Tales from the Gripped

When your mother, a very pissed-off mermaid, says, "It is not in my power to grant you death. I can only grant you peace," you're in for it. You've been a bad, bad girl. If Ma-maid also happens to be colluding with Nature to hurl lightning bolts and icy black ocean waves at you, well, you probably need start taking some responsibility for your choices. An Afternoon of Japanese Ghost Stories and Jazz includes "Mermaid Meat" and other eye-bugging stories, as performed by accomplished storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki. The stories are scored by a rhythm section of traditional Japanese instrumentation (including the not-at-all scary taiko drum), fronted by Emmy-winning jazz composer Mark Izu. Drawing on several Japanese and other traditions — Noh and spoken word, especially — Aoki and Izu provide skillfully told giggle-frights for everyone over the age of 10.
Sun., Nov. 1, 2 p.m., 2009

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