- Harrison Berry
- Jessica Holmes speaking at Storyfort in 2015.
Jessica Holmes is taking a bow.
"Honestly, this whole year has been a come-to-Jesus year for my career," she said.
After six years, Holmes is leaving Story Story Night, a nonprofit she co-founded with local actress Hollis Welsh, local author (and frequent Boise Weekly Fiction 101 judge) Clay Morgan and Log Cabin Literary Literary Center founding Director Paul Shaffer, which organizes public storytelling events. She will be replaced by Jodi Eichelberger, who currently sits on the Story Story Night board of directors.
"I always felt like Story Story Night would die if I quit, but Jodi Eichelberger is the only person I've ever met who has everything it takes to run this program," Holmes said.
Holmes has been the longtime public face of the organization, hosting performances at the Visual Arts Collective, Linen Building, El Korah Shrine and others. During her tenure, the organization has expanded to include adult-themed Story Story Late Nights.
"It never has diminished in community enthusiasm. We've always have crowds of 200-400 every month for six years," she said.
Holmes said Story Story Night will begin holding performances at the newly completed JUMP facility in November.
"It's really hard to find a place in Boise that's all ages but has the capacity we need that feels intimate at the same time. It's so difficult to find in Boise, so JUMP has been in talks with us," she said.
Developments in 2016, however, drove home for Holmes that it was time to leave. In March, at the Storyfort Launch Party at the Modern Hotel, she told a story that detailed events of an alleged sexual assault and revealed the first name of the victim. Holmes later said she regretted revealing the alleged victim's identity. Still, the event caused an online fracas, and Treefort Music Fest and Storyfort organizers ultimately decided to nix Story Story Night from the Storyfort lineup.
"My takeaway from that was that it's hard to have a nonprofit whose heart and soul is so closely tied in with one individual. I felt like I needed, for my own sake, to have my own heart and soul back, and Story Story Night can move forward as an independent entity," she said.
Working for the nonprofit while trying to make a living has taken its toll, said Holmes, a longtime copywriter-for-hire, and it was time for her to dedicate more energy to her new full-time job as a senior copywriter at CLM Marketing and Advertising. Holmes said she'd like to stay busy artistically, but won't be leading from the stage.
"I never really expected I would be a stage person, but I just kept doing it," said Holmes, who was the winner of the inaugural Boise's Funniest Person competition in 2013. "I hope to go like David Sedaris and, like, sell out stage shows. Just kidding."
Her last performance will be at Story Story Late-Night's "Scissors" performance Wednesday, Aug. 29 at the Visual Arts Collective.