Live Interview: Melbourne Jewish Writer’s Festival, Australia

Part 1

Part 1 of this live interview with Romi Grossberg by Danny Blay held at The Melbourne Writers Festival, focuses on her previous role as manger of ‘Tiny Toones’, a hip hop centre for street kids in the slums of Phnom Penh. They discuss the reality of life there, the constant moral dilemmas, the love, the learning and eventually the transition from Cambodia to Thailand. 

Part 2

Part 2 of this live interview with Romi Grossberg by Danny Blay held at The Melbourne Writers Festival, starts with her transition from Cambodia to Thailand. They focus on her current work in counselling, writing therapy, emotional intelliegence and her latest book ‘The 5-Minute Guide to Emitional Intelligence.’

Melbourne events in May

I have finally landed in sunny Melbourne (yes the sun is actually shining).

I will be out and about doing public speaking and facilitating workshops during this month.

Here is an up to date short list of dates to remember.

Public Speaking

Mon 23rd : The Melbourne Jewish Writers Festival.

The Festival runs Sunday and Monday. I will be speaking on Mon at 5pm at The Lamm Library, Caulfield about my work with street kids in Cambodia and showing snippets from my Tedx talk. I will also discuss writing therapy and my new book on emotional intelligence.

BUY A TICKET

Fri 27th : Wellthy Living Collective Wisdom – inspired talks and authentic connection.

Come and be inspired. Natasha Corbin and myself will be speaking Fri 10-1pm at The Morocco Lounge, Greville Street, Prahran. This is a women’s only event.

BUY A TICKET

Workshops

Sat 28th : Workshop: Writing from The Source

Come and join me for a 4-hour workshop on Sat 11-3pm at the gorgeous Healing Delight Centre opposite Caulfield Park.

BOOK HERE

Sun 29th : Workshop: Write with Heart

Join me for the first in a series of 3 writing workshops organised by Jewish Women of Words(JWOW), on Sun 2-5pm.

BOOK HERE

My latest book: The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence book will be available for purchase at all of these events.

 

The Shtick TV interview, Australia

Melbourne, Australia

In this interview by Henry Greener, we discuss the power of writing therapy, emotional intelligence and my new book The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence. We further discuss my previous work as Manager of a hip hop centre in the slums in Cambodia and the Melbourne Jewish Writers Festival.

Part 1.

Part 2.

In the second part of the interview by Henry Greener, we move on from talking about my previous work as Manager of a hip hop centre in the slums in Cambodia, to discussing art therapy (mostly writing therapy) and take a look at the Melbourne Jewish Writers Festival.

The SHTICK” is a 30 minute television program, screened three times weekly on Melbourne Community Channel 31 (Digital 44). It is a showcase of humour, music, interviews, community events, information and entertainment from within the wider Jewish community and offers an opportunity to have a valuable link to their culture.

Asia Pacific Writers Conference, Bangkok

The Asia Pacific Writers Conference ‘Reaching the World’ 2013 in  Bangkok was one of the first big writers conferences I have been to.

The CEO Jane Camens invited me to be on a panel as an ’emerging writer’ sitting next to published authors talking about writing ‘the truth’ in non-fiction which is something I am very passionate about. Needless to say I was super excited and slightly terrified when I arrived at this fancy building full of people (who were not in swimsuits and spinning hula hoops on the beach like I am used to).

So this was my lovely panel of female authors and we discussed ‘But it really happened’ to a room full of people. I think I even managed to sound intelligent and not swear. Go me!

Intelligent I might have sounded but my next big problem was the fancy and formal event at the famous Mandarin Oriental Hotel. What am I going to wear? I had borrowed a dress but needed some heels. Here is me trying some on in those enormous Bangkok shopping malls … block heels of course so I can still walk.

Next point of call were manicures and pedicures! Here is poet Elizabeth from Laos and I getting our nails done.

Now they are perfectly pretty to eat delicate chocolate.

Incredible local and traditional entertainment.

But the child that I am, I preferred to hang out with these elephants instead (who promote reading to children… and wierdo older Australian women….)

And then on the last night “a mesmerising evening of readings…”  Yep there is even a pic of me in the flyer … and then here I am actually doing my reading.

All in all an incredible event. Who knew it was to be the the first of many? I think Jane secretly did. Thanks Jane.

Oh but wait, there is more. The conference may be over but the workshops have just begun. Here was my favourite workshop with Fransesca Riddle-Short and our amazing group of women writers.

AND… then I went to Cambodia. Well I was in Bangkok already and Phnom Penh is oh so close I just had to go and visit my favourite people…. in the next blog.

Australia Network Interview

Kate Arnott from ABC’s The Australia Network interviews Romi Grossberg, Manager of Tiny Toones Cambodia.

Romi brought her Cambodian hip hop group from ‘Tiny Toones’ on tour to Melbourne Australia to perform on stage at Chapel Off Chapel. Tiny Toones is a local Cambodian NGO working with street kids using hip hop and breakdance as the primary tool to engage with the underworld of Phnom Penh in the slums. The former street kids and now the teachers. Also featured in the interview are – Beaver, Fresh and Diamond.

Channel 10’s ‘The Circle’ TV interview, Australia

Dylan Lewis (my childhood crush) came to interview KK, myself and Tiny Toones during our theatre rehearsal in Melbourne’s Chapel off Chapel theatre for Channel 10’s ‘The Circle.’

What an incredible time for all of us. I got to meet… well Dylan Lewis, KK overcame his fear of being interviewed and Dylan was moved to tears out the back later when he and KK sat down to an honest chat about the reality of street life in Cambodia. A truly memorable day.

Tiny Toones tour in N.Z.

My beautiful Cambodian ‘Tiny Toones’ ( hip hop centre working with street kids) family with founder ‘KK’ at the head, and I went to Auckland to tour their self-choreographed life stories of poverty, addiction, broken families and of course hope against all odds.

We performed at numerous high schools in poorer areas and met with similar centres to our centre in Cambodia. The aim of the trip was to meet with teenagers who understand hardship and share stories of hope and recovery through conversation and through hip hop and breakdance. The trip was a great success. Pain and recovery, shattered dreams and new hope are themes that cross all language and cultural barriers. I was the speaker at all of these events – the explanation in English, the intro to my dancers, to their stories. Hip hop was the real voice.

 

‘Wefree’ event. San Patrignano, Italy

In October I flew to San Patrignano, Italy with KK, the founder of Tiny Toones and four of our Cambodian teachers/mentors aged 16-21.

San Partignano is a drug rehabilitation community and completely self sufficient and sustainable up in the mountains near Rimini, housing 2-3,000 former drug addicts. Each year they bring together people from all over the world to celebrate WeFree Day – We are Free of Drugs in a 5-day meeting, learning and sharing of knowledge on the topic of drugs and young people through the creative arts. Hip hop and breakdance NGO’s from all over the world were invited to participate- Cambodia (that’s us), Uganda, Canada, Portugal, Columbia, Italy and more. I spoke in a number of different forums with an Italian translator by my side but to be honest the heros of this trip were without a doubt my kids and all the break dancers there.

 

6th International Conference on Drugs & Young People. Australia

“Given it’s currently National Youth Week, we are pleased to have the United Nations recognise this conference as supporting their International Year of Youth activities,” said CEO Australian Drug Foundation, John Rogerson.

I am very proud to be invited to speak at the ‘6th International Conference on Drugs & Young People: Making Connections’ being held in the Melbourne Convention Centre, May 2-4th 2011.

It is exciting and slightly terrifying to be speaking on such a grand stage to an enormous auditorium of people. I will speak on my experience of drug and alcohol and mental health working in Melbourne and my experience of drug and alcohol, mental health and the creative arts where I work in Phnom Penh Cambodia and am still currently based.

6DYP Day 1 teaser.

 

TEDx Phnom Penh, ‘Dance Your Life Around’

In Febraury 2011, Cambodia held its first ever TEDx in Phnom Penh.

As Manager of Tiny Toones I was asked to present. Of course I wanted Tiny Toones founder ‘KK’ to speak with me but I knew he would certainly say “no.” KK is a humble and shy man. I did however manage to convince him to be recorded on video which we shot on my balcony over endless laughs (the offcuts could make a video on its own!).

Those that know me know I would never go anywhere without ‘my kids’ – the beloved staff and students of this hip hop centre for street kids – Tiny Toones. When asked to perform, my first question was, “Can I bring my kids up on stage?” which was initially met with silence. After explaining who they were and that they were not little children but teens and older… I was given permission.

Above is the TEDx presentation we did. ‘Dance Your Life Around.’

The performance by ‘my kids’ was choreographed by them under the guidance of KK.

… and yes I did write a story about the lead up to Tedx: the fear, anxiety, excitement and the ultimate performance. Sections can be read in imprint 14: ‘A Perfect Statue’ or for those who can’t be bothered reading, you can watch it in the blog video from when I performed the written story at open-mic in Thailand.

 

Kha’s unbelievable solo.

Kha and Slick’s ‘dance fight’

The team

And I couldn’t have done it without Shhort…