Year: 2018

Summer Issue: 90s Bitch

Hanging in my office at the Philadelphia City Paper in the 90s, was a wildly vivid, fluorescent-colored poster that read “Las Lunachicks” and it featured an illustration of a woman with jet-black hair, mouth open in anger, brandishing a gun aimed to rain hell on anyone who got in her way. Designed by artist Frank Kozik for Riot Grrrl band The Lunachicks, the poster epitomized the moment in time, maybe my own internal monologue. A woman at the beginning of her career, screaming against the patriarchy, vying to be heard by any means necessary. Back then you might have called her a bitch, but she was cool as hell to me. The Lunachicks were loud, garish, three-chord punk rock with albums like Babysitters on Acid, Binge & Purge, Pretty Ugly. I liked them just fine; I liked so many artists at the time — as a music editor it was my job. But that poster was everything. I got it in 1993 and it stayed on my office wall for the rest of the decade. …

A Warped Tour: One Lunachick’s Life on the Road

It was 1999, a full-on, hot and sweaty Summer. We were getting ready to go on the infamous Vans Warped Tour that is ironically — or un-ironically — touring for the very last time this year. By “we,” I mean me and my BFF’s — three friends from Laguardia High School with a big sister from another mister who, in 1987, started an all-female band called the Lunachicks. We did it for shits and giggles, but it became an accidental career. All of our favorite local bands had broken up, died from heroin overdoses, or other accidents, or literally just disappeared into the ether. (That happened, but that’s another story.) So we figured we’d just make our own thing. Each one of us — Squid, Gina, Sindi and me — all had good, diverse musical tastes. We liked everything from Funkadelic to The Runaways to The Stooges, to Black Sabbath to KISS…. Just for starters. And we just thought playing in a band would be a good time. By 1999 we had been doing it …

artwork by Jenny Laden 2018

Unmasked: The Day I Visited Dad in the AIDS Ward

artwork by Jenny Laden 2018 In the hospital lobby they looked at me funny when I told them I was visiting the 3rd floor. I took off my headphones, turned off the Pixies on my CD player, wrapped the cord around it and shoved it into my backpack. In the hallway, the tv’s were showing interviews with Magic Johnson, who’d just told the world he was HIV positive, and Anita Hill, who’d just told a bunch of politicians about how shitty her male boss was and instead of dismissing him, they put him on the Supreme Court. This was my first,  “I’m visiting my super sick parent in the hospital regardless of the fact that I’m only a teenager” hospital visit. They don’t have special passes for visitors like me. Nobody seemed to notice I’m not even voting age.   “I’m here to see my dad, Richard Laden, Room 323.” I said. The woman there didn’t look at me, but acknowledged I was there with a quiet “mmhmm,” and handed me something blue. A mask. Like …

The Case of the Bad Panties

In 1992, I was 23 and the girl who had sex on the first date, if not before.Not coincidentally, I was also drinking too much and dating a lot of low-wattage losers. After a few drinks, I found myself far more interested in what my date was like with his clothes off. To get him to shut up, my underpants came down. But this strategy was getting me nowhere. I was beginning to suspect that it might be better to date people who didn’t bore me into having sex. It was around this time I was asked out by someone I actually liked, a person in whom I potentially could invest time and energy. He was a gentle, shy creature, the type who might be scared off by my willingness to — well, by my willingness. How to keep myself from jumping him pre-appetizer? The beauty of my solution lay in its simplicity: I would wear a pair of panties too embarrassing to reveal to him. The panties in question were a pair of threadbare, …

Yada, Yada, Yada: Why My Seinfeld Shorthand Is Still Relevant Today

“Potato Salad!” That’s the first phrase I remember my sister saying that made us both crack up so hard that we were both in tears. She was telling me a story that involved a friend of hers in a bunch of crazy scenarios, and after about 15 minutes of detailed explanation, she just stopped and shouted “POTATO SALAD!” We both just fell out and laughed our asses off, because I knew exactly what she meant – which was that this friend of hers was nuts, and possibly a homeless guy wearing a bad toupee while running around Manhattan while pulling a rickshaw. If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe you could even give me a quick but full synopsis of the episode, “Kramer’s Rickshaw Adventure.” My sister Addye and I are BIG Seinfeld fans and we speak “Seinfeld Shorthand” to each other just about every day. We’ve been doing it since the show first came on, waaaaayyy back in July of 1989. There were a lot of great shows …

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9 Lessons I Learned from My 9 Favorite 90s Shows

Oh, 1996: The time in which my eighth year of life on this Earth came to an end and my ninth began. I had begun to take school seriously (#honorrollgoals), spent most of my time in dance class and didn’t care about too much more than my coke bottle glasses and whatever new sneakers were coming out for the week that I could sport on casual Fridays (the perks of being a private school girl.) The year was also a pretty fantastic time for television. I still frequently hear that television kills brain cells and that it’s an idiot box, but I have always begged to differ. Like any kind of media you consume, it can be either imbecilic or informative and, though a balance is best, there’s absolutely no reason why you cannot take any major keys from the telly. I’m still gleaning some epic lessons from television and fondly remember the messages I received from the good old year of 1996. Here are a few from some of the legendary (well, in my …

May Issue: First Jobs

What were some of your very first jobs? Mine: babysitter; Asher’s candy store salesperson; ice cream scooper, book shop salesperson, John Wannamaker’s retail associate, 18th-century-preserved science museum helper. Our first jobs aren’t necessarily the ones we want for the long haul, they may not be our dream career, but they leave us with important lessons that stick with us forever. For example: When a child runs after you with a butter knife, hide in the closet and call their parents. The freshest food items are in the very back row. People always smile when presented with ice cream. Tear up anything you wouldn’t want someone to read in 150 years. In our new issue, we’re looking back at our earliest gigs with 20/20 hindsight — from the silliest to the scariest to the ones that illuminated a new path. Stacy London almost loses her cookies Robin Gelfenbien drives a giant weiner Dee Poku battles fashionable bullies Mallory Kasdan follows Ru-Paul around the country And Lauren Young tracks the first jobs of famous folk Our authors …

TueNight Live: Photos from “First Jobs” at The Wing

All photos by Erika Hokanson. We worked Fashion Week, drove a Weinermobile, toured with RuPaul, sold chocolate chip cookies — and got more than we bargained for. These were just a few of the “first jobs” our storytellers shared during our April 24 event, TueNight Live. The evening was a benefit for Higher Heights, a phenomenal organization that works to get more Black women into political life — as candidates and participants. Thanks to generous donations from ticket buyers, those who donated at the event and a matching gift from philanthropist Ruth Ann Harnisch, we raised over $6000! Thank you for that. Now, some snaps: We cozied up in the drop-dead gorgeous Wing Dumbo location. Chatting up new and old friends.       Margit took the mic, introducing the night. Kimberly Allen-Peeler, co-founder of Higher Heights, talked about the HH mission and about her job as a 15-year-old Girl Scout spending a week in a congressional office… during Tailhook. Watch her story here. Mallory Kasdan reads her first job essay about touring the country with RuPaul …

Bad Grades and Chocolate Chips: Stacy London’s First Job

Photo: Stocksy I ended my sophomore year in High School almost failing out of algebra. The D+ I received was generous and my grades in other subjects were pretty mediocre too. My parents weren’t just disappointed in me, they were livid. Here I was their oldest daughter, failing at everything, and whether their concern was for me, or the way my lack of achievement reflected on them, it didn’t really matter. My parents were divorced. Back in those days, they never spoke. My sister and I would had to have leprosy for them to get on the phone. But my academic apathy was enough to have them talking daily. This was a five-alarm fire, an earthquake, a tsunami. It was decided, without my consent, that I would have to get a job. My Father gave me the news over the phone: “Stacy London,” he said, “ You do not understand the value of a dollar. Don’t tell me you want to go to Paris! I’ll send you to Paris Island!” (A military base, of some kind …

You Better Work: My First Boss and Ru-Paul

On RuPaul’s book tour (Photos courtesy of the author) My first job out of college was as an assistant to a publicist at Hyperion, a “boutique” publishing house owned by a quaint corporation called The Walt Disney Company. We had ID cards with a Mickey Mouse hologram on them. Seriously. My boss, Jennifer, was a tall, brassy, 27-year-old woman who somehow seemed as old to me as one of the Golden Girls. She was fierce, whip smart, and a little bit scary. Jen liked a large iced coffee and a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with butter, which I ordered for her every morning. This was back when people ate bagels. She taught me to take a thorough phone message. To grill the “freelance book reviewers” trying to get free review copies. To massage the egos of the needier authors and only get her out of “a meeting” if it was someone specific. She taught me to pitch reporters, the most awkward and agonizing part of publicity work. While at Hyperion, Disney was bought by ABC, …

My Dream to Crisscross the Country in a World-Famous Wiener

Robin on the hotdog highway (Photo courtesy of the author) I couldn’t wait to get to college. I was going to study Broadcast Journalism at the same school where Dick Clark and Bob Costas went — the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Not because I wanted to do hard news. Oh, no. I wanted to do features like interview Ricky Schroeder at the mall or be the wacky weather girl. I dream big. Freshman year started and everything was going great. I made friends easily, I got involved in all kinds of activities, I had my first Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler and the best part? I had an awesome roommate, Mindy Cohen. Not to be confused with the one from “The Facts of Life.” Although that would have been awesome. We loved all the same things like air-popped popcorn, musicals, and Balki from “Perfect Strangers.” I was having the time of my life until I started to hear the strangest thing every time I came in and out of my dorm. It was almost …

Do You Know Who I Am!? Perils of a First-Time Fashion Week Assistant

Photo: Stocksy I was a 20-year old recent math graduate with enviable job offers and a potentially lucrative career in banking already on my horizon. But… something was missing. For one, I never actually wanted to work in finance. I wanted to be creative but no one would ever let me. Ever since my school teachers discovered at the tender age of eleven that I had a talent for math and sciences, I’d been nudged, cajoled and downright shoved (the shoving part by my parents) in that unwanted direction. Now I felt backed into a corner. Most people rebel in their teens but I’d been raised by strict Ghanaian parents in London. As an immigrant, I was well aware of the sacrifices they’d made to give me a good education and I didn’t dare start pushing back against authority until I was prepared to leave home.. Then one day, I was walking down the street, deep in thought when I caught a glimpse of the really swanky west London office building that always had the …

6 Things I Learned Tracking the First Jobs of Famous Folk

Photo (Stocksy.com) Everyone gets a start in the working world somewhere. So, as the Money editor at Reuters, I thought it would be interesting to use the monthly jobs report released by the U.S. Department of Labor as a springboard talk to notable people about their very first gigs. (For non-financial types, the jobs report is by far the most closely watched economic gauge of the U.S. economy’s health.) After all, no matter how famous or powerful they have become, all of us remember the first moment of bringing home the bacon. Here is what I’ve learned from editing three years’ worth of first job stories: 1. Many people got their start delivering newspapers It sounds so old-timey, but the list includes MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, baseball legend Ron Darling and financial wizard Warren Buffett. However, so far no one has mentioned being chased by a dog. 2. Many more of them worked in restaurants Fredrik Eklund of Million Dollar Listing New York, Olympic gold medalist Carmelita Jeter, football star Damien Woody, Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna …

TueNight 10: Whitney Johnson

Whitney Johnson is a business coach, bestselling author, and twice honored as one of the world’s top 50 most influential management thinkers. She’s also a co-founder of Forty Women Over 40 to Watch. (We love that, natch). Right now she’s busily prepping to launch a new book, Build An A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve. It’s amazing she has any downtime — but she makes a point to find it, whether hiking up Camelback mountain during a recent conference in Phoenix, or spending time with her family before hitting Florida, Boston, and Las Vegas for more speaking engagements. “Things are a whirlwind right now, but that’s what happens when you launch a book,” she tells TueNight. “It’s quite thrilling!” During our last event, she shared a touching story about her own insights after her brother’s passing which you can read below. But first, here’s Whitney‘s TueNight 10: 1. On the nightstand: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson and a bottle of water. 2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Mexican food, especially Red Iguana in Salt Lake City. 3. Jam of the minute: Headspace app. 4. Thing I …

March Issue: Rise and Shine

At the Oscars Sunday Night, Frances “the fiercest” McDormand asked all the nominated women to rise from their seats. “Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed.” It was an incredibly powerful sight to see multiple women poke up across the vast theater (also disheartening that in that huge crowd, there weren’t more.) We sure do have tales to tell.  This is our moment. Women are rising up and speaking their truths — whether adding to the empowering, system-changing #metoo chorus or depicting women not just in their glory, but in their struggles as McDormand did in Three Billboards. These are not the stories we always want to tell — these are the stories we have to tell, the ones that make us whole. In our issue this month, we explore all the different kinds of power women find when they rise up, from finding a strength after the destruction of a marriage; letting childhood hopes and dreams wash away in rising tides; or even simply embracing …

TueNight 10: Abby West

Abby West has always loved telling stories, typically chronicling other people’s stories as a beat newspaper reporter, or later as a magazine and digital editor at People, Entertainment Weekly, Essence, and Yahoo or currently in her role as an editor for Audible. However, Abby has started to embrace telling her own story and finding she has a lot to say — we were thrilled to have her as a reader at TueNight Live: RISE. In 2014, After Abby donated her bone marrow in 2014, she joined the board of directors for Be The Match (a.k.a the National Marrow Donor Program). Abby recently moved to New Jersey with her kids, something she says her New Yorker brain can’t quite process. 1. On the nightstand: An early copy of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (It has the most beautiful cover and is a phenomenal story), a vanilla-scented candle, and usually a cup of something that should have gone back out to the kitchen yesterday. 2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Watching General Hospital. I’ve been watching this soap (on and off) since my babysitter had it on …

Yng Ru-Chen at TueNight Live Rise

TueNight 10: Yng-Ru Chen

Yng recently left her job as Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Tattly to pursue independent work as a communications consultant and art advisor. “My background is in the arts, and now that I don’t have a 9-5 in an office, I’ve been able to find time to see more exhibitions and visit artist studios, including spending our kids’ February break in Nola to check out Prospect New Orleans, the city’s triennial.” She is currently working with the artist James Clar, whose solo exhibition will open at Jane Lombard Gallery in May. 1. On the nightstand: My girl Anya Yurchyshyn’s review copy of My Dead Parents, and I just finished Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. And a million copies of The New Yorker. 2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Listening to Cardi B. 3. Jam of the minute: Bodak Yellow. 4. Thing I miss: Solid abs. 5. 80’s crush: Eddie Furlong, Terminator days. My ultimate girl crush was Paula Abdul from her Forever Your Girl era. 6. Current crush: My husbands (see photo). 7. Will whine about: New York City real estate. 8. Will wine about: Any of the Italian reds served …

TueNight Live: Photos from “RISE”

Last week, on March 6, we returned to the cozy Wren Downstairs (last time we were there was for “Sisters”), to bring our RISE issue to life. We had six phenomenal storytellers — Melanie Dione, Kerika Nalty Fields, Whitney Johnson, Elana Rabinowitz, Abby West and Yng-Ru Chen. We drank delicious Rise-themed cocktails, noshed on empanadas, and — of course — shared our stories. All photos by Kacy Jahanbini. Margit kicked off the evening talking about the meaning of this issue (more on that here), thanking The Wren for hosting, our writers for reading, and our bartender, Dale, for bartending. Kerika pulled us in with her hushed and intimate story of rising in the wee hours of the morning to write. TueNighter Adrianna introduced her friend of more than a decade, Yng. (Has it really been that long?) Yng’s shared a harrowing story of a rising fever during the birth of her first child. And Melanie straight up brought the house down with her frank description of her quest to have an orgasm. After catching our collective …

Rise: The Midlife Mixtape

Numerous studies show the link between a high-energy playlist and the uplift in mood it can inspire. And when it comes to songs that play on the word “rise,” there’s no shortage of tunes that remind us to get up and keep trying, no matter how dark things seem. A RISE playlist may not be a cure, but if all it does is help us uncurl from the fetal position and take stock of what we do next, that’s a pretty good place to start. “Rise to the Sun” – Alabama Shakes. Sometimes it’s a victory just to get up and power through your day. It’s especially daunting when your goals feel infinity miles away, or as Alabama Shakes sing, “Well, my eyes are full of stars, But I just can’t reach ’em… oh, how high they are.” Take comfort in knowing you’re in good company in the struggle, and take heart in the fierceness of Brittany Howard’s vocals. “The Rising” – Bruce Springsteen Off his 2002 album of the same name, this Bruce Springsteen …

My TueNight 10: Stacy Pratt

Stacy Pratt always meant to be a writer but ended up teaching freshman composition and Native American literature for almost 18 years instead. Then last year, just before her father died the day before her 42nd birthday, he told her to stop teaching and write. She always obeys him, so that’s what she did. Now she is the web editor and a contributing writer for First American Art Magazine, a magazine about Indigenous arts, written primarily by Indigenous writers. She is also a contributing writer at Hello Giggles, and has written for several other places, including Indian Country Media Network. 1. On the nightstand: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline for an essay I’m writing, art magazines, and Before I Grow Too Old by Pat Jilks on Kindle. It’s a self-published book about a woman who walked all the way across England, and when I finish reading it, I just start over. 2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Defending Taylor Swift on Facebook. I can scroll past all kinds of serious injustice, but when someone unfairly criticizes her, I spend …

My Search for the “Oh Yes!” When Sex Was a No-No

Sexual education in my conservative, southern, Christian upbringing was strictly on a need-to-know basis: I needed to know what I should avoid. An entire sexual revolution swirled around me, giving not thought at all to my existence, yet it was I, I, who madly sought it. My curriculum was carefully curated so that I might be informed, but still avoid the rising tide of desire. Too much information would no doubt trigger the awakening of the wanton sexual temptress hell bent on besmirching my family name with gonorrhea and out-of-wedlock children that ignorance had allowed to lay dormant. I dubbed my sexual curiosity my white whale — an obsession that consumed every waking moment I spent away from the Bible or Knight Rider, sure to lead to my undoing. I had to use context clues for everything else. I asked my parents where babies came from when I was six. They gave me a splendidly clinical “a-man’s-sperm-meets-a-woman’s-egg” spiel. “How? They rub stomachs or something? Does he feed it to her?” It wasn’t until a year …

Fvmbe Humor: Honoring My Ancestors with Belly Laughs

In my culture — the Mvskoke (Creek) tribe — humor is a constant. There’s even a certain genre of humor which one of our scholars, Craig Womack, termed “fvmbe humor.” (In Creek, “v” is pronounced like a “u.”) “Fvmbe” means “stink,” and “fvmbe humor” often has to do with the body, though it’s not crass. It is difficult to translate, but we’ve kept the word despite the government’s many attempts to take away our language and culture. Laughing at certain things is almost a marker of belonging. But another marker of belonging is knowing when not to laugh, when not to let suppressed giggles burst out at the wrong time. Especially, in church. My family attends a Mvskoke Baptist church. As is custom in our tribe’s churches, the church house is in the center, and it is surrounded by family “camphouses” — small houses which are usually just a dining room, kitchen, and seating area. Some have a bedroom because some people stay at church from Saturday evening to Sunday night. All of us stay …

My Husband’s Manic Break Left Me Running for My Life

Nine years ago a battalion of police cars and a whole lot of crazy portended the end of my 16-year marriage, and I — someone who’d gone from living in my mother’s house to living with my husband at just 19 years old — was now completely on my own with two young children in Westchester in a crumbling house I couldn’t afford. To say that I was scared would be like saying this first year with Trump was just a little bit rocky. I was panicked. Low-key panicked in that way that vibrates off of you, no matter how cool you’re trying to play it. And I was trying to play it cool, at least for my kids. At 8 and 11, their whole world had been upended and they were struggling to comprehend why and come to terms with it all. They needed me to act like it was all going to be okay, and while I faked the funk for them every day, I needed everyone else in my life to tell …

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On Going to a Better Place: What I’ve Learned from My Brother’s Death

Originally published in the Loss Issue, 2016 I have a picture of my younger brother when he was four days old. I’m sitting on my parents’ black and white geometric-patterned bedspread, cradling him. It’s one of my favorite photographs. I’m the oldest, followed by my sister, 13 months later. Almost a decade passed before my parents had another baby. Bryce’s birth was momentous. He was charming from the first day, with a wide, impish grin. As time went by, my mother would say, Bryce is going to do great things: He has the brains, the work ethic, the brawn. When Bryce was thirteen, he started drinking. In our family, drinking wasn’t just about experimentation. No one in my family drank. At fourteen, when the cops called to say he had broken into our neighbor’s house on the hunt for cash to buy booze and drugs, my mother called me at college, desperate and knowing there was a real problem. What had begun as acting out for Bryce had become a salve for anxiety and depression. When my …

And Still I Rise: Answering the Midnight Muse

3:27 a.m. That’s what time she woke me up this morning. Two days ago, she woke me up at 3:49 a.m. Today? Tomorrow? Who knows. I’m talking about the writing muse — that seductive voice that whispers in my ear when an idea strikes me, and I’m compelled to jot it down, explore it. My Muse comes in many forms: a memory, a feeling, a longing, a joke  As a non-fiction writer working on a memoir, I welcome my muse. I need her.  I love her. Just not at 3 a.m. in the morning. At first I would fight her. Wait it out. Lie in bed, unable to go back to sleep but refusing to move. Or I’d turn on the television; its bluish glare illuminating my darkened bedroom. Now I know better. Now I give in. Now I know that nothing will satisfy the early morning mystery except my writing. So I’m prepared. Before I go to bed I make sure I know where my laptop is. Or my legal pad and pen. Or my journal. …

The Jordache House on 140th Street

Growing up in Brooklyn, I was all about labels. I went from purchasing Sears’ Toughskins  — with the patch on each knee — to an obsession with getting a pair of Jordache. In the ‘80s, Jordache jeans were heavily advertised on TV and were a must-have by any pre-teen girl. They had that thick maroon label with a horse stitched on, placed right above the back jean pocket. I pled with my mother until she finally bought me a pair and wore them until the last stitch fell off. As I got older, my obsession switched to Guess Jeans, the triangle-logo’ed, acid-washed style, which in retrospect looked like an accident of two tones of denim placed into one dungaree. It was around this time that I met a group of girls and guys who took the Green Line bus from Rockaway, Queens to the junction in Brooklyn. They entered our school, with their mousse-abused 80’s hair, tanned skinned and big oversized glasses. In the midst of urban New York, this group stood out from the (Park) Slopies …

Childbirth Is No Place for a Fever — or Fear

“Are you feeling ok?” my ob/gyn asks me. I’ve been in labor for 26 hours with my first child. My water has broken in dramatic fashion and I’m preparing myself to start pushing. “Am I feeling OK?” I ask myself. “What does ‘OK’ even mean in this context?” I am tired in every sense of the word. But I guess I feel OK. She keeps asking, though, and I don’t understand why. “You have a fever of 103.5. Are you sure you’re OK?” I emerge from my epidural haze and finally register what she is saying. I arrived at this hospital fever-free. I had had a normal pregnancy. Actually, it wasn’t normal — it was very easy. No vomiting, minimal nausea. The labor has taken a long time, but that’s not unusual. Now all of a sudden my temperature is rising and alarming everyone around me. This moment in 2009 is the very peak of the swine flu pandemic; by the time it run its course, it will claim nearly 15,000 lives around the world. …

Winter Issue: Trust

When we started planning this latest issue TRUST months ago, we couldn’t have predicted how relevant that term would be this week. Over the last few days, the #MeToo phenomenon  — women bravely sharing stories of sexual harassment and assault in social media — has been both heartening and deeply disturbing.  Our feeds have been filled with friends recounting — many for the very first time — incidents from childhood, from college, from adulthood.  From belittling innuendo, to a confusing, inappropriate touch (did that really just happen?), to domestic abuse, and rape, one after another, the stories are pouring out of us. My heart breaks a little with each post. Yet, there is strength in numbers and strength in the truth. We are compelled to share and, as women with experience, we trust each other to listen and hold those words sacred. The warm community of TueNighters, whether online or at our live events, continues to be a saving grace for many of us, a place to trust, commiserate, clutch our bellies in laughter and offer a thumbs up when we need …

My TueNight 10: Elana Rabinovitz

Elana Rabinowitz is a self-described late bloomer. She was 24 when she learned to ride a bike; 45 when she published her first article. “After a failed attempt at fertility in my early 40’s,” says Elana, “I needed to ‘give birth’ to something, to change my life somehow, and writing did that.” She located a former professor, Susan Shapiro, and took her “Instant Gratification Takes Too Long” writing seminar. “She focused on humiliation essays, and when I read mine to the class, I was overcome with positive feedback — that became my first published piece. From there, I just kept going.” Elana has since had essays published in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and one story was just chosen to be in Chicken Soup for The Soul: The Power of Yes. By day, Elana teaches ESL at a middle school in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. 1. On the nightstand: Zadie Smith’s Feel Free, an assortment of Malcolm Gladwell Books and my travel alarm clock. 2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Searching for the perfect felt …

RISE: Get Tickets to Our Next Event!

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE! It’s time to rise up, get a rise out of someone, watch the bread rise, and rise to this fabulous occasion… Join TueNight for an evening of Gen-X storytelling around the theme RISE on Tuesday, March 6th in Manhattan. We’ll be in the cozy downstairs bar at The Wren where we’ll drink cocktails, enjoy delicious food and rise up together. Our Storytellers: Abby West (@AbbyWestNYC) Now a senior marketing manager at Audible, Abby is the former executive editor of Essence.com, and an Entertainment Weekly and People mag vet. A self-described “pop culture fanatic,” she’s a firm believer in the power of storytelling and will one day finish her own book. Melanie Dione (@beauty_jackson) Melanie is a writer, and podcaster from New Orleans, currently residing in Pittsburgh, PA. She is one half of the creative duo behind The Good & Terrible Show, and can be heard weekly on the popular “Bad Advice Show.” When she is not using her gift of gab, she is making geek dreams come true as the Director of Entertainment for Universal …