Back Fence PDX SuperFan⎜Aisha Panas

Hello, friends! Meagan Kate here. The Back Fence PDX crew is honored to have a group of amazing story lovers who’ve supported and helped to spread the word about the show over the last four years.

We’ve gotten to know faces and names, and wanted to show our appreciation for some of the folks who have been with us for the beginning. We’ll be showcasing some of those who’ve been with us the longest through a series of blog posts this summer, all about our Back Fence PDX SuperFans!

Aisha (far right) and two friends she's converted.

The first is Ms. Aisha Panas, who we are pretty sure has been to more shows than anyone else. She brings us hugs and laughter whenever she attends a show, and we just love the answers she gave to our questions. Much love to you, Aisha. We’re lucky to have you.


How long have you been coming to BF PDX?

I attended the very first BF event evarrrr – it was a steamy night in June 2008 at Tour de Crepes on Alberta. I’d spent the prior few months falling in love with blogs written by Melissa Lion and Kiala, so when the first BF was scheduled and it meant I might be able to ZOMG MEET THEM IN PERSON AND WHATNOT, I skedaddled my ass right over to the east side. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been able to convince anyone else to come along with me to this new and untested storytelling event.

So there I sat, all aloney on my owney, trying not to look like a friendless loser. As soon as the show started, all that fell away. I was waaaay too busy laughing and wiping tears from my eyes to worry about my tendency toward social awkwardness. After that first night, I began spreading the gospel of BFPDX…I brought my husband, I brought a variety of friends. But my core posse of Kathryn and Jody have been with me since nearly the beginning.

And I’m happy to report that with the exception of missing maybe four shows (SOMEbody was real focused on clawing her way to middle management roundabouts mid-2011), I’ve attended every last one of the amazingness that is Back Fence PDX.


What’s your favorite show been? FAV story? 

I don’t know that I could ever pick a favorite show. There have been far too many shows featuring stories that have made me laugh-to-the-point-of-(nearly)-wetting-myself, gasp with surprise and yes, even tear up. But I have fave stories, oh yes I do. In fact, one of my favorites was one I never even saw live – that tag team story by Shelley McLendon and Wendi McLendon-Covey? Pure fantasticosity. There’s something magical about tales that wind their way into family folklore, and the best part of all is when the truth only comes out years and years later. It’s happened plenty of times in my family, but it’s never been as hilarious as delivered by those McLendon sisters.

The story that made me laugh so hard I was actually HOARSE the next day? Jeff Hardison’s sordid tale of playin’ with dynamite, and subsequent fun and games with the ATF. Plus, the reference to Eddie Money (espesh an acid-riddled Eddie Money trying to convince a judge that E=mc2 stands for Eddie = Money times the speed of light, squared) just absolutely slayed me. I should issue a disclaimer right now that I’d pay the full price of a Back Fence PDX ticket just to hear that man read me the back of a cereal box. But only if that box had the word “ruined” on it, because I so much enjoy hearing Mr. Hardison say “roooned.” I think the girls and I were barely able to get ourselves out of the Mission Theater on account of we were worn the eff out from enjoying that story.

But here’s the tale that has been indelibly inked on my soul…it was BFPDX #3 at Common Grounds. This was the first time I’d gathered the ladyfriends for storytelling goodness. My favorite speaker that night was Dave Jarecki. I can’t remember all of the details of the story, and sadly, the video of this tale was never posted on the website [Editor’s note: regretfully, there was no video taken of that show]. But the thing is, whenever the ladies and I make reference to something exceedingly large, we tend to liken them to eyes and say if those “pupils were vaginas, a baby could have come out of them.” It’s never not funny to us, and that’s a fact.


What makes you come back to us?

Well, I’m a big fan of laughing. Laughing with my friends, and particularly laughing while

She's got every button we've ever had! They'll look awesome on her Jansport!

hopped up on Saint Cupcakes. But what keeps me coming back for more are the surprises. These are real stories by real people, and you never know what you’re going to get. Could be a story about drawing the ire of Jon Stewart (who’d have thought it possible??) or wrestling with moral dilemmas as a corrections officer? I don’t know, but I’m always willing to spend the time to find out.


What would you like to see Back Fence do next?

Damn, I don’t know. Just keep growing and thriving! I was worried when Melissa stepped out of the picture, but the Back Fence Babes have continued to rock the joint. Shows run smoothly, the storytellers continue to astound audiences, and I love the addition of high profile authors to the lineup – Laurie Notaro and Cheryl Strayed were excellent choices.

And I would like to personally thank you for introducing me to Carlos Kotkin. That is one strange, hilarious man and I’m happy I had a chance to meet him and have him sign his book, Please God, Let It Be Herpes for me. I was ever so happy he assured me “you won’t catch anything from this book!”


Would you fight other Super Fans in an octagon?

Most likely. But only for the right price…and by price I mean “New Deal Vodka.”


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