P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
December 24, 2003
Hottest Literary Ticket in New York Returns to MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) For The Moth -- the group the Wall Street Journal called "New York's hottest and hippest literary ticket", the rules are simple: four or five storytellers, some well-known, some less so, respond to a theme, fashioning a 12-minute story on the topic. A musician gives a 2-minute warning and abruptly cuts the speaker off at the mark of 12. The audience participates by judging the "competition." The group first came to MASS MoCA in the spring of 2002 performing to a sold-out house and on Saturday, January 24, at 9 P.M. they make a triumphant return to the Berkshires. "It's Jeopardy meets Lake Woebegone – hard to describe but infectious fun," said Jonathan Secor, MASS MoCA's director of performing arts. "Last year's show charmed our sell-out crowd who marveled at the acting and storytelling talent of the Moth performers. Its live entertainment at its best -- literate, fun, risky, and totally engaging."
The brainchild of George Green, The Moth brings the moth-infested front porch storytelling tradition he loved best about growing up in Georgia to his new home in Manhattan. The first event, held in June of 1997 in Green's living room, was a raving success and his storytelling evenings have gradually grown into an institution with sold out events held monthly at venues ranging from bars to book stores.
Past manifestations of The Moth have found themes based on Seven Deadly Sins, Urban Dog Tales, and War Stories. The theme at MASS MoCA will be Gotta Have It: Stories About Aspirations and Inspiration. The evening's host is award-winning humorist Andy Borowitz. Other storyteller-performers at MASS MoCA will include Joyce Maynard and Jonathan Ames. Notable storytellers of past Moth events include filmmakers Albert Maysles, DA Pennebaker, and Tamara Jenkins; Sex in the City writer Candace Bushnell; actors Marisa Tomei, Parker Posey, Buck Henry, Ethan Hawke, Spaulding Grey, Ann Magnuson, and Margaret Cho; musicians Joe Jackson, Laurie Anderson, and Vernon Reid; and writers George Plimpton and the McCourt brothers. But fame isn't everything. There have also been brokers, bankers, athletes, astronauts, nuns, and former prisoners of war, and some of the best stories have come from schoolteachers. "A lot of the celebrity storytellers at the Moth go down in flames," according to Green, "while some of the people who are the most uncomfortable when they stand up there get so much support from the audience. You need to make some kind of real human connection with your audience which is tough for people who are trained on TV."
An accomplished film and television producer, Andy Borowitz has been called a "Swiftean satirist" by The Wall Street Journal, which recently devoted a prestigious front page story to his work as one of America's leading comic voices. His latest book, Who Moved My Soap? The CEO's Guide to Surviving in Prison, became an instant Amazon bestseller a full month before publication. A former president of the Harvard Lampoon, his writing appears in the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, TV Guide, and at Newsweek.com. He is a regular guest on CNN's American Morning and commentator for National Public Radio's Weekend Edition, examining the onslaught of current events each week. The winner of three About.com Political Dot-Comedy Awards, Borowitz's daily Internet column at BorowitzReport.com attracts millions of readers from around the world. Creator and producer of the hit TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he also produced the Oscar-nominated film Pleasantville. He has been honored by The Thurber House, the boyhood home of legendary humorist James Thurber, as a 2001 finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. In 2002, he was inducted into the Friars Club of New York.
Joyce Maynard has been a magazine journalist, a reporter with The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist (Domestic Affairs), frequent contributor to NPR's All Things Considered, and a lecturer on writing. Author of three books of nonfiction and four novels, she can be seen (if you look hard) in the film adaptation of her novel To Die For. In 1998 she published the memoir, At Home in the World. Her new novel is The Usual Rules, published in February 2003 by St. Martins' Press.
Jonathan Ames is a columnist for New York Press and frequent NPR contributor. He lives in New York City, where he performs frequently as a storyteller in theaters and nightclubs. He is the winner of a Transatlantic Review award and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is the author of I Pass Like Night, The Extra Man, My Less Than Secret Life, and What's Not To Love? His one-man show of storytelling, Oedipussy, appeared off-off-Broadway. His permanently temporary website is www.jonathanames.com.
The Moth: Gotta Have It is sponsored by The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA and Classical Tents and Party Goods. The Main Stage series is sponsored by The Valley Advocate. Tickets to The Moth are $14 for adults and $11 for students with I.D. and are available by calling the MASS MoCA Box Office at 413.662.2111 or by visiting www.massmoca.org. Tickets may also be purchased in person from 11-5 every day except Tuesday at MASS MoCA off Marshall St. in North Adams, Mass. Seating is limited, and advance reservations are recommended.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release