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A Year of Yes: NYC’s Secrets & Lies, October 9th at 7pm w/ special guest Julie Gaines of Fishs Eddy

Sea monsters, grandma gangsters, punk music, and high society fashion. Plus a secret society obsessed with hidden history for you to join and tales of activism, art, and entrepreneurship with Julie Gaines, Founder of Fishs Eddy. It’s all waiting for you at Caveat on Tuesday, October 9th at 7pm when my storytelling show New York City’s Secrets & Lies returns. Oh, and if you can separate fact from fiction when it comes to secret NYC history, there could be a big prize from UntappedCities.com with your name on it! Grab your tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-york-citys-secrets-and-lies-tickets-49367374145

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A Year of Yes: Here’s a 15% discount code for all Untapped Cities Tours of secret New York City places

Untapped Cities offers a huge variety of tours about secret New York City history. Alexander Hamilton’s historic home, the abandoned Ellis Island Hospital, Grand Central Station, abandoned subway stations, the Woolworth Building, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Penn Station, the Members Only Players Club, and the list just. keeps. growing.

As a little gift to you, I wanted to share a special discount code that gets you 15% off of ALL of their tours – just type in CHRISTA at checkout. You can share this with friends and use it as many times as you want. And there’s no expiration date. Because I love you, and I want you to have nice things. And by nice things, I mean adventures.

A Year of Yes: The three New Yorks according to E.B. White

“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. 
…Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.” ~E.B. White

Is there any more perfect description of New York and New Yorkers? I am solidly in this third group, someone who came to New York on a quest, who’s left several times, is back now, and is never leaving again. It took we a long time to learn to live with my passion for this place. That passion burned me up from the inside out several times. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how to take a break, how to let my passion for this place fuel me and light me up rather than wear me down. It’s a process. Somedays I manage better than others, and I’ll say this: every day I get better and better at riding the wave here. And just when I think I can’t possibly love this city any more than I do, it does something magical that just makes me more passionate about working alongside other New Yorkers to make it a better place for all of us. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. This is home.

A Year of Yes: My live storytelling event is tonight—NYC’s Secrets and Lies at CAVEAT

My live storytelling show, New York City’s Secrets and Lies, is happening tonight at 7:30pm at CAVEAT, located at 21A Clinton Street, New York, New York 10002. $12 tickets are on sale now on the CAVEAT website: http://caveat.nyc/event/new-york-citys-secrets-and-lies/. I hope you can join us! Doors open at 7pm. Bar will be open before, during, and after the show.

Can you tell the difference between a secret and a lie? Five expert storytellers spin incredible tales about the secret pasts of NYC locations you walk by every day. All the stories are true except for one. If you can identify the lie, you’ll be in the running to win a pair of tickets to a secret NYC event.

Stories Include:
“Did you ever wonder what it would be like to live in the New York Public Library?”
“A starlet, a millionaire playboy, and a world-renowned architect take center stage during the trial of the century.”
“An entire building in NYC has been stolen? Yes. Twice, actually.”
“How spite, paranoia, and the quest to throw wild house parties led to the creation of one of NYC’s hottest, most secret nightclubs.”

Host: Christa Avampato has a deep and unabiding passion for New York City and the secrets it holds. She began her career managing Broadway shows and national theater tours, and now works with performing arts organizations and museums to help them use technology to grow their audiences. She’s been an invited speaker on the power of the imagination at SXSW, Games for Change, New York University, and Columbia University. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Royal Media Partners magazines, PBS.org, HuffPost, Megyn Kelly TODAY, and Cheddar. Dedicated to helping young people find their own voices, she’s worked with 826national.org, Sesame Workshop, New York Public Library, University of Pennsylvania (her alma mater), and Cornell Tech. This fall her young adult fantasy novel was published by Possibilities Publishing Co. Christa earned her MBA at the Darden School at the University of Virginia. You will always find her sharing her never-ending curiosity on Twitter @christanycInstagram @christarosenyc, and her daily blog christaavampato.com.

STORYTELLERS: 

Allison Huntington Chase, CEO of Madame Morbid’s Trolley Tours in Brooklyn.  Allison grew up in Hartford, CT and has a degree in Screenplay Writing from the School of Visual Arts. As a child, her father created one of the world’s largest haunted houses, which was featured in New York TimesEntertainment Tonight, and Newsweek as “one of the best haunted houses in the country,” thus making her the 2nd generation of ghost tours.

Michelle Young is the founder of Untapped Cities, a web magazine and tour company based in New York City. She is a graduate of Harvard College in the History of Art and  Architecture and holds a master’s degree in urban planning from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where she is an Adjunct Professor of Architecture. She is also a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, Pre-College Division. She is the author of Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guide, New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants, and Broadway. Michelle appears regularly as a guest speaker in documentaries, on television, and at conferences on urban issues. Originally from New York, she has traveled to over forty countries and is always looking for the next adventure.

Sarah Laskow is a senior writer at Atlas Obscura, an online magazine that covers the world’s hidden wonders. She writes about cities, the relationships between people and nature (plants in particular), and obscure histories. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, NPR’s All Things Considered, and many other fine print and online publications.
Alex Neuhausen is an engineer, musician, and venue owner. He holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He produces music which has been licensed for video games and television. His current project, “Strangers on the Internet,” has a forthcoming EP. He founded the legendary underground venue, Secret Loft, in a Brooklyn auto garage in 2013. Now in Manhattan, Secret Loft hosts a dozen events per month, spanning comedy, poetry, dance parties, live music, and circus and aerial dance shows. You can find a schedule of events (but not an address or phone number) at http://www.secretloftnyc.com, and you can see what you’re missing on Instagram @secretloftnyc.
Bridget Randolph is an NYC-based actor, writer and storyteller from small town Virginia. Bridget studied acting and performance with the Salon:Collective in London, UK before moving to New York; here she discovered the magical world of improv and storytelling thanks to the Magnet Theater (specifically, Rick Andrews and Adam Wade). Bridget has performed in Lady Sketch Show, the Everyone Is Sad show, and will be in Adam Wade’s Storytelling Series on January 6th. She is currently developing her first solo show. You can follow her on Twitter (@BridgetActs), and Instagram (@bridget.m.randolph), and find out about upcoming projects and shows at www.bridgetacts.com.
Carla Katz is Jersey born and bred storyteller and now lives in Hoboken. She debuted her solo show “Body Parts” at this year’s SOLOCOM 2017 at the Peoples Improv Theater. She has performed at numerous Moth StorySlams, at the Magnet Theatre, in “Adam Wade’s Storytelling Series”, and in front of her dog Finn.  Katz likes to get emotionally naked and she tells stories that expose the small dramas that make us laugh or cringe. By day, she is a labor union leader, lawyer, and political animal. By night, she gets naked and howls at the moon over Manhattan. Katz learned storytelling craft from fellow Hobokenite Adam Wade– 20-time Moth winner and
comic extraordinaire.

 

A Year of Yes: Taking a storytelling workshop with Third Rail Projects

Staying true to my New Year’s resolution of “Yes”, I signed up to take a storytelling workshop with Tom Pearson, Co-Artistic Director of Third Rail Projects. You may know Third Rail from their ingenious immersive theater productions of Then She Fell and The Grand Paradise. Tom co-created both of these projects. I’ve been increasingly intrigued by this art form of immersive performance and want to expand my personal and professional skills in rich, 3-D storytelling as a vehicle for audience development. I couldn’t be more excited to take this class.

Ritual & Performance: Rites of Passage
This one-day intensive will demonstrate how an artist can (re)construct a story from just the remnant or shard of a fragmented narrative. We will look at the mythologies surrounding coming of age, death, re-birth, and oracular archetypes – and their applications in Third Rail’s recent immersive theater hit The Grand Paradise – as a way to understand ritual, narrative, and rites of passage in an immersive theater context. The workshops will mostly be in lecture/demonstration format. Hand written note-taking is encouraged, but there will be no electronic devices of any kind allowed. Please prepare to participate in group material and to work together in dyads. A Q&A session will wrap up the last hour of the day.

In the pause: Thank you to Caveat for the learning served up with laughs

caveat-cardIf you make someone laugh, you know they’re listening. And once they’re listening, they’re paying attention. And once they’re paying attention, you can make a connection, drive empathy, and generate understanding. Sadly, our world is one in which science needs allies. At Caveat, a new performance space on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, science’s unlikely, though remarkably effective, ally is comedy. For the past few weeks, I’ve been consumed with NaNoWriMo and the first draft of my second novel. Having surpassed 30,000 words in 17 days, a comedy show is what I needed tonight. Plus, this gave me a chance to check out a cool new event space, hear from Dustin Growick, a scientist I admire, talking about his love for dinosaurs, and learn something about science and art. A perfect combo.

The event, aptly named Dinosaurs vs. Paintings, pitted two teams against one another to talk about which field of study is most impressive. It’s a funny debate combo, and the host, Meg Pierson, was delightfully self-deprecating and unapologetically passionate in her love for a good battle between academics. Along the way, the audience learned about the latest anatomical discoveries in paleontology (feathers, colors, and teeth, oh my!), the insanely forward-thinking insight that Hieronymus Bosch wrapped around his Garden of Earthly Delights, the Gardner Museum heist, and the vast variety of flora and fauna that existed during the time of the dinosaurs (~165 million years of time if you want specifics.)

Every minute, I found myself saying to my friends, “Really? That’s true? I had no idea!” And that’s the point of Caveat. The world may feel like it’s on fire at this strange moment in our history, and it’s still full of amazing discoveries and insights. While we may be completely wrapped up in our own day-to-day lives and times, our existence as a species is just the blink of an eye as far as the Universe is concerned. This too shall pass, and our job is to make the most of it while we’re here. It’s a humbling insight, and that alone was worth the price of admission.

Thank you Caveat and all the performers for a wonderful evening. I’m sure I’ll be back, ready to laugh and learn. Check out their full event calendar for science, comedy, books, live podcast recordings, and more.

In the pause: The Theater of the Disappearance at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

They say that on a clear day you can see forever. On this clear day, I went to see the current rooftop installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas. It’s haunting and beautiful, and you still have a month to see it. Though there’s no sound in the exhibit, I kept finding myself hearing stories from these statues. What happened to them? Why were they at this dinner party? Who are they? What were they hiding? I’m certain these stories will find their way into my second book in the Emerson Page series.

 

In the pause: Meet the 826NYC teaching artist cohort bringing creative writing to NYC public schools

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826NYC’s first cohort of Teaching Artists

I’m so excited to be a part of this program!

Press release: 826NYC is proud to announce its first-ever cohort of Teaching Artists! These dynamic and experienced writers and educators will be running our in-schools and partnership residencies across New York City. Each residency ranges from 4-8 sessions in length and culminates in an anthology of student work, which is professionally designed and printed for distribution.

The cohort includes writers and artists from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Watermill Center, the Minnesota Prison Writers Workshop, and more.

Learn more about Christa Avampato, Maryann Aita, Cameron Crawford, Joss Lake, Jason Leahey, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Krystal Reddick, and Helena Smith. Learn more about them here!

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