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Past > Present > Future
The Tank @ Standard Toykraft
Brooklyn, NY
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Past > Present > Future
In the past couple of years storytelling has become a necessary part of any standup comedian's repertoire, a needed tool for any writer wishing success, and has gained it's own crowd and scene of people claiming their artform to be simply "storytelling." And yet everyone is quick to remember that this is the oldest artform in existence. In this discussion we seek to find what has made these last couple of years different in the meta narrative about storytelling, and what that says about the art of the soloshow. There is a one person, long form, personal narrative piece that has existed forever but has a modern version that has captured our culture's attention. We will analyze what makes this era of Spalding Gray and Mike Birgbiglia different and where are we going next.

Julie Threlkeld is the voice behind Modern Stories. I'm always in awe of her ability to have her finger inside the pulse of NYC Storytelling. She is a keen observer who has watched the storytelling scene in New York unfold. I've never met someone so eager to listen, and she's a better person for it. Her own storytelling has been featured on RISK!, Talk Therapy, Ask Me, A Funny Thing, and a bunch of other shows. She recently put together Generator: A Disastrous Love Story for The Tank's Dark Fest, and is the audio designer for Susan Kent's upcoming show in SoloWeek. She writes about storytelling at modernstories.com where she also houses a podcast of the same name and the ultimate calendar of storytelling shows in the NYC area.

Cyndi Freeman is a burlesque performer and storyteller. She coaches storytelling for The Moth and has done a bajillion one person shows. Most recently: I Was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot which was in Edmonton this year for their Fringe Festival. She comes from a background of performance and theater and I'm always impressed by her ability to meld storytelling into her other performances. Her long running show Hotsy Totsy Burlesque utilizes storytelling methods to pull out a narrative in an artform that doesn't always go for narrative. She's been in this scene/world for a while and has been doing solo shows since Lebowski's landlord. She definitely has seen where it was and as her audience has changed to enjoy the more naturalistic approach that we see in NYC today, she has moved in that direction as well. She's also an amazing educator with a heart of gold.

Jeff Simmermon is one of the hardest working storytellers I know. He is also a standup who used to play in an art-rock band with some chickens. He's one of the few people I know attempting to transition from being known as a storyteller to being known as a standup instead of the other way around. He's a master of the short form and never shies away from the melding of the standup and storytelling scene. The show he produces at UCB East: And I Am Not Lying is a variety show that regularly features storytellers and standups, and it is one of the few successful ventures into mixing those two performance types. I find Jeff's perspective on the work of a storyteller unique and exciting - he relishes the shortform and the funny and often times expounds on how the safety of a somber story and the ego of a longform story are hurting the artform of storytelling. I always find myself nodding in agreement with Jeff despite having my own nervousness around any moves towards the standup model.


The Tank @ Standard Toykraft (View)
722 Metropolitan Avenue, #3
Brooklyn, NY 11211
United States



Wheelchair Accessible: No


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