The Moth: True Stories Told Live
September 4, 2013 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Formed in NYC in 1997, the Moth celebrates the art of story through performances of true, first-person stories without notes in front of a live audience. Stories are told by celebrities including Steve Burns dealing with his fame and DMC of Run-DMC discussing how Sarah McLachan helped him overcome his depression as well as everyday people like: a research scientist detailing her relationship with her parrot and a woman with CP falling in love for the first time. These stories are recounted in several cities across the USA and are later disseminated through weekly podcasts, a weekly radio show distributed by public radio stations (requires a free account), and a book out today. An interview with George Dawes Green, novelist, and Founder of the Moth from the Rumpus. More stories are available on youtube and their website.
posted by fizzix (19 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
I saw this at the Bell House a few weeks ago for the first time. Truly incredible. Go if you can.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:28 PM on September 4, 2013

I didn't catch that the DMC/McLachan was already on the blue in '11.
posted by fizzix at 12:29 PM on September 4, 2013

Whoa, just realized that I've made 3 out of the 5 posts on Metafilter with the tag "themoth". I guess I like them a lot.
posted by kmz at 12:40 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Moth has been the central focus of my creative output for a number of years, and is bridge I walked over in order to start performing my own writing. They featured one of my stories (about working with a kangaroo shooter in the Outback) on their YouTube channel last week, and I'm compelled to share it here: Giant Lizard Eating My Pants
posted by chinese_fashion at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

GDG's story "The House Truman Didn't Burn" was the first Moth story I ever heard and it hooked me instantly.
posted by The Whelk at 1:06 PM on September 4, 2013

"Eventually he found his way to Guatemala, where he became fascinated with local handwoven fabrics. This led to him designing and manufacturing a line of women’s sportswear that was carried in 600 boutiques around the world."

posted by The Whelk at 1:13 PM on September 4, 2013

If you can make it through Anthony Griffith's The Best of Times, the Worst of Times without breaking up or having to pause to get some air, you are dead inside.
posted by ardgedee at 1:34 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'd never heard that DMC story before. I could feel the end coming a mile away and it still hit me like a cement truck when it happened. Lovely, lovely. Misty eyed here.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:40 PM on September 4, 2013

This one, by journalist Phil Caputo, is in part about his experiences in Lebanon in the 70's and is well worth a listen.
posted by janerica at 1:52 PM on September 4, 2013

I love The Moth, but if I have to hear one more time about Dan Kennedy's goddamn office power ballad...
posted by Madamina at 2:15 PM on September 4, 2013 [15 favorites]

The other day they announced that The Moth is coming to Oklahoma City. The hubby and I are both unemployed and it's a school night but I DON'T CARE. I cannot wait.
posted by wallaby at 2:22 PM on September 4, 2013

An example of being waaaay too cynical: I first heard of the Moth in magazine ads (New Yorker or whatever) around the time that Lunesta, the prescription sleeping drug, hit the markets. Lunesta's commercials featured a luna moth flying around, breaking and entering into people's open windows (I know that technically disqualifies it as "breaking", but whatevs) and putting them to sleep. I just figured the Moth came around at the same time as those ads and was some sort of feel-good advertising put out by the drug manufacturer based on the stories/bedtime connection, and got disgusted every time I saw a promotion for it. I actually believed that the Moth was a sleeping drug ad until today, and now I feel like a big meanie.

God damn you, Baader-Meinhoff.
posted by LionIndex at 2:58 PM on September 4, 2013

I got the impression during the Gladwell Post reporting that the Moth is for "true stories and occasional tall tales", or perhaps that "nobody who knows anything about The Moth would ever take literally a story told there. " (quotes from Slate). Is that not correct?
posted by jacalata at 3:19 PM on September 4, 2013

What I got from that Slate piece, jacalata, was that Malcolm Gladwell is chronically full of shit, as if, you know, that's news or anything.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:35 PM on September 4, 2013

well, yea. But if Ira Glass was wrong in saying it is 'a place for tall tales' then I guess I expected more pushback?
posted by jacalata at 3:42 PM on September 4, 2013

I end up hearing a lot of Moth material because I listen to Public Radio Remix regularly. Some of the stories feel a bit overblown, others have the ring of truth. It's hard to know what you're getting, other than a good story, but then, what else better is there?

Just today I heard this one (yet again, I think maybe for the 3rd time), and I don't care if not every detail of it is true or not. It's a damn fine story!
posted by hippybear at 5:22 PM on September 4, 2013

Edgar Oliver's Moth story was mentioned here previously. Looks like it's shown up in video form since then.
posted by Vendar at 7:19 AM on September 5, 2013

jacalata: "I got the impression during the Gladwell Post reporting that the Moth is for "true stories and occasional tall tales", or perhaps that "nobody who knows anything about The Moth would ever take literally a story told there. " (quotes from Slate). Is that not correct?"

I've only started listening to the moth over the past 6 months and have quickly fallen in love with it but I haven't heard or read anything other than that article from slate that suggests some stories are 'tall' or have embellishments in them.

I would feel a bit crestfallen if some stories have more than a small embellishment in them (sidetrack: what I would consider a small embellishment that is acceptable: in the all-star story, Tim met the red sox players at a different place rather than at the house as mikela described).

Some of the awe and enjoyment that I experience while listening from the performance, I believe, comes from the fact the person actually experienced what they are describing on stage.
posted by fizzix at 7:49 AM on September 5, 2013

The Moth's instructions to storytellers say that a story must be true.

However, I doubt very much that they are fact-checked. So there's a decent possibility that many of the stories are more-or-less true, some are embellished a bit, and a few are tall tales.

Maybe that's what Ira Glass means - even though it's supposed to be true, probably some of them aren't. Just like the speed limit on the highway doesn't necessarily reflect how fast the cars are moving.
posted by bunderful at 5:24 PM on September 5, 2013

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