The Moth Ball (Come Swing with Lili)

Martina O'BoyleCulture, MiscellaneousLeave a Comment

The Moth Ball Lili Taylor

Gimmicky fitness trends come and go – pole dancing workout? tossing about the old medicine ball? For a minute it was circus-based training, and how do I know? Even “Sex and the City” captured this in an episode called “The Catch”, where Carrie nervously went trapezing, so gospel as far as fads go. I get a lot of my NYC knowledge from tv shows.

(aside: Trapezing. Is that a verb? a gerund? it is now.)

I bring this up because an intriguing bit of info came across the desk here at PCB headquarters – a chance to win/bid on/buy a trapeze afternoon with actress Lili Taylor, for charity – well, for The Moth‘s fundraising drive. All of a sudden, though I never would have put those ideas into the same thought, I was onboard. And then I read on – lots of conversations with literature’s biggish names and even a drink and a dilemma with Molly Ringwald? What does that even mean?

You know The Moth: the storytelling event (actually, an organization). They have an PRX radio show, The Moth Radio Hour, a podcast, but most significantly, live events, where random people – sometimes well known, usually not – get up and tell stories. It was founded in 1997 by poet and novelist George Dawes Green, and the name comes from his idyllic idea of sitting on a porch on a summer evening, hanging with friends, and the moths that were attracted to the… well, probably not some guy’s funny story of being locked overnight in a Taco Bell, more likely the light, but you get the picture.

The Moth Ball (get it?)

Each year the group throws a fundraising gala, The Moth Ball. It’s a huge deal, a cool nerdfest with, I’ve heard, lots of drinks and lots of seminal moments. This year’s night has a  glam rock theme and will honor rock chick and Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein.

To that end, an online auction offering priceless experiences –like this trapeze flying with the independent film star– is live and will remain open throughout the evening. The full list of auction items is here.

Proceeds from the gala will support over 500 live storytelling shows in the U.S and abroad, as well as The Moth’s community and education programs serving thousands of students, teachers and others with stories to tell. And oh my, my, do people have stories. A sympathetic confession of being a dognapper? Unsexy sex stories and very alluring encounters with fame, shame and almost greatness? Hilarious travel tales where the storyteller – sometimes shy, sometimes bold, always honest – encounters life changing fellow humans and learns amazing lessons from them. Or gets drunk and sleeps on their couches.


Carrie Brownstein – Earth Moth-er

Other people to be the guest of honor include Martin Scorsese, Calvin Trillin, Anna Deavere Smith, the king of aural enchantment Garrison Keillor and, posthumously,  Spaulding Gray in 2011. A bit tricky, that one.

Tickets are available at $195 for cocktails/show only, tickets for the entire evening including dinner start at $425, tables range from $10,000 to $25,000, and can be purchased by visiting

So, Lili Taylor – an actress who needs to work more, and no, I haven’t seen Season 2 of American Crime, I still need to do the OJ series – will get swinging with the lucky winner of the ebay auction. And turns out, she knows what she is doing, having fallen for the trapeze six or so years ago. She told Brooklyn Magazine‘s Kristin Iversen she first tried it out in the usual way we all do, killing time in upstate New York while her husband taught a writing class. Taylor did that 2014 interview at Streb, a Brooklyn… studio slash training center… how to describe? I’ll use their words: a Laboratory for Action Mechanics. They do performance things on a large scale, but if you’re staring at that swimsuit and wanting a new fitness regime, you can learn parkour, acrobatics, dance and like Taylor, trapeze. Taylor dug in so much she became a student of top trapeze family The Flying Gaonas, subjects of the 2015 doc “The Flight Fantastic”, so if you’d won the auction, it’s A-game time. This isn’t Kate Gosselin slumming it on “Dancing With the Stars” (maybe reverse that relationship?), Taylor loves, and she says, learns from her fitness passion.

Here’s the trouble, though. You’ve done your good deed by giving The Moth some money, you’ve conquered your fear by getting up on that oh-so-high platform (second step, stepping off said platform, I can’t fathom), enthusiast Lili Taylor is your new buddy, guiding you on… how do you not drop the bar, turn to her with some crap about “give me five minutes”, and start talking her ear off about the fantastic films and shows she’s been so good in? Think, you could swing into the abyss or ask about “Say Anything”. No contest here. So, Moth organizers, as worthwhile as this auction item is, wouldn’t it be better to stand aloft with a personality you’d do anything to get away from? Can I go trapezing with Courtney Stodden or Kanye?


(edited to correct the radio distribution to PRX and the honoree to Carrie Brownstein: May 11, 2016)



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Martina O'BoyleThe Moth Ball (Come Swing with Lili)