Last night several friends and I attended The Moth in Venice, CA. From their website, the Moth is a “not-for-profit storytelling organization” that began in New York, and has now spread to Los Angeles and Chicago.
At last night’s event, 10 different storytellers were chosen from among those who volunteered to tell a story based on the night’s theme – Fear. Each storyteller gets 5 minutes (with a couple of grace minutes built-in so no one is cut off abruptly) to tell a story that (a) is true and (b) happened to them. There are three groups of judges in the audience who give each storyteller a score on a 1-10 scale, and the highest scorer is declared the winner and offered a chance to perform in a larger Story Slam with winners from various events.
It was a pretty neat event. The venue (as seen in the picture) was a bar/club with a fair amount of seating, though when we arrived there was standing room only…that is, until we were told that the couch and floorspace on the stage was fair game. So, I ended up sitting with friends right on the floor of the small stage, about 5 feet away from the storytelling mic. There was a large crowd but people were there to listen to or tell stories, so the place was basically silent for each of the stories. For me, this made for a great atmosphere as I’ve grown sick of going to concerts at small bars and clubs where no one is really paying any attention to what’s happening on stage.
And the stories were good too. Some were a bit off-color. Some were a bit strange. Some were undoubtedly exaggerated and stretched, but none so far that they seemed disingenuous. Some were hilarious, others were sad. Some stories were better than others, and some storytellers were betting tellers than others. But, you can listen to anything for 5 minutes.
My friend Peter and I have been talking about stories and parables lately and how we would love to find space to create, write, and share them with each other, so we may even begin hosting mini-Moths within our community to provide space for stories. So, if you live in an area that have Moth events, check them out. One of the three locations in Los Angeles that host monthly Moth’s is within walking distance of our house and I will definitely check it out again.