Long before humans invented writing, hieroglyphics, cave painting, or any other way of semi-permanently transmitting information by marking it down somewhere, storytellers were our link to the past. Storytellers were our encyclopedias and our entertainers; they kept the records of our histories and through those stories, gave us insights into both the present and the future.
And while no one communicates in cuneiform anymore, the art of storytelling hasn't been lost. It's just a little dusty. Sixteen years ago, George Dawes Green—perhaps best known for his novel The Caveman's Valentine—set about brushing the cobwebs off the storyteller's stage and created the non-profit storytelling group called The Moth.
What started as a collection of friends spinning tales for each other has now become a successful project that's spawned events such as StorySLAM competitions in cities across the nation and a popular show on NPR called The Moth Radio Hour.
Here in Houston, The Moth Radio Hour airs every Saturday at noon on KUHF 88.7. You'll hear everything from real-life ghost stories to painful personal recollections—stories that run the emotional gamut, from tearjerkers to tales that will have you crying with laughter. It's thanks to the success of The Moth Radio Hour in Houston that the city finally has its own monthly StorySLAM competition, which is will have its second show tonight at Stereo Live.
The StorySLAM competition welcomes storytellers and listeners alike, with only a few ground rules: come up with a story that fits the week's theme, hone it and refine it until it fits the five-minute timeframe, and drop your name in the hat when you arrive. If your name is one of the 10 that's drawn, you'll have five minutes on stage to wow the audience and the StorySLAM judges.
Tickets to StorySLAM are $8, which you'll pay regardless of whether you're a hopeful storyteller or simply there for the show. The Houston StorySLAM will take place on the second Tuesday of every month at Stereo Live at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). The theme for the very first Houston StorySLAM? "Scars."