Recent Great Experience Telling Stories

Recent Great Experience Telling Stories

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On February 9th and 10th, I had the pleasure of telling a story in 2nd Story’s February show, “Any Minute Now: Stories of Loving and Looking.” Not only is it great to be a part of an awesome show, but to be part of something with friends is just incredible. I got to also meet some great new people (new friends!) and connect with friends and strangers in the audience.2nd Story is a company that puts together amazing storytelling events in their unique aesthetic. There are 4 true stories from 4 storytellers that go through months of story development, work with a director that helps the writer hit specific moments in certain ways, and sound design. The actual show is held at Webster’s Wine Bar. The bar pairs up 4 wines, one with each story, and sells flights for $10 to interested guests. Other drinks and food are available. The stories start a little after 7:30, and between each show, there is a break of 10-15 minutes. The audience is encouraged to connect with the pieces in these moments, to say what about the stories remind them of their lives. They tell the “second story” at their table, with their friends or strangers.

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Two Columbia Fiction Writing graduates (they both graduated within the last year) told a tandem story to kick off the night. Gibson Culbreth and Wyl Villacres wove their stories of first kisses and break-ups together, providing a story that made the audience evaluate their own relationships, how they came to be, and how they ended. The audience loved them!
Best line: “You know what’s magical? Breaking up at an Applebee’s.”

Stephanie Cambra told a story about bad relationships and the motivations to stay in them. She spoke of her breaking moment and how she came to decide to be in a relationship with herself for awhile. It was beautifully rendered and told.
Best line: “I’ve started a campaign I’m calling JHM, or ‘Just Home Masturbating’—go ahead, tweet it.”

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Next up was yours truly. I told a story about using online dating as a crutch for meeting people and then finding the guy I’m seeing now randomly, in the UK, with no pretense for dating. I think it went well because the audience laughed a lot and said, “No!” during a part that was unbelievable (but true!)
My favorite line: “I decided to give online dating one last shot—and that was fisty, methy Dan.”

Bobby Biedrzycki finished up the night with a story about many things, but ultimately coming to love yourself after not for a long time and what love means to us in different moments of our lives. I saw him perform this story last summer and was obsessed with it already, and it was so cool to be in a show with a writer and performer that you idolize.
My favorite line: “Sometimes leading and sometimes following, in our most profound moments, we are dancing [with the universe] together.”

(Note: Those lines might be paraphrased or not exactly as they were written, but they are pretty close.)

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I’ve brought up 2nd Story a few times on my blog, but there’s a reason: It’s my favorite thing about Chicago. It really, truly is, and there’s even a class at Columbia that is influenced heavily by 2nd Story and other live literature events like it. The class is Story and Performance, and in the upcoming weeks, I’m interviewing the teachers behind it and will post that here.

What about you, MarginAliens? What are your favorite live lit events?