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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Mike Miller How to handle criticism? (134* d) RE: How to handle criticism? 18 Jun 07

I would like to reply to those who see a sharp divide between song and story. Song and spoken word have been integral in entertainment since, ay least, as far back as Greek theater. Shakespeare's plays include many musical interludes. Poets, in my time, were accompanied by jazz combos. In my youth, I had a job as a guitarist, playing for Beat poets in a coffeehouse. Is "Alice's Restaurant" a song with a story or a story with a song?
Northerner's problem, I believe, is that the modern "folk" audience is used to songs and blanches at the thought of stories. The trick, with these people, is to not announce that you are about to tell a story. Hold on to an instrument (You might, even, want to strum it now and then but that is not, strictly, neccesary) and, if you really want to grab their attention, tell the story as if it happened to you or to someone you know. That is called personalizing.
If it is a story from long ago (and if you can't change it to fit you or a friend), localize it with place names, something your listeners can identify with. I tell tales about my family, back in the shtet'l, not all of which, are true. OK, none of which are true.
Once, I was doing a show at a Jewish senior facility, telling very entertaining lies about my grandparents, when I spotted my aunt and uncle in the audience. They never gave me away and, in fact, they were laughing as hard as anyone.


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