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Judith Black Wins the Massmouth Contest, 2010 With: Judith Black [website]
"Story Slams," spoken-word contests and fringe-style events are becoming popular places for new interpretations of storytelling. Driven mostly by humorous, personal stories, these events have moved storytelling from the "traditional" places such as libraries, festivals and classrooms to bars, theaters, street events and other very approachable places. In essence, these events are the new front porch of America. These stories are as well likely to be viewed not only by the audience present at the actual event but thousands times of times via Internet video. Unlike the front-porch of yesteryear, these stories are compact five-minute creations with an audience who might be drinking lemonades both hard and soft. Differing from these new events, no one on the Old Front Porch was voting on whether Grandpa Joe or Uncle Jim had the winning story of the night.
Some storytellers from the "traditional" side of things are exploring these new avenues of expression. Recently, international and award-winning storyteller Judith Black participated in the Massmouth "The Big Mouth-Off" in April. Telling a story of meeting her active-duty son home from military service in Iraq, she took first place for this contest.
We thought it would be interesting to talk to Judith about the experience of a traditional "national level" teller taking on this new paradigm. Sean Buvala's interview with Judith follows.
We suggest you watch the video of the performance first, before you listen to the interview.
This interview is presented in MP3 files. Here's a breakdown of the interview:
In Part One, Judith discusses the Massmouth program and process. She and Sean talk about what the implications of this storytelling model means to the storytelling community.
In Part Two, Judith talks about the content of her story, the process of creating a personal story and how she set aside some personal ideals in order to create the focus of her story.
In Part Three, Sean learns about the fabulous prizes a first place winner gets at Massmouth and Judith gives her advice for other storytellers who might be interested in participation in future spoken-word events.
In Part Four, you can hear can hear the interview in its entirety, start to finish, in a single file.