Valley Voices Story Slam: Josie Dulles Wins It!

Josie Dulles, winner of Valley Voices Story Slam, Northampton March 14, 2014
Josie Dulles, winner of Valley Voices Story Slam, Northampton March 14, 201

It was a competition with a whole lot of people wanting to get  in.  More than one hundred people vied for the right to tell a five minute story, in a live show at the Hinge in Northampton.  But when the Valley Voices Story Slam opened, it was just ten lucky speakers who would share their personal stories of loss, and of parents, and about growing up.

In the friendly confines of Hinge, we had some wine white we waited to be seated, nice cabernets and a top notch fish taco. Then it was time for the first speaker, Darlene White.

In my voting I gave White four stars, for her story of how her mother thought she was a porn star when she drew a poster for a concert. She set a lively tone and we then welcomed Glenn Johnson to the stage. Crazy moms and drunken dads played a recurring role in the night’s monologues.  One couple, Joel Miller and Adrianna Benedict, talked about living where a giant gas explosion happened in Springfield. It was more reportage than storytelling.

Marina Goldman shared a tale that she began with transporting her father’s dead body by car. It was a funny and poignant  slice of live, and like so many of these stories, it was truly both personal and very entertaining. Marina got third place for her story.

Then Anna Bowen came on and told of the man who used to come in every day and love a jacket in her store. A precious story I ranked it 5 stars. I think what caused me to rate this one higher was that I liked the speaker, I liked her story and I like the person she describes . Her story won second place.

But Josie Dulles got my highest vote of the night. She told the tale of her grandfather on Cape Cod, a unflattering yet well spoken rant about lives.  I think Josie’s secret was her delivery. Loud, crisp, decisive, and her material was first rate too.  Her confidence ruled and it all turned her into the winner after the voting was done. I contacted Josie after she won.

Have you ever done stand up or storytelling before?

Not as a performer, but I have done some writing for performance before. I am getting my nerve up to do some stand up open mics one of these days! My favorite activity is sitting around with my friends telling stories and making each other laugh, so I have had some experience in a more casual setting.

Did you feel like since you went last, you might have a shot at winning? Did the audience make you feel like a winner (I voted for you!)

I knew I had an advantage going last, but I seriously did not think there was any way I was going to win.  The audience response felt good, I’m not going to lie, so afterwards I thought maybe I would “place” but who knows. But I was so engaged in all of the stories. It was a really interesting group of people!

What was YOUR favorite story of the night?

I was so moved by Eileen’s story of the car wreck betrayal. That was a story that she NEEDED to tell. I also thought Amy’s story of Faith the jacket-man was very well-crafted and well told.Where do you live and what do you do for work?  How old are you?
I’m 41, I live in Amherst with my family, and I’m an English teacher (currently looking for work!!) We moved here 2.5 years ago from Cambridge.  I guess they’re going to more slams in the fall and then next spring they’re going to do a “best of” night at the Academy of Music and a few of us from each slam will get to perform. So I’m excited about that. I’ve really got the bug!!”
Thanks Josie and congrats on your win!!