by Ex Fabula blogger, Steph Kilen

Ex Fabula’s December event was Spectacular. (That’s not bragging, that was the name of the show – “Storytelling Spectacular.”) It was also wonderful, funny, touching, poignant and full of good cheer. (THAT, is a little more like bragging.)

The evening featured eight stand-out storytellers from previous events sharing their stories on the theme of “Family Ties.”  Lynn Celek kicked off the night with a story about her father’s “rip the Band-aid off” parenting style. From the backyard burial of her sister’s blankey, to his favorite, on-going game of “scare the crap out of us” meant to prepare the girls for a surprise attacker, his plan to raise “well-adjusted, stable adults” only slightly missed the mark, leaving Lynn with some unforeseen repercussions as an adult.

Kevin Barry also shared a story of the relationship between parents and child. Kevin spent his teenage years “waging war on [his] parents.” The key battle enraged his parents like never before and turned out to be a turning point for Kevin and a realization of how his actions affect others.

Linda Muza told of finding an abundance of family ties she was unaware of in a little town “four-and-a-half hours straight f*%#ing north” of her home in Milwaukee. Linda’s ailing and most beloved aunt asked her to take her home after cancer treatment. As is so often the case, what at first seemed to be a favor to someone else, turned out to be a gift for Linda, as she encountered love and beauty the likes of which she had never experienced before.

Jonathon West and Paula Suozzi multiplied their family ties by tying the knot. Coming from two very different families, Jonathon and Paula knew the way to bring these people together for the first time at this celebration would be through food, and lots of it. To save money, and include all their families’ favorite foods, bride and groom began their adventure together by making all the food for the 200 guests themselves. The meal was a hit and the couple learned that after taking on such an insane task together, they knew they were crazy enough to stay married to each other.

The marriage knot, was also the theme of Rick Frecska’s story. The son of immigrants, when it was time to get married, Rick and his fiancee decided to return to the church where his grandmother was married in a small town in Italy. The entire town of 300 people, to whom he was related in varying degrees, helped them celebrate a storybook wedding. It was a powerful and memorable experience, even if years later, the marriage did not have a happy ending.

From getting married, to being single, families love to be involved in our love lives. Lauren Poppen, a single lady, spent years having her relationship status questioned at gatherings of her close-knit family. Leaving her to  wonder, “Why they couldn’t accept me as I was. Why did I need someone with me to be good enough.” And then finally realize, “Not everyone has the same kind of happy.”

Randall Anderson wrapped up the night with the story of Christmas Eve 1979 and a visit from Santa, in the flesh. Having given his little sister the chance to open the front door, where he knew Santa was waiting, Randall was rewarded with an awkward moment shared with Santa and his father while his mother comforted his sister who was terrified at having been caught out of bed by Santa, fearing she would then not receive her presents. Mom and Santa having worked their particular magic, it was a happy Christmas after all.

January promises to be equally spectacular with two, TWO!!, Ex Fabula events:

* Tuesday, January 10, Bayview Brew Haus, Theme: Faking It

  • Saturday, January 28, Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall, Terminal Milwaukee event, Theme: Generation Gap

Hope to see you there!

Everyone at Ex Fabula wishes you, and your family – the one you were born into and the one you’ve chosen, a very happy holiday season!