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“Hooray For You,” Wise Words From “Paris is Burning”

December 4th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

My friend Barry Bless sent me this video from the end of “Paris is Burning,” and I just can’t stop watching it. It hits me really deeply as an artist and performer — I hope I have the wisdom to accept what Dorian Corey is saying here one day, but I don’t think I’m there yet:

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And I Am Not Lying’s Triumphant Return to NYC – 9pm At Under Saint Marks Theater

September 28th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Hey, folks – I screwed up an earlier version of this post and flyer, and posted the wrong time. The show is definitely at 9 PM on Wednesday, October 3rd.

And I Am Not Lying had a monthly run at Union Hall in Brooklyn starting at the beginning of the year, and it was going pretty well. We put on a stadium-sized show down there in the basement, and the audience got a LOT of show for their ten bucks.

One of the things we pride ourselves on is putting on a show full of surprises, so you never quite know what’s going to happen — or what just happened. I want people to walk out of there thinking “holy crap, I don’t even know what I just saw, but I can’t wait to see it again.”

Maybe like a David Sedaris reading crossed with a KISS concert. In that spirit, we booked a grand finale from dear friends and burlesque legends Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz for our May show. And they brought some seriously strange heat from another dimension with an act that was wild, rude, daring, dirty and sweet all at once.

Maybe like a John Waters movie screened at a Flaming Lips concert.

But the act was really, really intense, really, really wild, and there was maybe a lot more frontal nudity in it than Union Hall’s owners would prefer. I can’t imagine that it tickled anybody’s prurient interest – strangers were hugging each other and screaming with laughter, jumping up and just running around the room and yelling in general. I’ve never seen a crowd do that before in my life. I felt like Mat and Julie took us all to a gutter on a higher plane of existence.

But rules are rules, and we got asked to leave. A lot of bars have to protect their liquor licenses, and that’s just the way the world works. I’m not going to lie to you: it hurt, really bad. It stung all summer. We took the time off, did a bunch of shows out of town, and geared up for …

… A triumphant comeback, at a new venue, where the only rule is: ABSOLUTELY NO GLITTER.

We’re BEYOND stoked to announce our triumphant return to NYC in our new monthly residency at Under Saint Marks’ Theater! We’ll be bringing the best storytelling, comedy, burlesque and sideshow on the first Wednesday of every month at 9PM!

And, at the request of Under Saint Marks’ theater, we’re going to be kicking off our residency with a special visit from Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz, performing the act that got us BANNED IN PARK SLOPE!

For tickets, go here: http://www.tinyurl.com/notlying-10-1

To find the theater, click here: http://goo.gl/maps/d7IXg

This month we’re starting off in fine style with:

Comedy by:
Jermaine Fowler
Burlesque by:
Fem Appeal
Cherry Pitz

Storytelling by:
Peter Aguero
Brad Lawrence
Cyndi Freeman

Unfortunately, I can’t make this show — but I’ll be back in November, and I hope you guys are, too. Let me know how it goes – it should be pretty bananas.

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Recap: And I Am Not Lying at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA

September 16th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

The Crack-Up

We did a show at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA last week – sponsored by WBUR, Boston’s NPR station. They even recorded me and pulled together a cool little plug on the radio for it – you can hear that here: And I Am Not Lying: Live, Raw Storytelling.

We were joined by the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, a bunch of folks who play the typewriter musically a hell of a lot better than I did it when I was dabbling in the genre.

The show sold out, which was a hell of a kick – there’s nothing like busting your hump for a month and seeing it pay off.

I’m booking all our stuff out of town now and arranging all the press, too. It’s always a hurricane of phone calls, emails and text messages, last-minute changes and just … STUFF. I’ve never once had a show where there wasn’t a surprise, a change, a sudden boulder of bullshit falling at the last minute like a turd-studded iceberg of waste from a crack in a passing jetliner. At this point, I get a little nervous when it doesn’t happen.

And getting people in the door is my primary source of stress. I’m trying to get to where I don’t take empty seats personally, but it’s a long, slow journey.

We’re not at the point where we can count on a sold-out show, or really any kind of turnout at all. People don’t know the name of the show yet, and I ain’t exactly a draw on my name alone. This isn’t like music, where people bring friends to see a band based on the genre.

You can say “hey man, there’s a really sweet reggae band playing tonight, let’s check ‘em out,” and you’ll get some good walk-in. With comedy, you can say to your friends “hey, this venue that regularly books comedians is having some comedians perform tonight. Let’s go have some laughs,” and you might get some decent walk-ins.

We have no established genre. The best thing someone can say to sell us is “hey, this guy that was on This American Life three years ago is going to say a lot of SAT words and also a lot of cuss words, and it may be really funny but it may also be kind of depressing. Also, they might have some people do burlesque performances in addition to other storytellers who also have a lot of feelings they would like to share.”

You’re not going to hear Conan O’Brien say “We’ve got a very charming and thought-provoking storyteller on the show tonight” anytime soon. People that aren’t into The Moth or This American Life think that storytelling is either standup comedy or some dude in a bowtie and a seersucker suit at a folk festival talking about growing up on the farm.

So when I see a line stretching out through the door of the club, through the restaurant and out the front door, curving around the block and around the corner I just want to jump up on top of the bar and spike a football. I always try to walk along the whole line and just drink it all in.

All these people made tonight their date night, their going-out night, and they did it because they wanted to be THERE, with us, seeing something a little new and weird. I wanna kiss every last one of them, at least until they start fooling with their phones.

The first half of the show was a dream. I’ve been busting ass on actual joke-writing to build a standup set ever since a tragic crash-and-burn a month or so back. And to deploy those jokes on a roomful of cheering, happy people – it was like riding a gold-plated surfboard down a sunbeam. Everything was cruising like a dream during the first half, every performer killing and the Boston Typewriter Orchestra rocking it …

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WBUR Presents: And I Am Not Lying Live in Boston, Sept. 13th @ The Middle East

September 5th, 2012 by Cyndi Freeman

We are coming to Boston next week with the help of WBUR!
This is my hometown and it is great to be coming back with such an amazing line-up of folks. Arts critic Bill Marx has just interviewed me about the show and my many years performing in Bean-town, you can read that right here: http://artsfuse.org.

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And I Am Not Lying: Live in Philly on August 4th

June 29th, 2012 by D.Billy

It’s time once again to take the And I Am Not Lying show out of town – we’re going to be cock-rocking the NPR crowd at Underground Arts in Philadelphia on Saturday, August 4th at 8PM.

Tickets are $10, available here: And I Am Not Lying at Underground Arts

We’ll be featuring storytelling from:

Jeff Simmermon
Cyndi Freeman
Juliet Hope Wayne
(a great profile on her here!)

Comedy by Andy Ross

Burlesque from Cherry Pitz and Legs Malone

And sideshow acts from Jelly Boy the Clown.

Here’s a poster:

Get pumped, Philly! We sure are!

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Wonder Woman Ties Up the Cheetah at And I Am Not Lying Live

June 13th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Well, I’m tickled to all hell right now. We’re bringing the And I Am Not Lying live show to the Black Cat in DC on Thursday, June 14th, and I’m told that we’ve sold out the 8PM show. We’re adding a late show that night, with doors at 10PM. You can see more info on the Black Cat’s site here and get advance tickets here: And I Am Not Lying at the Black Cat, 10 PM show.

This is a photo from a show that we did last year at L’Etage in Philadelphia, just to give you folks at home a taste:

Runaround Sue, Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman 3 (by Ryan Collerd)

This is Wonder Woman apprehending the Cheetah while Steve Trevor looks on with a stupefied, dreamlike amazement. I’ve never seen someone be more hesitant about their rescue in all my life. Cyndi Freeman/Cherry Pitz is Wonder Woman, Runaround Sue is the Cheetah, and Brad Lawrence is Steve Trevor. Photo is by the genuine, warm and spectacular Ryan Collerd.

As it turns out, we’ll be coming back to Philadelphia on August 4th, too. So keep watching the skies, people – we hope to see you really soon.

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And I Am Not Lying at the Black Cat, Washington DC, June 14th

June 1st, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

**UPDATE**
The 8PM And I Am Not Lying Live show at the Black Cat is now sold out. We have added another show that night – also at the Red Room at the Black Cat. Doors are at 10PM, tickets are still $12. You can get tickets for the 10 PM show here.
**/END UPDATE/**

We brought the And I Am Not Lying live show to the Black Cat in Washington, DC last year. And I don’t mind telling you that it was a lifetime highlight. The show sold out and everyone killed. I could have gotten shot by snipers on the way out of the club and not felt a damn thing.

So it thrills me to tell all you people that our sputtering cargo plane is going to crash back into the Black Cat’s mountain and spray the whole ZIP code with fuel. We’re bringing the planet’s first best and only comedy storytelling burlesque sideshow back to the Red Room on Thursday, June 14th!

You can get advance tickets to the 10PM show here: And I Am Not Lying at the Black Cat

Here’s a flyer and a cool trailer, text info on performers after the jump:

And I Am Not Lying - Live at the Black Cat

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And I Am Not Lying Live at R Bar on June 5th

May 31st, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Man, this really snuck up on me. We’re bringing the And I Am Not Lying – LIVE show to R Bar on Bowery in Manhattan on Tuesday, June 5th.

You can get advance tickets here. Show’s at 8PM, $10, same as ever. Here’s a fun flyer:

And I Am Not Lying at R Bar 6.5.2012

Like the flyer says, we’re featuring:

Comedy by Greg Barris
Burlesque by Cherry Pitz, Peter Aguero, Amelia Bareparts

Storytelling by Jeff Simmermon, Cyndi Freeman, Brad Lawrence, Peter Aguero

Hope you can make it.

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And I Am Not Lying at Union Hall on 5/1: With Mat Fraser, Julie Atlas Muz, and Hari Kondabolu

April 18th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

The last few weeks have been a blur of shows for me, Brad and Cyndi. All this performing is like training for a fight: you hit that bag hard for a month so you can bring it HARD when the bell rings for real.

All this is to say that it’s time once again to leave a pair of smoking rubber tracks on stage at Union Hall with the And I Am Not Lying LIVE show, cock-rocking the NPR crowd with the best comedy, storytelling and burlesque in NYC.

If that tiny bit of promo copy that I half-assed during a conference call was enough to make you want to get tickets already, you can do that here: And I Am Not Lying LIVE at Union Hall on May 1.

Here’s a poster, more on the performers after the jump:

And I Am Not Lying at Union Hall, 5.1.2012

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A Crash Course In ‘And I Am Not Lying, Live’

April 5th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

If you’re coming here via Jason Zinoman’s piece “Telling Tales With a Tear and a Smile” in this morning’s New York Times, stick around.

If you’re reading this as a long-time follower of this blog, none of this material is going to be new to you. I’m re-flogging some older stuff, so maybe this is a good time to push away from the computer and go enjoy a nice spring day outside.

I want to shamelessly take full advantage of the mention to show off what the And I Am Not Lying show is all about here. Because frankly, not only am I proud of the work that we do and thrilled to see the storytelling world getting a little credit … I want to put asses in seats on the first Tuesday of every month at Union Hall.

Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman and I put on a monthly show featuring storytelling, comedy, burlesque and sideshow — and I want to share some of the stories that we’ve done there. We’ve only had a residency there since February, so we’re still building up some steam. But all of us do a TON of other shows around town, too.

Consider this a primer, dive deeper if you want. Today is functionally a Friday anyway, so go ahead and watch all of these at work.

Al Sharpton vs. Royal Quiet Deluxe, Chicken Band

These are two stories by Brad Lawrence:

Gift From A Chimp In Saint Louis

Sometimes Cyndi ties her burlesque acts to her stories, and the end result is bigger than either piece seperately. So here’s a story by Cyndi Freeman, with a pretty direct tie into the burlesque act immediately following:

Here’s the aforementioned burlesque act from our show, featuring Cyndi Freeman, Brad Lawrence and Apathy Angel:

We have comedy guests, storytellers, and sideshow performers, too – including a bullwhip/lasso expert and a sword swallower.

You can follow us here, on Twitter @andiamnotlying or on our Facebook page. And I hope we see you soon.

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