After our main-stage “That’s All Folks!” storytellers, four audience members took the stage with their own five-minute tales of farewells.
All of the Slam participants faced said ‘so long’ to the fear of stepping in front of roomful of strangers and sharing their lives, right off the top of their heads. We applaud them for taking part in our final farewell.
Join us for The Last Drunken Telegraph, 6/13/15 7:30p at Tacoma’s Broadway Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets here: http://bit.ly/1SAzwQU
When Tad and I started Drunken Telegraph back in 2012, we were both at turning points in our lives. Three years, eleven shows, six workshops, three Story Snapshot booths, and more than sixty stories later, we find ourselves at another crossroads. So, we will bring our community storytelling project to a close with our final show,That’s All, Folks! Stories about Endings, Goodbyes and Moving On.
Our initial vision for Drunken Telegraph was to create a space where people could gather and share the kind of stories they usually only told on first dates, at family reunions, or to friends over drinks. If we shared those stories with strangers, we surmised, we might not feel so much like strangers anymore. At coffee houses, restaurants, bars, and a black box theatre, we have been delighted to host evenings where that exact transformation occurred. Even more, we discovered diverse and dynamic storytelling talents around Puget Sound.
As a long-time radio host and producer, I dreamed of creating a show like this. In Seattle, I loved taking part in A Guide to Visitors, Seattle’s longest-running curated personal storytelling show. Started by my former colleague at KUOW, Jeannie Yandel, AGTV showed me how fun and moving a night of real-life stories could be. Jeannie helped me figure out how to structure the show, and gave me valuable advice about keeping it running.
Tad and I were neighbors for ten years and always enjoyed sharing personal stories with each other. He was the first person I thought of to help develop the show here in Tacoma. Lucky for me, he agreed. Having grown up around stories in the rodeo scene of Eastern Washington, he had fond memories of men whiling away hours sharing their escapades. For me, storytelling was woven so deep in the cultural fabric of my North Carolina upbringing, I didn’t realize I was doing it until I moved to the Northwest.
We pored over Murray Morgan’s Puget’s Sound, looking for inspiration to name our fledging show, along with my husband (and our designer), Britton Sukys, and agreed that we all wanted to capture an old-timey appeal. We imagined townsfolk gathered around the pub fireplace, regaling their neighbors with their greatest adventures and most painful lessons. We wanted a name that evoked the character of Tacoma, as well as the tone of the storytelling. That’s when we ran across this quote from Rudyard Kipling, describing Tacoma on his visit in 1889:
“Overhead the drunken telegraph, telephone and electric-light wires tangled on tottering posts whose butts were half whittled through by the knife of the loafer.”
– from Tacoma Public LIbrary
We all raised our beers because we recognized that city. And so, “Drunken Telegraph” was born.
Having had so much fun and so many powerful performances, it’s hard to say goodbye. In fact, when it comes to stories, endings are the hardest part…and also the most critical. It’s not until the end of a story that you actually know what it all meant. So, even though we’d love to keep the party rolling, our personal paths are pulling us toward new horizons.
If movies taught us anything, it’s that you gotta know when to go.
On the bright side, we’re not in *that* movie. We’re not leaving the country, or even the city. Thankfully, we’re also not fleeing a fascist regime. Instead, we’re stepping away to be able to develop our next big dreams. And, knowing how fundamental storytelling is to both of us, you can bet we’re not done sharing the experience of true tales told in Tacoma.
So, in accepting the need for our own transformations, we looked to the great movies again to find another way to end Drunken Telegraph’s story.
Before we hop into our hot-rod Delorean and put on our gold shades (remember, Back to the Future 2 takes Marty to October 21, 2015), let’s have one more big evening of stories to remind us that the ending of one story is just the beginning of the next.
All of the Slam members faced the terrifying initiation of stepping in front of roomful of strangers and sharing their lives, right off the top of their heads. We welcome them to the “Member Only” Story Club.
While Groucho Marx didn’t care to belong to any club that would have him as a member, it’s human nature to want to be a part of the crowd. At our next show on Saturday, March 28, 2015, we have a lineup of storytellers recounting hilarious, tragic, and life-changing experiences of fitting in, falling out and finding your tribe. Get…
As Tacoma celebrated the dawn of 2015 with its First Night Festival, we carted our Port-A-Parlor up to the Pantages Theatre’s front porch to ask people to share their most memorable experiences of the year.
Visitors ranged in age from nine to seven-times-nine. Each one stepped inside our mobile studio and shared the sad, surprising, troubling, and terrific events that will always remind them of the Year That Was 2014.
We had a fabulous New Year’s Eve, sharing and recording stories at First Night Tacoma Pierce County. Audio from the Story Snapshot Booth is on the way, but first, a slideshow of the evening. PHOTOS: Britton Sukys
Stories aren’t just for the stage. They can happen anywhere and anytime people gather for community, connection and celebration. With our Story Snapshot Booth, we capture those stories in their natural habitat.
A couple weeks ago, we took the mobile “Port-a-Parlor” to the Washington State CASA Conference to collect stories about helping foster children through tough times. More than twenty men and women stepped inside a converted minivan to open up about the lessons, rewards and transformations they experienced in their volunteer work.
A minivan disguised as an inviting conversation parlor.
When I sat down to record the stories, I expected to hear about real-life events. So, the story below surprised me. And yet, in ninety seconds, Ramona gave me a resonant image of what it means to volunteer for CASA.
CASA is a nationwide non-profit that recruits, screens, trains, and supervises community volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused, abandoned, and neglected children moving through the family court system. The program grew out of a group started by a King County Superior Court judge in 1977.
Volunteers are not social workers or foster parents. They advocate solely for the child and are trained to offer an informed and objective perspective on the child’s best interest. In doing that, they draw on their own judgment in conjunction with regular training.
This story sounds like it’s headed for tragedy, but then passes through Patty Murray’s office and ultimately gives Karen a lesson she’ll never forget.
In this story, Carrie stands behind a teenager with a track record of drug abuse and petty crimes to keep him out of juvenile detention.
People of all ages, backgrounds and points-of-view volunteer, each bringing their own unique perspective and life skills. Advocating for children changed a lot of attitudes Bob formed in his corporate career, but he finds his business acumen gives him the ability to make a difference in the lives of the littlest children.