Milwaukee nonprofit Ex Fabula is wrapping up their 8th season of strengthening community bonds through the art of storytelling with their annual ALL STARS event at Turner Hall Ballroom on Thursday May 18.

Throughout the season, community members have come together to listen to true, personal stories and contribute their own, some via UltraShorts, which are written on slips of paper and read by the event emcee, and some told onstage in 5 minutes without notes.

All the stories are related to the evening’s theme. For example, “Hidden” at the Milwaukee Public Museum in October or “Only in Milwaukee” at 3041 North in April. At the end of each event, attendees vote and select an Audience Favorite, who then goes on to tell a longer story at ALL STARS.

This year, the Audience Favorites were Jennifer Hoepner, Jody Hirsh, Sandy Brusin, Tom Matthews, Heather Swanson, Joel Dresang, and Peter May; they’ll be crafting new stories on the theme “Unfinished Business.”

ALL STARS attendees can expect to hear a wide variety of “Unfinished Business” stories over the course of the evening. “This theme reminds me of projects I’ve started, things I wish I would have said, and even dreams set to the side, hopefully to be revisited later. Maybe someone will even resolve their unfinished business at the event itself,” said Executive Director Megan McGee.

“This theme is fitting for Ex Fabula, as we have a lot of unfinished business of our own. We want everyone to have the experience of being heard, so we spend a lot of time asking people to share and helping them identify and structure stories. Sometimes I joke that my job is to personally invite everyone in the region, which will only take a few hundred years if I talk to 10 people each day.”

“Obviously, I can’t do that on my own. But fortunately we’re currently preparing to expand our capacity in response to increasing requests for collaboration. We brought on a Public Ally this past September, and in July we’ll be hiring a full time Event Producer. We also have some really fantastic volunteers working at events and serving on committees and on our Board of Directors. Without their time and talents, I’d have way more ‘unfinished business’ on my plate! So I can’t wait to celebrate this great season with everyone at ALL STARS.”

© Photo

Artemio Montes