Midwinter Mic Warmers

What a sensational Saturday night at Malvern Books! We were thrilled to once again team up with VSA Texas and the Pen2Paper Creative Writing Contest to host the year’s first edition of Lion & Pirate open mic magnificence. Check out the footage below and offer up a hearty round of applause for these pirate-approved performances.

Musician Eric Clow from Dude Choir braved the stage sans keyboard and proved he’s truly multitalented by reading a haunting story called Sleep Treatment.

Nicole Cortichiato read an enthralling short story that featured a complex complex, shoe divorce, and a rather intriguing opening line: “The refrigerator is digesting my food. I hope it gets heartburn…”

We loved her December debut and were delighted when Carrington MacDuffie returned to the Malvern stage with her ukulele to treat us all to some beautiful music.

And Lion regular K.K. Marshall introduced us to a brand-new bear from her book, K.K And Her 13 Bears That Lived In A Two Story House! Thanks to everyone for getting our 2015 open mic series off to such a fantastic start, and we hope to see y’all next month.

A Fabulously Festive Lion & Pirate

On Saturday afternoon we were thrilled to once again team up with VSA Texas and Pen2Paper for a suitably merry installment of The Lion & The Pirate Unplugged. Our December open mic got off to a sweet start with a bounty of Christmas cookies and a reading from newcomer Kevin Thornton, who shared an intriguing novel excerpt with us.

Next up we had a wonderful performance from another talented first-timer, Carrington MacDuffie, who played a song of her own devising on her “little guitar” and had us all spellbound with her beautiful voice.

Carrington was a tough act to follow, but familiar faces Shaniqua Esparza and Christopher “Bear” Beam were up for the challenge! Shaniqua recounted a childhood Christmas memory, and Bear shared some of his moving hymns to Kwan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion.

Logan Perkes, winner of the 2012 Pen2Paper creative writing contest, read two brilliant poems.

And last but certainly not least, the Bingham Creek Sisters (Cathy Welch [Hull] and Joyce T. Snodgrass) shared a couple of their Austin-themed Yuletide songs, including an ode to Mexican food that was hilariously titled (with apologies to the Eagles) “Too-Full, Queasy Feeling”!

Thanks to everyone for making it such a festive afternoon of open mic magic. We’ll look forward to hearing more from y’all in 2015!

The Lion & Pirate Meet Joyce Ann Tepley

On Saturday night we teamed up with VSA Texas (The State Organization on Arts and Disability) and the Pen2Paper Creative Writing Contest to host a very special edition of the Lion and Pirate… please welcome our guest, the wonderful Joyce Ann Tepley!

Joyce Ann TepleyAfter a forty-year career as a clinical social worker, Joyce Ann decided to devote her time to helping people in a different way: by telling their stories. She founded the Thriver Living Community, an online space dedicated to sharing the struggles and triumphs of people who have journeyed from survival to “thrival.” And she also spent fourteen years working on her book, Thriving Through It—How They Do It, in which she profiles a number of people with long-term physical disabilities who are living vibrant, successful lives in spite of the challenges they face.

Joyce shared stories from Thriving with our enthusiastic audience, and provided some fascinating insights into the beliefs and personality traits that help people prosper in difficult circumstances. Joyce was joined on our stage by a tremendous trio: Willie Mae Clay, who features in the book, and Michael Tidmore and Meredith Gaines, who provided the night’s musical entertainment. If you want to be enlightened and inspired by this month’s Lion crew, check out our footage below (trust me, you’ll want to hear all about Gary Guller and his amazing Everest team). And be sure to mark off November 14th on your calendar so you can catch the next L & P in person!

The Lion & Pirate Concur…

Our lion and pirate can be a cantankerous pair and they seldom see eye to eye—but they both agree that our monthly Lion & Pirate Open Mic events are marvelous! On Friday we were thrilled to once again partner with VSA Texas and the Pen2Paper Creative Writing Contest to host a well-attended evening of mic magnificence.

We kicked things off with a stellar performance from Camille Euritt, who shared a new R&B song she’d written. First-timer Grant Hicks gave us a tune or two and took us on a trip in his magical ship. And Shaniqua Esparza returned to the stage with some compelling comedic insights…

Following Shaniqua, Michael Tidmore (also new to our stage… welcome!) performed a couple of his brilliant country songs (accompanied by Meredith Gaines) and received a big round of applause from our large and lively crowd. The multitalented KK Marshall has previously shared excerpts from a play, but this time around she showed us some illustrations from the novel she’s working on. And familiar face George Moreno read his moving short story, “Mercy.”

George is a tough act to follow, but Milton Sullivan managed it with some shirtless guitar playing! If you like what you’ve seen, start working on your act for next month

The Midsummer Mic

On Friday we promised that the July edition of our Lion & Pirate Unplugged open mic would be extra special—and we keep our promises! We celebrated the twenty-fourth anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in fine style, with wonderful performances from familiar faces, four fantastic debut acts, and a very special guest.

Our special guest was awesome Australian comedian and self-described “inspiration boner killer” Stella Young. If you’re in need of a little hilarity, you should most definitely watch Stella in action below. Topics discussed include the stupidity of race-walking (“that one that looks like they’re all busting to get to the same toilet”) and the perils of grocery shopping—and there’s also a little bit of wheelchair synchronized swimming thrown in for good measure!

We also enjoyed performances from some talented newcomers—let’s give a warm Malvern welcome to George Moreno, Wayne Napier, Katy Battistoni, and Amy Litzinger:

And we were thrilled to see the return of some ol’ Lion and Pirate favorites—Susie Angel, Shaniqua Esparza, Juan Munoz, and Felipe Archer:

Thanks to VSA Texas, Pen2Paper, Stella Young, and all the Lion and Pirate performers—y’all are a joy to host, and as always you brought a ton of energy and talent to our stage (even our hard-to-please pirate was caught nodding approvingly throughout the evening). Our next open mic will be on Friday, August 22nd… can’t wait to see you there!

Saturday Celebrations

If the heat is getting you down (RealFeel® 473°?) and you’re in urgent need of an energizing weekend shindig, we’ve got just the ticket! Tomorrow night we’re bringing you an extra special edition of our monthly Lion & Pirate Unplugged open mic event…

Together with VSA Texas (The State Organization on Arts and Disability) and the Pen2Paper creative writing contest, we’ll be celebrating the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed by President George H. Bush on July 26th, 1990, the ADA gives people with disabilities protections similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, age, sex, and religion. The ADA is a comprehensive piece of legislation—you can read the full text of the Act here—that assures equal opportunity for people with disabilities to access such necessities as employment, transportation, and government services.

And what better way to commemorate the anniversary of this landmark legislation than with a very special guest? We’re thrilled to announce that tomorrow’s open mic will be rocked by Australian comedian, journalist, and knitting enthusiast Stella Young. If you want a sneak peek of Stella in action, check out this recent TED talk, in which she explains why being in a wheelchair doesn’t automatically turn her into “a noble inspiration to all humanity.”

Yup, Stella will be a tough act to follow, but don’t let that discourage you from coming on down to Malvern Books and taking part. Musicians and writers of all ages and abilities will be warmly welcomed to our stage. (And, since we’re celebrating, cake will be warmly welcomed too. We like cake.) See you tomorrow at 7pm!