Now that's a storytelling festival I'd like to see!
When? Last month. Just missed it. (They do have a monthly series)
The best stories I’ve ever heard come from hanging out with friends over a good bottle of wine. That’s when people really start talking, really get to the meat of their experiences—the wild beauty of it all, the destruction and the hope. That's the feeling we're going for: the crowd at Webster’s Wine Bar has the intimacy of my own living room and the crazy, wine-warm secrets that have been told there.”
—Megan Stielstra, Director of Story Development
Check out the video from the local news station:
I wouldn't call a wine bar the ideal venue for storytelling, but-- according to the bar's website, surveys like Zagat's give it a rating as a top night spot right up there with the Green Mill (one of Al Capone's former speakeasys and home of the infamous poetry slam). In that company, I wouldn't mind having that venue on my resume.
Oh, it's personal storytelling. Nevermind.
Cringeworthy moment 53 seconds in:
CLTV Reporter asks: "Is there a storytelling scene in Chicago?"
Festival director: "There's a really active theatre scene, and there's a really active literary scene, and what we try to do is-- kind of-- meet in between."
Okay, granted, this is an entertainment reporter, not Woodward & Bernstein, but the fact that this answer got a pass is telling: it means that there is no Chicago storytelling scene.
(I Googled "Chicago Storytelling" and hey, the Chicago Storytelling Guild came up first. But its site hasn't been updated since 2006. So in the unlikely event of a fact checker from CLTV trying to find background on storytelling... they'd skip right past the old guard and take 2nd story at its word.)
Although the video interview emphasized the performance, browsing through the other video clips on their site and on MySpace, I found the festival gives a pass to the writers... there's a lot of "storyreading" going on too. Maybe after the third glass of pinot you don't mind that the evening's entertainment is engrossed in a piece of paper held in her hand and is reading AT YOU.
(Sorry, the snark is slipping out. My guess is that the actors all memorize their stories and the writers have their crib notes in their hands.)
Learn more at their web site,
or their MySpace page,
or this TimeOut Chicago article.
This feature at CenterStage got me laughing. As if a wine bar wasn't a difficult enough venue, the festival takes a break between each teller to have everyone taste another wine. I guess you have to be there. Just the image, though, of the juxtaposition of the seriousness of which you're presenting flights of wine with the literal spotlight on the personal storyteller is giving me a spot of cognitive dissonance.
Still, I'd love to see this once. Anyone seen it?