Storytellers take the stage at Creek Lounge in LIC

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1001 Nights: a Night of Live Storytelling, a monthly series at The Creek Lounge in Long Island City, has been going strong since April of last year. With hosts Eugene Ashton-Gonzalez and Ted McAdams, 1001 Nights features performers who tell stories, all of which are true, centering around a different theme each night. “Traveling: Stories of Globe-trotting, soul-searching and misadventure” will be the theme at the next 1001 Nights, which will be on June 18 at 7 p.m. 

Ashton-Gonzalez, along with being a host, is the producer and director. Seeking a venue for a storytelling event, he looked to The Creek because Rebecca Trent, the owner, was very supportive of New York’s underground comedy scene and he liked the audiences he was getting when he performed his improv comedy.

The Creek is a very intimate setting for storytelling, he said, which appealed to him because he never really thought of storytelling as performance art.

“I get up in front of a crowd of strangers, but after the show, I step off into a circle of friends,” he said. “Story telling can act as a an icebreaker.”

Ashton-Gonzalez, along with McAdams, will come up with themes for the shows months in advance. Past themes include “Excess,” “Too Cool” and “Reflexes.” He then gets a number of stories related to the theme from other comedians, writers or just friends.

“It nice to bring together all these different voices,” he says. “I never try to limit it to just New York performers. They have come from all over the country. But New York definitely comes up a lot in the stories.”

For the upcoming “Traveling” show, the performers will include special guest Lisa Lewis, an essayist and playwright who has written for publications such as Elle Magazine and the New York Press. This will be Lewis’ second time performing at 1001 Nights.

In her first appearance at 1001 Nights, Ashton-Gonzalez was impressed and moved with her story, calling it one of the best stories he has heard since the start of 1001 Nights.

“She can really bring everyone together,” he said about Lewis. “She can bring out something just as powerful this time.”

Lewis said she was drawn to storytelling because of how different it is from other forms of live performance, especially at a venue such as The Creek. As she was actively searching for a storytelling event, she was introduced to Ashton-Gonzalez, whom she says has a “very good eye for stories and talents.”

She says there is a very welcoming environment at 1001 Nights and that there’s also something special about having an event such as this in Long Island City.

“It’s good to spread the social and cultural scene to a new borough,” she said. “There’s more to New York than Manhattan. People should get out of Manhattan sometimes.”

She says that 1001 Nights sets itself apart from other storytelling events because, unlike some of the others, it is not a competition, and therefore creates a more relaxed atmosphere for performers and the audience.

Her traveling story may prove to be a very intriguing one as she will discuss an incident in which she accidently caused a bomb scare at Charles de Gaulle Airport. She considers the subject matter relevant and timely, especially for a city such as New York.

The night’s other performers will include Becky Ferreira and Boris Khaykin.

If You Go

1001 Nights: A Night of Live Storytelling

When: June 18, 7 p.m. Series runs on the Friday of the third full week of each month

Where: The Creek Lounge, 10-93 Jackson Ave., Long Island City

Cost: Free and first-come, first-served.

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Updated 5:55 pm, October 10, 2011
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