Press Release
Press Release

Moth GrandSLAM championship event to crown Milwaukee’s top storyteller Jan. 31 at Turner Hall

The show features 10 Moth StorySLAM winners from the past year, who’ll each tell a five-minute, true tale on the theme “Fish Out of Water.”

By - Jan 14th, 2014 03:38 pm

NEW YORK – Jan. 14, 2014 – The Moth presents Milwaukee’s first GrandSLAM championship Friday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. at Turner Hall. The show features 10 Moth StorySLAM winners from the past year, who’ll each tell a five-minute, true tale on the theme “Fish Out of Water.” Tellers will battle it out, with only words as weapons, as guest judges determine the victor. No notes, no scripts, just pure old-fashioned storytelling. Contestants include a doctor, two artists, an ex-cab driver, a ghost hunter and a wedding videographer.

Since its inception in New York City in 2007, The Moth has spurred a revival in oral storytelling across the country. The first Moth event in Milwaukee kicked off in 2009, to the delight of sold out crowds hungering for a return to the world’s oldest art form in an age packed with new technology. In 2012, The Moth began hosting monthly StorySLAMs in Milwaukee, and in total, 160 riveting tales have been told to date.

“Milwaukeeans have great stories! From heartbreak to humor, the finalists cover it all and do it in a way that is completely genuine,” said Sarah Haberman, The Moth executive director and also a Milwaukee native. “Audiences will be mesmerized. There is nothing more raw, primal or universal than a really good story.”

The finalists are Michelle Cloud, Jenie Gao, Noel Mariano, Steven Murphy, Chris Meyers, Jen Rubin, Alexandra Rosas, Jesse Stenbroten, Deb Tetzlaff and Micah Truran. Christy Hall Watson is the host.

The Moth GrandSLAM championship is Friday, Jan. 31, from 7–10 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) Turner Hall is located at 1034 N. 4th Street. Tickets are $20 and are available at The Pabst box office or online:

Wisconsin Public Radio (WHAD FM 90.7) airs The Moth Radio Hour on The Ideas Network each Friday from 9 to 10 p.m.  WPR is also a proud media partner of The Moth StorySLAM series in Milwaukee.

About the Host and Finalists

More detailed bios are available on request.

Christy Hall Watson is a comic. She is the emcee of the Brew City Bombshells Burlesque troupe under the stage name of “Kandi Kickass,” performs improv at ComedySportz, does stand-up around Wisconsin.

Michelle Cloud is a graduate of Harvard Law School who fled the practice of law in 2004 to be a stay-at-home mom to her three daughters. She is also a painter.

Jenie Gao is a forthright young professional and an introspective artist. By day, she works at a printing and manufacturing company. Beyond the day job, she has a studio space in Bay View, where she makes immense woodcuts and ink drawings.

Noel Mariano is a PhD candidate in English at UW-Milwaukee where he teaches in the Ethnic Studies department. He spends his free time playing video games, reading comic books and ghost hunting. He’s also a retired drag queen.

Chris Meyers drove a cab for seven years. He currently teaches English to middle schoolers in the Milwaukee Public School system. Meyers is a father of two, and has been married for 11 years.

Steven Murphy is a family doctor in Milwaukee, a husband and father to three. Unable to cure his own ailments, he self-medicates with storytelling.

Alexandra Rosas is a first generation American who has been writing memoirs, humor and blogs since 2006. She was named a BlogHer Voice of The Year for Humor, and has since been published in various humor and writing websites. Rosas lives with her husband and three small children.

Jen Rubin is a former New Yorker living in Madison. Jen works in children’s advocacy, while also raising two kids, writing a book, running a craft club, and continuing her lifelong attempt to develop arm muscles.

Jesse Stenbroten is a 23-year-old videographer and filmmaker by trade. She is a Wisconsin native, born and raised in Madison and Milwaukee.

Deb Tetzlaff is a single empty nester whose day job is Inside Sales and Fearless Cold Caller for a Wisconsin software firm. Her passions include writing, piano, coffee, church organ, dark beer, comedy, music arranging and crocheting.

Micah Truran is a 26-year-old psychology student at UW-Milwaukee. He’s an aspiring writer, an avid gamer and a mediocre guitar player.

About The Moth StorySLAM

The Moth hosts StorySLAMs in Milwaukee the first Thursday of each month at The Miramar Theatre. At each StorySLAM, The Moth provides a stage, a microphone, a theme and a host to guide the festivities. Storytellers toss their names into a hat and wait for their chance to share a crafted story from their life. If chosen, they have five minutes to regale the crowd.  As with all Moth events, no notes or scripts are allowed.

Upcoming StorySLAMS and themes are: Feb. 6, Love Hurts; March 4, Heroes; April 3, Happy; May 1, Escape; and June 5, Kharma.

About The Moth

The Moth is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling, and a recipient of a 2012 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions (MACEI). Through its ongoing programs—The Moth Mainstage, The Moth StorySLAMs, The Moth Community Education Programs: MothSHOP and High School StorySLAMs and Moth Corporate Programs: MothSHOP and Events—The Moth has presented more than 3,000 stories, told live and without notes, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide. The Moth podcast is downloaded more than 15 million times a year, and the Peabody Award-winning The Moth Radio Hour, produced by Jay Allison and presented by PRX, The Public Radio Exchange, airs weekly on radio stations nationwide. The new Moth Mobile App for iOS and Android, and the New York Times bestseller, The Moth: 50 True Stories (Hyperion), are available now.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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2 thoughts on “Moth GrandSLAM championship event to crown Milwaukee’s top storyteller Jan. 31 at Turner Hall”

  1. Sam says:

    Can you please check if you misgendered Micah. The Moth used he pronouns and you all used she. Maybe Micah uses both, but if not, that is a really important thing to get right.

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @Sam I’ve made the change. I should point out this is a press release and was posted as sent to us from Moth.

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