Terminal Milwaukee: Frontier Radio Recap

by Ex Fabula blogger, Steph Kilen

Ex Fabula tackled a new frontier with a live, on-air radio event, the latest in theTerminal Milwaukee series on Thursday, March 29. About 25 people gathered in the WMSE studio lobby to listen to stories of “frontier radio” while what we believe to be the rest of Milwaukee and beyond tuned in to listen on their radios.

[slideshow]All Photos: © Kathrine Schleicher 2012 – www.ellagraph.com

We’ve been all over Milwaukee with Tom Crawford, series centerpiece, and he welcomed us “back to the mothership” at the WMSE studio. Clearly in his element, Tom shared how he went from sometimes over zealous WMSE fan boy to station manager, while the other storytellers told stories of the magic of WMSE and radio in general.

Hal Rammel, host of the WMSE show Alternating Currents, told of the joy of playing or hearing “just the right song at just the right moment” on the radio as illustrated by a call from a listener. The woman had called when she just happened to hear an avant garde piano piece Hal was playing while running through her dial. It turns out she hadn’t heard the song in 60 years, the last time being when she wanted to play it for her piano recital but her teachers hadn’t allowed it.

Brent Ghode talked about hosting a metal show on WMSE on June 6, 2006 and the huge disappointment of the skip in Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast.”  Despite the photo, no props remains a part of the Ex Fabula rulebook, but hey, it was live radio – anything goes.

Paul Cebar delighted listeners by telling us about the particulars of tuning in a crystal radio as a child and the “thrill of pulling sound of the air.” And finally, Julie Cudahy, “den mother of WMSE” told of her journey through adolescence and music, across the country and to WMSE.

Throughout the broadcast, historian John Gurda, the glue of Terminal Milwaukee, gave historical perspective on radio in Milwaukee, the downtown and Cathedral Square area,  and Milwaukee School of Engineering.

You don’t have to take my word about what you missed, this time you can hear for yourself. The full show is available for download in the WMSE archives (you’ll want the 3/29 show).

Next up: The Terminal Milwaukee grand finale, Saturday, April 28, at Alverno’s Pitman Theater.


Terminal Milwaukee Recap: “Intersections”

by Ex Fabula Guest Blogger: Lane Burns

Sherman Perk  sits quietly at the corner of 49th street, Roosevelt Drive, and Keefe avenue in a building that was once a 1939 gas station. It’s a cozy coffee shop that is a crossroads of past and present, as well as a meeting place for the wildly diverse community of Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee.

And on November 5th, Sherman Perk was the stage for the fourth Ex Fabula Terminal Milwaukee event with the fitting theme of “Intersections”.  Packed to the gills, stories of the culturally and religiously varied history of the area were framed by the aroma of fresh coffee prepared by Sherman Perk proprietor, Bob Olin.

John Gurda acquainted us with the history of Milwaukee’s largest neighborhood and the city’s first neighborhood park, drawing a connection between past and present; Sherman Park was an area that symbolized the achievement of the American dream –growth and a sense of arrival. Attendees heard history of the local architecture, the nationally recognized Jewish community and rise of Conservative Judaism, Washington High School, and the neighborhood’s ever-changing cultural mixture since the 1840’s.

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All Photos: © Kathrine Schleicher 2011 – www.ellagraph.com

Andre Bosseau began the night describing the choice to dedicate himself to keeping his family of ten children together and the sacrifices, along with overwhelming joy, that has brought him.  Andre spoke very frankly about his challenges encouraging others to have faith in their decisions, faith in their children and remember the fun in dysfunctional.

Alan Borsuk, a local Rabbi, dislikes coffee, but his story recognized the bitter brew’s power for facilitating connections between people. Describing his work as a journalist many years prior, a cup of coffee was the ticket to an inside scoop that he might not have otherwise been able to get. To this day, the coffee shop allows Rabbi Borsuk to intersect with people of varied backgrounds, a common connection shared.

Similarly, Harriet McKinney marked the passage from Chicago to Brookfield to the East Side and finally to Sherman Park, delineating how all the stops in her life were a part of a divine plan, connection to the blessings she felt her life had given her. Ultimately the journey led her to this neighborhood where she “could look out her window and see the fabric of humanity”.

Local colors were vibrant and ready to be woven into that fabric: Jerry McInnes enumerated the many intersections that had cropped up in his 71 years, and how each of those twists and turns had led him from being a Looper to being a welding trainer, to crossing the intersection to be at Sherman Perk and tell his story.  Sheldon Solochek detailed his connection to the neighborhood and how great it was to grow up in Sherman Park.  Michael Heider shared a perspective of the neighborhood from the window of the hospital room at St. Joe’s where his father was dying, a snapshot of 90% of his life surrounding him.

Russel Stamper II grew up in Sherman Park too, working at a Laundromat owned by a blind man with a very developed sense of his business – to the point where Russell decided to test whether he was truly blind.  Cindy Grover brought everyone to a crossroad in Costa Rica where she had to find a way to get back to town after missing the only bus. Marco Everett’s intersection was with love, beginning in New York, through the military, and into Wisconsin where he met a girl with whom he would reunite, marry and raise a family, years later.

Family was a prominent topic in a number of the stories. Bill Lange, another Sherman Park native, describes a day when his son, unaware of how late his father already was for work, had a provoking question –and a unique theory – regarding how each person’s culture and birthplace is determined. Mavis Roesch grew up at the intersection of Sherman and Center, attended Washington High School, and appreciated how easy it was to integrate both her school and faith in this neighborhood. Ryan Schleicher had a story only two hours in the past: while driving to pick up alcohol before the liquor stores closed, he saw the hospital where his first child would be born and was struck with profanity-laced awareness that he would be a father in six short weeks.

Tom Crawford closed the evening with a story as a series of vignettes that painted a picture of how an energetic, imaginative child was nurtured by his experiences in Sherman Park growing up, as well as how his connection to the neighborhood continues to enrich his life through music and amazing friends.

The next stop in Terminal Milwaukee is at Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall with the theme of “Generation Gap” on Saturday January 28 at 8 pm.


Terminal Milwaukee “Barbershop” Recap

If there was ever a place you’d be sure to hear a story it’s a barbershop; making it a perfect location and theme for the third installment of our Terminal Milwaukee series. The series’ central figure, Tom Crawford, seemed right at home at Satin Wave Beauty Salon and Barbershop, our chosen location. No wonder; his father was a barber and owned his own shop, another reason we were gathered among sinks and hair dryers on Friday, September 9th.

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The series celebrates Tom’s life and storytelling skills throughout the Milwaukee neighborhoods in which he has lived and worked. While Tom’s connection brings us to each location, his spotlight is always shared with the community and those who have and continue to make it vibrant. Friday’s event highlighted the Capital Heights neighborhood, but it also featured the community of barbers and stylists that has grown in, around, and through Satin Wave, located at 6446 W Fond Du Lac Ave.

Throughout the night historian John Gurda shared historical insight on the neighborhood and the African-American community in Milwaukee.

Satin Wave is a family business, started by current owner Ronnie Sherrill’s grandfather, the first black Master Barber in Wisconsin. Ronnie, and his family, including his sister Dianne Pratt and her husband, former acting mayor of Milwaukee Marvin Pratt, shared the history of the establishment, their family and their involvement in the neighborhood.

Ronnie’s other family, the men and women who have worked at Satin Wave, gave their perspective on the business. Toby Harrison, Jackie Brinson and Omar Mustafa told of their starts behind the chair and the ups and downs of their careers. Penny McGee of a nearby salon told the story of starting her business and confirmed a rumor about stylists for the audience. “The thing I love about being a hair stylist is working with the community,” she said.

It was no surprise that several stories offered by audience members were about the unease of childhood haircuts. Ex Fabula’s Leah Delaney told of a father/daughter bonding experience at the barber that resulted in something like a pompadour on her head. Nathan Kilen explained the science of getting the right place in line to get the good barber versus the distracted barber, and the sacrifices his dad’s hair made to that end.  Connie Moreadith, in town visiting from North Carolina, recalled her brother’s fear of the clippers. From his screaming, the whole small town knew when he was in the barber’s chair. “It was not the happy scream of a pig who fell in fresh mud,” she explained. Dianne and Marvin Pratt’s granddaughter, 12-year old Ayanna (our youngest storyteller to date) told a captivating and humorous account of her first relaxer and “the way of the salon.”

As in all Ex Fabula events, stories also touched on the odd and the touching. Bob Pothier shared tales of unfortunate haircuts in Samoa. Michael Heider’s father had grown up in the neighborhood and spent his childhood playing along Mud Creek. When Michael’s father died he scattered his ashes in the creek. “That was his idea of heaven and that was the best I could do to get him there,” he said. Lamont Smith wrapped up the community storytellers potion of the evening with an homage to barbershops saying what we had all come to believe throughout the night, that the barbershop is always somewhere real personal and a barometer of the community.

The evening culminated with Tom Crawford telling of his father’s career as a barber. From his basement to his own shop, we learned how Tom’s father navigated life behind the chair and Tom’s ever changing hairstyles.

Don’t miss the next installment of Terminal Milwaukee, Saturday November 5, 8 p.m. at Sherman Perk coffee shop. The theme will be “Intersections.”


Recap of Terminal Milwaukee – All in a Day’s Work

by Ex Fabula blogger Steph Kilen
photo by Kat Berger

Ex Fabula Terminal Milwaukee project’s first full-length event, “All in a Day’s Work” was not work, but pure joy. Held at Club Garibaldi in Bay View on Saturday July 23, the stories of the evening celebrated the neighborhood and detailed the odd, humorous and difficult experiences that can go along with occupation.

The evening began with a pre-event cookout at Groppi’s, during which John Gurda, John and Anne Nehring, and others shared the story of G. Groppi’s market, a Bay View institution.

Milwaukee historian John Gurda kicked off the evening at Club Garibaldi with the story of the founding of Bay View. Built around a growing iron industry in 1868, Bay View was Milwaukee’s first suburb, incorporating as a village in 1879 and joining the city of Milwaukee in 1887. John provided historical interludes throughout the evening telling of Bay View’s important role in the labor movement of the late 19th century, a once inhabited Jones Island and his own connections to Bay View – from childhood to the beginnings of his career as the man to put Milwaukee’s history on paper.

Bay View and Club Garibaldi were chosen as the setting for this event because Tom Crawford, the central storyteller in this series that follows his life in Milwaukee, frequented the club after working as a longshoreman, loading salt on the docks of Jones Island when he was young. Several other longshoremen shared their stories as well. “Poet, musician, longshoremen and free spirit,” Harvey Taylor admitted despite his years working on Jones Island, he is “more interested in the commerce of story than the moving of cargo.” Tom Tolan’s experience as a longshoreman was more that of “young working class heroes who grew up in the suburbs,” having started as a longshoreman in 1969 then leaving to go to Woodstock. He shared some of the “salty” language he heard during his stint and what passes for a koan in the world of longshoremen. Tom Schwark, the third former longshoreman to take the stage, told of a neighbor with a similar name and several more uncanny similarities.

The “All in a Day’s Work” theme inspired a wide range of stories. Ex Fabula co-founder Leah Delaney told of her “near death” experience as a duck boat tour guide in the South Shore Marina. Ex Fabula regular Conn Hagen shared yet another of his drinking mishaps as a bakery delivery guy with a severe hangover. Michael Heider lamented the time as a photojournalist he obeyed the police and didn’t take a photo of the man they were bringing out of a building after an arrest: Jeffrey Dahlmer.

First-time storyteller Beth Bojarski told a tale of artists in the corporate world and how a kitchy mascot they had adopted turned out to be a very expensive (and somewhat smuggled) piece of “art” owned by upper management, delivered to the wrong department. Steph Kilen shared adventures and disappointments of a cub reporter and why she now always wears sensible shoes to work. Patty Prichard Thompson delighted the audience with memories of her mother and the tools of her trade doing upholstery for Milwaukee airlines. Patty’s mom was “an industrial strength lady” who carried everything she could ever need in her huge purse, but everything important in her five-hook bra.

Folks gave Bay View its due at the event as well. Lisa Goldman explained how she sees the narrative of her life through the neighborhoods of Milwaukee. Dale Nook told of how having lived in Bay View for 30 years, he just recently is getting to know his neighbors through his involvement in the Bay View Neighborhood Association and other grassroots organizations on the south shore; an involvement possible now that he is retired. Meghan Koven said, “When you’re in Bay View, your neighbors always have your back, ” and then illustrated it with the tale of how she and some out of town friends were rescued on a cold winter night.

The terminal Milwaukeean himself, Tom Crawford, took the stage for the last story of the night. Tom’s varied vocational career started in December 1976 when he realized at 17-years old that he would need to go to school, go into the military or end up in the factory. His first choice was the military. He told the recruiters “I really wanna blow shit up,” took the test to be a combat engineer and got the highest score. On the day he was set to leave for basic training, he found out an old hip injury made him ineligible for service. His father having made the demand of a pay stub to be able to continue living at the house, Tom began his life as a workingman. After a couple false starts at Pizza Man and a factory, Tom ended up at a foundry. Just three hours on the job, he found himself holding up a man whose arm had gotten stuck in a machine. While desperate to quit after a tragic first day, he reluctantly stayed on at the foundry for two years, after which he discovered “the most romantic and amazing manly experience anyone could ever have” working the docks on Jones Island where he spent the next ten years. Tom’s story, like all Tom’s stories, like all good stories, was punctuated with laughs and gasps from the audience – the best of an Ex Fabula experience.

The ride through Tom’s life and the amazing diversity of experience and character in Milwaukee continues at Terminal Milwaukee’s next event: Friday, September 9th, 8 pm at Satin Wave Barbershop.

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Ex Fabula’s “Terminal Milwaukee” Storytelling Series Highlights Bay View with “All in a Day’s Work.”

The first, full installment of Ex Fabula’s new storytelling series, “Terminal Milwaukee” will take place Saturday, July 23, 8 p.m. at Club Garibaldi, 2501 S Superior St, Milwaukee. Through the “Terminal Milwaukee” series, Ex Fabula will see Milwaukee through the eyes of a lifelong resident, Tom Crawford, and visit the neighborhoods he grew up in and worked in over the years.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhHdS72T65M&w=560&h=349]
The series began at Ex Fabula ALL STARS 2011 season finale on June 2nd at Turner Hall. In addition to Tom’s story on the evening’s them of “Secrets and Lies,” the show included the unveiling of the Terminal Milwaukee video trailer. This is the second in the seven-event series and the first to focus on one of the five distinctive neighborhoods of Milwaukee that tell the life story of Tom Crawford. Tom came to this project as a standout storyteller from Ex Fabula All Stars 2010 and a self-described “terminal” Milwaukeean. The story theme for the July 23rd event will be “All in a Day’s Work.”

Club Garibaldi was specifically chosen for this event because Tom would frequent the club after working as a longshoreman, loading salt on the docks of Jones Island when he was young. Furthermore, Club Garibaldi has a rich 100-year history, still serves as the meeting place for the Italian Garibaldi Society, and is a cultural destination in the Bay View neighborhood. Tom’s visceral personal stories are gripping, vivid and filled with detail and affection for the neighborhoods they are set in. This event, like all the Terminal Milwaukee events, will also feature storytellers preselected from neighborhood residents. Finally, Milwaukee historian John Gurda will contribute historical vignettes to each event throughout the Terminal Milwaukee Series.

Milwaukee historian John Gurda at 2011 Ex Fabula All Stars

This particular evening will also feature a a pre-event barbecue at Groppi’s Italian Market. The barbecue will highlight Groppi’s as another terrific asset to the Bay View neighborhood and John Gurda will share some historical insight on the 100 year old market that calls itself a “Bay View Tradition.” The barbecue begins at 6:00pm and will continue until 7:30pm, with food and beverages available for purchase. Groppi’s is less than one block from Club Garibaldi.

Throughout the course of the Terminal Milwaukee series, audience members will have the opportunity to share their memories and experiences in the neighborhood. The series will be documented in audio and video form and these will be shared throughout the year-long project. There is a suggested donation of $5 at the Club Garibaldi event to support this project and Ex Fabula’s mission of connecting storytellers with live audiences.

“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.

Click here For more information about the “Terminal Milwaukee” series or call Amy Schleicher, Project Director, at 414-840-3930.


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.

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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=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhHdS72T65M]

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 http://www.pabsttheater.org/show/exfabulaallstars .

The 2010-2011 ALL STARS are:

Brooke Maroldi (October, “Confessions”, www.ournextthing.com)
the Duo of Isaiah Rembert and Clifford Smith (November, “Neighbors”)
Bob Murray (January, “It Gets Better”, www.facebook.com/dateamerica)
Scott Heaton (February, “Valentine/Anti-Valentine”, ohscotty.tumblr.com)
Anja Notanja (March, “Emergency”, www.anjanotanja.com)
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.


Our New Series, “Terminal Milwaukee”

We at Ex Fabula are so proud to announce the details of our new project, “Terminal Milwaukee”. The project is a seven event series that will lead audiences through five distinctive neighborhoods of Milwaukee following the dynamic life story of Tom Crawford, a standout storyteller from Ex Fabula All Stars 2010 and self-described “terminal” Milwaukeean.

Through the “Terminal Milwaukee” series, we will see Milwaukee through the eyes of a lifelong resident, Tom Crawford, and visit the neighborhoods he grew up in and worked in over the years. He has worked as a longshoreman on Jones Island, a baker’s apprentice and a hide washer in a tannery. He began in radio in 1983 and eventually became Station Manager of WMSE, where he currently works as a community linchpin. Tom Crawford’s visceral personal stories are gripping, vivid and filled with detail and affection for the neighborhoods they are set in. Accordingly, each event will also feature storytellers preselected from residents of those neighborhoods. Milwaukee historian John Gurda will contribute historical vignettes to each event to fill out the evening. Throughout the course of the series, audience members will have the opportunity to share their memories and experiences in the neighborhood. The series will be documented in audio and video form and these will be shared throughout the year long project.

The series kicks off at Ex Fabula ALL STARS 2011 season finale on June 2nd at Turner Hall. In addition to Tom’s story on the evening’s theme of “Secrets and Lies”, this kick off will include the unveiling of the project’s video trailer. The first neighborhood event will take place at Club Garibaldi at 8 pm on Saturday July 23rd, and the theme will be “All in a Day’s Work”.  On Friday September 9 at 8 pm, Satin Wave will host an event with a theme of “Barber Shop”. Sherman Perk will host “Intersections” on Saturday November 5 at 8 pm. In 2012, the series travels to Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall for an event on the theme of “Generation Gap” on Saturday January 28 at 8 pm. Then on Thursday March 29, 2012 at 6 pm 91.7 WMSE will host an event in studio which will be broadcasted live; the theme will be “Frontier Radio”. The series will resolve in a final live storytelling and musical event, presented in cooperation with Alverno Presents; the theme of “Terminal Milwaukee” will come to life on Saturday April 28, 2012, at Alverno’s Pitman Theatre.

Admission to most events will be free with donations accepted to support this project as well as Ex Fabula’s mission of building community by connecting storytellers with audiences.

“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.

For more information about the “Terminal Milwaukee” series, email Amy Schleicher, Project Director, at (amy at exfabula dot com).


Ex Fabula Awarded Wisconsin Humanities Council Grant, Embarks on Project to Highlight Local Tales Told by Your Neighbors

We are proud to announce today that Ex Fabula has received a major grant award from Wisconsin Humanities Council to help fund our upcoming special community storytelling project – Reclaiming Milwaukee’s Narrative. The project is a seven event series that will lead audiences through five distinctive, but underappreciated, neighborhoods of Milwaukee– following the dynamic life story of Tom Crawford, a regular Ex Fabula storyteller and “terminal” Milwaukeean.

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.

In the fall of 2009, the five founders of Ex Fabula began organizing live events in Milwaukee to provide meaningful shared experiences for individuals from different communities in the city. The fledgling organization was called “Ex Fabula” – Latin for “from stories”. Through Reclaiming Milwaukee’s Narrative, Ex Fabula seeks to build a greater awareness of the diverse and rich Milwaukee culture often bypassed in these neighborhoods, building a stronger sense of community between Milwaukee natives through the social power of story.

Each event in the series will take place in one of the featured neighborhoods where Tom and other neighborhood natives will share their true personal stories in the Ex Fabula tradition; during which, noted Milwaukee historian John Gurda will weave threads of the neighborhood’s culture and history into the background. The series will resolve in a live radio show on WMSE and a final live storytelling event at Alverno’s Pitman Theatre in April 2012.

A documentary of the project is planned of the featured Milwaukee neighborhoods.  Partnering with Ex Fabula in the endeavor are WMSE and Alverno Presents. Events will also be held at Turner Hall and four yet-unnamed sites in each of the featured neighborhoods.

Turner Hall, Photo by Kat Berger

The trailer for the Reclaiming Milwaukee’s Narrative project will be unveiled at the Ex Fabula ALL STARS grand finale event on June 2nd at Turner Hall, serving as the kickoff event for the series.
Until June 2nd, Ex Fabula has two remaining storyslams in their second season: March 16th at the Stonefly Brewery in Riverwest, and April 12th at the Bay View Brew Haus.

For more information about Ex Fabula or the Reclaiming Milwaukee’s Narrative project, go to www.ExFabula.com or call Amy Schleicher, Project Director, at 414-840-3930.