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ELKO – Stories can be about anything and can be communicated in almost any format. Stories make us sad, happy, scared, giddy, uncertain and much more. To be good, a story depends on one thing only, the storyteller.

“The Moth” has raised the art of storytelling to its highest form and given it wings to fly around the world since 1997. The forum has attracted storytellers from all walks of life and has enabled them to tell their tales to a global audience.

During this year’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering The Moth will make its first appearance in Nevada. The Moth is a New York City-based organization that promotes the art and craft of storytelling. Created by novelist George Dawes Green, The Moth has become a worldwide sensation for storytellers and their audiences.

Senior producer Maggie Cino said, “With each individual show it’s really about finding as many perspectives as possible on human experience. We are always looking for storytellers from everywhere. We look for people who want to speak about a moment in their lives that really mattered, that really shaped them and defined who they were,” she said.

The curated series is what the group is bringing to Elko. These are stories presented by storytellers who have been selected ahead of time.

“One of the reasons that we were just so excited to come to the gathering is there are so many people with an experience and, I believe, everybody at the gathering has something in common. But maybe this is something that people from outside don’t know about. I’ve been really excited to talk to some of the participants and find out about their experiences.”

Cino said storytellers come to them in many ways. The organization has a very broad process with open mike nights in cities internationally. They have a pitch line that anyone can call into and an online method of recording a pitch line.

“Everybody who is going to tell a story in the show will have been through a development process. They have been chosen very specifically and they work to build the stepping stones of the story to decide where it begins, where it ends, and what some of the major moments in the story are. We want people to feel comfortable and confident on stage and that they are representing their experience in the best way they can,” said Cino.

A team of Moth coordinators will be coming to Elko for three days. Cino will be directing the show. Some of the storytellers are involved with the gathering and others will be brought in from outside.

“Elko seems like a really cool and fascinating place,” said Cino.

The Moth Mainstage is being presented Feb. 4 in the Elko Convention Center auditorium. Tickets are still available as of this writing. The price ranges from $25 to $35. Call the Western Folklife Center at 738-7508 to purchase tickets.

To get a sampling of what you might hear at the event go to themoth.org/radio and look up the national public radio stations that play it here in Elko.

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