CAMDEN — Nothing rings truer in a community than sitting around a hearth at the end of a workday and telling stories. In this case, the hearth was the Blue Cafe, an intimate gathering space on the third floor of the Camden Opera House, where musicians, poets and locals regale each other. In this case, on May 3, the audience spilled out of the Blue Cafe and into the room next door, all there to hear a group of mothers take to the microphone and talk about.... well.... everything from losing a child in Italy to battling pin worms.
The Moms Tell All show was a smash hit, and the collected presentations are here to watch. Warm, loving, sometimes caustic, and always with a sense of humor, the mothers had their own stories to tell.
Participating mothers were Marti Cooper, Erin Donovan, Tara Gardner, Heather Kashner, Erin Meyer, Beth O'Connor, Nicole Recht, Denyse Robinson, Sessa Salas, Karina Shorten, Anneli Skaar and Liza Walsh.
According to organizer Beth O’Connor: “This idea was the brain child of Liza Walsh. The discussion began in the parking lot at Camden-Rockport Middle School as we were gleefully sending our seventh graders off for a two-night overnight at Chewonki.”
The plan was hatched, she said, “to have a bunch of moms essentially talk about motherhood the good, the bad, the ugly.”
The model was Moth Radio Hour, but it morphed into more variety show.
“The process began of finding moms brave enough to participate,” said O’Connor. “After an introduction dinner to the idea of Storyhour: Moms Tell All, an incredible group of 12 moms joined. There was a practice session at the Opera House and then last Friday night all the hard work came to fruition. It was an awesome show and all the moms' performances were outstanding. A total of $600 was raised for YouthArts. It was the largest Blue Cafe audience to date and Josh Hixon of 40 Paper was there to keep the drinks flowing. Who knows this may become an annual event but until then the next Blue Cafe is guitarist Bill Barnes, as a part of Jazz in June.”
O'Connor took the idea to Dave Morrison, Camden Opera House manager. Dave thought that it would be a great program for the Blue Cafe, and momentum began to build.
The Blue Cafe is funded through the Community Arts Fund at the Camden Opera House, and is always free to the public.
The goal is bring the best and freshest arts and entertainment that can be enjoyed up close, according to the Opera House.
“It was decided that any donations given during the show and the artist stipend would go to Youth Arts,” she said.
Youth Arts is a local nonprofit that funds and arranges art residencies, workshops, and performances to the students of Camden, Rockport, and the Five Town CSD, which includes Appleton, Camden, Hope, Lincolnville and Rockport.