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To create stories. These stories are gifts to the public, freely given, freely shared through a variety of documentation methods.
A special note here on the ethos of this endeavor. The hosts have made a brave commitment to publish their works in the public domain. As producers we want to honor that commitment. So with the exception of the title of the show and the logos we produce, Here’s the Story hereby releases all applicable copy rights granted to us under the law in regard to A Month Of. We release these rights to the public domain. This is in hopes that people will take the idea freely, without financial risk and without a need to ask permission.
How the show runs!
They say Chess is a simple game with lots of depth. We’d like to think A Month Of is the same way.
Each month there is a theme and any story based around that theme is welcome to come and sign up for an open mic. The Show is hosted by five of the city’s best storytellers. Open Mic section is 5-7 minutes long. Click here to find this month’s theme!
Each month the audience chooses the month’s task.
Those options will look like this:
The title of the task dictates the month’s theme. In this case the three possible themes for the next show would be, Next Stop: Unexpected, Catch Me if You Can, and Paper Trails.
So for example, let’s say the audience voted for Paper Trails. What sort of stories could be told at the open mic next month? Well any stories about following people or being followed, any story about paper would be cool, you could take it to reading the paper, or writing an article for the paper, you could focus on trails, or you could do the task and then talk about that!
As you can see, each title is followed by a description. That description is always a task. The five hosts will have to complete that task each month.
Here is an example of a task already done by a host:
Dinner Stories – Have Lunch With a Stranger
So I had a plan for this, and like most plans that you make in Chicago, mine was ruined by the weather. My intention was to go to Millennium Park and find someone eating lunch on the grass or at that big huge long table that’s there. I was going to open the eyes of some unsuspecting person, enlighten them to the magic of random conversation! Woke up this morning to find that Spring was pissing in all our faces yet again, and so improvised.
I eat at Panda Express a lot. It’s one of the few large restaurant chains that doesn’t seem to care if you wear shoes. Seating is informal, and it gets crowded at lunch time. So today I went there to complete my mission.
First I thought I’d try sitting with a morose-looking old man in a pointed fedora in the back of the restaurant. When I approached and asked if I could sit with him, he told me he needed the other chair to put his bag on so he could “keep an eye on it.” Okay, let’s try this again …
Next I approached a man in a hard-hat near the front of the dining area. He let me sit down with him, but when I asked him what his story was (my standard conversation-opener) he told me he didn’t have one. When I asked him how he got into construction he said, “The same way everyone gets into construction.” Then he left.
I was about ready to put off the mission for another day when I saw a young lady sit down a couple tables in front of me.
“Excuse me, do you mind if I sit?” I said, anticipating excuses.
“Oh, sure!” she said with a big smile, moving her purple tiger-print duffel bag off the table to make room for my plate. Purple tiger-print duffel bags are always a good sign. Her name was Charlotte, but I didn’t know that at the time.
I asked Charlotte to tell me her story, and she countered by asking for mine. I am not going to tell my story to YOU because you and I are not eating lunch, but the story she told me in exchange was this:
A few months ago Charlotte was riding a bus when a stranger asked if she knew how to get to the Greyhound. She didn’t, so she asked her phone and it told her that the two of them needed to take the same bus. Stuck together as they were, they got to talking. Turns out the stranger was a museum curator, and Charlotte just happened to be a curatorial student from Columbia. Now she works for the lady she met on the bus.
From talking to Charlotte and from reading other peoples’ completions, I think what I’ve learned from this task is that having lunch with a stranger is not going to enlighten anyone who doesn’t want to be enlightened. You’re not going to open someone’s world by sitting down with them in a Panda Express, not because you don’t have the power to do that, but because the people who will let you sit down with them are the kinds of people whose worlds are already open. I came into this with the wrong idea about people, and in the end it was me who was enlightened.
Each month these tasks will be performed, documented and posted for you to read and vote on. The person with the most points at the end of the month is deemed the winner and will be lavishly celebrated at the next show.
What if I’m inspired to do the task myself?
Great question! We hope you are inspired, that’s a big reason we are doing this show. And you too will be rewarded. Everyone who finishes the month’s task and documents it will get into the next show for free.
Just like the hosts you’re encouraged to stretch your storytelling muscle and take the task in new directions. Surprise us! Or you can always do it straight.
Prove you did the task by posting your documentation at here. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!