Back in the day, storytelling was a way of preserving history and culture. Today, it's somewhat of a lost art. "It's really unfamiliar to people today," says local storyteller Brian Herod. "I want to get people curious." Herod hopes to bring storytelling back with "Stories from the Edge."
"This event takes the art to new territory," says Herod. "We'll present work that challenges people's conception of storytelling." And that means getting naughty. The funnier, edgier, sexier or more disturbing the material, the happier Herod will be. His own work falls in the magical-realism category, chronicling the darkly comic shenanigans of the fictional East Texas town of Wyattsville.
The idea of a storytelling performance strictly for adults is attractive to other Houston practitioners of the craft. When Scott Wilson was approached to participate, he jumped at the chance. "Brian and I both like to push the envelope and question conventions," he says. According to Wilson, most conventional storytelling is heavy on the folk tales and light on irony. "I never fit into that," says Wilson. "I write all my own stories." Having been described as "consistently set on 'disturb' mode," the man is famous for his vampire tales.
Booked every Friday and Saturday night in April, the event also features Alice Evergreen's steamy "Planet Sparkle" series. The sexually suggestive tales follow the adventures of a young woman on an alien planet, à la Barbarella.
In performance, expect a loose, laid-back affair with different stories and participants every night. Think stand-up comedy instead of theater. According to Herod, some people aren't quite sure what to make of "Stories from the Edge," but the curious are catching on. At similar events in New York, celebs Ethan Hawke and Janeane Garofalo have told a story or two. "It's in a stage of planting seeds," says Herod.