Storytellers compete to be Philly’s finest

R. Eric Thomas will co-host the First Person Arts contest. Credit: Ben Droz
R. Eric Thomas will co-host the First Person Arts contest.
Credit: Ben Droz

Everyone’s got a story to tell. But some are better at it than others. The winners of First Person Arts’ monthly StorySlams will gather for the Grand Slam at Underground Arts on Friday to compete for the title of Best Storyteller in Philadelphia.

They’re a diverse crew, with a private investigator, a museum educator and a professional mime — speaking this time, we assume — among the group. Martha Cooney, founder of StoryUP!, and R. Eric Thomas, known in storytelling circles for his one-man show “Will You Accept This Friend Request?” will host the contest, which focuses on a single theme: power.

Andrew Panebianco, a former English professor turned advertising copywriter, will be vying for best storyteller bragging rights. He loves the danger inherent in storytelling.

“There is something thrilling about potentially making a fool out of yourself,” Panebianco says. “The reason that I get up and tell a story is the same reason that people get up and do karaoke.”

Panebianco believes he inherited his ability to tell stories, growing up in a “gratuitously Italian-American family” where there was “no such thing as a short answer. Everything is an epic.”

The Grand Slam’s five-minute limit is no match for his stories. In fact, he swears he’s never told a story that short. A  true tale about his cat drowning, for a danger-themed StorySlam, got him to this final round.

“The sink was overflowing in the dentist’s office below my apartment. In a whisper-down-the-lane panic, the landlord convinced me that my cat would drown in the flood,” Panebianco says. “I was so worried as I hurried home on the train. When I arrived, it was clear that my cat was never in danger. The only danger was in my mind.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dr. Dre is king of hip hop with…

With $620 million in estimated pre-tax earnings, veteran rapper and record producer Dr. Dre topped Forbes list as the highest paid hip hop artist, ousting Sean "Diddy" Combs from the…

News

Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in U.S.…

A seemingly unrepentant Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in New York following his conviction on terrorism charges.

Local

Inside the UN Climate Summit

First Avenue was a sea of blue suits, black Suburbans and countless officers from multiple security agencies Tuesday as the United Nations representatives met to…

National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

Television

Craig Ferguson wants you to see his new…

Craig Ferguson thinks his new game show will become "a comedy show in which a game is played and money is won."

Television

Anthony Anderson on dealing with your 'ish'

Anthony Anderson discusses finding the humor in his "Black-ish" family.

Gossip

Photos: See who Robert Pattinson was caught holding…

Robert Pattinson has a new girlfriend.

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

Sports

Here's the 8 best and worst sporting goodbyes

With Derek Jeter set to retire following the 2014 Major League Baseball season, we look back at some of the great and not-so-great sporting goodbyes.

NFL

NFL Week 4 schedule (TV, kickoff, start time)

NFL Week 4 schedule (TV, kickoff, start time)

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks at top, Bears and…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks at top, Bears and Steelers rise

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

Home

NYC fall real estate hot list

The upcoming developments and areas everyone's buzzing about.

Style

Milan Fashion Week shows the best of Italian…

Metro rounds up the cut of the collections at Milan Fashion Week.

Tech

The 2014 Maker Faire saw robots, printers and…

Got a broken button maker? There’s a fix for that – and Tony Stanzione of the Fixers’ Collective says he can show you how.

Parenting

First look: Uniqlo's fall/winter 2014 kids collection

Get a sneak peek at Uniqlo's kids and babies fall/winter 2014 line.