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05/07/2014

Meet Grand Slam Contestant, Andrew!

RISKStortyeller_Andrew

Name: Andrew Panebianco
Age: 33
Location: Chinatown, Philadelphia
Slam won: Busted

Q: What was the last thing you won (StorySlam not included)?

A: I won a bar trivia contest whose grand prize was an audiobook of Richard Bachman’s “Thinner” as read by Paul Sorvino. He read it in one shot… and I swear to god I you could hear him eating lunch in the middle of it.

Q: FPA has been doing Slams in Philly for 7 years now. (Woot!) In honor of that, tell us a story in 7 words

A: I’ll have to get back to you.

Q: What would your dream theme be for a StorySlam? What story would you tell?

A: Fluids. I’ve been urging FPA to use this theme for years. Think about it – you want personal narrative? There’s nothing more personal than what churns and sloshes around inside. Tears, blood, sweat… those other ones I’m not going to mention… they’re our great common denominator. They’re something we all understand. Fluids are honest and uncomfortable and funny and disgusting. What more could you want from a story? Fluids, people… fluids.

Q: Who do you know that tells the worst (or best) stories?

A: Best storyteller I know is probably my dad. He’s got a natural sense of how to pace a story, and the most blisteringly acidic delivery. I could listen to my dad describe a bad day for hours.

Q: Why are you a good storyteller? (aka why should your competitors be scared?)

A: I’m a pretty uncomfortable person… which means I’m both compulsively observant, and neurotically fixated on understand why people do the things they’re doing. I don’t know if that makes me a good storyteller or not, but I think it’s one of the things that makes me interesting. And a good storyteller is really just an interesting person out loud.

See Andrew compete at the Grand Slam on Friday, May 16 at Underground Arts for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” and $250! DON’T WAIT! This event sells out every season.

05/06/2014

Meet Grand Slam Contestant, Devon!

RISKStortyeller_Devon

Name: Devon Kreider
Age: 24
Location: Philadelphia
Slam won: Oops!

Q: What was the last thing you won (StorySlam not included)?

A: I recently got $10 off my tire rotation and alignment at Pep Boys and that felt like a win to me.

Q: FPA has been doing Slams in Philly for 7 years now. (Woot!) In honor of that, tell us a story in 7 words.

A: It was like the car had wings.

Q: What would your dream theme be for a StorySlam? What story would you tell?

A: Mistaken Identity. There would be so many fun stories to hear about mistaken identity. I think I might tell the story of when I convinced my brother that we had adopted him but we weren’t satisfied and so we were giving him back to his original family. I told him they were going to change his name back to Guacamole Peppers and shave his head because it was super hot where he used to live. He was maybe 5-years-old and I was maybe 15. I made him cry hysterically in a McDonald’s before my mom caught on to what was happening.

Q: Who do you know that tells the worst (or best) stories?

A: My friend’s neighbor told the worst stories. They were long and always had way too much personal information in them — if you know what I mean. His stories would typically end on a weird note too, so you left the conversation confused and probably a bit grossed out.

Q: Why are you a good storyteller? (aka why should your competitors be scared?)

A: I think I’m a good storyteller because I have a lot of energy and I really like to make people laugh.

See Devon compete at the Grand Slam on Friday, May 16 at Underground Arts for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” and $250! DON’T WAIT! This event sells out every season.

05/05/2014

Meet Grand Slam Contestant, Justine!

RISKStortyeller_Justine

Name: Justine Parks Cuny
Age: 30
Location: Narberth, PA
Slam won: Lost in Translation

Q: What was the last thing you won (StorySlam not included)?

A: Umm…I’m kind of a loser.  The only thing that comes to mind was winning Upper Main Line YMCA’s “Most Consistent Gymnast” Award in 1996.

Q: FPA has been doing Slams in Philly for 7 years now. (Woot!) In honor of that, tell us a story in 7 words.

A: I once lost a jalapeno eating contest.

Q: What would your dream theme be for a StorySlam? What story would you tell?

A: “Dude, where’s my car?”

It’s a story about the time my sister’s Jeep Liberty was stolen in New Orleans. It had her purse, her bike and her new Macbook inside.  She woke up in the middle of the night, realized it was missing and called the police. She woke my mom up in PA and begged her call the insurance company. She posted frantic minute-by-minute updates on Facebook, pleading for help, asking that anyone with information contact her immediately. The next day, her boyfriend found the “stolen” vehicle, parked a block ahead of where she thought she had left it, all of her belongings inside. My sister is a prideful girl; She would never admit she was too high to remember where she parked her car.  So, to this day, still swears that thieves stole the Jeep, took it for a joyride and then re-parked it in a different spot, with all of her shit inside, just to mess with her.

Q: Who do you know that tells the worst (or best) stories?

A: My mom is our family’s storyteller. She tells both the best and the worst stories. My favorite is the one about the family of coyotes that were living in our yard. Every time she talked about them, the coyotes got closer and closer to the house. Eventually, she claimed she saw the mother coyote nursing the baby coyotes on her front porch. No one else ever saw coyotes so none of us believed a word of it. We all discredited her story. Then, one day, I was driving home from school and I saw a GIANT coyote crossing the driveway.

Q: Why are you a good storyteller? (aka why should your competitors be scared?)

A: Public speaking is a significant percentage of what I do for a living. I’m also totally bat-shit which means I’ve got more than my fair share of crazy stories. So…bring it.

See Justine compete at the Grand Slam on Friday, May 16 at Underground Arts for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” and $250! DON’T WAIT! This event sells out every season.

05/02/2014

Meet Grand Slam Contestant, Steve!

RISKStortyeller_Steve

Name: Steve Clark
Slam Won: Superstitious
Location: World Cafe Live
Age: 29 and 11/12

Q: What was the last thing you won (StorySlam not included)?

A: The Pigeon Presents: The Philadelphia Poetry Slam

Q: FPA has been doing Slams in Philly for 7 years now. (Woot!) In honor of that, tell us a story in 7 words.

A: Tony Danza formerly owned a Roller-Hockey Team.

Q: What would your dream theme be for a StorySlam? What story would you tell?

A: Awkward. Just about anything and everything from my life. My first kiss. My second kiss. My birth.

Q: Who do you know that tells the worst (or best) stories?

A: Best: Freya Zork. R. Eric Thomas. Andrew Panebianco. Marjorie Fineberg-Winther. SM Shrake. Jason Pittman. Hillary Rea. Anissa Weinraub.

Q: Why are you a good storyteller? (aka why should your competitors be scared?)

A: I think I have a unique style; I approach storytelling from an angle where I think a lot about the structure of the story and the ways that I can break down the 4th wall. I’m also tall.

See Steve compete at the Grand Slam on Friday, May 16 at Underground Arts for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” and $250! DON’T WAIT! This event sells out every season.

04/30/2014

Meet Grand Slam Contestant, Dave!

GSStortyeller_Dave

Name: Dave Hillis
Age: 30
Location: Philadelphia
Slam won: “Awkward” — March 25 @ L’Etage

Q: What was the last thing you won (StorySlam not included)

A: A joint in a raffle contest. I traded it for a 40. Either everybody won that night or nobody did; My memory’s a bit hazy.

Q: FPA has been doing Slams in Philly for 7 years now. (Woot!) In honor of that, tell us a story in 7 words.

A: Whiskey at office party. Pants have disappeared.

Q: What would your dream theme be for a StorySlam? What story would you tell?

A: Music esoterica nobody but me cares about. I’d talk about how to spot a counterfeit Introducing… The Beatles album, boring the competition into submission.

Q: Who do you know that tells the worst (or best) stories?

A: The last few years, I’ve been turned on to some vintage radio programs, and Jean Shepherd is a favorite. He’s most famous for A Christmas Story, but his WOR programs from the 1960s are gems.

Q: Why are you a good storyteller? (aka why should your competitors be scared?)

A: I taught at a preschool long enough to have any sense of self-consciousness knocked out of me. No matter how embarrassing or personal a story I tell, it cannot possibly be as mortifying as dancing to The Wiggles in front of a bunch of toddlers and their parents.

See Dave compete at the Grand Slam on Friday, May 16 at Underground Arts for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” and $250! DON’T WAIT! This event sells out every season.

04/23/2014

Kat’s Bike Adventure

Winning Storyteller: Kat
Slam Theme: Wild Things
Story Highlights: chemical engineering, deer blood, craft beer, Michigan

A strong commitment to craft beer, chemical engineering, and friendship leaves Kat rolling in deer blood.

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See Kat compete for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” and a $250 cash prize at the Grand Slam on May 16 at Underground Arts. Tickets on sale here. Don’t wait! This show sells out every season.

- Jamie Keiles, Marketing Intern

04/22/2014

Wildest Story Countdown

We’re getting psyched for tonight’s “Wild Things” StorySlam at L’Etage! It’s the FINAL Slam of the season before the Grand Slam on May 16 and the stakes are high. In honor of the theme, here’s a countdown of some of the wildest and craziest tales from the FPA archives. Enjoy!

#5 Marla, “Beasts” StorySlam
Delirious Marla encounters a possum in the bathroom of her West Philly home.
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#4 Sarah, “Ex-Files” StorySlam
A breakup sends Sarah on a tour of the seediest Minnesota apartments.
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#3 Marjorie, “Ex-Files” StorySlam
Teenage Majorie falls hard for a bad-boy three-fingered cellist.
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#2 Brady, “Wild Things” StorySlam
A borrowed feather boa leads Brady to a night of dirty dancing and missed opportunities.
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#1 Olga, 2010 Grand Slam “Show and Tell”
Any man who wants to date Olga has to also date Carlitos.
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04/17/2014

Outsmarting Google

Winning and Audience Favorite Storyteller: Justine
Slam Theme: Lost in Translation
Story Highlights: Google, Job Recruitment, Computer Geeks, Math Nerds, Zip Drive, Actors, Intellectual Property

Justine interviews for a job with Google and is determined to ace their nontraditional applicant evaluations.

-Becca

04/11/2014

Meet RISK Storyteller, Olga!

RISKStortyeller_Olga

Name: Olga Schmutz
Age: Doesn’t matter
Location: Philadelphia

Q: What’s the “riskiest” thing you’ve ever done in public? (Besides performing in RISK?…)

A: I peed while seated on a park bench talking to a couple friends at dusk in Center City, Philadelphia in Rittenhouse. How? I lifted my dress pulled my thong to the side & let it out… NO one ever noticed a thing, Except for my friend sitting next to me wondering ‘What is that sound?’ :)

Q: RISK is all about bold, fierce, and uncensored storytelling. Where is the last place you would be caught dead telling the tale you’re going to perform on 4/11 at Underground Arts and why?

A: At an Elementary school. I would tell the story anywhere except in front of children. Bless them.

Q: Who is your performer/storytelling idol and why?

A: George Carlin. Absolute genius!

Q: FPA’s mission is to transform the drama of real life into memoir and documentary art. What would chapter 6 of your memoir be called? 

A: “Boarding School with Spanish Catholic Nuns” OR “Spanish Boarding School & Catholic Nuns”

Q: What makes you a good storyteller?

A: I enjoy telling real stories. I get really into it recreating the story making it come “alive” with vivid details, sounds and gestures so that the audience can not only imagine it but “feel” the story.

See Olga perform in RISK! led by Kevin Allison of MTV’s The State on 4/11 at Underground Arts. Tix on sale here. For a limited time: Get your tix to RISK! + Grand Slam and SAVE! More info/buy here.

04/10/2014

Meet RISK! Storyteller, Kitty!

RISKStortyeller_Kitty

Name: Kitty Hailey
Age: Old enough to know better
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Q: What’s the “riskiest” thing you’ve ever done in public? (Besides performing in RISK?…)

A: Oh, so many things. Half my life has been pretending to be other people. I’d say it was the time I went to a high profile wedding at a prestigious Philadelphia hotel and four different people knew me by four different names from pretexts I had performed in the course of my work as a professional investigator. To one I was an interior designer, to another I was a mother seeking her lost daughter, to a third I was a new neighbor moving into the neighborhood, and I actually worked with the fourth for a while to see what was happening in the shop owned by a client. I juggled all of these personae, kept the people away from each other, and still managed to enjoy the wedding. But it was a challenge remembering who I was when I went to different parts of the room!

Q: RISK is all about bold, fierce, and uncensored storytelling. Where is the last place you would be caught dead telling the tale you’re going to perform on 4/11 at Underground Arts and why?

A: Hopefully NOT at Underground Arts on 4/11. Probably it would be telling it to my dad (if he were still alive) because he never saw his little girl as someone who would or could do the things I’ve done in my professional life. I think he raised me to be a sweet, quiet, helpful homemaker…and look what happened!

Q: Who is your performer/storytelling idol and why?

A: Lucille Ball! She’s a fierce redhead who is not afraid to speak her mind, do what she wants, or get pie in her face. And oh my god did she tell whoppers! My ego is big about my investigative abilities, but I laugh at myself constantly and am not afraid to do almost anything.

Q: FPA’s mission is to transform the drama of real life into memoir and documentary art. What would chapter 6 of your memoir be called?

A: It IS called…”Husband #3.”

Q: What makes you a good storyteller?

A: My life experiences and the amazing First Person Arts audiences.

See Kitty perform in RISK! led by Kevin Allison of MTV’s The State on 4/11 at Underground Arts. Tix on sale here. For a limited time: Get your tix to RISK! + Grand Slam and SAVE! More info/buy here.

Upcoming Events
  • StorySlam @ World Cafe Live: Lifeline
  • Date: August 11, 2014
  • Time: Doors at 7:30PM, Slam starts at 8:30PM
  • Venue: World Cafe Live
  • Location: 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
  • Beyond Sustenance: Heritage Dinner
  • Date: August 17, 2014
  • Time: 4-7PM
  • Venue: African American Museum in Philadelphia
  • Location: 701 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19106