Beyond the Moth: The Secret Society Of Twisted Storytellers


The Moth Storytelling sessions sponsored by WDET and held at Cliff Bell’s have been one of the most successful additions to the cultural landscape hereabouts these last few years. Translation: It caught on almost immediately and keeps going strong. Don’t even try to get a seat if you’re not willing to stand in line for the monthly events. And the season’s Grand Slam event is on the horizon Thursday, Sept. 20, from 7-10 p.m. at the Get Theatre. (Tickets are $16.)

If folks can’t get enough of something, you can expect that someone will try to give them some more. Basic supply and demand. Enter Satori Shakoor (aka Jeannette McGruder) and The Secret Society Of Twisted Storytellers. Shakoor is a writer, actress, comedienne, singer (a one-time Bride of Funkenstein, no less) and storyteller who has been a Moth storyteller and sometimes host in Detroit, Ann Arbor and (this month) New York.

As to her Secret Society, she wrote in an e-mail:

The Moth and I share the same mission which is dedication to the art and craft of storytelling and its development and proliferation. I intend to use the art of storytelling as a way of connecting the people of Detroit and of greater Detroit with each other through stories. And, to develop storytellers here in the Detroit area. The storytellers that are here don't often have an outlet for their expression. The Secret Society Of Twisted Storytellers provides that outlet. Stories travel well and are retold to others. It's a great source of entertainment. Good old-fashioned storytelling. Though everyone has a story, everyone can't tell a story. Hence, the need for development of storytellers. The Moth runs into the same issue. We both have discovered we have to direct the stories to draw out the meat from the incidentals.

 And Friday, Sept. 14, will mark the third show for the Twisted Storytellers. She said:

 The first two shows were sold out. People don't know what it is yet, but once they get there and experience it they fall in love at first sight. I'm producing the show by pre-selling tickets, because there is no money. I've managed to produce it in small houses 60-70 seats. The second show was repeat customers, who brought at least 1-2 people with them. The storytellers who were on stage in the August show were in the audience of the July show. The goal is to have monthly events in venues around Detroit with themes that reflect the issues we face without being partisan or preachy.

The storytellers for the Sept. 14 event are Gigi Boldon, John McCune, Blane Smith, Dr. John Telford and Jeanne Tepper — with a musical guest, Mark Diskin, and, of course, Shakoor as host.

It takes place at the Soul Suite, 1301 West Lafayette Blvd., Detroit. Doors at 7:30 p.m., storytelling begins at 8. Details at The admission price is $15.






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