Here’s the podcast from last Friday. Thanks to The Bubbler at Madison Central Library for having us back to tell stories about Last Times. I want to apologize to some of the storytellers because we lost the recordings of your stories due to equipment failure. Sorry, Avery.
We did lock down four stories though and here’s the podcast about them:
Anonymous – Rocky Mountain High
Ian – Where Do Missing Socks Go?
Gerri – Initiation
Keith – Last Laugh
Our next event is next Friday July 10th at Hudson Park’s boat launch. We’re having our end of season showcase featuring a few storytellers from this past year. We’ll also a chance for people to tell micro stories and be splashing around some beer so bring cups.
Here are the full stories that our podcast promised. No pictures this time because our batteries were dead, but the recorder was operated correctly this time so we got all of the stories recorded. This probably means that next time we’ll have everything operating correctly and you will get your full post event media run down.
We celebrated a lot or covered a lot of ways to celebrate. There are even some stories that didn’t have much to celebrate, but that’s okay. You can tell whatever story you want to. If you diverge from the theme no one will react violently, at least not during our event. I can’t vouch for anyone’s conduct after the lights go down and we put away the stage.
Next month we’ll be at the Central Library for another Night Light event. We’ll be there on January 9th and we’ll be telling stories about rivalries. Start thinking about your archenemies and with a little over a month to go you could always make a nemesis (see this article for the distinction between archenemy and nemesis so you know which one you want) to tell a story about.
Our very second podcast. We promise not to count anymore.
Here’s our exquisite corpse preview of our December story night. We’ll post the full stories by this Friday.
Our next story night is January 9th at Madison Public Library. The event is part of The Bubbler’s Night Light Series. We’ve done these a couple of times before and they are always lots of fun. Good crowd, good stories, good drinks provided by Underground Food Collective
And here are the full stories from our I Thought I Was Going to Die event! Most of them anyway. In our post from earlier today I alluded to the number of stories recorded not being equal to the number of stories told. Sadly, I totally messed up by forgeting to clear the memory card on our recorder. That means we ran out of room and missed the excellent stories told by John, Matt, Annie (with Théo), Sam, this guy, and this lady (sorry I don’t know your names this guy and this lady, but I’ve been telling your stories to everyone I meet for the past week if that makes up for it at all). I feel like an ass because I loved the stories that weren’t recorded. I’m sorry I missed recording them, but at least I got to hear them once. I guess we can all learn a lesson about always going to story nights so you don’t completely miss out on really good, funny, and insightful stories.
Here are the stories we did get. Which are also good stories. In the past we’ve hosted the stories on Mix Cloud and then put together a playlist. We’re not doing that anymore since Mix Cloud is weird and doesn’t let you search backwards in the story. Now we’re just giving you individual players for each track AND DOWNLOAD LINKS! Which some of you have been clamoring for. It only takes one to clamor after all. It’s why there is more clamoring than tangoing.
If you are really disappointed that your story didn’t get recorded you can contact us and we can set up a time to record your story. I’d love to come record your story because it is a good story and you should be proud of it. Everyone should hear it and since literally everyone comes to our site at least once a day we can make sure everyone does hear it.
We’ll let you know when and where the next story night is real soon.
There are a lot of people telling stories from their own lives at the Wisconsin Book Festival this year. The festival starts on Thursday and since you’re all very busy folks we collected some of the events involving the kinds of stories we tell at our events into one pithy list for you.
10/18/2014 – 1:30pm
Central Library – The Bubbler
PHOTOS FROM HOME
Michael Forster Rothbart Danny Wilcox Frazier Scott Strazzante
10/19/2014 – 11:00am
Overture Center for the Arts – Promenade Hall
You should also check out the Monsters of Poetry on Friday and Nerd Nite on Saturday because those are both beautiful efforts being put forth by people right here in Madison. Also, their regular events don’t conflict with our regular events! You can do so much in this town! Get out there and do it all! Include our next story night on October 24th at 7 pm at Arboretum Cohousing as part of the all that you are out there doing. Make sure to have a truly harrowing experience before the 24th so you can come tell us about it.
We’re resting for the summer, but there are still plenty of other ways to get ahold of some stories. In addition to the local storytelling groups we list here, there are a number of other storytelling podcasts.
The Moth – When most people think about people telling true stories to an audience of strangers, they think about this one. July 14th and 29th they’ll be in Chicago, July 19th they’ll be in Milwaukee, and July 30th they’ll be in St. Paul (check their list of events).
True Story – True Story is a podcast that has featured one of our own storytellers, so they are obviously putting out hight quality entertainment.
Erica is currently obsessed with Risk!, by currently I mean she told me about it a couple of months ago, but she probably hasn’t done anything but listen to it since then. Risk tries to reappropriate its name from a tedious board game by challenging people to tell stories they never thought they would tell in public. You can see people either overcome or succumb to their shame live in Chicago when Risk is there on the 22nd of July.
On August 2nd, you can see Mortified in Chicago. Mortified features people betraying their younger selves by trotting all sorts of childhood ephemera up on stage and telling stories about it. It’s fun because you don’t owe your younger self anything. Fuck that dude or dudette.
If you know of any other groups, events, or podcasts let us know and we’ll add it to the list.
Our next event is September 5th at Madison Public Library’s Bubbler Night Light Event. The Bubbler has a lot going on this summer so be sure to go do some of those things while you are waiting to tell stories again.
Each month or so, we profile a Story Night regular by asking her some questions about herself and her storytelling. This month’s “Some Questions” features storyteller Jess King. You can listen to Jess’s past stories: State Street Scary and Sick for the Grand Canyon. She also told the second one at our quitting event.
1. When and why did you come to Madison?
I moved here from Illinois in the summer of 2006 to pursue my love affair with south central Asian food served in moderately sized Midwestern cities. I’m only half kidding. The first meal I ever ate in Madison was at Kabul on State Street. I quickly decided that any place that had an Afghani restaurant would be a place I wouldn’t mind calling home.
2. What do you do with your time (when you’re not telling stories)?
Walking and biking around town, reading books, going to see live music, and in general trying to avoid sitting in front of a screen for more than 90% of my waking hours. It’s a challenge, as screens can be quite engaging. I work a day job in nonprofit health care communications and dabble in occasional creative projects.
3. What makes you want to tell personal stories in front of strangers and semi-strangers?
I’ve been super into storytelling on the radio ever since first hearing This American Life in 2004. The art form has just exploded in popularity with so many amazing free podcasts full of interesting people: RadioLab, Story Collider, Risk!, The Moth.
More than anything, I like the feeling of shared humanity that comes from connecting through stories. Communicating our experiences can shrink the spaces between us. And making even one person laugh is a rush.
4. What was the first story you remember telling?
As a kid I mostly told stories to myself. I would walk in circles around the yard and make lists of all the items I would need as a pioneer girl and what frontier life would look like. Or I would talk about what I would do if I stowed away on a pirate ship.
I also created pages and pages of drawings to correspond to these various scenarios. As you might have guessed, I was an extremely popular child with oodles of friends.
5. In addition to telling stories you take pictures of story nights; is it difficult to take interesting pictures of people standing in front of a mic?
My number one goal is to avoid catching the speaker in an odd grimace or scowl. This can be difficult as we have wonderfully expressive performers who are constantly moving their faces while entertaining us.
It is true that the photos can turn out kind of similar to one another. I try to look for moments when the speaker has interesting body language, but I don’t want to be too distracting scurrying around trying to find unusual angles. That said, please send me any and all tips to improve storytelling night photos! [Eds. – Jess does a great job of making all of our storytellers look engaging, interesting, and not scowl-ridden. Check out her work in our gallery. She’s been hard at work for us since our Quitting story night.]
6. We’ve managed to lose the recordings of at least two of your stories, do you hate us?
Nah, I’m just happy you guys haven’t kicked me off the stage yet. Not having recordings means I will get to tell much better versions in the future and no one will be the wiser.
Also, you didn’t ask this question, but if I could pick anyone (dead or alive) with whom to swap stories, it would have to be Mark Twain. That dude was hilarious.
We’re taking the summer off, but will be back in September. In September we are excited to be working with The Bubbler at Madison Public Library for another one of their Night Light events! The last one was a lot of fun. You can tell from the recordings we got from it. Jess told a story there that we lost, so maybe we’ll all have a chance for redemption this time around. See you all September 5th!
So Long for Now, but we’ll see you again September 5th.
We got together at Hudson Park on Friday the 13th to say “So Long for Now”. There weren’t many bugs, there were at least 5 gallons of beer, it smelled a little like seaweed in the front row (I assure you that’s why there was no one sitting there), and we had some visitors. There was a guy fly fishing in waders who didn’t seem much affected by us, a duck fight which didn’t seem much affected by us, the strains of some booty shaking music from a passing party boat which affected us, and 4 or 5 planes overhead. At least one of those planes happened by at an opportune moment to heighten the effect of one of our stories. We managed to deal with the other planes. So while we didn’t affect too many of our surroundings those surroundings affected our stories and our stories affected us. At the end of it all, there was a striking full moon for those who hung out afterwards drinking beer down by the water.
We invited three past story tellers to come tell us any story that they felt like. I can’t imagine another way to have brought together a story from Anna on the personal origins of Madison Storytellers, a story from Erica about the lifetime commitment of potty training, and a story from Andy about being two things at once. Then we told some micro stories in a chain with each story inspired by the one that came before it.
We’re going to take a short break now, but we’ll be back on September 5th to partner with Madison Public Library’s The Bubbler for a Night Light event. We did one back in December and that turned out well. We think this one will too. Bring your stories in September and we know it will turn out well. Thanks for being with us this year.
Show-and-Tell: The very best part of grade school.
While the rest of you were at the Terrace or otherwise outside we went inside for show-and-tell. And the telling was magnificent, the showing was not bad either. We showed-and-told about the importance of hair and car fights. We showed-and-told about explosions and the difficulties inherent in planning hiking trips, or inherent in us anyway. We showed-and-told about friendship. Oh boy, did we show-and-tell about friendship.
Madison Storytellers has some good news. We recently received a Dane County Arts grant to purchase some new recording equipment. This means we stopped being a club and started being a legitimate arts group! Dane county values us! We’ve made it! We’re all artists! This equipment will help us keep snatching your voice out of the air and cramming it onto the internet for others to enjoy. Our recordings get a lot of positive feedback and are a point of pride for us. They also help us share what we are all doing with the other storytelling groups across the United States. Heck, our recordings have even been featured on a national podcast. The grant is a matching grant, which means we need to raise some money. We’re asking that the next time you are at a Madison Storytellers event you throw a couple of bucks our way. For helping out we’ll record you giving a special message and stick it up on the internet because we love the way you sound.
Next month we’ll meet back at Arboretum Cohousing (you all know each other well enough now, you can call it ArbCo). At that time we can talk about Summer Vacation Stories. That seems apt.
Because suddenly story nights are more than we ever imagined.
Story nights are getting big. Which is great, but we want to make a few changes to how the nights are structured so that we can continue to get as many storytellers on stage as possible. We want to hear as many stories from as many people as we can.
1. The doors for story nights will open at 7 pm and we’ll start the storytelling at 7:30 sharp. We’ll be ending at 10 pm. If the audience is really in to the event we could spill over to 10:30, but we’ll make every effort to end by 10 pm. If you signed up ahead of time you should be there before 7:30 to check in with one of the organizers (Alison, Erica, or Brendon). If you aren’t there by the beginning of the night and haven’t let us know that you will be late before hand we can’t guarantee you a spot.
2. Lately, we’ve had 12+ storytellers sign up for story nights and we want to hear from all of them. So we are going to start being firm about the 10 minute time limit. We’ve gotten lax on this; we apologize. Matt is our intrepid timer and he will signal you as you approach your time limit. Please don’t go over because I’ll feel really bad when I cut you off and make you get off the stage. You’ll feel really bad. The audience will feel really bad. So to help all of us feel better about ourselves keep your story to 10 minutes. To help you do this practice it beforehand, then practice it again. If your story is coming in over 10 minutes figure out what to remove from your story. The truth is that in nearly every case it will be much better for it. If you try to keep the stage in spite of our persistent efforts to get you off the stage we will set up another stage. That’s right, we have a backup stage.
3. If you’ve told stories for the past two nights sit out on the third night. There are a lot of people coming to tell stories and in an effort to hear all of these voices we are instituting this limit. You can always tell a micro story. If we have slots available you can still tell a story, but don’t come expecting a guaranteed slot.
4. This isn’t a rule, but if you come and tell a story you should stay to hear the other storytellers. It is the polite thing to do. If you have a really great story that you are dying to tell, but have other plans later in the night you should cancel those other plans or push them back. Of course there are exceptions, if you are prepping to donate your kidney to your dying brother later in the night it is cool if you leave after your story, but short of that stick around. There are a lot of good storytellers in our group and your life will be better for having taken the time to listen to them.
Unfortunately, this workshop has been cancelled due to lack of participants. Hopefully we can have a workshop in the future.
A workshop by someone who gets to tell stories for a living.
Some local story enthusers have organized a work shop with a professional storyteller from Chicago, Scott Whitehair. Scott performs in the Chicago area and has many workshops in that area. Scott’s focus is to introduce participants to storytelling tools and techniques. Here’s the press release for the details:
This one-day intensive storytelling workshop will focus on discovering and developing your own unique voice as a storyteller. The entire process, from story generation and writing to the fine details of performance, will be covered in an engaging work-on-your-feet manner. This course is open to all experience levels, and everyone from the beginner to the seasoned storyteller is welcome.
Class size will be limited to 12 participants to ensure that all have ample opportunity to tell multiple stories, try all the exercises, and get individual feedback.
Cost: $100. Includes 10 am – 5 pm workshop, lunch, student show from 7-8:30 pm, and a class packet with all of the material covered and a high quality audio recording of your stories from the show.
Register here. Madison contact: Kara (Slaughter) O’Connor, email@example.com
If you end up going to this workshop come show off what you learned at the March storytelling event on the 28th. We’d love to hear your quitting story all shined up.
A fellow storyteller, Mallory Shotwell, has been cooking up a big ‘ol pot ‘o love. The pot is full of discourse and you can find out about it at the A Discourse on Love wordpress.
Go to the site for the seamy details, but the gist is that Mallory is “a local artist in Madison working on a community based art project to create a philosophical and artistic discourse on love.”
A large part of the project are interviews about love conducted by Mallory. You can sign up to participate in an interview here.
Later this month there will be an event at Crescendo Music Cafe on Monroe Street. The night will feature stories and other spoken pieces about love. Maybe you have a dissertation on love that you have sitting around that you want to shout at people like some mad Russian philosopher (you have recite it from memory). Maybe you have an unreceived love poem gathering dust under your mattress. Nows the time to get it out there. Mostly though Mallory is looking for stories and conversations about love. Since stories are what we’re good at we thought it would be a good idea to pass on the event to all of the fine, fine storytellers that we know. You can sign up for a time slot here.
January is shaping up pretty nicely for people who want to talk about themselves in front of microphones and hear other people talk about themselves in front of microphones. Come tell origin stories with us on the 24th and love stories on the 31st.