Live & In Person Storytelling Night Comes to Little Havana

As we slowly begin to return to live culture, local musician, Eric Garcia (aka. Uncle Scotchy) is starting a weekly storytelling night at Bar Nancy. It is tellingly called “Uncle Scotchy’s Storytelling Extravaganza.” The event is intentionally very similar to The Moth except this one is in person, not virtual, and free.  The live in-person weekly event kicks off this Wednesday, October 7th at 8pm. We caught up with the founder to find out more.

Jitney driver: Hey Eric. Most know you more as a musician and/or promoter. What got you into this storytelling thing?

Uncle Scotchy (US): As you may have heard, there was a pandemic this year and a lot of musicians found themselves with an incredible amount of free time. I was especially shut in because just as the shutdown happened, my dog had knee surgery. So I had to stay with her and keep her from running for 8 weeks.

I wound up stumbling onto a podcast for this thing called The Moth. The Moth is a live, storytelling organization. On the podcast I was able to hear real stories from all over the world and I was hooked.

Jitney driver: What was it that attracted you to The Moth the most?

US: The realness of it. The truth. You can learn to relate to people via story. I found myself sitting with my dog and laughing or even crying as I consumed the entire podcast archives. My dog must think I’m nuts!!!

Uncle Scotchy’s Storytelling Extravaganza

JD: Do you feel it will be an easy transition for you since you’re used to being on stage? How does it relate to what you’ve done in the past with music?

US: You would think so, but not at all! I’m scared to death of this. I’m also using this to work on a one man show idea I have and I’m petrified to just talk on stage with no instruments or other band members.

I’m learning that crafting a story is just like writing a song as well. There’s a pace to it, a flow, and a rhythm. I def have a new respect for great storytellers and comedians. The hardest part I feel is getting the crowd engaged and invested all the way through. When I’m playing with my band and I solo, if only a few people connect in the crowd that’s actually pretty good. But when telling a story if you lose some of the crowd, you can easily lose them all.

Jitney: Any details or more info you feel people need to know about this?

US: Yes. This is a night for real stories. Stories that happened directly to the storyteller. Nothing against spoken word or poetry, but this isn’t a place for that. Also, no reading your story. Something like a cheat sheet with some little notes is cool. But it has to be from the heart and that’s tough if someone is up there reading.

Jitney driver: Okay, cool. But what do say to people who may have concerns about attending a live event at a bar or indoor setting?

Uncle Scotchy: The venue is super on top of being safe. That’s part of the reason they agree to do it. It’s something that people can sit down and chill and enjoy. Also we’re gonna have a few different microphones and keep them all sprayed down.

Storytelling Event Info

Signup is at 8pm. The first story is at 8:30. Stories will usually be asked to be kept to 12 minutes or less. There will generally be one story headliner per night. For more info or to sign up before the night DM Eric Garcia at @unclescotchy on IG.

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J.J. Colagrande

Has written about Miami culture for almost twenty years, first with The Miami Herald, then Miami New Times and Huffington Post. He's the publisher of The Jitney and a full-time professor.