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:
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!