REVIEW: Word of Mouth StorySLAM

The Word of Mouth StorySLAM took place on Friday December 9th at Work Gallery on State St. The theme of the night was “Stuffed,” and while hors d’oeuvres included double stuffed Oreos and peanut butter filled pretzels, the theme garnered stories beyond the topic of food.

The first story of the night, told by senior Art and Design student Laura Gilmore, told of a performance art piece she created in which she stuffed a box full of her ex-boyfriends belongings and presented them to him in a dramatic- yet unsuccessful- fashion. Another, told by LSA sophomore Sylvia Gindick, was about the time she was quarantined in France because a member of her American travel group spread Swine flu to the country. Her companions were advertised in the French news as American bearers of infectious contagions. She stuffed into a clinic and detained as a result. Embarrassing.

Food related stories included one by Word of Mouth regular Garnett Bruell: the magic of his grandmother’s cranberry sauce had the power to nearly mend his dysfunctional family at a holiday meal. In one less sentimental by sophomore Hania Bigoszewska, her dog scarfed a wedding cake master piece that her mother labored over for hours. The dog was banished to the yard for days. For shame.

It was not only students who participated but townies as well. Austin Murphy, avid member of the Ann Arbor Atheists, made a brief guest appearance, delivering a story that hardly referenced the theme but did include talk of the origin of the universe, a tale about mama cave bears, and a shameless plug for his new book…? Oh Ann Arbor locals…

RC sophomore John Coats delivered the winning story of the night. In a series of chaotic events in an unexpected hospital visit, he unconsciously mooned an attractive nurse through the revealing flaps of his hospital gown. Oops! Guess it happens to the best of us. As a prize, John is invited back as a story teller in the final Grand Slam event of the year in April.

In between stories, the MC reads anonymous mini-slips submitted by audience members. Last night included short tales of being stuffed to the brim in competitive eating contests as well as a few suggestive ones about what “Stuffed” might denote, but those are too lewd to be repeated here.

Overall, the night was a success. The gallery space was decked out with student art work from the A&D All Student Exhibition, giving the white walls a flare that enhanced the creativity of the gathering. While Word of Mouth usually packs the room, however, attendance last night was lower than usual. Could have been because of finals or the plethora of other end-of-semester events taking place simultaneously, including F.O.K.U.S’s Pause, which was happening down the street at the Kelsey Museum (in fact, many attendants alternated between arts events throughout the evening). Because Word of Mouth relies on audience participation, a small or shy crowd can change the face of the event. Yet eventually, the space filled. It was stuffed with people listening to stories and laughing along with the anecdotes of the raconteurs.

To stay posted on future Word of Mouth events, check out the blog! Pictures and sound bites from “Stuffed” to come!

To get involved with planning the events, email

As they say on NPR, thanks for listening and have a story worthy week!