My Summer-2019-in-New-Place-Visit-Snapshots reverie continues with The Marble Bar in Detroit, where I experienced a StorySLAM event held by The Moth.
It’s hard for me to write about my experience at The Marble Bar without focusing on this StorySLAM event that I was there to see. The bar is the host of these monthly open-mics held by The Moth Detroit, during which audience members go onstage and tell a five-minute story based around a given theme. Judges in the audience rate each of the ten StorySLAM competitors’ stories, and a winner is crowned at the end. The event is recorded by Detroit’s NPR affiliate, WDET 101.9 FM, for possible use in the radio station’s The Moth show/podcast.
The theme on the night I attended the StorySLAM in June was chemistry. This translated to yarns being spun about all kinds of chemistry: romantic chemistry; the academic subject of chemistry; the evolving chemistry of a parent-child bond; the chemistry one feels with one’s hometown.
All of the stories were engaging. Some were emotional; others were hilarious. I marveled at how comfortable all of the storytellers seemed speaking in front of an audience, especially since The Moth organizers had had to cajole the last few participants into putting their hats into the ring so that there would be the required ten contestants.
The winner of the StorySLAM was a man who told a hilarious story about meeting a guy in college who he had instant bromance chemistry with, only to find out months later while visiting a relative that this guy was his cousin!
I had a lot of fun on this night at The Marble Bar, but I experienced it as more of a theater than a bar, with the dance floor overtaken with rows of seats rather than rowdy revelers waiting for the beat to drop. I’m guessing playing host to The Moth on a monthly basis is working for The Marble Bar, because the place was packed, with not a few attendees (including myself and the friend who accompanied me) having to resort to standing-room-only spots. But I can’t speak to what it’s like on a typical night.
I do see from looking at The Marble Bar’s Facebook page that it appears to host a lot of DJs and other musicians, and I know it’s got a super-cool enclosed patio space with an outdoor bar, so I imagine that it’d be an awesome hang on any other night of the month.
But if you can make it to one of The Moth’s monthly StorySLAM competitions hosted at The Marble Bar, I would highly recommend it. Tickets are $15 and go on sale one week prior to the event; see www.themoth.org/events for upcoming StorySLAM dates being held at The Marble Bar.
1501 Holden St.
Detroit, MI 48208