Allison selected to perform at The National Storytelling Festival StorySlam October 5th!!

So, 3 years ago this weekend I landed in Jonesborough, Tennessee to immerse myself in the world of storytelling. I spent days sitting mesmerized by masterful tellers. This year I entered the National Storytelling Festival’s 2nd Annual StorySLAM competition by submitting a 2 minute overview of what would have to be a 5 minute story. A committee of judges selected 7 storytellers from all the submissions received between January and August.  I am so honored to be one of 7 storytellers to perform this Saturday. From what I hear there will be upwards of 1,000 people there to listen. I don’t expect to win -(wish me luck anyway, though). Even if my story is good,  I’m telling a sad story, and in my experience, sad stories rarely if ever win slams.  But, I AM aiming to do my very best to authentically share a meaningful story with good people. And, I’m just thrilled to be selected.

I also can’t wait to listen to the other tellers, the slam storytellers, yes, but also the master tellers I love ( Kim Weitkamp, Syd Lieberman, Milbre Burch, Bil Lepp) and the ones I’ve been eager to hear for the first time (Antonio Rocha, Rev. Robert Jones, Minton Sparks, David Novak….)

Off to Story Land!!!

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“The Living Room” Radio Series August & September episodes air this week!

Lake Michigan, August 2013Listen to the PODCAST of the August episode of The Living Room Storytelling Radio series on Michigan Radio. It aired Thursday, August 29th on Michigan Radio‘s daily news show Stateside with Cynthia Canty. This episode features a whimsical end of summer story by my friend, Michigan storyteller and artist, Karen Czarnik.  Karen recounts a memorable road trip she took with her kids to Northern Michigan where they invoked the family tradition of swimming in every new body of water. Downey curated this piece and co-produced it with independent media producer, Zak Rosen.

If you listen, please feel free to post your comments on their website or email

The September episode of The Living Room airs Thursday, September 5th, 3-4pm EST; 10-11pm EST on Michigan Radio‘s daily news show Stateside with Cynthia CantyAiring on the first day of school for many, this episode is dedicated to education. The piece begins with a collage of voices from interviews I conducted with Kalamazoo pre-school and elementary school students the last week of classes this past June. The rest of the episode features a story by Living Room producer Zak Rosen about The James and Grace Lee Boggs School (named after the nationally known authors and activists) that opens in Detroit this week.

Listen on your radio: 91.7 FM /Ann Arbor/ Detroit; 91.1 FM Flint; 104.1 West Michigan; stream live at www.michiganradio.orgListen to the podcast on the Stateside webpage ( for it the next day, or check back here to my website and the new episodes will be posted after they air.

Hope you enjoy!

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“The Living Room” Radio Series July episode airs on Michigan Radio! Listen to the podcast.

IMG_4143Our July edition of “The Living Room” storytelling radio series aired  on Michigan Radio’s program “Stateside” Wed., July 24th @ 3:45pm EST and again 10:45pm EST. You can LISTEN TO THE PODCAST and please let us know what you think – POST COMMENTS: “Running Away with the Carnival”

This month’s segment has been a blast to put together. I took our 4 year old son to the carnival in Battle Creek, MI July 4th weekend and started talking with some of the “carneys” there. Loved their stories. So… had to come back with my recorder and spent way too many hours hanging out with the carneys and gabbing. I host and co-produced this piece with the incredibly talented Zak Rosen.


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Allison heads West! Storytelling & Music concerts in Denver, CO


I’m thrilled to be performing in Denver this week! If you’re in the area or have friends there, come on out! For more info go here.

  • Thursday, July 18th I’ll be sharing a story on the theme “Open Road” for the Storytelling Series “The Narrators.” I’m excited to see what the scene is like out here.
  • And then, on Sunday, July 21st I’ll be performing a musical storytelling concert for the kiddos at the Denver Children’s Museum. It’s one of the best Children’s Museums in the country – (and I’m not biased even though my brother used to be the President!).
  • PS – this pic is from our hike near Breckenridge
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