Finding pride, family and new possibility

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Bea Cordelia is shown at the pride-themed First Person Arts StorySlam on Monday evening at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. (Michael Green

Bea Cordelia is shown at the pride-themed First Person Arts StorySlam on Monday evening at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. (Michael Green

A party in Berlin helps an American woman find the family she had been looking for.

Bea Cordelia, a playwright, poet, and performer from Chicago was the winner of the First Person Arts story slam on Monday at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. The theme was “Pride.”

Cordelia tells the story of a Berliner bacchanal she attended in the last days of a summer in Germany, where she was conducting research on body image among transgender people.

Her friend invites her to a party, which is a fundraiser for his friend’s breast-reduction surgery. Feeling romantically hopeful, yet a little bit lonely, she bikes down an alley and passes through a wooden fence and finds herself in a hidden wonderland “filled with people of all different shapes and sizes and colors and gender expressions. Some of them started at one point in their body, and you can tell that they’re going somewhere else. And some of them, you can’t tell where they started or where they’re going, but it doesn’t really matter.”

As she dances, she lets the real world fall away and begins to feel a “newfound understanding of possibility.”

Audio production by Kyrie Greenberg and Shai Ben-Yaacov.

First Person Arts is Philadelphia’s premiere storytelling organization and the presenters of twice-monthly StorySlams, the weekly First Person Arts Podcast, and the annual First Person Arts Festival. Founded in 2000, FPA believes that everyone has a story to tell, and that sharing our stories connects us with each other and the world. From such artistic luminaries as novelist Toni Morrison, activist Angela Davis, and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, to emerging artists and everyday people, FPA presents a diverse array of storytellers to transform the drama of real life into memoir and documentary art.

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