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Out There with Steve, Hanson, Backstreet Boys, and More
Jul 08, 2014

Out There with Steve, Hanson, Backstreet Boys, and More

Two-time FPA Grand Slam champion Steve retraces some of his most eccentric inner musings and awkward life moments in this winning tale spiked with 90s boy band references.

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Photo credit: Jamie Shaw.

05/28/2014

Press Round Up: FPA’s Grand Slam is covered by Philadelphia City Paper, Philadelphia Magazine, WHYY’s Newsworks Tonight, and more.

FPA_Grand Slam LogoWinners of First Person Arts’ monthly StorySlams gathered together on May 16 at Underground Arts to compete for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia”. The 7th season of FPA StorySlams was brought to a close with a sold out, standing room only show.

This season’s Grand Slam theme was “Out There”. Popular FPA storyteller, Steve Clark, took his second Grand Slam victory, winning over celebrity judges from WHYY, Red Tettemer O’Connell + Parters, and Painted Bride Quarterly with a personal story about boy bands, awkwardness, and love. The press was out in full force to cover the Grand Slam:

“We all have stories, but these people have really, really good stories, and they’re really good at telling them,” writes Julie Zeglen of Philadelphia City Paper.
Read More >>

Bryan Butler at Philadelphia Magazine sat down with Steve to discuss what it feels like to be a two-time Grand Slam winner: “To be named ‘Best Storyteller in Philadelphia’ is not an easy task. Yet, Steve Clark has won the title, not once, but twice: the Philadelphian has taken home the crown from First Person Arts two consecutive years in a row (2013 and 2014).”
Read the Full Interview with Steve Clark >>

Peter Crimmins of WHYY’s Newsworks Tonight interviewed Steve on his storytelling technique, “Clark took the crown at Underground Arts in North Chinatown for his story about romantic awkwardness informed by the lyrics of 1990s boy bands such as Five and the Backstreet Boys. Clark, as tall as he is nervous, approached the theme of the evening — ‘Out There’ — by tracing the distance between the romantic scenarios playing out in his head and those that actually happened.”
Listen to the Full Interview with Steve Clark >>

Mikala Jamison at Philadelphia City Paper summed up the night concisely, ”As always, the Slam proved to be among the best events in Philly in terms of making an audience feel like a community. These people, and their stories, are so very real, so very relatable, even in their most painful moments. Especially then. It takes a lot of guts to get up on stage and talk your way through the human experience, but to the storytellers, I say: we’re so glad you do it.”
Read More >> 

Read more about FPA’s 2014 May Grand Slam via:
Geekadelphia >>
uwishunu >>
Newsworks >>
Philadelphia Magazine >>

We’ll be wiping the slate clean and kicking off a brand new StorySlam season starting next month. Click here for a full schedule of next season’s Slam dates and themes.

05/21/2014

Out There with Grand Slam Winner, Steve

Winning Storyteller and Audience Favorite: Steve
Grand Slam Theme: Out There
Story Highlights: Shakespeare, embarrassment, undergraduate philosophy, girls who wear Abercrombie and Fitch

Steve‘s propensity for spending time in his head leaves him immune to embarrassment in front of the class with his pants down.

Peter Crimmins of WHYY’s NewsWorks Tonight interviews Steve about the unlikely muse for our winner’s tale about awkward romance. Click here to listen.

A brand new season of StorySlams begins next month. Check out the full schedule here for dates, themes, and venues. 

May 21, 2014

Steve–Named “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” May 16, 2014

At the Grand Slam winners from First Person Arts’ monthly StorySlams compete for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia.” Using their storytelling prowess and real life experiences for inspiration, contestants try to win over celebrity judges with their most outrageous personal tales.

05/13/2014

Meet Grand Slam Contestant, Marjorie!

GSStortyeller_Marjorie

If you’ve been to a StorySlam with us before, you know that in addition to the three official Slam judges who determine the winner, we also invite our Slam audiences to score storyteller performances on individual score cards. Those audience scores determine the Audience Favorite storyteller for every Slam.

The Audience Favorite Storyteller with the highest score at the end of the season is selected to join the ranks at the Grand Slam. This time, it’s Marjorie. Meet her in the interview below!

Name: Marjorie Winther
Age: 59 (!)
Location: Mount Airy, Philadelphia
Slam Named Audience Favorite: Ex-Files

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

A: I was winning at Words With Friends for a few minutes until Andy played “za” on a triple word space. #AndyNolan #WWFCheater

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: Andy played “za” on a triple word. (just kidding)
Even with soup, too many red flags.

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

A: Dream theme: Kumbaya.
Story— Remember when the SDS Weathermen went underground? I know where they were.

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

A: Everyone I know tells the BEST stories. And I am not going to name names. They know who they are. (I’m making that threatening “I’m looking at you” two-fingered gesture.)

Actually, there is a lady at work who tells endless stories that begin in the middle, meander for a while and go nowhere. Oh wait, that’s me.

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

A: My hippie chick roots balk at the notion of competition. Can’t this be like the Special Olympics where everyone is a winner? Can we just split the $250 prize for the winner eleven ways already?

See Marjorie 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.

05/09/2014

Meet Grand Slam Contestant, Matthew!

RISKStortyeller_Matthew

Name: Matthew Miller
Slam Won:
Obsessed
Location:
L’Etage
Age:
48

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

A: A scratch off lottery ticket from Wawa

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: Robbing the bank? I work here OFFICER!

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

A: DREAM THEME : “WRONG NUMBER”

STORY: I would talk of the time I spent working  in a Fotomat booth and how we “accidentally” processed an order wrong and had the 8X10 enlargements made of the WRONG NUMBER negative.  The woman was mortified when she opened up the envelope and viewed her enlargements. Nuff said.

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

A: My friend Jennifer tells the absolute best stories.  She is one of the funniest people I have ever met and is so  quick-witted.

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

A: I am a good storyteller because I have been told I have a good sense of humor and I know how to read my audience. My recall of the actual story I am telling is exact and therefore I am very relaxed since there is nothing to “memorize” – the facts are all in the memory bank and just come rolling off my tongue.  Animation during storytelling also helps!!

See Matthew 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.

05/08/2014

Meet Grand Slam Contestant, Anissa!

RISKStortyeller_Anissa

Name: Anissa Weinraub
Age: 34
Location: West Philly
Slam won: The Ex-Files (as per usual)

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

A: I win everyday when I make too-cool-for-school teenagers laugh and/or think critically. I also hold the record for Most Career Wins as a softball pitcher at my midwestern high school. NBD. (Please refer to story video below for reference.)

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: Educators’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions.

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

A: Plan B. I can’t tell you all, but it revolves around post-college employment and Craigstlist.

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

A: Best — R. Eric Thomas. But that’s obvious.
2nd best — Dan Denvir. Investigative Journalism in Philly!

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

A: Refer to the answer in “what was the last thing you won?” I navigate tough crowds daily.

See Anissa 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.

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Upcoming Events
  • StorySlam @ World Cafe Live: New Kid
  • Date: September 8, 2014
  • Time: Doors at 7:30PM, Slam starts at 8:30PM
  • Venue: World Cafe Live
  • Location: 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
  • Annual Fundraiser: Luncheon with Equal Pay Advocate, Lilly Ledbetter
  • Date: September 10, 2014
  • Time: VIP reception: 11AM-12PM | Luncheon: 12-2PM
  • Venue: Le Meridian
  • Location: 1421 Arch St, Philadelphia