Edmonton Story Slam
August 15 (and every third Wednesday of the month), the Haven Social Club, edmontonstoryslam.com
Co-organizer Alison Hagan calls it “sports for writers,” a competition wherein storytellers exercise their creative muscles under the scrutiny of judges. If they go over seven minutes, it’s literally a gong show with an organizer hitting a gong to get them off stage.
1. What was the inaugural Edmonton Story Slam like in 2006?
The news media were the first to arrive. There were reporters and cameras — would there be an audience and writers? We braced for either doom or glory. The first event had 50 people attend with seven storytellers — success! The after-party went on until The Globe and Mail was delivered and someone said, “Hey, the morning paper’s here; maybe it’s time to bike home now.” We tipped our cups for several more hours.
2. Was there any unexpected drama at the first one?
One person got “gonged” and was told to stop. She ripped her story and stormed from the stage — all in front of the news cameras. This writer has returned many times to tell heart-warming, funny stories and has never been gonged again.
3. What are some of the memorable stories?
One person stared at the audience for a full minute before speaking a few lines and leaving the stage. Another shared sex lessons from her mother that will never be removed from memory no matter how much you try to burn it out. The winner of the very first story slam did a hilarious piece on being a vacuum salesman in New York, and the travesty of having carpet in the bathroom.