Missed last night’s Slam at L’Etage? Want to relive the moments? Enjoy the top three scoring tales of the night in the videos below. The theme was “Free.”
#3 Mark- “I love animals. People are okay, but you know, animals are it.”
#2 Dan- “I’ve grown up basically fostered in the belief that while religion is an important resource, comic books are the ultimate truth.”
#1 Donald, Winning Storyteller and Audience Favorite “…because uninvited touching is a big bright line.”
And now for your listening pleasure, one of my personal favorites, “Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin. Because “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”
Congratulations Donald! Special thanks to all of our storytellers and to our audience members who braved the cold to join us at L’Etage.
Join us next time on Thursday, February 14 when the wildly popular “Ex-Files” StorySlam returns to World Cafe Live, now with TWO shows! For tickets and more info, click here.
This Martin Luther King Day, First Person Arts is teaming up with the Greater Philadelphia Cutural Alliance to participate in the launch of their new grassroots civic movement, GroundSwell. The free event includes stories, art, food, beer, and wine. Click here for more info and to register.
First Person Arts has created a special story-sharing program that puts the spotlight on why the arts are important as part of the event. FPA worked with community members from Art-Reach, an organization whose mission it is to enrich lives by connecting underserved audiences with cultural experiences so that they may enjoy and benefit from the transformative powers of the arts. Through a series of workshops, Art-Reach participants shared and developed their personal stories about how the arts have impacted their lives. Those stories have become the fabric of Monday’s story-sharing event. Actors and musicians will use their artistry to help bring those stories to life along side Art-Reach participants at the Arden Theater. Afterwards audience members will have a chance to tell their own personal stories.
I’ve spoken with David Bradley, Director of the story-sharing event, to go behind the scenes of the process and give us a better idea of what we can expect.
Becca: The GroundSwell story-sharing event centers on one main question: Why are the arts important? You worked with participants from the Art-Reach community to answer this question and they’ve shared their thoughts. I’m curious now to hear from you. Why do you believe the arts are important?
David: Art engages us in seeing, listening to, and experiencing the world in ways that are active, new, sometimes provocative, and sometimes inspiring. It connects us to other people and gives us a way of thinking about our own lives. Art lifts us beyond the ordinary. It brings joy.
Becca: What is it like to work with the participants?
David: It’s been great to experience the honesty, passion and humor that Ray, Georgette, Peter and Valerie have shared. From Peter describing how a play hit home with him, to Ray’s stories of playing the piano, I enjoy getting a glimpse of how stories, music, and performance influence the lives of these four people.
Becca: What do you hope audience members will take away from the story-sharing?
David: When we stop and think about the songs we’ve loved, the paintings we’ve seen, and the stories we’ve read or been told, we start to realize all the different ways creative expression influences us. I’ve loved hearing that realization in the stories we’re sharing. I hope hearing these stories sparks audience members’ own ideas and memories about the ways art has mattered and can mattered to them.
Becca: What most excites you about the story-sharing?
David: I really connect with the whole idea behind GroundSwell–pointing out how the arts can play a part in everyone’s lives, and how so many of us have stories of the way art has touched us.
Becca: What is the value of work that uses community-generated content as source material such as this one?
David: I’ve always been drawn to how theatre can be a meeting place. The bigger the tent– a chance to meet more people, ideas, and perspectives. So, when we invite people and stories from a broad community, we have a chance to really hear things in new ways– ways we wouldn’t have thought of on our own.
Becca: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about coming out to the GroundSwell event?
David: What a fun gathering–poetry, stories, chances to make your own art. All at a great venue!
Monday, January 21
Arden Theater (40 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia)
5:30PM – 8:00PM
Photos courtesy of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
I don’t know about anyone else who was in the packed house at World Cafe Live last night, but I felt that our Slammers were on fire with some serious proverbial wisdom. The theme was “Second Chances.” I’ve taken the opportunity to highlight a few I came away with for you all here.
Proverb #5: Gas attendants make long-term friends. -Inspired by Storyteller, Grant
Proverb # 4: Don’t be shy. Give skinny dipping with a stranger a chance. -Inspired by Storyteller, Karen
Proverb # 3: If a family member sets you up on a blind date with a Biggy Smalls look-alike wearing socks and flip flops, take him out for hotdogs at Home Depot. He’ll dig that. -Inspired by Storyteller, Keenya
Proverb # 2: The next time you have a lay over, make it a sleep over…with a stranger and fellow traveler. -Inspired by Storyteller, Kathryn
who shared what was perhaps the most poignant proverb of all.
Proverb # 1: Hate symbol? Act of love? It’s a fine line. -Inspired by Winning Storyteller, Nimisha.
Afterall, nothing says “Welcome to the family” like a hand-made massager from a mother of the bride to a groom. But will Nimisha’s mother’s symbolic gift relieve or create family tensions? Watch her winning story below and find out. See what our friends at Philebrity had to say about Nimisha’s story here.
Nimisha, Winning and Audience Favorite Storyteller | Theme: “Second Chances”
Congratulations Nimisha! Special thanks to all of our storytellers and everyone who came out.
Join us next time Tuesday, January 22nd at L’Etage. The theme is “Free.” Doors at 7:30PM, Slam starts at 8:30PM. Click here to find out how you can reserve VIP seats.
Don’t miss the wildly popular “Ex-Files” StorySlam returning this year with TWO performances on Thursday, February 14. Click here for more info and to purchase tickets.
A pancake griddle, a girl’s phone number, a ceramic plate, a party trick sword, and don’t forget the $250 in cash. These were just some of the gifts that inspired a night of stories at last night’s Slam. The theme was “Gifts and Giving.”
The story of Christmas celebrates the birth of a child. So does our winning and Audience Favorite story from last night’s Slam by Megan. Her tale tells of how in 1961 she was replaced as baby of the family when her parents adopted her younger sister. But, Megan had gotten babies for Christmas before and she’d seen that after some time in her care the baby dolls would be better off retiring to the Island of Misfit Toys from the famous holiday tale, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Will this new baby follow suite or break the cycle? Watch the video of her winning performance and find out. Click here to see what Philebrity had to say about Megan’s story.
Our host R. Eric Thomas kicked the night off with a tale of his own. For R. Eric, growing up in a family with strictly imposed gift giving rules and regulations meant the holidays were kind of a buzz kill. But, over time he adopted the system too. It wasn’t until this past year when the system failed and left him in the storm of a holiday party gone awry that R. Eric was finally able to witness the true spirit of the holidays.
Winning and Audience Favorite Storyteller, Megan
Special thanks to all of our storytellers and to everyone who came out last night! The next Slam is Monday, January 14th at World Cafe Live. The theme is “Second Chances.”
“I have so many stories and so many adventures that unfolded in December,” said storyteller Bernardo at Friday’s First Person Arts StorySlam at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “That was my time to get my life back and go check out the world.”
Bernardo was one of seven stellar participants who regaled a rapt audience with stories relating to the night’s theme, “Home for the Holidays.” As Bernardo points out, the holiday season is always ripe with tales to tell. While every story told was unique, they all converged on some central themes of the holiday season: family, love, change, and, often, disaster.
Bernardo himself had a variety of holiday hijinks to recount, including memories of his father. Host Storyteller Martha spoke about a hilarious incident and the resulting cast on her hand that she dreaded showing to her family. David told the story of a successful, but nerve-wracking, Christmas-themed date. Kitty revealed the darker side of the holiday season with her experience as part of a child recovery mission. Liz, a self-identified gift-snooper, recalls her childhood attempts at Christmas morning restraint. Finally, Dan spoke about the Irish and Polish sides of his family and their unique traditions.
Winning Storyteller Bill earned the honor by recounting a Christmas spent away from his family, stationed in California as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. He had begun making presents as early as June, putting special care into a homemade box for his “true love” Bonnie – slide open the secret panels, he told the audience, and the box revealed a hidden love note.
When Bill found out he wasn’t allowed to return home for the holidays, he was initially crushed. “I was the first member of the family, since the family started, that wasn’t going to make it home for Christmas. It was a disgrace,” he said.
But, in the true spirit of Friday’s theme, Bill managed to find a sense of home anyway. Watch the video of his performance to find out how he did it. Congratulations Bill!
Winning and Audience Favorite Storyteller, Bill
Stories always tend to come out this time of year. We’re grateful that some of the best were shared on Friday night.
Special thanks to everyone who participated or listened to Friday’s engaging stories. The next Slam is on Monday, January 14th at World Life Cafe. The theme is “Second Chances.” For more information about these and other Slams, check out storyslams.firstpersonarts.org.
- Abby Holtzman, Marketing Intern
Another Slam season has come to a close and another one is just beginning. But with a little help from the immortalizing powers of YouTube, this past year’s tales are hardly forgotten. Relive your favorites from First Person Arts’ sixth Slam season with the top six most-watched videos.
#6 Katie- Identity Crisis
April 9, 2012 at World Cafe Live
#5 Marjorie- 2012 Summer Grand Slam
May 19, 2012 at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
#4 Andrew- Your Mom
April 24, 2012 at L’Etage
#3 Lansie- Social Network
February 28, 2012 at L’Etage
#2 Anissa- the Ex-Files
February 14, 2012 at World Cafe Live
#1 SM Shrake- Detroit vs. Philly Slam
April 20, 2012 at the Free Library of Philadelphia
Last night, the World Cafe Live stage began a clean slate; the competition to earn a spot in the next Grand Slam line-up started fresh. The venue was packed with storytellers and story-lovers alike ready to kick off the brand new Slam season. It’s hard to believe this new season marks the seventh year First Person Arts has produced StorySlams in Philadelphia.
Many audience members put their names in the bucket for a chance to be one of the lucky ten picked to slam their story on stage. The theme was “Family Ties.”
As you might imagine, last night’s theme conjured tales from across the emotional spectrum including joyous, humorous, and heartfelt tributes, along with stories that dug up harder days.
Let’s face it, every family experiences turbulent times. Sean‘s family met theirs on a family vacation spent white water rafting. Does the family survive their sink or swim moment, or do they all abandon ship? Find out in the video of his winning and Audience Favorite performance from last night’s Slam below.
Congratulations Sean! Special thanks to all of our storytellers and to everyone who came out to share tales of “Family Ties” last night. You’re part of the First Person Arts family now.
The next Slam is this Friday, December 14th at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The theme is “Home for the Holidays.” Join us again on Tuesday, December 18 at L’Etage. The theme is “Gifts and Giving.” For more information about these and other Slams, click here.
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
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
As the Grand Slam nears, storytellers are flexing their narrative muscles to secure one of the final spots in the line-up. Diane cleared the competition at Monday night’s “Schooled” themed slam at World Cafe Live, taking both titles– Winning Storyteller and Audience Favorite. It was probably the sophisticated Star Wars references that won us over. Before she left the stage, Diane had not only managed to connect Star Wars stars Hans Solo, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader to her story, she had also worked in tauntauns and the Millenium Falcon.
We admire you, Diane. We admire your Star Wars know-how, your ability to make connections between your own life and a galaxy far, far away, and we admire your perseverance; We all might have intended to save ourselves for Hans Solo, but you actually followed through with that intention. Bravo, girl. It’s no wonder you took both titles at the Slam.
With the Grand Slam fast approaching, there are only a few more opportunities for you to get in the running. Come tell us a story at our next Slam on Tuesday, September 25th at L’Etage. The theme is “Mission Impossible.” You can get all the details here.