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Saturday
May182013

Springtime Shows and Shenanigans

Cherry blossoms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden (© 2013 Amber Drea)

Spring has been full of excitement. In April, my drinking-themed storytelling series, Another Round Storytelling, relaunched at LaunchPad in Crown Heights with comedian and performer John Flynn, host of "Oh, Hey Guys!" at UCBeast, and ginger-rum cookies from Spirited, a boozy bakery run by Kimberly Wetherell. This month's show on May 2nd featured Cammi Climaco of Ask Me Stories and Six x Six at the PIT, and June's edition will welcome the sexy storytelling of Jefferson, who hosts the Bare! and Spill! series. In addition, I'll be doing some storytelling of my own at Local Stories on Monday, May 20th, at Three of Cups in the East Village at 8:00 p.m. The theme is "elimination," and my tale will recount my breakup with religion. And on Thursday, May 30th, I'm reading a new piece of short fiction at Molasses Books in Bushwick alongside Ben Bush, Michael Thomsen, David Moscovich and Matthew Jent. Dubbed "Selfies: A Supergroup," the reading will deal with the concepts of image, self-consciousness and the individual in community. Stay posted on all my upcoming events here.

Blue heron sculpture at Ferran Park in Eustis, Florida (© 2013 Amber Drea)

On a personal note, I visited my uncle and cousins in Eustis, Florida, during a recent trip to Orlando for a work convention. I hadn't seen DJ in 12 years and was surprised that it seemed no time had passed. I always had a great relationship with him since I was a kid, and we grew especially close when he lived with my dad and me for a few months in 1992. His children, on the other hand, were only 1 and 5 the last time I saw them, and now they were teenagers. Soon-to-be-13 Stella, who was named after my grandmother, loves Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, particularly the nerdy intellectual Donatello (the one with the purple bandana—her favorite color). She also likes to punch her dad when he teases her. DJ's son, Austin, is impressively polite and hard-working for a 16-year-old whose Instagram handle is 420keepitreal—he puts 30+ hours a week in at his job at the car wash and has already saved up enough money to buy his own vehicle. When he graduates high school, Austin plans to enter the military and has even taken the large-gauge plugs out of his ear lobes so they'll be fully closed up by then. We had dinner at Copacabana Cuban Café in nearby Mount Dora, a quaint town that reminded me and DJ of Mystic, Connecticut—our hometown—but with more gun shops. My uncle and cousins had never eaten Cuban food before, so we tried nearly everything on the menu, and the bill totaled only $88! We were also serenaded by a couple of musicians playing traditional tunes on acoustic guitars. If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend going there. And say hi to DJ, Austin and Stella for me!

Stella, DJ and Austin on Dora Drawdy Way in Mount Dora, Florida (© 2013 Amber Drea)

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