A story about a disastrous motor scooter ride will be just one of several tales featured this Friday at the Ypsi Story Slam sponsored by Concentrate and On the Ground Ypsilanti.
The event featuring storytellers from Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 30 at Ziggy's, 206 W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsi. Following up on a successful first storytelling event in December 2018, Concentrate and On the Ground are bringing back the event, this time with a theme of "transportation." Jesse Arehart-Jacobs, an Ypsi resident since 2010 and assistant manager at Beezy's Cafe, will tell a story that includes the motor scooter ride.
"When I was 21, I went on a week-long trip to the Bahamas with a girlfriend I should have broken up with three months ago," he says. The first day of the trip was a disaster and set the tone for the rest of the trip, he says.
Yodit Mesfin Johnson told a story at the 2018 storytelling night and will return for the new event. She says that in addition to feeling excited about telling her own story, she was "completely mesmerized" by other storytellers' tales at the first event.
"I chose to come back to the Concentrate/OTG storytelling event because I find storytelling such a powerful (and cathartic) way to speak our truths and draw nearer to each other," she says in an email interview. "As a black woman, inserting my voice and my experience into narratives that often exclude me and others like me — and adding to our community's stories — feels like a sweet form of resistance."
Other confirmed storytellers for the Aug. 30 event include Yen Azzaro, graphic artist and co-organizer of social art group Y-Fi, and Noah Rucker, founder of Star Six Entertainment. The full roster of storytellers will be announced the night of the event.
The event will begin with mingling at 6:30 p.m. and stories will begin at 7:00 p.m. After the storytelling, music will be provided by rapper Lucy Lujah. A limited amount of free food and drink tickets will be available for attendees who arrive early. Additional food and beverages can be purchased directly from Ziggy's. Please RSVP for the event here.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.