JACKSON, Wyo. — Jackson’s favorite storytelling soiree is back in-person for the first time since the pandemic struck. The Cabin Fever Story Slam, hosted by the Teton County Library, returns to the Pink Garter Theatre Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

†After more than a year fighting a pandemic, the theme of this slam is, fittingly, “survival.” Storytellers who want to compete should be prepared with a true, personal, minute story related to the theme. Hopeful contestants throw their names in a bucket at the beginning of the night, and 10 lucky names are chosen.

“We’re excited to move back to our pre-pandemic digs for our 41st story slam,” said Leah Shlachter, the library’s adult program coordinator, in a press release. “When we started these events in 2015, we had no idea they’d become institutions in the community. It continues to floor us how the themes get incorporated into stories told — by all ages of people — and how respectfully the audience listens.”

Story Slams started in the Rose, downstairs from the Pink Garter, but their popularity quickly outgrew the space size. Even now, the event frequently fills the Pink Garter Theater to the brim with hopeful storytellers and audience members. Shlachter credits some of its success to emcee Jeff Moran and the support atmosphere he creates. Moran warms up the audience with a story of his own each time, and never runs out of commentary between stories to keep the crowd engaged.

“Jeff understands the art of storytelling,” Shlachter said. “He shares great details and weaves in humor that often makes fun of himself, establishing a safe environment in which the storytellers who follow him can be vulnerable.”

And vulnerable they are. Storytellers have told tales of love, loss, near-fatal mistakes. Most stories are funny. But some are deeply personal, tragic, moving — and the audience embraces them all.

No story to tell? Audience members can also participate by filling out themed mad libs and putting them in a bucket. Moran reads them aloud between stories.

Arrive early if you want to tell a story. Masks will be required, and theater capacity will be reduced for the audience’s safety. Story slams are free, as are all library programs.

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Buckrail @ Shannon

Shannon is a Wyoming-raised writer and reporter. She just completed a master's in journalism from Boston University. Jackson shaped her into an outdoorswoman, but a love for language and the human condition compels her to write. She believes there's no story too small to tell nor adventure too small to take.