The Monti, modeled on events that have taken off in New York and other cities, is an organization that: "invites interesting people from the community to tell personal stories in front of a live audience."
There are four rules that every teller must follow: they must tell a true story; each narrative must follow a publicized theme; all stories should be under twelve minutes; and no notes or scripts are allowed during the telling of a story. The result is an evening of funny, refreshing, moving, and unexpected collection of personal narratives from relevant members of our community.
Frank Stasio (of NPR and WUNC's "The State of Things") and novelists Cylde Edgerton and Randall Kenan are among those who've been a part of The Monti in its first year of operation, which has been held most recently at Spice Street in Chapel Hill.
Organizer and founder Jeff Polish notes that The Monti has been searching for a place to roost in the Bull City, too, and has come across such a place at Golden Belt, which will host the first Durham event for The Monti on Tuesday, September 23.
The lineup's impressive:
- Kim Arrington, "a teaching and performing artist using poetry, drama, music, and audio documentary to tell stories," an award-winning poet and musician.
- Lewis Shiner, author of the recent Durham-based novel "Black & White" that provided a compelling fictionalized account of Durham's struggle with race relations in the light of urban renewal.
- Amanda Lamb, a Duke grad, novelist, and professional television journalist with WRAL.
- Carl Kenney, a minister and long-time contributor to the Herald-Sun, Independent Weekly, the N&O and other local publications.
- Jagmeet Mac, a camp councilor and outdoor nature educator at West Point Park, musician, and storyteller.
- Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi, professor of English and comparative literature at NCSU and author of numerous scholarly and fictional works.
The event's theme is "Journey's Admission," with Polish noting the natural fit between the chosen theme and Golden Belt's current exhibition of reproductions of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration of the Negro, a famous 60-panel artistic rendering of the African-American migration to northern urban centers from the South.
Tickets are $10 and went on sale last Thursday; they're available for purchase from The Monti's web site.