The natural state of any oral tradition is one of flux, as each generation retools the myths of its forebears to illuminate and examine issues of its present day. Nowhere has this family of tradition lasted longer and undergone more transformations than in the storytelling of the African diaspora. Tales of creation, tricksters, greed, and wisdom mutated from their birthplace to incorporate the journey away from Africa as well as American and Caribbean experiences, all the while retaining a debt to their original creators. Minnesota's Black Storyteller's Alliance has been drawing together the modern story artists and stewards of that tradition for 17 years now for the Signifyin' and Testifyin' Festival, a storytelling event incorporating energy, rhythm, and song. Friday is the crowd-favorite liar's contest, in which all can sign up to showcase their own highfalutin fabrication. The grand finale concert on Saturday will bring featured tellers from all over the country onstage. Free. 6:30 p.m. At Redeemer Lutheran Church (1800 Glenwood Ave., Minneapolis; 651.374.4139) Thursday; Ames Elk Lodge (1614 Plymouth Ave., Minneapolis; 612.529.1970) Friday; Perpich Center for Arts Education (6125 Olson Memorial Hwy., Golden Valley; 763.591.4700) Saturday.
Sat., Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m., 2008