Thursday, January 12, 2017

City of Weird Contributor: B. Frayn Masters

B. Frayn Masters is one of the off-the-top-of-her-head funniest people I know. Recently we did a City of Weird event up in Longview Washington, and Stephen and I offered to carpool a couple of the readers. Frayn was one and Jason Squamata, who wrote "Aromageddon," was the other, and having those two in the backseat - I'll just say that driving to another state for a reading is so much more fun when you bring along Abbot and Costello, or... well, I'm not even sure I think Abbot and Costello were funny. How about Lucy and Ethel high on chocolate and given their own radio show? It was like that. At one point, Frayn was doing animal impersonations. I made her repeat the rooster at the end of the City of Weird reading event just for the hell of it.

Frayn was one of the few writers I invited outright to write me a piece for City of Weird. I knew what to expect from her: something funny and smart and totally weird. OK, I absolutely did not know what to expect from her. I just knew it would be funny and smart and totally weird - and it was. She delivered a hilarious and thought-provoking story about a, well, a sentient and somewhat sex-starved volcano. At least that's how I read it. I invite you to be the judge. But suffice it to say, Mount Tabor plays a part.

Lying on their backs in the middle of the park, not far from the statue, Henry said, ”It’s so groovy that Tabor is a volcano.” He had no idea the industrial-sized can of worms he’d just opened. 

Minerva’s grandmother was a volcanologist and Minerva had lost many a friend and potential lover to droning on a bit too much about the specifics of cones and calderas. But she couldn’t resist blurting out a few facts. “Tabor was formed, like, two million years ago and is twice as old as Mount Hood—suck it, Hood—and even though scientists say it’s dormant—because none of its vents have been active for 300,000 years—I’ve got it on good word that scientists don’t actually know shit about if and when a volcano might just change its mind. I mean, did you know that Yellowstone is a supervolcano and erupts every 600,000 years, and because it’s a supervolcano, when it does erupt again it will wipe out a large portion of North America?” As her fact rant trailed off and up into the night air, it met up with all the other words being spoken by all the other people of the world. 

Minerva’s eye caught a squirrel swinging between two trees. She rolled onto her stomach and spread her arms wide, digging her fingers into the dry August ground. Barely audible, she said, “Hug the volcano with me, Henry. Your Queen commands it.” Henry dutifully hugged Tabor.

When Frayn shouted "suck it, Hood," I believe she scared off a table of old ladies who were there for the reading, but, no offense to them, it was kind of worth it. Not only is Frayn an expert writer, she's an expert performer, who won Best Spoken Word / Storyteller in Willamette Week's Best of Portland in 2015. She's the creator, executive director and host of the super popular Back Fence PDX, a live storytelling event that you can read more about here.

Their next show will be January 21st - Back Fence PDX Russian Roulette! With storytellers Jason Sauls, Bri Pruett, Dylan Reiff, Kahlie Towle, Mellish, Camille Rose, and Eden Dawn.

And a show I'm really excited about, on January 27th at Revolutionary Hall, they'll be doing Super Women in Tech, Frayn told us about this on the way back from Longview, Washington. As the title explains, this performance highlights some super women in the tech field, including Dominique DeGuzman, Melinda Campbell, Maria Webster, Leah Siddall, Saira Weigel, and Brook Shelley. Storytellers in the Back Fence tradition tell their stories using no lies, no notes, and no memorization. For this particular performance, Back Fence is teaming up with Vox Siren, and more info about it is here.

Not only is this show going to be amazing, they're putting together a coloring book in conjunction, which highlights the super women in the show along with ten more badass ladies in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields throughout history: Katherine Johnson, Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and more. Written by B. Frayn Masters, illustrated by some fabulous artists, the book will be for sale at the event and will come free with VIP tickets.

You can watch a cool teaser video about it here and info on how to buy tickets or the book is here.

Here's a story of Frayn's up on Spork.

Frayn is fabulous and her story for City of Weird, "Queen of Tabor," contains the phrases lick a worm and ski lodge porn. I think I've said enough.

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