Sunday, January 1, 2012


As I sat and watched all the programs that wrapped up the year that was this week – documenting everything from the best movies, to the craziest youtube videos – I began to think about what my storytelling highlights of 2011 would be. One of the beauties of storytelling is that each performance is unique, while I could tell stories I’ve told before, or perform in a venue that I’ve been in before – there will always be something different each telling, something special, that sets that time apart from any other. So, with that in mind, it’s awfully hard to pinpoint a “top ten” list. But, here, in no particular order or some moments from my 2011 storytelling year.
1)Telling at the Homer Alaska Library - In September I was able to not only see my 49th state (Hawaii, you’re next!), but also to tell at the lovely Homer Library. We were on vacation, but I walked up to the librarian, and asked if I could tell a story or two, and she said yes! It was amazing!
2)Developing long, intense stories for the young men and women at the Morristown Youth Detention Center - This work has helped me to grow in more ways than I can describe. It has caused me to leave behind the part of myself that always goes for the laugh –that sometimes will sacrifice substance for “faster and funnier” – and has developed in me the courage to tell stories where things don’t get wrapped up in a neat, little bow, and that really cause a person to think. In addition, meeting these young people reminded me that all an incarcerated person is, is someone who has made a mistake.
3)Doing a residency in an English as a second language class - Two times a month I get the privilege, to tell stories for middle schoolers who are doing something so very, very hard – starting over in a country and culture that is not their own, entering the tween and teen years, which are difficult enough, while trying to learn a English – which, let’s face it folks, does not make a lot of sense a lot of the time. How I love the way the room goes silent as I tell, and how delighted they are when the story is from their native land.
4)Being my sister’s Christmas gift for the fourth straight year - A few years ago, I realized, of all the classrooms I had been in, one that I hadn’t set foot in was my sister’s, who has taught first grade FOREVER. So now, each year, I give my storytelling to her class as a present. While it is always fun, and has brought us closer, this year was particularly fun because I got there early, and got to see her teach. My sister was magical – warm and organized, firm and funny – and it was AWESOME to see her doing what she loves, and is oh, so good at.
5)Visiting the Newark Libraries to tell stories about saving money and recycling to PRE-SCHOOLERS – Yes, you read that right – financially responsible stories for pre-schoolers. As part of a grant from the bank PNC, I had the opportunity to begin to introduce concepts like saving, sharing, and recycling to the most ADORABLE pre-schoolers in Newark. I loved the challenge of finding age appropriate tales that would fill this mission, and then being able to entertain, and educate eighty or so four year olds. The way they would chant “Recycle!!!!” at me, still makes me smile.

Those are only some of the moments that made me thankful that storytelling is a part of my life, and as I begin 2012, I can only guess where my personal story will lead next. Happy New Year!!!

Ah – it’s school time, again – and many of my performances are in classrooms, assemblies, and residencies, so I can’t invite the general public to those. But, here are the ones you can come to.

February 2012
2/1: Barnegut Branch, NJ 4PM
2/1: Little Egg Branch, NJ 6:30PM
2/2: Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ 10:15, 11:15, 12:15
2/4: Manchester Branch, NJ 2PM
2/9: Hoboken Library, NJ 3:30 PM
2/11: Bernards Township Library, NJ 11AM
2/14: North Plainfield Library, NJ 3:30PM
2/15: Stafford Branch, NJ 4PM
2/15: Toms River, NJ 4PM
2/21: Garden City Public Library, NY 11AM, 2PM
2/28:East Orange Library, 6:30PM
2/29: West Orange Library, NJ 7PM

June 2012:
So…where is Julie when she’s not storytelling?
She might be….Performing as Dr. Ima Confused, her character for the Big Apple Circus Clown Care hospital program at Harlem Hospital for the pediatric patients and their families.(More info on the circus below) Or, you could catch her stilt walking at any number of special events. And, of course, you might find her…teaching yoga at Devotion Yoga Studio in Hoboken, NJ - mostly Monday, Tuesday, and Friday nights, but some other times as well (more info on Devotion Yoga below)And, never forget that sometimes she’s cleaning chimneys – okay, not for real – but I just looking for an ending!!!

Big Apple Circus Clown Care hospital program:
is a community outreach program of the Big Apple Circus, an
award winning presenter of live family entertainment and a leading
not-for-profit performing arts institution.
Using juggling, mime, magic, music, puppetry, storytelling and lots of
improvisation, we are specially trained “doctors of delight” who bring the
joy and excitement of the one ring circus to the bedsides of hospitalized
children one to five days each week, year round, nationwide. As Meredith
Vieira, our national spokesperson and honorary clown doctor, phrased it:
From ringside to bedside! Clown Care makes “clown rounds,” a parody of
medical rounds where humor is the prescribed treatment. As “clown doctors”,
we are professional performers who work one-on-one with the children, their
parents, and hospital staff to ease the stress of serious illness by
reintroducing laughter and fun as natural parts of life.
A national network of host hospitals, generous contributions and grants from
individuals, foundations and corporations support Clown Care.

Storytelling Arts: Here’s the organization I do a lot of storytelling residencies in schools with: They are dedicated to bringing the art of storytelling to underserved populations. Storytelling Arts works with schools and community organizations to bring the benefits of storytelling to a varied audience. Storytelling Arts programs serve to boost literacy and build community through:
• Classroom residencies in schools
• Professional development opportunities for teachers
• Programs in community organizations
• Educational services in juvenile detention centers
Devotion Yoga: Devotion Yoga is a community dedicated to creating a safe, peaceful, and non-competitive environment which offers individuals the opportunity to learn the practice of yoga through classes, workshops and related events. We are committed to providing high quality, inspiring, unique, and balanced programming that support our members in living a healthy and fulfilling life.