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And I Am Not Lying Live at The Black Cat on December 9th with Special Guest Go-Go Harder

November 15th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

**UPDATE** We have added comedian Paul Oddo to this show. Paul recently won the Boston Comedy Festival, and we’re stoked to have him!**

Man, Brad, Cyndi and I love doing shows in Washington, D.C. We get to see old friends, the Black Cat treats us incredibly well (you can tell it’s run by musicians) and the people seem to be pretty into it.

We’re coming back to the Black Cat in DC on Sunday, December 9th at 8PM. This time we’re going to be in the big upstairs room, too – which is pretty much an actual dream come true for me. Rather than sell out the small room downstairs and add a second show, we figured we’d do it all at once up there.

Here’s a poster I made for the thing, inspired by one I saw for “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”:

And I Am Not Lying at The Black Cat, 12.9.2012

As always, the show will feature storytelling by me (Jeff Simmermon), Brad Lawrence and Cyndi Freeman – who will also be doing a few burlesque acts. We’re really, really excited to have New York’s boylesque superstar Go-Go Harder join us onstage that night, too.

“What’s ‘boylesque?’” you may ask, followed by “Who the hell is ‘Go-Go Harder?’”

WELL. Among other things, he’s one of NYC’s first, foremost and finest male burlesque performers – and one of the subjects of this article on the boylesque phenomenon in the New York Times.

Here’s a quote from the piece that I loved:

… “Audiences go crazy for glittered nipples,” he told them. “The hipsters can’t handle it.”

This is not a night at Chippendales, and, according to Mr. Harder, that is a good thing. “Boylesque celebrates a large range of bodies with different sizes and shapes,” he said. “This idea of seeing nontraditional masculine men onstage is very new, and I feel boylesque is changing that for the better.”

We’ll also be joined by comedian Paul Oddo, who recently won the 2012 Boston Comedy Festival.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door – get ‘em here: Tickets for And I Am Not Lying at the Black Cat on December 9th. The room is going to be mixed seating and standing, with roughly a hundred chairs on the floor, and the rest standing room only. If you need a seat, you may want to plan to get there early.

If you want to check out a trailer and put it on your blog or something, you can do that here:

And, if you happen to be working for a media outlet and want to write about this, you can find our electronic press kit here: And I Am Not Lying EPK

Hope we see you at the show!

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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 …

Read the rest of this entry »

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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

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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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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Storytelling Validated in the Times: A Guide to Shows and Open Mics in New York City

April 4th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

Street View from 768 Delancey

The New York Times gave me a tiny shout-out this evening in a piece about the storytelling scene in New York City. I am referred to as “imposing,” which is confusing, but I’ll take it as a compliment. I strongly encourage that you run right out and read the whole thing. Cyndi Freeman gets a mention in there, too, as well as a bunch of other folks that I am honored to consider peers. The mighty Adam Wade gets some serious ink, too.

Here’s an excerpt that I think is the core of the piece, referring to my friend Ophira Eisenberg:

She explores the taboo, but without the persistent relief provided by consistent punch lines. In doing that, she shows how a story can use humor but not be shackled to it, how it can be emotional without pandering, and how difficult ideas can be articulated entertainingly.
What she demonstrates is that storytelling can give a certain kind of comedy a chance to grow.

Storytelling has grown a lot beyond regular Moth slams. The Moth was the Big Bang that coalesced into the sun for this whole thing, but now a bunch of other planets are cooling and growing their own life forms. The following is a list of storytelling shows that I’d recommend checking out in the city. I’ve been in most of these, and am friends with folks that run all of them.

A lot of these shows don’t have a lot in the way of a Web presence. I hate linking to Facebook pages, but that’s the world we live in — crafting stories and running shows takes a lot of energy, and so does running a website. At this point in my life I’d rather have “writer/performer” etched on my tombstone than “blogger”. Anyway, here they go:

Liar Show
Real Characters
Told!
BTK Band
Nights of Our Lives
The Story Collider
Ask Me
How I Learned
The Soundtrack Series
Adam Wade has a BUNCH:

I can also see how Moth story slams would be intimidating to people that are new to this. They’re huge, with lines around the block and they sell out pretty much every time. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll even get picked. And if you do get picked, you’re pretty much screwed out of a decent score unless you get picked fifth through tenth. By the fifth storyteller the booze kicks in, scores start to loosen up and judges figure out what the hell they’re even doing.

Frankly, these things should be a little intimidating to first-time performers. Anyone who just thinks “what the hell, I’ll just jump on stage for the first time in front of 400 people and be awesome like I always am, every day of my life” is missing a critical component to their personality and is likely going to embarrass everyone in the room except themselves. I’ve seen this happen. A lot.

You should get on stage and do it anyway, but a little fear is a good thing. It means you’re taking it seriously.

None of the following open mics were around when I started going to the Moth. If they had been, I’d have definitely tried my stories out at these first. I’m not saying that there’s a right or wrong way to do any of this stuff. Any door you find is one you can walk through.

But if you happen to want to workshop a story yourself or test it out in a lower-stakes environment — hell, sometimes the crowd is barely even paying attention — you could do a lot worse than to check these out. In order to win a fight you’ve got to spend a lot of time doing pushups and hitting the bag to get ready for five intense minutes. It’s the same principle here.

The following places are where I go to practice:

Phoning it In – Lukas Kaiser runs this open mic Monday-Thursday in somebody else’s apartment in Tribeca. It’s a warm room, supportive, and sometimes a woman walks straight through with a baby in a stroller and disappears in the back.

Kambri Crews’ “What’s Your Story” held monthly at Luca Lounge. You pretty much have to find this on Facebook or go to Luca Lounge and check it out first.

I Like You, Maude

Oh, Hey Guys at UCB East

Like anything else, there’s an etiquette. If you’re brand new to any of this, I’d recommend showing up and checking a show out first, then introducing yourself afterwards. Get to know folks, connect online. Pretty soon the whole thing will blossom and you’ll be tired of all the emails, updates, and Facebook events. And eventually, your brain will hurt from all of it and you’ll have nightmares abut your own show.

Congratulations: you’ve arrived.

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