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Word Ninjas take over Kieran's Irish Pub

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Tonight, Kieran's Irish Pub will be swarmed with ninjas--Word Ninjas, that is--for the Rockstar Storytellers' monthly open mic night at 8 p.m. Since September of 2008, the group has hosted Word Ninjas at Kieran's (first at the original location, and now spot's Poet's Corner). Everyone who signs up gets five minutes to do any sort of word art form including standup, poetry, storytelling, prose--whatever suits their fancy.

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Rockstar Storyteller Courtney McLean, who will be a featured performer tonight along with phillip low, says that the majority of the performers are storytellers, but there are a few great poets, such as Allison Broeren, who perform as well. Usually about 12 or 13 people show up to the Word Ninjas nights--mostly people participating, but sometimes there are audience members as well.  
Mclean prefers performing at Kieran's new pub because she likes the intimacy of the Poet's Corner. She says there are a lot more regulars that come to the event.

McLean will be doing a few excerpts from her new show that she hopes to get into the Fringe Festival (currently she's waitlisted). The play is about how she spent four years going to Disneyland every weekend as an annual pass holder.  

In some ways, McLean prefers watching other wordsmiths perform than doing her own work, because she gets so much enjoyment seeing people telling stories that have never done it before. "It takes so much courage to get onstage," she says. 

According to McClean the Twin Cities has a growing storytelling scene. Between performers at the Fringe Festival, and the different groups including the North Star Storytelling League and Story SlamMN, everyone it seems is jumping on the bandwagon. She attributes the rising popularity to how accessible the art form is, as opposed to comedy or poetry. In standup, there's always pressure as an audience member to laugh, while poetry is very stylized. With storytelling, especially given that the majority of the tales are autobiographical, hopefully the audience members can see themselves in other people's stories.  

Sign up for Word Ninjas starts at 8 p.m., with the show starting at 8:30 p.m. There's a $3 suggested donation. The event takes place at Kieran's Irish Pub at 601 First Avenue North (Block E) in downtown Minneapolis.