Monday, August 22, 2011

Second Summer Lit Marathon a Success!

Last Friday's Lit Marathon was a huge success, thanks in big part to our spectacular slate of performers.  We took it easy on the literary marathoner audience this year and brought them seven hours of entertainment instead of last year's 24-hour program.  The evening, benefiting The Young Storytellers Foundation, was jam-packed with hours of entertaining and insightful readings.  Our very own Ashaki Jackson kicked the night off with solemn, moving poetry in memory of her grandmother, laced with humorous asides.  She was followed by author Jillian Lauren, who shared an exclusive snippet of her upcoming novel, Pretty, which hits stores August 30th.

As the evening progressed, guests trickled in and out of the Library, listening to the performances from the Lounge while mingling by the open bar (our lovely bartender's recommendation: UV cake-flavored vodka + root beer = extra delicious root beer float!  Thanks to UV for this donation!) and buying scrumptious pastries from the Miss California contestants' charity bake sale.  The atmosphere was very relaxed and social.  Ben Weber, our honorable MC, kept the good times rolling with light, easygoing banter in between acts. 

One of the night's highlights was the TV writers' panel, moderated by Jay Gibson and featuring Deirdre Shaw Gibson (JANE BY DESIGN, LIFE UNEXPECTED), Liz Tigelaar (ONCE UPON A TIME, LIFE UNEXPECTED), Bruce Miller (EUREKA, MEDIUM), and Jami O'Brien (HELL ON WHEELS, BIG LOVE).  The panel shared insights about how they got their start and what it's like in the writers room from assistant to showrunner perspectives.  As a creator, Liz shared her own perspective of assembling a team of writers that would work well together.  Deirdre and Jami, as current staff writers, emphasized the importance of an encouraging environment with a showrunner who, rather than shooting ideas down without producing alternative solutions, helps in massaging the ideas into kernels that can be used.  Bruce shared his experience from ER to Eureka, including the roller coaster last-minute cancellation (read more here from Deadline Hollywood) of the show just days before the panel.

Towards the middle of the evening, it was my (Jacqui's) turn to go up on stage!  I performed three of my songs, "Angry Welts," "Love Song for the Hopeless Romantics," and "Giddy."  The warm reception from the audience paid great testament to the vibrant, enthusiastic, and supportive writers' community I'm honored to be a part of here at The Junction.  :)  *Junction note: Singer-songwriter Jacqui is awesome and delightful -- if you get a chance to see her play, don't miss it!

As the night wound down, the stage was graced by spoken word artists and writers who shared sneak peeks at their working novels.  In addition to the talented David Francis, Rita Williams and Nicole Wells, late night was highlighted by Rich Ferguson's spoken word, including one of our favorites, "To The Judgmental Rushing-to-Conclusions Cashier at My Local Supermarket."  From humor to deep thoughts: "And when we kiss... present, past, future -- with my love, I never know in what tense I exist."  Rich was followed by his fellow The Nervous Breakdown writer Anne Walls, who channeled a young adult hypochondriac from her debut novel.  Return Literary Marathon warrior Sean Hill then charmed the crowd with his stage presence and spoken word pieces on love, and Anna Metcalf shared a second excerpt from her novel about house-sitting an abandoned mansion on the Tennessee/Kentucky state line.  Finally, the night closed with Brooke Bastinelli, who gave voice to damsels in distress with tongue-in-cheek poems about just wanting to be "kept."

All in all, we had a grand time at this summer's Lit Marathon.  Many thanks to all of you who joined us, and stay tuned for posts of the videos on our YouTube channel!

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