Press

The Salon has garnered press mentions both locally and nationally; selected clips have been included below. If you’re a journalist interested in covering the event, please contact us.

The Stranger, May 2020
“Last night, Seattle-founded institution Salon of Shame had its second big digital event on Zoom, Zoom of Shame 2: Shame Across America. The Salon brings readers onstage—or, in this case, online—to read their embarrassing journal entries, stories, and songs from the past. We’ve been writing about them for years—Jen Graves wrote about them in 2006. The event continues to be self-indulgent, cathartic, and increasingly national in its scope, with chapters now reaching New Orleans and Jacksonville.”

“…the cheerful exploitation of our younger selves’ awkward adventures in adolescence translate just fine online, and so: “Shame Across America,” an online compilation of the finest cringe comedy a collective childhood can cough up, with proceeds benefiting arts, service, and healthcare workers nationwide. Come for the laughs, stay for the catharsis, and lend a hand if you can.”

Head, Heart & Hustle, October 2017
“In this episode, I interview Ben Haley (yelahneb on Instagram), a stay-at-home dad with a lengthy list of creative experiences and projects. From producing ‘Salon of Shame’ in Seattle, to taking photos, writing poetry, and playing drums, Ben has tapped into his creativity since he was a teenager.”

The Today Show, March 2015
“Most of us kept our teenage diaries under lock and key. But now some adults reading their teen diary entries as public entertainment, as NBC’s Hallie Jackson reports. Carson Daly reports from the Orange Room that 59 percent of viewers say they’d share their entries.”

The Wall Street Journal, March 2015
“Our guideline for would-be readers is to find something where your first thought is, ‘I hope nobody finds this.’ and bring that,’ says Ben Haley, a computer tech-support worker who moonlights as the producer of the Seattle event, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.”

Project Mayhem, May 2013
“The courage required isn’t the usual sort, the ordinary kind you MUST have if you’re going to read your work in public, but the Salon of Shame demands bravery only found in those made of sterner stuff.”

Deaf Friendly, July 2012
“If you had to write a recipe for cathartic comedy, it may look like this: Adolescence, 3-ringed notebooks, beer … and sign language. This is the winning formula Ariel Meadow Stallings created in 2005. Ask her some of the ASL she’s learned as the founder of Salon of Shame, and she’s not shy to dish. Topics ranging from hormonal urges to wine coolers are fair game as courageous locals bare their teen souls on-stage.”

CityArts Magazine, May 2011
“Chances are that this show is already sold out – and for good reason. Since 2005, the ‘Salon of Shame’ has exposed some of the city’s most torrid literature to audiences who hang on every star-crossed ‘t‘ and heart-dotted ‘i‘ as adult authors read their junior high journal entries and unsent puppy-love letters. It is, as the name makes clear, a shameful evening.

And shame sells. So quickly, in fact, that some people choose the public humiliation of reading an Ode to ‘N Sync, just so they can get a seat for the rest of the show. If you choose to keep your diary locked, you can just go to salonofshame.com and join the Notification List of Shameto get a jump on the next event.”

Three Imaginary Girls, March 2011
“Like many an anguish-riddled tween, we here in the imaginary office have stacks upon stacks of notebooks from our youth, most (if not all) filled with some of the worst prose ever penned. And rather than box them up into quarantine up on some closet shelf, the fine folks over at Salon of Shame have found a way to celebrate those horrendously-worded trains of thought — in the company of strangers, no less.”

Hollow Earth Radio, February 2010
“What could be better than adults unearthing their teenage diaries, finding the most embarrassing passages, and reading them aloud, on stage, to a bunch of drunk people? Today on Jenny’s Trip: Salon of Shame. It’s a regular event in Seattle at Theater off Jackson. I recorded it on February 16, 2010.”

Seattle Times, August 2009
Salon of Shame meets every other month at Theatre Off Jackson, which seats 150. During the past three years, it has developed such a cult following that tickets usually sell out within minutes of becoming available.

It’s a very participatory audience – an audience that laughs with you instead of at you, or groans in sympathy when you read from love letters addressed ‘Return to Sender’ or poems about your sperm,” said Seattle writer Cienna Madrid, a Salon regular who described herself as ‘more angry than lovesick on the hormonal spectrum of teenagers’.”

Evening Magazine, February 2008
“Seattle’s Salon of Shame diary reading/comedy series featured on King 5’s Evening Magazine.”

Seattle Weekly, August 2007
“Most people view it as being hugely therapeutic. Some of these [old diaries] literally have a lock on them! And then you read this intimate writing in front of an audience, and everyone’s laughing and shouting things back like, ‘Oh, I’ve been there!’ And then you realize that these intimacies, these secrets that we held so close in our adolescence, were completely universal. We have people between their early 20s and their 50s reading. These mortifying thoughts are all the same.”

The Oregonian, July 2007
“Seattle’s “Salon of Shame,” initiated in late 2005, has become so popular that last month it moved from a small theater to a larger arts center on Capitol Hill. It has clear rules: Teen readings are the most entertaining, though college and childhood entries are acceptable. Keep your stage time brief, and don’t read anything you’ve ever received, regardless of its provenance.”

The Stranger, May 2007
“After a legendary run at the Rendezvous, the Salon of Shame—the reading series featuring pros, amateurs, and diarists revisiting the most humiliating writing of their lives—moves to the Capitol Hill Arts Center. The last Salon I caught knocked me out with palpable pathos, deep hilarity, and the inimitable cadence of junior-high journal entries.

With the move to CHAC, the Salon more than doubled its seating capacity, and so I thought I might finally be able to suggest this perennial sell-out and have it be something other than a cruel joke. (“I totally suggest you get tickets to this totally sold-out event!”)

I was wrong. All tickets to the May 15 Salon of Shame at CHAC sold out in less than 24 hours, leaving countless shame-lovers ticketless and desperate.

Lucky for us, we live in America, where citizens have voices, kind of, and so I urge you to sign this petition urging the Capitol Hill Arts Center to move the May 15 Salon of Shame from CHAC’s charming but teensy lower space to the much larger upstairs space. (May 15 is a Tuesday, and it doesn’t look like they’ve got anything else scheduled that night for the mainspace.)

Truly, we Americans need all the shame we can get. Sign here.”

LA Times, April 2007
“Similar shows have started across the country: Seattle’s “Salon of Shame” began in 2005 after its host learned about Cringe Night on Brown’s blog; it draws 150 people to each show.”

Newsweek, July 2006
“Mortifiers are celebrating “Cringe Night” at Freddy’s Bar in Brooklyn and baring their souls at “The Salon of Shame” at Rendezvous in Seattle.”

The Stranger, May 2006
“The Salon is home to full-fledged stories that seem to belong on This American Life, and equally sublime artifacts about the purchasing of peace-symbol earrings and the comparing of devotions between high-school couples and the lovers on Guiding Light. The American teenage flashback is a glorious place to be. Here, we have all noticed the enviable state of Dana’s Keds.”