A half-Argentinean, half-South African, fully Jewish girl who grew up in Los Angeles, Deborah Stokol has always loved writing–essays, poetry, stories, articles, and songs–as well as listening to and playing music. She has played the piano for 23 years and has sung and tinkered with tunes for as long as she could remember. She has a deep appreciation for photography, criticism, film, dance, literature, art, philosophy, history, and (learning about but not necessarily practicing) religion.
She attended Harvard-Westlake School before pursuing a double major in English and Music at UC Berkeley. She spent a great deal of time with both her writing and music both in high school and college, writing and performing music for the school plays. She has a classical and jazz background in singing and in piano, graduating with high honors in Music. But she most loves to fuse many styles and pick out song by ear herself or make up others as she goes along, improvising for hours from a chord progression that intrigues her or that she has composed. It is rich harmony and wistful sounds that often move her most.
After college, she worked as an SAT tutor, as part of the K-Earth 101 Street Team, playing piano for an LA-based synagogue, taking an orchestration class at UCLA, as an intern at Los Angeles Magazine, and then for the Los Angeles Times‘ online and print Calendar section(s) before receiving a Master’s in Journalism at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism, earning the Director’s Award for Excellence upon commencement.
She is fluent in Spanish and at least used to be proficient in Italian and has worked as a journalist (both in English and in Spanish) either full time or on a freelance basis for such outlets as Spot.Us, Pop and Politics, La Opinion, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, The News and Observer, L’Atelier, New America Media, WitnessLA, LAist, and Excellence in Literature as well as as being one of the co-founders and editors/columnists of USC’s only online news site, Neon Tommy.
She cares very much about kids, education, literature, and writing, so teaching seemed like the logical next step. She has taught at Harvard-Westlake, the Urban Media Foundation, and Shalhevet High School. At present, she works full-time at The Bishop’s School, having designed her own courses and taught English and Writing at the 8th and 11th grade levels and moving on to teach 9th grade, Journalism, and head the school newspaper, The Tower. She has taught for four years and is in her third year at the school.
Passionate about traveling and coffee shops, she has visited more than 20 countries and has lived or spent considerable amounts of time in Los Angeles, Berkeley, San Francisco, and New York and currently resides in San Diego, intimately acquainting herself with the cafes of each. She is currently working on a collection of essays and short stories about many of the adventures she has had there and would like to record an accompanying album.
“Debrief,” a play on her name as well as on the site’s function, is a blog and portfolio of some of her essays, criticism, music, thoughts on Los Angeles (or things in general), long form pieces, stories, photography, and poetry. She hopes you enjoy it and will return soon.
Web site design by Deborah Stokol. Full Web site construction by Jim Wayne. Header image, Paul Klee’s “The Goldfish.” All songs recorded in 2000 by Noah Levin. Those from 2001 were recorded at the Colburn School in Downtown Los Angeles. Those from 2006-2007 by Jackson Jordan Cone. All dating from 2009 onward by Deborah Stokol.