Storytelling

There's something about the a crackling campfire and the looming mystery of a nighttime forest that creates the perfect atmosphere for telling a special kind of story.

Some campfire stories aim to send a shiver down your spine. Others seek to remember a past moment in history or teach a good life lesson.

With that tradition in mind, Stateside will be bringing you a series of stories this summer perfect for your next bonfire. 

One way to learn history is through textbooks and lectures. Another is through the words and handwriting of the people from our past. That’s right: letters, something today’s college students don’t see too much of.

Students at Grand Valley State University are getting a chance to experience the emotional and historical power of letters through a podcast called To the Letter.

You've heard of poetry slams, TED talks and the Moth. Now, we'll introduce you to PechaKucha 20x20, happening Thursday at Tenacity Brewing in Flint.

David Stanley, one of the organizers of the event, joined Stateside to explain what this presentation style is all about.  

Hasan Minhaj is a first generation Indian-American. The comdedian shares stories of what it was like growing up in America in a show called, 'Homecoming King.'
Hasan Minhaj

Hasan Minhaj loves the way humor can get a message across. As a high schooler, Minhaj was involved in speech and debate. Then, while in college, he saw Chris Rock's Never Scared comedy routine. He equated it to 'funny' speech and debate.

"I even remember in forensics, if you could basically ridicule the other person's point, it would make your side seem so much stronger," he says.

Shannon Cason, a storyteller from Detroit, shares a personal narrative with the Front Street Writers on Thursday.
Anne Stanton

Tonight, The Moth Mainstage will be performed before a sold-out crowd in Traverse City. But yesterday, a few storytellers from The Moth did a workshop with a classroom of about 25 high school students. 

They talked about how storytelling builds community and helps people reflect on their own lives.

Shannon Cason is from Detroit. He says growing up, he always loved playing games. But, when he got older his love for games got him in trouble with gambling.

Jay Allison is an award-winning independent broadcast journalist. He produces 'The Moth Radio Hour.'
dancutrona.com

Imagine several raconteurs relaxing on a front porch swapping true tales on a warm summer night in Georgia. There's probably plenty of iced tea, maybe a few cans of beer, and the occasional fluttering of a moth's wings can be heard as it flies to the cozy glow of the porch light.

Those laid-back, informal gatherings eventually gave rise to The Moth storytelling events, which are now held around the world. The format remains simple — live stories told by everyday people without notes. The show stops in Traverse City on Friday night at the City Opera House.