2nd Story – Three weeks of Story, Wine & Music

April 28, 2009 by  
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For the 7th year, Serendipity Theatre Collective is proud to present our annual 2nd Story Festival at Webster’s Wine Bar. This year promises to be our biggest and best yet, with three weeks of expertly crafted stories, each one paired with a taste of wine and live music for our city’s top DJs and musicians. 12 nights, 54 stories and 5,000 glasses of wine. Oh man, it’s gonna be so good!

Just wanted to share 2nd Story with you. I love the event. Love the stories. Love the concept. Love the website.

2nd Story is a project presented by the Serendipity Theatre Collective in Chicago. They collaborate on projects with other local regional theatre companies including The Goodman, Theatre Seven, Columbia College and I’d imagine others I’ve not yet seen.

This event is still going on and tickets are available. You’ll see from their website future performances, collaborations and even workshops on the craft. While they use notes for their storytelling they’re clearly performances and not simply readings. They’re adult themes for adult audiences. Their stories are very well told and thoroughly entertaining. Just a sampling below.

Ric Walker from 2nd Story on Vimeo.

Megan Stielstra from 2nd Story on Vimeo.

Tim Simons from 2nd Story on Vimeo.

So here’s the deal…

April 28, 2009 by  
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While I would argue that everyone has a story I don’t consider myself a “storyteller”. Neither am I a writer. And this will become self-evident as this website fleshes out more. I am though an enthusiastic enjoyer of a good story. Additionally, while I believe everyone has a story there are those who’s creative and artful expression is through storytelling. A good storyteller is as enjoyable as a talented musician, a masterful painter or skilled chef.

My sense of things however is that popular culture has largely relegated live storytelling to “folk tales” and children’s entertainment. In an increasingly online and urban world, it’s just not very cool.

I’ve been a fan of the art form for many years. As a kid I enjoyed Bill Cosby and wore out my folks LP’s. In college I was introduced to Garrison Keillor and have tuned in for years. I’ve been to storytelling festivals both large and small. Then while living in the Chicago area I would go a favorite coffeehouse in Wrigleyville where they hosted open mic storytelling on Tuesday evenings. That was urban and hip. That… was cool.

That is what I hope to replicate in, of all places, Beloit WI for the greater stateline area.

This can work.

  • It’s a college town in the midst of other colleges throughout the region
  • There’s an established and expanding arts community in and around downtown (more later)
  • There is a lot of history to be told, not just Beloit but from everywhere folks come from
  • We advocate diversity which holds the opportunity for richer exchange and less sameness.

So, while this project is in it’s developmental stages as is this website, I’d invite you to bring your friends and join us for our first night of open mic storytelling Sunday April 5th, 6:30 pm (we start taking names for storytellers at 6:00) down at bushel & peck’s in downtown Beloit WI. Submit your email address so we can keep you in the loop about upcoming performances and other developments.

Lastly, I would invite you to share this  website with your friends.

Your comments and suggestions welcomed.


Sunday May 3rd. Our Next Evening of Open Mic Storytelling

April 24, 2009 by  
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Erica Rodenbeck, a student at Beloit College told the tale of The Lorax in impressive fashion at our debut evening of open mic storytelling. We’ve asked her to come back and share another story and she’s graciously agreed.

Erica will be our MC and featured storyteller for our second night of storytelling on May 3rd.

NEW THIS MONTH: Enjoy a glass of wine or beer and enjoy a few good stories. In keeping with the “May Day” theme bushel & peck’s will be featuring Olifant Grove’s Pinotage, a very popular Fair Trade wine from the South Africa.

  • Sign up to tell begins at 6:00
  • Storytelling begins at 6:30
  • We’ll be at bushel & peck’s (328 State St.)
  • The theme for May 3rd will be “May Day”

With May Day being identified with various spring time festivals, do you have a story of spring time? May Day is also the international workers day. Have you a story to relate from the trials and tribulations of work? First job, worst job, dream job. Or recalling cries for assistance… Mayday! Mayday! Tell us a story of a close call, daring acts of bravery or the like. Think about it and join us. Share a story.

The Demon Cat by Sean Buvala

April 17, 2009 by  
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“This isn’t kiddie stuff” ~ seantells.com

Ok, so even though our humble endeavor is brand new, this is theater of the mind and as such I’m not keen on staging and props. Having the piano accompaniment, sign language interpreter and some plants on the stage though is very cool. I love that it welcomes hearing impaired. That’s very cool.

Who knows sign language that would be willing to help us out?
Who can play the piano well enough to improvise background?

Our debut evening of storytelling – Wonderful!

April 8, 2009 by  
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For a first ever evening of storytelling it went exceptionally well. While I forgot to count, as best I can recall we had roughly a dozen storytellers participate for an enthusiastic audience. Both audience and storytellers represented roughly a half-n-half mix of college students and ‘townies’ which was particularly gratifying. Providing yet another town-gown bridge was good to see. Over time I hope to see still more communities joining with us and actively participating.

Our wonderful hosts, bushel & peck’s volunteered, of their own initiative to provide a $20 gift certificate to an individual the organizers thought most deserving of a ‘best storyteller’ recognition. While this is not a competition, being able to provide some tangible appreciation was a nice touch. Thanks Jackie and Rich!

Our MC and featured teller for the evening Reid Miller was great! He did a great job of keeping things moving, easing things for those who needed a little encouragement and was very entertaining himself.

Just as it is difficult to explain in words an experience listening to good music the same could be said of the shared experience of the evening’s storytelling. You’ll simply have to come out and experience it for yourself first hand.   🙂  Everyone seemed to be having a good time.

There were funny stories, touching stories, both personal as well as creative works. These were likewise relayed by wizened long-time tellers as well as those new to the craft. A very nice mix. A special thanks to all who participated.

The next evening of storytelling will be Sunday April 26th. Same time, 6:30pm (we’ll begin taking names for storytellers at 6:00) at bushel & peck’s. Featured storyteller and theme will be announced soon. So drop your email addy into the “ENEWS & UPDATES” at the top-right of this page to be sure you’re in the loop.

p.s. Thank you to everyone who helped pull this off. MattG for the sound system, Mark for the lights, Hendricks Development for the stage and Dr. Bob for introductions and go-to-guy services.

Reid Miller – Featured teller for April

March 27, 2009 by  
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Theme for April stories: Time


Reid enthralls audiences with original stories, folktales, folkmusic and puppet plays for all ages. He believes storytelling helps people guide, heal, ground and grow themselves. In his stories, the weak gain strength, the bold gain humility, the shy gain courage and the meek gain love. His upbeat, lighthearted approach creates playful fun for everyone. His motto is “Let It Shine!”

Our debut evening of open mic storytelling

March 26, 2009 by  
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Webmaster note:  Yes, I know… This page blows.

I’m on it.   🙂


328 State Street, Downtown Beloit WI

Sunday April 5th.

first Sundays of the month

6:30 pm

featuring teller:

Reid Miller


Open mic

Featured teller hosts & closes the program


*  limited number of open mic slots
*  sign-up to tell begins at 6:00 pm
*  story length limited to 8 min
*  names drawn at random
*  notes not allowed


Arrive early for best seats, drinks & treats.

$5 donation and bushel & peck’s patronage appreciated.

Print out the flier for this event.