There's a First Time for Everything
by Hannah Lapuh
|Our hosts, Diana Valentine and Dan Dahari|
It was a full house at Precinct – the aptly named bar and former colonial jail in the heart of Union Square, Somerville. Co-hosts Diana Valentine and Dan Dahari have hosted together before and it shows, as their often hilarious back and forth is very comfortable. I took an out of the way seat in the back of the room but still had a good view of the stage. There was some shuffling/ competition for seats, which, while inconvenient for some, was a relief to us. In the end, no one was left wanting - for seats or for drinks.
After introductions, Diana told a Sacrificial tale of firsts – a first date with her “first love.” Diana grew up learning bird calls and spent the most of the date (a picnic beneath a tree in North Philly) imitating the sound of a bird in distress – which precipitated another first: a date ended by a tree full of pooping birds, bent on revenge.
|Devin Bramhall, taking it all in.|
Our first teller, Devin Bramhall volunteered at a clinic in Bali alongside her mother (a midwife). Despite not speaking a word of “medical” or Bahasa, Devin narrowly averted existential crisis while helping to deliver a baby for the first time. At once touching and very funny, Devin’s story won 2nd place.
Story slam newcomer Roy MacKenzie and his first college roommate, Rob, couldn’t have been more different. The former, a tidy, left-leaning seminary student experienced several firsts living with his conservative, severely dish-phobic suite-mate.
Another first-timer, Tim Hoover, grew up “kind of a runt,” in Everett, MA. Having inherited a fair amount of catholic guilt, his classic interpretation of a “first time” tale ended on a positive note (sort of) when he “lost it” on 9/11 – and not the night before.
Cut to Deborah Blesedell, “another catholic,” whose parents were not convinced that she and her college boyfriend “weren’t even doing anything!” and tracked down his telephone number by calling his parents.
Craig Labbe’s story began with a fictional Jackalope and a machete [To be honest, I’m a little fuzzy on the details], a pie cutter and ended with little Craig’s first trip to the ER.
After a brief intermission, Andrew Tripp snapped us back to attention with a heart-wrenching story about a “Star Wars funeral” he was called to officiate. A shy young man’s life was honored with the Star Wars theme song and four eulogies delivered by friends referencing the popular film series (one broke the mold and mentioned Star Trek).
In the summer of 2005, Lynn Cooper (then in Divinity School) attended the Catholic Liturgy of a newly ordained female priest. It proved to be a revelatory experience, as a friend of hers remarked later, “Girl, I think your calling in life is to go forth and truly taste the Eucharist.” The Precinct crowd seemed to think she should add storytelling to that list – voting her Audience Choice.
Sixteen-year-old Danielle Sandahl drove her father’s company car for hours to get to a choral competition. Despite being a new driver, Danielle made it all the way there and back without a hitch. That is, until she tried to pull into the garage of her family’s brand new home. Two words: Load-bearing column.
Steve Warren gave us a blow-by-blow account of a jail-yard fight. In a fitting heroic ending, he emerged from segregation to a standing ovation.
Finally, we had a good chuckle when first-time teller [so many story-cherries popped tonight!] Sarah Gazdowitz told us about her first time getting “the morning after pill.” The story won her 1st place, so you should probably watch it: www.massmouth.com/video
Big thanks to all the judges, volunteers, co-hosts Dan and Diana, and Precinct. Love!
|Happy tellers, happy hosts.|
All photos courtesy of Paula Junn.
Watch the winning stories at www.massmouth.com/video
To find a slam or other storytelling event near you, visit: www.massmouth.com/events