Bridges, Bright and Bold

Thanks to Professor Amy Drees and her design students at Defiance College (Ohio), Bridges Open Mic has bright and bold materials! Here are a poster (11×17), a letter-size flyer, and a mini-flyer (2 per letter-size). Please pass these on digitally and in print, so that word about the program may spread. And, remember, registration is open! Sign up today at!

Poster (11x17)

Letter size

Mini-flyer (2 x letter-size)

Bridges Goes Boom!

Bridges Open Mic, coming November 22, continues to gain momentum! Since the program’s last update, the Capital Area Response Effort (C.A.R.E.) of Lansing has become a partner. Also, the Peace Education Center is donating transportation funds for featured poet Bobbi Byrd. And I’m both excited and honored to be collaborating with Jeffrey Franckowiak, a Lansing-based community organizer and advocate whose work especially creates safe and supportive LGBTQ spaces. Jeffrey and I are developing the program, and will co-emcee Bridges!

Meanwhile, it’s time to register for the Open Mic segments of Bridges! The more contributors the better to celebrate gender expression; challenge gender violence and militarism; and honor Trans gender and Two Spirit voices. Register by email at herstories.project[at], with information about your work — written or spoken word.

It’s amazing to see this event bring together talented circles and converging priorities across Greater Lansing. Stay tuned for the official flyer, which is on its way from design students of Defiance College in Ohio. Thanks to Professor Amy Drees for facilitating their contributions!

And here’s the scoop on one of the featured artists:

Bobbi Byrd is a lesbian poet who lives in Osseo, Michigan. In the past, she has been a member of the Lansing Poetry Club, Poetry Society of Michigan, and smaller writing groups in Jackson and Hillsdale Counties.

She self-published her first collection “Poetry the Music of a Woman’s Words” in 1981. Her latest book “Seasons of the Soul” (2003) was published by Booksurge. Her first poem published by a periodical was in “The Island Lesbian” after she and her beloved partner returned from a trip to Hawaii. She since has been published in “Faith @ Work,” a nationally juried gallery, as well as local papers.

Bobbi has shared her work in a variety of venues: Lansing’s Capitol step, Schuler’s Bookstore in Okemos, and readings in Hillsdale county. She also regularly shares poems of a spiritual nature in her church. She was invited to share her work by the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature for two years, but last year chose to present and share poetry at the National Association for Esoteric Healing instead.

Newsflash about Bridges

Bridges Open Mic is building support across the Greater Lansing community! The Peace and Justice Committee of Red Cedar Friends (Quaker) Meeting made a donation toward the event venue. The Sexual Assault Program at Michigan State University is the most recent partner to join the program. And youth from the Gateway L.G.B.T.Q. Support Group are excited to step up to the mic!

Collaborators and participants are still wanted, so send word with your interest (herstories.project[at] and pass the news on to those who may want to take part! The updated bookmark for the event makes it easy to invite others.

Bridges: Save-the-date Bookmark

In an effort to spread the word about the next HerStories Project program, Bridges Open Mic, here is a save-the-date bookmark! Just click the image then save it for digital use.

This event so far is featuring poet Bobbi Byrd (Osseo, Michigan), whose poetry is both powerful and gentle. (Careful not confuse her with Bobby Byrd, another poet altogether!)

Some of Bobbi’s poetry is available through the National Gallery of Writing. The work published there celebrates the life of her partner.

Bobbi also appears at the start of this video story about Embodying Our Words, a HerStories Project program about embodied writing. The video story was produced in February 2011 by Lansing City Pulse interns Fiona Guo and Yang Zhang.

Bookmark updated September 28, 2011.

Collaborators wanted! Bridges, Nov. 22

Fall greetings! The HerStories Project is gearing up for Bridges, an open mic of spoken and written word at (SCENE) Metrospace (East Lansing, MI) on November 22 at 7:00pm. The date was selected because it links Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20) and the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (Nov. 25 – Dec. 10).

Bridges is an event that celebrates gender expression with special honor to two-spirit and transgender voices. Bridges also challenges gender violence, in part with the 2011 theme announcement for 16 Days — “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!”

Bridges is looking for event partners!
Collaborators so far include the Center for Poetry and the Peace Education Center.   A special invitation is extended to groups with two-spirit/ transgender members, as well as two-spirit/ transgender individuals.  I also am looking for a co-organizer to help shape this event to honor two-spirit/ transgender voices. Please email me with interest or questions at herstories.project[at]

The Success of HerStories Fest

A tell-tale sign of success at a grassroots event is when communities show support. This dynamic made HerStories Fest shine: bringing together people from the greater Lansing area and college campuses, as well multiple generations and genders. And in contrast to The HerStories Project’s 2010 jar-on-the-table fundraiser, in 2011 we raised $1,766.18! This gift to the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing comes at a time of great need, as it strives to raise $10,000 by the end of March. So, a gigantic thanks to everyone who made HerStories Fest shine! Please enjoy the event’s photo gallery on Flickr. Also, to honor the heart put into the endeavor, here’s a portrait of the evening…

A hearty crowd gathered at Everybody Reads Bookstore on March 18, 2011, to celebrate stories about women during Women’s History Month and benefit the WCGL. Guests enjoyed complimentary refreshments from Al-Quds Halal Market, Biggby’s Coffee, and Edible Arrangements before the ensemble performance Word Art. The standing-room-only audience accepted gifts of poetry, prose, and spoken word. Stories about the individual and community impact of the Women’s Center threaded between laughter, tears, and applause. Poet Silvana Alfaro – editor and contributor of Lansing Community College’s 2010 Washington Square Review – proudly stated that she is here today thanks to the life-saving and sustaining services of the WCGL. Additional Word Art contributors included

Nancy Allen (Washington Square Review 2010), Sandra Cade (Intercultural Communications) with guitarist Neil Byrne, “Midnight” Rose Cooper (MSU Slam Poetry Team), Laurie Hollinger (Center for Poetry), Melanie Morrison (Allies for Change) Tamera Nielsen (inView LLC), and myself.

The Benefit Concert with Buffet continued next door at Gone Wired Cafe. Emcee Lisa Sarno, drummer of Sometimes Y and Women’s Center intern, told captivating stories and introduced inspired musicians. Mighty Medicine, comprised of vocalist DeShaun Sparkle Snead and guitarist Larry Neuhardt, lifted hearts and raised dancing feet. Opera singer Marco Guzmán, accompanied by pianist Judy Kabadion, transported guests with Spanish-sung boleros and arias. Chef Cecilia “Chica” Garcia prepared a lavishing buffet of vegan and vegetarian dishes, thanks to generous donations from the East Lansing Food Co-op and Foods for Living. Also contributing to refreshments were locally-owned Bake N’ Cakes and Paramount Coffee.

The Silent Auction, organized by Sandra Cade and Jill Fisher (Prospect Place), tantalized guests with quality goods and services. And what great variety! From a personal laminator (OFOS) to a gift certificate for massage (Body Transformation Massage/ Jessi De La Cruz), and original artwork by Jill Campbell, Roxanne Frith, Yvonne LeFave, and Erika Magers. Local businesses enthusiastically donated, especially along East Michigan Avenue where the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing resides. Auction donors also included:

Avon Representative Leslie Darling, Bancroft Flowers, The Bead Boutique, Bill & Charlie’s Auto Repair, Bake N’ Cakes, Blue Sky Spirit, Capital City Collectibles, Chamomile & Comfrey, Edible Arrangements, Emil’s Italian Restaurant, Foods for Living, Intercultural Communications, inView LLC, Mid-Michigan Neurofeedback, Paramount Coffee, Rae’s Barn Boutique, Saper Galleries , Shamrock Clean, Shangri La, and Triple Goddess Bookstore.

HerStories Fest would not have been possible without many helping hands. Volunteers set-up, oversaw the auction and buffet, as well as restored venues to order. A special thanks to behind-the-scenes people: Colleen Cook (Shamrock Clean), Colleen Davis (Gone Wired), Scott Harris (Everybody Reads), Laurie Hollinger, Justin Lippi, Tamera Nielsen, Nic Piechotte (WCGL), Heather Spotts (WCGL), and Raquel Tabet. Also, thanks to radio programs Exposure at Michigan State University (IMPACT 89FM) and Coffee Break at Lansing Community College (WLNZ 89.7FM) for interviews that promoted the event.

HerStories Fest is here!

HerStories Fest tonight promises an amazing time with wordsmiths, musicians, cuisine, and good ole inspiration! The event benefits the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing. So for those able, please bring your checkbook, penny jar, or other forms of currency to help out an essential community resource. Check out the full program here.

Lisa Sarno is the Benefit Concert emcee! Here’s what Lisa told me about herself:

“Currently a graduate student in Clinical Social Work at MSU, drummer for the band Sometimes Y. I enjoy motorcycle riding, playing music, and talking about politics. Affiliation: Socialist (really!, not like Obama, a real socialist). Role Model: Angela Davis. Fav Color: Blue. Someday I promise to perform one stand-up comedy routine.”

Come enjoy Lisa’s humor tonight!

Chef Cecilia Garcia, former co-owner of Mama Bear’s Cafe, is preparing a vegan and vegetarian buffet. What a menu! Likely with a surprise or two in the works:

  • Mixed green salad
  • Black olive tapenade
  • White bean and basil pate with crostini
  • Goat cheese, caramelized onion, and roasted garlic spread with crackers
  • Gluten free pasta tossed with lemon oil and artichoke hearts, zucchini, and carrot ribbons
  • Baked Roma tomatoes with Parmesan and herbs

For anyone anticipating birthdays and holidays – or even to treat yourself – be prepared for a stunning array at the silent auction! Local artists and businesses have been generous with donations. Did you know that select items already are on display at Gone Wired Cafe? HerStories Fest auction donors include:

Artists Jill Campbell, Yvonne LeFave, Roxanne Frith, Erika Magers; Avon Representative Leslie Darling; Bancroft Flowers; The Bead Boutique; Bill & Charlie’s Auto Repair; Bake N’ Cakes; Blue Sky Spirit; Capital City Collectibles; Chamomile & Comfrey; Edible Arrangements; Emil’s Italian Restaurant; Foods for Living; Intercultural Communications; inView LLC; Mid-Michigan Neurofeedback; Office Furniture Outlet & Supplies; Paramount Coffee; Rae’s Barn Boutique; Saper Galleries; Shamrock Clean; Shangri La; and Triple Goddess Bookstore.

HerStories Fest: Raffle, Auction, & More

Good news! Advance donations of $20 or more for the benefit portion of HerStories Fest are accepted through Thursday, March 17. Visit the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, Gone Wired Cafe, Everybody Reads Bookstore, East Lansing Food Co-op, or Triple Goddess Bookstore to collect yours! Only advance donors qualify for the raffle prize of $100 in gift certificates. The winner will be announced during the Benefit Concert. (For anyone picking up tickets but not attending the event: be sure to provide your contact info at the time of donation to ensure receiving your prize.)

Are you weighing whether or not to donate in advance of HerStories Fest and/or bid on silent auction items? Please consider how doing so will provide a gift that keeps giving. The funds raised for the WCGL will support its ability to benefit our community, which includes connecting people with life-saving services. Additionally, the raffle prize of $100 in gift certificates and auction items make great gifts for birthdays, holidays like Mother’s and Father’s Day, or an expression of everyday appreciation.

The silent auction at HerStories Fest offers original artwork, services, handmade goods, and more, thanks to the generous contributions of local artists and businesses. Right now select items are displayed at Gone Wired (2021 E. Michigan Ave.) for early bidding! And what’s in the silent auction? Artwork by Roxanne Frith, reiki sessions from Blue Sky Spirit of East Lansing, books from Capital City Collectibles, a gift basket from Paramount Coffee, and – of course – much more!

In support of HerStories Fest and ultimately the Women’s Center, Avon representative Leslie Darling has set up an online fundraiser with 20% going toward the event! Purchases must use the promotional code HERSTORIESFEST at checkout. The website to make these orders is .

Grassroots Has Might!

HerStories Fest calls for advanced donations toward the Benefit Concert with Buffet at a suggestion of $20 per person! See below for a list of locations. All proceeds go to the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing. Advanced donors qualify for a raffle with a prize of $100 in gift certificates. Also, advanced donations help provide accurate estimates for our sponsors. If you already plan to attend, please consider making an advance donation. We are striving to help the WCGL toward its goal of $10,000 by the end of March.

It’s important to keep in mind that the Benefit Concert with Buffet is possible because of generous contributions: Gone Wired Cafe, the band Mighty Medicine, opera singer Marco Guzmán, chef Cecilia “Chica” Garcia (formerly co-owner of Mama Bear’s Cafe), East Lansing Food Co-op, and Foods for Living. This is what The HerStories Project is all about – grassroots programs created by volunteers and community partners, in celebration of stories about women and gender expression.

Clearly, grassroots has might! In this spirit, HerStories Fest is looking for designated volunteers to collect contributions. For instance, with 10 designated volunteers collecting 5 contributions each, the event is well on its way to making a substantial gift to the WCGL. If you are interested to help in this way or have questions, email herstories.project @ Designated volunteers will receive a packet by email for this task, and their names will be published online via The HerStories Project website and Facebook listing. People are not authorized to accept donations for HerStories Fest without this designation and public recognition.

Here are additional ways to help with advanced donations:

  • Feel free to give more than the suggested $20 donation! Larger gifts will balance out donations at the event that fall below the suggested amount.
  • If you aren’t able to attend HerStories Fest, sponsor tickets! Some people who cannot afford to donate the suggested amount otherwise may not attend the Benefit Concert with Buffet.
  • Announce the program at upcoming face-to-face meetings.
  • Circulate the press release.
  • Invite Facebook friends using the event listing.

As of midday on Friday, March 11, advanced donation for the Benefit Concert with Buffet will be accepted at these locations:

* Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, 1712 E. Michigan Ave.
* Everybody Reads Bookstore, 2021 E. Michigan Ave.
* Gone Wired Cafe, 2019 E. Michigan Ave.

East Lansing
* East Lansing Food Co-op (ELFCO), 4960 Northwind Dr.

* Triple Goddess Bookstore, 2142 Hamilton Rd.

Many Hands Make HerStories

Updated Mar. 7, 2011.

Thanks to everyone who is supporting The HerStories Project‘s second year of community-based events! Just within a month of the first 2011 program, Embodying Our Words, the next is coming quickly – HerStories Fest, an artistic celebration of stories about women.

PREPARATIONS for HerStories Fest, March 18, are in full swing! Co-organizers Sandra Cade, Jill Fisher, and I putting our hands together from 4PM to 5:30PM at the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing (1710 E. Michigan Ave.) on Mondays, March 7 and 14, to ready the way. We welcome more hands to join us – in person and online – to make this celebration about women’s stories and fundraiser for the WCGL shine bright! For synchronous online collaboration, sign-in to Skype and add deyofthephoenix as a contact.

SET-UP for HerStories Fest on March 18 begins at 5PM at Gone Wired Cafe (2021 E. Michigan Ave.) to prepare for the Silent Auction, and continues with 6PM set-up at Everybody Reads Bookstore (2019 E. Michigan Ave.). At the moment, we have 2 people confirmed for on-site assistance. If you are interested to set-up, help during the event, and/or clean-up, please let us know (herstories.project @

The program begins with WORD ART at 7PM at Everybody Reads. The event is free and donations for the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing are welcome. Would you like to tell a story, read a poem, or deliver another artistic expression to celebrate stories about women? Let us know (herstories.project @! All genders are invited to participate and honor women. Contributions explore varied angles: autobiography, a woman of inspiration from this lifetime or wider history, a feminine figure from fiction or mythology. So far, the line-up includes:

  • Silvana Alfaro and Nancy Allen, co-editors of and contributors to Washington Square Review (2010), student literary journal of Lansing Community College;
  • Laurie Hollinger, Michigan State University student and Center for Poetry intern;
  • Sandra Cade, ethnographer, singer, and sponsor Intercultural Communications;
  • Melanie Morrison, founder and director of Allies for Change;
  • and myself, Lansing-based poet and spoken-word artist.

HerStories Fest continues as a BENEFIT CONCERT at Gone Wired with suggested donation of $10. Proceeds go to the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, which has called upon the community to help raise $10,000 by the end of March for its continuation. If you are a musician and would like to contribute, please send us word. At this time, performers include:

  • Marco Guzmán, Chilean musician performing opera and romantic ballads in Spanish;
  • and Mighty Medicine, fabulous duo of jazz, blues rock, and funky folk.

In tandem with these events is the SILENT AUCTION. Donations offer a range of services and artwork: framed paper art, shamanic healing ceremony, language lessons, Guatemalan textiles, books, auto repair services, paintings, paper mache boxes, baked goods, hand-knit medicine bags. We continue to accept donations, so please contact us about contributions (herstories.project @ Some donations will be on display at Gone Wired and Everybody Reads the week before HerStories Fest.