WE'RE ALL FAMILIAR with The Moth—the storytelling series, broadcast on public radio and in podcast form, that features real people telling true stories in front of a live audience. It's a show that inspired similar series nationwide, including Portland's own beloved Back Fence PDX. And now, in a stroke of the sort of full-circle logic that might sound contrived if you heard it in a "true" radio story, Back Fence is co-sponsoring a brand-new Portland outpost of The Moth's StorySLAM.
Not to be confused with The Moth's high-profile touring shows, which have played for sold-out Portland crowds at the Schnitz, StorySLAM is an open mic that invites audience volunteers to tell stories on a pre-announced theme. The opening-night theme for the Portland slam is "chemistry"—wannabe readers are encouraged to prepare a five-minute story about "complex reactions, sparks, explosions... magical solutions. Dynamic rapport and explosive interactions. Opposites that attract or burn like acid," per the publicity materials. Each night's storytellers are chosen at random and judged by the audience, and the winner will go on to compete in a Portland "GrandSLAM." The first show of the new Portland series will be hosted by writer/professional funny dude Dan Kennedy, after which a local host will take over.
The Moth's StorySLAM joins a host of other Portland storytelling shows: In addition to Back Fence, Portland Story Theater offers regular workshops and performances, and the Mystery Box Show has recently taken up residence at the Brody, inviting storytellers to share their sexiest sex stories.