What does it mean to belong? On Wednesday night locals gathered at Hot Water Wherehouse to hear true, personal tales on the subject of Belonging. Megan McGee took the reins as emcee and was joined by Peter Holbrook of Cream City Foundation, who read a few UltraShorts to the crowd.

Up first was Betsy Rowbottom. The first time teller shared her experience upon learning she had a long lost sibling and the realities of family secrets. Jerome Flogel was next. His tale of adolescent angst, a friend wanting to belong was something everyone could relate to. What is music? According to Peter Woods, it’s pretty awesome! His animated house concert narrative included firecrackers in the sink, a stolen shovel & the comforting thought that music allows us all to come together; to belong.

After the evening’s first intermission, some announcements & UltraShorts, the stage was blessed with three newcomers! We are all different in our own way. Joe Ganzer‘s story about an encounter with a rather unique individual¬† shed light on how some people just don’t seem to belong to ‘this world’. When it comes to kids, how does one handle certain topics? After moving to Sherman Park in the nineties, Mary Scholle found herself having to address race relations with her daughter. There are those who are okay with the idea of not belonging. Kimberly Marie mulled over the complexities and perspectives of living outside of box. Run rebel run.

Last call for stories! The final leg of the evening kicked off with first timer David Fowler. His tale of rescue, camaraderie & community definitely left the crowd feeling warm. Sometimes when you want to reach someone you have to get on their level. Newcomer Elena Olson-Valdez‘s summer school teaching experience consisted of elementary chaos, sharing circles and perfect pitch when returning a shout. Sometimes you can’t always chose what group to belong to. Per Mark Steidl, one such group is family. He shared his familial tale about a trip to the toy store, motorcycle mishaps and the effects of choices we make in life.

Let the voting commence! As the votes were being counted, the crowd listened to guest storyteller Angie Harris‘ narrative of field trips, assigned seats and race relations. Thanks to Angie and to all of our storytellers for gracing the stage with their unique tales! Votes tallied and congratulations to David Fowler for being the Audience Favorite!!

Congrats David!!

Congrats David!!


Good times and a mixed bag of UltraShorts were enjoyed by all!! Thanks to the volunteers, Hot Water Wherehouse, StorySlam sponsor Cream City Foundation & season sponsor Transfer Pizzeria Cafe for their support!!!



All photos courtesy of Art Montes