I am hooked on live story telling, raconteurs, unscripted and pure from the hip ordinary days turned into extraordinary tales.
Tonight I went to The Moth's launch of their Milwaukee Moth StorySLAM. A storyslam is a themed open mic story telling competition in which you get five minutes to take the stage - sans notes - to slam your true story. With SLAMS already currently thriving in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Louisville, and Pittsburgh, The Moth has branched out its satellite storytelling slams to four new cities: Seattle, Portland, Boston AND Milwaukee. Since its inception in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of stories, told live and without notes, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide. (oh, you mean sold out like the sold out one I was in alongside Molly Ringwald this past May at The Pabst? sorry - couldn't help it)
Ophira Eisenberg is the emcee for The Moth shows. She is a beautiful, quick-witted, charming Canadian (of course) who makes performers feel like a million bucks when they're around her. Named New York Magazine's Top 100 Comics, she is also famous for her work as a writer, storyteller, and Ask Me Another, NPR's hour of puzzles, word games, and trivia. She can tell you all that - I can tell you that she should always wear green. She's killer in green. After seeing her emcee two shows, I can't imagine anyone else hosting The Moth.
StorySLAMS are the most fun you can have without going on a roller coaster. You attend the show to hear fabulous TRUE stories; and if you'd like a shot at telling yours, you put your name in and cross your fingers, eyes, self, everything. Ten are chosen. Hope that they pick you.
I put my name in last night and crossed everything - they called me up on stage. The night's theme was "nerve;" and since luck favors the prepared, I always have a story in my back pocket. I performed a piece on cynophobic me somehow finding the guts to take on a slobbering bear-dog that went after my two babies like they were the chickens Steve Irwin dangled in front of that alligator. There was an $89.00 Dansko hausfrau clog involved.
It was a fantastic night, filled with lives shared; some confessional, like the story of an affair just ended. Some enlightening, like the tale of what goes on behind the scenes of a fatal car accident. But all to entertain. Like the gigantress 6'4 in heels exotic dancer who realized you really don't even need to know how to dance to be an exotic dancer, the high school teacher who made salad from the baby carrot projectiles thrown against his head every time he turned to face the blackboard, the empty nester who fell in love with her new baby of a puppy - enough to jump in after him in a harrowing rescue when he fell through end-of-winter's thin ice.
Ah, the night was over much too quickly. I'm still floating on air from all the lives I was able to peer into. I'm hooked and have to wait until the first Thursday next month for the next storySLAM. In the meantime, to get my story fix, I've built a stage in my front yard out of a cabinet shelf and two milk crates. Come one come all! Tell me your stories!!
To see some of these fabulous Moth videos, check out The Moth's youtube channel. If you'd like a chance to send your words out into the universe, snag a ticket in one of The Moth's events here. For The Moth's advice on how best to slam a story, click this or this.
If you get a chance to see The Moth national live story tellers tour in your city, do it. If a StorySLAM is within two hours driving time for you, fill up the car and go.
All you blog readers, come on: who doesn't love a good story more than a blog reader?
Seriously. The Moth. Go. Now.
Thank you, The Moth, for finding us moth-worthy and giving Milwaukee their very own StorySLAM. Every first Thursday of the month. Dang. I can hardly believe this.
*The Moth is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. At the center of each performance is, of course, the story.
The Milwaukee Moth StorySLAM launched on Thursday, September 6th and will continue monthly on first Thursdays at The Miramar Theatre with support from WPR. This month's inaugural theme is “Nerve,” so all stories about the courageous (or the just plain rude) are welcome. Each month a panel of judges crowns a winner who will go on to compete in a championship event. Guests can sign up to tell stories or to judge them beginning at 7 p.m.; the stories begin at 8 p.m.