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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Moth in Milwaukee

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Whether it's over canapés and cocktails, cross-legged by a campfire or at a child's bedside, storytelling is one of our surest means of reaching out to our fellow man. In a bid to strengthen a connection imperiled by today's hectic lifestyle, novelist George Dawes Green assembled a group of friends in his Manhattan apartment for a night of storytelling, dubbing the event "The Moth" in honor of the balmy Southern nights of his youth. That was back in 1997. Since then, his informal undertaking has morphed into something of a cult-phenomenon, spawning a network of devoted alumni that includes celebrities like Ethan Hawke, Rosie O'Donnell and the late Spalding Gray, as well as people from all walks of life. The Moth has established itself as a nonprofit organization hosting regular storytelling sessions, slams and outreach events in its native city of New York-where locals prize it as a tourist-free alternative to the comedy club circuit-as well as Los Angeles and San Francisco. In recent years the organization has broadened its reach even further, taking its main-stage show on nationwide tours. On Saturday, June 6, Milwaukee has a chance to be part of the buzz when The Moth comes to the Turner Hall Ballroom for a one-night-only event starting at 8 p.m.

Hosted by The New Yorker's Andy Borowitz, the event follows the traditional Moth main-stage format. Five storytellers, including Madison resident Tom Farley (brother of the late comedian Chris Farley) and The Onion's Todd Hanson will tell 10-minute stories based on the theme "Home and Away." Hear author Michaela Murphy's account of a childhood vacation spent spying on the Kennedys at Hyannis Port or New York architect Ed Gavagan's fateful run-in with the Latin Kings. As is traditional, The Moth has chosen a local storyteller to participate in the event. Claire Moore, a Riverwest resident, will narrate a youthful escapade concerning the "restoration" of a Milwaukee icon. For tickets, go to www.themoth.org.

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