I’m on vacation but I have an inspiration for a post so I’m writing this from Berkeley, California.
Seven years ago Beth Lisick and Arline Klatte invited six people from different backgrounds to tell ten-minute true stories at a San Francisco club. Porchlight Storytelling was successful from the start, attracting a diverse Bay Area audience and storytellers from hipsters to dotcom execs. I went to a show about 6 years ago and loved it so much that I imported the model to Tucson.
Writer/performer Beth (disclaimer, she’s my daughter-in-law) told me about the beginnings of Porchlight. She was invited to tell a story at The Moth, the New York City storytelling event that came to San Francisco for a show, and a club owner suggested that she start a storytelling event in San Francisco. Since she was involved in the poetry slam community where it was common to start new events, she decided to just do it.
Beth and Arline are easygoing hosts at this popular monthly event that attracts hundreds of people. They’re a good team because they have different connections so they can feature a diverse group of storytellers.
Although it’s difficult to get everyone together for a rehearsal, Beth says it makes a better and more cohesive show when all the storytellers can hear each other’s story and get and give feedback.
Mostly the stories are well received but they did have an unpleasant surprise once when a volunteer from the audience told an unrehearsed story that turned out to be racist. When Arline and Beth returned to the stage they weren’t sure how to handle it so they announced that they don’t agree with the views and opinion of all the storytellers.
After six years of running the event on their own, Porchlight was picked up for sponsorship by Friends of the San Francisco Library. Beth and Arline are branching out into teaching and will be presenting a four-week workshops at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco.
Beth, besides being a published author, is half of the comedy duo Groomed for Success with Tara Jepsen, and she’s working on another book.