Archive for Alan Olifson

11/15-16 WordPlay @ Bricolage Theater

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , , on November 12, 2019 by 6GPress

FRIDAY & SATURDAY, feat.

Charles Devany
Alan Olifson
Stephen Santa
Chenoa Shields
Sarah Wood

This hybrid storytelling sensation has been growing in popularity since its co-producer, Alan Olifson, brought it to Pittsburgh over 6 years ago. With its steadily growing audience and frequent media buzz, WordPlay has become a staple of Pittsburgh’s literary and theater scene.

Buy Tickets $25

The Breakdown

Happy Half-Hour: 7:30pm-8:00pm (free drinks!)

Come for WordPlay’s free Happy Half-Hour! You never know what surprises we’ll have in store, but they’ll always be original and interactive (don’t worry, participation is optional). Will you get the chance to record your own story in our “mini-studio” or take part in an epic audience party game? You have to show up if you want to find out!

The Show: 8:00pm

With brazen honesty and creativity, actors, comedy writers, and everyday people read their own stories while [Tracksploitation] spins a real-time soundtrack using anything from Brahms to Beyoncé. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll get an extremely intimate look into the life of a total stranger.

What is WordPlay and why is it so special?

It’s simply real people, sharing real stories with a real live soundtrack.

Please Note: WordPlay presents stories about real people in real situations. We value all true stories and showcase a range of experiences and adventures in our programming. Due to the real nature of our stories, WordPlay is not always suitable for very young people and sensitive listeners. Please be advised when considering attendance.

Accessibility

Accessibility icons for wheelchair access, service animals, audio description, assisted listening, large print programs, ASL interpretation, and Braille programs.

The Friday performances of WordPlay feature ASL interpretation and audio description. Large print and Braille programs are available for all shows.

Bricolage’s space at 937 Liberty Avenue is designed for wheelchair access, featuring accessible all-gender restrooms and wheelchair seating. Bricolage offers a menu of supports including reserved seating for guests and their companions, mobility aids, comfort items for guests with sensory sensitivities, and more; making requests in the comments section while purchasing tickets helps ensure the support you need is available at your performance. Bricolage is committed to providing an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all. We encourage you to identify anything that would make your experience more enjoyable by leaving a comment when purchasing tickets, calling our office at 412.471.0999, or emailing Fred at fred@bricolagepgh.org.

WordPlay Free For All!
UPDATE: All tickets have been claimed. Thank you for your interest.
Free for All days are part of our new 2019 initiative called Theater for All, which aims to reach our fans who just don’t have the extra money (or time to volunteer) to join us for a show they would otherwise love to attend.

Submit your story!

Here at Bricolage, we love stories. Funny stories, sad stories, dramatic stories, adventure stories, even stories about the everyday. Although all stories are valid, they might not be a WordPlay story. So what makes a good WordPlay story, you ask?

A good WordPlay story should:

  • Be honest, true and about you
  • Include some conflict or tension
  • Have scenes like a movie that move the action forward
  • Feature a little commentary and reflection (without going overboard)
  • Include a sense of humility and vulnerability
  • Have a beginning, middle, and end
  • Be 1,500 to 2,000 words long

A good WordPlay story should NOT:

  • Take itself too seriously – you need to be able to laugh at yourself!
  • Be the simple recounting of a memory or list of events
  • Be maudlin and overly sentimental
  • Be a work of fiction or a story about someone else
  • Be an essay or an opinion piece

To submit your story for consideration email it to submissions@wordplayshow.com. We read all submissions and look forward to reading yours! Performers are paid a $100 stipend for 1 rehearsal and 2 performances in our downtown Pittsburgh theater in the Cultural District.

See What Everyone Else Is Saying

  • “WordPlay returns with an especially intriguing group of talents who’ll tell their personal stories while a DJ creates a real-time soundtrack”

    – CP Staff, Pittsburgh City Paper

  • “Get ready to experience an extremely intimate, imaginative, brazen, and frank glimpse into the lives of total strangers”

    – Jennifer Barron, NEXTpittsburgh

  • “The tradition of storytelling is on display in “WordPlay,” the Bricolage series that blends the sharing of personal true stories with a live music mash-up. Actors, comedy writers and others with a story to tell read their stories while a DJ spins a real-time soundtrack, using anything from Bruno Mars to Bach.”

    – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

7/19-20 WordPlay @ Bricolage Theater

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , , on July 12, 2019 by 6GPress

8 PM FRIDAY, JULY 19 & SATURDAY, JULY 20…

With brazen honesty and creativity, actors, comedy writers, and everyday people read their own stories while our DJ spins a real-time soundtrack using anything from Brahms to Beyoncé. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll get an extremely intimate look into the life of a total stranger. Join us at 7:30 for free drinks and games at Happy Half-Hour! You never know what surprises we’ll have in store, but they’ll always be original and interactive (don’t worry, participation is optional).

Our July powerhouse storytellers:
Jamie Agnello
Billy Jenkins
Maria Simbra
TJ Parker-Young

Hosted by Alan Olifson, award-winning humor columnist, public radio commentator, comedian, and regular host of Pittsburgh’s monthly Moth StorySLAMs.Partnered with a live soundtrack from DJ Tracksploitation!

Friday performances of WordPlay feature ASL interpretation. See our website or contact Fred at 412.471.0999 or fred@webbricolage.org for full accessibility information.

3/8-9 WordPlay @ Bricolage Theater

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2019 by 6GPress

THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY…

This hybrid storytelling sensation has been growing in popularity since its co-producer, Alan Olifson, brought it to Pittsburgh over 4 years ago. With its steadily growing audience and frequent media buzz, WordPlay has become a staple of Pittsburgh’s literary and theater scene.

Buy Tickets $25

The Breakdown

Happy Half-Hour: 7:30pm-8:00pm (free drinks!)

Come for WordPlay’s free Happy Half-Hour! You never know what surprises we’ll have in store, but they’ll always be original and interactive (don’t worry, participation is optional). Will you get the chance to record your own story in our “mini-studio” or a take part in an epic audience party game? You have to show up if you want to find out!

The Show: 8:00pm

With brazen honesty and creativity, actors, comedy writers, and everyday people read their own stories while our DJ spins a real-time soundtrack using anything from Brahms to Beyoncé. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll get an extremely intimate look into the life of a total stranger.

What is WordPlay and why is it so special?

It’s simply real people, sharing real stories with a real live soundtrack.

Please Note: WordPlay presents stories about real people in real situations. We value all true stories and showcase a range of experiences and adventures in our programming. Due to the real nature of our stories, WordPlay is not always suitable for very young people and sensitive listeners. Please be advised when considering attendance.

Joining Alan & Tracksploitation this month will be Julianne Avolio, Robert Dvorchak, Drew Praskovich, & Cory Siri.

3/4 The Moth Pittsburgh: Magic @ The Rex Theater

Posted in Events with tags , , on March 4, 2019 by 6GPress

The Moth returns, hosted by Alan Olifson. 7PM doors, 8PM stories.

MAGIC: Prepare a five minute story about enchantment. An “abracadabra” in your life that rebuffs logical explanation.  The improbable, the impossible, the unbelievable come true—for better or worse. Great beauty, wild coincidence or a woman sawed in half before your very eyes!  Pick a card. Any card.

*All tickets become available one week before the show, at 3pm ET.

*Seating is not guaranteed and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please be sure to arrive at least 10 minutes before the show. Admission is not guaranteed for late arrivals. All sales final.

*It has been four years since we last raised SLAM ticket prices; we are doing so for 2019 in order to keep up with rising production costs.

Media Sponsor: WESA

1/8 The Moth Pittsburgh: Intentions @ The Rex Theater

Posted in Events with tags , , , , on January 4, 2019 by 6GPress

8PM TUESDAY The Moth returns, hosted as always by Manchild author Alan Olifson.

INTENTIONS: Prepare a five-minute story about best-laid plans. To do lists, apologies, New Years resolutions. Making something happen through sheer will. What I meant was….

*All tickets become available one week before the show, at 3pm ET.

*Seating is not guaranteed and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please be sure to arrive at least 10 minutes before the show. Admission is not guaranteed for late arrivals. All sales final.

*It has been four years since we last raised SLAM ticket prices; we are doing so for 2019 in order to keep up with rising production costs.

Media Sponsor: WESA

11/16-17 WordPlay @ Bricolage Theater

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , , on November 14, 2018 by 6GPress

8PM FRIDAY & SATURDAY…

This hybrid storytelling sensation has been growing in popularity since its co-producer, Alan Olifson, brought it to Pittsburgh over 4 years ago. With its steadily growing audience and frequent media buzz, WordPlay has become a staple of Pittsburgh’s literary and theater scene. In November, we’re hosting a special edition, featuring a few of our favorite stories from Wordplays past!

Or (recommended) get there at 7:30 & get complimentarily lubricated for the performance. November’s storytellers are

  • Brian Broome
  • Tami Dixon
  • Parag S. Gohel
  • Kelly Trumbull

& your host, Manchild author Alan Olifson. Tracksploitation accompanies ’em. $25 & fills up fast b/c it’s actually good.

Books of 2017

Posted in New Releases, Recent Publications with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2017 by 6GPress

Here they all are, albeit blurrier than IRL. Available wherever they are sold (the authors, your local bookmonger or library, an evil, horrifying corporate leviathan, etc.). The ones I edited & laid out all have “man” in the title & the ones Mark Spitzer did all have “ar” & “la”.

Here they are again, in order of release, w/ better pics:

Thanks for reading & see ya next year!

12/16 Holiday Book Sale Redux @ Irma Freeman Center for Imagination

Posted in Events, New Releases with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2017 by 6GPress

12-5PM SATURDAY…

Join us for a SECOND CHANCE to browse great books from Pittsburgh authors, publishers, and booksellers.

SATURDAY, December 16th
12-5pm
Irma Freeman Center for the Imagination
5006 Penn Avenue
Penn Avenue Arts District
Free admission
Street parking

Confirmed vendors so far:

Air & Nothingness Press
Hyacinth Girl Press
Lilliput Review
Karen’s Book Row–with many books from Pittsburgh publishers!
Six Gallery Press
Very Important Books–fiction & zines
Authors signing books!

I’ll be sharing a table w/ Don Wentworth at this, so visit us for all your Six Gallery Press & Lilliput Review needs. Pictured are Manual for Wayward Angels by Jessica Fenlon, the Low Ghost love poem anthology Unconditional Surrender, & Muskrat Friday Dinner by Scott Silsbe, three great books from 2017 (I’ve at least skimmed the other ones & strongly suspect they’re also pretty good). The latest Six Gallery titles Viva Arletty! by Mark Spitzer & Arkansas Ghoulash by Scotty Lewis, Manchild by Alan Olifson, & Under the Kaufmann’s Clock by Angele Ellis w/ photos by Rebecca Clever, will be available too, along w/ selections from the back catalog by Ally Malinenko, Chuck Kinder, Elwin Cotman, Jason Baldinger, John Grochalski, Victor Navarro, book sale organizer Karen Lillis, & more.

12/17 Viva Arletty! & Arkansas Ghoulash launch @ White Whale + Bah Humbug 4 @ Brillobox

Posted in Events, Interviews, New Releases with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2017 by 6GPress

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17…

Two new books & two readings! The Ghost of Literature Present will pay a terrifying visit today!

6PM at White Whale in Bloomfield, welcome two writers from Arkansas to Pittsburgh (& welcome their books to your noodle by buying & reading them, too). Free readings & refreshments, possibly including actual goulash.

Scotty Lewis, a 2015 graduate of the Arkansas Writers MFA Program, is debuting his first book of poetry, Arkansas Ghoulash.

Here’s an interview w/ Scotty talking about the book, & here’s another one.

Mark Spitzer, novelist, poet, essayist and literary translator, grew up in Minneapolis where he earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota in 1990. He then moved to the Rockies, where he earned his Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado. After living on the road for some time, he found himself in Paris, as Writer in Residence for three years at the bohemian bookstore Shakespeare and Company, where he translated French criminals and misanthropes. In 1997 he moved to Louisiana, became Assistant Editor of the legendary lit journal Exquisite Corpse, and earned an MFA from Louisiana State University. He taught creative writing and lit for five years at Truman State University and is now an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas.

Alan Olifson is an award-winning humor columnist, public radio commentator, comedian and regular host of Pittsburgh’s monthly Moth StorySLAMs. He created the acclaimed storytelling series WordPlay in his hometown of Los Angeles which he now produces in Pittsburgh along with Bricolage Production Company as part of their regular season. He’s hosted storytelling events for conferences, schools and, believe it or not, bridal showers. His book, Manchild: My Life Without Adult Supervision, is now out on Six Gallery Press. Alan relocated to Pittsburgh with his wife and two children years ago but never tires of hearing people complain about “traffic.”

Angele Ellis is the author of Arab on Radar (Six Gallery), Spared (A Main Street Rag Editors’ Choice Chapbook), Under the Kaufmann’s Clock: Fiction, Poems, and Photographs of Pittsburgh with photos by Rebecca Clever (Six Gallery), and co-author of the diversity workbook Dealing With Differences (Corwin). A 2008 recipient of an Individual Creative Artist fellowship in poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, she was a prizewinner in the 2007 RAWI Competition for Creative Prose and first runner-up in the 2012 Grey Sparrow Flash Fiction Contest. Angele’s reviews, poetry, and fiction have appeared in nearly sixty publications and fourteen anthologies. She is a contributing editor to Al Jadid Magazine.

John Thomas Menesini is the author of The Last Great Glass Meat Million (Six Gallery Press, 2003), e pit ap h (Convergence, 2007), endo: Poems & Sketches 2007 – 2011 (Six Gallery Press, 2011), and Gloom Hearts & Opioids (Six Gallery Press, 2015). His poems have appeared in numerous publications in Ireland, Scotland, England, and the US, thus garnering dozens of fans across the globe.

Rick Claypool grew up in a small town in western Pennsylvania called Leechburg, but he currently lives in Pittsburgh. By day he works for Public Citizen, a nonprofit organization that fights corporate power. Leech Girl Lives (Spaceboy Books, 2017) is his first novel.

At 8PM, head over to Brillobox for Bah Humbug 4: Writers (Still) Wrestle the Holiday Spirit…

Tastier than a fruitcake, easier to assemble than a Fisher Price playhouse, for the FOURTH year in a row, we are bringing some of Pittsburgh’s finest writers together to entertain you with tales of their holiday work experiences.

$5 suggested donation, proceeds benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

The readers will channel their inner-Sedaris, and offer up tales from their time as food service employees, retail workers, and other assorted time-card punchers during the bleak months of November and December. They will attempt to locate their hoilday spirit. Or THE holiday spirits (aka, Jim, Jack and maybe even Johnny).

Just like signing the group birthday card or buying overpriced crap from your co-worker’s kid’s school fundraiser, UGLY HOLIDAY SWEATERS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED.

Hosted by Jason Baldinger (who was once run over by a Black Friday crowd on a rampage for office supplies), and Stephanie Brea (who probably stole that art book she gave you for Christmas in 2001).

The Lineup:

Becky Corrigan
Angele Ellis
Rich Gegick
Lori Jakiela
Andrea Laurion
Deesha Philyaw
Meghan Tutolo
Matt Ussia
Bob Walicki

12/7 WYEP’s 10th Annual Holiday Hootenanny feat. Alan Olifson @ August Wilson Center

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2017 by 6GPress

THURSDAY…

December 7th at 7PM at the August Wilson Center for African-American Culture, 980 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15222

7PM- DJ Dance Party featuring Selecta in the lobby

Silent Auction

8 PM- Holiday Hootenanny featuring Nathan Zoob and Friends in the auditorium

Tickets: $25 advance/ $30 at the door

Children 12 and under free, but must be accompanied by adult.

We’ll be collecting donations to benefit Jubilee Soup Kitchen. Click here to see their wish list.

Proceeds benefit WYEP- where the music matters

Thank you to our sponsors: Schneider Downs and Pittsburgh Magazine

Learn about the artists here:

Kai Roberts, Lyndsey Smith, Sierra Sellers, The Wreckids, Josh Verbanets, Kiki Brown, Addi Twigg, Alex Stanton, Clinton Clegg, Becki Gallagher, Max Somerville, Ben Shannon

Billy Price, Steve Soboslai, Avi Diamond, Jon Bindley, Casey Hanner, Alan Olifson, Marc Reisman

Band members

Nathan Zoob (musical director)

Addi Twigg (assistant musical director)

Abby Gross (assistant musical director)

Jason Rafalak

Jake Hanner

Becki Gallagher

Nate Insko

Erika Laing

Mariko Reid

Kiki Brown

11/3-4 WordPlay @ Bricolage Theater

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , on October 29, 2017 by 6GPress

THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY…

This hybrid storytelling sensation has been growing in popularity since its co-producer, Alan Olifson, brought it to Pittsburgh over 4 years ago. With its steadily growing audience and frequent media buzz, WordPlay has become a staple of Pittsburgh’s literary and theater scene.

Buy Tickets $25

The Breakdown

Happy Half-Hour: 7:30pm-8:00pm (free drinks!)

Come for WordPlay’s free Happy Half-Hour! You never know what surprises we’ll have in store, but they’ll always be original and interactive (don’t worry, participation is optional). Will you get the chance to record your own story in our “mini-studio” or a take part in an epic audience party game? You have to show up if you want to find out!

The Show: 8:00pm

With brazen honesty and creativity, actors, comedy writers, and everyday people read their own stories while our DJ spins a real-time soundtrack using anything from Brahms to Beyoncé. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll get an extremely intimate look into the life of a total stranger.

What is WordPlay and why is it so special?

It’s simply real people, sharing real stories with a real live soundtrack.

Please Note: WordPlay presents stories about real people in real situations. We value all true stories and showcase a range of experiences and adventures in our programming. Due to the real nature of our stories, WordPlay is not always suitable for very young people and sensitive listeners. Please be advised when considering attendance.

Accessibility

The Friday, November 3rd performance of WordPlay feature ASL interpretation by Heather Gray. Large print programs are available for both shows.

Bricolage’s space at 937 Liberty Avenue is designed for wheelchair access, featuring accessible all-gender restrooms and wheelchair seating. Companion seating is also available with advance notice. Bricolage is committed to providing an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all patrons. We encourage patrons to identify any specific accommodations that would make their experience more enjoyable in the comments section when purchasing tickets or by calling their offices at 412.471.0999 or by emailing Fred at fred@webbricolage.org.

We are accepting submissions for Wordplay!

WordPlay stories don’t have a specific theme, but a good story is:
• True and about you.
• 1,500 to 2,000 words.
• A story!  Meaning, it has a beginning, middle, and end. There should be some conflict or tension in addition to scenes that move the action forward. Commentary and reflection on the story are also key.
• WordPlay loves funny stories and poignant stories and all combinations thereof. However, we try to steer clear of the maudlin and overly sentimental.

Stories are accepted on a rolling basis and should be sent to submissions@wordplayshow.com. We read all submissions and look forward to reading yours! Performers are paid a $100 stipend for 1 rehearsal and 2 performances in Pittsburgh.

Meet the Cast & Crew

  • Storytellers

    • Samantha Bennett
    • Joel Brady
    • Billy Jenkins
    • Alan Olifson
    • Deesha Philyaw
  • Creator & Co-producer

    • Alan Olifson