Storytelling: Not Just for Kids Anymore

By Stephanie Sockel

In the age of Ted Talks and YouTube, it’s easy to find the story we are looking for, but imagine that same story with cocktails and swearing, live on-stage. An event where people can learn the story they didn’t know they wanted.   It’s no drunk history yet underground adult storytelling series are alive and will enlighten you with strange tales of the past from science, art, history, literature, dance, adventure, and more. Who says storytelling is just for kids?

Growing popularity through organizations like NY’s The Moth, (also a nationally syndicated radio program on KQED Saturday's at 10pm and KALW Sundays at 6pm) storytelling salons are revitalizing across the country. And the Bay Area has plenty, including The Moth StorySlam, which hosts a monthly installment in San Francisco at Public Works. 161 Erie St, on the last Tuesday of each month. if you can’t make it many nationwide events are available online (

Here are just a few other local events pulling on the human need for a good anecdote in that adult fashion:

The Bay Area’s longest-running storytelling show, Porchlight ( is the love child of Beth Lisick and Arline Klatte (above). Nearly 14 years running, has two shows and is associated with SF Sketchfest. Find it at the Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa St., or Porchlight Open Door at the Hemlock, 1131 Polk St., on the last Monday of each month each Odd Salon ( is given a theme where four to six speakers present lectures, accompanied by power points, to pull you into an interactive evening of laughter, mystery, and delight. 

Hosted at the DNA Lounge since 2014, twice a month on Tuesdays, the oddest stories of history are brought back to life. Audience participation is strongly encouraged.  With Harvey as their mascot, an antlered rabbit with a tale of a rooster, Odd Salon explores the strange.  

Mortified ( hits hard in both San Francisco and Oakland. Focusing on embarrassing childhood and teen stories, Mortified incorporates childhood artifacts like love letters, school photos, and more. San Francisco’s Mortified is at the DNA Lounge, Oakland’s is at the New Parish, and sell out almost immediately when they go on sale.  375 11th St., San Francisco, second Friday of each month. 1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, second Saturday of each month.

If you are seeking out the fun and the strange, it's time to get out and catch a good story.  It just might make you laugh right out of your chair.