On Friday, I attended the Boston Public Library Foundation's first annual StorySlam, a charity event supporting programs and services at the Boston Public Library. Tickets were $40, and the donation included a drink ticket (as well as some snacks to nibble on).
Sorry for photo quality, but the lighting at the BPL was dim. No excuse for the uncomfortable look on my face, though.
StorySlam panelists included Betty Lehrman, Helen Lewis, Doug Lipman, and Audrey Mardavich (all of whom have had professional experience with theatre or storytelling), with comic Wes Hazard and novelist Norah Dooley as co-hosts. It was a pleasant surprise to see Wes, a fellow Emerson College MFA alum who I've had the opportunity to watch perform at the comedy club at Remington's (now shut down).
The theme for the StorySlam was "Overdue," an intentionally general word that speakers could interpret any way they chose. The stories ranged from the obvious "overdue book" to the "overdue loss of faith in a neglectful mother." All stories were taken from the speakers' own experiences.
StorySlam was broken up into two rounds:
-the first five speakers were chosen in advance from their online entries and judged by panelists
-the second five were picked randomly from a hat, with the favorite chosen by the audience. (My boyfriend voted for the woman with the overdue baby, while I was touched by the one about a girl's gradual realization of a cheating boyfriend.)
Both groups had a five minute timeline and were prohibited from using notes. It was impressive to watch someone shyly walk up to the stage and then launch confidently into a story without hesitation or missteps. As someone who is terrible at telling stories in real-time (I'm hopeless if I can't write it down first), I really enjoyed my first story slam, and I even walked away with some ideas on how to improve my public reading.
If you're curious about attending an event like this, there are some similar ones coming up:
- Every Wednesday at 8pm is a poetry-only open mic at Cantab Lounge. The next open poetry slam is June 11.
- June 16 at Club Passim, long-form storytelling with Regi Carpenter
- September 15 at Club Passim, storyslam
- October 6 at Trident Booksellers & Cafe, storyslam
Some more information about the Boston Public Library and event partners:
After StorySlam, as my boyfriend and I walked from Copley Square to Chinatown, we passed the filming of Black Mass. Nothing to see, really, since the street was blocked off. Just some vintage cars. It was fun to see where the crew had moved, since the last time we'd spotted them was in our own neighborhood, 0.2 miles from our apartment. Still haven't seen any stars, but maybe there's still hope? In any case, our night was finished off with dumplings, so it was a successful summer night.
I'll now leave you with this photo of a sleeping Moxie, dead to the world.