Last month, I went to check out the monthly MothUP at Manuel’s Tavern, after reading so much about it on Facebook and Twitter. Not knowing what to expect, what I found was a really fun evening of storytelling and laughter in a cozy private room at Manuel’s Tavern.
The Moth is a nonprofit organization that was started back in 1997 to revive the art of oral storytelling, begun by poet and novelist George Dawes Green in New York. While The Moth in New York present eight regular programs every year, fans in other parts of the country wanted their own storytelling outlets and have begun their own Moth gatherings. As it reads on the MothUP Atlanta Facebook page: “So, you love stories. You’re nowhere near any Moth shows. MothUP is an initiative to bring personal storytelling to the Atlanta area.”
Here’s how it works: any interested storytellers (anyone can sign up – even you!) put their name in a hat (literally) upon arrival; once the MothUP begins at 7:30 PM (promptly, on the dot), the moderator draws names at random and those storytellers take the stage, one at a time. There is a 10 minute limit for each story, and each storyteller gets a 2-minute warning to start wrapping up. At May’s MothUP, we heard stories from eight audience members – the topic was “On the Road” and we heard stories about scavenger hunting in Japan, being stuck at a park in Birmingham, Alabama, with no restroom facilities, and dropping everything to drive cross-country to Alaska to find a priest from childhood. The stories ranged from comedic (laughing until I cried at the Birmingham story) to nostalgic to just plain weird. But all of them were interesting – and let’s face it, anyone who is brave enough to get up in front of a huge crowd, without notes or script, deserves kudos.
Tonight’s theme is “Borders” – think anything from state lines to personal boundaries, the edges of your comfort zone to crossing the line, the edge of consciousness to the edge of the shoreline. The stories begin right at 7:30 PM, but if you want to get a seat, I recommend getting there much earlier than that! Oh, and admission is FREE, so grab some friends and head to Manuel’s Tavern for a beer and some great stories!