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Top Dog Coffee Bar, located in Morro Bay on Main Street, shared its space for The Reboot: Storytelling ReImagined Oct. 20. The event, which will continue to be hosted on the third Friday of every month, allows people to share life experiences in front of an audience. Throughout the years, Top Dog has supported the community of Morro Bay by hosting unique events such as The Reboot. Owner Pat Bietz said he believes this laid-back beach coffee shop serves as a community center for Morro Bay.

“I would like to think that we are a positive influence,” Bietz said. “We give to anybody that walks in with a cause.”

According to Rachel Ross, the curator and host of The Reboot, the point of the event was to listen to and enjoy stories told by others while supporting the arts in
the community.

As explained in the event’s Facebook page, The Reboot was “a curated mix of featured (invited) storytellers, open mic for novice storytellers, spoken word artists, improv comedy, character sketches, impromptu pitches and interactive games.”

Although it was the first Reboot event hosted at Top Dog, it was not the first of its kind. Ross gives credit to Bill Moylan, who was the first to propose the idea of holding storytelling nights to the owner about a year ago.

“There are some [stories] that are amazingly entertaining and funny, some of them are heartbreaking but it is a really great sharing event,” Bietz said about the previous events.

The responsibility of organizing these storytelling nights has now been passed down to Ross. With a similar concept in mind, she took this as an opportunity to add new elements to the event. In an effort to modify these storytelling nights, Ross hosted two featured artists: writer and performer Jean Moelter and playwright and storyteller Michael Kaplan. Other performers were able to sign up for the open mic slots.

“I love playing with words,” Ross said. “I would really like for this to take off. That’s
the goal.”

A night for wordsmiths and listeners

The night began as friends and families walked into the coffee shop with enthusiasm and smiles on their faces. The smell of freshly baked cookies filled the air as Bietz and his employees served pastries, warm drinks and homemade chili to the small crowd.

The night’s theme was “It’s About Time”, which could be interpreted many ways, giving performers the opportunity to freely share stories of a memorable time in their lives. Performers were given 10 minutes to share their stories, which ranged from losing one’s virginity to a first time smoking weed. Audience interaction and impromptu speaking also took place. Audience members laughed and grinned as performers shared their past experiences, nodding with compassion as they heard stories that resonated with them.

Ultimately, the night gave people the opportunity to catch a glimpse inside of the lives of others. However, Ross says these stories should not be interpreted in any specific way.

“It can mean many things. But it is honest; it is a true story,” Ross said.

Whether it’s enjoying a cup of coffee with someone or sharing stories with others, unity within the Morro Bay community is the central goal for both Top Dog Coffee Bar
and The Reboot.

“I think it’s just a great opportunity for people to get together and just share life experiences,” Bietz said. “How could you go wrong
with that?”

The Reboot will be back at Top Dog Coffee Bar 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 17. The theme will be “What’s in a Name?”

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