[Editor's note: Josh Potter is the new book intern. He attended a reading we recommended last week. Here's what he thought:]
Although Dan Kennedy — of the Moth StorySLAM and Moth podcast fame — was there, Friday night's event at the Theater Off Jackson was in no way a sophisticated evening of storytelling and story-listening. That's not to say that it wasn't sophisticated. Or that there weren't stories. And that people weren't listening. But it was more of a variety show for sophisticated storytellers and entertainers to practice and exercise their more outlandish performances. That's probably why the event's producers—Portland storytelling and sketch comedy troupe Back Fence PDX —called it “Entertainment for People.” They pretty much covered all the bases with that name.
Portland writer and small press owner (because everyone in Portland runs a small press) Kevin Sampsell read a series of powerfully tragic tales of dry-humping and failed musician-mystics. Back Fence PDX ambassadors B. Frayn Masters and Megean Kate performed a skit that involved two adult humans pretending to be a baby kitten and a curmudgeonly yellow labrador. There was a standup comedian, an off-Broadway producer with a single electronic keyboard and, of course, Dan Kennedy reading letters addressed to his own sister that had something to do with a submarine.
People drank beer and ate free doughnuts. And unlike the conclusion of any Moth story, the end wasn't ushered in by a single poignant sentence wherein the narrator learns some life lesson that goes along with a predetermined theme. Instead, Entertainment for People did The Moth one better: it ended with an audience sing-a-long.