The 2022 season of Stories on Stage Sacramento was extra special for a number of reasons. We were back on the live stage after two years of virtual performances during the Covid pandemic, and, we had the honor of hosting two amazing authors, Jess Walter and Naomi Williams. Excerpts from their novels THE COLD MILLIONS and LANDFALLS, respectively, were performed by Julie Anchor. While audience members and performers were naturally cautious about the public venue, multiple precautions were taken, and the event was a huge success. The following month brought a short story from the genre-bending, multi-talented author Steph Cha, author of the recent novel YOUR HOUSE WILL PAY, and a chapter from THE LOCKHART WOMEN, by Mary Camarillo, performed by Larry Lew and Ruby Sketchley.
Authors Steve Almond and Leslie Kirk Campbell were featured in April (though Leslie was unfortunately unable to attend due to a death in the family). An excerpt from Steve's amazing ALL THE SECRETS OF THE WORLD was performed by Sarah Rothaus and two stories from Leslie's award-winning collection THE MAN WITH EIGHT PAIR OF LEGS were performed by Sarah and Ian Hopps.
April brought surprises of the very best kind, the pairing of Sands Hall's in-depth essay in Alta ("The Ways of Fiction Are Devious Indeed") about the long-standing controversy regarding Walter Stegner's plagiarizing of the work of Mary Hallock Foote in His Pulitzer Prize winning novel ANGLE OF REPOSE, with Annabelle Gurwitch's essay collection YOU'RE LEAVING WHEN. During Megan Smith's performance of Sand's stunning essay, the gasps and held breaths were audible. The wry, real and very relatable humor of Gurwitch's "In a Zoom Room No-one Can Hear You Scream" performed by Kelley Ogden made for a perfect evening of nonfiction, the kind that makes you think, laugh, and continue thinking after you leave the theater.
In June, Stories on Stage favorite Vanessa Hua returned, with an excerpt from her new, award-winning novel FORBIDDEN CITY, performed by Yuri Tajiri. ANARA GUARD, local poet, author and stalwart SOSS friend and supporter completed the bill with her debut novel LIKE A COMPLETE UNKNOWN, performed by Trina Ritter. In August two more local favorites graced the SOSS stage, Catriona McPherson (she's from Scotland, but we'll claim her since she lives in the area now) and SOSS co-director Shelley Blanton-Stroud with excerpts from novels SCOT MIST and TOM BOY.
We tried something different in July, a literary fundraiser, in an effort to shore up the bank account, which was depleted by two years to Zoom events during the pandemic when we weren't able to collect any admission donations from attendees. We almost had hoped to hand over the bank account in good order to the new directors for 2023--Jessica and Joshua Laskey—a change that was announced at the July event. To make the evening more than just about money, we had a full evening of stories from the Twenty Twenty anthology from local authors Maureen O'Leary, Sue Staats, Anara Guard, Jan Haag, Krista Minard and Renee Thompson, performed by Jessica Laskey and Kellie Raines. We also offered our new SOSS book bags and t-shirts for the first time, had a silent auction and a stunning performance by the clarinet flextet CLARISONIX.
In September we welcomed authors Kate Milliken and Nora Rodriguez Camagna, with an excerpt from Kate's novel KEPT ANIMALS, performed by Justine Lopez, and a chapter from Nora's novel CINNAMON BREAD UNDER THE CHERRY TREE (seeking representation), performed by Angel Rodriquez. In October Gabriela Garcia came to Sacramento with her multi-generational debut novel OF WOMEN AND SALT, performed by Carissa Meagher.
Also featured in October with Gabriela Garcia was local favorite and founder of Black Women Write, Stephanie Bray. Brandon Rubin performed Stephanie's short story "Sherwood Green's Last Picture Show." To close out the season we had an amazing double bill with Maceo Montoya and his unique, mind-bending, genre-bending, all-things-bending novel PREPARATORY NOTES FOR FUTURE MASTERPIECES, performed by Ernestos Bustos, and two stories from Elison Alcovendaz' collection THE EVOLUTION OF LOVE, performed by Brennan Villados. There was also amazing carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, thanks to Sue Staats, to bid farewell to 2020-2022 co-directors Dorothy Rice and Shelley Blanton-Stroud.
You can purchase or order these authors' books at Capital Books in Sacramento, at your local independent book store or at bookshop.org.
Check the SOSS Youtube channel and website for recordings of these and other SOSS performances.