Chaos Attraction

Sierra Storytelling Festival 2018, Day 2

2018-07-21, 10:15 p.m.

On Saturday, each of the storytellers (except Izzy, doing hosting duties) gets an hour to tell during the day. Then there’s the Story Slam competition in the late afternoon, followed by another all night show with all the storytellers.

They started out with a local teller in the early morning, a guy named Caleb who grew up hippie in this area. This was a great story because he was raised very hippie and when the teacher gave him the opportunity to direct/write the Christmas play, he decided to write a story about the commercialization of Christmas, starring himself as “Hanukkah the elf,” leading the revolution. Mysteriously, the principal ends the show early, which confused Caleb. This led to a religious controversy and Steve Sanfield, the founder of the festival, coming over to the house to have a talking to with Caleb about how the Jewish community found naming the “bad guy” Hanukkah to be offensive. Caleb said that he thought the name Hanukkah was cool and that Hanukkah was supposed to be the good guy! Even though Caleb was being raised Hindu at the time, his dad was all, “Well, I got raised Jewish too,” and soon Caleb started learning about his Jewish heritage and well, becoming a Hinju. This was a good one.

Charlotte: She told a story about this girl who was always taking care of her brothers after their parents died, and when her brothers demanded that they get armor made out of the shining skins of some people who like to eat other people, she gets it. (And then never ever did anything for them again. Hah.) She also talked about how she didn’t like rap--she prefers jazz or oldies--but when her son got into rap, she started listening to it. She then decided that rap was a tool and then wrote her own a cappella rap about Louis Armstrong. This was badass.

Larry: Dawn wandered off at this point to go hang out with Mary and work on the tapestry, and I probably should have followed at this point because dear lord, did I zone out. I think he was telling something about Rabbit and a hole.

Clare: She told another story about a single awkward Irish man who found a golden ball and then hired a lady named Mary to clean his house for him because he had a crush on her. He asked to marry her and she said she wasn’t able to--and then she got sick and died. He threw a three day and night wake for her and at midnight the first two nights, a strange (probably fairy) dude shows up and asks the corpse, “Did you find it yet?” And the dead Mary sits up, says she hasn’t, and then goes back to being dead. On the third night, the priest gets up the nerve to ask the fairy dude wtf is going on, and the dude said he’s from another land, and so is Mary, and she got sent to find a missing golden ball of theirs but she never found it. The Irish man is all, “Oh, I know where it is,” hands it off, and then Mary resurrects again. As she’s about to be dragged off by the fairy man, she tells her boss to ask her that question again. He proposes, she says yes, the fairy man leaves, and they get married on the spot.

Charlie: Charlie did some kind of Cloud Atlas sort of thing in which he’d tell a story, stop halfway through and then have a character start telling another story, and then another story... Most memorably, I attempted to write down what was going on with the following:

“When you get to the end money when you hang yourself, fake feces and pee cinnamon sticks and honey and wine.”

What the hell was I referring to? I believe it was the story where some guy inherited money from his dad and had some kind of instructions as to what to do when he “got to the end.” Meanwhile, dude blows his money on a uh, “singing girl,” and falls in love, and someone suggests that to fall out of love with her, he should smell her chamber pot. So he asks the “singing girl’s” maid for the chamberpot, but the maid ain’t stupid and she doctors the chamberpot with cinnamon sticks, honey, and wine. Boy, was he surprised!

Vicki told a series of stories about her daughter, protests and politics, her husband killing himself, and general anxiety. The most memorable one to me was the one where Vicki was driving her (nondriving) daughter all over the East Coast for college tours, and the daughter would fall asleep in the car every night. I was all, OH MY MOM WOULD NOT LET ME DO THAT NO NO NO, and eventually when things get really bad, Vicki wakes up her kid and tells her she needs to start keeping her awake. So the daughter called her friends and her friends would make up songs for them. That’s adorable.

I did not participate in the Story Slam, which made me a sad panda.
Stories I can still kind of remember from the event, which again was themed with “Bon Voyage:”

* a turtle that managed to travel all the way to Sacramento from Grass Valley (it got a ride).
* The winning story featured a lady who bought a suitcase that had a phone charger within, except she had two “male” ends and needed a “female” one. The term for this is a “coupler.” So she went to Target, said she wanted a female coupler, and the sales clerk reasonably assumed she was looking for sex toys. So guess what she uses the chargable suitcase to do?

Yes, somehow this had enough innuendo to get the point across while technically still not being dirty. I wish I could think of a way to do that with the cat story, except once you get to the Q-tip....

From the evening show, here’s what I sort of have down:

* Vicki learned how to shoot guns and fed the homeless.
* Izzy met Charles Manson when his family went to the Manson Ranch during his sister’s “horse” phase. He was 12 years old and made out with one of the adult ladies (Leslie) on the ranch, which he enjoyed at first and then started feeling disturbed about. Holy shiiiiiiiit.
* Charlie had a story about an anxious dead wife haunting her husband from beyond the grave when he started to get interested in another woman. He asks his ex-father-in-law for help and the ex-FIL suggests to get a bowl of beans by the bed and when she drops by, take a handful of beans and ask her how many he has. She can’t answer--because the husband doesn’t know either.
* Charlotte sung the story of John Henry, very well.

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