by Rebecca Segal

“Won’t you please…

Won’t you please…

Please won’t you be my neighbor?”

Wooooah, Sir! On second thought, you might want to retract that statement, Mr. Rogers, until you’ve checked out your potential new neighbors first.  Cuz you might get some of these guys:  A terrorist trick-or-treater, rowdy ex-cons with no respect for humanity, a potential baby-snatcher…or a bag of poop.  Just to name a few.

The latest Ex Fabula event took place at the Bay View Brew Haus in…you got it, Bay View.  The spacious bar/banquet hall was full to capacity (and then some) on Tuesday, November 9th, proving to be a brilliant turnout for this month’s storytelling theme, NEIGHBORS.

Bud Dombro started the evening off with the tale of how he acquired a horse from his neighbor and the extraordinary tale of how his neighbor became injured during a trail ride and had to save his own life. Rick Frecska made sure we all check ourselves when picking out Halloween costumes, because maybe dressing up as a terrorist while selling holiday cards or trick-or-treating in a predominantly Jewish Chicago neighborhood isn’t the wisest idea.  Greg Ryan and Brooke Maroldi attacked the Terkel for the evening, where we learned that even if your beautiful island experience is tainted by rowdy, drunken, screaming neighbors who were at one point arrested for assault and battery, “you can lose your Serenity…but you can get it back, too.”

Isaiah Rembert and Clifford Smith, our audience favorite of the evening, used the Rashomon method of storytelling to try and clear up for us (and for each other perhaps?) the details of Cliff’s mom’s birthday party.  Important details to take away: she’s a party girl, there was some bartender butt grabbing, there was a love square, and Isaiah did not in fact get to go home at the end of the night with the girl he wanted.  Cliff’s mom did.

Dan Niederloh, boys and girls, is the man you want to speak to if you ever need to stage a neighborhood drug coup.  Especially if this coup requires undercover cops and dark horse attack dogs.  Rebecca Segal recounted her unique French experience…of a somewhat unstable, nay, psychopathic upstairs neighbor flooding her apartment and the apartment below when she left the bathtub running during a drunken paranoid frenzy.  Merde.

Meghan Koven and Keri Kafka did a splendid job of keeping us at the edge of our seats regarding a house with a missing nursery…and ultimately a babysitting job with a missing baby.  Red Cross certification does not necessarily mean you will be hired back.

Kristia Wildflower’s upbringing of “Love thy neighbor unless…” did not stop her from seeking joy in neighbors who were part of that “unless.” And just as she “loved to dance and get down,” her daughter is teaching dance at a studio right on 64th and North—right where Father Groppi marched, and right where Kristia grew up and danced those many years ago.

Kelly Crandall had us all thinking of poop pranks and the unibomber when telling her story of a mystery package in a small town.  What could have been a terrorist bomb left on her front stoop turned out to be simply a little Halloween decoration bag with instructions to hang one of the decorations in your window and pass the bag on.  Once “reason punched fear in the throat,” she decided that the potential heart-attack was one tradition she would NOT be carrying on.

And that, boys and girls, is all.  Come back next time, and won’t you be my neighbor?

If you’re wondering when and where next time IS, get those pens on those agendas and mark off SATURDAY DECEMBER 11th, 8pm, for Ex Fabula’s holiday spectacula’ at Turner Hall. Get your tickets now at for the December Spectacular, with the appropriate theme of “Gifts.” The evening will feature new, longer stories from Ex Fabula veterans and a few special guests. We will have plenty of surprises on-hand, including a kick-off drawing that could propel one lucky audience member onstage to tell their story.  Quite the gift, eh?

See you on the flipside.  Or at Turner Hall.

-Ex Fabula

(More event photos are posted here. You can see them even if you’re not on Facebook. If you are, please consider joining our facebook group!)

Isaiah and Cliff share their winning Duo. Photo by Kat Berger.