Get personal with strangers at The Moth story slam

This week, Hit Sauce is on, getting excited about stripping songs down to pure story. We’re listening to The Moth, taking out melody and backbeat and leaving just the voice, semi-monotone, alone on a microphone. A side of music is provided by violinist/vocalist Mazz Swift.

American storytelling has been hitting a high note of late, as experienced through incisive, sharp writing on your favorite television show or live at a local story slam.

What’s a story slam? It’s a banging competition of bard prowess, a forum for bedtime tale ruminators-gone-pro. At a story slam, contestants take the stage for a maximum of, say, five minutes to tell a true story that happened to them. The story can be based on a theme like regret, temptation or adrenaline. Judges rank the storytelling based on criteria like organization and conflict resolution using Olympics-style scoring.

Storytelling events are popular in music venues and theaters nationwide. Porchlight is an event in San Francisco that has been spinning yarns for 11 years. Chicago has options like Story Sessions, Write Club, Grown Folks Stories and Story Lab. In Austin, New Orleans and Los Angeles storytelling-as-improv is being touted as the new jazz. From NYC, the city that morphed poetry into spoken-word ciphers, comes the original story slam phenom The Moth. New York is the first to institute the practice through a touring production and radio broadcasts of The Moth.

With so many more elaborate entertainment options, why go out in the cold to hear strangers tell personal tales? A regular story slam is spontaneous and told by regular Joes and Janes, no filter. It is truth in real time. Some Moth events include authors and celebrities so it is a more glamorous version of barstool babble. But story slams are wildly popular for the pure open-mic experience. At a recent Moth I heard tales from youth alongside an anecdote from a commute. Narrators took the audience through a range of emotions from sympathy to elation to relief. It wasn’t unlike witnessing characters on the A train, really, but with more structure. After about 10 diverse stories from educated 30-somethings, a potty-mouthed grandmother nailed first place with a story about shtupping her college professor.

Violinist and singer Mazz Swift is ideal musical talent for a story slam. Like Theresa Andersson and Reggie Watts, Mazz uses a loop station to create multi-layered compositions on the spot. Her approach to the violin is a lush blend of folk and soul that is uniquely satisfying. It sets the tone for the stage at The Moth, an event praised for offering an especially human experience.

The Moth story slam series is live in New York Dec 10, 12 and 16. For more information, visit themoth.org.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.