The Moth and The Unchained Tour covered by the New York Times and Oxford American

I reviewed the Savannah performance of The Unchained Tour in a post yesterday, so here I’m just including a couple of links to pieces of obvious interest.

From Joan Juliet Buck (one of the last tour’s raconteurs) writing in the New York Times Style Magazine, “A Bus Called Wanda”:

Most Moth stories begin with a “So.” This means: We’ve been talking for a while; it means, you’re already with me.

So: when George Dawes Green was young, he would stay up all night in Georgia drinking bourbon and telling stories as moths flapped against the screened-in porch of a schoolteacher named Wanda Bullard. When he moved to New York to write novels that won prizes and were turned into movies, he no longer told, or heard, any story from beginning to end. Someone would start a story at a cocktail party or dinner, but as soon as they drew breath or paused for effect, someone else would jump in to top it. In New York, every little story was crushed before it was born.

Encouraged by Wanda Bullard, George started the Moth in 1997, so that people could tell their stories in front of audiences, and those audiences turned out to want nothing more than to listen.

Across the Atlantic, as the editor in chief of French Vogue, I watched a thousand fashion shows without stories and developed an urgent need for stories without fashion shows. The Moth was everything I longed for.

And from Hillary Brenhouse writing in Oxford American, Storytelling with Edgar Oliver:

In October, Edgar will star in a one-man show in which he’ll summon memories of his youth, in the sixties and seventies, in Savannah, Georgia. “I want to call it ‘Helen and Edgar,’” he intones. “Isn’t that a beautiful title?” I tell him I think it is. “Oh, goooody!” And then: “If I can convey Helen, I’ll be so happy.”

The production will run in New York. Edgar has lived and written and performed in that city for thirty-five years and earned himself as many epithets—“the East Village’s last bohemian,” “downtown New York’s avuncular eccentric.” But for all of his achievements in theatre and in verse, he is only now finding a more widespread renown. For one thing, the burgeoning live storytelling scene has embraced Edgar; he is particularly beloved by The Moth, an organization that has raised storytelling to performance art and that moves crowds with its events. For another, he occasionally appears on Oddities, a reality TV show about an offbeat antique store, the promotion for which features Edgar admiring a straightjacket.