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Cyndi Freeman’s “Side Effects” at Story Collider

February 27th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Cyndi Freeman is a storyteller and burlesque performer here in New York, and she’s the person that got me into seeing burlesque shows. I didn’t really get it at first (beyond the obvious) but when I saw her side of it, I was sold.

Our friends Ben Lillie and Erin Barker run a spectacular science-themed storytelling show. podcast and online magazine called The Story Collider. A few weeks ago, they ran a version of Cyndi’s transformation into brassy burlesque performer after a breast cancer scare on their site.

The thing is, not only can you hear the story from the podcast, you can also see a great comic inspired by Cyndi’s story, drawn by Tammy Stellanova.

Here’s the audio of Cyndi’s story: The Story Collider: Side Effects

You can see the full version of the comic here, with a few samples below: Cyndi Freeman & Tammy Stellanova’s “Side Effects”

I would be remiss in my role as a relentless show pimp if I didn’t mention that Cyndi’s performing at And I Am Not Lying at Union Hall next Tuesday, March 6th and at SXSW on Saturday, March 10th in Palm Park from 11AM- 6PM.

Check out the sample comic pages below … one here, one after the jump.


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And I Am Not Lying LIVE at Union Hall on March 6th

February 24th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

March is gonna be nuts for us. We have all this stuff going on at South by Southwest, and our regular monthly show at Union Hall in the same fricking week.

The Union Hall show is on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012, 8PM. Tickets are ten dollars. We strongly recommend buying advance tickets, which you can get here:

Advance Tickets to And I Am Not Lying at Union Hall.

This month’s is going to be a doozy, friends – we’ve got:

  • Comedy from Wil Sylvince
  • Burlesque by Little Brooklyn and Cherry Pitz
  • Storytelling by Jeff Simmermon (me), Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman
  • and MAGIC by Albert Cadabra

I made this flyer for it, too – I thought it was cool, anyway. I’m really into that grindhouse-cinema look.

And I Am Not Lying Live at Union Hall 3.6.2012

How to buy Levitra online safely you can read at http://www.noc2healthcare.com/levitra-generic/.

As always, here is a fun trailer we made to promote the show:

And if you’re coming over from The Hairpin, you may want to check out this video of Cyndi at her tassel-twirling finest:

Hope we see you there!

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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:

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And I Am Not Lying LIVE will be Performing and Coaching at SXSW Interactive 2012

February 8th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon
SXSW Daytime Street Scene  - Credit: Brittany Ryan

SXSW Daytime Street Scene | Credit: Brittany Ryan

I’m pretty stoked to tell you this:

And I Am Not Lying is not only putting on a show but a whole tent of action and entertaining education at South by Southwest Interactive this year.

It’s coming together really, really fast and last-minute — not unlike most things at SXSW. Here’s what we do know:

We’re going to have a tent on Saturday, March 10th, from 11 AM to 6PM in Palm Park, right next to the convention center.

We’ll be offering an improv comedy workshop taught by musical improv comedy legend Eliza Skinner, of Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion and “Amy at the Club” fame.

We’ll also be offering a storytelling workshop taught by Cyndi Freeman and me (Jeff Simmermon). Cyndi’s an experienced storyteller here in NYC, and an instructor with The Moth’s MothSHOP outreach program, though she is not representing the Moth at this thing. As for me, I just do this a whole, whole lot — and teach story structure and writing in my day job at Time Warner Cable, too.

There’s also going to be a panel discussion about storytelling, from the burlesque backroom to the corporate boardroom with stage and radio in between. Panelists will include me, Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman as well as Seth Lind of TOLD! (one of the city’s best story shows), comedy improv troupe Thank You, Robot, and This American Life. Thaler Pekar, communications coach/organizational narrative expert will also join us on the panel.

We haven’t quite determined the precise timing and order of the workshops and panels. But I know this much – we’re taking a taco break from 2-4 while the Interactive keynotes happen.

And then, from 4-6 PM, we’re putting on a version of the And I Am Not Lying LIVE show featuring storytelling, comedy and sideshow from some of our spectacularly talented friends.

Just guess who three of the storytellers are. I dare you.If you guessed Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman, and Jeff Simmermon, then good for you.

Here’s the really cool thing: we’re next to a tent that gives out free beer. As I understand it right now, this is what SXSW calls a “networking tent”, whereby badgeholders get a couple of free drinks. That’s always where the most magic happens for me at SXSW anyway.

So look: at some point, all the Powerpoints and pointy-headed talks about memes are gonna get old. When they do, we’re outside in the shade and ready to entertain you. Come over, grab a couple cold ones and hang out with us. The whole tent is a polished-up and prettified presentation based around trash-talking with a purpose in the first place — and we’ve worked hard to get good at it.

As a matter of fact, it’s pretty much what we live for. Come hang out with us and you can tell your boss that you went to a few work-appropriate panels if you want.

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And I Am Not Lying – Live: We’ve Got a Residency at Union Hall, First Tuesday of Each Month

January 22nd, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

We’ve been real sometimes-y about these And I Am Not Lying live shows over the past year – a show here and a show there, spattered around Brooklyn and lower Manhattan and DC and Philadelphia in a series of one-offs that are always exciting, but hardly consistent. Considering that the show’s based on a blog that is updated really infrequently, that kinda made sense.

Thanks to a lot of awesome help from Creaghead and Co., that’s about to change.

Starting February 7th, we’ll be cock-rocking the NPR crowd with the And I Am Not Lying live show at Union Hall on the first Tuesday of every month. Doors are at 8, show’s at 8:30 and tickets ain’t but ten tiny dollars for the finest comedy, storytelling, burlesque sideshow you’re going to get anywhere.

Be honest with yourself: stuff like this is part of the reason you moved here. It’s worth a headache at work on Wednesday.

You can buy tickets here if you’re into that already.

We pulled together this cool trailer about it, too. It may be NSFW, depending on your job:

I wanted to start this show for a very, very good reason. I’m doing this thing so that I don’t go completely numb, and I’m trying to bring as many people back to life as I can right along with us.

I spend a lot of time hunched over a glowing rectangle starting and mediating petty squabbles about nothing, breathing shallowly through my mouth and reading tweets about television. I’ve been doing it for years. When I’m not getting paid to do it I sit around my apartment in my underpants and do it for free, apparently.

Everyone does.

Sometimes I think we’re all using computers to row this numbing boat towards a black wall of depressing distraction. I want to do my part to get as many people into one room and feeling something great together for a little while. And maybe if we get together often enough and pool our collective energies into something funny and weird, we can live a little outside of our bottomless pockets filled with lotus petals.

The entire purpose of life is to get as excited as possible. I’m so, so excited to have a reason to hose the town down with excitement once a month. So it’s like a Mobius strip of recursive excitement for me.

Sometimes storytelling shows can get a little sweater-vesty, comedy shows can be too bitter and detached, and burlesque too much, all in a go. This way we can cross-pollinate the best of the best and no matter what, if you’re not into what you’re seeing you can see something else really soon.

I want this thing to be a rock show without instruments, to just cram an entire aircraft carrier’s worth of fun into the basement of Union Hall. So far, we’ve been doing pretty okay on that front, I think.

D.Billy and I collaborated on this cool poster (I think it’s cool, anyway) to announce the residency:

And I Am Not Lying Live - Residency Poster, 2012

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My show HOTSY TOTSY BURLESQUE is back, starting this week!

December 25th, 2011 by Cyndi Freeman

My show HOTSY TOTSY BURLESQUE is finally back and I could not be happier. I have been running around doing all sorts of things this year, like my solo show and loads of story telling. But what I missed most was dancing naked on stage (or at least semi-nude, there are laws about such things). I also missed the world that Hotsy Totsy is part of. If you could imagine the Muppet show, but instead of puppets you have funny hot naked girls, you are almost there…Hotsy Totsy takes place at “The Home For Wayward Girls and Fallen Women”

It’s an all-girls hotel that has gone through many owners. It was originally incorporated by a religious order called “The Righteous Order Of Frustrated Spinsters With Too Many Cats” and envisioned as a reformatory residence for girls gone bad. Levitra 20 mg tablets I discovered at http://www.bantuhealth.org/levitra-generic-buy/. I have strong erection with Levitra (Vardenafil).

See, the spinsters believed that if you took a girl away from her nefarious environment and surrounded her with cats, she would no longer crave illicit temptation as there would be so many warm friendly pussies to snuggle up with.

I will hosting this week’s show & the cast is:  Jenny C’est QuoiGal Friday, Calamity Chang, Go Go Harder and more!

Hotsy Totsy is is part of the Burlesque Blitz: A week of burlesque at the Horse Trade Theater Company in NYC. We will be performing at The Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Ave (Between 2nd & 3rd Ave) NYC – Dec. 28th – 8pm – for tickets and info go to - http://horsetrade.info

And we have a new sponsor: Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, who will be supplying awesome swag and drink specials!

Filed under Burlesque, Comedy, Cyndi Freeman, Manhattan, New York City, Uncategorized having Comments Off

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Hot Chicks and Human Heads: Welcome to Nagaland

December 8th, 2011 by Cyndi Freeman

In 1944, right in the thick of WWII, my cousin Jimmy’s plane went down while flying from India to China. Everyone else in the crew died but him. He was rescued by a tribe of folks called the Naga and lived with them for 3 months. Today Nagaland is an eco-tourist hotspot, but in 1944 the locals were head hunters and and Jimmy was carried into a village that was surrounded by dismembered heads on spikes.

Despite the fierceness of their culture, they were quite kind to him. According to Wikipedia, the people of Nagaland were known for their hospitality to strangers. My cousin did not know this at the time, but head trophies were taken only during battle and since he was not waging a war with them, he was safe. He was treated as a friend in need. In fact they liked him so much they tried to find him a wife.

You can hear my story at our live show AND I AM NOT LYING LIVE this Saturday. But in the meantime here are some images and links to video. Look now or come back and learn more after hearing me tell this truly amazing family story!

Want to buy this? This photo is from a tribal art site and is selling Naga human skull trophy arts.

I think it looked like this kid before it was “harvested”:

Jimmy claimed the girls were constantly dancing for him and that the chief encouraged him to enjoy his wife. But Jimmy “…had a girl waiting for me in New Jersey! Besides what if I got someone jealous? Someone like the chief? Next thing I’d have my head on a spike! Nope, I was having none of that!”

I’m not sure I believe him – here is Youtube video of a present day Naga girl showing off her shimmy.

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Never Let Your IQ Get In the Way Of A Good Time: And I Am Not Lying is Live At Union Hall on December 10th

November 30th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

Man. I can’t believe it’s showtime again already. But me, Brad Lawrence and Cyndi Freeman are bringing our live show back to Union Hall in Brooklyn on December 10th at 8PM. And it don’t cost but ten bucks, people.

People keep asking me, “so, what’s this show about? What’s your hook?” And man, I have no idea. I used to think it was a live version of this blog. But now this blog is turning to a blog version of the live show. All I can say is that it reflects a huge lesson I learned sometime in college:

Never let your IQ get in the way of a good time.

Basically, we’re cock-rocking the NPR crowd with burlesque, storytelling, comedy and sideshow acts. Sound fun? It better. If that’s not high-quality Saturday night entertainment for you, I don’t want to know what is.

I’d strongly recommend getting advance tickets, which you can do right here: And I Am Not Lying Live at Union Hall on 12/10/2011 — $10

If you’re really into the Facebook thing, you can click here to see the invite and RSVP. That doesn’t actually help anything, but it massages my starving ego.

Here’s a poster, lineup published for Google SEO trickery after the jump:

And I Am Not Lying at Union Hall, 12.10.2011

The show features …

Storytelling from

Jeff Simmermon (storyteller featured on The Moth Podcast and This American Life)
Cyndi Freeman (Wonder Woman: A How-To Guide for Little Jewish Girls)
Brad Lawrence (The Moth GrandSLAM champ)

Comedy by
Michael Che

Burlesque by

Fem Appeal,
RunAround Sue & Cyndi Freeman

and a VERY special appearance by
Mat Fraser & Julie Atlas Muz

Hope you can make it out.

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Followup to DC, Philadelphia Shows: The Meat Rots Fast Off A Big, Fat Kill

November 8th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

Man, am I beat. In case you hadn’t noticed, we had two shows outside New York City last week. I’ve been consumed with them for months, and we’ve all been super excited. And that excitement pretty much paid off, too.

The bus ride down to Washington from New York was pretty uneventful. The cab ride to Eric and Sarah’s (our hosts for the evening) was another story. That was when I found out that we’d sold out the Black Cat.

It’s really, really difficult to articulate what that felt like. Everything got brighter, sharper. Sounds had more clarity, and all the hairs in my nostrils stuck out straight. I think my metabolism tripled. We all had a belt of bourbon before going down to the club, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that it burned up before it got all the way through the esophagus.

I’d been getting a cold, and my body did this incredibly strange thing. First, it fast-forwarded through the generative stage of the cold, stuff running out of my head like a child had salted a slug’s nest in my brain.

Then when we got to the club and literally had to walk through a small crowd of total strangers to see this sign on the door, everything just stopped completely:

photo.JPG

The cold dried up. My body paused it completely, put the whole thing on layaway.
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And I Am Not Lying: Storytelling, Comedy and Burlesque at L’etage in Philadelphia

November 5th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

So it’s the night before our And I Am Not Lying – Live show in Philadelphia, and I’m antsy. We’re bringing this storytelling, comedy and burlesque gig to L’etage tomorrow night and I’m really hoping that folks turn out.

Here’s a little flyer:

L'EtageUPDATE

Here are the details:

  • Show’s at L’etage, (6th St and Bainbridge St.)
  • Doors at 7:30, show starts at 8PM prompt.
  • It’s $12 at the door.

You’ll see:

Brad, Cyndi, ****** and I all met as regulars at story slams with The Moth in New York. Brad and ****** have won their share of Grand Slams, and Brad, ****** and I have all appeared on the Moth’s podcast. I was on This American Life a while back, and was featured on The Moth’s Radio Hour recently, too. Cyndi’s an accomplished storyteller fresh off her show “Wonder Woman: A How-To Guide for Little Jewish Girls.”

And just last week, we added Philadelphia comedian Doogie Horner to the bill, too.

I’m pretty stoked to meet him – the guy is really funny! In addition to performing on America’s Got Talent (I know), he’s a graphic designer by day — and actually designed the cover to “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Philadelphia Magazine called him the “Most Hilarious Guy in Philly,” and they may be right:

Hope you can make it.

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