Saturday, November 13, 2010


“The success of The Moth is one example of
the phenomenon of storytelling that is gaining momentum
nationwide. In The Moth’s case, these narrative
sessions are fast becoming an institution.”
- The New York Times

What is The Moth?

The Moth – hailed as “New York’s hottest and hippest literary ticket” by The Wall Street Journal – is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green, who wanted to recreate in New York the feeling of sultry summer evenings in his native Georgia, when moths were attracted to the light on the porch where he and his friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales. The first New York Moth event was held in George’s living room and the story events quickly spread to larger venues throughout the city. The Moth has presented more than three thousand stories, told live and without notes, by people from all walks of life to standing-room-only crowds worldwide. Each show features simple, old-fashioned storytelling on thoroughly modern themes by wildly divergent raconteurs who develop and shape their stories with The Moth’s directors.

Today, The Moth conducts seven ongoing programs – The Moth Mainstage, which tours nationally, has featured stories by Malcolm Gladwell, Ethan Hawke, Margaret Cho, Annie Proulx, Salman Rushdie, and an astronaut, a pickpocket, a hot-dog eating champion and hundreds more; The Moth StorySLAM program, which conducts open-mic storytelling competitions in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and New York; The MothSHOP Community Program, which brings storytelling workshops free of charge to underserved populations; The Moth Podcast, which is downloaded over a million times a month; The MothSHOP Business Program, which offers corporate storytelling solutions; MothUP, which enables people to start their own Moth gatherings in their living rooms; and The Moth Radio Hour, produced by Jay Allison and distributed by PRX, which was launched in 2009 and is carried by more than 200 stations across the country.

Why "The Moth"?

The screen around Wanda's porch had a hole where moths would flutter in and get trapped in the light. Similarly, George and his friends found that the characters in their best stories would often find themselves drawn to some bright light—of adventure, ambition, knowledge—but then find themselves burned or trapped, leaving them with some essential conflict to face before the story could reach its conclusion. So George and his original group of storytellers called themselves "The Moths". George took the name with him to New York, where he hoped that New Yorkers, too, would find themselves drawn to storytelling as moths to a flame. They did. With no advertising, through sheer word of mouth, every show to date has sold out in 48 hours or less.


Stickup Artist said...

Hey Dee, I was visiting a sight of one of my regular readers, an American expat living in France, and he posted something called "Wake up and Smell the Coffee" that I think you would find interesting. It's a little far down his post Two Cents Worth. I will now attempt to post the link:

Two Cents Worth

mythopolis said...

I would love to attend such an event.