Storytelling may have been the very first art form, dating back to a time when humans huddled around fires for warmth, protection, and camaraderie. To this day, we still love nothing quite as much as a good story well told, as the popularity of shows like This American Life can attest.
Below are some recurring events in Brooklyn where you can hear stories that will leave you laughing, gasping, and maybe even tearing up.
The Moth (Gowanus, Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg)
The 21st-century storytelling boom owes a lot to this event series, which got its start here in New York before expanding to dozens of cities across the country. Poet and novelist George Dawes Green hosted the first Moth event in his living room, naming it in honor of the summer evenings he spent telling stories with his friends on a porch in Georgia.
The Moth consists of open-mic Story Slams, where the host draws names out of a hat to see who gets to tell their 5-minute stories on a pre-announced topic. Winners of the Story Slams are invited to a Grand Slam event, to compete against other Story Slam winners. Their Mainstage events showcase longer, curated stories, from established storytellers, celebrities, and other people with extraordinary stories to tell.
The Moth presents at least one event every week in venues across New York. Brooklyn events include Story Slams at The Bell House and the Brooklyn Historical Society, as well as the occasional Grand Slam event at The Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Event photo by Denise Ofelia Mangen courtesy of The Moth.
Mara Wilson photo courtesy of Facebook
What Are You Afraid Of? (Williamsburg)
Former child actor and writer Mara Wilson (Matilda) hosts this series at Over the Eight. She also contributes some of her own anxieties to those expressed by her fellow storytellers. Lineups includes Wilson, Jake Hart, Sandi Marx, and Alison Leiby. The next show starts promptly at 8 p.m. on Thursday October 28, and tickets can be purchased here. November’s show is to be determined.
Tell It: Booklyn via Facebook
Tell It: Brooklyn (Park Slope) is a live open mic storytelling series hosted by Victoria Scroggins and Susan Kent at Park Slope nightspot the Fifth Estate. It is known for its entertaining, inspiring, and hilarious mix of scheduled storytellers and surprise open mic-ers. Tell It: Brooklyn happens on the first Wednesday of every month, and those who wish to participate have until 7:30 to enter.
The Shed via Facebook
The Shed: A Storytelling Salon (Bedford-Stuyvesant)
The Shed has traveled numerous times in its three years of existence from Greenpoint to Gowanus to Manhattan and to the actual Shed in Red Hook. In October, it started its new incarnation at a ground-level apartment in Bed-Stuy. Check the website or The Shed’s Twitter account for future events.
Kimberly Rae Miller | The Story Collider via Facebook
The Story Collider (Park Slope)
This series, which takes place monthly at Union Hall in Brooklyn, as well as in other cities in the U.S. and Canada, is all about science. The Story Collider believes that everyone has a story about how science made a difference, affected them, or changed them on a personal and emotional level. To tell your story and find out about the next event, go here.
Branded Saloon | Ana Marie C. via Yelp
The Tank (Prospect Heights)
Sam Dingman hosts a monthly open-mic storytelling event at Branded Saloon. Each month, four randomly selected storytellers take the stage, followed by a featured performer who closes the show. Stories are recorded for possible inclusion on Dingman’s podcast, and every performer takes home a recording of their piece.