Well, the 2015 LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER (LTYM) season has officially kicked off with last week’s announcement of 29 returning cities and 10 new cities giving motherhood the microphone! This national celebration of motherhood is quite an accomplishment, considering LTYM’s Founder Ann Imig started out with one single show in 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Not since Kate Middleton wore a blue and white polka dotted maternity dress and introduced the royal baby on the steps of the London hospital has there been so much buzz in social media. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but I promise there’s gonna be a lot of LTYM excitement in your news feed and just about everywhere else on the web during the next seven months.
This is STL’s third year as part of the national ensemble, and I can honestly say that LTYM has made me a better person, personally and professionally. This project is a labor of love, and I consider everyone involved to be part of the family, including the cast, the director/producers, the local and national sponsors, the audience, and everyone who has opened their heart and submitted stories along the way.
The videos from the 2014 season of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER are now on YouTube! WHOO HOO! We had shows in 32 cities this year, and you can watch the St. Louis production right HERE.
All of our stories cover some aspect of motherhood that might make you laugh or cry or relate to in some way, and hopefully you’ll want to come back next year or event submit your own piece.
And while most of our readers share intimate details about their children, I spill my heart out for my dog. That’s because my toy poodle Luci is my baby, and all you dog lovers out there will know what I’m talking about.
So even though I cringe when I watch myself on video (does my voice really sound that nasally?) I share with you my video on “Mom’s Best Friend Is A Dog.”
For the 2nd year in a row, I just want to say thank you to everyone who made LTYM STL 2014 a huge success. To those of you who submitted stories and trusted us with your words, we are grateful. To everyone who bravely auditioned, to those who made the cut and bared their soul on stage, to our family and friends who bought a ticket and cheered for us in the audience, we are touched by your kindness. To the many local businesses who generously supported us through sponsorships, thank you for believing in us. And to our national sponsors, BlogHer and Chevy—together we can grow this national movement to give Mother’s Day a microphone.
Also, many thanks to the local TV/Radio media who gave us the limelight and helped us spread the word. We had a blast with Margie Ellisor at Fox2News, Virginia Kerr at Great Day St. Louis, and Brenda Fraser at BlogTalk Radio, as well as West NewsMagazine, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Jewish Light, and more.
Everyone has a story to tell, and we are honored to bring our community a platform to share our stories in front of a live audience and make a difference. Better still, thanks to your ticket purchase, we were able to make a substantial donation to a worthwhile cause, Girls In The Know. Collectively, the 32 LTYM cities raised more than $26,000 for local charities this year–WHOO HOO!
While we all return to our previous lives and enjoy our summers, stay tuned in the coming weeks for videos posted on our LTYM YouTube channel, as well as our slideshow, special announcements, and a call for submissions for LTYM 2015! In case you didn’t get enough LTYM, here’s the blog I wrote for our website.
See ya in 2015 St. Louis!
And, finally, thank you to my teenagers, Sari and Jack, for putting up with me all these months while I worked nonstop on LTYM and made carryout dinner the norm because I was too busy writing, editing, strategizing, promoting, going to meetings, and hanging up flyers everywhere we went, from public bathroom stalls to coffee shops. Without you, well, I wouldn’t be a mom. I love you!!!
I’ve been writing professionally for more than two decades, so what took me so long to discover the St. Louis Writer’s Guild? Established in 1920, this group has more than 320 members—the most famous one was playwright Tennessee Williams (The Glass Menagerie) who won the short story contest in 1935.
So one recent Saturday morning, I dragged myself out of my warm, cozy bed, even though the streets were still snow covered from the night before and the mailbox was frozen shut. Who in their right mind would sit in a classroom for two hours on a bitter cold weekend, I thought, besides me? I must be crazy. But my purpose was two-fold. One, I wanted to see for myself what the St Louis Writer’s Guild was all about, offering monthly workshops, open mic nights, and an author speaker series to support local wordsmiths. And two, as a co-producer/director of the 2nd annual Listen To Your Mother, I wanted to promote this opportunity for local writers to read their original stories about motherhood in front a live audience.
I expected only a few people at the meeting, and I got there late. To my surprise, after I rushed to the second floor of Kirkwood Community Center, I noticed the room was packed with men and women, dressed in slushy snow boots with their heavy coats and scarves draped on the back of their folding chairs. Everyone eagerly took notes and seemed engrossed in the topic of conversation: “Love Scenes: When to Turn Out the Lights,” presented by local author Lynn Cahoon.
Let’s put it this way. It might have been freezing outside with icicles hanging in the windows, but it sure got hot in here.
It’s hard to come up with the words to adequately describe my experience with Listen To Your Mother (LTYM), and considering I’m a professional writer, that’s not good. So in times of writer’s block I turn to my Jewish ancestors who express their emotions in Hebrew so succinctly.
If I had to summarize LTYM St. Louis in one word, it would be Dayenu, which translates to “it would have been enough” or “it would have sufficed.” I never thought I would use Dayenu other than at Passover when we sing the festive song by the same name to describe our appreciation of the abundant gifts that God gave us when we escaped slavery.
However, Dayenu captures my feelings about LTYM because it exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I’m truly grateful for everything I learned and everyone I met. And for that I say, Dayenu.
What’s better than Mother’s Day? How about Mother’s Month? Seriously, I’m considering petitioning Hallmark to officially expand this national holiday for the entire month of May. Who’s with me?
St. Louis women can celebrate motherhood with a variety of exciting events and activities that stretch beyond that single Sunday in May.
Mark your calendars and get ready for some serious fun:
Thursday, May 2, 7-9 p.m.
The Crescent in Clayton, 155 Carondelet Plaza
The month of May kicks off with Mama-Palooza, featuring former St. Louisan Melissa Gerststein, co-founder of The Moms, and the hilarious New York Times bestselling author Jill Smokler, “Scary Mommy” blogger, who is stopping here on her whirlwind book tour of her newest release, “Motherhood Comes Naturally (and other vicious lies).”
Leave it to the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) to host a Girl’s Night Out that brings us together for nibbles and giggles, while raising money to help local children. You’re invited to nosh on drinks and appetizers, win prizes, and laugh at the parenting sagas of these two famous funny ladies, while benefiting NCJW’s Back-to-School Store, which provides school supplies and new clothing to 4,000 elementary and middle schoolers in eight area public schools and the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry.
RSVP: www.ncjwstl.org or call 314-993-5181.
Spa for The Soul
Sunday, May 5, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m
The Chesterfield Art Center, 444 Chesterfield Center, Suite 130
The Jewish Women’s Chai Circle hosts the second annual Spa for the Soul, featuring the ultimate day of pampering. Guests will enjoy mini mani-pedis, massages, health and beauty demos, crafts, raffles, a delicious kosher brunch, and so much more. The highlight of the event is a laughter therapy workshop led by stand-up comedian and actress Esther Rachel Russell, who will show us why laughter is the best medicine. Russell began her improvisational comedy career at the famous Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles, where she wrote and performed in comedy sketches with the “Saturday Night Live” comedy stars.
Founder and artistic director of the all-female comedy improve troupe, “Woman Gone Mad,” Russell has performed in the acclaimed off Broadway comedy, “A Match made in Manhattan-The Interactive Jewish Wedding.”
See you at the spa, and get ready to feel beautiful inside and out.
RSVP: www.ChabadofChesterfield.com/spa or call 636 778 4000.
Listen To Your Mother
Saturday, May 11, Showtimes 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
St. Luke’s Institute for Health Education
232 South Woods Mill Road
This special Mother’s Day celebration is not to be missed, and I’m not just saying that because I’m co-producing/directing the inaugural show in St. Louis. Listen To Your Mother St. Louis, which is held on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, is part of a national series of live readings that features some of our area’s most talented writers and bloggers, as well as everyday people who have an amazing story to share. Proudly, St. Louis is one of 24 cities across the country to host a production that is produced, directed, and performed by local communities for local communities.
Fifty percent of our ticket sales benefit Connections to Success (CtS), a local nonprofit organization that helps break the cycle of poverty through hope, resources, and a plan. CtS will be at the show with their Mystique Boutique, a mobile upscale shop that sells designer clothing and accessories to raise money for their programs.
I promise, you will laugh, you will cry, you will be transformed by this national movement that gives moms a microphone. Our show also features refreshments, live jazz music, prizes, shopping, and more surprises. Plus, Virginia Kerr, of Great Day St. Louis, is our emcee, so you don’t want to miss out. Bring your family and friends, and start a new Mother’s Day tradition in St Louis.
Also worth mentioning…Spring is in the air, and the Lou has plenty of outdoor fun, too. For example:
Laumeier Art Fair is a nationally acclaimed fine art and craft fair at Laumeier Sculpture Park, one of the world’s premier open-air museums. This popular annual event, which is held on Mother’s Day weekend, features creative and original works of art from 150 artists from across the country, not to mention food, drink, and musical entertainment.
For an old-fashioned good time with your family, visit Eckert’s and enjoy strawberry picking, wagon and pony rides, live entertainment, and, of course, festival foods like funnel cakes and frozen custard.
If beer is your choice of beverage, the St. Louis Microfest is for you. This premiere event offers samples of international and craft beers, live music, silent auction, and plenty of food to make you thirsty for a cold brew. Profits benefit Lift For Life Gym, which provides supervised and safe activities for children eight to 18 years old, five evenings a week, all free of charge.
Got a green thumb? Shaw Nature Reserve and several nurseries from throughout the area will offer hundreds of varieties of annual and perennial wildflowers, ferns, trees and shrubs to use in home landscaping and to attract wildlife. The sale will feature the showiest and hardiest native plants for sun or shade, including purple coneflower, butterfly milkweed, blazing star, dwarf crested iris, cardinal flower, compass plant, wild phlox, ostrich fern, bottle-brush buckeye, fringe tree and short-leaf pine.
And for all us dog lovers, the annual Bark in the Park promises a day of fun for both dogs and their owners. As the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Humane Society of Missouri, this annual festival features a one-mile pet walk and 5K run in Forest Park. After you work up a sweat, enjoy a full day of entertainment and favorite foods like funnel cakes, kettle corn and fresh squeezed lemonade.
Enjoy your Mother’s Day Month! You deserve it!