I am an occasional storyteller at Seattle’s A Guide to Visitors and, late last year, participated in one of their “Best Of” shows. Shortly thereafter I was contacted by B. Frayn Masters, who asked if I would come to Portland and for a similar event that she hosts, a series I knew nothing about called Back Fence PDX. Because Frayn and I have been friends for twenty years, and because I am magnanimous to a fault, I agreed to lend my star-power to her adorable little show, with its audience of presumably no more than a dozen people, composed entirely of family members and devoted friends of the storytellers.
The theme of the evening was “Our Bodies, Ourselves”. Frayn and I spoke several times by phone regarding my story and, in perhaps our third conversation, she mentioned the venue, the Portland Center Stage. “We don’t usually have it there,” she told me, “but we had to get a larger theater for this audience, considering its size.”
“Oh really?” I said, mentally revising my attendance projections to a score or more. “How many people do you expect?”
“Well, the first 800 tickets were gone in a few hours,” she replied, “although we’ve got some more in reserve.”
Oh. Oh my. I have never done anything in front on a crowd even a quarter of that size, outside of anxiety dreams.
Fortunately I arrived onstage very well prepared. By which I mean that the storytellers received complementary beer, and I helped myself to several before it was my turn in front of the horde.
Another storyteller was a gentleman by the name of Arthur Bradford. Ten years ago Mr. Bradford made a small independent film called “How’s Your News”, which I loved and raved about on defective yeti. And Authur remembered this because, at the time, my review was one of the few accounts of his movie available on the web. It was a total moment, he and I realizing all this as we chatted before the show.
I had to go on stage immediately after that performance. Sucks to be me!
The last story of the evening was told by Lauren Weedman, who’s like a bigshot fancypants real life actress, with an IMDB page and eveything. If you watch only one of these videos it should be this one, unless you suffer from Sudden Onset Laughter Induced Death Syndrome, in which case avoid.