YPG joins Pitch! in another live storytelling event

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A full house greeted Francesco Sedita at the Under St. Mark’s theatre in the East Village on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, at 7:00pm. All the seats were taken and all eyes and ears were focused on four comedian/story-teller/performance artists who each pitched an idea (or three) for a children’s or YA book to Sedita, the President and Publisher of Grosset & Dunlap/PSS! The event was PITCH!, a monthly storytelling event hosted by Greg Walloch and Mark Allen in which storytellers compete for a chance to write for editors and publishers from a variety of types of publications and publishing houses. This particular event was probably the most adult-oriented pitch of children’s book ideas that ever happened, and that’s what made it so magical.

In the first pitch, comedian and general funny-guy David Commander presented a cautionary tale in an illustrated musical number. In his “song dark and grimm,” Commander issued a Look-What-Can-Happen warning as he had the audience sing along about the importance of learning your ABC’s so that you don’t end up working as a mover like him.

Next up, performance artist Erin Markey endeared the audience, and Francesco, with an idea for a moderately illustrated YA novel in which a teenager ends up with adult jobs and everything goes terribly wrong….or was that terribly right?!?!?! The final page of the book, and of every book in this series, would be an illustrated picture of “Single Ladies’” Beyonce winking as she says, “I love you, you’re rich forever.”

In the third slot, writer-performer-Dazzle Dancer Mike Albo had three ideas, but the one that had Francesco gushing was a picture book about a girl character named Princess Dirtclod. The audience laughed and ‘aaahhhhed’ as he told the story of a young girl who comes to find that none of her friends have time to be her friend anymore because they’ve all become princesses. The girl decides to take matters into her own hands by crowning herself Princess of the Royal Kingdom of her own backyard where she frolics along with her royal subjects of toads, worms, spiders and piles of leaves.

Finally, Corn Mo (of self-titled and Polyphonic Spree fame) sang a song about a boy who was different from other kids and proudly belted his name out loud when other kids got it wrong. The audience was wowed by the outstandingly beautiful song and its accompanying accordion!

In the end, Erin Markey and Mike Albo went home with nods from Francesco and one of his business cards. Everyone seemed to have a great time too, which was I guess, also the point. Thanks to Grosset & Dunlap/PSS! for inviting YPG to attend such a great event! Check out a couple photos below:

Corn Mo on the accordion

Erin Malarkey narrates her story to a full house

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