Kings Story Hour finds inspiration from 'The Moth Radio Hour'


Lisa "Lulu" Uhlig was transfixed the first time she heard a sampling of The Moth Radio Hour on Ira Glass' This American Life. After doing a little research she discovered that the show, which features true stories told live onstage without scripts, notes, props, or accompaniment, was started by George Dawes Green. According to the Moth Radio Hour's website he "wanted to recreate in New York the feeling of sultry summer evenings in his native Georgia, when moths were attracted to the light on the porch where he and his friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales." The idea grew quickly and soon the Moth event was taking place in larger venues throughout the city, eventually becoming a radio show. 


A lover of good storytelling, Uhlig decided to start her own story hour. Like Green, she held the first event at her own home, calling it Lulu's Storied Underground. "It became this sort of organic, kinda local, house party thing," she says. "I wanted to have a party and have people come over and tell their stories." She was nervous, but invited all of her friends, making a point to ensure that people she knew who were writers and musicians showed up -- although she found that those who were neither actually told some of the best tales.

Two of her guests happened to be the owners of Kings Wine Bar, with whom Uhlig is friends. They enjoyed the evening, and asked Uhlig if she'd be interested in hosting a similar event at Kings. "I was like, '... what?'" Lulu exclaims. As a banker, she was not used to being onstage, but valued creativity in her life. She said yes. 

While the story hour at her house was fairly unstructured, she decided to keep to a set rules for the first event at Kings. People who wanted to participate could put their names in a hat, and would tell their story once selected. The tales had to be told without notes, and they had to be true.  

At the first Kings Story Hour last month only five names were originally in the hat, but the minute the first person began to tell their story everybody else put their names in too. "The stories were incredible," Uhlig says. "There was this one about a guy who almost got inducted into the mafia and another guy almost got his leg bitten off by a shark in Australia."  

The next story hour will take place 8 p.m. Sunday, November 14. The theme is "family." Bring your juiciest tale and don't be encumbered by the traditional. Of course, you can always just come to listen, but what's the fun in that? The event will be hosted by Uhlig, along with owners Molly Barnes and Samantha Loesch. Kings is located at 4555 Grand Avenue South in Minneapolis.