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"I was diagnosed with clinical depression and spent three weeks being the walking dead thanks to Xanax, a drug that warps your mind and turns you into a zombie," Ibrahim told a rapt crowd at Aaliya's Books.This was one of many stories shared during the Cliffhangers open-mic storytelling night Wednesday. One of several platforms that have cropped up in Beirut over the last few years, Cliffhangers allows people to share stories and poems.Spoken in English or Arabic, the stories at Wednesday's event centered on the theme of "Beginnings, Endings and Thrills".Sukoon Magazine founder Rewa Zeinati's poem explored the beginning of humanity.Majd Shidiac, founder of The Poetry Pot and The Writers Bloc – two platforms dedicated to both written and open-mic poetry – believes that the resurgence of this form of oral culture reflects a need for catharsis provoked by today's complicated and individualist lifestyle.Shidiac had attempted to found a similar project to The Poetry Pot in 2014 but it didn't survive beyond its first event.This sort of audience reaction was also evident after Ibrahim's performance at Cliffhangers' Wednesday evening event.Though the number of open-mic events in town is growing, Matta see little competition among the platforms, saying each event is unique.
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