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Grand Slam: Meet the Contestants (Pt. 2)

The countdown continues; We are now just one day out from the biggest storytelling showdown of the season- the Grand Slam. In my last post I introduced you to the first half of our storyteller line-up. Now, let’s continue our countdown of contestants along with the stories that earned them their spots in Friday’s rank.

Contestant 7: Andrew
Slam won: “Danger”

Andrew is a self-proclaimed neurotic. So when his train-wreck of a landlady calls him home to deal with a leak in his apartment, Andrew is flooded with fear.

Contestant 8: Hillary
Slam won: “Girl Power”

Gender bias still plagues the stand-up comedy scene, and that’s no joke. Hillary must decide whether to stick to her set about colonial reenactors and wind chimes or get down and dirty with her comedy routine for the sake of revenge.

Contestant 9: Kitty
Slam won: “Virtue and Vice”

Kitty is a professional investigator who makes her living “off of the infidelity of others.” In her winning story she’s called in to go undercover in order to catch a potential adulterous husband in the act. Everything goes downhill from there, and with a classic twist at the end, assumptions about virtue and vice are turned completely upside-down.

Contestant 10: Michael
Slam won: “Crush”

Not many of our Slam stories have titles, but Michael calls his winning tale, “The Great Crush of 42.” He starts out by admitting that “crushes for [him] – [are] like having a cold.” His story revolves around one very special woman and the journey they’ve shared.

Contestant 11: Anthony
Slam won: “Geek Out”

Anthony turns to online dating in search of his geektette match. But when he and his date discover their preference in geeky reading material crosses genres, her heart might as well be in a galaxy far, far away.

Contestant 12: Katie
Audience Favorite Slam: “Crush”

Katie’s story told of the time she pretended to be a hard-core camper to impress the hot group leader on her community service trip. But with one simple mix up about sanitation procedures her crush might be no longer be a happy camper.

The Grand Slam is currently SOLD OUT. We will be starting a wait list at the door at 7PM. The earlier you arrive at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.), the better your chances are for getting into see the show. We will release any unclaimed tickets just before show time.

-Becca Jennings


Grand Slam: Meet the Contestants (Pt. 1)

The Grand Slam is just four days away! Twelve outstanding contestants are scheduled to slam their best true stories on the theme “Power” at Underground Arts this Friday night. But only one will walk away with the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia,” a certificate authenticating the win, a steller microphone trophy (pictured right), and free admission to FPA StorySlams FOR LIFE.

How’d the contestants get here?
Eleven of our twelve contestants slotted to bask in the Grand Slam spotlight this Friday have each won a StorySlam this past season. At each Grand Slam, one spot is reserved for the contestent with the highest “Audience Favorite” score. This time, that storyteller is Katie. Friday she will join the ranks with the other 11 winners to compete for the title.

Meet the Contestants:

Contestant 1: Sean
Slam won: “Family Ties”

Every family experiences turbulent times. Sean’s family met theirs on a family vacation spent white water rafting. In his winning story, Sean’s family is faced with the options of surviving their sink or swim moment or abandoning ship.

Contestant 2: Bill
Slam won: “Home for the Holidays”

Bill won with a Christmas tale about war, love, and family. He found himself, as a lowly Second Lieutenant, not allowed to visit his family or love of his life over the holidays. The hijinks that follow include a surprise visit and some poison oak.

Contestant 3: Megan
Slams won: “Gifts and Giving” and “The Ex-Files”

In Megan’s winning story on the theme “Gifts and Giving,” she tells about the Christmas of 1961, when she got a family promotion to big sister. But a long line of past baby doll mishaps left Megan unsure about whether she was ready for the real deal.

Later in the season Megan went on to win the early show of FPA’s wildly popular anti-Valentine’s Day Slam on the theme “The Ex-Files” with a story about her ex-husband, blue-eyed and fresh out of jail for armed robbery. The first three are no problem for Megan, but she begins to struggle with the last as her husband falls back into his old ways.

Contestant 4: Nimisha
Slam won: “Second Chances”

Nimisha’s winning story is an uproarious story about her traditional Indian wedding – to a “nice, Jewish boy from Chicago” instead of the Indian doctor her parents had hoped for. Nimisha’s mother makes Nimisha’s husband-to-be a gift with good intentions, but the outcome is both shocking and hilarious.

Contestant 5: Donald
Slam won: “Free”

Donald ditches Houston for a new life in Philly. But will a stranger’s affections be too much for Donald on his journey to the city of brotherly love?

Contestant 6: Steve
Slam won: “The Ex-Files” (late show)

Steve won Part 2 of the “Ex-Files” Slam with a deadpan recounting of a truly horrendous first date. There is funnel cake and soda. Later, there is a roller coaster.

Stay tuned for the rest of the Grand Slam line-up and the stories that earned them their place in Friday’s spotlight coming soon.

-Becca Jennings, Marketing Assistant and Abby Holtzman, Marketing Intern


Spoiler Alert: Brady Lives to Tell the Tale

Brady Dale frequently regales us at StorySlams with his dry sense of humor, and his story on the theme “The Unknown” was no exception. We knew we were in for a good one when he started his story Tuesday night at L’Etage with,

“I have a really nice set of knives. They were a wedding present… I’ve never been married, but I did briefly have a fling with a woman going through a divorce…”

We were surprised when his story turned away from marriage and towards his unlit and unlocked home late one night many moons ago. Don’t miss the video of his winning performance in the video below.

With his big win Tuesday night, Brady managed to secure the last spot in our Grand Slam line-up taking place November 8th. (Click here to purchase tickets.) Don’t wait! This event sells out every year.

Brady Dale, Winning and Audience Favorite Storyteller. Theme: “The Unknown”

Stay tuned, y’all. Soon we’ll be rolling out the complete list of First Person favorites who will be competing for the coveted title– “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” along with the videos of the stories that earned them their spots on the Grand Slam stage.

-Katie Linton, FPA Marketing Intern


Burbs Drama

Most folks go to the city for adventure. Not Hillary. She heads to the burbs.

At last Thursday night’s “Us and Them” themed StorySlam at World Cafe Live, Hillary told us all about about growing up in Philadelphia– about going to a diverse, tolerant high school where she was disappointed to find little of the petty drama and cliques that she thought made the high schools on TV so exciting. But her humdrum high school experience gets taken to the next level after she meets a set of twins from Bucks Country. Hillary earned the Winning Storyteller title with her well-told tale of burbs drama.

Katie had the Audience Favorite title in the bag once the story of her “artsy-fartsy” date at a live performance of Stars Wars became something much more… uh… holy.

Hillary will be joining a host of other Winning Storytellers at our Grand Slam on November 8th at Christ Church Neighborhood House. Tickets always sell out for this ultimate storytelling event, so buy them soon if you want to hear more from Hillary.

And you’ve got one more chance to flex your StorySlam muscle– the winning storyteller from October 23rd “Unknown” themed Slam at L’Etage will be the final storyteller allowed in the Grand Slam on the 8th. If you don’t want to tell a story, at least come out and help us decide who will be the last one in the running for the coveted title of Best Storyteller in Philadelphia

- Katie Linton


Top 5 Most Viewed Stories of 2010

Because it’s the time for counting things down and looking back over the year, let’s re-enjoy some of 2010′s most watched stories from our YouTube channel.

#5 Meg’s short and sweet “Epic Fail.” (Watch her Best Presentation-winning Grand Slam story here.)

#4 Liz Spikol “spills her guts” at our May Salon, Spilling Your Guts

#3 The story that took current “Best Storyteller in Philly” Amanda to the Fall Grand Slam. (Watch her Grand Slam story here.)

#2 Cecily can make a funeral hilarious.

#1 Not a big surprise here… Olga tells us about her not-so-little friend, Carlitos at the Summer Grand Slam.


Friends With Benefits

Here’s another Fall Grand Slam and Soiree contestant who will be brawling on November 10!

When Erica moved from the west coast to Philadelphia, there was only one thing missing…good weed. So she went where most people go to find special friends. Craigslist! Hear the rest of her saucy story below!

Don’t forget to check out our previously featured contestants here.

Name: Erica
Age: 32
Location: Germantown
Slam won: Friends with Benefits

What was the last thing you won (StorySlam not included)?
An award for “Best Style” at a staff bowling outing in NYC.  I count my approach out like dance steps and do a little hop between beats 3 and 4.  I really can’t bowl without the hop.  I believe the prize was two tickets to the movies.

In honor of FPA’s 10 year anniversary in 2011, tell us a story in 10 words.
These scars are bites from a 750 pound pig, Hilda.

What would your dream theme be for a Storyslam?
What story would you tell?
A story about one of the surgical scars on my body.

Who do you know that tells the worst (or best) stories?
My Bedouin father in the Peace Corps, Dakhilallah Gublan Al-Fikur, told the best stories around the dinner fire pit.

Why are you a good storyteller? (aka why should your competitors be scared?)
I’m an adventurous person.


“I am full of shit.”

Bill-225x300Bill might not have won his original slam; however, he did walk away with the audience’s heart when he and his friends drove from Florida to North Carolina to go skiing. They are poor college students and cannot afford a hotel room. So, what does Bill promise to do? Seduce snow bunnies so that they can have a place to sleep. Watch Bill fake his way through his stories below! 

Bill will be competing in our Fall Grand Slam on November 10Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

You can read about some of the storytellers Bill will be competing against here.

Name: Bill
Age: 36
Location: South Philly
Slam won: Faking It  (audience favorite)

What was the last thing you won (StorySlam not included)?
I wont the three-legged race in 5th grade on field day.

In honor of FPA’s 10 year anniversary in 2011 – Tell us a story in 10 words.
My cat lost a tooth. Mortality is for real, kids.

What would your dream theme be for a Storyslam? What story would you tell?
School days. My story would be about seeing the classroom from the
other side, and how I now realize how unimpressive I must have looked
back then.

Who do you know that tells the worst (or best) stories?
My father tells terrible stories about how tough retirement will be if
one doesn’t properly allocate funds to one’s IRA portfolio.

Why are you a good storyteller? (aka why should your competitors be scared?)
Storytelling is about style, yeah, but experiences are important too.
I have done more dumb things than anyone else I know.


Going the Distance

Amanda won our “It’s In the Mail” StorySlam when she told the story about her attempt to seduce her dream man, her boss. Watch her tell the full story below! Amanda will be competing alongside our other talented storytellers on November 10 at the Fall Grand Slam and Soiree.

You can also read up on our previously featured winners here.

Name: Amanda
Age: 31
Location: South Philly/Italian Market
Slam won: It’s In the Mail

What was the last thing you won (StorySlam not included)? South Philly Food Co-op Raffle (Gift Certificate to SPTR.  Woo Hoo!)

In honor of FPA’s 10 year anniversary in 2011 – Tell us a story in 10 words. Birthday brunch last Sunday. Made homemade pop-tarts.  Gained foodie cred.

What would your dream theme be for a StorySlam? What story would you tell? I wish I had been in town for Epic Fail.  I think I would have told the story of my senior year of high school, aka the year that all of my high school-y dreams were destroyed and I got really fat and depressed.  It was awesome.

Who do you know that tells the worst (or best) stories? Ummm…easily Katonya Mosley is the best storyteller on the planet.  Storytelling needs to be a job that pays a lot of money so that she can do it for a living and bring joy to the world.  Everything she says has layers.  She is crazy subtle, but always makes her point. She can win over and inspire any audience.   Did I mention that that the whole reason I entered the StorySlam was (indirectly) because I (friendly) stalk Katonya?  I took the class she was teaching because I’ve seen her host many slams and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take lessons from the master.  I entered the StorySlam I won as a result of the class.  We’ve been going to slams for years, but I never entered one as a storyteller before taking the class.

Why are you a good storyteller? (aka why should your competitors be scared?) Yikes, gnarly question. I’m a better storyteller because I took the FPA Tell It! course, and, uh…I enunciate? :-) .  My competitors should not be afraid of me, because I am friendly and I only like to compete with people I really dislike. Also, if previous Grand Slams are any indication. I should be very afraid of at least most of them….and I am!  As long as I don’t completely bomb, though, I’ll be super happy to have participated in this iconic Philly event.


Remember Meghan’s Epic Fail?

I know November 10 is marked in your calendars because it’s the date of our Fall Grand Slam and Soiree!

To get you all caught up, for the next two weeks we are going to feature all of the former champs who will be competing!

Remember when Meghan ate a paper plate because she thought it was a Pita? Well, come out on November 10 and hear her battle it out for the Grand Slam title. (Watch her original story below.)

Name: Meghan
Age: 27
Location: Bella Vista. Make a left at the blinking police camera.
Slam won: Epic Fail (I accidentally tried to eat a paper plate thinking it was a pita triangle.)

What was the last thing you won (story slam not included)?
A ping pong game around 2:30 AM in my basement. At least I think I won…

In honor of FPA’s 10 year anniversary in 2011 – Tell us a story in 10 words.
When I was young I chased my imaginary friend “The Future”.

What would your dream theme be for a Storyslam? What story would you tell?
Epic Fail, and I would tell my pita/paper plate story. But that already happened, so I guess the theme could be “Change of Plans” and I would tell this story about the time my friend and I were driving to South Dakota for a Native American reservation spirit quest, but the car broke down at Chicago and we had a weeklong Chicago bender instead.

Who do you know that tells the worst (or best) stories?
My friend Adam Woods tells the best stories. Not only does he have a charming Tennessee accent, he has an incredible ability to take his time setting up a good story and hit you with a climactic ending. Being from Tennessee he also has a great cast of characters- like Popcorn Sutton, the moonshine maker.

Why are you a good storyteller? (aka why should your competitors be scared?)
I’m short and to the point, with a healthy amount of self-deprecation. Seriously though, I’m going to lose.


Have You Met Saturday’s Storytellers Yet?

They are an eclectic bunch this group… lawyers, actors, bloggers. They come from as far away as South Africa and as close as Delco. And they are bringing their best storytelling to Saturday’s Summer Grand Slam. Will you be there to cheer them on?

Wayne Brinkley
Naomi Brownstein
Natala Covert
Ben Drinen
Brenda G
Tremaine Johnson
Alex Kacala
Michael McCarry
Olga Schmutz
R. Eric Thomas
Leah Walton

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Upcoming Events
  • StorySlam @ L’Etage: Wild Things
  • Date: April 22, 2014
  • Time: Doors at 7:30PM, Slam starts at 8:30PM
  • Venue: L'Etage Cabaret
  • Location: 6th and Bainbridge Streets, Philadelphia
  • StorySlam @ Underground Arts: Grand Slam
  • Date: May 16, 2014
  • Time: 8PM
  • Venue: Underground Arts
  • Location: 1200 Callowhill St., Philadelphia