For an event giving out "I <3 NPR" stickers it was a bit naughtier than I expected (which probably had something to do with it being in a bar and most of us were drinking), but I absolutely fell in love with it.
How Moth story slams go is a theme is announced and when people come to the event they sign up to tell a story based on it. Stories must be actual stories - they need a beginning, middle, and end, they have to told in 5 min, you can't bring paper to read off of, and they must be true. 10 volunteers have to sign up before the event can even begin, and they're judged by three teams of audience members. The winner goes on to compete at the next level.
Man, I learned a lot last night. How good stories that capture you from the first sentence don't have to be fiction, how short stories can be structured, how to deliver a story, and that the Circus Bar charges for tap water.
It was such a simple set up, but still so amazing. I'll have to download back issues of the podcast to listen to while I'm in Ethiopia, and maybe I can start up a similar event where I'm placed. Gah, I have so many writing ideas that I want to try over there (I think starting up something around NaNoWriMo would be cool), but I know it's best to have really low expectations of actually doing things. It takes a lot of work to get something up and going, and I'll have to be a member of the community before I can start.
Still, stories are universal things. And if I can't hear them in a similar setting, I bet I can collect a few around a fire.