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Storytelling Live welcomes Bill Lepp

Storyteller Bil Lepp, an award-winning tall tale spinner and humorist who recently appeared on Comedy Central, will be the first performer in the Storytelling Live! series, a six-month program that will bring more than two dozen master storytellers to Jonesborough in 2014.
During his weeklong residency, Lepp plans to debut at least five new tall tales. While his intricately crafted stories are celebrated for their flights of fancy, many of Lepp’s tales are actually rooted in mundane experience. “I wrote a story last year about being on an airplane, and it turns out that the plane has a flat tire,” he says.
“Up to a point, the story’s true. I was flying back from New York City to Atlanta and the pilot came on and said there was some debris on the runway, and we might have a blown tire. He said not to worry about it; the reason planes have lots of tires is so that if one blows, there are still plenty others.
“But then the flight attendant came back to my seat — I was in the emergency row. She leaned in and said, ‘Before we took off, you acknowledged that you would be willing to help in the event of an emergency.’ And I said, yeah, I did say that. And she said, ‘Were you serious?’ So I was telling somebody that, and they said, Well, why didn’t you just call AAA or go out and change the tire yourself?’ And as soon as they said that, I realized that I had the basis for a story.”
Lepp’s residency will run May 6 – 10, Tuesday through Saturday, with daily performances at 2 p.m. in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall. Tickets for all matinees are just $12 for adults and $11 for seniors, students and children under 18. Season passes that offer a 44 percent savings are also available while supplies last.
A fan favorite of Jonesborough’s storytelling crowds, Lepp relishes the opportunity to have a week to experiment with new material and revisit old favorites. “A lot of people come to TIR who have never ever been to hear storytelling before,” he says, “so I want to make sure I give them a good introduction to storytelling.
But on the other hand, a lot of people are regulars who have been listening to lots of different storytellers for years, so they really know what to listen for and how to listen.”
In addition to daily matinees, the storyteller will also host a special evening concert on Thursday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $15 and are expected to sell out quickly, so advance purchase is strongly recommended.
All ticket holders will save 10 percent on same-day dining at The Olde Courthouse Diner, The Dining Room, Jonesborough General Store and Eatery, or Main Street Café.
Information about all TIR performers, as well as a detailed schedule for 2014, is available at Storytelling Live! is supported by Presenting Sponsor CrestPoint Health, program sponsors Eastman Chemical Co. and Eastman Credit Union, and media sponsors News 5-WCYB, FOX Tri-Cities, Tri-Cities CW, Johnson City Press, Kingsport Times-News, Herald & Tribune and Cumulus Media.
The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
For more information about Storytelling Live! or to make a group reservation, call (800) 952-8392 ext. 222 or 913-1276.