Anna is a touring poet based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She recently graduated from Macalester College with an honors degree in English. While at Macalester, Anna represented the school three times at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, performing on finals stage in 2012. This summer, Anna is on the Twin Cities United team competing at the National Poetry Slam Former director of the Macalester Poetry Slam, the official twit for @buttonpoetry, and Beard Poetry author, Anna enjoys whiskey and naps with her dog Franklin.
ARTICLES OF CONFABULATION
"This fella takes things seriously. It isn't safe to ask him a simple question."
- Groucho Marx, Animal Crackers
I'm currently in the middle of a four-month, ten-city tour of a political comedy show entitled Indefinite Articles: A Libertarian Rage.
Word Sprout is growing it's online presence and is in the process of starting a TV show on a local Minneapolis station! We are looking for somebody that is interested in filming and/or editing film for us. Free entry to all our shows and stipend. Can have own equipment or work with ours. Training and classes can be provided for the right person. Access to professional sound stages, programs, etc. If interested please send a paragraph describing why you'd be the perfect candidate to email@example.com. Deadline August 1st.
Story Slam 2014-2015 Season Announcement!
This season storytellers will have a cliche to work off of as their theme. We know our writers though-they will dig in and share stories in the least cliched way imaginable! Start working on your stories now. Remember that you get 5 minutes to share your story on the topic for the month. Can't wait to see you at the season kick-off in September!
Announcing the 2014-2015 Themes
Sep 2nd YOLO (You Only Live Once!)
Oct 7th In the Dog House
Nov 4th More Fun Than a Barrel of Monkeys
Dec 2nd Give 110%
Jan 6th SEMI-FINALS #1 It's Greek to Me
Feb 3rd Spill the Beans
March 3rd Pull a Fast One
April 7th When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do
May 5th Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
June 2nd SEMI-FINALS #2 Playing Hardball
July 7th GRAND SLAM Carpe Diem (Seize the Day!)
TOPPLING FREYTAG'S PYRAMID
"...thought - that is, the faculty of saying what is possible and pertinent in given circumstances. In the case of oratory, this is the function of the political art and of the art of rhetoric: and so indeed the older poets make their characters speak the language of civic life; the poets of our time, the language of the rhetoricians."
- Aristotle, The Poetics (trans. Samuel Henry Butcher)
There's a pretty famous image that I think most of were introduced to some version of back in high school:
That's Freytag's Pyramid, and after having spent two decades performing for audiences, nearly everything about it strikes me as wrong.
DYSAUTONOMIA AND APOPHENIA
"It is...characteristic that not only a man's knowledge or wisdom, but above all his real life -- and this is the stuff that stories are made of -- first assumes transmissible form at the moment of his death..."
- Walter Benjamin, The Storyteller
I'd say that I fell backwards into storytelling if that wasn't blindingly obvious -- just about everybody does. There's not a lot of kids who say "I want to be a storyteller when I grow up," though I did go through a rather embarrassing period as a teenager when I planned to study storytelling among African tribes. (I've since seen enough tribal storytelling to have both a healthy admiration for it, and to realize that context is everything. I couldn't entertain their audiences and they couldn't entertain mine. We're overspecialized, and I gave up on the myth of universal art a long time ago.)
In any case, some approach it from stand-up, others from slam poetry; some from acting, others from improv. My way in was as a playwright, and in retrospect all of the signs of a frustrated storyteller were there: the scripts are thick with long, dense, rambling monologues.
phillip andrew bennett low is a Chinese-American playwright and poet, storyteller and mime, theatre critic and libertarian activist. His solo performances have won acclaim from Minneapolis to Chicago, DC to LA -- even as far as Melbourne, Australia. He is the co-founder of the Rockstar Storytellers and was founder and producer of the touring theatre troupe Maximum Verbosity. He can see be seen at this year's Minnesota Fringe Festival in his own show Indefinite Articles: A Libertarian Rage.
My life is so exciting right now, and it blows my mind every time I think about my calendar. Here are some things you should know about:
Sundays, 12-2 at the Fox Egg Gallery in Minneapolis, I founded and run a weekly poetry workshop called Well-Placed Commas (we don’t actually care about commas, don’t worry). This is a 16+ space, and we do a lot of generative writing, as well as editing, as well as just having a great old time. For more info, check out my website (linked at the bottom) or Word Sprout’s calendar.
I’m on the Twin Cities Adult Nationals Team, so come check me out in Oakland August 6-10 for NPS if you’re up for it.
I’m also in a million shows for fundraising for Nationals, most of which are at either Kieran’s Irish Pub in Minneapolis or Camp Bar in St. Paul. All those dates are on my website as well under the “Shows” section.
I don’t want to repeat a bunch of the same things that other artists have blogged about, and really, they all give great advice, so check them out. I’m going to give mostly writing notes, but I also have a page on performance somewhere out there on the internet.
Here’s my spin on things condensed into five happy little bullet points:
#1. Show us, don’t tell us. For example, instead of telling us that you were sad (or happy, or angry, etc.), show us the situation that made you feel that way, and let us draw our own conclusions. It shows that you trust us as an audience to empathize with you (and we also won’t get bored of you trying to explain things to us that we already emotionally understand).
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