Video Medley from Ex Fabula ALL STARS

For those of you who missed “Secrets and Lies” on June 2 at Turner Hall, here’s a video medley from our fine friends at High Frequency Media:

Recap of All Stars 2011

by Ex Fabula blogger Steph Kilen

photos by Kat Berger

We have a secret: our All-Stars event at Turner Hall was made extra fantastic because of a visit from famed actor John C. Reilly. Ok, that’s a lie. Well, at least the John C. Reilly part. And the part about it being a secret… it’s not, because we just posted it on the web, duh.) But the part about it being extra fantastic? 100% truth, baby. And that’s because it featured seven all-star storytellers  and Milwaukee historian John Gurda, and Milwaukee legend-in-the-making Tom Crawford.


Mr. Gurda kicked off the night of “Secrets and Lies” with a brief, true history of Turner Society, the organization that gave Milwaukee its socialist mayors and an aspiration for “sound mind in a sound body.” He also answered the question on everyone’s mind: How many Germans can you fit into Turner Hall? (3000 if you’re wondering.)

Bob Murray, the first All Star to grace the stage, divulged the secret of the night he both lost his virginity and became someone’s one-night-stand in one, incredibly awkward, fell swoop. Bob may have lost the female vote when he stated that he had a hard time losing his virginity in the first place because “no girl wants to sleep with a guy who is skinnier than they are” (80%true) and “that’s a hard thing to overcome in Wisconsin” (not a lie, just ignorance, silly boy.)

Anja Notanja passionately gave the audience this advice, “If you are going to lie, lie all the way, lie with your heart” along with an illustration of how she did just that during her stint as a street psychic who received radio waves from space. Many wondered what the treat of her singing a song “in her native tongue” (LIE!) had to do with it, but no matter.

After an intermission, Scott Heaton kicked off the second round of stories with this secret: “When I slack, I do not fuck around.” His story of slacking on the job with Saz’s catering proved the statement to be the truth.

Amie Losi  shared a story of romantic relationships and the lies she tells herself and her well meaning mother along the way.

Then, Tom Crawford kicked off the new Ex Fabula storytelling series, “Terminal Milwaukee.” The series follows Tom through Milwaukee neighborhoods in which he has lived or worked. This first story, which took place outside his former residence in Bayview, featured neighborhood watch, “exotic fireworks” and vigilante justice gone awry. Told with the detail, heart and humor that has made Tom a favorite with the Ex Fabula crowd (and, you know, the centerpiece for the Terminal Milwaukee project), his story prompted at least one audience member to put him down as a write-in on the evening’s ballot.

Isaiah Rembert and Clifford Smith, whose November duo about “Neighbors” was selected as Audience Favorite, showed us both sides of lying while dating. Clifford – the lied to – agreed to meet a girl he met on the Internet, only to discover that she wasn’t the girl he had been talking to online, but her 16-year old sister who fled her dying mother’s bedside with stolen credit cards to meet him. Isaiah – he who lied – struggled with jealousy and an imaginary “ACLU lawyer” ex-girlfriend. Seems either side of lying in love is messy.

Finally, Brooke Maroldi, who has previously had audiences rolling with stories of being pulled over with torrents of snot coming out of her face and a priest who declared her soul in a “state of emergency,” chose to show her storytelling talent on the other end of the spectrum with a story where she poured out her heart and the family secret of her brother’s gambling addiction and the rift it caused between them.

After the audience voted, the trailer for Terminal Milwaukee was screened for the first time. For those who missed it, here is the online version of the trailer: [youtube=]

Once the ballots were counted, Amie won the right to wear the grungy Ex Fabula crown, as her story was selected Audience Favorite. Don’t lie; sorry you missed it, aren’t you? No worries, plenty more to come: Terminal Milwaukee continues Saturday July 23, Guerilla Story Slams will visit yet-to-be-disclosed locations throughout the summer and then, yes, we’ll be back for another season next fall. It ain’t no secret, so spread the word and share your story!

Storytellers for Ex Fabula ALL STARS announced

photos by Kat Berger.

our fabulous poster designed by dwellephant!

We’re thrilled to announce the line-up for the upcoming Ex Fabula ALL STARS event, which will take place at Turner Hall on Thursday, June 2nd, at 8 pm. This grand finale event of our second season will feature stories told by the ALL STARS – storytellers who were voted Audience Favorites at this season’s monthly events. Tickets are available for $10 at .

The 2010-2011 ALL STARS are:

Brooke Maroldi (October, “Confessions”,
the Duo of Isaiah Rembert and Clifford Smith (November, “Neighbors”)
Bob Murray (January, “It Gets Better”,
Scott Heaton (February, “Valentine/Anti-Valentine”,
Anja Notanja (March, “Emergency”,
Amie Losi (April, “Theory & Practice”)

Each of the ALL STARS will share a new, ten-minute Solo or fifteen-minute Duo on the theme of “Secrets & Lies.”

The evening will also kick off “Terminal Milwaukee”, a seven-event series that will lead audiences through five distinctive neighborhoods of Milwaukee following the dynamic life story of Tom Crawford. Tom was a standout storyteller from Ex Fabula All Stars 2010 and is a self-described “terminal” Milwaukeean. As part of this kickoff, Tom will share a story on the theme of “Secrets & Lies”, Milwaukee Historian John Gurda will reveal some “secrets and lies” about our beloved Milwaukee, and the Terminal Milwaukee series video trailer will be screened for the first time.
“Terminal Milwaukee” is funded in part by a major grant award from the Wisconsin Humanities Council. The Wisconsin Humanities Council supports and creates programs that use history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin. The WHC receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin.

WATCH! “Neighbors” Winning Story: Isaiah and Cliff Rashomon (Video)

November’s “Neighbors” event at Bay View Brew Haus was a packed house and a blast with some great neighborhood stories.

Erik Ljung created this creatively spliced video of the winning story for us: Isaiah Rembert and Clifford Smith told a Rashomon – the same story told from two different viewpoints. Make sure to watch all the way to the end!


Recap of November 9th event about “Neighbors”

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.