Next weekend, brave community members are invited to share their impromptu tales of “Dirty Work” for the latest rendition of the Raven Narratives.
The Raven Narratives is a storytelling event held every few months, in which locals in Montezuma and La Plata counties have a chance to take the stage and share their life experiences. Sometimes, the event centers around “curated stories,” in which storytellers spend weeks crafting and practicing their tales, but the upcoming showcase is more spontaneous: It’s a story slam, in which audience members volunteer in the moment to tell eight-minute stories.
Raven Narratives co-producer Tom Yoder said he and co-producer Sarah Syverson started holding slams over the past few years, and they’re starting to become a favorite for him.
“I think for me as a co-producer of the event, there’s just a sort of discovery of these stories, as they’re being told,” Yoder said.
It will be held Friday at James Ranch just north of Durango and Saturday at Road X Metal Werx in Yellow Jacket.
The theme for the weekend event is “Dirty Work.” When trying to figure out themes, Yoder and Syverson come up with a word or phrase that relates to a large number of people. He has wanted to theme a session “Dirty Work,” inspired by his experiences as an archaeologist and those of friends who work in the oil, gas and mining industries.
“I just feel like people that are out doing work with their hands and getting dirty eventually have good stories to tell about those experiences,” he said.
But “Dirty Work” can have other meanings, too, whether it is work that other people don’t want to do or even “slightly illegal” work.
“We felt like it was a broad enough theme that people could bring their own experiences to it and tell good stories,” Yoder said.
The Yellow Jacket venue is especially conducive to their “Dirty Work” theme, he said. David Butler and Rosie Carter have been remodeling a Quonset hut there, and Butler’s collection of tools, gear and vehicles will make a nice backdrop to the storytelling.
A slam might seem risky because producers don’t know the stories they’ll get. But Yoder said the slammers have been respectful and stayed on theme. Many of the people who decide to tell stories at a slam have come prepared, he said.