Blog

Dispatches from the UK #1

The last time I was in London, Bill Clinton was president and Tony Blair was the prime minister. And it was Christmas, so it was cold and nothing was open. I spent most of my time eating peanut butter sandwiches in my friend’s dorm room. I’m expecting this trip to be a step up. READ MORE

Blog Posts

Learning how to buy drugs: An ESL Teacher reflects on her SpeakeasyDC experience

August 20th, 2014 By Amy Saidman

A group of English as a second language students from the Washington English Center joined SpeakeasyDC for our 2nd Tuesday Show at Town Danceboutique based on the theme of Crimes and Misdemeanors. ESL teacher Allison Kirsch reflects on the experience here.

Pitch your story for Speakeasy Shorts

August 7th, 2014 By Ben Thomas
Pitch your story for Speakeasy Shorts

SpeakeasyDC and DC Shorts are excited to announce the return of Speakeasy Shorts. In its third year, SpeakeasyShorts is a unique competition invented by SpeakeasyDC and DC Shorts that brings together the two art forms of live storytelling and filmmaking. Get the details on telling your story, joining a film team and more. READ MORE

 

Help us pick our themes!

July 21st, 2014 By Ben Thomas
Help us pick our themes!

SpeakeasyDC is looking for themes for the upcoming season. Click here to learn how to submit your ideas.

Tour de Telling The Long Climb Week 4

May 1st, 2014 By Meredith Maslich
Tour de Telling The Long Climb Week 4

On a tough series of climbs #TDT2014 teams are rallying forward. From brunches to U-street Gala's find out what our teams are doing to get themelves over the top.

Tour de Telling Week 3

April 28th, 2014 By Meredith Maslich
Tour de Telling Week 3

Week three brings more excitement as the Tattle Tales continue to DOMINATE the competition. Other teams are hot on their heel. Kratos and the Enforcer brought in nearly $500 with a single event. They have a bit more work to do but with moves like that in their back pocket it is still very much anyone’s race to win!

Tour de Telling Week 2 Shout Outs

April 24th, 2014 By Meredith Maslich
Tour de Telling Week 2 Shout Outs

Week 2 is rapidly coming to a close, and we're ready to give out another prize to this week's highest donor, which will go to Rosie Tong, with a $250 donation made to the Tattle Tales! Rosie has won a $25 gift certificate to Mad Hatter, which pairs nicely with the $25 gift certificate that he son John Tong won on Monday he's the captain of the Tattle Tales who remain solidly in the lead. Read 

Tour de Telling Week 2 Round the Bend

April 21st, 2014 By Meredith Maslich
Tour de Telling Week 2 Round the Bend

We are starting the second week of Tour de Telling and the Tattle Tales are holding firm on the lead with $1960 raised so far! And that means that they are once again the recipients of this week's prize, provided by this week's Tour de Telling sponsor: Mad Hatter. The Tattle Tales will receive a $25 gift certificate to Mad Hatters, to add to their $25 gift certificate to Lillies that they won last week.

Tour de Telling Week 1 Wrap Up

April 17th, 2014 By Meredith Maslich
Tour de Telling Week 1 Wrap Up

The first week of Tour de Telling has been really exciting as the teams start to schedule their events and the trash talk heats up on Facebook. The best part has been the donations just flowing in, and we wanted to take a second and reward the week's highest donor with a prize! Anne Thomas, a member of the Tattle Tales is our highest donor in our opening week with a donation of $500!! That was not only a great kick start to her team's success, but to the whole race as well. Thank you for your donation Anne!!

 

Not your typical DC meeting: Spring 2014 Tour de Telling Launch

March 25th, 2014 By Meredith Maslich
Not your typical DC meeting: Spring 2014 Tour de Telling Launch

Former Board Member, Storyteller extraordinaire Jeffrey Brady reflects on his experience with Tour de Telling You are invited to meet Jeffery and learn all about Tour de Telling at the launch party April 2nd, 7pm at Acre 121 (1400 Irving Street NW near the Columbia Heights Metro). Please RSVP via Facebook here or non Facebook users click here. Here's what Jeffery had to say about his experience as part of TdT  READ MORE

 

Welcome Ben!

February 24th, 2014 By Amy Saidman
Welcome Ben!

Bring out the cigars (or your hipster e-cigarettes), it's time to celebrate! Our new Program Coordinator, Ben Thomas, just started today, and he's already making fun of me. Good sign? Not sure, but I'm optimistic. We were incredibly lucky to have so many talented and smart people apply for this job. Ben was our first choice because he seems ready to help us take over the world (as is our secret master plan, obvi).  READ MORE

SpeakeasyDC is hiring (applications are no longer being accepted)

January 23rd, 2014 By Amy Saidman
SpeakeasyDC is hiring (applications are no longer being accepted)

We are SOOOO sad to see our beloved Sheri Macatangay leave, but she's off to start an exciting new life in San Francisco. Sheri was the first person to take the position of Program Coordinator at SEDC back in April 2012.  I am lucky that she was the first person to take this job, because it was also the first time I had ever had an "employee" to manage. She handled my trial-and-error method with grace and patience. She learned the job quickly and embraced the mission and the community with enthusiasm and sincerity. Read more

SpeakeasyShorts 2013 Film Challenge Recap

December 1st, 2013 By Amy Saidman
SpeakeasyShorts 2013 Film Challenge Recap

SpeakeasyShorts is a new type of film competition – a collaboration between filmmakers and storytellers. Eight filmmaking teams have only 5 days to write, shoot, edit-and screen a film based on stories from eight local storytellers. The kicker: none of the teams know anything about the stories before they are presented. Read more

Speakeasy Storycast #48—John Tong: Put a Ring on It

September 19th, 2013 By Amy Saidman
Speakeasy Storycast #48—John Tong: Put a Ring on It

I sat down with John Tong and my good friend Jessi Baden and we got to hear lots more about his romantic failures, his childhood fame, and his love of karaoke, among other things. Listen to his live perforamance then sit in on our conversation.  You can subscribe to the Speakeasy Storycast thru iTunes, download the Stitcher Radio app, or add this link to your RSS feed http://speakeasystorycast.com/rss.  To bring a SpeakeasyDC show and/or workshop to your town, email info@speakeasydc.org.

Behind the Scenes of the Solo Show “No More Helen Keller Jokes”

September 18th, 2013 By Anne Thomas
Behind the Scenes of the Solo Show “No More Helen Keller Jokes”

I told friends for the past 2 years “I want to do a one woman show.”  I had a vague idea about what I wanted the show to be about, but I wasn’t clear on how to approach it.  Do I come up with a theme first? Do I cobble together the stories I’ve already done and see if there is a natural story arc?  Can I use stories I’ve done before or will people get bored? I received all kinds of advice, but I have learned that for me there is only one way that works: I have to start writing.  I just have to do it and see what comes out and then seek lots of feedback. Read more

Crank & Groove, Part II

September 13th, 2013 By Amy Saidman
Crank & Groove, Part II

I heard my first go go beat in 1996… at a Jewish summer camp. I’m not kidding. I was a counselor at a Jewish summer camp (Habonim homies – holla!) and, at this camp, we have a ritual after almost every meal. As the dishes are collected, everyone starts to sing. But we don’t just sing, we shout and stand on the chairs, pound on the tables, and stomp our feet. It’s a kind of organized mayhem. In this particular year, there were threespeakeasy gogo4x6 guys – Benjie Porecki, Doug Silverman, and Matt Selig – who would start pounding out a go go beat on the tables. When I first heard it, I was like, what is that? I didn’t know it at the time, but I had fallen in love with go go. Read more

Crank & Groove!

September 11th, 2013 By Amy Saidman
Crank & Groove!

Guest post by Jess Solomon

For the past two weeks I’ve been having those “How did I get here?!” moments. I imagine it’s the gut reaction most builders of things have when speakeasy gogo4x6they reflect on a nearly finished work.

We are a few days out from opening night of Crank & Groove: A Go-Go Love Story and instead of looking down from the perch of the director’s chair I find myself sitting in circles with the cast; rather an ensemble of brilliant Go-Go practitioners, griots and lovers of the music and culture. My teachers. From the very beginning, this production has been rooted in collaboration, improvisation and a little scrappiness. Read more

Speakeasy Storycast #46 — Karen Lee: Footnotes

September 9th, 2013 By Amy Saidman
Speakeasy Storycast #46 — Karen Lee: Footnotes

Episode #46: Karen Lee tells a true story about a crush gone awry. Hear more

Turning Over A New Leaf

September 9th, 2013 By Meredith Maslich

The topic of this month’s open mic show is perfect for September – because isn’t the start of the school year really a time for renewal, upheaval and radical change? Read more

Breaking Free

August 12th, 2013 By Meredith Maslich
Breaking Free

Guest post by Lisa King

Holidays are the worst right after you get divorced. Everything reminds you of traditions you don’t have or places you don’t go anymore. My ex wasn’t a big fan of turkey dinner, so for Thanksgiving, I would cook a prime rib roast at his parents’ who lived about 15 minutes away.  Family and friends would gather for a day of watching the Macy’s parade, football, and eating. Read more

Speakeasy Storycast #45 — Elissa Laura: Backseat Driver

August 5th, 2013 By Amy Saidman

Episode #45 of SpeakeasyDC’s podcast features a story by and conversation with Elissa Laura about a teachable moment with her over-protective father. Read, hear & watch more

Tour de Telling’s First Prize Unlocked!

April 12th, 2013 By Meredith Maslich

Our first ever Tour de Telling - our virtual bike race fundraiser - kicked off with much fan fare and fun at April’s Second Tuesday show at Town. In addition to a bake sale to support the teams, each team gave a 60 second pitch for support. There were costumes, there were props, there was even flying candy. The efforts of the teams paid off – in less than 48 hours the teams have raised a combined total of more than $1600! Read more

Lend your voice to the DC Council to increase arts funding!

April 8th, 2013 By Amy Saidman

April 9th is the National Arts Advocacy Day and on that day, we will let the Council members know that we need them to increase the Mayor’s budget for the arts. SpeakeasyDC has applied for eight grants this year and has yet to receive any funding from the city despite the fact that we were one of five nominees for the 2012 Mayor’s Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts. Read more

Speakeasy Storycast #44 — Katy Barrett: Most Improved

April 5th, 2013 By Amy Saidman
Speakeasy Storycast #44 — Katy Barrett: Most Improved

Episode #44 of SpeakeasyDC’s podcast features a story by and conversation with Katy Barrett about trapeze lessons and chimpanzees. Read, hear & watch more

Speakeasy Storycast #43 — Mike Kane: 10th and Lombard

March 22nd, 2013 By Amy Saidman

Episode #43 of SpeakeasyDC’s podcast features a story by and conversation with Mike Kane about two art students who go head-to-head on the basketball court. Read, hear & watch more

Standup vs. Storytelling: Part Six | Preparation

February 26th, 2013 By Dustin Fisher
Standup vs. Storytelling: Part Six | Preparation

Much like crabs, there are many ways to prepare the meal, but at the heart of it is dropping a living creature into boiling hot water. Standup and storytelling preparation is much the same. Read more

To SpeakeasyDC, with Love from Sucker for Love: The Book Writers

February 14th, 2013 By Meredith Maslich
To SpeakeasyDC, with Love from Sucker for Love: The Book Writers

Some of the contributors for Sucker for Love, The Book, were asked “If you were going to send a Valentine’s Day card to SpeakeasyDC, what would it say?” Read more

Sucker for Love…And Payback

February 11th, 2013 By Cindy Kane

“How’d rehearsal go?” I asked my husband as he walked through the door.

“Well…”

I looked up. “Well, what?”

“Well…it went fine. Except that since you weren’t able to go they had someone else read your story.” Read more

Speakeasy Storycast #42 — Renata Lana: Jumping from Rooftops

February 8th, 2013 By Amy Saidman

Episode #42 of SpeakeasyDC’s podcast features a story by and conversation with Renata Lana. Her story is about taking up a surprising new hobby in the midst of her pending divorce. Read & hear more

Standup vs. Storytelling: Part Four | Delivery (Part Two)

January 17th, 2013 By Dustin Fisher
Standup vs. Storytelling: Part Four | Delivery (Part Two)

Last we left our heroes, they were introduced to the stage, decided what to do with the microphone and either talked the audience down from their applause or let the silence work its subtle, powerful magic. Not a word of the routine has been spoken. If all goes well, this is the apex of the crippling terror that you will feel. Read more

Standup vs. Storytelling: Part Four | Delivery (Part One)

January 3rd, 2013 By Dustin Fisher
Standup vs. Storytelling: Part Four | Delivery (Part One)

Much like babies and pizza, much of the difference between stand-up and storytelling is in the delivery. Some differences are subtle, such as cash or credit being the preferred method of payment; some are substantial, like the difference between 18 hours of indigestion and 18 years of financial and emotional responsibility over another human being. But unlike the delivery of pizza and babies, to which I have only been a spectator I have a decent amount of experience in the delivery of both stand-up and storytelling. Read more

SpeakeasyShorts 2012 Film Challenge Recap

December 31st, 2012 By Amy Saidman
SpeakeasyShorts 2012 Film Challenge Recap

In November 2012, we tried out a new idea: to pair filmmaking teams with a storyteller and give then five days to make a film inspired by their story. Thanks for our talented storytellers and the participation of some of DC’s finest filmmaking teams, the event was a huge hit.  The filmmakers talked about how challenging and fun it was to have a true story from which to build a script. Storytellers got the chance to see their stories interpreted in a new way, through a different medium. Read more

Giving Thanks

December 26th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Giving Thanks

I give to SpeakeasyDC because of Amy Saidman.

In case you don’t know, Amy is the Executive/Artistic Director of SpeakeasyDC. She’s also often a stage manager, a catering manager, a director, an administrative coordinator, an emcee, a grant writer, a teacher, a volunteer coordinator, a mediator, a (somewhat reluctant) blogger, and a general pick-up-the-slack-er. Read more

Speakeasy Storycast #41 – Vijai Nathan: Beware

December 21st, 2012 By Amy Saidman

Episode #42 of SpeakeasyDC’s podcast features a story by and conversation with Vijai Nathan. Her story is about a young Indian girl’s efforts to break into show biz at her all-white elementary school. Read & hear more

Standup vs. Storytelling: Part Three – Audience

December 20th, 2012 By Dustin Fisher
Standup vs. Storytelling: Part Three – Audience

I once read about an experiment (somebody else read it and told me about it) where five gorillas were placed in a metal cage with a cement platform in the middle of it. Above the platform were bananas. Any time one gorilla climbed the platform to get the bananas, the others were administered an electric shock. Soon, anytime a gorilla would head toward the platform to get a banana, the other gorillas would swoop in and give the offending gorilla a Cesar-style beatdown. Read more

Why I Give

December 18th, 2012 By Rachael Wilcox
Why I Give

I give for the love of three things that SpeakeasyDC has and perpetuates: authenticity, diversity, and community.

I give because I value the authenticity that SpeakeasyDC brings to entertainment.  Because the storytellers get up and tell their own stories – funny stories, poignant stories, weird stories, true stories.  I value that truth, unvarnished, frankly because it is rare.  And I so admire the guts of the tellers to get up and share their truth. Read more

Why I Support SpeakeasyDC

December 11th, 2012 By Katie Kelly
Why I Support SpeakeasyDC

I believe Speakeasy is successful because of its vibrant community. This community includes the talented tellers, hard-working staff and instructors, willing volunteers and an appreciative audience. Read more

Standup vs. Storytelling: Part Two, Content

December 6th, 2012 By Dustin Fisher
Standup vs. Storytelling: Part Two, Content

Some high school friends and I began writing a book back in the mid-90s about casual humor called “We’re So Serious about Comedy, It Isn’t Funny.” We’re still waiting to hear back from some publishers. We had dissected all comedy into what we called The Four “C”s of Comedy. Those Four “C”s are content, context, timing and delivery. Read more

Why I Give Time & Money

December 4th, 2012 By Nick Newlin
Why I Give Time & Money

Why do I give?  SpeakeasyDC asked me to write a few words about why I give to them.  There is more than one way to give to an organization. Read more

Why I Give

November 27th, 2012 By Renata Lana
Why I Give

Why do I give to Speakeasy DC?

Because I can’t imagine being without Speakeasy DC in my life.  Because when I buy tickets for a Speakeasy DC show, I know I’m going to be seeing some of the best storytelling anywhere in the country.  And because this organization has done more than any other to invite you and me to dare—yes, to dare!—to make great art out of our lives. Read more

Standup vs. Storytelling: Part One

November 15th, 2012 By Dustin Fisher
Standup vs. Storytelling: Part One

First off, I don’t fancy myself an expert in either standup or storytelling, so find a few grains of salt to go with this article. I do, however, fancy myself an expert in knowing and dissecting the difference between two things that I am approximately average in. Take that with your choice of spice. Read more

Hollywood, here I come

November 14th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Hollywood, here I come

I went to film school so I know a little something about the moving pictures. I work in television, so I understand how it all works. The writer weaves a tale. The director has a vision (and takes some liberties), and in an unspecified amount of time, the director comes back with film that loosely resembles its original script. SpeakeasyDC Artistic Executive Director Amy Saidman called me in October and told me about a new partnership with the DC Shorts. The idea was simple: you tell a story on stage. Read more

Holy sh*t, we’re performing at the 9:30 Club (aka About Top Shelf 2012)

November 9th, 2012 By Amy Saidman
Holy sh*t, we’re performing at the 9:30 Club (aka About Top Shelf 2012)

Stop everything you are doing right now — put down the cupcake, stop sexting, turn off the kitten video and go straight to your calendar to put a big bold note on Sunday, January 6, 2013 to GO TO SPEAKEASYDC’S TOP SHELF AT THE 9:30 CLUB.  This show is going to be epic! Read more

Three Beer Rule

October 18th, 2012 By Dustin Fisher
Three Beer Rule

First of all, it should be noted that the Three Beer Rule ONLY applies to stage performances. The formulas for talking to pretty girls, dancing at weddings and religious conversations with ex-girlfriends and/or family members are much different and constantly in flux. Read more

 

Beer image courtesy Rodrigo Menezes, Wikimedia Commons

Taking Note

September 20th, 2012 By Dustin Fisher
Taking Note

I decided to celebrate my 30th birthday by having a panic attack and moving to the Midwest thus beginning my three-year self-imposed prison term. Upon retrospect, I should have just gone to Georgetown Cupcake. Read more

Mayor’s Arts Awards Part 2

September 19th, 2012 By Amy Saidman
Mayor’s Arts Awards Part 2

We didn’t win. But, it’s ok, because we’re all champions. No really, it’s ok. I mean, we knew it would be hard to beat out our competition: Art Enables, FotoDC,  Life Pieces to Masterpieces, and Post-Classical Ensemble.   In the end, it was Art Enables who took the day.  Hard to beat a group that gives adults with developmental disabilities resources and support to become visual artists and exhibit and sell their work. Read more

Mayor’s Arts Awards Part 1

September 12th, 2012 By Amy Saidman
Mayor’s Arts Awards Part 1

I’ll admit it. I’m excited. I’m excited that we are a finalist for the DC Mayor’s Arts Awards in the category of Innovation in the Arts.  I was over-the-moon the day I got notice of our nomination. And on that day, I thought and said to others (with earnest sincerity), “This is awesome. I don’t care if we win. Being nominated is enough.” But dammit, the closer we get to the actual awards, the more I’m fantasizing about walking on stage to accept our award and making a grand speech. Read more

Pitch Your Stories!

September 4th, 2012 By Amy Saidman
Pitch Your Stories!

We need YOU! Yes you, you gorgeous people with fascinating, sweet, hilarious, and unbelievable life experiences that you want to share on stage in front of a room full of strangers. Read more

Couples’ Storytelling

August 23rd, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Couples’ Storytelling

In my last column I talked about going to my boyfriend’s family reunion and the way we used story to connect with his family.

Well, while I was having that revelation about the power of storytelling, I was also having another revelation. Read more

Growth

August 20th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Growth

I’ve grown as a performer.

The irony of this is that it was a failure, not a monster success, which allowed me to realize this. Read more

Starting Strong

August 16th, 2012 By Dustin Fisher
Starting Strong

When I heard Speakeasy DC was looking for blog contributors, I asked Meredith if I could whine about my insecurities surrounding my stage anxiety. “Mike Kane already does that” said the Meredith inside my head (it’s cool, Mike and I are friends. Kinda). Then I asked if I could write about what goes on inside my head during a performance. “Sure, but it’s not like anybody will read it” said the Mike Kane inside my head. And it’s not like I’m a professional storyteller or anything – will that matter? “I don’t care. Now get over here and change your daughter” said the wife inside my living room. Read more

SpeakeasyDC Crowd ROCKS OUT

August 14th, 2012 By Stephanie Garibaldi
SpeakeasyDC Crowd ROCKS OUT

You could feel the same kind of electricity in the air as right before the best concert of your life–the one that had you camping out all night just to get a ticket. It was July 10, and the show’s theme was Band Camp: Stories about Music, Raves, and Rock & Roll. Read more

Rehearsing the Yard Sale Story Part 3

August 13th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Rehearsing the Yard Sale Story Part 3

Have you ever had a credit card bill that was due at the end of the month?  And rather than logging on to get an idea of the damage you’ll be facing, you panic and just decide to ignore it?  Like, you literally sit down, launch your web browser and start typing in the URL for your credit card’s website, then delete it and just head to Facebook instead? Read more

Update From The Director

August 7th, 2012 By Amy Saidman
Update From The Director

If there were an emoticon to show me jumping up and down, I’d use it. (Would you know what I meant if I said JUAD?). Why? Because we have so many jump-worthy things in the works for the next few months/year. For starters, we are a finalist for the DC Mayor’s Arts Awards! (This is when I break dance on my head with a sassy cross-legged finish). After three prior attempts, we are finally getting this recognition. Mark your calendars for September 13 and plan to be at the Lincoln Theatre in your best Academy-Awards-outfit to see us (possibly) accept an award. Either way, you should come because we will either want to celebrate our win or we’ll need support while we commiserate our loss. Read more

New Venue?

August 6th, 2012 By Mike Kane
New Venue?

I was talking to a fellow storyteller this weekend who said she was thinking of launching a new open mic in Washington DC.

Her reason: she felt like all of the open mics in DC are too high stakes.

Interesting. Read more

Wedding

July 31st, 2012 By Mike Kane
Wedding

I’m telling a story at a wedding on Saturday.

I mean, on stage.

Oh, there will be alcohol there, which means I’ll crush as many beers as my feeble stomach will tolerate and then I’ll regale my table with sob stories of high school rejections and the scars that remain.  That happens at every wedding I attend.  But I’m talking about the story I am going to tell on stage. Read more

Mcblog: The Evolution of A One Woman Show

July 25th, 2012 By Vijai Nathan
Mcblog: The Evolution of A One Woman Show

When I signed up for this summer’s Capital Fringe in December, I was confident in my script for my solo-show “McGoddess.” After all, I had already performed it three times in the DMV and a full week with a director at a theatre in Ithaca, N.Y., so I knew that I had worked out all the kinks and it was perfection. Read more

First Timers

July 24th, 2012 By Mike Kane
First Timers

If you’ve ever attended a SpeakesyDC open mic, you know that feeling when the emcee says, “okay, coming to the stage is a first-time storyteller…” It’s a feeling of excitement, dread, concern and suspense.  Will they be awesome?  Is this person the new storyteller that everyone will be talking about on the way out of the show later that evening?  Or will the nerves of this first-timer get the better of them, make them a fidgety mess, and tell a boring story that brings the show to a halt? Read more

Family Stories

July 18th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Family Stories

This past weekend, I attended my boyfriend Chris’s annual family reunion for the first time. Over the course of a day and a half I met more than 70 members of his extended family.

Um,  Overwhelming Anxiety, party of one, please. Read more

My Filter

July 16th, 2012 By Mike Kane
My Filter

A quick recap of my life right now: There’s an open mic in August under the theme of Baked: Stories About Summer.  I have acid reflux pretty much around the clock at this point because I signed up for that open mic even though my “story” is in shambles. Read more

Got Story?

July 12th, 2012 By Stephanie Garibaldi
Got Story?

I am continually amazed by how many adults–I’m talking about grown-ass people over the age of 30 here–say things to me like, “I don’t have any stories,” or, “I only have one good story.” Read more

June Second Tuesday Recap

July 10th, 2012 By Stephanie Garibaldi
June Second Tuesday Recap

Whether Stories Were Dark or Light, the June 12 Speakeasy Felt Oh-So-Right

Let’s face it: SpeakeasyDC audience members are a highly evolved, super intelligent, wildly complex group of people. So it’s only natural that the audience would relate well to a show on the theme Jekyll & Hyde: Stories about the dark and light of human nature. Read more

Rehearsing the Yard Sale Story Part 2

July 9th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Rehearsing the Yard Sale Story Part 2

Since the moment you read the first word in this blog post (yes, the word “since” just 15 words ago), Sunday, July 22 just got a few seconds closer.   And that means that the run-through for SpeakeasyDC’s open mic just got a few seconds closer.  And instead of spending every waking moment honing this “story” of mine (and I put “story” in quotations because calling my yard sale piece a story at this point would be like calling the new Katy Perry concert movie a “documentary.”  I mean, yes, it’s in the theaters, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves) I’m sitting here wasting my time counting the number of words between “since” and “just.” Read more

Baby’s First Open Mic

July 6th, 2012 By Cindy Kane
Baby’s First Open Mic

Once upon a time I had a fantastic idea. And I mean FAN-TAS-TIC. I’m an idea girl, but this one was particularly genius. While going through the after-school activities offered at my daughter’s elementary school, I thought it would be a lot of fun to offer a storytelling class; to get the kids up on stage telling stories while they were still so uninhibited. We’d spend several weeks working on the different aspects of storytelling and getting the kids comfortable on stage and using a mic. And then, at the end of the class we’d do a real Open Mic for the kids. Maybe at Town Danceboutique, the wonderful space where SpeakeasyDC hosts its monthly open mics. Read more

Rehearsing The Yard Sale Story Part 1

July 2nd, 2012 By Mike Kane
Rehearsing The Yard Sale Story Part 1

Her email came on Saturday.

Subject: Confirmation & Next Steps for Aug 14 Speakeasy

The email came from none other than Stephanie Garibaldi, SpeakeasyDC’s Director of Education.  And she minced no words in her opening lines of the email:

Dear Mike,

Congrats! Read more

The Handicap Parking Spot

June 29th, 2012 By Cindy Kane
The Handicap Parking Spot

“Mama?” ONE whispers. “Look over there!” I turn my head to see dozens of fireflies, strung like tea lights in a tree. She leans into me and sighs. “Will you tell me a story?” Read more

On Being a Good Audience Member

June 27th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
On Being a Good Audience Member

Storytelling, whether in a social situation or on stage, is interactive. Not necessarily call and response style interactive (usually), but there is a give and take between the teller and the audience member that is an important part of the experience. Read more

Community

June 25th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Community

I did two shows in two nights this past weekend.  I did Vijai Nathan’s birthday show at Fan-Freaking-Tastic on Saturday, and, to my knowledge, Arlington, Virginia’s first storytelling event: Story League’s show at Bus Boys and Poets in Shirlington.  As expected, both shows were so much fun, all of the performers were awesome, and the world is beautiful and filled with flowers and puppies. Read more

The Over-Talker

June 20th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
The Over-Talker

I was at a small party a few weeks where I didn’t know many people. Soon after we got there, my boyfriend and I sat across from another couple – we’ll call them Bill and Karen – who, upon initial observation, seemed funny and interesting. Read more

In The Beginning…

June 18th, 2012 By Mike Kane
In The Beginning…

There’s two questions I get when I tell people I do storytelling.  One question: “What is that?”  The other question: “How’d you get into that?” Read more

I Did It For The Story

June 12th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
I Did It For The Story

One of the best feelings in the world, to me at least, is when a story finds you. You’re people watching at a concert, and you see drama unfold, or you find yourself in a situation that’s not what you expected, and if you’re a storyteller to any degree, you recognize the material being presented to you. Read more

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

June 11th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

On Friday the 15th, I’ll be in a SpeakeasyDC show called “Second Story: A Night of Fabulous Works in Progress.”  Those of you have read my stuff before know that I don’t think anything I do is fabulous, so I don’t want to focus too much on the latter half of the name of the show.  No, the part I want to talk about is “Second Story.” Read more

Confessions of a Desperate Fundraiser

June 5th, 2012 By Amy Saidman
Confessions of a Desperate Fundraiser

I’m about to say all the wrong things. Read more

Top Ten Ways To Tell If Your Story Sucks

June 4th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Top Ten Ways To Tell If Your Story Sucks

1)     Your listener responds with nothing more than monosyllabic noises during your story.

Most people can’t resist adding their own feedback, whether it be little phrases like, “oh no, she di-int!”  or a question like, “Wow, so what did you do??!”  If the responses you’re receiving are more like droning sounds of “uh,” and “mmm,” or “oh,” these are not good signs. Read more

Storytelling in the Blood

May 30th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Storytelling in the Blood

I firmly believe that anyone can learn the basic tenets and principles of storytelling, especially social storytelling. And I also firmly believe that with practice anyone can get to the point of being a proficient, if not highly entertaining social storyteller. However, at the same time, I also believe some people seem to be more natural storytellers than others. Read more

TOP 10 SIGNS OF POST-SHOW LETDOWN

May 24th, 2012 By Cindy Kane
TOP 10 SIGNS OF POST-SHOW LETDOWN

10.) The relief you were expecting to feel as you bowed to the applause of a sold out crowd doesn’t surface. Instead, the feeling spreading through your gut is more reminiscent of childhood ice-cream-in-the-dirt sadness. You trudge back to the dressing room s-l-o-w-l-y, taking comfort in the fact that your wonderful friend made you so many cookies that if six fall in the dirt, you’ll still have six more to binge on. Read more

Call for Submissions

May 23rd, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Call for Submissions

I’ve been talking about social storytelling in this space for the last two months. In my first column I talked about how the idea for this column came from a class that I’d been trying to develop with my fellow teacher Joe Price. And I think in many ways the format has worked really well – being able to explore elements of social storytelling in detail each week has been really fun and interesting for me. But the format lacks one of my favorite parts about teaching – interaction. Read more

Video of Your Story

May 21st, 2012 By Mike Kane
Video of Your Story

On the night of your performance at a Speakeasy 2nd Tuesday, one of the folks working there will bring an appearance release and put it in front of you.   If you sign it, you are giving SpeakeasyDC permission to record you while you perform your story. Read more

Surrendering to The Ignorance of the Moment

May 17th, 2012 By Joseph Price
Surrendering to The Ignorance of the Moment

We’re not evolved for performance storytelling. For most of human history, when you found yourself standing alone on a flat surface and a dozen expectant eyeballs on you, well, that’s usually when you could expect to be eaten or stoned to death. There’s a reason the stage can feel like a trap. How many audience members can you take out with that microphone stand? (No more than five or six, I figure, before the rest swarm you.) Read more

Dating

May 16th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Dating

To me, one of the best uses of social storytelling is dating.

When I was actively dating, I always had a couple of go to stories “in my pocket”  to pull out for a variety of circumstances. Read more

Mike Boyd, SpeakeasyDC’s Board Chair

May 15th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Mike Boyd, SpeakeasyDC’s Board Chair

How did you get involved in SEDC and how has your association with SpeakeasyDC impacted your business and/or your life?

At the invitation of friends, I attended a SpeakeasyDC Open Mic in early 2007 and became an instant fan. Read more

Personal Stories

May 14th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Personal Stories

I work on a reality television show.  And every time we pitch a story to the network, their first question, without fail, is always “what’s at stake?” What’s at stake if the character doesn’t succeed?

That’s what makes stories interesting. Read more

Better Said Than Done Recap

May 11th, 2012 By Jessica Piscitelli Robinson
Better Said Than Done Recap

Better Said Than Done had our last big show at Jammin’ Java on St. Patrick’s Day.  It was a challenge, coming up with a theme for that holiday that wasn’t all about being Irish, but I think we found a good one. “The Luck of the Irish,” luckily, was a big success but, more importantly, a fantastic night of stories. Read more

Another Great–Nay, Heroic–Speakeasy 2nd Tuesday Show on May 8 2012

May 11th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich

Expectations ran high through the audience as small-but-mighty SpeakeasyDC leader Amy Saidman stepped up to the mic to kick off Tuesday’s show on “A Hero’s Journey: Stories about Tests and Quests.” With a theme like that, people figured that in addition to hearing smart, funny, and surprising true stories, they were bound to hear stories that were also powerful, moving, and perhaps even life-changing. They were not disappointed. Read more

The Power of Storytelling, Or Why I Rapped About Jack Kerouac For My Co-Workers

May 10th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
The Power of Storytelling, Or Why I Rapped About Jack Kerouac For My Co-Workers

Guest post by Carol Scott

When I decided to tell a story to 130 of my closest coworkers at our annual all-staff retreat, I knew one of two options could happen. Read more

Graceful Exits

May 9th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Graceful Exits

Everyone tells a bad social story from time to time. Everyone. So there’s no sense in trying to pretend that’s not going to happen to you, or use it as an excuse to never tell a story. But you CAN be prepared with some exit strategies: Read more

The Making of a Storyteller

May 8th, 2012 By Cindy Kane
The Making of a Storyteller

“Mama? I had ANOTHER DREAM last night,” my 5YO tells me. She paces the bathroom where I’m applying my face and peeks up to take in my response. I nod my head, motioning for her to continue. “I don’t know if I should tell you because this time it was REALLY BAD…” She likes to prepare me for the worst. It’s one of the ways I know she hasn’t really been “dreaming.” Read more

Making a Story Your Own

May 7th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Making a Story Your Own

A few weeks back, Amy Saidman wrote a very poignant piece on the importance of truth in storytelling.

Funny enough, I had my own Mike Daisy moment not all that long ago. Read more

Emily Friedman- SpeakeasyDC’s Podcast Producer

May 4th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Emily Friedman- SpeakeasyDC’s Podcast Producer

How did you get involved in SEDC and how has your association with SpeakeasyDC impacted your business and/or your life?

I worked with Amy on a short-term project with the US Peace Corps in the summer of 2011. She told me about her plans to revamp the Speakeasy Storycast, and I offered to help in her any way I could. I love meeting all the storytellers, and finding out how sharing their personal stories has changed the course of their life. Each interview is different and facinating, and I’m thrilled to be sitting in the room as Amy interviews them. We always have a good time. Read more

So You’re Freaking Out

May 3rd, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
So You’re Freaking Out

Guest post by John Tong

If you are experiencing a general sense of panic before your Speakeasy DC performance, then let me tell you it’s all going to be okay.  Earlier, I wrote about my bombing on the Speakeasy stage and I thought if I had a time machine what would I tell myself.  This is a collection of some advice I found using the internet.  I am not otherwise qualified to dispense advice regarding performances. Read more

How To Make Airports More Fun

May 2nd, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
How To Make Airports More Fun

As I’ve talked about, finding a story in an everyday experience is often just a matter of looking carefully for details, and then using those details to create a frame through which to view the experience.

The following story is an example of an experience that could either be retold as “Ugh, security was slow at the airport today”, or as more of a story. For better or worse. Read more

New Podcast Episodes… Finally!!

May 1st, 2012 By Amy Saidman
New Podcast Episodes… Finally!!

After an embarrassingly long hiatus, I’m thrilled to report that we have been working on new podcast episodes. By “we”, I mean me and our new producer, Emily Friedman (who you may hear on WAMU from time to time). By “hiatus” I mean…. um… almost exactly two whole years. Sad, I know… but let’s not dwell on the past because the future is looking bright and exciting. Read more

Stage Fright

April 30th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Stage Fright

When I was asked to contribute on the topic of “stage fright,” I tried to put myself back in those shoes of waiting for my name to be announced right before hopping on stage to tell my story.

Then I vomited all over those shoes.

Oh, I can write on stage fright. Read more

Dumb Mom on Stage

April 26th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Dumb Mom on Stage

Guest post by "Dumb Mom"

I am performing in a live show.

Go ahead and scream, I’ll wait.

I screamed when I found out too. Read more

Dos and Dont’s of Social Storytelling

April 24th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Dos and Dont’s of Social Storytelling

Do think your story through before you start as much as possible.  Just do a mental check to make sure it has at least some of the basic elements of a story, and that it goes somewhere. Read more

Audience Performer Mixer

April 23rd, 2012 By Mike Kane
Audience Performer Mixer

I recently told a story during SpeakeasyDC’s Story Showdown and on opening night, not a single person showed up specifically to see me.  I mean, there were the Speakeasy regulars who show up to every event, who I have gotten to know well, and it was great to see them and all, but they didn’t come out to see me. Read more

There Is No Crying in Storytelling

April 20th, 2012 By Stephanie Garibaldi
There Is No Crying in Storytelling

This is the biggest thing successful storytellers have in common with seasoned baseball players: they understand that there is no crying while performing. Sure, you can tell a story that’s so compelling and touching that you make your audience members cry–that’s fine; in fact, more power to you, if that’s how you work it, bringing the emotionally-connective heat. Read more

 

 

Bad Ways to Introduce Your Story

April 18th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
Bad Ways to Introduce Your Story

Last week I talked about good ways to introduce your story in a social setting. What I didn’t say was that not all methods are created equal. The truth is, there are good ways to introduce a story, and bad ways to introduce a story. Read more

Practicing My Story, Part 4 (Performing My Story)

April 16th, 2012 By Mike Kane
Practicing My Story, Part 4 (Performing My Story)

Walking into Town the night of the Open Mic (now called Second Tuesdays), I already knew that I was performing first.  Stephanie Garibaldi, the show’s host, had called me the night before and asked how I would feel about it.

How would I feel?  I would feel terrible.  I would feel like you had no faith in my story and you were putting me up first in order to get my story out of the way.  That’s how I would feel. Read more

The Dos and Don’ts of Finding Sponsorships

April 13th, 2012 By Cindy Kane
The Dos and Don’ts of Finding Sponsorships

DO say “YES!” when Speakeasy’s Executive/Artistic Director, Amy Saidman, asks you to co-produce a Mother’s Day show based on your blog and forthcoming book. Read more

How to Get Attention (aka Introducing Your Story)

April 11th, 2012 By Meredith Maslich
How to Get Attention (aka Introducing Your Story)

As I mentioned in my first column, one of the differences between performance storytelling and social storytelling, is that social storytelling doesn’t offer the same assumption of audience attention. So my colleague Joe Price and I came up with some strategies (and then named them, of course) for  creating an opening, or introducing your story in different social settings. Read more