Tonight we celebrate a year of MOTH StorySlams in Chicago at the Park West for The Chicago MOTH Grandslam. For the Live Lit scene, the Grandslam is sort of like the SuperBowl of Stories and the ten storytellers (all past StorySlam winners this year) are gunning for a win.
If you are unfamiliar with the Live Lit scene, I'd suggest you crawl out of your bomb shelter and get a little sunlight on those Morlockesque retinas and get involved. In the past few years, this scene has exploded all over Chicago and represents a genuine rallying cry for face-to-face communication between audiences all over and ordinary people telling their very personal stories.
The Grandslam is sold out, so you're out of luck there but you can catch either the ridiculously funny Brian Babylon on the last Tuesday of every month for The Moth at Martyr's and myself at Haymarket Pub and Brewery every second Monday. The two of us host the slam which encourages you - yes, YOU - to sign up and tell the audience a story. A true story. Based on a pre-selected theme.
In addition to The Moth Storyslams, there are a multitude of storytelling nights all over the city and, believe me, once you get a taste for these events, you get hooked pretty fast.
Some of the more notable nights include:
Before any of these had hit the scene, fourteen years ago, the scrappy WNEP Theater started the SKALD (which is Scandanavian for 'storyteller') and bills itself as "the longest running story competition with a cash prize" in Chicago. The SKALD includes both an improvised storytelling competition and a curated storytelling competition over one weekend and, like the Grandslam, happens once a year.
I am obviously a devotee of this explosion of live storytelling. I am hooked.
If you need some incentive, check out The MOTH Story Hour on WBEZ this Saturday. And remember that The Windy City got that nickname from the long-winded politicians rather than the climate. Stories are in the bloodstream of the city and they require you to tell them.