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City of ASL: Performing Off the Page with Lisa McBee, Mj Shahen, KJ Johnstein, & Kathleen Betz

February 7, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST

City of Asylum hosts a night of American Sign Language (ASL) and Visual Vernacular performances in the second installment of our ongoing City of ASL series curated by ASL Poet Laureate of Allegheny County Mj Shahen.

February’s sign language slam features Lisa McBee, a vibrant high-spirited deaf woman with a “pure and simple” philosophy on life. Her charismatic personality and inner and outer beauty can be seen through her soulful performances with American Sign Language (ASL) and Visual Vernacular. In this performance, Lisa showcases her talents in poetry and storytelling by taking her audience on a captivating journey through the eyes of a deaf person. Lisa will be joined by two Pittsburgh based performers, KJ Johnstein and Kathleen Betz, who will participate with her in an audience Q&A following the performances.

Hearing folks are welcome! ASL interpretation provided.

About the Performers:

Lisa McBee was born in Gardena, CA. At 3 years old, she was diagnosed as profoundly deaf in both ears. At the age of 6, her family relocated to Missouri, where Lisa then attended Missouri School for the Deaf located in Fulton, Missouri. Since then she has hosted and entered numerous deaf contests, acted and participated in making many Deaf videos, and is involved in ASL casting in the film industry. She deeply embraces deaf life and culture, constantly expanding her knowledge and sharing her talent and experiences in the deaf community. Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts Visual Communications and is currently based in Washington, D.C.

Maryjean (Mj) Shahen writes poetry and then translates it into ASL. Previously, Mj worked for years as a counselor and trainer for Deaf-Blind and Deaf individuals with multiple intellectual disabilities, using various technologies and visual cues for instruction and visual/tactual communication. She holds a BS from Gallaudet University and a MS from Hofstra University, and she served in the Peace Corps in Kenya. Mj also was a judge and consultant for the TV game show SignTacTic. Currently, Mj is the ASL Coordinator and an associate professor at CCAC.

KJ Johnstein shares his life, his journey and his story.





Kathleen Betz is retired from Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf as a Pre-Professional staff, Job Coach, Library Assistant, Advisor of classes, special Olympic staff, and volunteer. She is a storyteller in various settings in the school and at events.



About Your Visit: The in-house restaurant 40 North will be closed, but a cash wine bar will be available.

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February 7, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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