Friday, January 18, 2013

Inaugural Moth Pittsburgh GrandSLAM Championship

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Pittsburgh was among the first cities to get its own officially sanctioned version of the popular New York-based storytelling series, and last night’s event at the New Hazlett Theater showed why.

An enthusiastic full house saw 10 tellers take the stage. Although all the tellers were locally based, demand for tickets was comparable to that for the annual touring Moth show that visits every summer.

The Moth is, simply, “real people telling true stories on a stage.” Most are not professional performers, though some are quite skilled.

The 10 tellers were the winners of the past year’s monthly Moth events at the Rex Theater, now gathered for a final tell-off. Last night’s theme was “Fish Out of Water,” but I bet at least half of the performers would have made the grade on the weekly Moth radio broadcasts showcasing top national performers (which airs locally Sunday nights on 90.5 WESA).

The winner, as determined by three teams of four judges each, was David Harris-Gershon. The writer told an hilarious but ultimately poignant story about posing as a woman in an Internet chatroom in order to win votes for Obama in 2008. His handle was “Adventurous Jen in Limbo.”

Other highlights included CMU grad student Chris Lambie-Hanson recounting his disillusioning childhood appearance on Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?, while massage therapist Nora Matthews — who began her story by saying “I am a weirdo” — told of her fantasy boyfriend from her college years … Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Monthly StorySLAM host Alan Olifson emceed. He’s a very funny guy, and it might be worth checking out the monthly shows at the Rex just for him. The next one is Feb. 16; the theme is Love Hurts.

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