We returned to the Turner Hall Ballroom for our New Year Spectacular: Break Free. Six curated storytellers took the stage to share their stories of breaking free including heartwarming and hilarious UltraShorts in-between.

Brad Gassel took the stage for the first time as a storyteller. He was a previous participant at the workshops with South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. During his travels across the United States, he learned the best way to break free from a ticket is to cancel the check when you get back home.

Fellow T. Gillum

Secret Ex Fabula teller and fellow, T. Gillum shared her story of how she broke free of generations of abusive relationships in her family. Now T has broken free of the chain of violence in her family by raising a pacifist son.

Storyteller Sean Mitchell.

Sean Mitchell spoke of his decision to change from corporate businessman to entrepreneur. He shared some lessons including, “It’s not easy but it’s worth it.”


Best UltraShort of the night? “Handcuffs, need I say more?”


Participant in the Equal Access Project and first time storyteller Dan Lococo took to the stage next. With degenerative eye disease and a love for skiing, he has a relationship with his ski guide that is half-magic and half-science. Then he accidentally got on a ski lift by himself.


Fellow Jeannette Mitchell.

Another storyteller of the fellowship and first timer, Jeanette Mitchell told her story spanning from 1980s St. Louis to Present Day Milwaukee. She was always known as ‘acting white’. Now she’s broken free and can be proud of the skin she’s in.




Storyteller Monica Thomas.

Eight years ago Monica Thomas moved back into her childhood home. She was going through a tough time and took it out on her closet. She found it was her emotions that needed to be dealt with, not the clothes. Now she only wears forgiving pants.




If you want to learn more about the tellers, you can read their bios here.

Thank you again to all of our Season Sponsors: Northwestern Mutual Foundation, Town Bank, WE Energies Foundation, MKE Turners, Transfer Pizzeria, and Colectivo.

The New Year Spectacular was also possible thanks to support from: Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Northwestern Mutual Foundation, WI Humanities Council, WI Arts Board for Ex Fab Fellowship; City of MKE Arts Board and WI Arts Board for the Equal Access project.

Our next StorySlam: First Time is on Wednesday, February 7th. Click here to get more information and tickets.