Rain City Tales & Tunes featuring Kathya Alexander, Ali Marcus, and Auntmama
Rain City Tales & Tunes is a brand-new radio show which brings the Northwest's best storytellers and musicians together onstage. Taped in front of a live audience at Empty Sea, the show features acoustic music and tale-telling. Each episode features a unique theme, and audience members are invited to volunteer for the storytelling spotlight.
Produced jointly by Empty Sea Studios and KBCS storyteller Auntmama (Mary Anne Moorman), Rain City will be available to public radio stations this fall.
June 22nd's show theme is the other side of the coin. When you flip a story over, what surprises do you find? What happens when you're not sure which side is up, anymore? For the answers to these questions and more, we'll turn to storyteller Kathya Alexander, singer/songwriter Ali Marcus, and as always, Auntmama. Scroll down to learn more about what's in store!
Kathya Alexander is a writer, actor, poet, playwright and dramatic arts teacher. She was a 2007 Writer-in-Residence at Hedgebrook and won the 2002 Fringe First Award for Black to My Roots at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for Outstanding New Production in Edinburgh, Scotland. Kathya's writing has appeared in Colors Northwest Magazine and she is the author of Angel in the Outhouse, God the Mother: A Creation Story, and the God the Mother Calendar. Kathya's plays include David & Jonathan (a modern day re-telling of the biblical story) staged at The Seattle Rep in February, 2008; Dream'n (adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream-2007); HumaNature (choreopoem-2007); Homegoing (2006); A Taste of Prison (about the criminal justice system-2005), Three Strikes on Trial (about the WA state Three Strikes Law-2004); Nappy Roots: A Fairy Tale (about hair and African American girls' self-esteem); and Little Rock Nine (children's play about the integration of Central High.
Kathya's goal as a writer is to investigate how living in America affects her life and how her life is influenced by her culture. Most of the stories she's written are fictionalized personal, social and political situations. Growing up in the south as a child in the 60s, the Civil Rights movement greatly impacted her life and continues to influence her writing. Her novel, Keep-A-Livin', explores the familial and communal relationships of a Negro girl against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement. The main character, Mandy, ponders how to be fully awake and authentic in a world that has rendered her vulnerable and invisible. Like so many young people, she makes decisions that will, ultimately, have a negative impact on her life, but that get her noticed in all the wrong ways. The novel also explores the spirituality that was an integral part of Kathya's childhood, especially the church and the spirit world that was an essential part of her early existence.
The Negro writers of her youth, particularly James Weldon Johnson and Paul Lawrence Dunbar, greatly influenced her with their use of iambic pentameter and rhyme. In many ways, they were the rap artists of their generation. The natural rhythms of their writing made their words sing from the page. Her entire novel is written with the rhythms and rhymes typified by these early writers. As resident playwright of Brownbox Theater, she also writes plays commissioned by the company. Because of her status with Brownbox, she is usually working on several projects at the same time. Her latest Brownbox creation was emotionalblackmale, a one-man play that had its debut at Seattle University in June. David and Jonathan is a modern-day retelling of the biblical story of the great warrior king and the man he loved more than he loved his own soul. David and Jonathan is her attempt at challenging the way the Black community perceives homosexuality, particularly homosexuality as it relates to the church.
Ali Marcus hails from Anacortes, WA, bringing her guitar and suitcase of harmonicas all around America. Over the past seven years and seven albums, Ali has found many exciting musical adventures, such as singing with folk-legend Tom Paxton, hearing her music on NPR, and performing in CMJ. In the last year alone, she has opened for Dar Williams, performed at Seattle's Triple Door, and had a topical song featured in the New York Times on Election Day. Her newest album, "The Great Migration," received a 4-star review from Seattle Sound and rumor has it a new record is on the way towards the end of the year.
Catch Ali's unique take on Americana music, filled with nostalgic 60s folk influences, crystal-clear melodies bursting with stories to tell, and a Neil Young-meets-Nashville take on the harmonicas. Her performance will play out like a tour of the United States, from the dust bowl to the horse farms in Virginia and back out to the Pacific Ocean. With a voice like an old fashioned folksinger loud, frank, vernacular Ali might just make you stop and think a little bit more about the world we live in and the world we would like it to become.
All of Ali's music is available on iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon and many other sites. Please visit www.alimarcus.com for more information.
Named Auntmama by a nephew of choice, Mary Anne Moorman gathers audiences up in her blend of music, and storied southern lore. Her voice is a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at dusk, rolling and misted sweet. These stories are conversations with memory as well as with the audience that's enjoying them.
"I'd be a singer if I could sing, but I like music too much to mess it up," she says. Her Appalachian roots are intertwined with the music she grew up with, many of her stories reflecting that harmonic heritage through influences from Gershwin, Cole Porter, Flatt & Scruggs, and Porter Wagoner.
The Stranger has written of Auntmama's tales: "As a precious, southern belle, she's conflicted and her extremes and voice boil out the sweetest words I think I've ever heard in my life. A real gem, she is. Glad I saw it, haven't stopped hearing her lilting voice in my head."
Moorman, a former machinist, management consultant and journalist, teaches storytelling at Washington State's famous Wintergrass festival, Northwest Folklife Festival, Hugo House's Write-O-Rama, as well as offering workshops throughout the country. She is the recipient of grants from Artist Trust, 4Cultural and the City of Seattle. Her three albums are available through her website, in local bookstores or through iTunes. She can be heard every Sunday morning on KBCS 91.3 FM.
Empty Sea Studios
6300 Phinney Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103