Events · On Writing

The Moth Michigan GrandSLAM – I’m competing! Here are the deets!

I received the following information in an email this week. After my stomach decided to get up and leave my body and my heart followed a bit behind, I managed to calm myself and accept that I am ON THIS LIST AND IN THIS COMPETITION!

Holy balls, Batman! I’m gonna need some serious balls to get up on the glorious stage at the breathtaking Gem Theatre in Detroit, MI.

Please take the time to read all the info, check your schedules and if you can and want to(which I’m pretty sure you’ll want to), get a ticket and attend.


Of course, not just to see/hear me flubber on stage in front of hundreds of people (the theme is FALL FROM GRACE, after all), but to support the art of oral storytelling.

And, here’s an incentive – the story I will be telling – I’VE NEVER TOLD ANYONE. Gulp. Double gulp. So there’s that.

The Moth invites you to…

Michigan GrandSLAM Championship IV: FALL FROM GRACE

The Moth presents the GrandSLAM, a battle of wits and words – fierce, hilarious, heartbreaking and all points between. Listen as ten StorySLAM champs tell tales about lost footing or losing face, ouch-ifying reality checks, melted wings and other status downgrades.

Arriving in a limo…and leaving on foot.

The Moth is dedicated to finding intriguing people to tell inspired stories. At The Moth StorySLAM, those people find us.

On this night, using words as weapons, they word-it-out to determine The Moth’s Michigan GrandSLAM Story Champion.

Thursday, September 20th

Hosted by:
Alex Trajano

Stories by:

Amir Baghdadchi, 
Zev Berger, 
Kimber Bowman, 
Eleanor Brimmer, 
Allison Downey, 
Christopher Humphrey, 
John ‘Mac’ McCune, 
Pun Plamondon, 
Horace H B Sanders, 
Vanessa Shields

Music by:
Jake Reichbart

at The Gem Theater, 333 Madison St
Detroit, MI 48226

7:00pm Doors Open

8:00pm Stories Start on Stage

$16 Tickets available here

Michigan StorySLAM Producers: Brian Ralph Short and Alex Trajano

Moth StorySLAM Producer: Jenifer Hixson

Please forward this newsletter to your friends and help us spread the word.

Our Host:
Alex “Thrilla” Trajano is a mainstay of the Detroit music scene. He performs all over Detroit & Ann Arbor, the US, Europe and Scandinavia. His musical projects include, among many others, The Oblivion Project (an ensemble dedicated to the repertoire of Argentinean tango master AstorPiazzolla) and his indie rock band, Bright Out. As owner of Thrilla Park Studios, Trajano has recorded and/or produced CDs for artists ranging from Marcus Belgrave to Iggy Pop and the Stooges. Currently, he serves as chief audio engineer of Detroit’s public radio station, WDET, hosts concert series for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and is obsessed with the mechanics of the golf swing. Trajano is the father of three children and has an irrational fear of tall women, clowns and never uses a hair brush.

Our Storytellers:

Amir Baghdadchi has failed at an impressive array of occupations, including paper boy, theatre critic, oyster shucker, riverboat tour guide, scholar of antiquity, short order cook, mutual fund salesman, fine arts translator, advertising copywriter, personal chef, résumé fixer, barn painter, and candidate for county office. He remains upbeat about it.

Zev Berger has always liked to argue. Not the mean-spirited bombast that often passes for discussion; pointed, well reasoned, arguments. He can recount at least one good argument in Buffalo, NY (where he was born); Hamilton, ON; Allon Shvut, West Bank; Hyde Park, Chicago (there we many here); Philadelphia, PA (where he worked for a political interest group, so fewer here); and Ann Arbor, MI. He is particularly willing to argue about whether or not ebooks constitute books (they do not), the merits of Vibram toe-shoes (many), and the need for constructing incentive compatible political institutions (great). Understandably, this habit can make him both a bit of a jerk and adorkable. He is now a PhD candidate, studying political theory and institutional design, at the University of Michigan.

Kimber Bowman is 23 and lives in the beautiful, pothole encrusted city of Detroit, MI. She is a really short media planner and aspiring photographer, with an unhealthy addiction to Sprite, Twizzlers and Joseph Gordon Levitt. She says, “Love you, Mom and Dad–please excuse my profanity tonight. LONG LIVE 90s NICKTOONS!”

Eleanor Brimmer is 26 years old and originally from Wayzata, MN. She graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, VA with a BA in American Culture and a minor in History. Eleanor has Cerebral Palsy and has just returned from the 2012 London Paralympics where she was long-listed as an equestrian.

Allison Downey is a performer, writer, award-winning Singer-Songwriter and educator (WMU professor). After spending a year fluttering around the NYC Storytelling scene, and telling for the 2011 Moth Mainstage Michigan tour, Allison loves all things Moth (and some things non-Moth). She offers workshops, retreats, and coaching in creativity, storytelling, and a bunch of other stuff, too. Otherwise, Allison fights imaginary fires with her 4 year-old fire chief, Michael.

Christopher Humphrey is 24 and was born and raised in Michigan. He is a new Moth and NPR fan who was lucky enough to be picked to tell a story at his very first Moth StorySLAM and was shocked when he won. Chris is a private swim instructor and a Capoeirista, a person who practices Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance and music. He currently assists in classes for Michigan’s fastest growing Capoeira group, “The Michigan Center for Capoeira” (TMCC). He enjoys swimming, Capoeira, night running, gaming, pets and pie and everything else in between.

John ‘Mac’ McCune hails from a suburb of Lansing MI, and is currently produce buyer and merchandiser with Goodrich’s Shop-Rite in East Lansing. Born in 1952, Mac is the youngest of 5 kids from a middle class Catholic family, which lends itself to some interesting, albeit painful, stories. He learned his art of storytelling from his father, Claude McCune whom Mac describes as the consummate salesman. The past 31 years of his life have seen him through addiction, recovery, discovering The MOTH as well as attempting to grow old gracefully. Mac feels honored to be among this wonderful group of talented storytellers and dedicates all of his stories to his two beautiful children, Sarah Grace and Thomas James McCune.

Pun Plamondon is a member of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa. He is an author, playwright, retired carpenter, and recovering alcoholic. He is an ex-convict, former FBI 10 Most Wanted fugitive, a victorious litigant in the US Supreme Court and a former bodyguard to Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. Currently he is President Pro Tem of CUR (The Congress of Unrepentant Radicals), and active in the anti-fracking organization, Michigan Land, Air & Water Defense.

Horace H B Sanders, also known as “Mr. Funny 2 Me,” is a Stand Up Comedian and Detroit native. CBS crowned him Star Search Comedy Champion and he’s done comedy in huge stadiums but he’s proud to say that he is willing to perform anywhere a crowd could gather–wedding receptions, churches, clubs, corporations, schools and even funeral homes. You can find him on the web at

Vanessa Shields is a lover of storytelling – be it on the page or on the stage. Born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, she is a writer and mother. She lives and works in Windsor with her true love and hubby Nick, and their children, Jett and Miller. Her first book, Laughing Through A Second Pregnancy – A memoir, was published in 2011 to great reviews. She teaches, mentors, blogs, and is passionate about all things literary. When she’s not eating, reading, writing or playing with her kids, she can be found doing laundry, vacuuming, or swimming.

Our musician:
 Jake Reichbart has been delighting audiences with his romantic and disciplined techniques for the past 20 years. He’s performed at the governor’s inaugural ball, in front of two United States presidents, and at an array of civic and industry events. A respected bandleader, his forte lies in his ninstrumental solo work, tastefully interpreting classic jazz and pop standards in unique style.

We hope to see you there!

The Moth

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