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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

Rutherford Pride Alliance Storytelling Night

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Carl Kelsch

On September 26th, The Rutherford Pride Alliance invites you to check out Storytelling Night at 7:30 pm in The Great Reception Room in Iviswold Castle on Felician University's Campus in Rutherford (1 Felician Way). This is Rutherford talked to Pride Alliance member Carl Kelsch about the details of the event, which is a free event and anyone 13 years and older is invited.

TIR: How long have you been a member of the Rutherford Pride Alliance?

Carl Kelsch: I've been a member since last November and I continue to be amazed at what the group has managed to accomplish so far.

TIR: Where did the idea for a Storytelling event come from?

CK: When I lived in Brooklyn, I became involved in which puts on storytelling events in cities all over the world. The Moth hosts story slams which are like poetry slams, but people are telling 5-minute true stories from their own lives. Story slams have really become a thing. puts them on, and Moth events have been popping up in Jersey City at White Eagle Hall. They draw people from all walks of life. Storytelling podcasts like Kevin Allison's Risk! ( make for great road-trip listening.

TIR: Why do you feel that an evening like this is so important for our community?

CK: We are excited to give people in town a memorable night out, something a little different than a comedy show or concert, but just as entertaining. Lots of people have heard of Rutherford Pride Alliance or maybe even attended the flag raising ceremony. This is a way for the Alliance to open its doors and let people get to know us in a more intimate setting.

TIR: How will this event be organized?

CK: We invited RPA members and friends to sign up in advance so that they could have time to decide what personal story they wanted to share. It will be more polished than an open mic, but it's still very casual and intimate. We're having it in the Great Reception Room at the Castle, such a classy, cozy space, which is the vibe I wanted. If any readers have an interest in telling a story in the future, we'd love to hear from them. We hope to do more of these.

TIR: What would you like members to know and understand about this special storytelling event?

CK: If you attend, you will be laughing for sure, and you might want to have a tissue handy because some stories can be very moving as well. Even though it's free, bring a few bucks for home-baked refreshments. We'd also love you to hang out afterwards. I'm sure some amusing tales will be told once the microphone is turned on.

Graphic by Julie Winkle Giulioni

TIR: Is this open to the public?

CK: It's a night of free entertainment, truly intended for the community at large, not just RPA members. It's suitable for ages 13 and up. RSVP if you want to ensure that you get a seat by emailing

TIR: What should people expect to see and hear at this special event?

CK: A good storytelling night gets people laughing as boisterously as you'd find at a comedy club, and some stories touch your heart and make you reflect on your own life. For this event, the theme is LGBTQ+ life. Some people might talk about their journey of coming out, which is so different for everyone. You will also hear from people who are allies reflecting on experiences that led them to become supporters of the community.

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