When Iuscely Flores was 19, she fell in love. She met him at a quinceañera, and when they started dating, she thought they were perfect together. Eventually, they began thinking of marriage, and a sudden roadblock presented itself – the government. He was wheelchair-bound and relied on benefits and state insurance, and if they married, their combined income would disqualify him from the programs. She was undocumented, and marriage was one of her only pathways to citizenship (although the income minimum for spousal sponsorship added another complex hurdle). Unable to find a satisfactory compromise, they eventually decided not to get married and to live apart.
Flores told the story to an audience over Zoom at Ex Fabula‘s love-themed StorySlam in September.
“It was the first time I ever said it out loud to anyone but him,” she says.
That story got Flores nominated for Ex Fabula’s All Stars StorySlam. The May 21 virtual program brings together six fan-favorite storytellers from the past year. Juan Miguel Martinez, who works as a union organizer and comes from a “family of story tellers,” won a spot at the All Stars program for his story about his 11-year-old niece. Over the years, he’s brought her to organizing events and watched her enthusiasm and passion grow. “There’s hope in the future, and I see it in my niece,” he says.
Both Martinez and Flores are planning new, longer stories to tell at the All Stars event, the theme of which is “reimagining winning.” After the show, the audience will vote for a winner to be crowned the top storyteller of Ex Fabula’s 12th season.
“All Stars: Reimagining Winning” will be held virtually on May 21 from 7-9 p.m. Buy tickets for $10 at exfabula.org.