First Person Arts Festival Announces Full Lineup

A scene from "Bad Kid."

A scene from “Bad Kid.”

“We are liking, favoriting, following, commenting, and connecting across platforms and devices like never before,” said First Person Arts’ Executive Director Jamie Brunson. “These trends reaffirm to us that people want to share life, and everyday people are becoming documentarians of our age through technology, which is really an exciting and empowering concept. This year’s Festival is a tribute to this movement—to sharing life, and maybe even making new friends and understanding ourselves a little better along the way.”

Indeed, the theme for the 14th Annual First Person Arts Festival is “Share Life,” and there’s something for just about everyone on tap throughout the 12-day celebration of personal storytelling and narrative that runs from November 4th through the 15th. Read more »

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If the sight of those heart-shaped boxes of chocolate at CVS makes you ill or you can’t bare to think about waiting for three hours to get a table at some crappy Olive Garden, then this list is for you. For those who can’t stand the thought of Valentine’s Day, we rounded up a host of events that celebrate an anti-cupid spirit. Just make sure you don’t mistakenly leave your house wearing any red or, God forbid, pink.

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Corrina Burns | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

Corrina Burns | Photo by Jauhien Sasnou

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence
November 5-23
Off-Broad Street Theater
Time and time again, we’ve heard that there’s a dearth of roles for actresses of a certain age. “But I think that might be changing,” says Corinna Burns, the female lead in Azuka Theatre’s The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, a 2014 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Last season, the 42-year-old Swarthmore grad was cast in just one show. This season? “I have five shows,” she says, including Revolution Shakespeare’s just-wrapped Macbeth and a Fringe play that won accolades from the New York Times. “I feel very lucky. It’s an embarrassment of riches.”

More November must-dos after the jump

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Who to See at First Person Arts Festival 2014: Kathryn Erbe, Marcus Samuelsson, Ira Glass and More

Kathryn Erbe, Marcus Samuelsson, and Ira Glass will appear at the First Person Arts Festival.

Kathryn Erbe, Marcus Samuelsson, and Ira Glass will appear at the First Person Arts Festival.

The First Person Arts Festival marks its 13th year next week, and it features a star-studded lineup. The festival runs Tuesday, November 4th through Saturday, November 15th and includes celebrity chefs, TV stars and a live edition of the First Person Arts podcast.

Kick off the festival by spending the night of Tuesday, November 4th, with Marcus Samuelsson, the star of Top Chef Masters and ABC’s The Taste. Celebri-chef Samuelsson will prepare a meal from his new cookbook Marcus Off Duty with the help of local Top Chef competitor Jen Carroll. Tickets for the 7:00 p.m. dinner are $150 and include access to a special book signing.


Giulia Rozzi and Margot Leitman star in “Stripped Stories” | Photo courtesy of Anya Garrett.

If you’ve recently thought, “Wow, I could really go for a sex-themed variety show starring two awesome female comedians,” well, First Person Arts has totally been reading your diary. Comedy Central’s Margot Leitman and MTV and VH1’s Giulia Rozzi will tell their sexiest “Stripped Stories” onstage Saturday, November 8th, at Underground Arts. Doors open at 9 p.m.. Live music will be provided by Philly’s Johnny Showcase, and tickets are just $22.

Storyteller, author, comedian, and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax is bringing her one-woman-show Ruby Wax: Sane New World on tour, stopping at the FPA Fest on Thursday, November 13th. Based on her best-selling book Sane New World: A User’s Guide to the Normal-Crazy Mind (a copy of which is included with your $35 ticket) the 9 p.m. show combines humor with Wax’s Oxford University Masters degree in cognitive therapy.

Attention all Law and Order: Criminal Intent binge-watchers: Detective Alex Eames, a.k.a Kathryn Erbe, will join The Good Wife‘s Zach Grenier and Alex Morf for a one-night-only dramatic reading of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into NightThis semi-autobiographical tale of a family’s struggle with addiction is part of Outside the Wire‘s Addiction Performance Project. The free reading is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 15th, at the Christ Church Sanctuary and features a post-performance discussion of addiction.


Earth Wind and Fire’s Philip Bailey | Photo courtesy of the artist.

Let the storytelling continue when Earth Wind & Fire lead singer and eight-time Grammy winner Philip Bailey shares tales from his memoir Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth Wind & Fire. A truly behind-the-scenes look at the legendary group, music icon Bailey will be interviewed by WDAS’ Patty Jackson about his amazing journey. The $40 ticketed event begins Saturday, November 15th, at 8 p.m. at Mother Bethel AME Church.

Also on Saturday, November 15th, the inimitable Ira Glass takes the Merriam Theater stage at 8 p.m. to talk broadcast journalism, what makes a good story, and more. The creator of This American Life will mix stories with pre-taped quotes and music in order to recreate the sound of the show for the live audience. Tickets range from $28-$125.

For ticketing, information about these events and a full calendar of the First Person Arts Festival, visit

Interview: Two-Time “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” Steve Clark

Steve Clark

Steve Clark

To be named “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” is not an easy task. Yet, Steve Clark has won the title, not once, but twice: the Philadelphian has taken home the crown from First Person Arts two consecutive years in a row (2013 and 2014). We had the chance to sit down with the superstar storyteller to learn how he works his magic to charm audiences with his tales (we’ve also got his winning story on video for you).

Read more »

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