Crowd Shot from Ex Fabula Green Story Slam

Meet the”Our Little Secret” Storytellers

The secret’s out! Our Spectacular little secret! This Saturday, January 28th, we’ll take Ex Fabula to Alverno’s Pitman Theatre for the New Year Spectacular with the theme “Our Little Secret.” Unlike our monthly StorySlams, this special event features 10-minute curated stories and is an afternoon (yep, it’s a 3 pm show) not to be missed.

However, before anyone takes the stage, we’d be remiss if we didn’t introduce the awesome Spectacular Storytellers.Continue reading “Meet the”Our Little Secret” Storytellers”


Fatherhood:Recap

On Tuesday night, a diverse crowd showed up at 3041North to enjoy true, personal stories on the theme of Fatherhood. Continue reading “Fatherhood:Recap”


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“Off the Hook” Recap

Ex Fabula returned to Hot Water Wherehouse this month for a story slam that was “Off the Hook’. The lovely Dasha Kelly served as emcee for the evening, welcoming a few first timers to what clearly became the male story hour. Continue reading ““Off the Hook” Recap”


“Close Call” Recap

By Ex Fabula Blogger, Steph Kilen

It was cozy, close quarters at Stonefly Brewery for the “Close Call” event. A packed house cheered on the nine storytellers of the night as they regaled us with tales of things that could have really, really sucked, but only just sucked in varying milder degrees. Most every storyteller got to walk away from their ordeal with only an audible “whew,” though poor Matt Brown did end up covered in the exploded contents of moose stomach.

The night packed more gasps and breath-holding than an action blockbuster. Jason Statham has nothing on these folks. There was plenty of flashy handling of automobiles,   battles with nature, narrow escapes from death, a weapon and even the kind of sexual content that will get you a PG-13 rating. (More than one F-bomb, however, pushed the night into “R” territory.)

The close calls in automobiles included Matt Brown hitting the aforementioned moose. He survived the collision, and almost as importantly to him, got out of playing a 90-song-set-list gig because of it. Fellow warrior of quadrupeds, Krista Lanphier was “mesmerized by this beautiful creature” just before she hit it. Like a true MacGyver, she fixed her window with  some plastic, duct tape and one very well placed obscenity and carried on. In homage to the deer she feels sacrificed its life to save hers, she keeps a few of its hairs plucked from the hood of her car to remind her “whatever the situation, I’m really OK.”

Heather Hingston, with her friend and both of their lives packed into a Ford Escort set off on a 26-hour journey.  They broke the monotony of a long road trip by hydroplaning in circles on the highway. They came out shaken, but like Jason Bourne, without a scratch. Krista Wildflower, though pulled over by a cop for speeding, came out with only a warning because she was dressed as an elf, and who could give someone with “a smile and a sense of humor like that” a ticket.

The difference between a close call and something much worse often depends on quick, level-headed thinking and amazing physical feats. Judi Zaferos-Pylant told of the daring rescue of a SCUBA diver by his instructor who also happened to be her husband. Professional dance critic, Tom Strini, who is not a dancer himself, modestly performed “the greatest air turn in the entire history of the art” to avoid the bite of a rattle snake. Jean Claude Van Damme crosses the street when he sees Tom coming.

Moni Bee took a camping trip and took on an evil deer, a porcupine, the wrong trail, the wrong lake and walked away with a twisted ankle, but also the memory of “a million lovely things.” Noah Sumner took on wild life of a different variety. He told the story of one of those nights (you know the ones) where he was in the position where he could have got shot, beat up or arrested, but just walked away with the story of several close calls.

Dasha Kelly won the Audience Favorite Award for her story about “Living La Vita 23-Years Old and Living La Vita Broke.” Looking to make some cash, she took her charm and her 23-year old body to apply for a job as a scantily clad hostess. She was told that she wouldn’t get the job because she was “bigger on the bottom than they typically hire.” Seeing that the scantily clad hostess job, she later realized, would also involve a pole, she quipped, “Most of the stories tonight have been how people had their ass saved. This is a story about how my ass saved me.”

Like all good action movies, this recap has an “at home viewing extra”:

I am taking the liberty of crowning a winning Ultra Short of the night, and it is this: Katie says, “This one time I almost fell in love, but then found out he was a douchebag.”

Whew, indeed, Katie.


Recap of “Theory & Practice”

by Ex Fabula blogger Krista Lanphier

photos courtesy of Kat Berger.

Ex Fabula’s most recent storytelling event was held on Tuesday April 12th at the warm and inviting Bay View Brewhaus. The theme of the evening was “Theory and Practice,” and the event quickly became an example of storytelling theory in practice!

Paul Crowley, Grant Hagen, Amie Losi, Michael Heider, Rebecca Segal, Patrick Schmitz, Linda Muza,  Alicia Wahl and Kristia Wildflower had their names picked out of the hat, thus earning the chance to share a true tale on stage. In the end, it was an extremely close race for a chance to appear at the season finale event, Ex Fabula ALL STARS.

We were entertained by Paul’s story of his endless attempts to quit his job working for a Renaissance fair. Quitting should have been easy, but his boss who couldn’t take no for an answer.

Next came Grant – who talked about his and his wife’s memories of how they saw their first two daughters married off to wonderful men. He then went on to share the story of his third daughter who, while teaching English to monks in Nepal, decided upon an impromptu marriage to a local man.

Amie reminisced about her sunny beach days in her home state of California….and then shared how she moved to Wisconsin with her three children all under the age of 6, in the middle of heavy snow, to help her husband fulfill his dream. In the end, Amie dream of having someone to love and cherish her also came true in its own special way.

After reading Jack Kerouac’s On The Road at the ripe age of 16, Michael ran off to New York City in search of a new, exciting life. He found himself shacked up in an apartment in Greenwich Village with no heat and a drunken owner. One day he wakes up to an Irish Setter taking a poo just 6 inches from his head, and decides immediately to find a way back to Milwaukee. He makes it, but only after many days “on the road” –which included getting arrested in Chicago.

Rebecca shared memories of studying in France along with a group of students that hailed from all over the world. On one sleepy night, an Irish student decides to stage a party at an abandoned factory. Rebecca was sure it was going to be a boring night, but after a night of drinking alcohol, jamming to music and running away from the police, it ended up being the party of her life.

Patrick then recounted the time he came into the big city for an audition and accidentally ended up at Art’s Performing Center instead of the Performing Arts Center; after an amusing encounter with the bouncer, Patrick eventually realized that Art’s was actually a strip club and made it to his real audition.

Linda told her angst-ridden story of how her only son out of 6 children, who grew up in a “world of women,”  decided to join the army. After he was stationed in Iraq, she is heartbroken by the irrevocable changes she sees in her beloved only son…and only wishes she could have him back, away from the “world of men.”

Alicia reminisced about how, as a technician for the Santa Fe Opera, she and her roommates couldn’t get any relief from a pestering neighbor until they devised a cop-proof strategy of living – and partying – that involved tie-dye, pajamas, pizza, root beer and muppets.

And finally, Kristia told of her story of how she had planned for months to attend a writer’s workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico, but after missing her flight, found herself making new friends at Chicago O’Hare over the course of 10 hours. She never made it to Mexico…but she did find new friends.

At the end of the night, the audience voted and selected Amie Losi as the evening’s Audience Favorite.

In theory, you’ve wanted to be at every Ex Fabula event this season, but we know that in practice, those intentions don’t always work out. But don’t fear! At Ex Fabula ALL STARS, you can hear new tales from the storytellers that were voted Audience Favorite as each event.  Ex Fabula ALL STARS will take place Thursday June 2nd, 8 pm at Turner Hall Ballroom. The appropriately mysterious theme will be  ‘Secrets & Lies’. Last year’s event was packed, so buy your tickets early!

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Seemed like a great idea at the time? Ex Fabula wants to hear it!

You’ve planned, you’ve envisioned and you’ve fantasized about that moment. You were sure it was going to work out just as you had hoped….What happened? Did it turn out as planned? Tell your true story -or just come to listen- at the next Ex Fabula event at 8 pm on Tuesday April 12th at The Bay View Brewhaus, 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue. The night’s theme is Theory and Practice.

Think your true, personal story is so “out there” that no one would believe you, or so universal that everyone will feel like they’ve been there? Come to Ex Fabula! Dozens of people will be there to lend their ears and their support as you share your very own story on stage.  Those who are interested in vying for a storytelling spot on Tuesday April 12th should put their names in the hat by 7:45 pm. Would-be storytellers should prepare stories that tie into the night’s theme. Be sure to practice reciting your tale before the event (friends and pets make for a great audience). On stage, you must tell your story without notes and within five-minutes– there will be a cut-off cue if a story runs over the time limit.  The audience favorite of the night will have the opportunity to tell a story at the ALL STARS event in early June.

Speaking of ALL STARS, Ex Fabula fans should go to http://www.pabsttheater.org/show/exfabulaallstars and purchase their tickets for Ex Fabula ALL STARS, which will take place at Turner Hall on Thursday June 2nd. This event will feature brand new, ten-minute stories told by favorite storytellers as voted by audience members from our past monthly events.

Keeping within the theme of the evening, Secrets and Lies, Ex Fabula will also reveal a secret of its own: the trailer for a special, upcoming storytelling project starring a notable, terminal Milwaukeean. Put an excellent theory to practice and don’t miss the ALL STARS event!

For more information about Ex Fabula, go to www.ExFabula.com.


Recap of “Emergency!”

by Ex Fabula blogger Steph Kilen

photos courtesy of Art Montes

“Emergency” is a relative term – making it a perfect theme for March’s Ex Fabula event at Stonefly Brewery. Two first-time storytellers kicked off the night. Alicia Wahl told of an unfortunate night working back stage at an open-air opera theater in Santa Fe during monsoon season. Apparently it is tricky to keep large pieces of scenery from blowing away while assuring the lead soprano diva that the crew has no control over nature. Lauren Poppen was taking a leisurely hike in the woods with her boyfriend, when she twisted her ankle. Stuck in particularly rough terrain, it took not her boyfriend, not the park rangers nor the EMTs, but the whole fire department to get her out.

Kristia Wildflower’s decision to use the ladies room at bar time might have been a mistake; she came out to find everyone, including her husband, gone and the bar dark and locked. That’s a problem, but the real emergency came later when, still stuck at the bar, she received a call that her husband had been in an accident and might lose his leg.

Bob Murray, who won Audience Favorite earlier this season, told a story that could be titled “Panic at the Four-Plex” about a crazy night at his apartment involving his neighbors, looting of beer and ice cream, police at the door and a guy cheating on his girlfriend with her best friend. How was Bob supposed to get any sleep?

Sometimes you have to make up an emergency to get out of a situation. Luckily for Conn Hagen, he and his buddies “remembered” they had left a pizza in the oven upon realizing the woman he was about to go home with was a man.

Cindy Grover readies herself for whatever emergencies may come her way through “anticipatory disaster fantasy.” It came in particularly handy while she was a high-risk obstetrics nurse. Bud Dombro also spoke of life and death situations in his story about a “search and destroy mission that turned into an emergency evacuation.”

Another previous Audience Favorite winner, Brooke Maroldi, explained why, when she was in third grade, a old Irish priest told her “your soul is in a state of emergency!”

The final storyteller of the night was also the Audience Favorite. Not Anja didn’t have one big emergency, but spent a few months living in a state of several small emergencies. Along with an entertaining story, Not Anja shared her cure for getting rid of fleas: sing to them, move your bed around to confuse them and throw on some lavender and chamomile for good measure.

If an emergency of your own kept you from March’s Ex Fabula, you can recover by attending the next event on Tuesday April 12th at the Bay View Brewhaus.  The theme is “Theory and Practice”, and it’s your last chance to be crowned Audience Favorite and earn yourself a spot at the ALL STARS event in June. Be there by 7:45 to put your name in the hat for a shot to bring your story to the stage.

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Lisa Gatewood Story

Milwaukee musician Lisa Gatewood (http://www.lisagatewoodmusic.com/) on growing up poor in Whitefish Bay, wishing for ice cream socials in mansions that never came to fruition and evil Brownie Troop Leaders.

“The mothership was calling me home and the mothership was the Girl Scouts of America.”

 


It Gets Better!

Suffering from the winter doldrums? Although it’s cold and dreary outside, Ex Fabula is here to remind you that “it gets better”. Break out of hibernation, strap on your snowshoes and trek on over to the Stonefly Brewery—735 E. Center Street in Riverwest, for Ex Fabula’s first storytelling event of 2011 . Join us on Tuesday January 11 at 8 pm for some community and some stories on the theme of “It Gets Better”. Tickets are just $5 at the door.

This month’s theme is inspired by Dan Savage’s ‘It Gets Better’ project, which was created “to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years.” We believe that the message of “It Gets Better” is in fact one that we all need to hear from time to time. Do you have a story about getting through a tough time in your life that you want to share? Throw your name in the hat for a chance to tell your story… and how you got to a better place. Although this theme is inspired by the It Gets Better project, stories do not have to be related to sexual preference or gender. We will be donating a portion of the proceeds to support the It Gets Better project.

Wanna tell a story? Those who are interested in vying for one of the random storytelling spots should put their names in the hat by 7:45 pm. The volunteer storytellers for the evening will then be randomly drawn to compete side by side with storytellers arranged in advance. Would-be storytellers should choose stories that tie in to the theme “It Gets Better”. They should practice without notes and to the five minute time limit as they will be cut off if they run over five minutes. This time limit will be strictly enforced so everyone has a fair opportunity to tell. Storytellers should pay particular attention to the first and last lines of their stories and ensure that they are vivid and compelling.

For more information on Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project or to make a donation, go to:
http://www.itgetsbetter.org/pages/about-it-gets-better-project/


Recap of the December Spectacular!

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thanks to our blogger Stephanie Kilen!

An Ex Fabula audience is not easily fooled or deterred. We know the difference between rain and snow, so even winter horror stories from Minnesota could not keep the faithful away from Turner Hall on Saturday, December 11. After all, we were promised “gifts” – the theme for the storytelling spectacular.

While some audience members went home with Ex Fabula buttons, or stickers, or a buzz from the famous Turner Hall Tall Boys, only one lucky audience member went home with the memory of kicking off the show by sharing her story on stage. Molly McGrath’s name was pulled from the dapper, white top hat. She told of the year her 10-year old self wanted only “peace and quiet” from her three older brothers and received a jar filled with green water from one of them that was supposed to do the trick.

Amie Losi began the scheduled program with a story of a teacher who gave both Amie and her son, Alex a gift by appreciating, liking and encouraging the “cynical and jaded 5-year-old” that was Alex. Before the first break of the evening, Grant Hagen gave us the inside scoop on what it’s like to be a mall Santa based on his stint as the big guy at Capital Court in the 1970s.  While there was plenty to be not-so-jolly about, Grant had a twinkle in his eyes when he assured us that, “It’s not all Billy Bob Thornton when you’re Santa Claus.”

In between stories, host Leah Delaney read UltraShorts. Lest you think that UltraShorts are hot pants a la The Rockettes, UltraShorts are the one-to-two line stories submitted by audience members and read by the hosts – Megan McGee and Leah Delaney. There was no shortage of UltraShorts Saturday as there is obviously no shortage of odd and touching gift memories this time of year.

Back for Round 2, nurse Cindy Grover held the audience in touched silence as she told about the Christmas she had to give a badly burned, 5-year old boy a painful treatment. The pain the boy endured and the pain it brought Cindy to have to do it turned into a gift for both of them when weeks after being discharged, the boy returned, perfectly and beautifully healed, to thank Cindy for her care.

Frequent Ex Fabula contributor Dan Niederloh literally “looked a gift horse in the mouth” and indeed, ended up with a beloved old horse for him and his family. The horse got the gift of grass –instead of  glue factory- and Dan got one of those great “’Dad is a hero’ moments to be savored because they come along so seldomly.”

The audience was then treated to a story that couldn’t be touched by any Hallmark Christmas Special movie. Deaduri Gales told of her first Christmas after losing her mother and father within a year of each other.  A then 10-year old Deaduri went to live with her aunt and uncle and a cousin who became her “instant sister.” After some months of initial disagreements, Deaduri and her cousin bonded over finding the hidden presents and a visit from a “bilingual, tipsy” and not-so-well-disguised Santa.  While the girls knew it was their uncle, they, along with the rest of the family and even the elderly neighbors were “caught up in the magic” of Christmas and believed, right there on the front yard.

Having quickly returned to their seats, the audience was ready for the last two stories. Emmett Gross’ stories were not about gifts, but were offered up as gifts to the audience for use as their own, should they ever want to use them. A generous man, Emmett handed out three glowing tales of his own personal embarrassment: getting stuck in the baby swing at a park at 12-years old; randomly vomiting all over himself as a Junior in high school; and not-so-brilliant idea of giving the finger when featured on the hockey game Jumbotron.

Lisa Gatewood wrapped up the evening with the tale of her tangle with the Girl Scouts of America and a real desperate housewife. An under-privileged girl living in White Fish Bay, Lisa’s grandparents gave her the gift of Brownie handbook, Brownie sash and the fees to join. Thrilled to be aboard the “mother ship” of grade school social activities, she eventually realized that the troop leader was deliberately delaying her badge acquisitions thus preventing her from continuing on in the organization. Her one and only “Math Fun” badge, however, could not begin to serve her the way the life lessons she learned from the experience have.

It’s hard when you’re having fun on Christmas Eve to be told that you must go to bed in order for Santa to come. At the end of the night, all the stories were told but the audience lingered just a while, hoping to catch a little something more. Luckily, we need only wait a month for more gifts. See you January 11 at Stonefly Brewing Co.!