Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mythoff in the USA!

Mythoff was created in 2011 by a small yet amazing group of European storytellers. It is a creative storytelling competition that features myths and mythologies. Sounds fun, right? We thought so, so we asked the all-powerful Creators of Mythoff for the life-giving spark to light our own little fire, and our wish was granted. And thus, on this very day, in Johnson City, TN, the first Mythoff in the USA was held.

A small but enthusiastic audience and even more enthusiastic storytellers gathered in Misty's Blues and Jazz Bar in downtown Johnson City to share an evening filled with myths and magic. We had six tellers battling it out in three round/duels/categories with three distinct themes. Incidentally, all three of them also came down to a guy vs girl fight, which made them all the more fun.
So here is our list of Mythoff warriors:

Round 1: Love Without Tragedy
Greek mythology: Joshua Sellers, presenting the touching and heart-warming tale of Philemon and Baucis.
Roman mythology: Csenge Zalka (yours truly), presenting the original Roman myth of Pomona and Vertumnus.
These two actually went better together than against each other, since they had a lot in common. Both of us have been carrying these stories for a very long time; for me, Pomona and Vertumnus have been followingme around sine high school, I was happy I got to tell the tale again.

Round 2: Battle of Wits (originally work-titled "When in doubt, flash someone")
Egyptian mythology: Joel Richards, telling the story of Ra, Sekhmet, and the creation of beer. We took a beer break after this one and frequented the bar.
Maori mythology: Danielle Bellone, telling the tale of the Women and the Whale. She did not flash anyone. We had children in the audience.
Joel's amazing voice and commanding god-like telling style countered by Danielle's feminine moves; we went from women murdering people to... well, women tricking people. Very different parts of the world, very different stories; a whole lot of mythology to go around.

Round 3: Inherited Evil (originally work-titled "Bad Genes")
Irish mythology: Dr. Joseph Sobol, entertaining us with the story of Lugh and his fight against Balor of the Evil Eye.
Norse mythology: Cathy Jo Janssen, wiping us off our feet with an amazing telling of the Binding of Fenrir.
Both stories very excellently told. I could see the Scion gamers in the back going bright-eyes and bushy-tailed over Lugh (and who wouldn't, really), and we laughed till we cried from Cathy's sassy telling of Loki and his offspring. That's a very actual topic anyway, thanks to the Avengers. We can't hate Loki can we.

We had immense fun with all of this. We drank beer, mingled between stories, laughed a whole lot; the stories, even though they were well-told myths, did have a slam quality about them with a whole series of very nerdy mythology jokes, and we liked them that way. In the end, we collected donations, but we gave all the money to Misty's for hosting our little gathering. The audience voted on their favorite tellers, even though it was not easy to decide; in the end, Love Without Tragedy went to the Romans, Inherited Evil was swiped up by the Norse, and the Battle of Wits came to a tie, which will be battled out by Ms. Bellone and Mr. Richards sometime in the next Mythoff.
Because we will have a next one, oh we will.


  1. Csenge

    Great to see our little Myth Off walking on her own out into the world. Me and Torgrim Mellum Stene and Love Ersare are so proud!!!

    lets throw one together sometime...

    Thanks for writing it up, and viva mythology!


  2. Love this idea! Thanks for making it happen!

  3. Wonderful to se our baby traveling the world!

    I like that you told the story of Lokis offspring, I did the same at the premiere in Stockholm. Se the video and try to see what part of the myth I am telling :)