The How I Learned Series features writers, storytellers, comedians, and other raconteurs holding forth on a different theme. It all happens every last Wednesday of the month, and sometimes more than that, which basically means you will have the best night of your life on those nights, repeatedly.



Shoplifters Of The World Unite

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Dear Everyone:

The day after How I Learned to Lie, Cheat or Steal, an art friend of mine texted me :
"Thanks to you and last night's hilarious reading I went into Pearl Paint to steal a marker. The rush was mini but fantastic."
He later sent word that he did it twice in one day. How I Learned: making people--and pretty much the world--exponentially happier one petty crime at a time. I couldn't be more proud.

Here are photos from Wednesday's super fun night of trickery, shoplifting, deception and just general bullshit, courtesy of photographer Jon Paul Boulier. He's French.

Foxy Canadian born comedian OPHIRA EISENBERG tells a story about lying and cheating her way through homeland security, complete with ex-boyfriends, cults and mad graphic design skills. Ophira is hosting a Moth StorySlam on March 10th at Housing Works. We love The Moth so very much.

Here's Ophira with the great ANDY CHRISTIE, who regaled us all with a beautiful con job story involving his father, grandfather, the mayor of Largs, Scotland, and painting the town red--literally. Andy is the inimitable founder of The Liar Show, which he hosts every month. It's a downtown fave.

A friend in the crowd.

A brokenhearted PBR.

EMILY FLAKE, illustrator and all-around adorable person, shared her predilection for padlock thievery. I love that it really was just about the padlocks, and not about the contents of the lockers that were supposed to be locked by said padlocks. Me? I would have pressed my luck and gone ransacking every time. But sometimes life is like that. Sometimes life is just about the padlocks...

...I also love anyone who says, "We should do something big. Or whatever." It's very My So-Called Life.

This young lady in the foreground clutching her pearls won a copy of Emily Flake's comic book Lulu Eightball by stepping out of the shadows of the audience to school us on the art of deception and "moneyless bafflement." When you're paying for something, fumble around in your purse or pockets for change. Pretend as though you just don't have enough to make up the total amount. Be really nice and charming and maybe slightly embarrassed about it. Maybe also clutch your imaginary pearls.

GIULIA ROZZI, comedian, actress, writer, and self proclaimed "adorable and obnoxious young lady," hilariously revealed her immigrant parents' long history of entitlement and the sticky finger sickness to a room full of 150 people. If her parents only knew. Miss Giulia performs all over the place, all the time, including monthly at the popular sex-themed storytelling show Stripped Stories.


The New Yorker's BEN GREENMAN taught other people to lie. In the process he sort of inadvertently finagled his way into acquiring, like, a bajillion dollars thanks to an elaborate and not entirely serious system involving art and numbers, among other humorously sketchy things. If I say much more, he'll probably get the IRS beatdown because he's totally rich now. Ben's new book, What He's Poised To Do, hits shelves in June, but if you think you can't pre-order it, you are mistaken.

Some ladies in the crowd. I think the one in the yellow scarf is lying about something and the other two are smiling and laughing because they are totally on to her. I kind of know a lot about body language.

Here's me, your host, sharing stories of shoplifting from Spencer Gifts in 7th grade, copping cartons of cigarettes and bug spray in high school, burying a quartz crystal behind my college dorm because I thought I'd been cursed by the woman I stole it from, and how members of my family decided that I should have been adopted from a Vietnamese orphanage. Totally true.


Thank you so very much for coming out despite the threat of a winter storm. The storm is really here now so feel free to just lay low until the next super awesome show:

How I Learned What Life Is Like
March 24th, 8PM at Happy Ending
FEAUTURING: Stefan Merrill Block (The Story of Forgetting)
Julie Klausner (I Don't Care About Your Band)
Daniel Nester (How to be Inappropriate)
Justin Taylor (Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever)

Stay tuned. Stay warm. Stay in touch. Can't wait to see you in March!

Love, Blaise

Photo credit: Jon Boulier