The Moth presents the GrandSLAM, a battle of wits and words - fierce, hilarious, heartbreaking and all points between. Listen as ten StorySLAM champs tell stories of rules that were meant to be broken, dark horse victories, and renovations on the path to victory.
The Moth is dedicated to finding intriguing people to tell inspired stories. At The Moth StorySLAM, those people find us. On this night, using words as weapons, they compete to determine The Moth's Chicago GrandSLAM Story Champion.
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In the comedy world he's known as Brian Babylon, host of the twice monthly summer outdoor stand-up show in Bronzeville. He's also a radio host at Vocalo.org/89.5 FM, Chicago Public Media’s new media outlet.
Renee Albrecht-Mallinger obsesses about the nuances of text message punctuation, rarely folds her clothes after taking them out of the dryer, and prefers coffee to tea. She got started telling stories with The Moth and enjoyed it so much that she's since performed at Guts & Glory, This Much is True, Story Collector Presents, and other local live lit events. Offstage, she works as a calculus teacher, a computer science tutor, and an instructional coach on the South Side.
Sarah Bunger grew up in one of the smallest towns imaginable outside of Dayton, Ohio (think: flashing caution light, a gas station/Subway sandwich shop, and lots and lots of cows). Since moving to the big city six years ago, she is adjusting to the long winters and nearly complete lack of cows. She teaches English to sophomores and seniors, relishing every chance she gets to re-experience Holden Caulfield, Blanche Dubois, and Nick Carraway. (But not those kids from Lord of the Flies. Because, gross.) She is new to the storytelling scene, but hopes to tell more stories in 2015 and beyond
Moran Cerf is right handed. He is also a professor of neuroscience at the Kellogg business school, and the department of neurosurgery at UCLA, where he studies memories and emotions using electrodes implanted deep inside the brains of patients undergoing neurosurgery. Prior to his career in opening and studying brains Moran used to work as a hacker in various security companies, breaking into banks and financial institutes to make a living. With a short-lived career as a pilot, a radio host, an inventor, a failmmaker and a furniture designer he is still seeking his true passion in life.
Lucy Cheng is a MBA student at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where she studies Marketing, Media Management, and Management & Organizations. Prior to moving to Chicago for school, she worked in strategy & business development for the FinTech industry in New York and grew up in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Lucy loves public radio, and at Kellogg, she co-founded and co-produced a radio program about media, marketing, and MBA life. Besides public radio and media, she also loves food & drink, art, opera, and dancing.
Sonia Choquette teach people, both private and in business, to listen to their intuition and follow their heart and I travel all over the world doing this. When I am not working I travel for fun so I guess you can call me a modern day gypsy, as I usually log over 100,000 miles on an airplane a year. I have two grown daughters who travel and teach with me and we have a great time together. If not traveling I am usually reading a good book, dancing in my house, or preparing a great meal for dinner guests, usually people I've met along the way. I speak French, love to laugh, and especially lift up spirits.
Don Hall is a storyteller, cultural organizer, events producer, provocateur, podcaster, actor, director, and generally a pleasant guy to hang with (as long as you don't poke the gorilla...). Formerly a theatrical producer, a public school teacher, a massage school facilities manager, and a homeless busker, he currently makes a living as the Director of Live Events for WBEZ/Vocalo, Chicago's two public radio stations, and is the Caucasian host of The Moth StorySLAMs. You can hear him sound off on the underground art scene in Chicago with his cohort, Tyler Greene, on the WBEZ podcast “General Admission,” or just ask him in person if you have a few hours.
Jim Padar has worked as an electrical engineer, a beat cop, a homicide detective, a video producer and operations manager of Chicago’s 911 system. In retirement he discovered writing— penning an extremely successful blog of police tales. He is also a story teller; tonight is his fourth appearance at the Moth GrandSLAM. To prove he can expand his horizons even further in retirement, his first book of short stories, coauthored with his police officer son Jay, was released last December and is now in its second printing. Titled On Being a Cop; Father and son police tales from the streets of Chicago, you can find it at OnBeingaCop.com.
Katie Prout lives in Pilsen with 2 bicycles and 14 plants. Katie Prout hates fine dining and loves her mother. Katie Prout writes about feminism, family, and feelings at inmyspiralringnotebook.blogspot.com. Katie Prout is coming for you.
Tim Stafford is a poet and public school teacher from Lyons, IL. He is the editor of the educational spoken word poetry anthology series Learn Then Burn. When not in the classroom, he performs at poetry festivals from Omaha to Copenhagen.
Lawrence Wood is returning to the GrandSLAM for the third time. The first time he lost to a man who told a story about narrowly escaping from John Wayne Gacy. The second time he lost to a woman who told a story about struggling to remove a "diva cup" from her friend's vagina. If he could, Lawrence would tonight tell a story about removing a contraceptive device from a serial killer, but unfortunately that never happened. Lawrence is the Director of the Housing Practice Group at LAF, an agency that represents poor people in civil cases. He also teaches a seminar on poverty law at the University of Chicago Law School and submits entries to The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest, which he's won a record five times.
Tomeka Reid is a Chicago-based cellist, composer, and educator. She founded the first annual Chicago Jazz String Summit and curated the First Monday's monthly Jazz series at the Arts in Incubator at Washington Park. Reid has led string improvisation workshops in Italy and the US, and co-directed the string program at the University of Chicago’s Laboratory School from 2005 to 2011. Most recently she directed the 2013 Vancouver Jazz Festival’s High School Jazz Intensive. Recent commissions include compositions for the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble with performances at the Chicago Jazz Festival. Previous residency opportunities include the Ragdale Foundation and the 2nd Annual Make Jazz Fellowship. Reid is also an ABD doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign.