Sunday, April 29, 2018

Storytelling is Brewing at the Aeronaut Brewing Company.

Colleen Moore and Kelly Smith

Storytelling is Brewing at the Aeronaut Brewing Company.

By Doug Holder

I have been to the Aeronaut Brewing Company on several occasions and I have always enjoyed the brews and the company I was with at the time. I had the privilege to interview the owner of this impressive space, just outside Union Square off Somerville Ave. It is not only an impressive space, that makes fine craft beers (I sampled a stout recently—loved it), but it is a home to many artistic events and venues that encompass music, poetry, etc… I was here on this particular rainy, ungodly evening because I was to interview the women behind Boston Gust—Boston Grownup Storytelling, and to hear a story of my late Uncle David Kirschenbaum that I wrote, and  that was to be performed by a professional storyteller.

I have often read my poetry in various venues—but I can't say that about my stories. I am prone to write memoir essays, and I never really read them in public. So it was a particular pleasure to come to hear a professional performer do it. Colleen Moore , the founder of Boston Gust, lassoed this idea for this series when she was living in Houston, Texas, and was part of BOOTOWN—the mother of this Boston group. Moore told me she lives in Somerville and loves its welcoming environment for artists of all stripes. Her co-conspirator is Kelly Smith of Brookline. Both women-- I am happy to report are warm and welcoming. They both have experience in the theater and writing.  "The Aeronaut has been a dream come true," Moore told me. She continued, “ Our first night we had over a hundred people. This speaks to the kind of community we have in Somerville and at the Aeronaut.”

After our chat I took my beer and took a seat for the reading. The crowd was generally on the young side, but not exclusively. I saw a number of gray-heads bob up in this sea of people. Scott Caseley , who had his piece “The Moth Entered” read by Jason McCool, sat next to me. He told me he is a novelist, and filmmaker and currently involved in a podcast project. And from the snippets of chatter I heard around me it seemed like there was a very engaged band of brothers and sisters.

The show was hosted by Paul Dome, a comedian, and founder of a small advertising agency in Cambridge, MA. An eclectic group of readers and writers were presented. Comedian/actor Ben Scurria read my memoir essay “The Last Time I Saw Uncle Dave”--about my uncle Dave Kirschenbaum, who was a prominent book dealer in New York City, and owner of the Carnegie Bookstore. And let me tell you, Scurria has his act down. It was a real pleasure to listen to a man who had just the right cadence—  he knew when a pregnant pause was just the right touch, and when to engage a fleet-footed staccato. The stories were all well-presented and they ranged from tales of unrequited love, a vision of Jesus as a regular dude, cockroaches as a catalyst to a stalled life, and others.

Another interesting point is that each writer is paid a small sum from funds derived from a passed around box. Although admission is free it is suggested that you make a five dollar donation. I would encourage all Somervillians to attend this grand gathering the last Wednesday of each month.

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