• First Person Arts
  • Email Sign up
  • Donate
  • About Us
  • Events
  • Social Impact
  • Storytelling
  • Festival
  • support_button
  • stories_button
  • Support

How Do You Like Me Now?

Didn't get it quite right the first time? Neither did our ten storytellers at Tuesday night's “Do Overs” StorySlam. We loved and lost a cartoon soul mate, declined the DMV worker's fig newtons, and reclaimed “Jewessness” in Moscow. But it was our winning storyteller who sent us strutting across the dance floor towards reunion redemption.

Nothing says “Do Over” like a high school reunion. When you find yourself swallowing your sixth grade pride, surrounded by all the people who witnessed the most awkward years of your life, there's only one thing left to do: ask to see baby pictures. Don't miss the winning story behind Kevin's

high school reunion redemption in the video below.

P.S. Kevin, I think everybody liked you…

Congratulations Kevin! Congratulations also to Audience Favorite, R. Eric Thomas. Stay tuned for more videos from all over our storytellers coming soon to the First Person Arts YouTube channel.

Kevin, Do Overs Winning Storyteller

R. Eric Thomas, Do Overs Audience Favorite

Next First Person StorySlam:

Location: Venetian Social Club (8030 Germantown Ave.)
Theme: Firsts
Time: Slam starts at 7:30pm
Price: $10 at the door. $8 for First Person members.

-Becca Jennings


Karina’s Favorite Story

For my staff fave, I'm going to have to go old school with Alex Nguyen's Odd Jobs tale from 2009. This is one of the first videos I watched as a newbie Marketing Coordinator and I was totally charmed b

y Alex's over the top attempts at impressing his personal assistant. Enjoy!

– Karina


Tying the Knot and Breaking Ties at the Do the Right Thing StorySlam

All of our “Do the Right Thing” StorySlammers were on fire Monday night, but there was one storyteller who really got down. That is…on one knee. Witness the first-ever First Person proposal in the video below.

Congratulations to Roderick and Kendra! We wish you the best as you write a new chapter in your story together. We're looking forward to the wedding invitations.

While one of our storytellers tied the knot in the first half, two storytellers were breaking ties in the second. Two of our students from R. Eric Thomas' The Shape of the Story class, Michael and Deniz, slammed it neck and neck into a final tie breaker. A very proud R. Eric Thomas was beaming somewhere betw

een elbows and large hair-do's in the standing room only audience. Our newly engaged couple Roderick and Kendra picked the tie-break theme, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.”

Deniz walked away the overall winner and Audience Favorite, but I have a feeling this isn't the last we will be hearing from Michael.

Check out videos of Roderick's and Deniz's performances below. Stay tuned for videos from all of our storytellers coming soon to our YouTube channel.

Are you ready for a summer vacation? We are! Join us this Saturday, June 18 for a Slam at the Kimmel Center Solstice Celebration. The theme is Summer Vacation. Slam starts at 7:30pm. Free with Solstice admission.

-Becca Jennings


Laura’s Favorite Story

Here at First Person Arts, we've heard a lot of amazing stories, and now we want to share with you some of our all-time favorites. I, the infamous intern extraordinaire, am up first. For my favorite story I chose one from our “Dates to Remember” StorySlam from last July. On this particular night, Andrew told a hilarious story about the time he was robbed. Then a young Temple student, Andrew refused to give away his Redbull because he needed it to study. Andrew ultim

ately won the slam and went all the way to our 2010 Fall Grand Slam at the First Person Festival!

Watch Andrew tell the whole story here:

Don't miss other staff favorites to be revealed in the next couple of weeks and come on out to our upcoming slams so you won't miss a future favorite!

– Laura Reeve


What stories do you want to hear?

It's that time of year again! Our 2011 StorySlam theme contest has started! Last year's winner included themes like “The Ex-Files,” “Do the Right Thing,” and “Almost Famous!” Do you have anything better? Well, if you do, fill out the form below and you could win two free StorySla

m tickets! Hurry up because the contest ends July 31!

– Laura Reeve


Spring Roundup!

Hey ladies and gents, care to see what FPA has been up to this past Spring? We hosted some absolutely amazing events and we hope that you enjoyed them as much as we did. Let’s check out our Spring roundup and you can find more photos on our Flickr page.


Grand Slam winner, Caitlin. (Photo by Maria Moller)

This Spring we heard stories about families, fame, inheritance and much much more! Our popular slams culminated in the Summer Grand Slam on May 25 where we crowned Caitlin as the best storyteller in Philly! The Grand Slam was hosted by funny man Doogie Horner and everyone feasted on delicious Sweet Lucy’s BBQ before the slam went down. I don’t know about you, but we had the best time chowin’ down and listening to all the Out of Place stories!

Curtain Call. (Photo by Benjamin Cromie)

Slam Nation

For our Slam Nation event we joined up with PIFA and brought some of the greatest storytellers to the Kimmel Center on April 26! One of our most popular storytellers, R. Eric Thomas, hosted the big show while storytellers such as Elna Baker, Laura Packer, Adam Wade, and Giulia Rozzi delighted us with stories about their “Worldy Possesions!” Big shout outs to all our storytellers, PIFA, and the Kimmel Center! We had a blast, didn’t you?!

Boston v. Philly

Teams Philly and Boston. (Photo courtesy of massmouth.)

On April 15 we headed over to the Free Library and threw the gauntlet down against Boston’s Massmouth storytellers. We heard all about our slammers Experiments and even though Boston storyteller Jim Stahl won the competition with his hilarious story about a homemade rocket and a false eye, Team Philly came out on top overall! The slam featured Philly favorites such as Marla Burkholder, Michael McCarry, Bernardo Morillo, and Michael Minard! I can’t say I’m surprised Philly came out on top with such a stacked team!

Gabrielle and Guest (Photo by Marisa McClellan)

Edible World

At our latest Edible World event we sat down with Chef Gabrielle Hamilton. She’s a writer and James Beard-winning chef of New York City’s Prune and on April 3 she shared her new memoir, Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef at Philly’s very own, Pumpkin Restaurant. One of our most delicious events this spring, FPA feasted on brunch prepared by Pumpkin’s Ian Moroney while former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Rick Nichols introduced Chef Hamilton and her journey through kitchens, french creperies and the University of Michigan writing program. Flying Fish Brewing Company provided beer for the brunch and we were all left feeling quite satisfied, if not a little bloated!

Sad you missed out on these events? Don’t worry, we have plenty more for you this summer and at our Festival in the fall! Visit our calendar for upcoming events.

– Laura Reeve


A Grand Display: The Best Storyteller in Philadelphia “shows her stuff”

Last Wednesday ten StorySlam winners from November through April Slammed the Stage at the 2011 Summer Grand Slam at Christ Church Neighborhood House competing for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” and free Slam admission for life.

The stories took us to Hawaii where we learned why it might be a good idea to pee on your hand everyday during your honeymoon and to Kentucky’s creation museum where we discovered what sort of spiritual awakening might be in store for three gay friends on long weekend trip.

But it was our winning storyteller who liberated her loins and sent us chasing after her through an elephant graveyard. Yikes! Look out for those tusks!

Strip down with 2011 Summer Grand Slam winner, Caitlin. As the winner of the Anniversaries StorySlam this past December, Caitlin was invited to compete in this year’s Summer Grand Slam. She’s into freedom of expression and doesn’t care about your hair down there. Outrun the campus cops and check out Caitlin’s winning performance in the video below.

Congratulations Caitlin! Congratulations also to Audience Favorite and winner of Best Presentation, Janet von Trapp as well as winner of Best Content, Todd Marrone.

Don’t miss the 2011 Fall Grand Slam coming to the First Person Festival of Memoir and Documentary Art this November.

Click here to watch performances from all of our 2011 Summer Grand Slam storytellers on our YouTube channel.

-Becca Jennings


Have you met Laura yet? (She’s kind of a big deal)

working hard at FPA intern headquarters

Dearest First Person Arts fans, storytellers, artists, and friends,

I'm Laura Reeve and I'm FPA's marketing intern. You might know me from various blog posts about our 2010 Festival, Grand Slam storyteller questionnaires, and Oscar docs. You may have also seen me at different events or even on the streets of Philly distributing flyers, postcards, and posters. Basically, I'm a wonder intern. The best ever, if you ask me. I've been doing this slave labor for $0 an hour and the occasional back-handed compliment from Karina and Tiffany for almost a year now.

I'm a twenty-year-old student at Bryn Mawr College studying English and Creative Writing. When I “grow up” (I'm still doubtful that growing u

p is a real thing) I would like to write and work with words and stories in basically any capacity. I like to write weird stories about Barbie dolls and old men. I also like to write about the patriarchy and why slut-shaming sucks on my blog.

Being with FPA for almost a year has introduced me to Philly's amazing art, lit, and storytelling scene. I've met great people, interviewed talented artists, and even learned how to take the El all by myself.

Convincing, right? I bet you want to intern and/or volunteer for First Person Arts now too.

So, next time you see me at an event don't forget to say “hey!” Maybe then I'll tweet about you, or something.

Editor's (aka Karina's) note- The occasional back handed compliment aside, I sincerely think Laura is an awesome intern and we're very lucky to have her. In fact, I plan on never letting her leave. Ever.

Upcoming Events
  • Courageous Stories on Sexual Harassment
  • Date: June 7, 2019
  • Time: 1 PM - 5 PM
  • Venue: To Be Announced
  • Location:
  • StorySlam: Straight No Chaser
  • Date: June 17, 2019
  • Time: 7:30 PM
  • Venue: L'Etage
  • Location: 624 S 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147