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Spotlight on All-Star Storytellers:
Marlene Pendleton

December 23rd, 2014

marlene-and-babeOnly seven more scopping days till All-Star Story Night, and, if you’re still wondering what to get that special someone, you might want to check out the limited edition Tri-Lax Chair (pictured below).

It’s an inspired piece of German engineering, and it’s also the subject of a story that Marlene Pendleton will be telling when she returns to Riley’s Pour House for an encore performance on December 30.

A designer who studied art at AIP, Marlene created our Story Night mascot Babe the Mannequin (pictured at left), who graced the stage during our Mannequin Tales session back in July. Marlene also provided a story for that session, and you can listen to it by clicking the link below.

trilaxBut Marlene’s best-known Story Night tale, which brought down the house back in March, centers on the versatile Tri-Lax Chair, or (as she renames it for story purposes), the Try-Sex Chair. Since Marlene told the story a couple months before I took over as Story Night host, I know of the tale only through secondhand accounts. People are still talking about it. Join me at Riley’s next Tuesday, and we’ll both find out why.

All-Star Story Night at Riley’s, which begins at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, December 30, will also include scop performances by Michael A. Arnzen, Joe Collucio, Larry Ivkovich, Owen Kilbane, Michael McBurney, Karyn Rok, Martha Swiss, Richard “Shaug” Shaughnessy, C. S. Wyatt, and Stephanie Wytovich — some of whom will be featured in upcoming spotlight posts.

Riley’s Pour House is located at 215 Main Street, Carnegie, PA. You’ll want to show up early if you want to get a seat. Arrive late, and you’ll need to bring you own Tri-Flex.

Until next time, scop on!

Spotlight on All-Star Storytellers:
Larry Ivkovich

December 19th, 2014

Larry IkovichIt’s almost here. Not Christmas. Not New Year’s Eve. I’m talking All-Start Storytelling, the event that will feature this year’s top storytellers from Story Night @ Riley’s Pour House.

With fewer than two weeks to go to the event, I’d like to begin highlighting some of the storytellers who will be appearing at our year-end competition.

First up is Story Night regular Larry Ivkovich, who made his first Riley’s appearance at the Writers on Writing session back in May. He then returned in July for Midsummer Night Stories and again in August for Mannequin Adventures.

sixth-precept-front-cover-lighter-shadeLarry has a personable, folksy style that complements the intimate setting of Riley’s, and we’re excited to have him returning for an encore performance.

In addition to telling stories, Larry is an accomplished writer, with a number of short story credits in various publications, including Penumbra Magazine, Twisted Cat Tales, Abaculus III, and Triangulations.

His short fiction has also earned him distinction as a  finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and a recipient of the 2010 CZP/Rannu Fund Award for fiction.

His novels include  The Sixth Precept and Blood of the Daxas. The latter debuted earlier this month at Rickert & Beagle Books.

Connolly at Story Night PPG croppedAll-Star Story Night at Riley’s begins at 8:00 PM on Tuesday, December 30. Other storyteller will include Michael A. Arnzen, Joe Collucio, Owen Kilbane, Michael McBurney, Marlene Pendleton, Karyn Rok, Martha Swiss, Richard “Shaug” Shaughnessy, C. S. Wyatt, and Stephanie Wytovich.

For more information, please see Bob Podurgiel’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette feature article, which includes a review of our holiday-themed November event as well as an All-Star Night preview. It’s good reading.

More storyteller spotlights will be coming soon. Until then . . . scop on!

Image Credits:

Larry Ivkovich at Writers on Writing @ Riley’s, May 2014. Photo by Karen Yun-Lutz.

The Sixth Precept. IFWG Publishing, 2011.

The 21st Century Scop hosting Holiday Stories @ Riley’s, November 2014.
by Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette.

 

Storytelling @ Riley’s Presents: Masks

October 25th, 2014

masksThis month at Riley’s we’ll be telling stories about masks. Think Halloween, theatre, deception, and the roles people play in everyday life. The theme is open to a variety of interpretations, and we’re looking forward to hearing yours.

If your interested in sharing a story, you can let us know by posting to our event page or signing up at Riley’s on the night of the event, October 28. We’re interested in told stories running approximately ten minutes, similar to the stories featured on Moth Radio.

Michael McBurney

Our featured guest this evening are members of The Throughline Theatre, storytellers who enthralled a standing-room audience back in June with their Stories from the Theatre.

Among the returning storytellers is Michael McBurney, whose previous story, “The Best Dr. Pepper I Ever Had,” made for one of this year’s stand-out story performances. An audio of that performance is available at a previous blog post and can be accessed by clicking here.

Michael is currently starring in Throughline’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. His previous shows with Throughline include Saving the World, Arsenic and Old Lace, and August: Osage County. He has also worked  with Alarum Theatre, the Duquesne Red Masquers and the Summer Company at Duquesne. We’re excited to have him back.

Lazel LeroyHazel Leroy studied Theatre History, Literature, & Criticism at University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Pittsburgh and currently teaches at Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts. Active in the city’s theatre scene, she has added her talents to a number of Throughline Theatre productions, among them the recent world premier of C. S. Wyatt’s A New Death.

In her previous appearance at Riley’s, Hezel shared a story about a George Bernard Shaw production that suffered (or perhaps benefited) from a major prop malfunction. You can year that story by clicking on the player below, and you can hear Hazel’s new story by attending this month’s Storytelling Night.

Pat HeadshotAlso joining us will be Patrick Conner, a member of the Board of Throughline Theatre Company who has served the company as both an actor and dramaturg for various productions over the past few years.  He graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a degree in English Literature, and served as a professor at West Virginia University for 34 years before his retirement in 2010.

This month will mark Patrick’s Storytelling Night debut, and we’re delighted to be welcoming him aboard.

Throughline TheatreIf all of this wasn’t inducement enough to attend this month’s Storytelling Night @ Riley’s, the evening will also feature two story monologues from Throughline’s current production, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. The monologues will be presented off-book (in the tradition of great storytelling), and each will center on the story of Judas Iscariot, who wore one of the most deceptive masks of all. The storyrtellers for this segment will be Amy Portenlanger and Kevin H. Moore.

Amy Portlenlanger

Amy Portenlanger has performed in six mainstage production with Throughline,among them August Osage County, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, and Arsenic and Old Lace. She currently plays the roles of Gloria and Mother Teresa in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.

She has also performed with several other companies around Pittsburgh, including The Cabaret at Theater Square, South Park Theater, Terra Nova, The Steel City Improv Theater, and The New Hazlett.

Kevin MooreKevin H. Moore earned his BA in Acting and BSW in Social Work from Slippery Rock University. He is currently a part of Saltworks Theater’s touring company and has performed with Pittsburgh Classic Players and Slippery Rock/Edinburgh Festival Fringe. His performance as two of the characters in Iscariot marks his debut with Throughline. Likewise, this will be his first appearance at Riley’s.

At the close of this month’s event, we will be giving away three pairs of tickets to The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. For a chance to win, all you need to do is be there. It’s our way of thanking you for supporting one of the city’s most exiting storytelling venues .

Riley’s Pour House is located at 215 East Main Street in Carnegie. Sign-ups begin at 7:15. Stories begin at 8:00 and continue until 9:30 (or until the last story’s told). Masks are optional.

Hope to see you there! Until then, scop on!

 

Your Favorite Genre Song?

September 3rd, 2012

The forthcoming publication of Rock On: the Greatest Hits of Science Fiction and Fantasy has me contemplating some of the great rock ‘n roll genre songs. There certainly is a ton of them.

Science fiction? How about David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” Genesis’s “The Return of the Giant Hogweed,” or Mastadon’s album-length epic Crack the Skye? (Great stuff!)

Fantasy?  Let’s see . . . there’s King Crimson’s “In the Court of the Crimson King,” The Moody Blues “House of Four Doors,” and of course Uriah Heep’s Demons & Wizards. You can’t go wrong with any of those.

Horror? Yeah, there’s plenty, everything from Dickey Lee’s sappy ghost story “Strange Things Happen” (OK . . . it’s not really horror, but I recall it giving me a chill when I heard it as a kid) to anything by your favorite death metal band. And we might as well toss in a lot of the songs of Bruce Springsteen, whose work inspired the horror anthology Darkness on the Edge a few years back.

I’m not trying to be definitive here, just free associating – rattling off a few titles that come instantly to mind. The point is, if you’re a fan of genre fiction, you’ve probably got a personal rock ‘n roll playlist of greatest hits. And you almost certainly have a favorite.

At the moment, my favorite is “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,” by  Warren Zevon and David Lindell. It’s a complete horror story in a three minute song, delivered with equal doses of irony, political commentary, and literary awareness that leads all the way back to the medieval  epic Rolandskvadet (The Lay of Roland).

I’ll be playing that song this coming Saturday (September 8), when I return to Riley’s Pour House for a night of American and Irish music . . . and later this month when I perform my “Songs of the Horror Writer” show at Horror Realm.

Hope to see you there.

In the meantime, consider using the comment box below (or Facebook or email) to tell me your favorite genre song(s). I’m always looking for new material.

Rock on!