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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.

05/05/2014

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.

05/23/2011

What Mo Inherited

The last (but definitely not least) storyteller we are featuring who will be competing in our Summer Grand Slam this Wednesday, May 25 is Mo! She won our inheritance Storyslam when she signed up last minute and told a story about the laughs she inherited and how they once stopped traffic. Watch Mo tell the whole story below AND COME OUT TO THE SLAM WEDNESDAY!!!!

Name: Mo Burroughs
Current Location (as specific as possible, please): South Philly
Slam won: Inheritance
Favorite Philly summer activity: Chillin in the various parks.
What’s your dream StorySlam theme? “Why should you rule the

world?”
Tell us a summer story in 10 words: Water ice in hand, peepin on the cheepin’ sparrows, summertime.
What’s the best story you ever heard? Uh, the best stories are not, uh, strictly speaking, fit for general consumption.  You understand.
What makes a great story? What makes a great storyteller? A great story requires relatability.  A reason for the listener to care.  A great storyteller can make the subject of the story relatable to an audience based on subtle feedback from an audience.
Why should your competitors watch their backs? They shouldn't.  I'll be winning right in front of them, where they can see me clearly. 😉



Check out our our other slammers here and don’t miss the Grand Slam!

– Laura

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05/22/2011

Do you know who she is?

Out next storyteller, Jane Doe, (aka Janet Von Trapp) won our Almost Famous StorySlam when she told a story about the time her mother asked for Jesse Jackson's wife's I.D. at the bank. You can watch the whole story down below. Don't miss Jane(t) and our other amazing storytellers when they compete for the title of “The Best Storyteller in Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 25.

Oh, and in case you didn't know, she's Dr. K's daughter.

Name: Haven't thought of a new name yet
Current Location (as specific as possible, please): Philadelphia
Slam Won: Almost Famous
Favorite Philly summer activity:
Looking around on south street. I like going to the little stores…. shopping for shirts with inappropriate sayings….etc.
What's your dream StorySlam theme?:
I have no dream theme, I don't dream of themes.
Tell us a summer story in 10 words:
This is a story all about how my life got
What’s the

best story you ever heard? My favorite story is how Harriet Tubman returned to slavery over 10 times to free people, even with fainting spells… that's dedication to a cause.
What makes a great story? What makes a great storyteller?
A great story is comical, a great story teller is monotone.
Why should your competitors watch their backs?
They should watch their back because I'm in their face…. and they might not want to look at my face too long so it's best to watch their back.



Check out our our other slammers here and don’t miss the Grand Slam!

– Laura

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05/21/2011

Marla Tells a Love Story

Marla won our Beasts StorySlam and now she’s competing at the Summer Grand Slam on Wednesday, May 25! Marla told the story about the time a possum fell through her ceiling…twice. Watch the full story below!

Name: Marla Burkholder
Current Location (as specific as possible, please): West Philly
Slam won: Beasts, January 2011, L’Etage
What’s your dream StorySlam theme? Beasts part 2
Tell us a summer story in 10 words: One summer I cleaned hundreds of toilets at Pottypalooza.
What’s the best story you ever heard? Tough one.  Probably any story by my 90 year-old grandfather.
Why should your competitors watch their backs? No one knows being out of place like a Mennonite girl.



Check out our our other grand slammers here and don’t forget to get your ticket for the Grand Slam!

– Laura

05/20/2011

Johnny doesn’t tell the Midget, Mexican, Prostitute Story

Johnny may be new to StorySlams, but he still won our New Territories Slam in January. Johnny won when he told a story about meeting his father for the first time and living with him in Southwest Georgia. Check out the full story below and don’t miss Johnny compete in our Summer Grand Slam on Wednesday, May 25!

Name: Johnny Walker
Current Location (as specific as possible, please): West Chester Pa.
Slam Won: New Territories
Favorite Philly summer activity: Cook outs are my favorite activity.
What’s your dream StorySlam theme? “What’s love got to do with it” would be a good topic.
Tell us a summer story in 10 words: Girlfriend threw out my concert tickets. I faked a press pass.
What’s the best story you ever heard? The crack house story on the Moth. When the guy left his infant in the car and was going to be right back but stayed 4 hours in freezing temps near Christmas
What makes a great story? What makes a great storyteller? Honesty and keeping it simple. A great story teller doesn’t seem overly rehearsed.
Why should your competitors watch their backs? I never knew about story slams until my new girlfriend told me about them. So in hopes of winning her over, I competed and lost. Then I gave it one more try and my girlfriend showed up just as I was called (story teller #7) up to tell a story. I didn’t even know the theme until I got there. And with Lesley watching I won. Now we are engaged. So I hope I win again to prove to myself it wasn’t just luck.



Meet our our other slammers here and don’t miss the Grand Slam!

– Laura

05/19/2011

Janet Keeps on the Sunny Side

Janet won our Family Ties Slam when she told a story about the moment she realized her family was unique: a road trip with her entire family to visit her uncle in prison. Janet will be competing against our other storytellers on Wednesday, May 25 at our Summer Grand Slam! You don’t want to miss it!

Name: Janet Williams
Current Location (as specific as possible, please): Front porch of a Palmyra, New Jersey Bungalow.
Slam won: Family Ties
Favorite Philly summer activity: I am never happier than when I’m at a Phillies game.
What’s your dream StorySlam theme? Road Trip–I got a million of ’em!
Tell us a summer story in 10 words: Fresh garden blackberries and tomatoes eaten still warm from the sun.
What’s the best story you ever heard? Washing dishes with my great-grandmother, her tales of the early 1900’s: coal-mining, hat making, school days, being courted by my great grandfather.
What makes a great story? What makes a great storyteller? I love a story that surprises and a vulnerable storyteller.
Why should your competitors watch their backs? Well…there is that time I won a push-up contest.



Check out our our other slammers here and don’t miss the Grand Slam.

– Laura

05/18/2011

Anissa (aka Ellen DeGeneres’ girlfriend)

Anissa is the next featured storyteller that will be competing in our Summer Grand Slam on Wednesday, May 25! She won Audience Favorite at our Inheritance StorySlam when she told a story about how she inadvertently helped a young woman discover her blossoming sexuality at her partner’s sister’s wedding.

Name: Anissa Weinraub
Current Location (as specific as possible, please): On the roof out my 3rd floor kitchen window, overhearing my neighbor do a lot of lung clearing. A lot. West Philly.
Slam won: Inheritance
Favorite Philly summer activity: Singing the original song “Urban Heat Island” as I sweat and curse, stuck riding my bike behind a SEPTA bus on Chestnut. Oh, wait, favorite? BBQ’s.
What’s your dream StorySlam theme? Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right. Or Do They?
Tell us a summer story in 10 words: Ocean City: Avoid buying beachtags; overdose on photobooth and bananawhips.
What’s the best story you ever heard? Who can choose? I love the one where my friend thought she would really get back at her mom by baking a pan of brownies with laxatives, but, then, she kept looking at the pan and thought, well one piece won’t be too bad. Of course, she’s a chocoholic, and she ate the whole pan herself and was sick for days. Or the other one where my dad paid his way through college by being a party promoter. Sock hops, I guess. He raised enough for a whole semester once by raffling off tickets to a Beatles show. Strangely, he won the tickets. Or the other one where my friend went back to his hometown to come out to his mother, but before he could tell her his news, she came out to him. He didn’t want to steal her thunder, or felt like she’d already stolen his, so he didn’t tell her for another year.
What makes a great story? What makes a great storyteller? Do you know want to know what the key to badminton is? Deception. I learned this in 9th grade gym class. And truer words were never uttered. The key to comedy, as I’ve been telling people for years, is re-integration. Think Seinfeld. 30 Rock. Some improv show you went to by yourself, embarrassed, disguised maybe. Why were you laughing? Re-integration. Great stories mix those life lessons of deception and re-integration.

I’d say that the key to storytelling is not giving away everything too soon, circling back to themes, letting motifs emerge, upping people’s expectancy, not going too far over-the-top with facial expressions, and, just generally trying to connect and communicate with the audience.
Why should your competitors watch their backs? Actually, I just took a ‘strengths inventory’ on-line, and found out that I’m not as competitive as I thought. I guess I like to meet everyone where they’re at in their individual talents and try to build them all up to reach a common, often visionary, goal. So it says. Competitors, beware. I may try to convince us all to become a collective, working to end oppression in all forms. Of course, the internet often lies. So maybe I’ll actually try to spike the other storytellers’ drinks with cayenne pepper. Either way, look out!



Check out our our other slammers here and don’t miss the Grand Slam!

– Laura

05/17/2011

Steve: The Romance Engineer!

We’re getting to know the storytellers that are competing for the crown of “Best Storyteller of Philadelphia” on Wednesday, May 25 at the Summer Grand Slam.

At our Anti-Valentine’s Day Slam, Steve won the audience’s heart when he told a story that can be encompassed in one joke: What do engineer students use as birth control? Want to hear the answer? Watch Steve tell the whole story below!

Name: Steve Noble
Current Location: Haddonfield, NJ
Slam won: The X-Files (Audience Favorite)
Favorite Philly summer activity: Phillies baseball (and cheesesteaks)
What’s your dream StorySlam theme: I am so embarrassed!
Tell us a summer story in 10 words: You want me to do what? No way! Wait, YES!
What makes a great story? One that makes me forget where I am and what I am doing.
What makes a great storyteller? Someone who uses words to get inside my soul, so that I am experiencing the story.
Why should your competitors watch their backs? Brain damage. Research has shown that the more damage participants had in the area of the front part of the brain called the pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, the less mortified they were about singing karaoke. I sing at a karaoke bar every week.



Check out our our other slammers here and don’t miss the Grand Slam!

– Laura

05/16/2011

Todd has spirit, yes he do!

It’s Summer Grand Slam time again and we want you to meet this year’s contestants so you’ll be in the know when we crown the best storyteller in Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 25!

Todd won our Holiday Spirit Slam when he told a touching story about helping one of his students design art for an upstart skateboard company that ends with him defecating into a gift bag on the Main Line! (Of course it does!) Watch the video of the story below!

Name: Todd Marrone
Current Location: Belmont Hills, PA
Slam won: December at L’Etage (Holiday Spirit)
Favorite Philly summer activity: Waiting for the fall
What’s your dream StorySlam theme? What I Like About Todd Marrone
Tell us a summer story in 10 words: I once got my face caught in a hot tub.
What’s the best story you ever heard? My childhood best friend told me that Gene Simmons’s tongue was originally 20 feet long and he had to have it shortened to fit in his mouth.
What makes a great story? What makes a great storyteller? A point. Sincerity.
Why should your competitors watch their backs? They should backup their watches.



Look for more slammers over the next few days and don’t miss the Grand Slam!

– Laura Reeve

Upcoming Events
  • StorySlam: Laws of Nature (tickets on sale 4/8/19)
  • Date: April 30, 2019
  • Time: 7:30 PM
  • Venue: The Playground at the Adrienne
  • Location: 2030 Sansom Street
  • I Want to Be: Stories Inspired by Jerry Pinkney
  • Date: May 4, 2019
  • Time: 7 PM - 9 PM
  • Venue: Woodmere Art Museum
  • Location: 9201 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118