Saturday, July 2, 2011

Say Uncle!

"Hey, how close are you?" I say into the phone. "I just turned right from Broadway onto Bleecker." The panting voice on the other end replies.  "Ok you are only a few minutes away, see you in a bit" I respond and hang up the phone. I look down the line and try to get a head count of the people in back of me and then turn to get a number of people ahead of me. I have been waiting for about forty-five minutes and have seen the line grow from about thirty (about where my place is) to about one hundred and twenty. At that moment I see my niece make her way across the street and spot me as I smile and wave my hand in the air. 

The last few days have been very busy, with my son's graduation and departure for sleep away camp. My niece has been visiting with us over the weekend and while discussing music likes and other listening favorites, we discovered that we both listen to the same podcast. The Moth podcast is a collection of unscripted real life stories people express in front of an audience. We visited the website and found out they were having a Story Slam that monday night at The Bitter End in the Village. We immediately made plans to attend. "Sorry I'm late, it took longer than I planned." My niece explains while trying to cool down from the walk in the heat. "No problem, we are in a good position and they have not started letting people in yet." We catch up on her day when the line starts to move, and we slowly make our way around the corner. We are a few feet from the door when we spot this gigantic bouncer in the doorway checking ID's when it dawns on me that the venue is a bar and my niece is only sixteen. We both look anxiously at each other as we are now next to enter. "ID's please..." The bouncer roars and startles my niece. The bouncer gazes at my niece and bellows "Hey, how old are you?" With my niece frozen in place I plead, "She is sixteen but we are just here for the stories." "It's OK, relax, I just need to see the ID, then I stamp your hand." My niece lets out a sigh of relief, we pay the cover and scurry to find two seats with optimal sight lines of the mic stand. We find two on the side and await with excitement for the start of the Slam.

The Story Slam lives up the its billing. The MC of the evening is a woman who is lively and extremely funny, filling up the time between stories with outlandish and raunchy tales of her own. The participants engage the audience with heartfelt recounts of romance, breakups, childhood angst and family dramas, all the makings of a great stories and a memorable evening. My niece and I attempt to rank our favorites between each storyteller and we always to seem to be in agreement in our rankings. 

As we hear the final story of the night, the waitress comes around with the bar tab for each table (ours consisted of a bottle of water and a diet coke). We are sad that the event is coming to a close but thankful we did get a chance to attend the event. We we make our way out of the club, we thank the bouncer and walk out onto the lively Greenwich Village streets. "Are you hungry, lets go get a falafel around the corner, I know a great place." We get matching falafel sandwiches and eat them outside on two wooden chairs. We eat, people watch, and state our final rankings of the stories of the evening. After a while we decide to get a cab to I can escort her home (she is staying with her other aunt this week). We take the cab to the east side and we get out. "Thank you for a great evening, I loved it." she says as she hugs me goodbye. "I am glad we got to do this together, and now you can tell all your friends you got to go to a iconic village club and see a show!" I stand there and watch her enter the building and then start to make my way home. I got thirty minutes to the next train.

To learn more about The Moth, visit


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