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Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series to feature Bil Lepp at the Cultural Center on March 18

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will continue its Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series on Friday, March 18, 2005 at 6 p.m., in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The series is hosted by Peter Kosky and the March program will feature Bil Lepp. The Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night is free and open to the public.

New and established writers are invited to come and share their poetry and storytelling talents at the open mic sessions. Kosky, a history teacher at South Charleston High School and a talented singer/songwriter, will introduce all participants. The open mic session is limited to one hour, the guest artists will begin their shows shortly after the last poem/story has been read, whether or not the hour is over.

Lepp, of South Charleston, has been telling tales for 15 years. His humorous, original stories and stellar delivery have helped him become a five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars Contest, held every year at the Cultural Center during the Vandalia Gathering. He also has appeared at the National Storytelling Festival, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smokey River Festival, LAUGHS Fest and Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, among others.

The author of three books, The Armadillo Recon Unit, Inept: Impaired: Overwhelmed and The Monster Stick and Other Appalachian Tall-Tales (co-written with his brother Paul), Lepp also has recorded two audio collections, Mayhem Dressed as an Eight Point Buck and Buck Meets the Monster Stick (with his brother Paul). His books and tapes will be available for purchase at a booksigning after his performance.

In addition to writing and performing, Lepp holds a master’s degree in theological studies from Duke Divinity School. Duke Divinity Magazine has called his stories, “Awe-inspiring cathedrals of flapdoodle and bull.”

Lepp was education coordinator for the Division until he quit in 2002 to perform and write tall tales full time. Now he travels to festivals and elementary, middle, junior and senior high schools across the country.

For more information about the Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series, contact (304) 558-0162. Next month’s program will feature Ron Houchin of Huntington on Friday, April 15.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.