her family’s history as refugees from war and the Holocaust.

Reading an excerpt from After the Parade is Sacramento actor Ethan Ethan IrelandIreland,  a multidisciplinary veteran of the film, television and theater trade, with sixteen years as a working professional in both performance and technical roles. The son of noted ‘lit noir’ author Patrick Ireland, Ethan is a writer & director of several short films, and has worked as a voice actor and a performer for both stage and screen since 1995. Most recently he appeared in EMH’s productions of After Hours and An Almost Perfect Person. He has performed at Now Hear This: A Story and Music Performance Series produced by Atim Udoffia.

Kristine DavidThe short story “Chinese Opera” from Anne Raeff’s  The Jungle Around Us will be read by Kristine David, a local actor and musician in Northern California. She has been seen on many Sacramento stages including: B Street Theatre (Provenance, Bob,) Capital Stage (Mauritius, Much Ado About Nothing,) Sacramento Theater Company (Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet) & Big Idea Theatre (Inventing Van Gogh, Complete Female Stage Beauty.)

Now in its seventh season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction to a growing Sacramento audience. Featured writers for 2015 included Tobias Wolff, Elena Mauli Shapiro, Sharma Shields, Ann Packer, Karen Bender, Kathryn Ma, T. Geronimo Johnson, Bonnie ZoBell, Adam Johnson, and Naomi Williams. The lineup for 2016 includes Anthony Marra, Vendela Vida, Kim Stanley Robinson, Lori Ostlund, Mary Volmer, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and, in a new partnership with the Los Rios Community Colleges, an evening devoted to the best writing from their prize-winning literary magazines. As a completely volunteer organization, supported by donations, we’re proud of the fine writers we’ve brought to Sacramento, some of them for the first time, and we’re excited to continue to present more fine writing read by actors to Sacramento lovers of literature.

Stories on Stage, with Lori Ostlund and Anne Raeff, Friday, May 27, 2016 at The Sacramento Poetry Center, 25th and R Streets. Doors open at 7PM; readings begin at 7:30. $10 donation suggested. Contact: Sue Staats, Coordinator for Stories on Stage, at suestaats@comcast.net

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Coming in April for the first time at Stories on Stage – Science Fiction!

Kim Stanley RobinsonNEW 2- Credit Sean CurtinStories on Stage Sacramento is excited to present

a modern master of science fiction

Kim Stanley Robinson

Friday, April 29, 2016 at Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30. A $10 donation is suggested.

Called “one of the greatest living science fiction writers” by Tim Kreider of The New Yorker, Davis resident Kim Stanley Robinson has won just about every imaginable award given in his genre—the Hugo Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the World Fantasy Award. In May, he’ll receive the prestigious Robert A. Heinlein Award, bestowed for “outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space.” This award recognizes an author’s body of work, which in Robinson’s case totals 19 novels, including his groundbreaking Mars trilogy, and over 40 short stories. Many of his novels and stories have ecological, cultural and political themes and often feature scientists as heroes. This willingness to tackle controversial political issues has earned him praise, again from The New Yorker’s Tim Kreider, as “one of the most important political writers working in America today,” and his work was labeled by the Atlantic as “the gold-standard of realistic, and highly literary, science-fiction writing.”

His recently published short story “Oral Argument” will be read by Sacramento actor and Stories on Stage Sacramento favorite Blair Leatherwood.

Also appearing is emerging writer Andy Stewart, whose science fiction stories have appeared in Big Bridge, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and ZYZZYVA. He is a contributing reviewer for RAIN TAXI and The Review of Contemporary Fiction.A native Texan,
he graduated with an MFA is Creative Writing from San Diego State University and now lives and writes in Davis, California.

His short story Typhoid Jack will be read by Sacramento voice actor and producer Paul Kinney

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Stories on Stage welcomes Vendela Vida, Friday March 25 at the Sacramento Poetry Center

How lost can you be? When the narrator of   The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty finds herself in Casablavendela vida 2nca without passport, money, or credit cards, she could choose refuge in the American Embassy – or she could accept as hers the identity of a stranger, given to her by a mysterious police official. Her choice at this moment, and the following choices she makes, drive the relentless narrative and exploration of both physical and emotional identity in this engrossing novel by our March featured writer,  author ,editor and
scriptwriter Vendela Vida.   The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty was praised in the New York Times Sunday Book Review as “…portraying with cool wit and suspense the explosive emancipation of a woman who, long accustomed to playing handmaiden to more vivid personalities, is finally empowered to grab some warmth, drama, and magic for herself.” The twisting tale of how the nameless narrator accomplishes this is part of the charm of this intriguing story of identity lost, gained, lost and gained over and over again. Vendela Vida is the author of four additional books, including Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, which as a fellow at the Sundance Labs she developed into a script which received the Sundance Institute/Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award. She’s the founding editor of The Believer magazine, and the co-editor of Always Apprentices, a collection of interviews with writers. Two of Vida’s novels have been New York Times Notable Books of the year, and she is the winner of the Kate Chopin Award, given to a writer whose female protagonist chooses an unconventional path. She lives in Northern California with her husband, the writer Dave Eggers, and two children. Since 2002 She has served on the board of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring lab for youth.

An excerpt from The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty will be read by Lori Russo.Lori Rosso
With a BFA from USC, Ms. Russo has performed on Broadway and toured nationally and internationally.  Since moving to Sacramento she has performed at Capital Stage in their productions of Superior Donuts  and Good People and received an Elly award for best actress for her performance in Love, Isadora at California Stage.

 

Appearing with Ms. Vida is Sacramento author J.L. James Cooper3(1)Cooper , the recent winner of the Tupelo Quarterly Prose Open Prize, judged by Pulitzer winner Adam Johnson. Jame also received First Place in Short Short Fiction in New Millennium Writings, 2013, and Second Place in Essay in Literal Latte, 2014. His short stories and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in The Manhattan Review, Oberon Poetry Magazine, Gold Man Review, KY Story, Temenos,, Paper Swans Press, Folia Literary Magazine, and in other journals and anthologies. A full-length collection of poetry, titled An Ocean Large Enough, is forthcoming from WordTech. His current projeMatt Rives 2ct is a wild collection of short stories about fictionalized therapy. Cooper is a practicing psychologist, which profession, he says, has” shaped him to lean in unexpected winds, to hold fast or be swept away in wonder. There is always context, amplified or subdued, a language in the hands, in posture, in the pauses between words.”

His prize-winning story short story “Path of the Ground Birds,” will be read by Matt Rives. An actor, musician, and stand-up comedian, Matt has played lead roles in Noises Off and A Comedy of Errors. Most recently, he played the role of the role of Tom/Narrator in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Mr. Aarons in Bridge to Terabitihia, and Henry Higgins in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

Now in its seventh season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction to a growing Sacramento audience. Last year’s featured writers included Tobias Wolff, Elena Mauli Shapiro, Sharma Shields, Ann Packer, Karen Bender, Kathryn Ma, T. Geronimo Johnson, Bonnie ZoBell, Adam Johnson, and Naomi Williams. The lineup for 2016 includes Anthony Marra, Vendela Vida, Kim Stanley Robinson, Lori Ostlund, Mary Volmer and, in a new partnership with the Los Rios Community Colleges, an evening devoted to the best writing from their prize-winning literary magazines. As a completely volunteer organization, supported by donations, we’re proud of the fine writers we’ve brought to Sacramento, some of them for the first time, and in 2016 we look forward to presenting more fine writing read by actors Sacramento lovers of literature.

Vendela Vida with JL Cooper, with readings by Lori Russo and Matt Rives, at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 25th and R Streets, Sacramento. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30. A $5 donation is suggested. 

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We’re back at the Sacramento Poetry Center for the Grand Finale to our Sixth Season featuring Davis writer Naomi Williams

Naomi 3

What better way to cap off the sixth season of Stories on Stage Sacramento than to welcome Davis writer Naomi Williams as our featured writer for October. If you’ve attended our event in past years, you may have heard some of the tales that eventually became Naomi’s stunning debut novel, Landfalls, published in August to much acclaim by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Based on the ill-fated 18th century LaPerouse naval expedition, the novel was termed a “seductive page-turner” by the Wall Street Journal “dazzling” and “a bona fide masterpiece” by The Seattle Times, among many rave reviews. To hear these stories, and to see this work grow over the years, has been a pleasure and a privilege. Lucky me – I got to read the novel the first time just for the sheer pleasure of it, and then a second time to select the segment to be read! Every section is unique and wonderful and smart and beautifully crafted. I had a tough time deciding, but in the end selected the chapter “In The Mangroves,” which occurs toward the end of the expedition and concerns the mysterious death of one of the expedition priests.

Naomi’s  fiction has also appeared in journals such as A Public Space, One Story, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Zoetrope All-Story. In 2009, she received a Pushcart Prize and a Best American Short Story Honorable Mention. Naomi has an MA in Creative Writing from UC Davis, and lives with her family in Davis, California, where she’s started work on her second book, a novel about the early 20th-century Japanese poet Yosano Akiko. You can read more about Naomi at her author page, http://naomijwilliams.com/Elise Winn

Also appearing with Naomi is  Elise Winn. Her stories have been published in American Short Fiction, Hobart, Indiana Review, Granta Online, and elsewhere, and have won awards from magazines such as The Iowa Review, Zoetrope: All Story, and Fairy Tale Review.She was a finalist for the 2012 Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize and chosen as runner-up in Black Warrior Review and Third Coast’s 2014 fiction contests. In April 2014 she was a writer-in-residence at Hedgebrook. Raised in Missouri, Elise now lives in Davis, California, where she’s at work on a collection of short stories, Cloud, Egg, Bird, Box, and a novel.

Reading “In The Mangroves” from Blair LeatherwoodLandfalls is Blair Leatherwood, a veteran Sacramento actor and Stories on Stage favorite. He has over forty years of experience in the theater, with numerous film and commercial credits. He recently worked on Spike Lee’s “Livin’ Da Dream”, a segment of the NBA 2K16 video game. He also has years of experience with the Standardized Patient program at UCD Medical Center and is one of the audio describers for blind and visually impaired patrons of California Musical Theatre

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Reading “Cloud, Egg, Bird, Box” by Elise Winn is Jessica Laskey. Just returned to her hometown, Sacramento, after a year spent in Paris, Jessica is an Equity actress whose favorite roles include Sally Bowles in Cabaret (UC Berkeley), Mae in Reefer Madness (Artistic Differences), Jenny in Threepenny Opera (California Stage) and several productions with the Sacramento Theatre Company. Jessica is also a freelance writer for Inside Publications, The Sacramento Bee and Sacramento Magazine and is currently working on a new book, This is Sacramento, for Inside Publications.

Currently wrapping up its sixth season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction to a growing  audience. Beginning with the 200+ people who attended the January kickoff event featuring Tobias Wolff, with readings by Janis Stevens and James Wheatley, enthusiastic attendees have heard readings from the work of Elena Mauli Shapiro, Sharma Shields, Ann Packer, Karen Bender, Kathryn Ma, T. Geronimo Johnson, Bonnie ZoBell, Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson, and now, debut novelist and Davis writer Naomi Williams, who is moving from “emerging” writer to “featured” writer status with the publication of her brilliant novel. We’re proud of our 2015 season – and look forward to presenting more fine writing, well told, to Sacramento lovers of literature.

Stories on Stage, with Naomi Williams and Elise Winn, Friday, October 30, 2015 at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 25th and R Streets, Sacramento. Doors open at 7PM; readings begin at 7:30. $5 donation suggested. Contact: Sue Staats, Coordinator for Stories on Stage, at suestaats@comcast.net

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Pulitzer-Prize Winning author Adam Johnson coming to Stories on Stage Sacramento, September 25, at Verge Center for the Arts

Adam JOhnson 2Two years ago, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed novel set in North Korea, The Orphan Master’s Son.  Now, with his new collection of short stories, Fortune Smiles, Adam Johnson solidifies his reputation as one of this country’s most provocative, powerful, and original writers. Subtle, surreal, darkly comic, both hilarious and heartbreaking, the six stories in Fortune Smiles showcase Johnson’s range  with unique examinations of love and loss, natural disasters, technology, and how the political shapes the personal. The collection, published August 18, has won universal acclaim: it was a New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice,” and earned raves from (among others)  The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. One one of the stories in the collection, “Nirvana,” won the prestigious Sunday Times short story prize.

In the story selected for reading at Stories on Stage, “Interesting Facts,” JohnsonAdam Johnson Fortune Smiles daringly mines his own life to create the tough and heartbreaking narrator, a woman whose illness makes her feel like a ghost in her own home. Adam Johnson is an associate professor of English at Stanford University, where he was a Stegner Fellow. Born in South Dakota and raised in Arizona, Johnson and his wife Stephanie live in San Francisco with their three
children.

Kelley Ogden 2Reading “Interesting Facts,” from Fortune Smiles is Sacramento actress Kelley Ogden. Kelley is an accomplished performer, director and producer, most recently seen in the Capital Stage production of Rapture, Blister, Burn. She’s a co-founder of the acclaimed KOLT Run Creations theatre company and has appeared there in various productions. Regional credits also include Twelfth Night at Sacramento Shakespeare Festival; Sherlock’s Last Case and Leaving Iowa with Main Street Theatre Works; and Put Out with Theater Galatea. Kelley earned her BFA in Performance from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago.
Now in its sixth season, Stories on Stage Sacramento continues to bring the best in literary fiction to a growing Sacramento audience. Beginning with the 200+ people who attended the January kickoff event featuring Tobias Wolff, with readings by Janis Stevens and James Wheatley, enthusiastic attendees have heard readings from the work of Elena Mauli Shapiro, Sharma Shields, Ann Packer, Karen Bender, Kathryn Ma, T. Geronimo Johnson, and Bonnie ZoBell, and now, Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson. Many local writers have had their fiction read here, and some local writers, such as Naomi Williams, the featured writer for October, have moved from “emerging” writer status to “featured” writer status with the publication of much-acclaimed debut novels. We’re proud of our 2015 season – and look forward to presenting more fine writing, well told, to Sacramento lovers of literature.

Stories on Stage Sacramento, Friday September 25 at Verge Center for the Arts, 625 Street, Sacramento. Doors open at 7:00PM, readings begin at 7:30. A $5 donation is suggested.

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What do parrots and storage units have in common? Stories on Stage Sacramento, of course….coming August 28: Bonnie ZoBell, author of “What Happened Here,” and Bill Pieper, author of “Forgive Me, Father”

BonnieZoBellCrop-WebIn 1978, PSA Flight 182 crashed into the North Park neighborhood in San Diego, killing all 137 passengers and seven people on the ground. August featured writer Bonnie ZoBell lives in this neighborhood, and in What Happened Here, the crash’s legacy seeps into the stories of the neighborhood’s inhabitants, bringing grief, anxiety, and rebellion to the surface and eventually assisting in burning clean the lives of those who live in the shadow of disaster. Humor flits through these stories like the macaws that have taken to the trees of North Park, and their outrageous colors and noisome squawks serve as constant reminders of regrowth. What Happened Here won 1st Place in Next Generation’s Indie Book Awards in the Novella. In addition, the author has received an NEA fellowship in fiction, a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, and first place in the Capricorn Novel Award from the Writer’s Voice of NYC. She teaches at San Diego Mesa College where she is a Creative Writing Coordinator.

Bill Pieper’s short story collection Forgive Me, Father was published in 2014 by Cold River Press. He lives and writes in Sacramento and Nevada City, California. His stories have received two Pushcart Prize nominations and have appeared in The Farallon Review, Red Fez, Convergence, Primal Urge, Fiction 365, and The Blue Lake Review, among others. In addition to short fiction, he has two small press novels in print, Belonging (2006, Comstock Bonanza Press) and What You Wish For (2011, Pacific Slope Press.)

Reading “People Scream” from What Happened Here is Jenabah Koroma, whose most recent theatrical appearance was her much-praised leading role in the Celebration Arts production of In The Red and Brown Water. The child of West African immigrants, she’s a student at Sacramento City College, majoring in communication arts and theatre.

Reading “Self Storage” from Forgive Me, Father is Scarlet O’Connor. She has performed with The Actor’s Theatre of Sacramento in Museum, The Best Man and most recently Long Day’s Journey into Night. She received an Elly award for Best Leading Actress in a Comedy for her role in EMH Productions’ Moving Mountains. She has also been seen in Shorts and Shorters and Chicken Little’s Christmas Party, at Thistle Dew Theatre.

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Fireworks in July: T. Geronimo Johnson and a Staged Reading from his novel Welcome to Braggsville, in partnership with Celebration Arts and Verge Center for the Arts.

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T. Geronimo Johnson

SOMETIMES a writer’s words leap off the page, grab you by the hair, throw you down, wake you up, challenge your assumptions, shock you into seeing the world differently, and you know that the usual Stories on Stage format will not be enough to contain the author’s crazy, wonderful prose.  Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson is that kind of novel – a smart, funny, insightful, many-layered coming-of-age story about four college students who descend from Berkeley into a small town in the heart of the deep South, thinking they’ll show these Southerners a thing or two.

SO, on July 31, Stories on Stage will present a staged reading from Welcome to Braggsvile, in cooperation with Celebration Arts. We’ll feature five actors, James Wheatley, Kristine David, Doug Pieper, Tarig Elsiddig, and Sam Sims reading excerpts from key parts of the book, in an evening of electrifying, crackling  theatre you will not want to miss.

At Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento, July 31, 2015. Doors open at 7PM, readings begin at 7:30. The performance is a benefit for Celebration Arts: a donation of $10 is suggested and more is appreciated!

About T. Geronimo Johnson

Born and raised in New Orleans, T. Geronimo Johnson received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his M.A. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from UC Berkeley. He has taught writing and held fellowships—including a Stegner Fellowship and an Iowa Arts Fellowship—at Arizona State University, the University of Iowa, UC Berkeley, Western Michigan University and Stanford. His first novel, Hold it ‘Til it Hurts, was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction Johnson is currently a visiting professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Berkeley, California.

About Welcome to Braggsville

A young, white, working-class Southerner named D’aron Davenport is smart enough to get a scholarship to Berkeley. Eventually, shell-shocked D’aron meets up with three other students hovering on the fringes: an earnest girl from Iowa named Candice who claims to be part Native American; an African-American guy named Charlie from inner-city Chicago; and Louis, a sassy Asian teen from San WELCOME TO BRAGGSVILLE coverFrancisco whose goal in life is to become, as he says, “the next Lenny Bruce Lee, kung fu comedian.”

In their sophomore year, this band of friends makes the fatal error of signing up together for a course called “American History X, Y, and Z: Alternative Perspectives.” One day in class, the topic of historical reenactments comes up and D’aron lets slip that his hometown of Braggsville stages a kind of glorious “Lost Cause” Civil War battle reenactment every year. Faster than you can say “performative intervention,” D’aron’s friends persuade him that it would be cool to visit Braggsville and stage a scene to helpfully remind its residents about the horrors of slavery. Louis, the Asian guy, will be in blackface, playing a slave; when he acts “uppity,” he’ll be whipped and then mock lynched by the other three students. What ensues, however, once D’aron and his idealistic friends reach Braggsville, is an out-of-control disaster.

About the actors:

james wheatley 2James Wheatley is Founder and Artistic Director of Celebration Arts. The mission of this all-volunteer organization is to provide training and performance opportunities for community residents in the areas of drama, dance and music.Among his many stage appearances the most recent have been in Driving Miss Daisy at Chautauqua Playhouse, The Sunset Limited for Actors’ Theatre of Sacramento as well as The Train Driver and Jitney at Celebration Arts. He has won six Elly awards and a Chesley Award for his acting, an Elly for his original script Petra as well as an Elly for Lifetime Achievement.

Kristine David. Kristine David 2Kristine has been featured as an actor and musician throughout Northern California. She has appeared with B Street Theatre (Provenance, Bob), Capital Stage (Mauritius, Much Ado About Nothing), Sacramento Theater Company (Julius Caesar, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet) & Big Idea Theatre (Inventing Van Gogh, Complete Female Stage Beauty.)

Dougie PieperDoug Pieper. Highlights of Doug’s 22-year theatre career include an Elly nomination for his role in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, appearances in Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap, Sam Shepherd’s Buried Child, The Boys Next Door, The Little Dog Laughed, and as Timmy Boggs in The Last Time I Saw Timmy Boggs.   He’s been heard on-air as the COOL101.9  movie review critic, and appeared in many regional commercials. He recently graduated school as a Surgical Technologist, and lives in Natomas with his husband and their 4 dogs. He’s grateful to be back at Stories On Stage for a second adventure.

Tarig Elsiddig

An actor and a singer, Tarig Elsiddig has appeared at Celebration Arts in In The Red And Brown Water, A New Song For Christmas, Jitney, and The Bluest Eye. Born in Hayward California, he has been in love with acting for as long as he can remember.He’s thrilled to be appearing at Stories on Stage.

Sam Sims 2

Sam Sims  made his theatrical debut in James Wheatley’s A New Song For Christmas. He’s also an aspiring photographer studying at Sacramento City College, focusing on high fashion photography. He’s an artist  open to any form of art and is excited to be a part of this event.

A sampling of what critics say about Welcome to Braggsville:

“The most dazzling, most unsettling, most oh-my-God-listen-up novel you’ll read this year. T. Geronimo Johnson plays cultural criticism like it’s acid jazz. His shockingly funny story pricks every nerve of the American body politic. Welcome to Braggsville. It’s about time.” — The Washington Post

More about the Welcome to Braggsville, Geronimo Johnson, and critical acclaim at http://www.geronimo1.com/

More about Celebration Arts at http://www.celebrationarts.net/

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