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The Reboot: Storytelling Reimagined is a live storytelling show held at the Top Dog Coffee Bar’s outdoor garden in Morro Bay, where shows occur yearly from April to October. various performers tell stories from their lives. Their next show is on June 30 at 7 p.m and their next show during fall quarter is on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.

“After a few stumbles, the show really took off in 2018,” Rocky Ross, the creator and host of the Reboot, said. 

In the very early shows of the Reboot, the show had an open mic format where people could walk up and tell stories.

“There were some real bombs,” Ross said. 

With the audience only numbering 25 people back then, Ross worried that the audience size would decrease if people were to “just get up and ramble’. She decided to start curating the shows. 

“I realized I needed to tighten it up and really help people. So I started curating it, asking people to work with me ahead of time,” Ross said. “Tell me the story first. Let me help you shorten it, tighten it.” 

The performers often include a mix of people trying Reboot for the first time, people who’ve participated once or twice prior and a few regulars. This includes some people who Ross doesn’t need to curate before they perform. They are “professional, really seasoned storytellers” who Ross calls her “tent poles.”

Jean Moelter is one of those people. She is an author, performer and actor and has been performing at the Reboot since its inception. Moelter finds performing at the Reboot a “satisfying’ experience. 

“It’s wonderful, you feel a connection [with the audience] and human connection is what we all need in our lives,” Moelter said. 

Nowadays, each Reboot show averages around 70 people in the audience. Moelter finds that the audience is supportive and attentive to all of the performers. 

“The audience takes care of you. No one’s gonna mock you. Everybody has a supportive expression on their face,” Moelter said. “And when you leave the stage, there’s warm applause for everyone, no matter what story they’ve told.”

Ross builds each show around a theme that she comes up with. The themes for this “season” (year) of the Reboot can be found on their Facebook page. The theme for the April 28 show was “No Place Like Home” while the theme for the next show, on June 30, is “Vice.” The theme for the Sept. 29 show is “Hot Mess.”

“We use it [the theme] as a springboard. So you’re not constrained,” Ross said. “You can see people come at the themes from really different angles.”

Typically, a show at the Reboot follows the same schedule. First, about four performers perform their pieces that last about 5-7 minutes each. Next, there’s a break. During this break, or before the show, “people sign up for impromptu pudding,” Ross said. After the break, the first five people who sign up for “impromptu pudding” go up and tell 99-second stories from their lives that they came up with on the spot. Then, about four more performers perform their longer pieces. Ross is always the last performer of the night. 

“The audience loves the impromptu pudding. They love to see other people jump up there,” Ross said. “They’re really anecdotes… short moments rather than long stories, but they’re great.”

The Reboot will remain free to attend, which stems from Ross’s view on storytelling as an “art form.”

“It’s an ancient tradition that helps us connect and no one will have to pay for that at a Reboot event I produce… Having a full house is more important to me than any business model,” Ross said. “It [storytelling] was always free then. It should always be free.” 

Moelter said that, for people who want to perform at the Reboot, they should attend a show first and talk to Ross. 

“Lots of regular people who are not performers get up there and do it,” Moelter said. “And they are happy they did, because it’s fun.”

The first show of the sixth “season” of the Reboot, which occurred on April 28, “drew a full house,” according to Ross. The next show of the Reboot will be held on June 30 at 7pm at the Top Dog Coffee Bar in Morro Bay. For that show, Ross said that she “is looking for students interested in workshopping a true personal experience around the theme of habits gone bad into a story for the stage.”

“I’m so excited,” Ross said. “I’m expecting to see all these wonderful faces, these story lovers, and the story curious.”

The next Reboot show that will occur while Cal Poly is in session is on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit The Reboot’s Facebook. If you would like to share a story of your own, contact Rocky Ross at