The Moth has come to San Francisco

Storytelling radio show and podcast, The Moth, has been bringing its live show to cities across the country and now has a monthly series at The Rickshaw Stop. They invited us to check out the first one, which we gladly did.

The theme of the night was SECRETS, which seemed a little broad and obvious for this kind of storytelling series, but the participants came up with some great things to share and host Dan Kennedy held it all together with playful banter in between. Everyone who came in had the option to put their name into a bag at the beginning, and then were selected at random to come up and tell their stories. So the night was a literal grab bag of performances. The range happened to work out really well. Some stories were just okay, worthy of a polite clap for being willing to get up there and do it, and some pretty much knocked me on my ass. The thing they all had in common for me was a real feel of sincerity, no matter how earnest or sarcastic the tone was, which made them relatable and hard to dismiss.

The stories are given number ratings by teams of audience judges which are then added up at the end to pronounce a winner. After ten of these live shows, called the SLAMS, the winner from each will compete in the GrandSLAM Championship. In my opinion, Cory Rosen told the overall best story that night, and the judges agreed with me.

I got to interview the Producer of The Moth, Jennifer Hixson, and the Host, Dan Kennedy (author of Rock On: An Office Power Ballad), backstage just following the show, which was really an adrenaline-fueled fun and fast paced candid conversation:

Mission Mission: I’m not a journalist, just a blogger, I have no ethics or scruples.

Jennifer Hixson (Moth Producer): Oh, even more frightening! (keeps riffing for a while)

MM: I wish I didn’t have questions, this is great!

Dan Kennedy (Moth Host): Now you know what I’ve been dealing with for ten years. I have the funniest stories . . .

JH: This Orangina’s getting to me!

MM: Okay, well, is there anything different for The Moth in San Francisco?

JH: Well, in some ways across the country the stories are the same: heartbreak, job loss, family stuff . . . But of course San Francisco’s gonna have an amazing different flavor, this is a wild city, this is a place where a lot of stuff meets.

DK: Well, the first story [tonight] was about a woman being led up to heaven by an angel after she was hit on her bicycle, and it wasn’t too long after that that we went into a story of a boy learning to masturbate. I think that’s a pretty awesome range, and we heard everything in between. I don’t think that happens in a lot of cities.