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Posted on Mon, Apr 9, 2012 : 5:55 a.m.

Moth StorySLAM finalists to compete at the Ark

By Staff

The Moth and Michigan Radio will host the third Michigan GrandSLAM on Wednesday, April 11 at The Ark, 316 S. Main St.

Hosted by bestselling author and Moth podcast host Dan Kennedy, ten champion Moth StorySLAM raconteurs will spin five-minute true tales on the theme “Fight or Flight.” No notes or scripts allowed onstage; just pure, old-fashioned, unadulterated storytelling.

The winning storyteller will be determined by guest judges chosen from the audience. Competing for the Michigan GrandSLAM Champion title are: Lee Brooks, Chad Cookinham, Monica Hamlett, Elizabeth Kurtz, Dennis Lukasik, David Moss, Lynn O'Dell, Ted Olds, Sandy Ryder, and Janet Williamson. The Moth GrandSLAM will be held on Wednesday. April 11 from 7-10 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.). Tickets are $16 and are now on sale at

GrandSLAM Finalists, with descriptions from The Moth:

Lee Warner Brooks has been a Yellow Cab driver in Ann Arbor, a cubicle-dweller at TV Guide Magazine, a litigation lawyer at a major law firm in Detroit, an at-home parent for his three children, and a published poet whose favored genre is the sonnet; currently, he teaches writing at the University of Michigan - Dearborn.

Chad Cookinham is a former high school teacher who is currently seeking employment. He enjoys traveling and reading, and wants whoever is reading this to know how much he likes and respects them personally. Chad has lived in exotic places like Quito, Ecuador and Cleveland, Ohio. Chad is also looking for a bio writer.

Monica Hamlett lives in Ann Arbor and works in Greater Detroit as an auditor in the field of business social accountability. She has spent stints of various lengths in Latin America studying, traveling, and working as a fellow for Kiva. Monica spends her free time training for triathlons, soldering silver jewelry, and making seemingly confident statements about things she isn't actually versed in.

Elizabeth S. Kurtz is an educator who focuses her efforts on youth empowerment and educational reform. She is a writer and singer, and has performed in such plays as Broadway's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Elizabeth is a single mother who has overcome a series of struggles and challenging trials. She makes it no secret that she battles depression, and hopes to see more people in the minority community seeking help for mental issues. When she is not teaching, Elizabeth enjoys tennis and is always ready for a good game of pickup basketball.

Dennis Lukasik was a born salesman, raised in the seamy underbelly of northern Royal Oak, MI. From an early age, Dennis was telling stories about disappearing homework and Canadian girlfriends; naturally this led to a position on the debate team. He's been a roadie, a repo man, a valet, an event planner, a cardiac surgery scheduler, a secretary, a youth basketball coach, a door-to-door cable salesman, and has brokered skis on the gray market among occupations too ridiculous to mention. In his spare time he evades debt collectors and holds out the hope that sheer desire will land him a cushy government job ordering pencil erasers for the International Space Station. In lieu of flowers, please send cash.

David Moss is 53 years young and has been telling stories to his family, friends and kids his whole life. A 28 year veteran of the judicial system, he’s also told quite a few stories to state and federal juries. (For the record, as an attorney, not a felon!) A reformed adrenaline junkie, David loves and respects the great outdoors. He is an avid cyclist, mountain biker and downhill skier and has assisted many young men on their path to becoming Eagle Scouts. David is passionate about life and hopes to pack even more experiences into the next 30 years.

Rev. Lynn O’Dell is an ordained Unity Minister and a long-time Truth student. Raised in Austin, TX, she graduated from Texas Woman’s University and worked as a teacher for several years. She later became a teacher of metaphysics and, in turn, a Unity Minister. Lynn has two cats, Shanti & Satya, and a Mississippi Map turtle named George. She is known as “the duck lady” at her apartment complex because she is on a first name basis with the animal control officer & has him on speed dial for the annual baby duck rescue needs. She has recently taken up the sport of running and is training to run a marathon in the coming year.

A Moth gypsy, Ted Olds has told stories on three different Moth stages, and just didn't get called for a fourth stage. His short stories have been published in several different publications, but he feeds himself working as an attorney in Birmingham.

Janet Williamson is a native Michigander and family law attorney who quit practicing just over a year ago to run her family's insurance agency. She is very devoted to her family, her greatest sources of inspiration and frustration. She has a bachelor's degree in communication and almost accepted a position as a reporter before deciding instead to go to law school. She is still not sure if that was her best decision or her biggest regret. She never anticipated that a knack for telling stories would turn into something worthwhile, but is happy and honored to be a part of it.



Mon, Apr 9, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

this event is sold out