Surprise storytelling…

grandslamI like my playlists, and podcasts, and Netflix as well as the next gal. Probably more so. Terry Gross and Fresh Air has gotten me through many a kitchen cleaning. But I also know it’s clear that when you watch the recording of Outlander or the video of Adele’s “Hello”–AGAIN!–you know exactly what you’re going to get.

Or rather, I know exactly what I’m getting.

Which is why I also like going out and to smell the real roses, to listen to the musician on the street with an open guitar case or to watch a real live play…the kind where you can see the spit coming out of the guy’s mouth–where, really, anything can happen. I got to see Lucky Guy on Broadway a few years ago with Tom Hanks and there was a leak. It was actually rained on Tom Hanks’ head. He just kept going.

Was thinking about this as I went to a Moth Grand Slam show last week at the Castro Theater. At Moth story slams, ten people–names drawn out of hat– stand up and tell a five minute story on a particular theme.

The “grand slam” is an evening when ten recent story slam winners get up to tell a five minute story on a theme. It’s a bigger whoop-de-doo, at a fancy venue, and you better remember to buy your ticket ahead or you’ll be waiting in a line with your fingers crossed.

The theme this time was “Leap”. Here in the navel of the self-reflection world–San Francisco–the stories do feel more authentic than in Los Angeles. Some of the story-tellers have actual gray hair. Others have, as an OK Cupid profile might put it, “a little extra.” There are jeans and there are put-together outfits. And then comes Deedee Lundberg, the last story-teller before intermission.

Deedee Lundberg is mid-twenties and her story is about falling in love with her roommate. Or rather rather her stifling of that love because while Deedee is bisexual, her roommate is heterosexual.

Deedee is wearing a cocktail dress, black, with rhinestones on the tight bodice, flowing fabric everywhere else, dressiest person so far. She’s clearly nervous. I’d be nervous too, standing up there to tell a story in front of 2,000 people.

“And then I leaned over,” she said, ” and, as we sometimes did, I kissed her on the forehead.

“‘You missed,’ said K-Anne.”

And they share a real kiss. The story has made a turn and Deedee is a little less nervous. As she concludes she talks about love and relationship. “My grandparents say that the best thing they ever did was to marry each other.

“And So Karen-Anne,” she looks to the audience, stage left, “Will you marry me?”

The room erupts as we realize this isn’t just a story. This is real life. And we get to be here and witness it.

Another young woman runs up on the stage and they hug and kiss, “Yes, I will!”

There’s hooting a hollering…. joy in their joy. And a huge reminder that in the real world, anything can happen.

“Deedee shared with us what was going to happen,” the moderator says a minute later, and we were happy to keep her secret.” And in the place for the judges scores of the story, they the moderator draws a heart in each of the three columns.

“We all agreed you really don’t want to judge a story like that.”


Part of the series, Moments.

About Karen Ray

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