Originally published in Tempo, Taos News
Writing is serious business, as most writers know, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun as well.
Lit Up Writers is here to prove it. The inaugural comedic storytelling event will be held on Saturday, November 15th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Metta Theater as a fundraiser for both Metta Theater and SOMOS.
is being produced by Carolyn Martone, a Wurlitzer Foundation fellow and Los Angeles-based writer, and will be hosted by local author David Perez. It will feature eight local authors and writers: Linda Michel-Cassidy, John Biscello, Ned Dougherty, Joanne Nelson, Gary Feureman, Clint Murphy, Johanna DeBiase, and Eric Mack. Martone will also read about her experiences teaching middle school in Los Angeles.
“It’s wonderful of Carolyn to organize this fundraiser,” said David Perez. “As they say, laughter is the best medicine, and comedy is such a crucial part of the written and spoken word, part of the writing craft, and not an easy part.”
“As a two-time fellowship recipient of the Wurlitzer Foundation, I wanted to introduce this type of literary show to Taos and at the same time, raise money for two very important organizations; SOMOS and Metta Young Artists,” said Martone. “A literary event dedicated entirely to first-person, true comedic stories has not happened in Taos, and so this is an inaugural event and first of its kind fundraiser.”
How it all started
Lit Up Writers began in San Francisco in 2005 as a live monthly storytelling show. Writers read true personal stories on a different theme each month, live in front of an audience.
“I was in the show in the fall of 2011,” said Martone. “When I moved to Los Angeles in 2012, I asked if I could use the name and produce the show there, which I’ve been doing since.”
In recent years, “storytelling shows” such as The Moth, Snap Judgment and Mortified (all on NPR) have grown in popularity around the country, Martone said. Many cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles have embraced the long-lost art of storytelling as both a literary and theatrical genre and the popularity among audiences is growing.
“As our culture has become more and more driven by social media and technology, so too has the need for community and shared experience increased,” she said. “Storytelling shows provide this shared experience. Everyone has a story to tell; not just writers and performers. The goal of Lit Up Writers is to bring forth compelling and comedic real-life stories from people from diverse backgrounds.”
A variety of voices
Eric Mack, who began his journalism career in public radio and spent years as a freelance contributor to NPR and working at tiny community radio stations in Alaska, is one of the presenters. The story he will read comes from one of his earliest radio assignments, covering the end of the Iditarod Trail sled dog race in a very “unusual and inadvisable manner,” he said.
“I nearly killed the winning Iditarod musher with my snowmobile, only a few minutes after nearly killing myself by accidentally driving miles out onto the fragile sea ice of the Bering Sea,” Mack said.
John Biscello, who is originally from Brooklyn, will read a satirical piece about how men and women meet in an urban setting.
“It has a Catholic Italian flavor,” he said. “It’s a bit raw and explicit, but very funny.”
Biscello has participated in similar events before and says that one of the best aspects of the show is the variety of voices that are featured.
“Here we will have Ned Dougherty, that was just named New Mexico Charter School Teacher of the Year and is also a great poet,” he said. “And Clint Murphy, a yoga teacher with an eclectic background, plus many more talented writers.”
Biscello is anticipating a full house so reservations are strongly encouraged.
“Metta has a very intimate setting, so the event will have a living room atmosphere, but it is going to be theater of the best kind,” he said. “Nothing can replace the energy created in a room full of people when you are sharing a good story. It is going to be a fun night!”
Tickets are $15. All proceeds will benefit SOMOS and The Metta Theater’s Young Artists program.
Metta Theatre is located at 1470 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte.