Stories

Check out our collection of stories from past Naked Truth: Live performances. The stories are amazing and their topics run the gamut of the human experience, including first hand accounts of being kidnapped in South America, robbing a bank, and learning how to diffuse any argument instantly. These are some of the most talented storytellers around and they have all graced the Naked Truth stage.

Josh Healey

“How do you enjoy life when the world is burning?” asks Josh Healy. And honestly, it’s a good question, one we all have our own way of grappling with. For some, it’s by trying and make a difference, to put out those fires. For others, it’s by living honestly or to being kind. On the other hand, you could maybe just go to the water park.

This is a story about Josh and his cousin Miles. It’s about driving to a waterpark in the middle of a drought, about buying $7 bottles of California water in a place where you’re surrounded by California water, about how riding an 80 foot waterslide is like Ferguson Missouri. It’s smart, it’s touching, and it actually delivers on answering the question: exactly how do you enjoy life when the world is burning?

Josh Healey is an award-winning writer, performer, and creative activist. Fusing his distinct storytelling style with subversive humor and a fiery love for justice, Healey has been featured in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and is a regular performer on NPR’s Snap Judgment.


Marcus Byruck

For most of us, the term “memory loss” brings to mind Alzheimer’s or Dementia, or even a tired twist in some daytime drama peopled by impossibly handsome actors. Marcus Byruck’s memory loss is not caused by any of those culprits and it’s a fact of his daily life. His doctors are not exactly sure what caused it—and neither is Marcus—but that’s not really the point. Finding the cause, as he says, is a booby prize. Learning to live with it, learning to cope: that’s what matters most.

Marcus’s story is a truly fascinating look at what it’s like to struggle with a very unusual type of memory loss.  He describes how long his memories linger and how difficult it is to for him to reminisce and tell stories, how he has to memorize things that happened to him, like his past is a collection of poems he wants to remember. This unique talk ultimately inspires us to look at what it’s like to have to live only in the present.

Marcus Byruck recently emigrated from fifteen years of hard labor in Cambridge, Mass, and he and his wife Sara are happily back in the Bay area, and Mill Valley in particular.  He has long retired from a career as a pioneer years ago in the development and translation of computer languages. He writes a great deal of biographical stories for personal pleasure. He recently took the Naked Truth workshop at the library, but this is his first time telling a story in public.


Joyce Lee

Joyce Lee was going to Europe. That’s all she knew. She bought a ticket to Europe, stored her stuff in a friend’s garage, and started saving money for the trip. And it was all going well, for a while. But then there were money things, debts called in, debt not paid, and Joyce awoke one morning to realize she had a ticket to Germany in one hand and $40 in the other. Not that it changed the plan.

So how does a woman on her own survive in a foreign country on two Andrew Jacksons? By reciting poetry, of course.

Joyce’s story is about throwing caution to the wind and just plain going for it. It’s about meeting polylingual managers in coffee shops and choking down free bread and chocolate and having a stranger drop you off at a stranger’s house. It’s about not taking “no” for an answer.

Joyce Lee is an internationally known poet, educator and a frequent Storyteller on NPR Snap Judgment radio show. Joyce is an Oakland, California native who has performed at Yoshi’s of Oakland and San Francisco, Oakland’s Art & Soul Festival and Oakland’s first Annual Pride parade. She has also been featured at UC Berkeley’s Womyn of Color Conference and Lexus’ television show Versus & Flow. Her work is described as everything from heart wrenching and soul searching to just down-right hilarious and true.

 


Eve Pell

Eve met Sam on a bus, like they were two sophomores with learner’s permits. She liked him. But when Eve couldn’t quite get up the nerve to do anything about it, she called up her friend on the telephone, begged her to throw a party and to invite them both. And if that sounds like it happened in highschool, Eve understands. She agrees with you, in fact. Only, it didn’t. It happened when Eve was 67.

Sam was a widower and they took things slow. They saw a lot of movies at first, and it didn’t totally feel like a relationship. More like friends, out for an evening. But what started as a just a date at the movies became dinner and then dinner became a motel room in Carmel and before she knew it, Eve and Sam were getting married and throwing a joint party 150th birthday party and going on a honeymoon Sam wouldn’t call a honeymoon because he didn’t want it to end.

Eve had made mistakes in love before, it was just that this wasn’t one of those. Eve realized that she could have a relationship, a real one, and that it took her until she had an AARP card to realize that doesn’t bother her in the slightest.

Eve is an investigative reporter, Dipsea winner and grandmother, and the author of the nationally acclaimed memoir “We Used to Own the Bronx.” Her next book, tentatively titled “Love, Again,” is about people who find new romance in old age–as she did. It is scheduled for publication early next year.

 


Kari Kiernan

Kari Kiernan found her crush in the oddest of ways. It didn’t happen at a speed dating night, telling secrets to strangers over flat pilsner. She didn’t bump into him on the street like one of those happy accidents that seem to populate the first act of every rom com. They weren’t hooked up on a blind date or by a friend of a friend or lock eyes across a bar five minutes before closing time. It wasn’t like that at all.

Kari Kiernan found her crush on a job application.

And so begins what isn’t quite the greatest love story ever told. Kari gives us a tour of the things that happen when you fall in love with a man because he has really nice stationary: you make phone calls, you flirt, and you hear a word you probably don’t want to hear when you actually work up the nerve to ask him out.

Kari grew up in Mill Valley and used to spend a great deal of time in the Mill Valley Public Library. She is a writer storyteller whose work has appeared in Skirt! Magazine and The Morning News as well as onstage at Porchlight and Opium Magazine’s Literary Death Match.: Kari’s work appears both in print and onstage. She now lives in San Francisco where, possibly illegally, she has neither a bicycle nor a dog. You can check out her work at the delightfully named Cereal for Dinner Again.

 


Dhaya Lakshminarayanan

Dhaya Lakshminarayanan knows what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land. Nothing alien or galactic, of course. This isn’t a Robert Heinlin novel. But you’d likely agree that it’s hard to be more thoroughly out-of-place than being a Hindu Vegetarian in Alabama.

If you’ve traveled through the South, you might know that they’re not exactly famous for their meat-free cuisine. You’re not getting an arugula salad garnished with hazelnuts as much as you’re getting some potatoes blasted with mayonnaise. So when Dhaya’s family found themselves in Atlanta’s Chinatown and heard rumors of a free vegetarian buffet, they decided to check it out. What starts at a Waffle House and ends at “some dude’s house,” Dhaya’s story will show you how far people are willing to go for a proper home cooked meal.

Dhaya is a frequent storyteller on NPR’s “Snap Judgment”, a favorite performer at Sketchfest and has appeared on PBS’s KQED. You can keep up with her comings and goings at http://dhayacomedy.com/


Josh Healey

“This is a story about the first time I ever helped an 86-year old with her medication.”

That’s how Josh Healey’s story for our Missed Connections show begins. The 86-year old in question is his grandmother-in-law, Grandma Phillis, a woman who will take you to a Southern Baptist service in the morning, then argue liberal politics with you at lunch. And yes, she really is that lovely.

That said, this is hard story to tease without spoiling too much of it, but it’s funny, heartwarming, and truly one of our favorites thus far.

Josh Healy, Occupy activist, writer, community organizer, arts educator, and comedic powerhouse. A cultural activist, Josh has shared stages and picket lines with Amiri Baraka, Naomi Klein, and Flavor Flav — before the reality show.


Andrea Carla Michaels

Like most everyone you know, Andrea Michaels has people in her family she doesn’t really get along with all that well. While her grandfather instilled in her a love for storytelling, her mother instilled, well, different feelings altogether.

Hers is a story about dealing with a mother who you can’t quite deal with. It’s about how we navigate grief. It’s about how one simple phrase can change everything.

Andrea Michaels is a cruciverbalist who once wrote for “Designing Women,” a show famous for its unique brand of feminist comedy and as a showcase for preposterous shoulder-pads. She names things for a living as the owner and sole employee of the ACME naming company. She won a motorhome on Wheel of Fortune but does not live in a Walmart parking lot.

 


Matteson Perry

Alaska is a part of America but it’s apart from America. It’s a place where people go to hide from the whatever haunted them in the greater 48, where everyone has a rugged job, chopping trees or wrestling elk, where everyone, yes everyone, has a beard.

That’s barely hyperbole.

The thing is, there aren’t many women in Alaska. Matteson Perry found that out during his summer there. During his talk at during our Breaking the Rules night, he shares what it’s like to find the one attractive woman left in Alaska and what it’s like to be her non-sexual boyfriend.

Matteson Perry is a writer, performer, five-time Moth StorySlam winner and two-time Moth GrandSlam champion. His work has been featured on McSweeney’s, College Humor, and the Risk! storytelling podcast. For more information visit www.mattesonperry.com and follow him on twitter @mattesonperry.


Mosa Maxwell-Smith

Mosa Maxwell-Smith is a self-professed geek. So is her husband. They’ve geeked out self defense, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, on branded pizza cutters. Then, one day, they decided to geek out on sex.

First, it was books, albeit ones she didn’t feel that comfortable checking out from the library. Then, it was paraphernalia. And finally, Mosa found her own kinky subgenre she could surprise her husband with.

This is a story about learning to strip-tease and how, as always, the devil’s in the details.

Maxwell-Smith is writer, improviser and seasoned storyteller. She can be found spinning yarns onstage at Vent, Bawdy Storytelling, or, if you’re invited, in her living room. She also performs with the sketch comedy troupe “Group Hug.” Her writing can be found at http://www.boobjuice.wordpress.com