On May 6th at the Brava Theater, 11 storytellers took the stage with power and grace, captivating a sold-out audience with the complexities and the realities of motherhood.

For Mary, Janine and myself, the 2016 Listen To Your Mother season went beyond our wildest expectations. Producing and directing this show is a lesson in navigation: we will guide this vessel to the very best of our abilities, but at the end of the day, our voyage depends on the power of the stories, the connection of cast members – to themselves, to us, and to the audience, and a very complex algorithm involving star alignment and magic.

Spoiler Alert: the magic worked.

Photo courtesy of Ian Tuttle

Photo courtesy of Ian Tuttle

It was such a powerful evening, and as my friend Kim told me after the show, the stories opened the door for deeper conversations, for people to connect with each other on new levels. And because we filled the theater, we were able to donate that much more our charitable cause, Oakland Elizabeth House.

Janine, Mary and I would like to thank our amazing cast for their powerhouse performances. It was a privilege working with each of you and accompanying you on this journey.

We would like to thank Ian Tuttle for capturing each moment of the night with his beautiful photography.

Photo courtesy of Ian Tuttle

Photo courtesy of Ian Tuttle

A big thank you to BlogHer & SheKnows Experts Among Us, our North American media sponsor, and of course, to our fabulous local sponsors, without whose support the show wouldn’t have been possible:

  1. Handcrafted Mindfulness
  2. MV Code Club
  3. Edward’s Salon
  4. Freeland Cooper & Foreman
  5. Gina Risso Photography
  6. Equator Coffees & Teas

Thank you to Sara Marshall Flowers for our gorgeous on-stage arrangements! And to Elizabeth at Riva Letterpress for her perfect gifts of letterpress stationary to our cast! Thank you to Sports Basement, DanSpace and The Hivery for audition and rehearsal space! And of course, to Nancy Davis Kho of Midlife Mixtape, for being the best emcee a show could have!

As Willie Nelson sang, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

Until next year, San Francisco.


Photo courtesy of Ian Tuttle

Photo courtesy of Ian Tuttle


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Our show is today.

(dramatic pause)


This is pretty much how we feel:


Janine, Mary and I are so excited to unveil the powerful stories of our talented cast. Tonight at the Brava Theater in San Francisco will truly be best way to start your Mother’s Day Weekend.

Speaking of Mother’s Day, you got your mom a gift, right? I mean, besides treating her to our show? Well, if not, we’ve got you covered. Available for sale in the lobby, before and after the show, will be an array of books by our cast members – first and foremost of which is the critically-acclaimed anthology LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now. It is a thought-provoking, hilarious collection of personal essay, featuring #1 bestselling authors Jennifer Weiner and Jenny Lawson, and many other notable writers including LTYM 2013 alum and our emcee for the night, Nancy Davis Kho!


By my co-director and producer, Janine Kovac, comes THE BOOK OF KID, an illustrated compilation of over a hundred tips (and hashtags) for parents straight from the minds of third-graders. Described as “heartfelt and surprising” and “heartbreakingly sweet and sobering,” THE BOOK OF KID is one class’s answer to the question: if you could tell your parents anything, what would you say?

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Janine is also a contributor to the anthology, MULTIPLES ILLUMINATED, a collection of stories and advice from parents of twins, triplets and more!

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Many members of our cast and production team belong to a writing group called Write On Mamas – and hey, there’s an anthology! It’s called MAMAS WRITE: 29 Tales of Truth, Wit, and Grit and features essays by Janine Kovac, Mary Hill, Pamela Alma Weymouth about their lives as writers and parents.


We will also be selling the humor anthology YOU HAVE LIPSTICK ON YOUR TEETH: and Other Things You’ll Only Hear from Your Friends In the Powder Room, featuring moi – and 39 other writers – with mostly true tales by women, for women, about being women.
We will also be selling the HOT FLASHES anthologies, featuring writing from cast member Pamela Alma Weymouth. A scintillating tour through the landscape of love, these books are all about flash fiction, non-fiction and poetry – and guarantee to raise your temperature in a good way.
 If you can’t make the show and wish to purchase, click on the title and ye shall be magically escorted to Amazon! Huzzah and see you all on the flip side.
Tarja, Janine, and Mary
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The Power of Perseverance: One Cast Member’s Story

May 3, 2016

With only three more days until 5th annual show, I am doing a lot of deep breathing, making lists, and sugar-binging. The 2016 LTYM journey will culminate for this cast of 11 on Friday. How did they all get here? What was their journey? Recently, one of our cast members, Pamela Alma Weymouth, reflected on how she came to LTYM. Through sheer tenacity and talent and the belief that her piece would eventually fit into the “quilt” of essays one year, became a part of our 2016 crew of wonders! I love this essay and I hope you do too. ___ Why Writers Need To Grow Alligator Skin: Or How I Got Into LTYM 2016 After 1,460 Days By Pamela Alma Weymouth I’ve recently been pushed up against my manifold flaws: my disorganization, my fear that my writing isn’t good enough, that I’m not as published as I should be by my age (“Why […]

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Sponsor Spotlight: Handcrafted Mindfulness (and a Gift For Readers!)

April 27, 2016

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER San Francisco 2016 is proud to announce Handcrafted Mindfulness as a local sponsor! In the words of Founder Lanny Mihardja James, “I’d like to share the experience of practicing mindfulness through handcrafting as a way to celebrate mothers, as well as an opportunity for mothers and daughters to do activities together. Handcrafting is something everyone all ages can do and brings people together.” WHAT IS HANDCRAFTED MINDFULNESS? Founded in 2014, Handcrafted Mindfulness is a beautiful, transformative business that helps people achieve a state of calm, relieve anxiety and live in the present, through the simple act of textile handcrafting, such as knitting, crocheting or embroidery. Knitting, actually, is what saved Lanny. After the wrenching death of her father, immediately followed by her beloved pet, Lanny was forced to take stock of her life: to evaluate what was important, how to honor and follow her heart, how to be closer […]

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Local Sponsor Spotlight: MV Code Club

April 24, 2016

Listen To Your Mother San Francisco 2016 is thrilled to welcome MV CODE CLUB as a local sponsor! If coding is the new literacy, then it’s time to teach your kids to read! Bay Area parents, we urge you to check out MV Code Club, an amazing resource that teaches your kids to code – and so much more! – with three convenient Bay Area locations (Mill Valley, Greenbrae, and San Francisco). Right now, spaces are available for their ever-popular summer camp offerings (see below)! We are so grateful to Doug Tarr, the Founder of MV Code Club, for his support of local writers and mothers and the LTYM mission. What is MV Code Club? MV Code Club an organization that teaches kids from 1st grade through 8th grade coding, robotics, web development and game development – and all with only a 4:1 Student/Teacher Ratio. In October of 2013, Mill Valley parent, Doug […]

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