That’s a Wrap Baltimore!

by taya on May 13, 2015

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Our 2015 Listen To Your Mother Baltimore show wrapped on Saturday, May 9, 2015 and I still don’t have the words to express exactly what that means.  I believe in this project with all my heart and soul. In 2014 for our inaugral season, we were terrified that no-one would audition.  They did!  We were nervous that no-one would attend. We almost sold old!  Oh those stories!!  The cast from 2014 will always be our first “babies”.  This year, we prayed that we wouldn’t have the “sophomore jinx”.  Kind of like a one hit wonder?

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The moment we began the audition process, we know our fears were ridiculous and that our biggest challenge this year would be narrowing the cast to 13.  The 13 women who bravely wrote, auditioned, rehearsed, and told their authentic stories on Saturday, have carved out a permanent place in our hearts.  We had wondered aloud if we’d be able to love the 2nd cast as much as we loved the 1st cast, and answer is a resounding YES!!  We love them in different ways, with that LTYM love unifying us forever.  Our 2nd cast was joined but for the simple fact that they were cast in the show together. Yet, over the last 8 weeks, they have become a family of sorts. Connected and bonded because of their vulnerability and desire to show the inner cores of who they are.

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We had a cast sister hand braid these beautiful bracelets for everyone to wear on show day.  This picture makes me tear up every time I see it!  We are already planning our “reunion” event for this summer.  It’s amazing when a group of seemingly different women, come together to create something magical.  Baltimore as a city has been deeply segregated by class and race for more years that I’ve been alive.  Yet, our cast was able to cut through those layers to honor each other as unique people and have their voice respected simply because they chose to raise it.  Each story on its own is a statement, but woven together into the perfect quilt of laughs, head nods, tears and applause, these stories take on an almost ethereal beauty.  Writing and telling my own story has been a large part of my healing process following the death of my husband.  I know unequivocally that this project has also been an integral part.

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Without these women and their stories, there would be no show.  As important as the stories are, the nuts and bolts behind the scene must be handled.  Listen To Your Mother Baltimore would not be possible without our wonderful local sponsors – Everclear Video Productions, Jen Snyder Photography, Bodyguards Plus, and DJ Miss Tiff Entertainment.  We are grateful for their continued support!

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In addition to our sponsors, our “team” of family and friends rallies to support Arlene and I during this time of year.  My mother, pictured in red above, is the calm and powerful wind beneath both our wings.  Arlene lost her dear mother five and a half years ago, and my mother has absorbed her into our nest.  She gives us guidance and support to immerse ourselves into this project for months, while also being an amazing grandma to my 6 year old.  Although we don’t always listen to my mother, she knows how much we value her perspective.  And I think we probably listen about 75% of the time!

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The videos from our show, along with the other 38 shows across the country will be released this summer.  In the meantime, take a peek at the Baltimore Sun article about our show.  A very hearty thank you to Mary McCauley for attending the show, interviewing me and featuring the show in the Sunday paper on Mother’s Day.  You should also take a look at this super cool ABC News feature that was filmed in April while several of the Listen To Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now Anthology were in New York for the book release.

I’m a teensy bit biased, but I’ve just gotta say – you missed one heck of a show!!  Don’t make that same mistake next year, m’kay?

T and A Signature

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In addition to supporting creative expression, Listen To Your Mother’s mission includes supporting women and families financially through contributions to local non-profit causes. The 2014 Baltimore production team donated $1164 to the House of Ruth Maryland!

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This year, we’ve chose My Sister’s Circle as our charitable partner.  Founded in 2000 by Heather Harvison, My Sister’s Circle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization for girls and young women based in Baltimore, MD.  Through long-term mentoring relationships, My Sister’s Circle exposes at-risk girls to opportunities and experiences that empower them to define success for themselves, make intentional decisions about their future, and become self-sufficient young women.  My Sister’s Circle welcomes students in the sixth grade after-school program and then pairs rising seventh graders with a one-to-one mentor who serves as a consistent presence throughout her middle and high school years and beyond.

Each student has a story of transformation, a story to be told. Here are just a few:

  • Antoinella, a Baltimore City Public School graduate, is an inspiring example of leadership and transformation.  After graduating from Notre Dame of Maryland University, Antoinella dedicated two years of service to Baltimore youth through Public Allies. During her placement at a city elementary school, Antoinella created FAME, an after-school mentoring program for girls.  Her goal was to “empower young girls to find their own voice and to discover their potential within, just as My Sister’s Circle has done for (me)”.  She grew up surrounded by addiction, unemployment and incarceration so she understands, firsthand, how life-changing this work can be.
  • A graduate of Temple University, Antinnea currently attends Johns Hopkins University, where she is pursuing a Master in Education, and serves as an educator for Teach for America.  Her junior year, she was then selected for an international fellowship in Morocco through MSC’s post-graduate support network.  She reflects, “I thank MSC for guiding me and helping me achieve success so that I could leave the invisible bars that trap so many inner city youth. MSC has helped to support me in my educational endeavors and professional growth and given me the network, tools and exposure I needed to become a leader and leave my own footprint on the world.”
  • The see a complete list of program participants with their college acceptances, click here.

We couldn’t be prouder to shine a spotlight on this wonderful organization here in Baltimore.  Their passion for helping  young girls become women who are able to reach for the stars, dream big and change the world is something that aligns perfectly with the authentic stories and voices that Listen To Your Mother believe in.  For more information on the organization, please visit their website here and we invite you to “like” their Facebook page here.  At tomorrow’s show, we are delighted that Heather will join us on behalf of the organization.

Tomorrow is the big day!!  We hope that you will join us and our 13 amazing ladies for an afternoon you won’t forget.  We will be at the Harry and Jeanette Weinburg Auditorium on the campus of Mercy High School.  Tickets available by clicking HERE or you can purchase at the door.  See you tomorrow!!

T and A Signature

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Meet Our Cast: Vicky, Taylor and Kristi

May 6, 2015

LTYM: Who IS Vicky? Friends, family and random strangers often call me Miss Vicky (even before moving to Baltimore) which suits me perfectly well as a wanna-be southern woman. I’m a fun-loving, redhead curly girl inclined to cussing on occasion, and deeply in love with my family that profess I’m the heart of our little clan. I’ll take it! I love to write and tell real-life stories. I’m in my second act as a blogger, aim to be a published author, am an aspiring inspirational speaker and want to deliver a killer TED talk one day. Things I  cannot live without—my family, my dog Miles, kitty Calvin, Starbucks, Ouidad hair products, needlework, books, gardens, my iPad and cinema-therapy. LTYM: How did you discover LTYM? I was happily stirring my grande Pike’s brew at Starbucks one February afternoon when I spotted the 2015 audition poster at the fixings bar. I knew right then and […]

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Baltimore, We’ll See You May 9!

May 3, 2015

Dear Baltimore, We love you and we couldn’t be more eager to bring our 2nd Annual Listen To Your Mother Show to town this Saturday, May 9, 2015.  The show WILL GO ON!! Over the last 2 weeks, our city has been in crisis and more divided than ever.  We are in need of positive energy and unity.  The Listen To Your Mother show can play a small part in helping to heal our city. 13 local women have courageously written and will perform their personal stories in front of a live audience. We really are the same in many fundamental ways, despite all the bias and differences we carry around inside and out.  The heart of this project is the simple idea that by sharing our individual stories we can become more real, more connected and more willing to look beyond appearances to see the goodness that lives in each of us. […]

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Meet Our Cast: Laura and Michelle S.

April 22, 2015

LTYM: Who IS Laura Ivey? A wife of 20 years, a mother of three boys, a grad student, and an avid music-lover who watches documentaries and still uses a paper calendar.  She treasures couch-time at home with her husband, boys and dogs as much as she loves adventure.  She decorates cakes, small and large, acts in the occasional community theater production, and makes great guacamole.  A native Tennessean and a brief resident of midtown Manhattan, Laura appreciates all the country and city living that Maryland has had to offer her for the past 15 years.  She believes that praying often and reading a bit of the Bible every day is essential to life. LTYM: How did you discover LTYM? My sister-in-law, Kelly Johnson, writes a blog called Grace Notes and she forwarded the information about the audition to me, knowing that I love writing and storytelling.  My East Tennessee family has a large […]

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