Monday, April 11, 2011


I’m involved in three different school residencies right now, so most of my work is for them at the moment. Below are some places the general public can come and see me!!

April 2011:
4/9: Elevate Yoga (stories for adults, then yoga class), Hazlet, NJ 2PM
4/13: Keansburg Library, NJ 3:30PM

May 2011:
5/1 Ridgewood Public Library, NJ 2PM

June 2011
6/7: Fair Haven Library, NJ 3:15PM
6/24: Montclair Public Library, NJ 11AM, 1PM

August 2011:
8/22: South River Public Library, NJ 7PM
8/23: Oceanic Library, Rumson, NJ 3:30PM

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. She also might be…performing as any number of characters for the Big Apple Circus Vaudeville Caravan program at the Montrose and Castle Point Veterans Hospitals. And, of course, you might find her…teaching yoga at Devotion Yoga Studio in Hoboken, NJ (mostly Monday and Friday nights, but some other times as well). 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.

Notes from the Field: Story Triathlon

Any one that knows me, even a little bit, knows that I am what is called a “gym rat”. I like to work out – HARD, and A LOT. Once a fellow on the treadmill next to me asked what I was training for. I smiled, and said, “My life!” I don’t think he understood, but If he had followed me around this past week, he would have seen me compete in a triathlon of a very untraditional nature.
FIRST LEG: THE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM My first storytelling performance of the week was at an inner city after school program. I’ve been to this school eight times now, seeing different classes, telling stories, and if time permits, doing some follow-up activities. Because it is after school, the population changes according to whose care givers can pick them up when, so, while in theory, I was supposed to have the same group all the time, that really doesn’t happen. The students are 4th-6th graders, tired from a long day of school, wanting (as I know I surely would) to be released from the rules and regulations, or at least the physical bonds of the school building. This, plus some high school helpers that set my tween audiences hormones into maximum drive every time they enter the room, are my particular challenges in this residency, but, because I have “trained” I have a fighting chance against tween-age indifference. I reach into bag of story repertoire and bring out “slightly weird, almost scary” tales. While I stay away from TRULY frightening material – mainly because I scare the pants off myself – these creepy tales are the just the thing to grab the attention of this group who are riding the crest of teenagerhood . They sit forward, wondering how scary it’s going to get, wondering if they are the only one in the room that is wondering that. Telling this type of tale, my whole body is tingling, and I move with tension to the soundtrack of “Jaws” that is playing in my imagination.
SECOND LEG: THE JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER This “event” for me tends to take quite a bit of training and preparation. I know that folktales, though ancient are relevant to the here and now, and are rich with symbolism and mystery – but how can I convey that to these young men and women who, because of life circumstances have made a mistake. I have found that the first thing I must do, is exercise my compassion, and see these students as people who are probably victims themselves, coming from a world of few options, and therefore made the only choice they felt they could. When I look at this assignment in that way, I am able to tell with conviction and confidence any folktale I love, because the world of story is so full of imaginative happenings, it can perhaps open their eyes to a world that is bigger than the one they had imagined – a place where there is more options than they have ever dreamed.
THIRD LEG: THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL As I found myself rounding out my week with a four show day at an elementary school, I feel like the marathoner who has the finish line in site, and being past the physical exhaustion, is now high on the endorphins of the intense work-out. All the training becomes well worth it for the look of wonder, joy, and – there is no other word for it – spunk, that is on the faces of my audiences this day. I LOVE THIS AGE GROUP!!! They have an energy level and a sense of play that resonates in every cell of my body – I feel as if I am home. My actual physical training does come, literally, in to play – as I leap, dance, run, and squat – to bring the characters in these tales to life. But, I am not doing all the heavy lifting – for at this age, they are very much driving the tale. Because their faces are so very easy to read, as I see what they respond to, I adapt to give them more of what they love. Four shows fly by in a heartbeat, and my week – which also included clowning two full days in the hospital, and teaching four yoga classes is done.
Now, every week of my life is not like this – in fact one of the things I REALLY love about my life is that it is always different, but just like in stories, you never know what life will hold, so I find it’s best to train, and be ready. I’d write more, but I gotta go to the gym!!!