Discover the private creative lives of others. Each show, an all-star cast of improvisers welcomes one special guest to share art and insights. Their experiences inspired their work, now they inspire hilarious conversation and comedy. Join us for revealing stories, big laughs and grand adventures.



NICK VANDENBERG | Music | September 2016

Nick Vandenberg is a multi-instrumenalist/composer and video producer based in Chapel Hill, NC. His music has been heard on the Nickelodeon Network, national radio promotions and in films at the Sundance Film Festival and La Biennale di Venezia and has created videos for clients including, the City of Lawrence, MA, and Behance. 

SEAMUS KENNEY | music | OCTober 2016

Seamus Kenney is the founder of Durham’s Flash Chorus, a middle school music teacher, and the lead singer and songwriter of SNMNMNM, a band he toured the US extensively with from 2001 to 2007 and many of his songs, like “My Defense” and “Misfit Out of Time” can be found on Youtube, iTunes and Spotify.


Rapper, Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Promoter, Entrepreneur and Marine, “The Real Laww was born to entertain…” Winner of the 2013 Carolina Music Awards for Best Male Hip Hop Artist and 2012 Carolina Music Awards for Video of Year with “International Laww.” The Real Laww has been a force to be reckoned with in the NC Hip Hop scene.

TRAVIS SMITH | poetry | JANUARY 2017*

Travis Smith lives in Durham, North Carolina, and works as a bookseller. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Mississippi, his poems have appeared in Little Star, Crazyhorse, Redivider, and Parcel, among other journals. From 2011- 2015, he served as poetry editor of the online literary quarterly Wag’s Revue.
*Circumstances prevented Travis from making a rescheduled show. We read his poems anyway. They're great.

HARDWORKER | Music | February 2017

Hardworker combines the songwriting of Sus Long, Michael Conner’s funk and punk influences, Danny Nowell’s affinity for rock and classic country, Dave Berka’s jazz-drumming background, and Alex Treyz’s Gospel choir training. They're here to turn all your melancholia into rock n' roll.


The music of XOXOK is conceived on the fretboard, cradled in headphones, and cultivated at the microphone. Often armed with just an electric guitar, XOXOK delivers a combination of soulful, smooth, and soft tunes laced with unabashed emotion.


Chris Tonelli works in the Libraries at NC State and co-owns So & So Books in downtown Raleigh, where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their two kids, Miles and Vera. He is a founding editor of the independent poetry press, Birds, LLC, and he curates the So & So Series and edits So & So Magazine. In addition to The Trees Around, he is the author of five chapbooks.


Rachel Kiel is a songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. Drawing on a wide range of musical influences and genres, she writes pop, grunge, country, and rock songs that owe an equal debt to Sonic Youth and Fleetwood Mac. She is currently in the studio completing recording for her third album.

jack the radio | MUSIC | june 2017, March 2019

Formed in 2005 as a collaborative project between roommates, Jack the Radio is the brainchild of seasoned songwriters George Hage and A.C. Hill. The soulful blues stomp created by these garage twang rockers is a brilliant blend of styles smashed into one band. 

REAL DAD | MUSIC | July 2017

Real Dad makes sweet music!

breadfoot | MUSIC | August 2017

Breadfoot was spawn of the East River Delta. He digs his whiskey neat and his coffee black. He is a one-man band whose idiosyncratic take on life and wide range of influences from The Carter Family and The Sherman Brothers to Tom Waits and X, fuels his unique brand of Tin Pan Americana.

the birdhorse | MUSIC | october 2017

The Birdhorse is led by Kansas-born, North Carolina-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Toni Hartley and produced and co-performed by Bobby Funk. Birdhorse's music is like eavesdropping on the passionate and playful conversations of new lovers, from euphoric soul to contemplative folk. 

jeb brinkley | MUSIC | november 2017

Breadfoot was spawn of the East River Delta. He digs his whiskey neat and his coffee black. He is a one-man band whose idiosyncratic take on life and wide range of influences from The Carter Family and The Sherman Brothers to Tom Waits and X, fuels his unique brand of Tin Pan Americana.

crystal simone smith | poetry | december 2017

“Smith's poems settle into you, like all good poetry should.” -Leah Maines


Curtis Eller's American Circus draws on an abundance of influences from the first half of the 20th Century, combined with a modern perspective and a healthy dose of rock & roll energy. 

YANDREW | MUsic | February 2018

Formed in 2011, Yandrew is the combination of Andrew Anagnost and Yan Westerlund. Westerlund (drums for Bowerbirds, Canine Heart Sounds) and Anagnost (cello for Lost in the Trees, Auburn Kettlel) combine a number of influences, including classical and jazz, in their sound.

maureen sherbondy | poetry | march 2018

Maureen Sherbondy is a poet and fiction writer from Durham, NC. Her writing is eclectic. Sherbondy’s books range from fairy tale reinventions to divorce and other departures. She has published 9 poetry collections and one short story collection.

Gabriel David | MUsic | APRIL 2018

Gabriel David keeps his focus on good vibes, mixing pop songwriting with the soul of classic R&B and the energy of rock. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC, where you can find him either failing to do nothing or trying to do everything.

kristin clotfelter | dance | may 2018

Kristin Clotfelter is a freelance artist who is interested in exploring the complexities of the temporal human condition through the metaphysics of dance and performance.  

a.yoni jeffries | Music | june 2018

From ballads to reggae, A.yoni channels her creativity to write songs across musical genres. The elements of her identity — resilience, blackness, femininity, rebellion, and spirituality — are the foundation of her creativity.


CALAPSE is Reed Benjamin, an electronic music producer in Durham, NC. 


The Bipeds is a dance-theater company and rock & roll band under the artistic direction of dancer/choreographer Stacy Wolfson and banjo player/ songwriter Curtis Eller. In their pusuit of a collaborative ideal, Wolfson and Eller have seamlessly combine movement, music and lyrics to create a peculiar and compelling hybrid of dance and song.

NC COMICON: Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, Cliff Bumgardner & Greg Brunham | COMICS | November 2018

Writing partners Chris Sims & Chad Bowers credits include X-Men '92Deadpool: Bad BloodInfinity Wars: Sleep- walker and more for Marvel Comics. Cliff Bumgardner is the host of Internet Picnic and winner of the first-ever Millarworld Talent Search Competition in 2016. Greg Burnham is a children’s book author and co-creator/writer of Tuskegee Heirs.


Indiana songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joseph O'Connell has been making music for over 14 years under the moniker Elephant Micah. This folklorist by day, employs create Americana folk songs brimming with gentle guitar melodies, compelling vocals, and rural mythology.

Simone Finally| MUSIC | March 2019

Durham based Simone Finally plays lyrically-driven folk, exploring the relationship between foot-stomping, hand-clapping, harmonica wailing, and melodic guitar tunes.

Jade Brienne | AUTHOR | April 2019

Jade Brieanne is an author, producer, and self professed Black Nerd. She's written two books of speculative fiction, "The Halo of Amaris" and "A Third of the Moon and Stars Struck." Her Youtube series "Bankai and Chill" is a deep dive into her love of nerd culture.

TRAVIS SMITH | Poetry | April 2019

Return guest! Travis Smith is the author of Zodiac B, a chapbook in cards (Ninepin Press, 2016). His poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Little Star, Redivider, The Collagist, The Winter Anthology, and elsewhere. He lives in Chapel Hill,  North Carolina.

Monica Byrne | AUTHOR | May 2019

Monica Byrne is a Durham based writer of mostly science fiction, magical realism, and plays. Her debut novel, The Girl in the Road, was published in 2014. She’s performed original monologues twice at TED, hosted a technology series for ViceUK, and spoken across the country on futurism and science fiction.

CHRIS TONELLI | Poetry | May 2019

Return guest! Chris Tonelli works in the Libraries at NC State and co-owns So & So Books in downtown Raleigh, where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their two kids, Miles and Vera. He is the author of five chapbooks.

Mark Abercrombie | visual art | June 2019

Mark paints primarily with acrylics. He tries to stretch the boundaries for the capabilities of this medium. He likes to test methods of applying the paint. Anything goes, from syringe to squeegee

Cliff bumgardner | author | July 2019

Return guest! Cliff Bumgardner is a writer, filmmaker, podcaster, and professional creative weirdo. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with an old typewriter and way too many books.

Chessa Rich | MUSIC | JULY 2019

Chessa Rich is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist based in Durham, NC. Weaving asymmetrical rhythms on keyboard and guitar, she explore the cracks and spaces between moments and people with her moving vocals.

Omari Akil & Matt Everhart | GAME DESIGNERs | August 2019

Omari Akil creates games. He founded a company with the goal of increasing diversity and representation in the tabletop game industry. With co-creator Matt Everhart, his newest game is Oh My Gourds! is trying to #BreakKickstarter.

Brenda Goldstein | Visual Art | August 2019

Brenda Goldstein’s works are influenced by landscapes: terrestrial, psychic and political.

Charles Latham | Music | September 2019

Charles Latham wields an acid tongue and a poison pen, crafting social criticism, tragicomic narratives, and brutal self-analysis into ramshackle country-rock songs.