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Seattle’s first Moth StorySLAM last night was amazing but I want to remind everyone that there is an equally great story show in town that’s been running for over ten years. A Guide to Visitors is one of the best pure storytelling shows you’ll see in Seattle. If The Moth is fireworks then AGTV is a beautiful sunrise. Or something like that.

Both are great but for different reasons. I love The Moth because, well, it’s The Moth. It’s Dan Kennedy and that podcast I’ve been listening to for years. The room is hot and cramped and people are twisting in their seats hoping their name is called and they get to run onstage. The best part, of course, is knowing that if you really nail your story you might get to hear yourself on the radio one day.

A Guide to Visitors happens every couple of months in a nice, airy performance space with hand-picked storytellers and more relaxed time limits. As a storyteller you really get to dig into your story and at the same time expand it to just the length it needs to be. The workshopping experience with Jeannie, Rebecca and Phyllis has been invaluable to me over the last two years and is at least half the reason I keep pitching ideas to them. The audiences are smart and patient and are always fun to talk to after the show.

Our show, Fresh Ground Stories, is an open mic similar to The Moth but definitely more relaxed. There are no judges and the time limit is 10 minutes instead of five. It’s a great place to practice stories that you hope to perform later at either AGTV or The Moth. It takes place the 4th Thursday of each month (with changes around the holidays) in a coffee shop (Roy Street Coffee) so occasionally you’ll have to talk over a coffee grinder or steam nozzle.

I think we’re pretty lucky in the town to have three shows run by people who really care about this art form. I left a comment on a different post that said, “It doesn’t get better than The Moth.” Well, that’s true in a sense but I could also say that about AGTV. Both shows are fantastic and you’d be a fool to miss out on either one of them.

A Guide to Visitors was the first show I ever told a story at and I hope to keep performing with them for as long as they’ll have me. The Moth is new and exciting and I have to admit kind of scary. It’s weird to be judged but at the same time I can see how it will force people to work on their story before they get on stage. Fresh Ground Stories has been a blast to host for the past year and a half and as long as people keep coming out to see it I will be there to run it.

If anyone lives in the Tacoma area there is a Tacoma version of AGTV called Drunken Telegraph. I performed at their first show in July and it was great fun. Look them up on Facebook and pitch them your story. (Their next show is September 12)

Also, there is another coffee shop story show that runs right when Fresh Ground Stories is running. It’s called Aunt Mama Storycorner and is held at the Madison Park Starbucks. I haven’t had a chance to go because I’m busy running FGS but the woman who runs it, Mary Anne Moorman, is a great southern storyteller and has been very nice to us. I recommend catching her whenever you can.