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The Moth Gives Storytellers Center Stage

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA) , December 11, 2009

Summary:

The twice-monthly club event is drawing capacity crowds that come to listen to slice-of-life tales from anyone lucky enough to get their name pulled from a hat.

And from the looks of the packed audience -- many standing in the back or leaning in from any available entryway -- there is an eagerness to hear the stories about people's lives, each set to a predetermined theme.

While the monthly events at L.A.'s El Cid and the Air Conditioned Supper Club in Venice provide a chance for average Joes and Janes to tell the tales they've undoubtedly told at numerous dinner parties, with a $7 cover charge it becomes the cheapest stage show in town. The limelight is available to anyone, but this being L.A., many of the performers are actors, writers and comedians -- some trying out new material, others just doing what they love.

Kerry Armstrong, a producer of the slams since November 2007, lived in New York for 10 years and saw how people came in droves to the shows. But building a following in L.A. was tough at first, she said, because in a city with a large ratio of entertainers, the nonprofessionals felt disconnected or nervous about participating.

"It's interesting -- when I first started, there were maybe 30 people that would come. When people come, they get hooked in. I think the Moth will always have that quality," Armstrong said. "People get up there and tell a real story, so there is that vulnerability. There is the appeal of seeing real people."

Subjects Covered: personal storytelling


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