For the past four years, the local storytelling organization Secretly Y'all has been delighting standing-room-only crowds by providing a forum for people to tell their own true stories.
Filling their usual spot at Balliceaux, organizers have given all the proceeds to local nonprofits, raising more than $10,000 for the Rag and Bones bike collective, Habitat for Humanity, Evergreen Cemetery, and the Area Rehabbers Klub, which saves injured animals.
Now they want to take the show on the road.
The group recently announced a Kickstarter project to raise $6,000 to create a "storybike," or mobile story-recording booth. The money also would be used to throw a storytelling festival, Bicycle, Y'all, in May, which will raise money for safer roads. Their dream spot for the festival is the GRTC terminal, but nothing's been decided yet, according to organizers.
Secretly Y'all co-founder Kathleen Brady says the idea for storybike came from her partner, artist Chris Milk."I was on the back of his cargo bike and he was like, 'Wouldn't it be awesome if we built a bike we could record stories in,'" Brady recalls. "We could take it around town, collect Richmond stories to put them back out there."
The storybike would basically be a covered rickshaw with an enclosed area in back for one or two people to record stories. Brady says they're in the process of determining how to power the recording equipment, whether they can get a lightweight battery that could be solar-powered.
The Secretly Y'all group also publishes a podcast on iTunes. Brady says WRIR approached them several years ago to air the stories via radio, but at the time they didn't have enough stories. That would change with the storybike, she says.
"Also, now we have a sound guy which makes a huge difference," she says. "So we could potentially get them on the radio."
So far the project has raised nearly $700 with 27 days to go. The group has 600 people on its mailing list and is reaching out to them for financial support. For more on the group's effort, you can follow its Facebook page here.