West Chester Story Slam: Grand Slam 2012

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If you happen to love an original story, a good laugh or cry, and a local-brewed beer by Victory Brewing Company, then you’ll enjoy the West Chester Story Slam. On Tuesday evening, November 13th at the Victory Brewpub in Downingtown, the Story Slam hosted their championship, the “2012 Grand Slam.”

The Grand Slam consisted of eight past winners throughout the 2012 season and was emceed by writer and stand-up comedian, Mikey Gleason. At the Victory Brewpub, the reserved room for the Story Slam was overflowing with people who often attend the monthly story slams as well as family and friends of the contestants.

Participants included Eli Silberman, Terry Heyman, Luke Bauerlein, Jake Michael, Luke Stromberg, Richard Fritzson, Peter Cunniffe, Roshun Pai and Patrick Carmondy, this year’s Grand Slam winner! 

The Story Slam is open to anyone who is willing to go onstage and tell their non-fictional story. Their story must fit into the theme of the night, which is pre-determined at the beginning of the year. The story should be as true as the contestant remembers it and the story should be under five minutes each.  Alas, each contestant is not allowed to use notes, props, or music. The stories are critiqued by three random members of the audience.  The storyteller is judged on a 1-10 scale and is critiqued on two different categories; content and presentation.  The storyteller with the highest score wins and participates in the Grand Slam, held every November.

The idea of creating a story slam in the West Chester area came about from Jim Breslin. He has always called himself a fan of story slams in the New York City area such as “The Moth” and in Philadelphia called “First Person Arts.”  He proceeded to Twitter and asked his friends if they knew of any story slams in the community and they responded with the idea that he should start one.  In November of 2009, Jim hosted a storytelling night in his living room.  Jim and his friends enjoyed themselves so much that he found a local venue and held the Story Slam’s first season in 2010.

When the Story Slam began, Jim took the risk of not knowing whether or not West Chester would have enough people interested in storytelling to sustain hosting an event every month. 



He was surprised at how much the Story Slam has continually grown since the start. Jim hosted the Story Slam at Ryan’s Pub for two years and eventually outgrew the venue and has since moved the event to Victory Brewing Company. 

“I’m most thrilled with the community we’ve created.  So many people with an interest in the arts have met and become friends with other like-minded people,” Jim said, “I was surprised and thrilled when Main Line Today named the West Chester Story Slam ‘Best Entertaining Night Out’ this past summer. It was a testament to the whole community of storytellers and the audience.”

His favorite part of the Story Slams is how amazed he is every week at the stories that are told. He’s heard stories that make him laugh and others that have brought tears to his eyes. He said, “People reveal themselves through their stories and every Story Slam is different.”

Jim continues to plan the Story Slam Season at Victory Brewing Company for the foreseeable future.  The Story Slam is hosting a special “Best of West Chester Story Slam” on Wednesday, December 5th at Burlap and Bean in Newtown Square. It will be a showcase of five of this year’s winning story tellers in the first half of the show.  After the intermission, any member of the audience is welcome to tell a story on the theme, “Road Trip.”

Pictured: Jim Breslin (left), Patrick Carmondy (right)

 By Courtney Boslough

If you missed the 2012 Story Slam Grand Slam, check out the videos of the contestants below. You can also click here to view the photo gallery capturing the Grand Slam event.

You can also catch the“Best Of” Story Slam is this Wednesday night, December 5th at Burlap and Bean!

Reserve your tickets tonight! 










Meghan Kelly

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