For the this installment of Drama Talk & Drinks, Katie & Brittany went saw some live storytelling at the Verdi Club after I had to forfeit my own ticket because of work. Here’s their drama talk:
Porchlight has been going on for ten years, but we hadn’t reviewed it yet. We figured you might not have seen it yet either, so we did what any dedicated reviewers would do: we sacrificed our Monday night Mahjong to kick off our week the most raucous way late 20-something non-profit employees can, with bawdy stories, Drama Talk & Drinks.
Brittany: I was really into storytelling shows, like The Moth and Mortified, maybe 2-3 years ago. So I went to a bunch of them. For the first half dozen I was all wide-eyed and like “real-life people are more funny than professionals.” And then I went to enough of them and realized there’s a reason to have professionals. There can be really funny, really talented people who aren’t professionals, but not always, and that’s what came to mind tonight.
Katie: I’ve never been to Porchlight. I’ve only been to a few storytelling events and they can be awesome but they can also not be. They are very hit and miss events. I love stories, but I am very particular about how they’re told. The idea to me is great, but the execution rarely is. But when you hit a good night it’s so, so fun. Have a little party, have a drink, have people who live in your community tell some funny stories . . . But it just fell short to me.
B: Verdi Club is such an old man space. It feels kind of dingy, like you said earlier, it looks like a Lions Club. If you’re a performer you have to realize it looks like you’re at a retirement party, so you need to bring the energy to make it feel young, hip, edgy, fun, and that first storyteller kind of retirement mixer-ed the whole thing, even though she was young.
K: It was just a hard start. Especially after that bizarrely beautiful musical opening. I didn’t really understand it, but regardless I was very entertained. To go from that to the soft spoken, low energy “Um, hi guys, so uhhh . . . I used to be a writer . . .” was rough.
B: Yeah, it started well with the musical performance, but then the bottom fell out and it killed the momentum. The second act was pretty funny, I mean I LOL’ed. But the fact that the first act was low energy, then they started the second act with someone who didn’t even know she was going to tell a story that night, it made it that much harder for the 2nd act storytellers, who were really talented, to pull it up. They tried, they had some really funny points, but they had a lot to work against.
The Verdict: As a friend who saw the show with us said, “The point of Porchlight is to tell a funny story. In order for a story to be a story there should be something like a fucking story arc.” To put it simply, some of the storytellers fell short, but there were some funny moments, and the MC’s were fun. Maybe with a better prompt, or different performers it could be great, but Monday night was not.
The Drama Talk: Tickets were $16 once you paid the processing fee. You can find tickets on Goldstar to watch professional comedians do a show for $10, so part of the high-expectations came from the high price (I know, we’re cheap). We couldn’t find discount tickets to Porchlight anywhere, so it looks like you’re stuck with the full-price ticket. The Porchlight “Open Door” night, their open mic night which happens monthly, is only $5 and is arguably as funny, if not funnier, than these more curated performances. That may be a good place to start if you want to give Porchlight a shot, same funny MC’s, lower prices and expectations.
The Drinks: We went to Mission Hill Saloon, which was formerly The-Bar-With-The-Long-Name-Involving-Some-Chick-Named-Evelyn. It’s old school Mission [Ed. note: Maybe on the Potrero Avenue side of Potrero Hill, unless you go by 101 boundaries, but feels like old school Mission just the same], a little too far for Mission gentrification to reach, so it still feels a little like a real dive, despite The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and other black and white movies they’re screening. We imagine this is where the old men from Verdi came after their Lion’s Club meeting to get sloshed, so it seemed like a good fit. After a super strong daiquiri at Verdi Club, Brittany opted to slow things down with a hard cider. Katie, never one to call it early, stuck with her signature rum and coke.
Porchlight has two shows monthly, their curated show and their Open Door night. Themes change monthly so check out their website for their upcoming show topics and dates – Heck, if you’re feeling ballsy you can even tell your own story at one of their Open Door events. If you know what a story arc is you just might win $50.