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Mudrooms to begin second season Wednesday

Posted: October 4, 2012 - 12:00am
Phoebe Rohrbacher performs during a Mudrooms event last April. The theme was Transitions.  Photo by Colin Shanley
Photo by Colin Shanley
Phoebe Rohrbacher performs during a Mudrooms event last April. The theme was Transitions.

The second season of Mudrooms gets underway Wednesday, Oct. 10, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Holy Trinity sanctuary. At the event, seven locals will present seven-minute personal stories on the topic of “visitors”.

The Mudrooms series of live storytelling events was started last fall by Amanda Compton, who was directly inspired by a similar program in Anchorage called Arctic Entries, which was in turn inspired by an event in Baltimore. Compton, who moved to Juneau from Anchorage in May 2011, organized the first event at the Rookery in November 2011, enlisting the aid of Alida Bus as co-host. The women had no idea how many people would show up, Compton said, or how the evening would go, but as the event got underway they quickly realized they’d tapped into something substantial. More than 100 people came to that first event, with more than 130 coming to every subsequent Mudrooms event through the spring.

Compton said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for the first season of Mudrooms, which involved the work of many volunteers and highlighted 42 local speakers. Juneau was “ripe” for this kind of storytelling event, Compton said, adding that similar events have become popular across the country.

For her, the best thing about the program is the opportunity it provides for people to get to know others in the community — those they’ve seen around town, or maybe those they’ve never seen before — to listen to eachother, laugh or empathize, and share experience.

“It facilitates a connection to people that we wouldn’t otherwise approach or know about,” she said.

“As a species, humanity is done evolving physically. The evolution we can do now is emotional. And how we go about doing that is up to us. One way to do that is to listen and learn about people that are outside of our intimate circle of friends, or to get to know people in our intimate circle of friends on a deeper level. I think Mudrooms has done this — but the community has made Mudrooms.”

Last season’s stories ran the gamut from shocking to moving to very funny, Compton said.

Each event is centered on a particular theme, with Juneauites sharing personal stories in an informal way with the audience.

“Even if you don’t care about getting to know people more, even if you’re a curmudgeon, even if you’re a hermit, it’s still fun to go,” Compton said. “I don’t know anyone who came last season who wasn’t touched in some way.”

Along with Compton and Bus, story board members include Pat Race, Marc Wheeler, Tom Cosgrove and Katie Spielberger. Those interested in being on the story board should contact Compton at mudrooms.juneau@gmail.com. Compton would especially like to speak with someone who is well-connected in the music community, who could help schedule musicians for each of the Mudrooms events.

Proceeds from the first season of Mudrooms were evenly split between the Glory Hole and Polaris House. More than $4,000 was raised.

This season, 100 percent of the profits will go to the Imagination Library (www.aeyc-sea.org/imaginationlibrary.html).

Speakers for the Oct. 10 event are Joy Lyon, Dave Thomas, Katie Bausler, Frank Ameduri, Margo Waring, Libby Bakalar and Mo Hicks.

Admission is $7 cash at door.

Here’s a look at the rest of dates and themes for this season:

Nov. 13: Brush with Greatness

Dec. 12: Gifts

Jan. 8: First Times

Feb. 13: Domesticity

March 12: Monsters

April 3: Near Death Experiences

May 7: Something Fishy.

To sign up for a future Mudrooms event, email mudrooms.juneau@gmail.com

For more information, visit mudrooms.org.

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