Stumbling around on iTunes a few years ago I came across The Moth Podcast. I don’t know why I clicked on it, as the name certainly doesn’t convey much, but I am very glad I did. The Moth is a non-profit organization dedicated to story telling. They perform across country typically at standing room only venues. Events are about an hour or two long where people come up and tell their story (there is an auditioning processes before hand). All stories are told live, with no notes. As to why it’s called The Moth, you can find out on their about page.
Story nights have a theme, such as Building a Bridge: Stories from both sides, Save Me: Stories of Rescue or Redemption, or A More Perfect Union: Stories of Prejudice and Power. The themes for the night serve as loose guidelines for the type of stories. Most are humorous, such as Steve Burns‘ (of Blues Clues fame) talking about the fame that came with his show, and the many date offers he received. Many though, are people retelling major events in their lives that changed their outlooks, or gave them epiphanies. Such as Terrence Buckner talking about his difficulties coming out of the closet.
Celebrities like Molly Ringwald, Al Sharpton, and Darryl D.M.C McDaniels have even told tales. D.M.C.’s story of depression and the years he spent going through the motions of performing was a somber one. Fabrice Morvan (of Milli Vanilli fame) told his story of the pop band and is definitely worth a listen.
There are two particular stories I want to highlight. The first is from Damien Echols, of the West Memphis Three fame (if you can, take the time to watch the documentary, West of Memphis). He talks about the failure of the Arkansas justice system, and the years he spent in prison. It’s easy to hear how much of a broken man he is.
The second is from comedian Anthony Griffith. In 1990 his career was taking off, booking gigs on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, while his 2 year old daughter’s cancer was returning. During the day he had to take care of his daughter, and at night he was going from club to club perfecting his routine. He cries as he talks about the dual life he had to live being a father during the day and a clown every night, making people laugh. If you have the time, I recommend watching his story rather than listening.
Every Monday they take a story from their archives, which could range from a few months to a few years ago, and release it as a podcast. Each one ranges in 15-20 minutes in length. Take the time to subscribe to this weekly story telling series. It will be well worth it.
I’ve yet to attend a live event as there hasn’t been one close enough for me (though I hope there will be soon).
Have you had the chance to see a live event? What other stories should I talk about? Comment or tweet!