“In Order of Appearance in The Story Salon: Big Book of Stories”
click an author to jump to their bio

Marsha Clark
Julio Martinez
Moira Quirk
R.M. Johnson
Lauri Fraser
Joseph Dougherty
Jessica Bern
Howard Leff
Mary Kennedy
Dan Farren
Cathy Ladman
Bill Sperling
Donna Allen Figueroa
Ellen Cox
Shelley-Anne Wooderson
Shelby Lee Jenkins
Frances Peach
Libbe S. HaLevy
Judi Lee Brandwein
Paula P. Small
Paul Jacek
Marsha Lenox
Suzee Seeds
Richard Tanner
Clay Bravo
Paul Candice
Skylar Lenox
Jennifer Skobin
Lori Weiss
Les Kurkendaal
Debbie McGowan
Kate McHugh
Winfield C. Goulden
Dan Tirman
Tony Figueroa
Michael C. Rayner
Steve Robinson
Sofia Carias
Nigel Paice
Michael Dressler
Bernadette F. Cummings
Lance Anderson
Beverly Mickins

Marsha Clark has performed with various sketch-comedy and improv
groups in New York and Los Angeles. While in New York she spent six
years playing Hillary Bauer (the good girl who made bad mistakes) on
The Guiding Light (as well as writing and producing the parody The
Guiding Plight) and also performing her stand-up at Catch A Rising
Star and The Improv. She wrote and directed the SNAFU Revue at
Theater Off Park, and also wrote and directed several music videos.
Since coming to Los Angeles she’s performed in daytime TV, many prime
time television shows, theater, movies, independent films and numerous
TV commercials. And she’s provided voices for cartoons, commercials,
TV shows and video games. Marsha is thrilled to be participating in
the wonderful environment of the StorySalon.

Julio Martinez, weekly host of KPFK Radio’s Arts in Review, is a
theatre critic for Daily Variety, as well as features editor for Latin
Heat Magazine. He is a regular contributor to ON DIRECTV, L.A. Stage
Magazine and the Writers Guild of America’s Written By. His
articles and arts critiques have also appeared in Los Angeles Times
Magazine, Westways Magazine, La Opinion, Backstage West, The Hollywood
Reporter and the L.A. Daily News.

Moira Quirk grew up in Rutland, England but has lived in America long
enough that she no longer uses the words “fortnight” or “naff.” When
not wrangling her two daughters and husband Michael, she is a
voiceover artist (teens and college kids may remember her as Mo, the
referee of Nickelodeon’s Guts and Global Guts). She has been heard in
numerous audiobooks, CD-roms and commercials and, lately, on the
cartoons My Life as a Teenage Robot, Stroker and Hoop, The Wild
Thornberrys Movie, Steamboy and What’s New Scooby Doo, where she got
to say the immortal “you meddling kids” line. Life is pretty good.
www.moiraquirk.com

R.M. Johnson is a screenwriter, playwright and poet. He has told
stories all his life, and most of the time his parents never caught
him.

Lauri Fraser has been doing voiceovers for the past umpteen years,
and you can currently hear her as the voice of Jane Jetson advertising
Dove hair care and Electrasol, as well as on the cartoons Johnny
Bravo, Superman, Cow and Chicken and I Am Weasel and A Boy named Q,
among others. In between doing voiceovers and writing stories, she has
built a career as a hairdresser and at this point is still available
to do your hair at her salon in Beverly Hills. She blends her own
aromatherapy products, one of which is a great mosquito repellent! She
loves telling stories at the StorySalon and is very excited to have
you read hers.

Joseph Dougherty’s plays have been performed at Manhattan Theatre
Club and at Lincoln Center. His Emmy winning work in television
includes the groundbreaking series thirtysomething and several movies
for HBO. He is the creator of Handwritten Theatre, downloadable drama
available at http://handwrittentheatre.blogspot.com. His first book,
Comfort and Joi, is available at Amazon.com.

Jessica Bern has been a successful commercial actress for the last six
years. She has been a spokesperson for companies such as Wendy’s,
Amana and ACS Wireless. Jessica has also appeared in commercials for
a variety of other products such as Home Depot and Campbell’s. Jessica
has written and performed three solo shows, one of which was staged at
the HBO Workspace. She is presently enrolled in the UCLA Professional
Screenwriting program and looks forward to a future filled with words.
Lastly, she would like to thank her daughter Phoebe for giving her
strength and courage and imbuing her with a new love of life.

Howard Leff is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. His columns
have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune’s
“RedEye” edition. Howard often refers to himself in the third person,
much to the dismay of his readers. http://www.howardleff.com

Mary Kennedy is a professional comic and actress, she has been on
NBC’s ER as Officer Trudy Lange. She just hosted the pilot Breaking
In for Spike Television. In addition, she is a regular at the Laugh
Factory and warm-up comic for the live game show Who’s King of the
Water Cooler? at the Ontario and Irvine Improvs. On the road, she is
a regular at Bonkerz Comedy Clubs, Rooster T. Feathers and Rascals
Comedy Club. In New York City, she has appeared at Caroline’s, The
Comic Strip and Stand Up New York. She has been in the Bud Light
Ladies of Laughter Competition; Hampton’s Comedy Festival; and for the
last three years has been featured in the Boston Comedy Festival. A
finalist for the HBO Comedy Arts Festival Talent Search, Mary’s comedy
has been seen on Comedy Central and the USA Network.

Dan Farren is a writer and performer whose film/TV credits include a
masked wrestling referee and a fashion make-over recipient. He has
authored several one-person shows, co-authored an award winning play
and has performed stand-up all over California. As one of the
producers of StorySalon, he co-produced The Mario Sessions CD and is
the author of What Does Not Kill Me Hurts for a Real Long Time. Visit
him at DanFarren.com. Use the password “weizen in mein hosen.”

The best way to get inside Cathy Ladman‘s head is to see her live. As
one of the country’s top comedians, Ladman’s show is a self-probing,
anxiety-venting vehicle, which draws laughter from exposing personal
neurosis. She has not only appeared on The Tonight Show nine times,
but was also the only female comic to appear on the last two Johnny
Carson Tonight Show Anniversary shows. Cathy has had her own HBO One
Night Stand comedy special and, in 1992, was awarded the American
Comedy Award for Best Female Stand Up Comic. A native New Yorker, now
living in Los Angeles, Cathy is successfully pursuing an acting career
in television and film. Her film credits include roles in White
Oleander, What Planet Are You From? My Fellow Americans, and Don’t
Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead. Her numerous television pilots include
Caroline in the City, in which she had a recurring role. She appeared
regularly on ABC’s Politically Incorrect and Comedy Central’s Dr.
Katz: Professional Therapist. She has guest starred in many sitcoms,
among them Fox’s Titus and CBS’s Everybody Loves Raymond. Cathy’s
comedy focuses on family, growing up, relationships, and real life
from a very personal perspective. The Los Angeles Times put it best
“… Ladman has such clever, well-written material and such a breezy,
unassuming delivery that it would be easy to overlook just how good
she is: Her act seems effortless.” Currently, she is working on a new
solo show, entitled, Does This Show Make Me Look Fat?

Bill Sperling has been one of StorySalon’s “go-to”
writer/performers for more than five years. One of the first to launch
a solo performance piece, Danger H2O, from material created at the
Salon, his stories run the gamut from collegiate high-jinks to
semi-somber warnings about life in the legal profession, always
delivered with wit and panache.

Donna Allen Figueroa is an actor. Her acting has taken her from her
native Cincinnati, Ohio to Los Angeles via Boston, Chicago, London,
and NYC. Donna’s professional credits include principle roles on the
soaps Days of Our Lives and General Hospital. She guest starred with
Robert Guillaume on The Robert Guillaume Show, and was the sultry
voice of Ballantine Ale. Donna also lends her voice to many animated
characters, and has appeared in several television commercials.
Theater credits include several L.A. productions (including readers
and Radio Theater), and a season with Chicago’s famed Free Street
Theater. Donna earned her bachelors in Acting and Speech from Emerson
College in Boston, and has continued her training at NYC’s Circle in
the Square, and at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Donna credits the StorySalon with allowing her to stretch as both a
performer and writer. She is a chronic shopper, always in search of
the ultimate bargain. Donna lives in the Hollywood Hills with her
husband Tony. Together Donna and Tony tell stories. Many can be heard
on their podcast at guesswhoscomingtoblog.blogspot.com.

Ellen Cox lives in the Los Angeles area with her two teenage children.
She is busy finishing her college education, working in Special
Education with Los Angeles Unified School District and pursuing her
acting career. She can presently be seen in an Emerald Nuts commercial
driving various husbands in an old Toyota car, which she swears was
hers at one time. A chatty person, her children and friends are
thrilled that she has found an outlet on Wednesday nights at the Story
Salon.

Still looking for home, Shelley-Anne Wooderson lived in 33 houses, and
changed countries 10 times. Since becoming a StorySalon member over
5 years ago she found the courage to submit her work to publishers.
Last year her book “Los Angeles by Stroller” which outlines the 100 or
so places she and her preschool kids explored while living in L.A. was
published. She plans to keep writing, and keep moving.

Shelby Lee Jenkins moved to Los Angeles in May 2003 in her constant
search for sunshine. Her motto since she has arrived has been “Every
day this town makes me laugh is one more day to stay.”

Frances Peach began a career at sixteen as an international fashion
model. This followed an interesting assortment of television, film,
and theatre. Her favorite re-occurring roles were The Odd Couple,
Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. These were followed by many guest
starring roles for television, numerous feature films an theatre roles
in Florida, Vancouver and Los Angeles. She still enjoys doing
commercials and film. She is married to John Huneck, a director of
photography, and his career has taken them to many countries, even
living in those countries for short periods of time. In her spare
time, Frances is a realtor and also has an animal rescue service. She
enjoys “finding the perfect house” for clients. Frances has been with
the StorySalon almost since the very beginning, and gives great
thanks to its founder and producer, Beverly Mickins, who is also a
dear personal friend.

Libbe S. HaLevy is a Certified Life Action Coach who works nationally
with writers. She’s also the librettist of NOW, VOYAGER: The Musical,
which has been optioned for Broadway. lhalevy@aol.com

Judi Lee Brandwein started her career in improv, graduating from The
Second City and performing in clubs and schools around Chicago; then
on to theatre, mostly comedies, and for the past twenty years has been
a successful commercial actress selling everything from beer to baby
products. Six years ago she became a founding member of The Chicago
StoryTellers where she first began telling dating stories. For the
past year she has been performing a copulation of these stories in her
one-woman show, Fornicationally Challenged.
www.fornicationallychallenged.com

Paula P. Small is a writer of tall tales, short stories and poetry of
all sizes. Woman’s Corner Magazine’s December 2005 issue featured her
flash fiction story Lucky Karma. She was a registered poet and “soft
slam” participant at the Austin International Poetry Festival 2006.
You can find her spoken poetry on the Cloudy Day Art and the Slam Idol
Podcasts, as well as her written poetry, stories and everyday
ramblings on her ‘blog “Brickstin” (http://www.xanga.com/Sankofa212).
Normally talkative, words fail the Scorpion scribe to express her
gratitude to the StorySalon. However, she thanks her family and
friends for continued encouragement and support. She dedicates this
story to her family and West Indian roots.

Paul Jacek received his theatre training at the American Academy of
Dramatic Arts. A regular at the World Famous Comedy Store on Sunset
Blvd, Paul is seen weekly at the hip StorySalon in Studio City,
California. His one-man-show Secrets of a Beverly Hills Shampoo Boy
ran for a year in Los Angeles, and is in development as an independent
Feature film. The Sequel Tray Tables Up! My Walk in the Clouds
enjoyed a nine-week run at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre. A member of
The Group Repertory Theatre, he recently originated the role of Mark
Kincaid in the World Premiere of a new play, Closets. Paul is a
correspondent for Notes From Hollywood one of the top 100,000 sites on
the World Wide Web. www.notesfromhollywood.com. Currently residing in
Hollywood, California. www.pauljacek.com

Marsha Lenox would like to thank her amazing daughter, Skylar, for
accepting her quirks and neuroses with a grace, magnanimity, and
compassion that belie her tender years. Marsha would also like to
thank the lovely producers of StorySalon for their efforts in putting
this book together and for providing, week after week, a space where
she and other storytellers/writers can share their work and their
lives. Marsha has been regaling others with stories, onstage and off,
for many, many years. However, once her story of her family’s cattle
ranch in Texas—a saga which enthralled her fellow third graders at
Pompano Beach Elementary for months—was exposed as a complete
fabrication by her unwitting little brother, Michael, she learned the
importance of distinguishing between fact and fantasy. Her story “The
Next Heifetz” is in fact, fact.

Suzee Seeds. As an executive secretary at the Walt Disney Studios, I
am constantly reminded of the rich history of artistry and imagination
that surrounds me daily. Directly behind my building is the stage that
holds what I consider to be one of the keystones of the studio’s
history, because this was the stage where the Mickey Mouse Club was
filmed. This is where my dream of performing was born. Oh, to be
singing, dancing and telling stories alongside Annette, Bobby, Jimmy
and Darlene, the Mouseketeers. I began pursuing my dream during my
junior and senior years of high school at the local Junior Civic
theater in Portland, Oregon, where I performed in children’s theater.
Then I went on to college studies and acting at the University of
Washington, in Seattle. I continued to act in local musical theater
and was even lucky enough to snag a few commercials before my move to
Los Angeles, where I have continued my passion for performing by
landing a couple of bit parts on TV. The past few years I’ve branched
out to stand-up comedy. As yet, it hasn’t brought me a steady income,
and I’m still waiting for my secret inheritance to kick in, where ever
it may be. In the meantime, I am very grateful for my current
administrative assignment at the studio, where I am surrounded by an
incredible creative life force. However, I have discovered another
incredible life force, the StorySalon, a wonderful, nurturing
environment encouraging each and every storyteller to express
themselves and their imagination, and to not be afraid. ENJOY!!!!

Richard Tanner has written for Esquire, Vogue, The Village Voice, The
New York Daily News, Video Times, a game show, a cable talk show, and
has completed the requisite number of unproduced screenplays, as per
California Civil Code, section 38-41. In his spare time, he’s
guest-starred in well-over a baker’s dozen television shows, had small
parts in big movies, and big parts in small ones.

Clay Bravo always knew that she was a storyteller, because by the time she was
in kindergarten, she was already putting desks together, and standing on them to
tell stories…when no one asked her to. By the time she was eight, she
was spending part of the year “on the road.” But since she wasn’t allowed to leave
the block, she had to constantly think of new stories. She was voted “Most Likely to
Look Like the Cowardly Lion” by her senior class, and was 2nd Runner
Up for the title of Miss Chunky Wisconsin 1974. A veteran of numerous
national TV-ad campaigns, she can be seen, most recently, in the 2004
big-screen remake of Bewitched. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1936273/

Paul Candice has been telling stories at StorySalon in Studio City,
California for the past four years. He has done stand-up for close to
a decade in and around L.A. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri. Paul
came to L.A. to pursue an acting career. Currently he is working in
the area of voiceover artistry.

Skylar Lenox, born to a life of privilege and mirth, began her writing
at the tender age of three. At the age of five she self-published her
first book, a fictional account of one girl’s journey through the
Holocaust. Since her first book, she has been a featured writer in
such publications as the FaCE-LA Gazette and the Los Angeles Valley
Star. She came across StorySalon three years ago after her mother
told her she would be cut off from the family fortune if she did not
attend. Luckily, StorySalon was not the torture she once imagined it
would be and, after a year and a half of watching others, she climbed
the stage and told her first story. Other than writing, Skylar enjoys
watching people in pain and laugh, mostly at StorySalon.

A native of southern California, Jennifer Skobin has many years of
storytelling experience. In college at Northwestern University in
Chicago, she spent much of her free time as a traveling storyteller,
telling stories to fellow college students, young children, and to
those who are children at heart. As a screenwriter, Jennifer often
applies the skills she learned as a storyteller into the worlds she
spins for the screen. She received a graduate degree in Screenwriting
from USC’s School of Cinema-Television, where she graduated in May
2006 as a Master of Fine Arts.

Lori Weiss is a comedienne, writer and actress who has appeared on E!
Entertainment, CNN Today and Showtime. In addition, she has also done
a USO World Comedy Tour, appeared at the Riviera in Vegas and been on
All Comedy Radio.

Les Kurkendaal is a Los Angeles based actor/standup
comedian/storyteller who loves traveling the world in search of
threatre festivals. You can see Les perform in comedy clubs around the
L.A. area and of course at his favorite venue StorySalon

Debbie McGowan is a High School teacher and published author. Even
though her writing is mainly fiction, reading between the lines will
always give an insight into a social or political issue dear to her
heart.

Kate McHugh‘s writing career got off to a rocky start when she failed
penmanship in Miss Nowak’s fourth grade class. Luckily, with the
advent of the personal computer and Kate’s adeptness at the keyboard,
her writing is coming along nicely. While she does worry that her best
writing takes place in e-mails, Kate is completely confident in the
superior quality of her grocery lists.

Winfield C. Goulden

Born 10 December, 1919. Education: Stamford (Connecticut) High School,
graduated 1937.

Rutgers University, graduated 1941.

World War II combat veteran: Normandy, Holland, Belgium, Germany

Served five years as a glider pilot. Decorated.

In civilian life: journalist, New York Daily News. Later,
advertising, marketing, sales executive with major advertising
agencies, New York and Los Angeles. Retired 1996.

Married, four children, grandchildren.

Dan Tirman has been performing with StorySalon since 2001,
participating with the group in radio and TV appearances, podcasts, a
CD, Story Festivals, and weekly live shows. His involvement with Story
Salon also led to the writing, directing and performing of his
one-person show, I Live Lucy. Dan has worked with various theater
companies as an actor and director in New York, Florida and Los
Angeles and has appeared on TV shows, such as Star Trek Voyager and in
films, as well. He also teaches English and writing at colleges in
Southern California. He has taken great pleasure in working with and
getting to know the performers at StorySalon.www.dantirman.com

Tony Figueroa is a stand-up comedian, writer and actor based in Los
Angeles. He has performed in many comedy clubs including The Comedy
Store, The Improv and The Laugh Factory. A “day job” teaching comedy
traffic school led to Tony’s co-hosting and co-producing several radio
shows. Tony wrote a one-man show called Child of Television in which
he explores his life and how it differed from what he learned from TV.
Segments of the show have been performed at the StorySalon in North
Hollywood. Tony has recently started writing columns for his blog
childoftelevision.blogspot.com. The blog is an example of life
imitating art. Tony wrote a sitcom pilot titled Red State where the
main character writes a syndicated column also called Child of
Television. In his spare time Tony can be found storytelling at the
StorySalon, surfing the Net and of course watching TV. Tony is
married and lives with his beautiful wife Donna in the Hollywood
Hills. Together Tony and Donna tell stories. Many can be heard on
their podcast at guesswhoscomingtoblog.blogspot.com. In his spare time
Tony can be found storytelling at the StorySalon, surfing the Net and
of course watching TV.

Michael C. Rayner hails from Goodrich, Michigan about an hour from
Detroit. In his youth Michael’s hobby was pretending to be sick so he
could stay home from school and avoid the bullies. He also liked Red
Wing Hockey. He started performing at Flint Michigan’s automobile
themed amusement park, Autoworld, during his summer vacations. In his
live show, Michael is something of a postmodern vaudevillian. His
signature trick is spinning a McDonald’s cheeseburger on an umbrella.
He has performed this, and other antics, on The Late Show with David
Letterman, Sesame Street, The Extreme Gong Show and various
Nickelodeon shows. When not performing, Michael writes. He placed
fourth in the online writing competition Scriptapalooza. He has
written for E! Entertainment Television, The Gameshow Network,
Nickelodeon and The Spark Factory and created and independently
produced the pilot Alien Generation #9 in addition to the successful
theater shows Where are the Hands? and A Post-Modern Vaudeville Show.
He’s married to Moira Quirk who helps him spell and dress.
www.michaelrayner.com

Steve Robinson recently concluded over twenty-four years of watching
television—professionally, writing listings and criticisms for TV
Guide/Online. An outstanding driver when sober, he’s published Why
Stevie Can’t Date, a collection of his StorySalon presentations
detailing “a couple of cars; a couple of girlfriends; a couple of
wives; a couple of hookers; and a couple of days in jail”—not
necessarily all connected—and some other stuff. His movie and
television appearances include playing opposite a bikini-clad Nancy
Sinatra in a promotional film for the 1960s hot-rod epic For Those Who
Think Young; and winning the very last episode of the game show Split
Second, which included an appearance by then-staff-member Markie
Post. Mr. Robinson’s hobbies include disparaging pets and sorting
pornography by assumed theme and predominant background color. His
ninth-favorite film of all time is Amazing Grace and Chuck.

Sofia Carias is a young and vibrant storyteller. She has been telling
stories for about two years. She is a professional speech therapist,
and a part-time voice over actor. She enjoys watching reality
television, playing poker, and drinking pink champagne. Her
improvisational narratives push the envelope and attempt to bring
storytelling to the next level.

Nigel Paice is a full-time theatre tech, part-time podcast producer
and writes when the mood takes him. He was instrumental in helping to
set up StorySalon UK.

Michael Dressler is tremendously proud and honored to be a part of
the StorySalon and to be a regular contributor at the Salon’s
Wednesday night evenings and Fall Festivals. Michael has lead quite
the varied and interesting life. He was a nationally prominent and
respected photographer for TIME Magazine, The New York Times, LIFE
Magazine, People, The Washington Post, Business Week, Us, National
Geographic and numerous foreign publications. For fifteen years, he
photographed out of the Los Angeles, Atlanta and San Francisco bureaus
for Time Magazine, where he covered the Presidential campaigns of
Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, along with many important national
stories. His photographs are now on permanent display at the
Smithsonian Institute and Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. Michael
is again living in Southern California and has turned his photographic
eye over to his keyboard. He has written eight books, (one winning the
National Congressional Library Award, as well as many local and nation
recognitions) plus numerous staged plays, humorous books, short books
and stories. Michael has a life-long and colorful history of
show-business in his family and has drawn from many of these
experiences for his plays and books. In between his Books, Photos and
Plays, he is a well respected entry-level bicycle racing coach, with
numerous victories for the California teams he’s coached, which
include five State Championships.

Born and bred in Brooklyn, Bernadette F. Cummings has lived in
California for the past twenty-something years. In an effort to find
her passion, she has worked in such fields as insurance, banking,
publishing and entertainment. Her most current job is in the music
industry, where she volunteers as the editor of the company
newsletter. As a member of the StorySalon since 2000, she has
performed at Jennifer’s Coffee Connection, NoHo Arts Festival and The
Coffee Fix. Some of her published writing can be found in Music
Connection, Shape, Living Fit and Fit Pregnancy magazines. She is a
mentor for the non-profit organization Young Storytellers Foundation.
As a one-on-one mentor she guides, inspires and encourages elementary
school children to write mini-screenplays. “It’s so important for
young people to be encouraged to express themselves and explore their
imaginations. It’s a fundamental element that I missed growing up.”
Bernadette loves to travel, read, write, laugh and belly dance. Her
future goals include publishing a novel and performing Spoken Word.

Podcasting’s leading exponent of storytelling, Lance Anderson has been
has been telling stories in a wide variety of venues and formats for
nearly two decades. At various points in his career, Anderson has been
described as a comic, writer/performer and even as a performance
artist. In March of 2005 Anderson began his highly acclaimed podcast
Verge of the Fringe which quickly built him a worldwide audience. This
led to his UK tour of The Lance Anderson Podcast Experiment and to
the honor of being the featured speaker at the first Podcast Forum at
Cambridge University. Anderson is also the founder of the
groundbreaking collective known as the LA Podcasters. The hipster UK
magazine Dazed & Confused recently described Anderson as an
“Underground Hero.”

Beverly Mickins is an actor, writer, storyteller and singer. Her
stand-up credits include NOW’S 25th Anniversary Convention, Catch a
Rising Star in New York, and The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. As an
actor she’s appeared onstage in Aids/Us/Women in Los Angeles and for
several years she was in the cast of the popular PBS Television show
Square One. She has also been featured on thirtysomething and Judging
Amy as well as in several commercials. Her work with the StorySalon
brought her a 2005 Women in Theater “Red Carpet” Award. As the creator
and founder of StorySalon, she has written and performed her
successful one-woman show The Driving Piece and started the popular
Atomic Lounge series where she combines singing and storytelling.

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