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Cliff Lewis wins the 2015 Grand Slam!

12287201_10103662716408833_360844338_oCliff Lewis won the 2015 GRAND SLAM! Cliff earned the title of Best Storyteller in Lancaster with his story of winning an epic high school rap battle. The winning storytellers from throughout the season entertained the audience with some hilarious and touching stories on the theme of "Heroes." We heard stories about a nasty friend, an epic outdoorsmen, a shunned family member, and an educator willing to sacrifice her own life for children. There was a tale of a Lancaster artist who lived a simple and happy life, and about an ill man who jumped off a Philadelphia bridge and survived. We heard about surviving a marathon, winning a soccer game thanks to an oddly named teammate,  and removing a curse inflicted from a playground boyfriend.

Thanks to all our storytellers, our judges, and the awesome audience who cheered our storytellers on throughout the night. Our first season was full of amazing stories and we are thankful to have met so many wonderful new friends.

Cliff's winning story is posted below. All the stories will be posted on the Lancaster Story Slam YouTube channel on Wednesday, so check back soon. And save the date of Tuesday, January 26th when we kick off the 2016 season. Themes will be announced in early December!


The 2015 Lancaster GRAND SLAM is almost here!

2-IMG_1681Our lineup is set for the 2015 Lancaster Story Slam GRAND SLAM, but do you have your tickets yet? The winning storytellers from the 2015 season will be competing for the title of Best Storyteller in Lancaster and the theme of the night is "Heroes!" We do expect this event to sell out so please don't procrastinate - pick up your tickets, $8 in advance or $10 at door (if tickets remain.) Order your tickets HERE.

IMG_6936Storytellers expected to appear in the GRAND SLAM include: Matthew Kabik, Joanne Rafferty, Frank Melvin, Cliff Lewis, Aaron Lewis, Liz Yocom, Samantha Bare, Chris McDougall, Bruce Sperber, and Steve Clark. If you have been following our story slams this season, you know this is a really stellar lineup! You can peruse the Lancaster Story Slam Youtube Channel to watch or re-watch stories.

One last reminder - our GRAND SLAM will be held on Tuesday, November 24th at 8pm at Tellus360. Please order your tickets early by clicking HERE.

In the meantime, check out some photos from our October Story Slam.

Steve Clark Wins our October Slam! Grand Slam Tickets On Sale Now!

IMG_8791Steve Clark won our "Scared to Death" Story Slam with his tale of kissing a girl on an amusement park ride. Steve earned the final slot in the 2015 Lancaster Story Slam GRAND SLAM, where he will compete with the year's winning storytellers for the title of Best Storyteller in Lancaster! The theme for the GRAND SLAM is Heroes! Tickets for the GRAND SLAM are on sale now. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at door (if tickets remain.) Order your tickets HERE. Our theme "Scared to Death" brought out a wide range of stories. We heard a mother tell about her child being incorrectly diagnosed with leukemia, and a soldier caught in a firefight. We listened to a story of sneaking into a movie theatre late at night and a tale of hearing one's grandmother curse like a sailor. We heard about being scared to death of a mother, and living in constant fear of choking. Thanks to all our storytellers, our judges, and our emcee for the night, Samantha Bare.

Our GRAND SLAM will be held on Tuesday, November 24th at 8pm at Tellus360. We do expect the GRAND SLAM to sell out so please order your tickets early by clicking HERE.

In the meantime, check out Steve's winning story! Check out all the stories from October by clicking through to the Lancaster Story Slam YouTube channel.

Our October Story Slam is "Scared to Death!"

IMG_7429Our final Story Slam of the 2015 season is taking place on Tuesday, October 27th and the theme is "Scared to Death!" We want to hear stories about when you were frightened beyond belief. Maybe you found yourself in a situation where you thought you might be about to lose your life. Did you ever get lost in the woods and have to spend the night alone? Have you been held up at gun point? Have you been sent to jail? Did you once see a ghost? Were you in a car wreck and left for dead in a ditch? Did you have a loved one go missing for sometime? Maybe you were punked with a scary story around the campfire. Did your big brothers tease you? Are you afraid of snakes? Rats? Heights? Public speaking? Have you been lost at sea? Tell us your worst fear and a time you were "Scared to Death!"

The October Story Slam will determine who wins the final slot in our November Grand Slam, and the Grand Slam will determine the Best Storyteller in Lancaster!

Our "Scared to Death" Story Slam is taking place at Tellus360 on Tuesday, October 27th at 8pm. Arrive early for a beer and to register if you want to tell your story. Listeners also wanted. Order your tickets by clicking HERE.

Want some inspiration? Here's a story by Bill Kilpatrick about a time he was "Scared to Death."

Bruce Sperber Wins our "Schooled" Story Slam!

12022109_10103552425557583_1604783445_oBruce Sperber won our "Schooled" Story Slam with his tale of speaking German to students. Bruce earned a spot in our November Grand Slam, where he will compete against the other winning storytellers from the 2015 season. The audience heard twelve stories on the night, many of which took place in the classroom. We heard about selling candy to football fans, fouling oneself on the football field, schooling a cigar shop owner, doing push ups in front of students, and canoeing with spiders. Thanks to our emcee Steve Clark, our judges, and all those who came out to listen to the storytellers.

Our next Story Slam will be Tuesday, October 27th and is themed "Scared to Death!"

Here is Bruce's winning story. To watch other stories told at our Schooled Story Slam, visit the Lancaster Story Slam YouTube channel.


Our September 22 Story Slam is "Schooled!"

11900118_10103491989841243_325782579724623845_oWe’re celebrating September with our “Schooled” Story Slam! Our Story Slam will be held on Tuesday, September 22 at Tellus360 in downtown Lancaster. We only have two more chances to win a slot in our Grand Slam so start your homework tonight! What is “Schooled?” Tell us about a time where you taught someone a valuable lesson either inside or outside of the classroom. Perhaps you have a story about a time where you were “schooled” by an older sibling. Tell us about how you learned about the real world – maybe it’s that first girlfriend who taught you love is a dog from hell – or that stranger you met one night at a bar during last call. Were you schooled by your parents or on the streets? What are the most important life lessons that you have learned the hard way?

Let’s get the semester kicked off right. Join us at Tellus360 for the “Schooled” Story Slam. Tuesday, September 22 at 8pm. Pick up tickets by clicking HERE.



Chris McDougall Wins Our "Family Feud" Story Slam

11919108_10103491986328283_7457602977998727106_oChris McDougall won our "Family Feud" Story Slam with the story of his South Philly family and the long simmering bakery rivalry. Chris took home the prized pint glass and has earned a spot in the Lancaster Grand Slam, which will take place in November. The theme Family Feud brought out the best of times and the worst of times. We heard about raucous wedding fights and sibling fist fights. There were tales of shifting family power and broken glass panes, boardwalk altercations and grandma gifts. We even heard how a previously told Lancaster Story Slam story started a new family feud!

Our next Story Slam is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22 and the theme is Schooled!

Here is video of Chris's winning story. To watch other stories from the night, check out the Lancaster Story Slam YouTube channel.


We visited Friday Live Lancaster

Lancaster Story Slam co-founder Carla Wilson recently appeared on Friday Live Lancaster to talk about Lancaster Story Slam and our upcoming "Family Feud" Story Slam, which is Tuesday, August 25 at Tellus360. Here's Carla's blog post on the experience!   I have lived in Lancaster for about a year now. Every day, every week, I discover something fun and new. This past week was no different. I discovered Friday Live Lancaster because I was invited to be a guest on the show on Friday, August 21.

Friday Live Lancaster is Lancaster, PA's live, online radio show about the City of Lancaster, its art, culture, people, and events. The hosts of the show are Laura Kendall, Director of the Ware Center at Millersville University, and Joe Devoy, the owner of Tellus360The show takes place at The Rabbit & The Dragonfly (51 N. Market Street in Place Marie), Fridays at 11 am.

So why was I invited as a guest on the show? To talk about Lancaster Story Slam, of course!

I arrived at The Rabbit & The Dragonfly about 10:45 am to discover a coffee shop/performance venue. Awesome. (By the way, The Rabbit and Dragonfly are a group of local artists and musicians inspired by the early twentieth century English writers group called "The Inklings." They hold ongoing music and arts events and have a small used book section that holds writings of the Inklings as well as other genres of literature. They aim to promote community, collaboration, and creative inspiration that will fuel connections and promote life in our city.)

Friday Live Lancaster set up in The Rabbit & The Dragonfly

Ken Mueller (yeah, that Ken Mueller from Tellus360), the producer and Megan Wilson greeted me. Joe and Laura were set up at their interview table.

Joe Devoy and Laura Kendall - hosts of Friday Live Lancaster

Several local folks were interviewed about upcoming events including The Reese Project (who will provide live original music to Fritz Lang's Metropolis), Music for Everyone (who will host "Behind the Scenes" on August 27), Rubi Nicolas discussed her Market Fresh Comedy series, and Dave from The Rabbit & Dragonfly sang acapella.

Then I was invited to the table so that Laura and Joe could ask me about our awesome event happening every 4th Tuesday of the month at Tellus360.

Take a listen to the interview here! [audio mp3=""][/audio]

Carla Joe Laura - FLL

Don't forget that our "Family Feud" Story Slam will be held on Tuesday, August 25 at 8pm. Order your tickets now!

Our August Story Slam is "Family Feud!"

30-IMG_3204Let's talk about family. Our August 25th Story Slam is themed "Family Feud!" We'll start promptly at 8pm at Tellus360 in downtown Lancaster, PA. Order your tickets HERE.

What are "Family Feud" stories?

We want to hear about the time you pulled your sister's pigtails during the trip to Hershey Park and she screamed causing your father to drive off the road and you have still never ridden the Sooper Dooper Looper. Tell us about the time your little brother asked to borrow three dollars so he could get a rainbow lollipop at Candy Kitchen and when you returned to the beach house he told you he didn't have the money to repay you so you freaked out and had to be pinned down by your father. Tell us about your mother's affair and your parent's subsequent divorce or that awkward moment when your drunk Uncle Eddie decided to contest grandmother's probated will while you were still at the funeral home.

25-IMG_1613Perhaps you had friends who were as close (or closer) than your family until there was a falling out. Did you live at a foster home where you had an extended family? Were you an exchange student placed in an awkward situation? We want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. Also the funny.

Come on out and watch "Family "Feud!" If you want to sign up to tell a story, see Carla upon arrival. Order your tickets online and show up to Tellus360 early to drink a pint and eat some grub. We'll see you on Tuesday, August 25th!

Need some inspiration? Maureen Egan tells the story of being the youngest in a family left her simmering for years until she finally got her payback!

Samantha Bare wins our July Story Slam!

IMG_7439Congratulations to Samantha Bare on winning the Boiling Point Story Slam! Samantha told the harrowing story of finding a drunk in her college apartment and how the episode made her reach her boiling point! Samantha won the prized pint glass and earned a slot to compete in the November Grand Slam, where she will compete against  the other winning storytellers for the title of Best Storyteller in Lancaster. IMG_7429 Our storytellers talked about anger they saw in others and anger they experienced themselves. We heard stories about practical jokes and about losing one's patience with their children. We listened to tales of a boyfriend's denial and the anger that arises when one's grill tank is exchanged instead of filled. We also heard stories of terrible college roommates, and about anger at the movie theatre line, "Where are the stanchions?" We heard about the worst return trip to college, a tale which ended with a rather foul moment in a women's bathroom.

Thanks to our storytellers, our judges, and our emcee Matthew Kabik.

Our next Story Slam is scheduled for Tuesday, August 25th and the theme is Family Feud! Tickets are available by clicking HERE.

You can watch Samantha's winning story below. To watch all the stories from the night, check out the Lancaster Story Slam YouTube channel.

Our July Story Slam is "Boiling Point!"

What's the angriest you have ever been? How did that work out for you? 39-IMG_3109Our July 28th Story Slam is themed "Boiling Point!" We're looking for stories about unsettling anger and anguish. We want to hear about people stewing over small things. Have you ever been involved in a road rage incident? Have you had to take anger management lessons? Sometimes a practical joke can lead to angry moments if you catch someone at the wrong moment. Did anger get the best of you and you did something you now regret? Maybe you have seen a loved one express anger in a dangerous and threatening way and realized you needed to find out of a situation. We all express anger in different ways - some suppress it while other spew obscenities. Have you met someone who taught you how to manage your anger? Did you ever quit a job in haste or walk out of a relationship and not look back? Looking back, do you consider that action the right decision?

30-IMG_3204Of course, your boiling point story could be about heating up a pot of water, or steaming a live lobster, or sitting in a hot tub, or scalding oneself. Come on out and tell your Boiling Point story at Tellus360 on Tuesday, July 28th. The Story Slam starts at 8pm. If you want to tell a story, sign up when you arrive. Pick up your tickets by clicking HERE.

Five Tips for Judges - Guest Essay

By Matt Kabik IMG_6922First, and this is very important—thank you! Judging a story slam is a very important way to contribute to the enjoyment of a story slam event! Futher more, it rarely means standing, and often requires a beer, which are all great things. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’ve been chosen (or are elected) to this esteemed position:

1. Judges rate on a scale of 1-10 in the categories of content and presentation. Content is, simply, is the story a story. Does it have a beginning, middle, and end? Does it flow well, is it easy to follow? Presentation is how well the story is told: does the storyteller captivate you and engage you as a listener? Are they monotone and drab or are they helping you feel the emotion of the story itself? This is immensely important: a good story isn’t one that’s just funny or just heartbreaking—it’s one that is clearly told, passionately expressed, and has the full arc of human experience. 2. Don’t take many outside variables into account: Okay, so you know the person who’s telling a story because they always tell a story/you know them from the bar/they are your sister’s second cousin once removed. Great—that really shouldn’t dictate that you give them a higher score.

11-IMG_29453. Stories should run no more than five minutes: Once a storyteller reaches 5 minutes, a bell will be rung once. Once the storyteller hits 6 minutes, the bell is rung several times over. The judges take into account how much a person is unable to maintain that 5 minute mark. Sure, if it’s a good story and they come in at 5 minutes and 30 seconds, it’s not a huge deal. But if a storyteller doesn’t manage to finish their tale by 6:30,  reflect that in your scoring. A good rule of thumb I use is this: if a storyteller goes past 6:30, I knock a point off the presentation side. If they go past 7 minutes I knock a point off both sides.

4. Don’t feel like you’re being mean: It’s hard to give low scores to the folks who come up on stage—I get it! But it’s also unfair to give everyone a high score. For one thing, it doesn’t help people get better, and it also takes away from storytellers who have genuinely earned the points they receive! You’re not being mean—you’re being fair and even. If someone doesn’t tell a story that has a great beginning, middle, and end, consider giving them (oh dare I suggest) a 4 or 5. If their presentation is great, give them higher marks there. This kind of information is great for a storyteller, as it shows them what they need to work on, and it helps them trust that the judges are able to decipher the developed story from the work-in-progress.

29-IMG_30285. It’s okay to disagree with other judges, or to make a snap decision: Storytelling is very subjective, as is individual perception. What I thought was amazing you maybe thought was so-so. That’s okay—point in fact, it’s great—but it’s important to stick to your score. If the other judges are giving much different scores than you are, it doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. Having that varying scorecard is a good way to make sure that there aren’t 14 way ties—and also making sure that there is a good variety of opinions shared. I’ll also say this: I’ve had moments where I’ve written down a set of scores only to find, as I was about to read the score to the emcee, that I changed my mind—and that’s fine, too. With something as ephemeral as storytelling, you’re destined to disagree with even yourself. It’s not a hard job—heck, it’s even plumb enjoyable—but being a story judge isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Before scribbling down nines (or ones) for every storyteller, run them through the filters of objective judgement—then make the call. You’ll find that you’ll make strong decisions that benefit both the event itself, but also the storytellers.

11-IMG_1873Matt Kabik, our first Lancaster Story Slam winner, is an occasional emcee and judge. He is also the Founding Editor of Third Point Press, where he and the team are tasked with making objective decisions on which pieces will be run in each issue. 

Liz Yocom Wins "It's My Job" Story Slam!

IMG_6948Congratulations to Liz Yocom, the winner of our "It's My Job" Story Slam. Liz explained the difference between her job and her passion. She took home the prized pint glass and earned a spot in our Grand Slam. The night was full of strong stories on the subject of work and career. We heard about taking a job as a fireman to escape a roommate, almost taking a job feeding 52 monkeys to escape the Vietnam War, throwing up on the side of a highway and how lifeguard duty included cleaning doody. We heard about the joys and sorrows of teaching, steeling oneself after a case of sexual harassment, cleaning out foreclosed homes, and one raucous work prank which ended badly. We also learned why you should never steal from the pizza delivery person who has just delivered to your house.

Thanks to everyone who told a story, our judges, our emcee Luanne Sims, and the wonderful folks at Tellus360. We will post videos of the stories on Wednesday, so check back soon. In the meantime, check out this slideshow of photos - and don't forget to pick up tickets for our July 28th Story Slam, themed "Boiling Point!"

Here's Liz's winning Story below (and a slideshow below that!) To watch videos of other stories, click on over to our Lancaster Story Slam YouTube channel.


"It's My Job" Story Slam is June 23rd!

What do you love about your job? What do you hate about your job? We want to know! Our next Lancaster Story Slam, scheduled for Tuesday, June 23rd at Tellus360, is themed “It’s My Job.” You can order your tickets by clicking here.

08-IMG_2934We want to hear your work related stories. Perhaps your story is about your current position, or maybe it is about a job you quit in disgust. We’ve all had crappy jobs at some point, maybe while working our way through college or tying us over until something better came along. Maybe you once had the best job in the world, and regret a decision to move on. Did your boss make your job miserable or did they empower you to grow and become a better person? Start thinking about your work related stories, and plan on joining us at Tellus360 on June 23rd.

Need inspiration? One of our favorite all-time "It's My Job" stories came from the West Chester Story Slam in 2010. Robert Williams told this story of a a day early in his nursing career that came to define his job. This story has it all and has become a classic. Check it out below.

Photos of Our May Storytellers!

Our Storytelling Workshop is this Thursday, June 4th, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm,  at Commonwealth on Queen. If you are interested in exploring the craft of storytelling, come on out! We'll send you four videos to watch before Thursday, and then we'll spend two hours discussing Basic Story Structure, Creative Language, and other presentation tips. We'll also try some fun exercises to help you creatively think of potential stories. Learn more and register by clicking here. Meanwhile, check out these great photos of storytellers from our May "Road Trip" Story Slam. Thanks to Michelle Johnsen Photography for capturing these candid shots.

Aaron Lewis wins the Road Trip Slam!

IMG_6536Aaron Lewis won our Road Trip Story Slam with his tale of a strange encounter in the Nevada desert. Aaron won the prized pint glass and a spot in our Grand Slam, which will be held in November. Our Road Trip stories took us over the Grand Canyon and across the seas to Russia. We heard stories of being bitten by a squirrel, having a car wrecked, visiting a brothel, and taking psychedelic mushrooms. Thanks to all our storytellers, our judges and tonight's emcee Frank Melvin.

IMG_6523If you are interested in taking our Storytelling Workshop on June 4th, please register early so we can send you the videos to watch before attending the class. You can learn more and register by clicking HERE.

Our next Story Slam  will be June 23rd and the theme is "It's My Job!" Tell us about the best, or the worst, job you ever had! Tickets for our June Slam are available here.

Here is video of Aaron's winning story! We'll be posting all the stories on the Lancaster Story Slam YouTube Channel, so check back soon!

Our Road Trip Story Slam is May 26th!

13-IMG_3107Who is hitting the road this summer? Join us at Tellus360 on Tuesday, May 26th for our ROAD TRIP Story Slam! Have you ever taken a memorable road trip? Perhaps you drove across the USA with someone you loved? Maybe you hitchhiked to Florida? Have you backpacked across Europe and learned something about yourself in the process? Did you take the road less traveled? Did you learn the trip is more important than the destination? We want to hear about tragic road trips, outrageous travels, splendid views of life.

Our Road Trip Story Slam is Tuesday, May 26th at 8pm. If you want to tell a story, sign up upon arrival. Pick up your tickets now by clicking HERE.

Also - our one-night Storytelling Workshop comes to Lancaster on Thursday, June 4th! Join us for a fun night to help you develop your storytelling skills. Learn more and register HERE.

In the meantime, check out these awesome photos from our April Story Slam. Thanks to Michelle Johnsen Photography for the shots!

Cliff Lewis wins our Love Hurts Story Slam

1-IMG_3243Cliff Lewis won our "Love Hurts" Story Slam with his hilarious and touching tale of his love for his hamsters and their sad demise. Cliff took home the prized pint glass and has earned a spot in November's Grand Slam where he'll compete with the winning storytellers from throughout the 2015 season. We heard a wide array of stories on tonight's theme, some heartbreaking and others downright funny. We heard tales of divorce, mental illness, and dating woes. We listened to stories about the loss of loved ones such as grandmothers and hamsters. Thank you to all our storytellers for taking the stage and telling some very personal stories. Also thanks to Michael Sirianni who emceed tonight.

Our next Story Slam will be Tuesday, May 26th and the theme is "Road Trip!" Tickets can be ordered HERE.

You can watch Cliff's winning story below. To check out all the stories told on the night, click over to the Lancaster Story Slam YouTube Channel.

Our April 28th Story Slam is Themed "Love Hurts!"

On April 28th, our fourth story slam of the season will be about the joys and pains of love. Join us at Tellus360 at 8pm. Order your tickets by clicking HERE. 24-IMG_1600As you know, love takes many forms. It is both glorious and dreadful. Perhaps you were jilted at the altar or had the worst prom date ever. Maybe the person you had a crush on didn’t know you were alive. Maybe your love for a family member has proven to be more than trying at times. Only love can break a heart, right? In some cases, persistence can win out in the end, but other times, love just isn’t meant to be. As George Thorogood once asked, “Who Do You Love?” Maybe you have a love affair with a job, a place, a food, a drink? Be creative!

13-IMG_1541Stories should be approximately five minutes long and true as you remember it. No notes, no props, no music. Just you and a mic! If you have a story to tell, simply sign up once you arrive. Check out the rules page to learn more. Remember, you don’t have to tell a story. We love people who come out and listen! The winner of our Love Hurts Story Slam will win a spot in our 2014 Grand Slam, which will be held in November.

Join us on Tuesday April 28th as we hear stories on Love Hurts! Click here for tickets!

Oh, and watch one of our favorite stories on the theme Love Hurts, as told by our friend John at the Delco Story Slam a few years ago.

Frank Melvin wins our March Story Slam!

Frank Melvin won our "Good Vibrations" Story Slam with his tale of being caught by local police while making out with a girlfriend in a local park. Frank took home the prized pint glass and has earned a slot in our November Grand Slam, where he will compete with this year's other winning storytellers. After the first round of scoring, Frank was tied with Dennis Boyne and the judges had to reconvene to cast their tie-breaking vote. Dennis told a hilarious story of the "Good Vibrations" he feels from his marriage.

IMG_5772Our March Story Slam was filled with a wide variety of "Good Vibrations" stories: meeting a bisexual man on the street while texting, yearning for one's father, traveling the world, seeing Michael Buble in concert, trying to catch a plane, finding a deeper understanding to a James Brown song, being bear hugged by a stranger at a rock festival, working at QVC, and unknowingly sharing one's intimate moments with next door neighbors.

You can watch Frank's winning story below, and all our stories are uploaded to the Lancaster Story Slam Youtube channel soon so check back. Meanwhile, save the date of April 28th when we host our next Story Slam, themed "Love Hurts!" Tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE.

Thanks to Michelle Johnsen Photography for the photos!