“Friday, September 10th, marked the first time in over 18 months Ex Fabula has had an in-person event. I had no idea what to expect. As the  event producer it is my job to create an experience for every individual that enters the space. It is my job to co-create an environment where folks feel heard, appreciated and welcome.

Leading up to this curated StorySlam, I often felt like I didn’t know how to host an in-person anymore. If you could’ve seen me feverishly tearing through old checklists, handbooks, and event supplies and materials, you might’ve thought I was having a conniption. I mean— first, there is the challenge of COVID safety. Then there’s securing storytellers, working with the venue, registrations, staffing, and the list goes on and on… BUT, and it’s a big but, with many deep breaths and “woosah-s”, the incredible work of the Ex Fabula and Milwaukee Film staff, I could do my job with skill, style, and finesse.

Sporting bright red eyebrows and my Ex Fabula t-shirt, I co-emceed with Nicole, Ex Fabula’s Marketing Manager. We rocked the mic while welcoming stories from Kennita Hickman, Taqwa Obaid, Jay López, Jeronica Brister, Damien Wright, and Javier Centeno on “Food and Culture.”

Afterward, the storytellers and audience members alike mentioned how much they “needed this space” and were “so grateful for this opportunity to be in community again.” And that… that right there is why I do this work. That made all the thinking and re-thinking, all the documenting and editing, all the emails and phone calls, all the meetings and follow-ups worth it.

Be it in-person or on zoom, thank you for helping me make space for your stories to be heard, appreciated and welcomed.” – Alea McHatten, Event Producer

“I arrived at Nō Studios early because, like previous seasons, I had the task of replacing the old season banner with the new one, and like every year, I forget how to do it. Of course, I struggled and almost ditched the banner for the night until Mary (an Ex Fabula volunteer) came to my rescue and just as the doors opened, the banner went up! My anxiety was high because I wanted it to be a great night. It was our first in-person slam in over a year! I, for one, completely missed the feelings I’d get at our StorySlams. So I was more than ready…also, I was co-emceeing. I’ve been with Ex Fabula three years and emceed none of our events. As folks started coming in, I couldn’t believe it. There were people ACTUALLY coming out and to OUR SLAM! Once Alea and myself got on that stage, it was like we never left. It felt good to see people, to hear stories and be in community. One of my best friends, Kennita Hickman, shared her beautiful story, so that was my favorite part. Oh there was food too. DELICIOUS food from Taqwa Bakery & Restaurant – that got me through the night. This kick-off event was perfect and gave me so much hope for our future events. We know there are so many stories out there waiting to be told. We hope you join us this season!”  – Nicole Acosta, Marketing Manager