by Ariel Fournier

I’ve uncovered a new Montreal gem: last Wednesday, I went to “Tale Spin”, the storytelling/comedy/sometimes-music show held once a month at Cagibi, hosted by comedian Deanne Smith. This month’s theme was music, so there were musical acts and some hilarious tales about taking ecstasy at raves and hanging out with metal legends. If this show was any indication, Tale Spin is going to be a must-see for me every month.

Cagibi, on the corner of Saint Laurent and Saint Viateur, was just the right setting for an evening of storytelling – cozy, but potentially raucous. The kind of place where you usually have a cup of tea, but you like the fact that you could have a mid-morning beer, if you wanted to. Tale Spin includes performances by writers, spoken word artists, comedians and occasionally rock ‘n roll bands. The act embodies one of my favorite things about a spoken word show: different artists coming together to produce something that’s just plain good.

Deanne Smith started Tale Spin as an exercise in flexing her comedic range. Primarily writing more structured jokes, she wanted a chance to do something a little longer and more free form. The show mainly features comedians, since that’s Deanne’s background, but it never suffers from lack of diversity. The changing themes and roster of guests make it a new experience each time. Also, because the stories are often so personal, even those told by the comedians are surprisingly touching – though never without a sardonic edge.

Comedian Mike Paterson finished off the show with a series of stories about relationships and rock bands, interspersed with musical comedy. He mainly played songs from his old metal band Misogynizer, a remarkably accurate reenactment of eighties hair metal. This was the perfect ending to a show that kicked off with comedian Ali Hassan’s story about hanging out with Pantera and seeing Ozzy Osbourne pathetically deteriorate at Ozzfest – not as sad as it sounds. Swoon-worthy Chris Durning played beautiful music and told stories about singing at funerals that made me thankful I never worked at a funeral parlour. Lastly, comedian Faisal Butt, told possibly the most genuinely compelling story about a rave I have ever heard.

The show happens towards the end of each month, and you have to see it for yourself. To learn more about the show, you can go to Deanne Smith’s Cagibi is located at 5390 St. Laurent.