Review: West Side Stories

West side Stories is a montly storytelling show during which members of the community share pieces of spoken word, usually with comedic elements. The theme for October was “Magic” – the participants structured their stories accordingly.


Photo by Nicholas Kassis

Jeff Hansen

Nicholas Kassis, Reporter

West Side Stories was hosted by Dave and Juliet Pokorny. The venue of the October show was held at Sonoma Portworks.  The interior was very rustic and homey; wine barrels lined the background behind the stage. The stage was well lit, but the seating arrangement was tight and packed, like sardines. It was difficult to move without hitting others or moving another person’s chair; on the other hand, the attendees were friendly, and many conversations were shared before the show started. But when the show began, Dave Pokorny transformed the show from a storytelling event into a comedy show. His many jokes about magic made the crowd burst into laughter. Pokorny also began to make jokes about other people’s magical experiences.      

The stories needed to fit in the theme of the night: magic. Each storyteller had to maneuver their story around the topic, and if you failed to do so, then you were disqualified from the competition. Another factor playing into each person’s story was the time limit; people who went over the time limit were automatically disqualified. Luckily, every raconteur related their stories to the topic; however, only one person failed to meet the time requirement and was evidently disqualified.

There were nine stories featured that night; however, only a handful was entertaining. Some of the storytellers had very comical, intriguing, and magical stories; while others had less entertaining stories to share. Jeff Hanson, one of the performers that night and the winner of the show, shared his story about a magical love he had over the phone. His facial expressions throughout the story clearly reveal the magic in the phone call made.  Although Hansen’s story had won, my personal favorite story was told by Patty [Last name could not be found -eds.].

Photo by Nicholas Kassis

Patty’s story detailed her magical experience with her girlfriend. One of the major highlights of the story is when she described a dinner party with her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s parents, who didn’t know that their daughter was a lesbian. Patty had exposed herself and their relationship when she called her girlfriend “babe” when asking her to pass the salt; however, in flash, she turned to her girlfriend’s mother and proceeded to call her “babe,” still asking for the salt. The magic in the night concealed her lesbian identity, and the dinner was a success. Patty’s carried an enthusiastic tone throughout her speech, which made her story all the much better. Another amazing feature of the story was the fact that she enjoyed her time upon the stage. Patty was a first-time storyteller of that night, who, in my opinion, showed signs of being an amazing storyteller.

Overall, the night had clear signs of mythical sorcery in each story. The atmosphere of the Sonoma Port works gave the entire event a more lively feel that complemented each of the storytellers. Many of the stories shared a similar subject of family or children; while more exotic topics were told by only a select few. Topics, such as LGBTQ+ struggles, love, and parking, were developed into some of the most extravagant stories told.