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
Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

National

Missouri man charged with sexually torturing five women

A Missouri man has been charged with raping and torturing five women in a St. Louis-area apartment over several years, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.