Audience members laughing
Smut Slam audience. All images taken and shared with consent. Courtesy of Cameryn Moore.

Smut Slam Returns to Leipzig

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Storytime, kids! In November 2016, right after the U.S. presidential election had been called for Trump, I was supposed to be hosting a Smut Slam in North Carolina, in a small liberal city surrounded by a sea of Trump-voting Republicans. Smut Slam, for those of you just finding out, is a community dirty-storytelling open mic. Audience members can—but don’t have to!—get on stage and tell their own five-minute story for a chance at prizes, glory, etc. I don’t know why it works, but it does, for over 11 years now.

I really wanted to cancel this immediately post-election Smut Slam. Surely, I thought, now was not the time to be swapping dirty stories, while the U.S. downward slide had suddenly accelerated. “Should I cancel?”, I asked my homestay host and co-producer. She turned her tear-swollen eyes to me, horrified. “No! People need this sort of thing now more than ever!” So we went ahead with the open mic, added in a primal scream minute at the beginning, and it turned out to be exactly what that community needed.

I’m reminded of this as we prepare to bring the Smut Slam back to Leipzig on March 16. The world still feels wobbly, you know? After two years of a global pandemic and two weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our community dirty storytelling night feels less like returning to action and more like rising from the ashes. With some stuff still on fire. But after all, that’s what community can do best: provide some sense of safety and connectedness, even in the middle of chaos.

That need for connection was why we launched a regular online Smut Slam two days after German pandemic restrictions fell into place, back in 2020. It’s something we are carefully tending as we cautiously bring in-person slams back.

Smut Slam is meant to be a safer space for people to come together and share some deeply personal stuff.

One Leipzig fan says of Smut Slam, “It is an oasis of acceptance in a world full of moral condemnation.” Our comprehensive Code of Conduct, read out at every slam, is one way that we create that oasis. Our volunteers are another, modeling supportive behavior and care. Every Smut Slam has a dedicated team of volunteers, who we call Smutterlings. After the German word for butterfly, of course. The Leipzig Smutterlings are VERY keen on what their own local chapter has to offer.

Audience members
Smut Slam audience. Images taken and shared with consent. Courtesy of Cameryn Moore.

“The more personal stories you listen to, the more you might realize that your own anxiety about certain things … is either a universal experience or your mind has completely blown it out of proportion,” says Skyler. He attended the Leipzig Smut Slam regularly for some months before joining the Smutterlings. “In both cases, it takes away the scariness.”

It’s not just entertainment, but it also facilitates vulnerable and open communication, both at the slam and after attendees go home.

In case you’re wondering how this all works, the flow of a Smut Slam is deceptively simple. An open bucket is at the door for people to put their names in who want to tell stories. Another bucket is for folks to drop anonymous confessions and questions into. As the night progresses, I keep drawing names out of the first bucket for people to come up and tell their stories. In between stories, I pull material for quick-hit advice and/or dramatic reading out of the second. These Fuckbucket entries are Ricarda’s favorite part about Smut Slam. “They give everyone a chance to tell their dirty little secret anonymously, which lowers the inhibition level so much.”

What else helps lower inhibitions? For many people, that’s a little bit of good booze, which is why we love our Leipzig space, Buntspecht Kneipe & Galerie. In 2019 we got bumped around a little, location-wise, but when we landed at Buntspecht, we knew it was home. Comfy seating, well lit, and the super selection at the bar. The owners, Steffen and Phil, loved the slam from the first time they saw it in action.

Woman talking into sex toy
Cameryn answering the call from the njoy toy. Image by Scott Carroll, courtesy of Cameryn Moore.

Do you know what else lowers inhibitions? Greed! People love prizes, and at Smut Slam Leipzig the top three tellers—judged by a panel of guest judges—win prizes from our local sponsor, the new sex-toy store, Juicy. ALSO, we give away a rather expensive stainless-steel toy from njoy toys at every slam around the world, as a door prize.

Since you’re reading this in an English-language publication, you’ll have guessed that the Smut Slam in Leipzig—and indeed anywhere where I’m the host—is in English. If you don’t feel that comfortable telling stories in English… try it anyway!

Smut Slam audiences are the kindest and most encouraging audiences you will find ANYWHERE.

But if you want to submit a question or confession auf Deutsch, you’ll be doing me a favor. At some point, hopefully this year or early next, we’ll be launching a German-language Smut Slam somewhere in Germany. Before then, I’ve got to practice the slang for genitalia and how to say “enthusiastic consent” in five different ways.

Bis bald, Leipzig! Start rummaging through your wank bank of stories that you could tell, and I’ll see you really soon at Smut Slam!

 


 

Smut Slam Leipzig returns on Wednesday, March 16, at Buntspecht Kneipe & Galerie (Siemeringstr 2).

Doors open at 7 pm, slamming starts at 8 pm.

Tickets: €12-15 (sliding scale donation per person), €10 student ticket with ID, limited tickets available at the door. Advance tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/287792764907

Cameryn is an award-winning playwright, performer, host, and event producer, and also the founder and producer of Smut Slam. She is originally from the US and is currently based in Berlin.

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