Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stories of Love and Sex

My favorite podcast, without a doubt, is the Moth -- real stories, told live, without notes. To my chagrin, the Moth is recorded in New York and L.A., with Chicago and Detroit as new locations. How tragic and sad for me. My love for stories is as boundless as the infinite universe (or as unbounded as the expanding universe before it decides to collapse should that be the case). When I caught wind of the annual International Storyteller's Festival in Qubec, I had to attend. And what better night to catch these word weavers than the night entitled Stories of Love and Sex?

The night brought four enchanters, wizards of words. I don't have enough praise for the experience. I sat in the back, expecting to bolt at any moment, only to find myself drunk with delight. Kicking things off was Quebec storyteller Stepahnie Beneteau. Her small frame and firey hair caught my attention before she spoke. Then, she launched into a story of an ancient Chinese man who coaxes his frigid wife into trying out some new positions. The audience roared with laughter at the euphemistic names for sexual positions.

She was followed by Alan Shain, a man whose obvious disability was first shocking and then forgotten as his story about how a Native American man uses the help of the village shaman to fashion a mighty, detachable penis in hopes of seducing the disinterested Pawamis.

After Alan was Yukon storyteller Ivan E. Coyote. She told a story that certainly sounded autobiographical, though one can never be certain with stories. Fiction and non-fiction weave together, and a good story-teller can tell a story that sounds autobiographical, but is not. The story was about finding love with a much younger, newly gay woman.

Last but not least was Jan Blake, of the UK and Jamaica. She was the "headliner" I suppose, but all four storytellers were amazing in their own way. Jan Blake was best at holding the audience under her spell. She told three stories (I think there were three!) that were drawn from Jamaican folk culture. Each was funny, somewhat erotic, and certainly ripe with humanity.

As the festival continues, I will hopefully be able to report back on some of the other delightful theme evenings that occur.

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