Sunday, May 13, 2018

Scranton Fringe Festival StorySlam: Word to Your Mother

I was there at the beginning, for the very first one...the first Scranton StorySlam. The brainchild (and senior project) of Madeline Zoë McNichols, it took place on March 31, 2012 in the Penn Avenue location of the Vintage Theater. I only attended one StorySlam since then, the second one, held June 30, 2012 at the now-closed Banshee, but numerous others have been held over the last six years.

Since 2016, the Scranton StorySlams have fallen under the umbrella of the Scranton Fringe Festival, a multi-day, multi-venue arts festival which has recently come under fire from a single politician who questions why taxpayer funds should be used (in the form of grants) to fund the perverted arts.

On Saturday, May 12, the Scranton Fringe Festival presented another StorySlam, a Mothers' Day-themed night called "Word to Your Mother," held on the third floor of the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple - a huge venue that also happened to be presenting "Beautiful: The Carole King Story" on the same night. I drove there with a friend who was also one of the presenters, and I dropped her off in front of the Center and went off to find a parking space. (I finally found one over two blocks away. This will be important later.)

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The ceiling of the lobby on the third floor is a work of art.
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Decaying beauty: The paint is peeling and the illuminated clock is stuck at 7:50, but the room where the StorySlam was held is gorgeous.
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Detail of the ceiling. Flower, squid, or something else?

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Monica Noelle, founder of #BeKindScranton, tells a story of siblings lost, and mothers found.

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Musician and D.J. Justin Pardo tells the story of how he disappointed his mother by nearly getting killed twice in one night.
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Alicia Nordstrom tells her winning story of why you should always have the diaper bag with you.
Eight storytellers told their true tales of being mothers, adventures with their mothers, or the special relationship between mother and child. The walls of the third floor of the Scranton Cultural Center rocked with laughter and applause. It was a great night, and I wish a certain County Commissioner had been in attendance.

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Window nook in small side stairwell.

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The view from the third floor through ancient drawn sheet glass windows.

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The Scranton Cultural Center.
The event drew to a close and the attendees headed out to their cars or to wait for rides, including from drivers in private cars driving for the currently-popular ride-sharing service Uber. I suggested that my friend, who recently had knee surgery, wait for me while I retrieve the car and pick her up. I hiked the two blocks - uphill this time - to where I had left the car, and was grateful to find it still there. I then wormed my way through the maze of one-way streets to get in a position to pick up my friend.

As I pulled up in front of the Scranton Cultural Center I saw that there were several cars lined up in front of it. I made my way to the front of the line and put on my flashers while I scanned the area for my friend. As I waited, I saw someone else smile and wave and begin to approach me. Who is this woman?, I wondered - and then I realized: she thought I was her ride. She thought I was there to pick her up. I frantically shook my head and, I think, locked the doors to keep this woman from getting in. Then I saw my friend approaching in the rear-view mirror from much further back in the line of cars. I unlocked the doors and let her in.

I was about to tell her the story of what had happened when she said, "I just tried to get into somebody else's car. It looked just like this one."

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