Staten Island OutLOUD is a grass-roots dialogue and performance project.
What is Staten Island OutLOUD?
We gather neighbors to read aloud together from a variety of world classics and compelling contemporary works. We present free gatherings in community settings throughout Staten Island. There’s nothing to buy, nothing to prepare. Just come with an open mind; we’ll lend you copies of the featured literature. Anyone who wants to read aloud is welcome to do so; those who’d prefer not to, can just sit back and enjoy being read to. We draw a diverse, inter-generational audience. In fact, we bring together many people who might otherwise not meet. We share ideas about what we’re read, and enjoy hearing a variety of viewpoints. Most events are intimate participatory readings, but several times a year we present large staged events with music. All events are free.
Where and when do you present your programs?
We meet in many different community settings throughout Staten Island’s North Shore, mid-Island and South Shore. We gather in libraries, galleries, parks, museums and historic houses, community centers, housing projects, delis and bodegas, on the Staten Island Ferry, and sometimes we stroll through neighborhoods or through a woodland as we read aloud to one another. We’ve also met in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. We select an interesting variety of venues across the Island; we try to choose sites that are wheelchair accessible, and close to public transportation.
Can I bring my kids?
Sure! We’re proud that we draw wide, intergenerational audiences; three generations often join our events. We’re especially pleased when parents bring their children to readings like Moby Dick, which we present every summer at picturesque waterside sites, places Melville loved & visited often. It’s a wonderful way to introduce youth to the classics. Occasionally we’ll advertise an event as an “adults only” program, such as Allen Ginsburg’s Howl, or James Joyce’s Ulysses – but those are the few exceptions, not the rule. All our events are free, so it’s easy to bring the whole family. (Hey, bring the whole neighborhood!)
What are some of the events you’ve presented?
A few highlights: We’ve hosted four consecutive Big Read series for the National Endowment for the Arts (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Things They Carried, Stories & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, To Kill a Mockingbird). Other events include such varied offerings as Twelve Years a Slave, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (on the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s publication); Brown v. Board of Education; Cervantes’ Don Quixote (in English & Spanish); Hiroshima-Nagasaki Reflections (featuring survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during their visit to NYC); A House Divided (poetry, historic texts and music of the Civil War); Korean poetry; Filipino creation narratives; Sojourner Truth; Liberian literature; The Confessions of St. Augustine; Teachings of the Buddha; an interfaith dialogue on Genesis, Freud and Jung; the Bhagavad Gita; readings from the Qur’an; short stories by Isabel Allende and Mark Twain; poetry by Rita Dove, Tagore, Borges, Langston Hughes, Rumi … and hundreds more!
How can I become a reader with Staten Island OutLOUD?
That’s easy: All you have to do is show up! Anyone who comes to our events can join in reading aloud. But if you’d rather just sit back and listen, that’s fine too.
How do you select material for your programs?
We choose literature that reflects the rich cultural diversity of Staten Island’s communities. We also select historic documents & sacred texts that offer lessons for us today, and which stimulate discussion among our participants. Our friends at the Staten Island branches of the New York Public Library offer terrific ideas. Most important, suggestions from our community members have led to some great new programs. If you have an idea for a future OutLOUD event, we’d love to hear from you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 718-907-0709.
How can we get an OutLOUD event in our community?
If you have an idea about a good venue in your neighborhood, we’d love to hear from you. Just email email@example.com. We’re always on the lookout for venues that are wheelchair accessible, audience-friendly, and close to public transportation.
How can I find out about your future events?
Events are always posted here on our website (“Upcoming Events”), on our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/StatenIslandOutLOUD, and on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SIOutLOUD. Call us at 718-907-0709 (outgoing message always describes our next event). To join our mailing list, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can pick up one of our schedules at the Staten Island branches of the New York Public Library, on various community bulletin boards, and at many community and cultural centers throughout the Island.
Who pays you? How are you funded?
Staten Island OutLOUD is completely volunteer-driven; we have no paid staff. Our events are supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts/The Big Read, and by an Encore Award from Staten Island Arts, with public funding by the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional support from the Stettenheim Foundation, and from generous friends and neighbors like you!