Sally Borg tells her winning story of her fear of cockroaches at the first Great Arizona Story Slam.

Submitted photo

The Great Arizona Story Slam brings Christmas to Phoenix from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 30, in the Atrium Lounge at the Doubletree Suites Hotel, 44th and Van Buren streets in Phoenix.

A story “slam” is a contest, much like a poetry slam, but individuals tell true, personal stories. Contestants don’t use notes, costumes, props, music or instruments; they just stand on stage and tell their stories, which are judged on creativity, telling style and adherence to the theme.

The storytellers come from all walks of life with differing levels of experience. Potential tellers put their names in a hat at the start of the evening, and a maximum of 10 names are drawn. Each teller goes in turn and has five minutes to tell his or her story. Anyone who goes over the five-minute time limit will be disqualified.

The theme for the slam is “Christmas in July: Unexpected Happenings and Pleasures.” The winner is chosen by a panel of judges and will receive $100. An audience vote will determine the runner-up, who will receive $50.

Guest judges include Dee Dee Wood, who has choreographed such movies as “Mary Poppins,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “The Sound of Music,” as well as Super Bowl shows, Olympic ceremonies and numerous TV shows. Also a judge for the event is Sally Borg, winner of the first Great Arizona Story Slam in May.

Local storyteller Mark Goldman is producing the event and says it is loosely based on other slams like The Moth and Massmouth. More than 70 people turned out for the inaugural event, which featured a theme of “Friday the 13th.” Goldman plans to have monthly story slams, which will culminate in the spring with a “Grand Slam” contest among the monthly winners.

Tickets are $7 in advance online and $10 at the door. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. There will be door prizes from Delux, Revo Burrito and other local businesses for those attending.

For information, visit or call 602-390-3858.

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