Aug 25, 2014

'Hot Summer Nights' at ArcLight

If you live in Birmingham, you have simply GOT to try to attend an ArcLight Stories event sometime. The next one will be Saturday, Sept. 6 at Urban Standard on 2nd Ave. North.

I've been wanting to go for what seems like forever, but it's just never worked out. Until their August event, which coincided with several Internet friends being in from out of town. Laura McClellan drove down from Nashville with Amanda Bast, who had flown in from CANADA. I met them, Erin Moon and Jamie Golden on the Thursday night prior to ArcLight for some good barbecue -- only to find out they had run out of pork about two plates before they made it to our order.

So even though we made merciless fun of them for that, we ended up having a fabulous meal and a great time. No surprise there. 

The next night, I met them at Urban Standard (coincidentally, home to my favorite grilled-cheese sandwich in the city) for ArcLight. Actually, Amanda had flown home earlier in the afternoon, but we had a new addition to the group ... Jessie Buttram!

She's SO cute. She's @jbuttwhatwhat on twitter, and she was there as one of the Storytellers. Also a new addition that night? Elizabeth Hyndman (in the green shirt). (I love how my platform sandals made me look miles taller than everyone else in this picture. THAT'S A FIRST.)

ArcLight is an evening of storytelling, and each night has a theme. That night's theme was "Hot Summer Nights." It's never literal, but the stories are able to be tied into the theme in some way. Jamie opened up the night with a story, and even though I've heard it several times before, it retained its charm.

Jamie KILLED it. The room was rolling with laughter the entire time she was on stage.

I don't remember everyone's names, but they were great. This guy told a story about being in a bike accident while he lived in D.C.

He was a gifted Storyteller, too.

Then Carrie Hill told her story, which was a real HUMDINGER. I don't know Carrie personally, but she's friends with a local artist I really like, Sarah Miller.

Sarah and I have become friends through Twitter, and I was lucky enough to get to meet her at ArcLight, too!

Next up was a guy who's actually a coach at Nathaniel's middle school. His story was straight out of the TV show The Middle. I laughed all the way through it ... he cracked me up. What's not to love about non-athletic middle-school girls trying out for cross-country, throwing up all the way along the route because they can't hack it?

And then it was time for Jessica's story. She shared with us the story of the labor and delivery of one of her kids, and it was terrific.

If you can't tell, she's a natural.

She had everyone eating out of the palm of her hand.

Following Jessie was a guy who told a story about lifeguarding. In a surprising turn of events, just before he went on stage, he asked my name. I told him, and he ended up weaving it in to part of the story.

At that point in the evening, the sun had long since gone to bed, and we were getting ready for the last Storyteller.

The creator of ArcLight, Taylor Robinson, got up and said a few introductory words about the closing story and thanked the night's sponsors.

And then the night's final Storyteller took the mike.

He told the most amazingly beautiful story about his grandparents' marriage and the letters he'd found that they'd written each other during The Great War.

I could've listened to his story for the rest of the weekend!

Urban Standard was PACKED OUT for that night's ArcLight ... I don't know why that one in particular was so popular, but it was standing-room only.

Hope to see you at the next one!

Jamie made some cake pops for Elizabeth and Laura, who are known as "the coffee shoppers." I thought they were so cute, I had to get a picture of them.

Have you visited Jamie's cakepop site yet? No? Well, you're just nuts, then. She makes the most delicious, adorable cakepops, and she will ship them right to your door except during the hottest summer months.

Anyway, Laura and Elizabeth were totally smitten with theirs.

Katy McKay, a Twitter friend I got to meet that night for the first time, posted this beautiful picture of downtown Birmingham right after ArcLight. I love my city.

Get yourself to ArcLight if there's any chance at all that you can. You'll love it. I'm just SURE of it.

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