The heat of passion. A red hot love affair. The tingle on your tongue left there by spicy food. Maybe even the thrill of potential danger on the flanks of a napping volcano. Sometimes a little heat can be just what we need to kick life into high gear. But be careful…get too close to the flame and you might get burned. Come hear our storytellers’ tales of encounters—exciting, terrifying, planned and accidental—with the red hot!
Mel Blumenthal is a Tucson native and no stranger to the storytelling world. Back in 2012 a co-worker walked into her office and said, “Hey, I saw this really cool show out in L.A. It was a group of bad-ass women who got up and stage and told stories about there lives and I want to start something like that here, you want in?” Flash forward six years later and FST! Female Storytellers has been going strong and Mel is now the Outreach Coordinator for the organization. When she’s not extolling the virtues of community storytelling during the day she is helping folks map out their financial futures and plan for retirement. She is the Vice President at The Hopman Group and these days her hobbies include: telling clients DON’T PANIC, although there never seem to be enough towels around, yelling at the T.V during morning finance talk shows, and spending time with friends and family. She always loves performing with Odyssey. If you got the Douglas Adams reference, you should definitely talk to her after the show.
Steven Braun has been telling stories on the Odyssey stage since 2014, when he described what it’s like to work in a 911 Communications Center. Now in his 8th year at the agency, and recently promoted to shift supervisor, Steve’s journey to both his present position and storytelling might never have occurred if he had achieved the dream that served as motivation to end a successful 26-year career as an award-winning chef. Tonight, he will tell that story.
Abby Louise Jensen is a Western, mostly small-town, gal, having migrated from Idaho to California to Idaho to California to Washington to Montana to Arizona. She didn’t plan to stay but has now lived in Arizona longer than anywhere else. However, she still misses the Pacific Northwest, its rivers full of trout, her daughters and her granddaughter. In 2012, Abby made her most recent migration from Prescott to Tucson, where she now smiths words for the Pima County Public Defender Appeals Team. Abby learned the value of story long ago and is happy to return to the Odyssey stage.
Susan Knight has worked in journalism since the 1970s — at 17 editing and writing about chemical toilets and awnings for a mobile home owners newspaper, later copy editing and dunning for alternative newspapers, then covering news for mainstream dailies, freelancing for DC education publications, and for the past 25 years teaching young journalists to think critically, be accurate and tell good stories. A professor in the University of Arizona School of Journalism, she is taking her personal work from years of non-fiction to fiction, exploring the importance of fact in fiction.
Nooshie Motaref, an award-winning author, has gone through many challenging life experiences unlike many women from the Middle East. Her latest book, Land of Roses and Nightingales: Seven Adventures of a Persian Girl, is a labor of love and a gift to the young generation, especially young women. Nooshie left Iran to find freedom. Now in Oro Valley, Arizona, she tells stories of strong women. She frequently gives speeches on subjects related to her birthplace, including its culture, traditions, and religion. Her purpose is to empower, inspire, and encourage women, especially young girls, so they make sound decisions in their lives. Nooshie whole-heartedly believes in, “Our being attracts our lives.”
Jess Kapp (curator) is a geologist, educator, and writer. She teaches geology at the University of Arizona, where she is an associate professor of practice and the director of undergraduate studies in the department of geosciences. She is writing a memoir about how death and geology changed her life and set her on a path of self-discovery in the remote Tibetan wilderness. Her latest project, Plucky Ladies, is a podcast that explores female curiosity, perseverance, and feats of excellence through interviews with women across a variety of disciplines. You can find the podcast at https://soundcloud.com/pluckyladies , on itunes, or on Jess’s website jesskapp.com. Jess enjoys running, reading, spending time with her husband and two sons, and volunteering for Odyssey Storytelling.