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June Arizona Storytellers show is all about being neighborly

Roxanne De La Rosa
Arizona Republic

Update: Carly Davis, South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute graduate, will be telling in place of Elena Reid for this week's show. 

The "Neighbors" theme of the Wednesday, June 8, Arizona Storytellers show will be interpreted five very different ways by tellers from the community.

Rose Turman's neighbors helped raise her and her troublemaking friends in 1950s south Phoenix.

An experience in Arizona Republic reporter Robert Anglen's childhood neighborhood sparked an interest in racism and inequality that continues today.

North Phoenix resident Mindy Tarquini will take us through hilarious and aggravating tales of problematic and heroic neighbors through the years.

And Elena "Babydoll" Reid goes broad, explaining how a career in MMA boxing informs her neighborly nonprofit work today.

"I have gone from fighting as a professional fighter with my own messages to fighting for aging-out foster youth," Reid said. "The same voice, determination and hard work I put into boxing, I now put into changing the homelessness problem among young adults who have faced foster care."

Reid, a graduate of St. Mary's High School, was the first person to win a world title in both boxing and mixed martial arts.

She's retired as a professional athlete, but said she always knew it was important to help others and to give back. Reid is a program director at Foster360, a Mesa-based charity that provides housing, mentoring, social services and job placement services.

June's show will be co-hosted by Storytellers founder Megan Finnerty, who will also tell a story, and Republic columnist Greg Moore. It's the third in-person Arizona Storytellers event post-COVID-19 shutdowns. About 400 people attended April's "Growing Up" themed show.

All stories are true, first-person accounts. Tellers are coached by Republic journalists and by instructors at South Mountain Community College's Storytelling Institute.

Three other Arizona Storytellers shows are planned in 2022. The themes and dates are: "Vacation," Aug. 10; "Food and Family," Oct. 12; and "Holidays," Dec. 14.

Shows are at the Tempe Center for the Arts. The center's COVID-19 policy makes face masks optional. No proof of vaccination is required. Also note that because Storytellers evenings typically sell out, tickets can only be purchased online and will not be sold at the venue.

Arizona Storytellers Project: "Neighbors"

Where: Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe.

When: Wednesday, June 8. Doors open at 6 p.m. Show begins at 7 p.m.

Tickets: $12 and can be purchased online only at storytellersproject.com. No tickets will be sold at the door. 

Questions: Contact Arizona Storytellers producer Roxanne De La Rosa, rdelarosa@azcentral.com.