GO THERE features nine local tellers of tales including Burbank residents Eric Connor, Lynn Lipinski, and Juditz who will share the stage with Megan Dolan, Erica Blumfield, Sean Ewert, Wendy Hammers, Miyo Yamauchi, and State Senator Anthony Portantino, all sharing stories about their experiences with mental health challenges and taking the audience on a compelling journey with heart, humor, honesty, and compassion.
The show will begin at 6:00 pm with a half-hour of live music by Pi Jacobs, gifted musician storyteller, and guitarist whose roots-rock swagger has drawn comparisons to Tom Waits, Dolly Parton, and Lucinda Williams.
After her husband died, Vicki Juditz decided to say YES to everything friends and acquaintances invited her to do. Those invitations and conversations helped get her through the initial grief, and she soon found herself Dancing at Joe’s, the story that she’ll be sharing this Sunday.
“Mental health challenges remain a taboo subject,” says Juditz, “I look forward to being a part of this show to get the conversation started on treatment, support, and resources.” Juditz, is an acclaimed storyteller who has performed in festivals across the country and has won numerous grand slams with The Moth.
This is the second storytelling show for Eric Conner, an instructor with New York Film Academy and a Burbank Cultural Arts Commissioner. “The last time I participated in a storytelling event for JAM Creative, I just had to pull from an embarrassing experience from my childhood. Easy! Plenty to choose from,” says Conner, “Writing HONESTLY and PERSONALLY about mental health, well that’s a steeper hill to climb. But an important one, especially if it reminds people in our community that it’s not some kind of sin to admit that ‘not everything is okay.'”
Though she is the author of several novels, Lynn Lipinski has never told a story on stage before. “I wanted to be in the “Go There” show because speaking about my own struggles with mental health is part of the remedy for me,” she says, “In solitude, we can only get so far in our healing. Our stories need to be heard, witnessed, and felt by others, even if we don’t yet have all the answers.
It is through these connections that hope grows and transformation happens.” Her brave sharing of her personal experience is powerful, heartbreaking, and inspiring.”
The GO THERE show is part of an ongoing campaign by the Family Service Agency meant to inspire our community to GO to a place where it is safe to talk about your struggles, GO to the friend who understands, GO to the topics that used to seem taboo and GO to sources of support whether they be a class, a craft, the great outdoors, a meditative space, whatever helps you see that you are not alone in facing internal challenges.
The bottom line is that our children, our families, our friends, our schools, our hospitals, and our businesses are all impacted by the ever-intensifying mental health crisis in our world. While the pandemic didn’t create the crisis, it has significantly intensified it and the trajectory of the challenges continues to steadily climb, not only in the numbers of those affected but in the complexity of each human experience.
For nearly 70 years, FSA has offered our community’s youth, adults, and families the safe spaces we need in our schools, their three transitional housing communities for the homeless and at their home on Burbank Blvd, spaces for honest reflection, brave dialogues about life challenges and triumphs and today they are offering the community a chance to GO THERE – to The Colony Theatre this SUNDAY, JUNE 5th beginning at 6:00 pm – to actively listen, to learn, to be present and to support this important work.
All proceeds going to support important mental health support services provided across the Burbank community by Family Service Agency.
GO THERE is produced by Burbank writer, director, and community activist Suzanne Weerts, and her production company JAM Creative, which has raised over $25,000 for local charities since 2017. $25-$100 tickets are still available at https://www.jamcreativestories.com/.