The Middlebury Moth kicked off its 2010-2011 season last night on Middlebury campus. The NPR-inspired storytelling initiative was kicked into gear last year by students Will Bellaimey and Bianca Giaever just last spring, but has already gathered quite a loyal following. Every one of their Thursday night events that I’ve attended has packed the Gamut Room (a student-run lounge/café) in the basement of Gifford Hall to the brim. Students pile into every available nook and cranny, splay themselves across the laps of friends, and squeeze into doorways to hear their peers, faculty, staff and community members tell stories based around the prescribed theme for the night.
Last night’s theme was “Summer,”—nice, simple, and something everyone can relate to, which is what Giaever and Bellaimey usually shoot for when they are shopping around for the next session’s tagline. As we, the audience, smooshed ever closer into our neighbors (people continued to cram in even after the first story was well under way), Max Kanter ’10.5 got things started with his tale of his summer in L.A. living in a house with a dozen other drama students and a random 40 year-old woman and her son, whom he and his housemates had lovingly coined, “Momson.”
Kanter wove a hilarious and gesture-riddled story rife with mystery and anxiety surrounding a sum of $1,100 which he and his younger brother had found in the backyard of his rented L.A. home situated close to the University of Southern California campus before he gave the stage over to Professor of Political Science Quinn Mecham. Mecham captivated the group with the story of his treacherous border crossing in Turkey, during which he was subject to accusations of terrorism, extreme dehydration, and a clown-car-esque packed taxi ride to safety.
Brad Becker-Parton ’11.5 followed with a heartening tale about roommates—his roommate at a London B&B a few summers ago was none other than the Wolfman, aka Benicio Del Toro’s body double for the werewolf flick of the same name. We were left to savor the image of sprightly Becker-Parton drinking alongside a 7-foot-3-inch (and totally built) half-man, half-wolf in a London Pub until Sam Dungan ’10.5 spun his summer camp tale, Sean Maye ’11 related his “groovy” experience on the Miami club scene, and Ken Grinde ’11 explained why he and his mom are so tight (it involves fireworks, a crazy landlady, and fainting, just as a teaser).
Gregg Humphrey of the college’s Education Studies department killed it when he told of his days working in a Chex cereal factory during the summer when he was a student at Middlebury. Our sides hurt by the time Humphrey finished telling us about how he had dumped the cereal out of one box, and filled it completely with super balls, instead, and about the little notes that he decided to compose and include with the cereal, in place of a toy.
Michaela Lieberman was the last to share and as her story can truly only be done justice by her, you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say that it was—fabulous. In fact, all of the stories in this bunch were well told, super interesting, and quite hilarious, which, frankly, is not always the case. I was blown away, and thrilled that I overcame my fear of returning to campus post-graduation to attend this event which, by the way, is open to all members of the community (and not just the college community!).
If you or someone you know is interested in telling a story at Moth, contact Bianca or Will. Or if you, like me, are more of a sit-back-and-listen kind of a gal or guy, you can simply mark your calendars for Thursday, October 7, for the “School”-themed iteration of the Middlebury Moth. Oh, and if you were captivated by teasers of the stories performed last night, be sure to check out the Middlebury Moth Podcast, where you can stream them all!
Tamara Hilmes can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.