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.
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!!!
Being a co-director/producer of Listen To Your Mother is kinda like being pregnant. The show is my baby, and while it’s developing and growing inside me for many months, I feel a rollercoaster of emotions. I’m tired, overwhelmed, anxious, hormonal, and excited. I’m also restless and wake up in the middle of the night to write my blog because I have so much on my mind, not to mention a to-do list that never ends. At our meetings, I crave Laura’s famous blueberry bars and Naomi’s bruschetta (I suppose that explains the weight gain). On top of that, my feet even swell, but that’s probably from walking across stage in four-inch heels that I didn’t break in first. And, of course, no pregnancy is complete without labor pains. But it’s all worth it.
Because in the end, I give birth to something incredibly beautiful and truly one-of-a-kind. Then after a short period of bed rest , I can’t wait to do it all over again.
Next weekend, my son Jack will move into his college dorm as a freshman, and mark the beginning of a new stage in his life and mine, too. As a parent, this is the day I have tried to prepare him to spread his wings and fly out of the nest. Never mind the fact that mama bird is feeling a bit emotional, like the first day I dropped him off at preschool (multiplied by one thousand).
Of course I’m excited for him. He has worked really hard to get good grades, score decent on his ACT, and write an impressive resume and college essay. He deserves this time to explore his freedom, take on new challenges, and meet new people. My biggest concern is that he sleeps into the afternoon or falls out of his loft bed.
Last weekend, I went to my first BlogHer. Sort of.
I planned a last minute trip to Chicago with two of my Listen To Your Mother (LTYM) St. Louis cohorts, Naomi Francis (Master Events) and Laura Edward Ray (Brain Dead in the Burbs), and coincidentally we stayed at the same hotel as the word’s largest social media conference. It’s karma, says Laura.
Having been to these types of ginormous networking conventions before (Book Expo America in NY), I knew it would demand a lot of emotional and physical energy and stamina (not to mention many wardrobe changes). The truth is, since I was still jet lag from a recent 10-day trip to Israel, I wasn’t sure if I would be up to it. Besides, our goal was to do a little sightseeing in Chi-Town over the weekend and join the rest of the LTYM directors/producers for Sunday brunch at Yolk. At least we would finally get to meet Ann Imig, founder and national director of LTYM, and many of the other women we bonded with, virtually, this past year to create a national Mother’s Day movement. By the way, it made my heart swell with pride to see all LTYM names listed as VOTY speakers, panelists, and even fashionistas at BlogHer.
What’s the #1 fear of most people? Public speaking. What’s the #2 fear? Watching themselves speaking. OKay, so now that I got that out of the way, I’m actually very excited to share with you our entire LTYM St. Louis playlist, now live on our YouTube channel. In fact, you can watch shows from all 24 cities across the nation, from Chicago to Washington, DC. That’s about 350 speakers, who all have their own stories to tell.
Of course, it’s impossible to capture the energy in the room that day. St. Louis was the only city to have two performances, a morning and afternoon, and, believe it or not, we were so pumped up that we felt like we could have done it again if our Spanx were not so damn uncomfortable.
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!
St. Louis is one of 24 cities hosting Listen To Your Mother (LTYM), a national series of live readings shared on local stages and via social media in celebration of Mother’s Day, and YOU can be part of this heartwarming, hilarious, and humanitarian event. In fact, without YOU, there would be no show. So please start writing and send us your submissions by February 15. Keep in mind, your piece should be no longer than 4-7 minutes when read out loud. Auditions will be held February 28, 7-9 p.m. and March 2, noon-3 p.m.
You DON’T’ have to call yourself a writer. You DON’T have to be a professional speaker. You DON’T even have to be a mom.
You DO have to write an original essay about anything related to motherhood. You DO have to speak in front of a live audience who will clap for you and make you feel like a celeb. You DO want to touch the lives of many people and make a difference in the community. You DO want to have an experience that you’ll never forget.
Born of the creative work of mothers who publish online, LTYM is produced and directed by local moms and is performed by local communities, for local communities. Our beneficiary is Connections To Success, a local nonprofit group that breaks the cycle of poverty one family at a time through programs, hope, and resources.
As a producer/director of the show, I’m thrilled to be associated with the LTYM family and, most of all, to put St. Louis in the spotlight and raise money for a great cause. I’m working with a powerhouse team of talented St. Louis moms: Suzanne Tucker, Laura Edwards Ray, and Naomi Francis.
Our show will be held in the beautiful auditorium/atrium at St. Luke’s Health Education Institute, 232 South Woods Mill Road, in Chesterfield, MO, on the Saturday of Mother’s Day, which is May 11. So mark your calendars!
Here’s important dates to remember:
February 15: Deadline for submission. Send your story to LTYMSTL@gmail.com.
February 28, 7-9 p.m.: First day of audition
March 2, noon-3 p.m.: Second day of audition
May 11: Showtimes are 10 a.m.-noon and 2-4 p.m.
So c’mon St. Louis, let your voice be heard. It’s time to give Mother’s Day a microphone.