Tuesday, October 07, 2008

True Calling: Not a Hater, a Judge

For the second time since I've been in New York, I attended the Moth, a live storytelling competition that travels from venue to venue (as well as to iTunes!). Last night it took place in the fabulous Union Hall in Park Slope. My friends and I got there early enough to snag seats, and our proximity to the stage and our Liberal Arts College vibes caught the host's attention: she tapped us to serve as one of the three teams of judges who get to rate each story.

When asked to come up with a team name related to the evening's topic of Blood, we were determined to justify her faith in us. So while the other two judging teams offered somewhat predictable ideas, "A Negative" and "True Blood," we went with "First Blush." Applause from the crowd! To which we replied, Enjoy your approval of us now because you will be booing us soon.

Yes, that's right: we, the judging team of First Blush, were booed. Why? Because we have STANDARDS, dammit! We like (a) coherence; (b) things that are funny; (c) surprises. More importantly maybe we weren't drinking, whereas by the end the hipsters packing the house were pretty tilty with wine.

I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that's why they roared at cheap shots at fat and/or androgynous people. First Blush does not stand for that shit, no sir. We will bravely hold up a 7.9 for an utterly conventional, mundane story about you getting your period while wearing borrowed shorts if you, in the telling, direct unreasonable wrath at the massive "he/she" blocking your way to the bathroom. Or your self-hating story about being a chubby kid who eats your brother's birthday cake during the night, including the line "I was fat but crafty," which involves no blood being spilt at all.

We did unite with the crowd most of the time. We gave a great score to the eventual winner, a guy whose tale about getting cheap, painful, and inept plastic surgery in college made everyone wail and cringe in sympathy. The runner up, who talked about the time he almost died after being stabbed by the Latin Kings and then, when he went home to recuperate, was thrown through the windshield of his brother's car, also had us screaming. It's a good scene, overall -- if you're in NY or LA, I definitely recommend going. And be a judge if you can! The power feels awesome and terrible in an Old Testament kind of way.


Rebecca said...

As a fellow member of your judging team, I agree with everything you said except that we were picked for our "liberal arts college vibe." As our third teammate is yelling right now in the background while I write this, who there didn't have that exact same attribute? Who knows why we were picked? We just were.

We were very good though.

herding tapeworms said...

While I don't know if I'm on board with your group name (it sounds like wine. I would have gone for something like Hematocrit, but who am I to judge), I applaud your ability to maintain your standards in the face of such hipster scrutiny.

ester said...

well, rebecca, excuse me for trying to bring order to chaos. :) i will impose a narrative on anything, and narratives demand cause and effect, but yes, technically, you (and logan) are probably right.

jj, what on earth is a hematocrit? & thank you.

herding tapeworms said...

it's a blood count