Cheek, Aplomb, Pathos: LA Storytelling Festival

Hear tales told by a host of accomplished yarn-spinners.

Assumptions evolve over the decades, it's true, and specific cues and images become strongly associated with a particular field or area.

Take the microphone and the brick wall. You see both, together, and likely assume you're about to hear some rapid-fire jokes, yes? Yes. And while many of us love our club comedy, we don't mind seeing storytellers nab the mic for the night and spin a few yarns, yarns that can be funny or sad or provocative or maudlin or cheeky or a little bit of all of that.

The LA Storytelling Festival is set to brick-wall-and-mic-it-up over a week-long run at various stages around town. Quick disclaimer: The man behind the fest's main mic, fest honcho Michael Duggan, is a pal to this writer, and that's no tall tale (tall though he may be).

The annual tale-a-thon from local non-profit LA Story Works rounds up a calvalcade of anecdote-spinners, performers who know how to set a tantalizing scene, build drama, throw in some laughs and/or gasps, and then wrap it up, often with a surprise twist.

As for dates? The fest is set to tickle funny bones and sad bones from Friday, Oct. 4 through Thursday, Oct. 10.

Locations'll run from iO West to the Lyric Hyperion Theatre to First & Hope.

And this isn't to imply that there will not be comedians among those talking about a funny dating story. Storytelling is a funny art, and an emotional one, so, nope, it isn't necessarily distinct from those comics who purvey in straight-up joke-telling.


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But it is a beautiful art form that's both domestic and public, something that has been practiced in private homes as well as wider venues for thousands of years. Maybe we no longer associate the mic and brick wall with a deftly told tale, but there are countless images we do associate with stories, from a rocking chair on a porch to a campfire to a few pillows around the fireplace.

Stories, in short, are best told everywhere.

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