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Schedule of Events for And I Am Not Lying Tent at SXSW

February 22nd, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

party park

Originally uploaded by greggrestonva

Via Flickr:

UPDATE – 3.9.2012

The tent at Palm Park is flooded out – there’s a whole ecosystem in there underneath the folding chairs. We are moving ALL of the And I Am Not Lying events scheduled for March 10th at SXSW to the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Austin – just a few blocks from Palm Park and the convention center. The hotel is at 500 North IH-35/Frontage Road, Austin, TX. Here’s a map.

Our stuff is now going to be on the 18th floor of the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Austin in the Colorado and Red River rooms. The content and times will stay exactly the same.

Last week (I think) I may have mentioned that we’re putting on a whole tentload of activities at South By Southwest Interactive this year. If I am completely honest, it’s all I can do not to tear my shirt off and swing through the streets of New York screaming about this like a somewhat flabbier Tarzan.

We’ve finally gotten some stuff locked down with the tent and the order of events, and I just wanted to use this blog post to detail everything so you, me, and airbody else can hose down the Internet with this thing.

First of all: all of this takes place on March 10, 2012 in a tent in Palm Park, adjacent to the Austin Convention Center. Map here.

We’ve got a Tumblr blog set up especially for news about this which you can see here: And I Am Not Lying at SXSW. You can follow us on Twitter at @andiamnotlying and/or by using the hashtag #notlyingSXSW.

The And I Am Not Lying tent will be next to a tent sponsored by Miller. Miller will be giving badgeholders 2 free beers apiece. So there’s that to look forward to.

We’re going to be offering programming based around standup comedy, improv, and storytelling from 11 AM to 6PM, all day long. That programming is predicated around this one simple concept:

Stories are ancient and awesome, everyone loves to laugh, and Web conferences – even the best Web conference in the world – can get SO. FRICKING. BORING.

It’s not really the fault of the programmers. It’s just that … sitting there with a bunch of people while looking at a Powerpoint presentation is not that inherently exciting. Sitting around and pretending to be fascinated while someone guy in a blue dress shirt says “we’re going to leverage the API to drive traffic into out key niche markets, improving ROI and capture metrics” is exhausting. Doubly so when it comes from someone that works in marketing.

A lot of panelists are there to sell you something, to flog their book or promote their startup. We’re not. The only thing we’re trying to sell is our skill as storytellers and comics, and maybe get some better shows out of it in towns that we’d like to visit.

We’re going to sell that to you by being awesome at what it is we do: telling stories and making people laugh.

I know a lot of people come to Interactive for work, and are under some pressure to demonstrate what they learned and justify the expense. We think you learn more when you’re having fun – and honestly, what’s the better learning environment? The dim and stuffy conference room with flickering fluorescent lights, and a guy droning on about “leveraging the power of digital storytelling in a Web 2.0 environment” — or the people that do this on stages, in boardrooms and in burlesque bars 5-20 times a week? This stuff applies to pretty much any discipline, really.

Here’s a breakdown of what we’re offering, hour-by-hour. This is the copy I submitted to the folks at SXSW, anyway, but it’s not on the official schedule or the SXSW app yet, so you may have to write it down on your hand or something:

11AM – 12PM: PANEL DISCUSSION — “From Basement Burlesque to the Boardroom: What Makes Your Story Great and How Can You Make it Even Better?”

Storytelling is both the second-oldest art form and a hot “new” form of entertainment — thanks to This American Life, The Moth’s podcast and live shows, and tons of shows cropping up around the country, storytelling’s making a big comeback. It’s making a comeback in the boardroom, too. And if we are honest with ourselves, it’s just about to join “leverage” in the marketing d-bag’s haggard sack of buzzwords. “Leverage storytelling to activate your customers,” “learn story techniques,” — you’re going to hear a LOT of that at SXSW this year.

You know what you’re not going to hear anyone else talk about?

“What makes a great story?” or “How would I know a good story?”

Good stories are a little like good porn: you know ‘em when you see ‘em. But we’re going to peel that hood back together and examine what makes a story good — and how to amplify and condense that.

Join an interactive discussion with storytelling experts from across a wide range of disciplines – from NPR’s This American Life, NYC storytelling show producers and accomplished solo performers with The Moth, Story Collider, TOLD!, Real Characters, And I Am Not Lying and other shows, as well as an expert in organizational narrative – and hack through the marketing hype to find out what really makes a good story.

Panelists include

Cyndi Freeman – Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, Moth SHOP outreach instructor, Wonder Woman: A How-To Guide For Little Jewish Girls

Seth Lind – TOLD!, This American Life

Thaler Pekar – Smithsonian Institution, Stanford Social Innovation Review

Brad Lawrence – Moth Grand Slam champion, Moth Podcast, And I Am Not Lying

Jeff Simmermon – And I Am Not Lying (this blog, and the show with Brad and Cyndi), Time Warner Cable, This American Life contributor, Moth podcast


Learn to open yourself up to sudden, new possibilities – and seize the potential from everything that’s right in front of you. You’ll learn the rewarding art of creative play, how to surprise yourself and yank your inner comic out of the closet. In this workshop, you’ll learn how much fun it can be to say “yes” to everything, to stop being ashamed of your own ideas and to easily improvise a hilarious comic scene. Discover how letting go actually provides you with great control in seemingly crazy situations (applicable to daily life, guaranteed).

Coached by Eliza Skinner

Eliza Skinner is a producer, writer, performer, lover and fighter in Los Angeles. She has appeared on TBS’ Are we There Yet?, Showtime’s PopTudors, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, MTV’s Damage Control, and opposite Cheri Oteri in AMC’s LifeCoach. She has taught musical improv workshops all over the country with I Eat Pandas, and on her own. Eliza has also taught improv for BBC America, and on Bravo’s Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. Her solo show, Eliza Skinner is: SHAMELESS ran for over a year at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in NY and LA, and at the Comedy Central Stage in LA.


Everyone’s got at least one story in them – whether it’s a pitch, a plan, or a tale of love gone horrifically wrong. Join Cyndi Freeman (Moth outreach instructor, storyteller, burlesque performer) and Jeff Simmermon (host, producer of And I Am Not Lying, blogger at, award-winning storyteller) and hone your chops. Practice telling your story, identifying the change and heightening your stakes. You’ll learn how to identify stakes, own your mistakes, and create a compelling narrative.

Presenters/coaches are:

Jeff Simmermon – And I Am Not Lying, Time Warner Cable, This American Life contributor, Moth podcast

Cyndi Freeman- Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, Moth SHOP outreach instructor, Wonder Woman: A How-To Guide For Little Jewish Girls


Have you been dying to tell the world a story? Are you tired of keynotes talking at you and dying to have other people listen to YOU for a change? Here’s your chance! This is partly an optional follow-on from the storytelling workshop at 1PM, and part full-on open mic, this is a time for anyone to tell stories to friends, enemies, and complete strangers. Gentle critique is available and totally optional for anyone who wants to tighten their story and tell it better than ever.

Hosted/facilitated by:

Jeff Simmermon: The Moth, This American Life

Brad Lawrence: And I Am Not Lying, The Moth, Hotsy Totsy Burlesque

Cyndi Freeman: And I Am Not Lying, The Moth, Hotsy Totsy Burlesque


Play the Battle Hymn of the Republic on dual kazoos, read the best parts of your manifesto, flog your book or flip your unicycle: all you have to do is tweet, retweet and share information about the And I Am Not Lying tent at SXSWi. The 5 folks who reach the most people win 8 minutes of stage time to perform any old messed-up PG-13 stunt their heart desires.

Hosted by

Jeff Simmermon: And I Am Not Lying, The Moth, This American Life

Brad Lawrence: And I Am Not Lying (, The Moth, Hotsy Totsy Burlesque(


The folks from the And I Am Not Lying blog (yes, this one) are cock-rocking the NPR crowd in their new monthly residency in Brooklyn with the best underground comedy, storytelling, burlesque and sideshow acts. This whole thing is about getting together and getting EXCITED, turning the phones off and participating in something that’s temporal, raw, and real, cramming a whole aircraft carrier’s worth of fun into one tent that’s right next to the FREE BEER TENT. Talent will include storytellers, comedians and surprise drop-ins.

Confirmed Talent:

Jeff Simmermon: And I Am Not Lying, The Moth, This American Life

Brad Lawrence: And I Am Not Lying, The Moth, Hotsy Totsy Burlesque

Cyndi Freeman: And I Am Not Lying, The Moth, Hotsy Totsy Burlesque

Andy Ross: The Moth, Real Characters Stories, The Onion, MAD Magazine

Seth Lind: This American Life, Thank You, Robot, TOLD!

Eliza Skinner: UCB Theatre, Diamond Lion, Baby Wants Candy, Magic Bag

Cyndi Freeman- Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, Moth SHOP outreach instructor, Wonder Woman: A How-To Guide For Little Jewish Girls

Additional talent to be confirmed, announced via Twitter (@andiamnotlying/ #notlyingSXSW)/Tumblr.

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