Philly storyteller taps unlikely muse for award-winning tale of awkward romance

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 Illustration of Steve Clark named best storyteller in Philadelphia after his First Person Arts Grand Slam performance (Screen grab via First Person Arts Grand Slam winning storyteller youtube video)

Illustration of Steve Clark named best storyteller in Philadelphia after his First Person Arts Grand Slam performance (Screen grab via First Person Arts Grand Slam winning storyteller youtube video)

Sixth-grade teacher and champion storyteller Steve Clark took the crown at Underground Arts in North Chinatown for his story about romantic awkwardness informed by the lyrics of 1990s boy bands such as Five and the Backstreet Boys.

When words fail, music provides:

“I think it’s flywhen the girls stop byfor the summer.I like the girls who wear Abercrombie and Fitch.”

The lyric immortalized in the summer of 1999 by LFO (Lyte Funky Ones) is couched in the smoothly seductive beats of that era’s boy band R&B. It made a surprisingly unapologetic comeback during First Person Arts’ most recent storytelling contest, the Grand Slam.

“I think it’s something that I own now, that I wouldn’t have owned then,” said sixth-grade teacher and champion storyteller Steve Clark. “I might have made fun of them in the past, but I love it.”

Clark took the crown at Underground Arts in North Chinatown for his story about romantic awkwardness informed by the lyrics of 1990s boy bands such as Five and the Backstreet Boys.

Clark, as tall as he is nervous, approached the theme of the evening — “Out There” — by tracing the distance between the romantic scenarios playing out in his head and those that actually happened.

“There’s something about being in bed and lying down, and hearing lyrics to a song that you know are corny, but it starts to really speak to you,” said Clark. “Especially when you start thinking romantically and of romantic endeavors, these songs that you know are cheesy can start to really mean something to you.”

You can hear him, and his story, with the audio player at the top of this page.

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