The 12th All Y’all live storytelling event, “The Skin I’m In”, will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26 at the historic Woman’s Department Club of Shreveport. The event will feature six true tales of the human body, the search for identity, and what happens when the world gets under our skin. Admission is $15 and advance ticket purchase is recommended. Purchase tickets here. A high-quality cash bar will be provided by Wine Country Bistro and live musical interludes will be performed by Highland-based electronic musician Nate Treme.
Storytellers for “The Skin I’m In” include Anwar Fikri, Coleen McKechnie, Kyle Denton, Roxann Johnson and Dr. Navdeep Samra. One or two more storytellers may be announced prior to the show – follow the official Facebook event for more updates. Like all All Y’all live events, “The Skin I’m In” is made possible with the incredible support of our presenting sponsor, Holiday Lanes, as well as additional support from Maccentric and Williams Creative Group. Please consider supporting these businesses, which have proven time and again that they care deeply about their community. RSVP to the Facebook event for “The Skin I’m In.” Please consider sharing our event with your friends on Facebook – a share helps more than you could possibly know!
All Y’all live storytelling events are recommended for mature audiences.
I can’t remember the last time that I made a New Year’s resolution, but I imagine that it had to do with something trivial. Maybe I resolved to lose a few pounds, to spend more time reading or to save more money. The bar is usually set pretty low for me when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. But other kinds of resolutions – the promises that you make to yourself in the middle of the night, the real, quiet struggles that few others know about – those are the tough ones.
John Durbin’s story, “From the Ground Up,” involves the highest of stakes. John is an animator at Moonbot Studios in Shreveport, La. He makes a passing reference to “holding an Oscar” in this story – that is a reference to the fact that the studio’s first short film, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, won the Academy Award in 2012.
John’s story was recorded at our September 2014 live storytelling event, “All Y’all: Under the Influence.” His tale is one of overcoming not only drug addiction but also the cumulative weight of one’s mistake-ridden past. It is a funny, heartbreaking and inspiring story of one young man pulling his life out of a complete downward spiral.
Sara and I would also like to take this opportunity to say thanks to John and Nicole Durbin. John has volunteered his time as a sound engineer at All Y’all events and Nicole has helped with everything up to and including tearing tickets. We couldn’t have done “All Y’all: Under the Influence” – which was an extremely challenging event, for many reasons – without them.
Bruce Allen is a professor of art at Centenary College of Louisiana (where, by the way, both All Y’all organizers, Chris and Sara, received Bachelor of the Arts degrees). He grew up in Shreveport, where he graduated from Centenary and worked as a traveling wholesale drug salesman while waiting to enter graduate school. As a salesman, he’d drive to places with poetic names like Paris, Texas and Stuttgart, Arkansas, offering pharmacies exclusive discounts on drug products sold by Morris and Dickson, his employers.
On the surface, his story is a simple tale of a professional blunder that could have cost his employers a great deal of money. But, on another level, the story is a tragic warning. He sees a brief, horrifying glimpse of the human wreckage left behind when a salesman’s usefulness dries up, and he must decide for himself whether that path is right for him. In Bruce’s voice – which trembles once or twice, at telling moments – we heard horror, pathos, empathy and conviction. I did not hear any regret. Do you?
A few of the people making “Under the Influence” possible are: our seven fearless storytellers; Alan Berry, Don Hooper and the staff of Marjorie Lyons Playhouse; Andrew Parsons of Lagniappe Foods of Shreveport; and volunteers John and Nicole Durbin.
The third installment of All Y’all Live, “Under the Influence,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse on the Campus of Centenary College of Louisiana. 100% of proceeds from this special, fundraiser edition of All Y’all Live will be donated to the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction of Northwest Louisiana. Admission is $10.86 (with tax) and a limited number of tickets will be available at the door. The evening will feature true stories about control lost and regained, powerful medicine, journeys into (and out of) desperate places and the might of love. The evening will also include a surprise musical guest. Let’s just say this: You are going to want to be seated at 7:30 p.m.
“Under the Influence” is made possible in part by Centenary College of Louisiana and the staff of Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. Some stories will contain adult language and references. The program is expected to run 2 hours and will include an intermission and snacks.
While working on this post, I dug out my high school yearbook from 1998, the year that I graduated from Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. Flipping directly to my senior photo – in which I am posing in front of a burning building on the campus of the school, giving the thumbs up – I was forced to confront the fact that I was an asshole in high school. In captions that surround that photo, I quote Tool lyrics, recite the Busch beer slogan, and make reference to my love of the Insane Clown Posse. It was that bad.
Two Tool tattoos and three ICP concerts later, I guess I’ve somehow pulled out of that tailspin. At least, I think I’m no longer the kind of colossal chode that I was back then. Somewhere around fourteenth grade, I started watching foreign movies instead of VHS dubs of 120 Minutes, listening to indie rock instead of nu-metal and – probably most importantly – making friends with folks who weren’t teenage alcoholics.
But I still regret being such an ass to my first-ever roommate, the long-suffering Tim Chuang, up in room 212A of Prudhomme Hall. This story is a belated confession and apology for my ultimate failure of kindness, which still keeps me awake from time to time, shivering under blankets that are – thankfully – my own.
Being 16 years old is difficult, no matter where you are. At our March 2014 live event, a collection of stories that shared the theme “New ‘Round Here,” storyteller Jennifer Hill told a cinematic tale of coming of age as an all-American girl in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria. When her diplomat father relocated the family to the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, even the simplest gestures took on new meaning and a casual jog in the local park could easily become a surreal and awkward nightmare. Thanks, Jennifer, for telling this story.
As we edited this episode, Sara and I were also finalizing details of our second All Y’all Live Storytelling event, “Mistakes Were Made,” which will be held, Saturday, June 14 at the Bossier Arts Council’s East Bank Theatre in Bossier City. We’ve lined up an incredible slate of seven storytellers to share true tales of major screw-ups, missed connections, unforeseen consequences and more. Tickets are $10 each and are on-sale now. We’ve got about 100 seats and are hoping for a capacity crowd, so please purchase tickets in advance here. There will be a cash bar courtesy of Thrifty Liquor, snacks at intermission and live music by the wonderful Twang Darkly.
On Saturday, March 8, 2014, the All Y’all podcast took a giant, flying leap forward, into the realm of live storytelling events. Sara and I recruited nine storytellers, all of whom told entertaining, true stories with the theme of “New ‘Round Here.” A capacity crowd of about 100 heard stories of “first times, relocations, revelations, arrivals and more.” Some stories were funny, some stories were heartbreaking, and others were a little bit of both. By the end of the night, Sara and I were certain of a few things:
We know some incredible, fearless people – people who were kind enough to share tales from their personal lives with a room full of strangers, just because we asked. Thank you, storytellers!
There’s definitely an audience for live storytelling events in Shreveport-Bossier. We’re hard at work right now, planning an All Y’all Live event for June 2014 with the theme “Mistakes Were Made.” If you’ve got a true story that fits this theme, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People really want snacks at intermission. They told us in polite ways (“I’d be happy to donate some money for snacks at intermission.”), in not-so-polite ways (“It was nice of you guys to bring some cheese from your house, but…”) and in flat out rude ways (“Next time, order some fucking pizzas.”) We heard you. There will be snacks next time! There may even be fucking pizzas.
In the mean time, please enjoy live storyteller Esther Kennedy’s hilarious tale of love and how it blooms, like an onion, in the strangest of places.
Sara and I wish to express our sincerest thanks to Alan Dyson and Dana McCommon for making our maiden voyage so painless, and for providing an excellent recording of the evening.