A Lion, a Pirate, and a Round of Roulette

This past weekend saw two of our favorite regular series return to the Malvern stage. First up, on Saturday night the lovely folks from VSA Texas (The State Organization on Arts and Disability) and the Pen2Paper Creative Writing Contest (a project of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities) joined us for another round of The Lion & The Pirate Unplugged, an open mic for writers and musicians of all ages and abilities. Performers included some familiar faces, such as Milton Sullivan, Nicole Cortichiato, Shaniqua Esparza, and KK Marshall, as well as some bold new acts, including Carolyn Cornell, Kamand Alaghehband, and Richard Allen White, who had celebrated his birthday the day before (many happy returns!)

Let April and Laura introduce you to all things Lion and Pirate below, and then click on the Playlist, top left of the video, to watch the performers strut their stuff.

And on Sunday afternoon we welcomed a second batch of talented performers, this time from Austin Writers Roulette, a community of writers, lyricists, and poets who write short works based on monthly themes. June’s theme was “Train Wreck Adventures”… check out the readings below (again, the Playlist link will let you see more of the videos), and then keep an eye on the AWR website for July’s theme so you can join the Rouletters!

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!

A Rather Winning Lion & Pirate Open Mic

On Friday night we teamed up with VSA Texas and Pen2Paper to host a very special edition of our monthly Lion and Pirate open mic—we were honoring the winners of the fifth annual Pen2Paper Creative Writing Contest (a project of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities). The competition seeks out fantastic works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and comics that discuss the topic of disability (and it’s an international contest—one of this year’s winners comes from the UK). You can see the full list of finalists and read their entries here.

CTD’s Laura Perna and Susie Angel kicked off our celebration, with Laura reading an excerpt from Sandy Hiortdahl’s “Riding, Falling,” the 2014 Grand Prize winner, and Susie reading Cathy Bryant’s “I Want One,” which won the Poetry category. Hearty congrats to Sandy, Cathy, and all the winners… y’all have provided us with a ton of thoughtful, thought-provoking, funny, and just plain terrific reading material.

But wait, there’s more! We also welcomed first-timer Glenn Towery to the stage; he read a wonderful parable called “Unsad You.” And the audience warmly welcomed a few familiar faces: Shaniqua Esparza, Christopher “Bear” Beam, Milton Sullivan, and the awesome dudes from Dude Choir. Have a look-see at them all in action below (and check out our Lion & Pirate YouTube playlist to watch videos from past events). Do be sure to join us on December 20th for a festive round of the Lion & Pirate… you might just be lucky enough to encounter our swashbuckler under a sprig of mistletoe!

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