Live and Learn

Last month, I was invited to read at Blaise Kearsley’s show, “How I Learned,” a monthly series staged at a former Chinatown massage parlor called Happy Ending.  Typically, I avoid readings.  They can be twee and pretentious and self-serving, and the pages form a weird barrier between the storyteller and audience.  Plus, a lot of good writers can’t read.

But the theme for this night was “How I Learned I Might Be Obsessed,” and I happen to have a really twee, self-serving story about this very topic.  And having it on paper meant I wouldn’t have to commit it to memory, and I’d have something to hold between myself and the audience.  And besides, it was the night of the Moth Grand Slam, the grandaddy of storytelling events.  There was no pressure.  I mean, who the hell is going to schlep all the way over to Chinatown on a Grand Slam night?

Answer: everybody.  The place was packed.  Cheek-to-jowl, standing room only, and I didn’t recognize a single face.  Blaise does an amazing job of spreading the word, helped along by glowing recommendations in Time Out and New York Magazine.  She does an even better job hosting, giving hilarious glimpses into her own obsession (Oprah) with a mixture of humility and generosity rarely seen in somebody whose name is that close to the title.

My fellow readers slayed me.  The stories were captivating, the audience responsive, the air positively tingling.  I hadn’t had this much fun in – or at – a story event in ages.  Here’s our hostess’s take on the evening:

This month is “How I Learned to Lie, Cheat or Steal,” featuring Ophira Eisenberg and Andy Christie, the host of The Liar Show – my other favorite event of all time.  It’s an incestuous night on the Lower East Side, and you don’t want to miss it.  On Wednesday the 24th, get yourself to Happy Ending.


~ by tracyrowland on February 21, 2010.

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