“Fool Proof” Recap

A fool’s paradise? Last week, Ex Fabula returned to Hot Water Wherehouse for our final storyslam of Season 5 on the theme of “Fool Proof”. Megan McGee served as emcee for this evening full of hilarious and heartwarming tales and shared some memorable audience UltraShorts in between story tellers.

Missed out? Want to relive the best night of your week? Here’s the scoop.

You kids and your pranks! In high school, Dave Hendrickson and friends drummed up what they thought was a fool proof flag pole gag to gain popularity & rile up the authorities. Christyn could have told her driving companion that the farting noises in the car were from the remote control fart machine and NOT her…but it made the trip to Colorado more fun! Bible camp mischief maker Isral DeBruih might have thought twice about his water balloon ambushes on fellow campers and counselors had he known it would lead to his name on “The Coldest Night” wall.

Speaking of cold nights, a bed and breakfast from hell was the wrench in Shruti Gopinathan‘s seemingly fool proof honeymoon plan in Italy.

Ahhh, the best laid plans…despite their efforts, storytelling duo Kerri Grote & Amy Wilbourne‘s plan to avoid a boyfriend’s ex-wife at a bra fitting went hilariously awry. And Union president Sue Blaustein learned the hard way that there really is no fool proof way to avoid the utter chaos of event management.

The things we do for love. Virginia Pothier‘s fool proof plan to get her firefighter crush’s attention in high school ended up working a little TOO well. A diet plan involving overexposure on pillow cases full of sugar was the unexpectedly fool proof way that Mark Wein saved his marriage. What won’t save love, however, is trying to be perfect – a ride down a steep hill was a catalyst for Leah Leone‘s heart-breaking relationship wake-up call.

As we waited for the votes to be tallied, the lesson from a heartwarming and emotional story from guest teller Teju the Storyteller was that simply dancing and laughing with children can make any bad day better. I think we could all use that reminder!

Congratulations to our audience favorite story teller and final winner of a spot in the All Stars lineup *drum roll please*: Virginia Pothier! A big round of thanks to all of our fool hardy storytellers for giving us another memorable round of stories, including special thanks to guest Teju the Storyteller. We are continually grateful for our volunteers and sponsors, whose time, talents, and generosity make Ex Fabula possible and to Hot Water/Wherehouse for being such an awesome venue and partner this season. Last but not least, thanks a bunch to Megan McGee, the fabulous emcee!

Our May 9th All-Stars lineup is set, and tickets are ON SALE NOW! Get ‘em before their gone – don’t miss a chance to kick off another Milwaukee weekend with the cream of the Ex Fabula crop.

Fight the “Fear of Missing Out”. Stay connected with Ex Fabula:
On the web
On Twitter
On Facebook
We’re even on iTunes!             

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Secret Fabula

by Ex Fabula blogger Kimberly Ousley; photos courtesy of Art Montes.

On Sunday the 30th, Ex Fabula hosted its first ever Secret Fabula event at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge. The sold out event was hosted by the effervescent Leah Delaney.

Kyle Cherek kicked off the evening sharing tidbits on the establishment’s history and a personal tale of a blind date gone sour. Proprietor John Dye reminisced about a first date, good times past and the significance of Bryant’s in his life. Living legend and former cocktail waitress Shirley Lafferty enlightened the crowd on the benefits of amber lighting and the importance of using proper language. Emcee Leah Delaney dished on witnessing stolen moments and heartbreak. Some attendees even stepped up to share memories of their first Bryant’s experience: Becca Segal & friend’s encounter with a stray magician, Donte McFadden’s awesome drink and good times with friends, employee Jessica Shell’s ghost encounter and being creeped out by the upstairs area and Hanna Gichard nodding off after hours of traveling.

Congratulations to raffle winner Angela Dresen, who will have Bryant’s April Drink of the Month named after her, as well as Mark Teske, who won the Bryant’s Trivia contest. A big thanks you to our storytellers for coming out and sharing their personal stories & memories of Bryant’s. And finally a gigantic thank you to our members and to our lovely host, Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge and its staff.


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“Fool Proof” Announcement

This season flew by faster than 5 minutes on stage at an Ex Fabula event. It seems like just yesterday we were kicking off the season at our first-ever fundraiser and now here we are, announcing our final regular StorySlam of Season 5!

Yeah, those April Fools pranksters are no match for you. So after you match wits with the tricksters, come join Ex Fabula on Wednesday, April 2nd, for a StorySlam on the theme of “Fool Proof“. We’re back for an encore at Hot Water Wherehouse, 818 S Water St. Non-members pay only $7.00 at the door (cash only) to cure the hump-day blues with another rousing round of true and personal stories. The show starts promptly at 7:30 PM, and for optimal seating and shorter drink lines, we recommend coming closer to 6:30 when the doors open.

If you want to tell your 5 minute story, please arrive early (6:30 is ideal) to get your name in the hat. We’ll draw names at random, and we reserve 3 of our 9 slots specifically for first-timers.

Whether you took no prisoners this April Fools or fell for every trick in the book, we hope to see you at “Fool Proof”! One last audience favorite story teller will book themselves a ticket to this season’s capstone All Stars show in May!

Speaking of which, have you been waiting with bated breath to see the best of Season 5 duke it out at the finish? ALL STARS tickets are on sale NOW! Get ‘em while they’re hot! Stay tuned for more information and announcements about our All Stars show in the coming weeks.

Looking for something to do this weekend? We here at Ex Fabula are pumped for the Teen Slam State FINALS on Saturday! The best of the best of Wisconsin youth will be going word for word to represent the state at the 2014 Brave New Voices International Youth Spoken Word Festival. This event is totally FREE and will be an entertaining and inspiring showcase of a rising generation of storytellers. For more information, please visit the event Facebook page. We hope to see you there, and would love to hear your favorite parts about the event on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Remember to check back on our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news on Ex Fabula and other great ways that the power of stories is transforming our community.

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“Off the Hook” Recap

by Ex Fabula bloggers Kimberly Ousley and Megan McGee

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.

To start the night, Joel Dresang shared a tale of how a deer saved him from a speeding ticket. Michael Heider’s story also involved avoiding a speeding ticket; in this case, the police were busy guarding the roads for the Vice Presidential candidate. Then, newbie Jonathan Brostoff told of the most incredible party ever and the great lengths he and his friends took to find it.

After a beer break, we welcomed 3 more first time storytellers to the stage. Michael Mangan’s story about running for office involved a gorilla suit and several arrests – although fortunately, his cases were eventually dismissed. Tiodolo Delagarza’s gripping tale took us through different stages of his life when different things were “off the hook”: joining a gang and beating a lifelong prison sentence, but later getting an education and giving back to his community.

Tim Higgins then took the stage with a story of Summerfest, public nudity, confession, and forgiveness. Mark Steidel followed the second beer break, talking of skydiving with his nephew, and then Phillip Cruise Warren shared a tale of sailing the seas on a mighty vessel with a huge anchor.  Finally, Dave Hendrickson shared the rise and fall of his career as a pool shark.

While votes were counted, guest teller Avi Lank wove together stories of wedding rings, including an episode with the Canadian border guards. At the end of the evening, Tim Higgins was crowned Audience Favorite.

Thank you storytellers for sharing a piece of yourselves with us! Thanks also go to Dasha Kelly for being such a wonderful emcee, to Hot Water Wherehouse and their staff for welcoming us to their space, and to all our wonderful volunteers and sponsors for your time, efforts, and continued support.

Stay connected with Ex Fabula. Check out our podcasts on iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ex-fabula). Tune into WMSE 91.7 for our radio show, broadcasted on the last Friday of every month at 12pm. Check out www.exfabula.com and sign up for the mailing list to receive Ex Fabula updates. Visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ExFabula) and follow us on Twitter (@ExFabula, www.twitter.com/ExFabula).

Ex Fabula: Story. Stage. You.

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“Bonus” Recap

by Ex Fabula bloggers Kimberly Ousley and Hanna Gichard 

Season five continues to thrive. This month Ex Fabula returned to the Times Cinema to uncover what exactly defines a ‘Bonus’. The always lovely and delightful Leah Delaney served as emcee for the evening.

While searching for items at a second-hand store Lisa Erin Brown stumbled upon a pouch. Realizing that it was a forgotten treasure of childhood past she searched inside, discovered contact information and contacted the previous owner.  Her bonus? The gentleman returned her phone call and during their conversation, Lisa learned he was a famous musician. The two set a date & time to meet. Upon meeting he thanked her for returning the childhood item to him. He was so impressed with Lisa that he gave her a first pressing of one of his band’s records.

Mark Steidl worked at a horse ranch when he was in high school. One day he learned that the horse ranch was going to get rid of some bunnies. He decides to keep one and use it to prank his vice principal, whose nicknamed happened to be ‘rabbit’. Early one morning, with the help of his best friend, the orphaned rabbit is placed in his office, complete with a sad but cute note. Later in class instead of hearing the usual daily announcements, the school is treated to a somewhat unamused vice principal. He reads the note and offers up the bunny to whoever wanted it. The bonus? Mark’s best friend was blamed for the entire incident, leaving him in the clear.

Sometimes a bonus finds us even in the midst of heartbreak. In 2001 Adam Carr’s father learned he had a brain tumor. In spite of the diagnosis his father surpassed expectations and went on to live for another year. Adam shared the positive and negative moments that were experienced during that time. From the family cruise to playing ping-pong and attending basketball games with his father. Planting tomatoes and holding his father close after a seizure occurred. The memories made and the quality time the family enjoyed during that year was the best bonus Adam could ever ask for.

Tom Shanahan‘s bonus was right here at Times Cinema! As a youngster he and his buddies used to sneak in after hours to chow down on candy and hang out in the projection room. One particular day, while sitting in the projection room they heard a knock on the door. The person on the other side of the door requested that they step out. Not taking things so seriously Tom and his fiends decided to sneak out the opposite door and ran right into the police. Unbeknownst to the teens they had set off a silent alarm that had been installed due to a safe burglary in the neighborhood. The group was taken into custody. Double bonus: while being escorted outside Tom notice a familiar face looking on; his mother, who had witnessed everything from across the street.

Rob Harrington is not your typical party guy. During a ski trip to France with a friend, they encounter a pair of beautiful women while drinking in a bar. The four dine together and the women invite them to go dancing. The two men happily agree. They can’t believe their luck that these women want to hang out with them. Dumbfounded by their luck and quick ascension into popularity, Rob and his friend continue to party long into the night with strangers and beautiful women. The next day the two men decided to go skiing, only to discover that they do not care for it nor were they good at it. Rob and friend decide to go to a club that evening, only to be turned away. Back to reality.

What does it take to become an American citizen? According to Paul Lewis it all boils down to forms and money. Having been in the States for some time Paul decided to obtain citizenship. He was amazed, baffled and amused at the process. The immigration office was similar to that of a local department of motor vehicle.  He compared the citizenship tests questions to those on the green card application questions. Paul reviewed the written test, sharing how he was required to answer questions like if he was an habitual drunkard or a sexual deviant.  Paul concluded that any ‘D’ student with sufficient knowledge of American history could become an American citizen, provided that person also has the funds. He is now a proud citizen.

Linda Muza shared a very touching, mindful tale. As a child her family shopped at thrift stores. Linda enjoyed picking up books and came across a happiness guide with a girl’s name scrawled inside.  She never could have been prepared for the “bonus” she found: a sad tale of abuse documented in the back pages. Horrified and saddened at what she had read, Linda almost put the book back on the shelf but decided to keep it.  Something about the unknown girl’s bravery & perseverance struck a chord in Linda. It made her question what exactly what life was about. To this day, Linda still has the book. She says it opened her eyes and is her reminder that life is a precious gift, a bonus.

When she was four years old Becca Segal’s friend told her that all red heads were aliens. This upset her very much, especially because her mother was a redhead and, like most kids that age, loved her very much. She was scared and she cried. Since he decided to mess with her head it was only fair she do the same. To get back at him she decided to tell him that her older brother died in the war. What war he would ask. She’d simply reply, “You know. The war.” Scared he left her alone for the time being. On another occasion Becca’s friend thought it would be a good idea to swallow a quarter. She decided to mess with his head once again and tell him that he was going to die since he swallowed the coin.

Jeanette Arellano is a simple gal. Her idea of a bonus is a private bathroom that locks. Her former residence was great, except that it had community bathrooms. One night after partaking in libations, bladder ready to explode Jeanette needed to visit the restroom. The only available restroom, which was in less than stellar conditions, did not have a proper lock on it. She was struggling to keep the stall door shut, while also having a losing battle in trying to remove her tights. Unfortunately, she lost the battle. Jeanette returned to her apartment and went to bed. That following morning some of the residents discovered the mess in the bathroom and the blame was placed on the males.

At the end of the night, congratulations went to Tom Shanahan for his tale of teenage shenanigans. A special thank to guest story-teller Nic Ortiz spending the evening with us. Thanks to all of our storytellers for getting up there and sharing with us all. Thanks to Leah Delaney for being such a lovely emcee. Ex Fabula appreciates all of the volunteers and sponsors for their time, efforts and continued support. Thanks to the Times Cinema for their continued support and for the bonus: a free movie showing after the story slam was over.

Not enough Ex Fabula in your life? We have podcasts on iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ex-fabula) and you can tune into WMSE 91.7 on the last Friday of every month at 12pm for our radio show. Visit www.exfabula.com and join the mailing list to learn more about Ex Fabula and get bonus information regarding upcoming events. Visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ExFabula) and follow us on Twitter (Twitter, @ExFabula, www.twitter.com/ExFabula).

Ex Fabula: Story. Stage. You.

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StorySlam – “Off the Hook”

Had enough of snow, ice, and wind chills? We think it’s time to let winter off the hook.

Join Ex Fabula on Wednesday, March 5th, for our latest StorySlam on the theme of “Off the Hook”! Enjoy the company of our friends at Hot Water Wherehouse (818 S. Water Street) as 9 story tellers regale you with their tales of gracious and not-so-gracious escapes from sticky situations.

Tickets are $7, cash only, available at the door. Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:30. All are encouraged to come early to snag good seats and get a drink before the lines get long, but we especially urge those who want to be one of the “Off the Hook” story tellers to come at least a half hour before show time to ensure you get your name in the hat.

New to Ex Fabula? Learn more about our events on our website. If you’re thinking about telling a story, make sure to check out our storytelling guidelines and consider taking an Ex Fabula workshop!

In the meantime, download our podcast and check out the Ex Fabula Radio show on WMSE, noon on February 28th.

Start preparing those “Off the Hook” stories and UltraShorts, ‘cause we can’t wait to see all of your smiling, StorySlam-ing faces next month!

Remember to stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter for the latest on Ex Fabula!

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StorySlam – “Bonus”!

Story fans, we know you work hard. You deserve a little something extra, we think.

So join Ex Fabula on Wednesday, February 5th for our StorySlam on the theme of “Bonus”!

We’re back at the Times Cinema, located at 5906 W. Vliet (and conveniently on the 31 and 33 bus lines). The show begins at 7:30, with doors opening an hour before. Tickets are $7 (cash only, please), with all proceeds going right back to funding more programs that connect you with live storytelling here in Milwaukee.

If you want to tell YOUR “Bonus” story, please show up a little bit early so you can put your name in the hat. We’ll draw names at random to select the 9 story tellers, and we reserve three of the slots for first time story tellers (that’s right, newbies! You get a turn in the spotlight too!).

And, in keeping with the theme, remember to bring 110% because the audience favorite WINS a spot in our All-Stars show in May!

Even if you don’t get up on stage, your story can be part of the show! We encourage all guests to submit UltraShorts – 1-4 sentence stories on the theme of the night, submitted on paper and read aloud by our emcee in between story tellers. For particularly salacious stories, UltraShorts can be anonymous!

If you follow us on Facebook, stay tuned: there will be two chances to win FREE tickets to the show! Talk about a bonus! And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter as well (if you can’t make the show, we’ll be live tweeting!).

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January 22, 2014 · 2:14 pm