On March 12, we heard stories on the theme “Dirty Work,” a theme that unearthed some rich material. Nearly 200 people came to hear the stories at the Melting Point — an outstanding turnout, especially considering that it was the week of Spring Break. It was a fabulous show, with a great diversity of stories, including some extremely funny ones. Roger Stahl was our MC.
Ophelia Culpepper, with an inimitable straight face, told about a period of creative problem-solving in a new apartment with no functioning toilet. With the help of “outside consultants” she manages to make do until maintenance arrives.
Ashley Barnes regaled us with a lively account of her adventures in Latin America as a photographer and lover of Buenos Aires (and beautiful Argentine men).
Robert Alan Black took the stage to describe the Kafkaesque adventure he went through to fly from Atlanta to Indonesia. While awaiting the appropriate paperwork and his two, red bags, he decides to follow the dictum, “If you think you’ll laugh about something in the future, you might as well start now.”
Once Joe Willey had his boots, gloves, and hard hat, he was ready to get to work on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. After an hour-long helicopter ride over the sea, he was in that place that, even on the calmest day, “was never peaceful.”
Our Crackerjack storyteller, whose name was drawn at random after intermission, was Sara Callaway. As one of the cooks on an extended UGA field trip, she told of how she was put in charge when someone decided it would be a good idea for the students to have the experience of butchering a buffalo on the plains of Montana.
Stella Zine was on tour with Southern Riot Grrrl/Queercore band, Pagan Holiday, when they were approached by a big-time rock-n-roll producer who had a special kind of trade in mind. “Dirt is relative,” she says.
David Bloyer was bringing his beloved Rottweiler dogs back from the vet when he decided to make a stop at the Athens-Clarke County sewage treatment plant where he works. He let his dogs run around on the grounds, but his boss was fastidious about keeping the grass immaculate.
Rae Sikora was on an airplane when she noticed the woman next to her staring at her dirty feet; she’d jumped aboard straight from her garden. “Are you staring at my feet?” she asked. “Yes, I am,” said the “sparkly, clean” woman next to her. Rae talked about the dirty, physical work she likes to do but also the “clean” work of challenging people to “align their values with their life choices.”
From Annie Prenni, who is a volunteer at Bear Hollow Zoo in Athens, we heard about the (one and only) time she fed the birds of prey. “Watch out for the great horned owls,” her supervisor told her. “Always move slowly and look them in the eyes.”
You can hear all the stories from “Dirty Work” here. We hope you enjoy them!