July 05, 2017
October 12, 2016
The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival (September 2017) is inviting submissions for their New Voice Showcase!
Timp Tell: A New Voice Showcase This is your opportunity to join other professional voices from near and far that have graced our stages. To be considered as one of only five performers selected for Timp Tell 2017, submit your favorite 10-minute #TheLibrary story by November 1, 2016. The five selected tellers for Timp Tell 2017 will receive two adult weekend passes and the winning teller will share the stage with Donald Davis on Saturday afternoon. Link temporarily in our profile or on our website: timpfest.org/storytelling-events. #timpfest17A photo posted by Timpanogos Storytelling (@timpfest) on
October 29, 2015
Upon accepting the gig, I learned that it would essentially be street performance: outdoors, on the sidewalk, with pedestrian and automobile traffic to contend with.
Inwardly, I smiled. Street performance is a challenge. I've done my share of outdoor street tellings, trying to draw in a crowd. It's hard work. But it's the kind of challenge I enjoy.
The site had a very good sound system, so my voice would be amplified. Great! There were haybales arranged out of the way of pedestrians, so that the audience would not be distracted. Great!
The event started, a good crowd had arrived, families with children between the ages of 0 and 7. A terrific musician started things off with a Halloween song. And then...
everyone left to parade down the street, to trick or treat at local businesses, and visit the fire truck and pumpkin patch down the road.
No one remained in the audience area but the sound guy and the volunteers staffing the info table.
My turn. Showtime!
The microphone helped. I drew out my introduction, to let people know something was happening, that a Halloween story was about to happen. And as I finally hit "Once... upon... a... time..." I managed to attract the attention of two parents with a toddler in their arms. They actually came and sat down.
By this time I had already launched into my version of the Red, Red Lips (here's Donna Washington's version)... which is a lot of fun, but it's not really appropriate for an 18-month old.
It's much better for 4 to 7 year olds. But I did not have those.
I aimed this one at the parents, and when, halfway through, I snagged the attention of some passing-by 8 and 9 year olds, I drew them in.
Ah, stopping pedestrians. Stop one, stop two, and soon people will break their stride, slow, turn their head to see what's going on. And soon: an audience.
A few more toddlers. I launched into a version of Betty Van Witsen's "Cheese, Peas, and Chocolate Pudding," adding some Halloween references into it. This is a much better story for little ones (and surprisingly good at luring more passersby).
As the afternoon went, on the crowd grew. Kids returned from their parading, and the musician and I traded 15 minute sets for the kids enjoying their candy as they sat on the hay bales.
And as I watched the kids, dressed as superheroes and princesses and animals, and as the musician and I sang songs and told stories about skeletons and brains and bats and spiders, I wondered why?
The kids are happy dressing in costume. They are delighted to get treats. Why, then, are we so insistent that Halloween is about scary, creepy things? It's a little early (developmentally speaking) to be introducing them to mortality, and death. Heck, why are we even teaching them to fear witches? (Full disclosure: when telling to children at Halloween, I only include stories where witches are helpful wise women. How could I not? All the little witches in my audience had taffeta and pink sequins and fabulous green and black couture)
Thankfully, just a few days later Pam Faro had an answer for me: Why Tell Ghost Stories?
For me, I really enjoyed this Halloween gig. It had a friendly family vibe. I skipped all my jump tales and helped the kids celebrate dressing up and learning about what makes things spooky. (I could get a solid ten minutes of material on this topic... in my fantasies I become a standup comic for second graders. Whenever I try to get my own kids to laugh, and fail, I let them know that my material would have 7 year olds falling out of their seats with laughter)
September 25, 2015
Last month, I wrote about trying to search for storytellers in the Bay Area, and how my frustration led to the creation of a Pinterest board.
Looks like Milly Frastley had the same idea over on Listly. Has anyone else tried this for their region? Listly allows you to embed entire lists, so here is Milly's complete list of storytellers in the Bay Area: