At StoryNights, talented performers, actors, comics and writers take to the mic for a night of personal stories told live. Sometimes touching, sometimes inspiring, sometimes embarrassing but always real; these stories won’t shy away from true grit.
StoryNights host, David Nihill (Founder of FunnyBizz) and world-class storytellers perform 10 minute true stories. Tonight Nihill is joined by storytellers Zahra Noorbakhsh, Joshua Walters, Brandon Spars, Norman Zelaya, and Kay DeMartini.
MEET THE STORYTELLERS
Zahra Noorbakhsh is a Feminist Muslim, Iranian-American comedian. Her one woman show, “All Atheists are Muslim” was directed by W. Kamau Bell and was dubbed a highlight of the Int’l New York City Fringe Theater Festival by the New Yorker Magazine. She is a contributor to the NY Times and Featured anthology, “Love Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women,” and keeps a monthly column entitled, “My Infidel Husband.” A segment of her newest one woman show, “Hijab and Hammerpants,” debuted at NPR’s Snap Judgment’s anniversary show, LIVE at the Paramount Theater.
Madhouse Rhythm creator Joshua Walters is a coach, performer and producer who “explores language, creativity, beatboxing and madness” -TED.com. At the moment Joshua is on a quest to launch a global day without technology called UnPlug! With the help of the National Performance Network and in partnership with Reboot’s National Day of Unplugging, Joshua has set out to curate an interactive musical comedy experience, highlighting the benefits of disconnecting from our technological devices. He is a regular contributor to Snap Judgment, a weekly storytelling radio show on NPR with TV broadcasts on PBS. Walters is best known for his work on TED Talks, for his talk entitled On Being Crazy Enough, which explores the bipolar spectrum and is now at 1.5M views and counting. He is involved in mental health advocacy nation-wide and takes part in mentoring youth on the creative spectrum.
In 2014, Walters set out to design an interactive theater experience in which young people could perform for the first time. The result was UnPlug! a granted work from the National Performance Network in partnership with Reboot. Workshops, performances and guest lecturers took place nationally with residencies at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley, CA. and at The Myrna Loy Center of the Arts in Helena, MT. Currently Walters is involved in embedding the UnPlug! program as mental health curriculum in U.S. high schools.
TEDx speaker and 3 time Moth Winner (2 Grandslams). Brandon Spars lived and traveled in Indonesia and the Pacific Islands for six years before earning a Master of Arts in Southeast Asian Studies and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of California/Berkeley. Brandon recently released his first collection of tales, entitled Live to Tell. This collection includes the scripts of six award-winning performances at The Moth in Berkeley and San Francisco as well as at West Side Stories in Petaluma. Brandon lives with his wife and two children in Santa Rosa, California.
Norman Antonio Zelaya was born and raised in San Francisco. He has published stories in ZYZZYVA, NY Tyrant, 14 Hills, Cipactli, and Apogee Journal, among others, and he was a 2015 Zoetrope: All-Story finalist. He is a founding member of Los Delicados, and has performed extensively throughout the U.S. with them. Zelaya has appeared on stage, in film and in the squared circle as luchador “Super Pulga.” Currently, he lives and works in San Francisco’s Mission District as a special education teacher. Orlando & Other Stories is his first published book.
Kay DeMartini is an NPR and Moth storyteller and comic. She is the producer of Busting Out Storytelling for the last seven years and the director of the Bay Area Unruly StoryFest. She’s from Minnesota where nice is a verb and toothpicks are a condiment.
David Nihill (host)
Leaving Dublin, Ireland, where he was born and raised until the age of 22, David got drunk on travel and never quite hit the sobriety of it. A bestselling author, David has been featured in Inc, NPR, Huffington Post, Forbes, Lifehacker and the Irish Times, and was recently part of the Irish Kings of Comedy Tour, SF Sketchfest, the Ventura Comedy Festival, Ukiah Comedy Alley, and the Kansas City Irish Festival. A multiple Moth Storyslam winner, Grandslam finalist and occasional host David has also told tales at Porchlight, The Naked Truth, Fireside and Litquake. Always a funny storyteller, these days he calls San Francisco home when immigration officials permit.