True Stories 

Leah Keys isn't the first person to realize that everybody has a story to tell. She is, however, prepared to do something about it. On Friday, May 18th, at Crosstown Arts, Keys launches Spillit, a curated quarterly storytelling event featuring a few professional performers and a lot of ordinary people you've probably never heard of but with something unique to say.

"Spillit is true, unscripted storytelling told in front of a live audience," Keys explains, emphasizing that the stories are told and not read. "Every story lasts about 10 minutes. They come from the teller's own life and can be about coincidences, failures, successes, tragedies, heroes ... anything, really."

Spillit's first event is built around the theme "rites of passage" and collects a range of stories that touch on everything from spirituality to sexuality, mystery, and misadventure. Some are humorous, Keys says, while others are more hard-edged.

Spillit participant Kip Cole's story is inspired by the time when a package he shipped was deemed "suspicious" by the post office, resulting in chaos. Melissa Sweazy will hold forth on a slumber party gone terribly wrong. Josh Campbell's spiritual coming-of-age story will give the audience a sense of what it's like to speak in tongues. And well-known Memphis yarn-spinner Elaine Blanchard will report on events from married life in an RV park.

And that, Keys says, is just a taste of what's in store. "The response to this first event has just been incredible," she says.

Spillit at Crosstown Arts, Friday, May 18th. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; stories start at 8 p.m. $8. If you are interested in sharing a story at future Spillit events, send your pitch to

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