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Moth Storytellers Spin Their Way to the 2nd GrandSLAM

By Betsy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 27, 2011 8:20PM

Peter Sagal of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is the host of the second Chicago GrandSLAM.
The Moth started out in 1997 as a storytelling series in New York. Stories are told live, open mic-style, no notes, and are strictly from the storytellers’ hearts and heads. The Moth then grew into a podcast and a radio show, and it’s become so popular that there are now monthly Moth StorySLAMS in Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit. Each month has a theme, like fame, confusion, or danger. Storytellers have five minutes to tell a true story that pertains to that theme, whether it be funny or sad or both. Each story gets a score, the the one with the highest is deemed that months’ winner.

StorySLAMS are random; anyone can get called, as long as you drop your name into a hat at the start. If a storyteller wins a StorySLAM, he or she gets invited to The Moth GrandSLAM to compete with other winners. The 2nd Chicago GrandSLAM is next Wednesday.

WBEZ and The Moth are bringing 10 storytellers to The Park West to battle it out over their stories. Hosted by Peter Sagal of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (one of the funniest guys on the radio, we thinks), these ten champion Moth StorySLAM raconteurs each share a five-minute story on the theme “Identity Crisis.” The winning storyteller, who will be crowned the Chicago Moth GrandSLAM Champion — will be determined by guest judges chosen from the audience.

The Moth’s Second Chicago GrandSLAM, August 2, 8 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.), The Park West Theater, 322 W. Armitage, tickets $17 via or The Park West box office