Best Spoken Word Series - 2006
Some say that storytelling is a dying art. And it is true that most spoken word events are litanies of personal narratives and performative swoops ad nauseam. But the Porch Light Series brings universal truth back, proving that anyone with a good tale to tell can take the mike. Make no mistake: Organizers Beth Lisick and Arline Klatte are selective enough that angry political rants and off-color stand-up comedy have no place on their stage. "Performance" is off limits, too, and they cap each storyteller at a democratic 10 minutes. Here you'll find anecdotes of the old-fashioned, beginning-middle-end sort of the kind you'd be likely to overhear at an interesting cocktail party. Grandmothers, cops, prostitutes, and forensic scientists are sandwiched between acts by local literary talents, with yarns that range from side-splitting to tear-jerking. The monthly events are themed: A "Kitchen Confidential" night, for example, offered plenty of food for thought about power lunches, meat grinders, behind-the-counter incidents, and gourmet sojourns in exotic countries. Whatever it's serving, Porch Light succeeds because it knows the charm of the open mike lies not in abstract hipster-speak, but in the simple profundity of the human experience.