Last night, at the plaza opposite Tosi's in Central Square, nine storytellers made magic. Fate and the gods had decreed that there would be no technological gadgetry at this event, so we enjoyed the intimacy of this very public and non-traditional performance space. Here's what happened:
1) Doria (me) went first, with "Mrs Puccini", the tale of my journey into my new identity/hat as Opera Composer's Wife. My husband is in the midst of birthing his opera "Say It Aint So Joe" about Sarah Palin and the 2008 Vice Presidential debate. There is a mini media circus brewing, which is rather wild for us! For more info on this remarkable work, check out http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7181860398&ref=ts or just google Sarah Palin opera and enjoy the right wing comments.
2) Libby Frank told "Cars and Guys" and took us down Memory Lane to the wilds of Westchester and new Rochelle, where fast cars and fast guys were no match for our Libby! She even crooned a couple of car serenades for us, tributes offered her by her 4-wheeled swains.
3) James McCoy told one of his original rhyming narratives, "Thompson was my only failure", about the life of Francis Thompson, a 19th century poet, Catholic and failed boot-maker. Poignant and sweet, as only James can be.
4) Marty Levine created an impromptu Improvisational work for us, based on three words spat out at him by the audience: "Caleidescope, Fluoridated, Incongruous". He took us on an incredible journey, demonstrating courage and agility along the way. Courage - since he didn't know where he was going any more than we did, but bravely plunged ahead - and a combination of mental and kinetic agility tht has to be seen to be believed. A tour de force!!
5) Kevin Brooks (who NEVER goes by Mr. Packer) told "Cars", a whimsical and hilarious ride through the various cars that have taken him along his life's path to date. That 1972 Volkswagen bus sure brought back memories..... We were all thrilled to hear that his current steed is approaching menopause, and looks to transform into something wonderful and strange in the near future - very abruptly! - which will mean that there will be a sequel to this tale!
6) Laura Packer decided to play, and riffed off of an old familiar tale (The Elves and the Shoemaker) in new and unfamiliar ways. At times frightening, at times sad, but finally hinting at something wondrous and strange and even transcendent, we followed her willingly down unknown paths. Laura doesn't always take us home, but we don't care; we just like to go where she leads. I named this telling "Booty Call".
7) Elsa revealed depths of beauty, sadness, hope and love in her as-yet unnamed story about her Father's story. I think I understand why he only told his stories to her; she has a gift for creating stories that are like the sweetest onion you can possibly imagine: narrative layers unfold like rose petals to reveal new layers, and beyond/beneath them, even more. Beautiful, poignant, heart-breaking, yet strangely fulfilling and satisfying to hear.
8) Marshall gave us a hysterically delightful new/old twist on an old performance telling that he clearly loved as much as we did. "Hello, Davey!" was revealingly funny, current yet timeless. Rarely has a Storyteller incorporated a prop - in this case, a cellphone - so effectively and seamlessly into his telling. I laughed my ass off, but I did not lose my humanity (thank you Marshall!).
9) Maggie Bush generously closed this glorious evening with her retelling of Zora Neale Hurston's "Roy Makes A Car". Not to be outdone by the earlier and brilliantly told car-tales, this grand Lady of Storytelling told us a wonderful whopper about Roy and his Collision-Proof Car (yes, you read that right). Maggie explained that Ms. Hurston, in an effort to get really great stories from her southern informants, would ask them "Do you know any lies?" With this one, she hit pay dirt, and Maggie showed us exactly why "Roy" is a keeper!
Once again, I thank you all, with my heart filled with gratitude, for coming and telling these beautiful tales. Let's do this again, real soon, y'hear?
The leaves are starting to turn, and the Autumn Equinox is right around the corner. What better way to celebrate the changing of the season than with Stories! Join us at our favorite spot, the park right outside of Toscanini's in Central Square, Cambridge (weather permitting). Grab a hot drink from Tosci's (or ice cream!) and make it a Marvelous Monday! We're starting earlier (6:30pm) so as to take advantage of the light, and we'll be videotaping, as usual. Come and have a good time; we'll see you there!
Our massmouth online Video Awards Contest is about to start and these mouthoffs are your chance to be taped telling a story and have it posted online - without any effort on your part. Yes, 5 minute stories are what work when you are in the street, competing with real life - so tighten it up and meet us on the eve of the equinox. We always request "5 minute Stories and recently we were asked "Why 5 minutes or less ?" Your story in 5 minutes or less means you have honed your story to the bare minimum of WORDS it needs to make sense and you have listened to your story enough to know what really WORKS. Because we tell in the street, to people who have not come to hear story but happen upon our stories - we want to invite them in by providing the essentials of our form- up front and with as much artistry as we can muster.
The theme is changes - So come on down and make some !
Time: September 21, 2009 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Location: park across from Toscanini's, 899 Main Street, Central Square, Cambridge, MA
Rain: inside Toscanini's
Event Type: storytelling, open, mic
Phil Ochs sings "Changes" some lyrics below.
Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall
To brown and to yellow they fade.
And then they have to die, trapped within
the circle time parade of changes.
Scenes of my young years were warm in my mind,
Visions of shadows that shine.
Til one day I returned and found they were the
Victims of the vines of changes.
The world's spinning madly, it drifts in the dark
Swings through a hollow of haze,
A race around the stars, a journey through
The universe ablaze with changes.
Moments of magic will glow in the night
All fears of the forest are gone
But when the morning breaks they're swept away by
golden drops of dawn, of changes.