Our 14th Season kicked off Sept. 21st at Arts @ Large! The theme was Good Trouble and our nine storytellers share stories of wayward adventures, picket line experiences, and even medical emergencies, but all of our storytellers came away from their trouble with new knowledge and a great story.

Sarah Beth, a middle-aged white woman is standing in a patterned dress and purple scarf at the microphone telling a story. Her hands are gesturing out and to her right.

Sarah Beth Nelson started off the night with a story about her 4th grade self being terrified for getting in trouble for passing a very important note. “I believe in ghosts, too” it said. She was looking to connect with her classmates who were discussing their paranormal beliefs when it was intercepted by her teacher. Instead of getting in trouble, Sarah Beth’s teacher told her “Things have happened in my life that I can’t explain” and became the first adult to validate Sarah Beth’s belief in the unknown. This story showed how sometimes trouble can lead to connection.

Anja Notanja Sieger’s story also led to a unique connection, except this time it was with an eccentric artist with skeletons in her closet! Anja and an older friend were drinking Kombucha on the street and feeling very cool when a woman came up and started sharing her thoughts on the city, horoscopes, and even their Kombucha drinking. She invites them to her house to see her artwork and Anja and their friend let curiosity get the better of them. Anja describes the strangest piece of art as an assemblage of skeletons in her closet representing all of the abortions she has had in her lifetime.

Jerry, an older white man with short facial hair and a grey shirt stands at the microphone telling a story. His hand is on his heart.

Jerry Muelver was our first new storyteller of the night. What started as a story of the labor movement and childhood memories of being on the picket line with his mother turned into a lesson about life before the invention of the breast pump! Jerry’s mother was breast-feeding his little siblings at the time but out on the picket line she needed some way to express her milk, so she enlisted help from Jerry. One day another woman needed the same help and Jerry’s mom volunteered him to help her as well – soon enough he was the picket line breast pump!

After Jerry we had an exciting amount of new storytellers get on stage. Matthias Jonas told a powerful story about his German grandfather befriending a French prisoner during World War II. Maxwell Depratt’s comedy of errors included dog pee, a search in the woods, and an accidental stabbing. Paul Whitehouse shared a traumatic experience of being wrongly arrested and Eric Graff reminded us of the importance of speaking truth to power, no matter if that is in the form of asking too many questions in a religious school or standing up against your own abuse.

Matthais, a middle-aged white man stands at a micrphone telling a story. His hands are touching in front of him
This picture is taken from the side of Matthew, a young white man, who is standin at the microphone telling a story. His hands are by his pockets and he has a small smile on his face.
Paul, a middle-aged white man, is standing at a microphone telling a story. One hand is held up with his pointer finger pointing upwards.
Eric, a white man with a patterned shirt and kahki shorts on, stands at a microphone telling a story.

Kiran Vedula brought a lot of laughter into the room during his story about his dad’s attempted rescue of someone who wasn’t in any danger. As his dad was leaving the house, he saw a girl down the street get grabbed and thrown into the back of a car. “Hey!” he said as he took off running towards the girl just before hearing the words “Cut!” from the director of the film they must have been shooting. Kiran’s father’s heroic efforts were not needed in that moment, but Kiran says, “he will always be MY hero.”

Another newbie, Greg Marshall, took us on a journey with him as he went from dancing and singing in a hip-hop musical, to fighting for his life in a matter of days. Because of swelling in his spine, he started losing his ability to read, see, move his legs, and even form complete sentences. Greg says he “literally didn’t have anything to stand on,” but somehow he still fought. Through that experience he gained a new appreciation for life and a new understanding of the importance of his voice and story. Greg’s moving story ended up winning him fan favorite of the evening and he will be joining us at ALL STARS at the end of the season!

All of the storytellers stand in a line on stage with the emcee Michaela, a young black woman, stands in front.
Greg getting crowned as fan favorite of the night. Two emcees are on stage and one of them is placing the crown on Greg's head.

We want to thank Arts@Large for providing an amazing space for us to come together and share stories. We are also incredibly grateful for our skillful emcees, Michaela Lacy and Deserae Constantineau, who created a welcoming and energetic atmosphere and made sure that we cheered each storyteller “all the way to the stage!” And a final thank you to everyone who came out to listen to and support our storytellers. It was so nice to see everyone in person and we are looking forward to seeing you at the next StorySlam “Like Magic” on Oct 13th!

Photo Credit: Artemio Photo