Story Slam Makes the Move to Elks Club

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Studio B held its first South Orange Elks Club-hosted Story Slam on Friday night, and the new venue was a winner — as was Maplewood-based writer Karla Greenleaf-MacEwan.

Greenleaf-MacEwan won with the story “GTA in the House.” Studio B Honcho Marcy Thompson described the story as “sort of an ‘overheard’ conversation of boys in the midst of playing Grand Theft Auto, with a tragic twist. Very energetic and revealing of adolescent innocence — darkly funny.”

Holly McGhee, one of the three literary agents judging the contest, said, “Friday night’s slam was one of the best ever — the bar was set high by former Slam winner Elizabeth Trundle’s ‘Towels’ story, and every contestant rose to the occasion. We had a terribly hard time choosing, but in the end there was one story that was both groundbreaking in its delivery, authentic in content, terrifyingly relevant, continuing its brilliant fast-paced dialogue right through its powerful and chilling ending, and that story was written and read by Karla Greenleaf-MacEwan.”

Greenleaf-MacEwan, in fact, became the first two-time winner of the Story Slam, which Studio B has been producing for five years now. A number of Friday night’s contestants had slammed before, including Richard Franco, Tori O’Connell, David Olimpio, and Whitney Pillsbury. New faces included Lisa Duggan, Gina Sampaiao, Andrea Stefens, Meg Marlowe, Adam Gustavson, Chris Tarry, and Michael Kasdan.

Thompson said that the new Elks venue was a hit with its wood-panelling and warm homey vibe. The show sold out with 100 attendees. More than 20 writers put their name in the hat, and 12 names were drawn. The writers came from all over Essex County.

“The judges agonized over their winning choice,” said Thompson. “There were so many strong stories and such a diverse range of voices. The crowd was very enthusiastic and supportive – as they are at all slams. During the stories, they listened so closely!”

“We are always moved by the number of talented local writers who share their work,” Thompson added. “We should be incredibly proud to have them in our community.”

“It was an amazing night!”

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