Thursday, September 30, 2010

Regional Storyteller Spotlight: Sue Bravo

Introduced to storytelling by accident, Sue Bravo is now an accomplished storyteller, presenting seminars and entertaining everyone from pre-schoolers to seniors. She has been an educator for more than 40 years and currently resides in South Holland, IL.

Get tips and tools for encouraging kids' storytelling at the Media Specialist Workshop

Where: Park Hill School District (7703 NW Barry Rd.)
When: Nov. 3, 2010
Time: Noon-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $12 – including lunch
RSVP: 816.604.3011

As anyone who has ever worked in a school, library or other place where kids congregate can attest, creative youths can certainly tell some whopping stories! Storytelling clubs, popping up in schools and public libraries everywhere, are places for kids to be creative, develop confidence and public speaking skills and have a good time learning about everything from culture to current events to each other.

Educator Becky Everly, will be on hand to demonstrate how teachers, school and public librarians and media specialist can encourage creative kids through storytelling clubs.

You must RSVP - we want to be sure there's enough food to go around!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Regional Storyteller Spotlight: Geneva Greenfield

Geneva has been a staple at the Storytelling Celebration for many years and specializes in telling folktales, slavery stories, ghost stories and teddy bear tales to all ages.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Upcoming Event: National Storytelling Festival

The National Storytelling Festival is almost here!

Oct. 1-3, 2010
Jonesborough, Tennessee

Featured Tellers include John McCutcheon, Suzi "Mama" Whaples and Diane Wolkstein.

Storytelling Celebration Silent Auction now accepting donations

Got a perfect gift idea? Excited about donating to a great cause? Wonderful! We need you!

The Kansas City Storytelling Celebration committee is now accepting donations for its annual silent auction, held each year during the event.

If you have a creative craft or hobby, or are just good at putting together fabulous gift baskets, please consider donating an item for the auction. All proceeds go right back into making the annual Storytelling Celebration a great community event.

If you own a business, we would be happy to advertise your products and business in exchange for a donation - every little bit helps!

For more information about the silent auction, please email

Regional Storyteller Spotlight: Joyce Slater

Since 1996, Joyce has led audiences on a magical path through the realm of folktales, fairy tales, ghost stories, personal narratives and more. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she has a ready, eager storytelling audience: six grandchildren who never tire of hearing a good story. She loves to travel for storytelling, painting and sightseeing. Her storytelling takes her into schools, libraries, retirement centers, festivals, churches and community centers.

Joyce started out as an art teacher and still teaches art camps in the summer. Her theatre company, Potluck Productions, produces new works of women playwrights and has just completed its 17th annual playwriting festival.

She is the executive director of the River and Prairie Storyweavers and the artistic director of the Kansas City Storytelling Celebration, sponsored by MCC-Maple Woods, which allows her to combine her love of Kansas City with her love of stories, storytellers and storylisteners.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Story Slam:
We All Have a Story to Tell About Our Families

Where: MCC-Maple Woods Student Center
When: Nov. 2, 2010
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Cost: FREE

Got a granny who’s still wearing leotards and rocking out to Jane Fonda like it’s 1984? How about an uncle who tells the biggest, baddest, most hilarious fish stories ever? Or maybe you have a golden retriever that eats soda cans and thinks your bed is the only place to dry off after a dash through the sprinklers  – oh, wait, that’s probably just me.

Families are made up of caring individuals and crazy characters. Bring your family stories to share with an understanding (and sympathizing!) audience – whether it’s silly sibling rivalries or heartwarming tales of time spent with furry family members. This is an open mic event, so all you need to bring is yourself. Unless you have small props – those are welcome too.

You’ll be surprised how many knowing giggles and nods of affirmation you get from your fellow audience members. We have a lot in common!

*You must be 18 years or older to participate. We have a separate event for kids who want to share their stories.

This is a NEW event - if you attended or are planning to attend, please leave a comment below and tell us what you think!

Regional Storyteller Spotlight: Jim "Two Crows" Wallen

Jim "Two Crows" Wallen comes from a long line of storytellers. He tells stories rooted in his Cherokee past to all ages, relating traditional Native American folktales and legends. He also brings the Santa Fe trail back to life by chronicling those who passed along its wagon ruts in search of new lives in the American Southwest.

Jim is an annual part of the Kanasa City Storytelling Celebration - check out these pictures of Jim performing last year for the children at the Maple Valley State School, a school for children with developmental disabilities.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Regional Storyteller Spotlight: Loretta Washington

Residing at the other end of Missouri's stretch of I-70, Loretta Washington has been telling stories to all ages across Missouri and Illinois for many years. She is a staple at the Kansas City Storytelling Celebration and will be a special guest teller at this year's Ghosts in the Night Sky event.

Check out the local talent

In addition to our four featured storytellers Bobby Norfolk, Olga Loya, Elizabeth Ellis and Thom and Sarah Howard (they always come as a team), we have some fantastic local and regional talent lined up for the Storytelling Celebration.

This year's line-up of regional tellers includes:

John "Brother John" Anderson
Sue Bravo
Larry Brown
Dianne Cox
Jeanne Crews
Denise Dodd
Beck Everly
Mary Garrett
Sue Godsey
Geneva Greenfield
Melva Hargett
Jo Ho
Priscilla Howe
Daniel Jones
Barbara Kellogg
Marilyn Kinsella
Gary Kuntz
Tim Manson
Jamie Mayo
Margaret Meyers
Mike Micham and Nancee Walker-Micham
Marcia Ollinger
Steve Otto
Molly Postlewait
Toni Reese
Roger Rose
Carole Shelton
Nancy Shelton
Joyce Slater
Kathy Smith
Nancy Stegeman
Jim Stigall
Deb Swanegan
Dianna Waite
Jim "Two Crows" Wallen
Loretta Washington
Angela Williams
Amy Woolf
LaRita Wright
Karen Young

"We are Facebook. You will be assimilated."

Are you part of the crazy, wonderful, can't-live-with-it, can't-live-without-it conglomoration known as Facebook?

If so, friend us!

I'll be posting the same information here, but everyone needs friends, so add us and share the love!

We won't spam you or your friends, I promise.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ira Glass on storytelling, part 1

For those of you always looking for new and interesting ways to tell stories, listen to stories, create stories, dismantle stories - I offer this as a kind of professional development tool, especially for educators teaching others and those interested in helping others formulate and tell their stories.

Ira Glass is a radio personality - he's the host of This American Life, which airs on Public Radio International. He's talking here about broadcast storytelling, such as radio or television, but the points he makes are excellent.

Watch and enjoy :)

Regional Storyteller Spotlight: John "Brother John" Anderson

Known to audiences around the Kansas City area as Brother John, cultural historian and motivational storyteller John Anderson educates and entertains through his stories. Audiences are treated to energetic, interactive tales, full of zany characters and dynamic vocal impersonations.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Regional Storyteller Spotlight: Deb Swanegan

Combining her African American, Cherokee, Scots-Irish and Hebrew heritages and churning out diverse, unique and entertaining tales since 1996, Deb Swanegan is an annual participant in the Kansas City Storytelling Celebration and was a featured storyteller at last year's festival.

In addition to being a storytellers, Deb is also an art educator, lecturer, workshop facilitator, master teacher, seminar leader, writer, actor and a past Missouri Commissioner for Community Service.

Check out these pictures of Deb from last year's Ghost in the Night Sky event and the Storytelling Spectacular:

Spoken word as art

For those of you wondering about the "definition" of storytelling, as defined by a culture entrenched in the digital age of the internet, instant gratification and YouTube, I give you the official Wikipedia (internet encyclopedia) definition of storytelling:

"the conveying of events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and in order to instill moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view..."

To read the remainder of the article, click here.

It's a pretty good article, and is the jumping off point for several other articles (scroll to the bottom of the entry) related to story craft - I recommend reading it.

(As an aside, Wikipedia links to "related" articles indefinitely - be wary, or your few minutes of casual browsing could turn into all-consuming hours of twisty-turny meandering through the annals of...everything. You have been warned.)

Now that you've read the unofficial-official definition of storytelling - what's yours? Storytelling surely means something different to everyone, so why don't we share? Leave a comment in the comments section below about how you personally define storytelling :)

The schedule you've all been waiting for...

... is here!

MCC-Maple Woods proudly presents the (abridged) schedule for the 11th Annual Kansas City Storytelling Celebration.

More information about individual events will be forthcoming, so check back often!

Tuesday, Nov. 2
7-9 p.m.
MCC-Maple Woods Student Center
This is an open mic event - bring yourself, your friends, your families and your stories!
*Must be over 18 to participate

Wednesday, Nov. 3

KCMO Public Library, Bluford Branch
10:00-11:00 a.m. (Preschoolers)

KCMO Public Library, Southeast Branch
10:00-11:00 a.m. (Preschoolers)

KCMO Public Library, Westport Branch
10:00-11:00 a.m. (Preschoolers)

Mid-Continent Public Library, Lee’s Summit Branch
1:30-2:30 p.m. (Preschoolers)

Media Specialists Workshop
$12–includes lunch
Noon-3:30 p.m.
Park Hill School District (7703 NW Barry Rd)
RSVP: 816-604-3011
A workshop with lots of ideas for equipping and encouraging youth tellers through storytelling clubs
Media Specialists, Public Library Staff, School Librarians & Storytellers)
Presenter: Becky Everly

Thursday, Nov. 4

KCMO Public Library, Waldo Branch
10:00-11:00 a.m. (Preschoolers)

KCMO Public Library, Central Branch
10:30-11:30 a.m. (School age)
Featuring: Bobby Norfolk

Westside Family Concert
Primitivo Garica Elementary School
Sponsored by: Irene H. Ruiz Bibloteca de las Americas
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Featuring: Olga Loya

Regional Concert: River & Prairie Storyweavers
MCC-Maple Woods Student Center
7:00-9:00 p.m.
Cost: $3
Storytellers from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa
and Illinois come together to share their unique talents and tales.

Friday, Nov. 5

Mid-Continent Public Library, Lee’s Summit Branch
10:00-11:00 a.m. (Preschoolers)

KCMO Public Library, Trails West Branch
11:00 a.m.- noon (Preschoolers)

Day of the Dead and Altar Stories
Mattie Rhodes Art Center: First Fridays Crossroads Series
6:30 p.m.
Featuring: Olga Loya

Friday Night Family Fun Concert
KCMO Public Library, Plaza Branch
7:00-8:00 p.m.
Featuring: Thom and Sarah Howard

Ghost Stories Concert
KCMO Public Library – Plaza Branch, Truman Forum
7:00-9:00 p.m. (Mature Audiences)
Featuring: Elizabeth Ellis, Olga Loya,
Bobby Norfolk with Special Guest Loretta Washington

Saturday, Nov. 6

Northland Family Concert
MCC-Maple Woods – Campus Center
11:00 a.m.-12 p.m.
Featuring: Bobby Norfolk

Build a story of your own in the StoryShop.
KCMO Public Library – Plaza Branch
1:00-2:00 p.m. (Youth workshop)
Create your own “story spoon” to take home.
Featuring: Thom and Sarah Howard

Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins
KCMO Public Library – Plaza Branch
1:00-2:30 p.m. (Adult Workshop)
Examine the eight types of stories all families share and learn tips for collecting and telling them.
Featuring: Elizabeth Ellis

Before The Lights Go Out
The Story of Satchel Paige, James “Cool Papa” Bell, and the Negro Baseball Leagues
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
2:00-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $8
Special: Military Appreciation Day
All active and inactive Military and two guests will be admitted free.
Please present your Military ID upon admission

Plaza Library Family Concert
KCMO Public Library – Plaza Branch, Truman Forum
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Featuring:  Elizabeth Ellis, Thom and Sarah Howard, Olga Loya and special youth storyteller Union Chapel Student Anne Price
KCMO Public Library – Plaza Branch, Truman Forum
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Audience members are treated to a view of the world through the eyes of local youths. (Performers aged 5-18)

Storytelling Spectacular
KCMO Public Library – Plaza Branch, Truman Forum
7:00-9:00 p.m. (Audiences ages 10 and older)
The flagship event of the Storytelling Celebration promotes cultural diversity, global communication and perhaps, most importantly, healthy entertainment.
Featuring:  Elizabeth Ellis, Thom and Sarah Howard, Olga Loya and Bobby Norfolk.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Take a look at storyteller Bobby Norfolk!

Check out Bobby Norfolk - actor, poet, comedian... storyteller!

Bobby will be giving a number of performances throughout this year's Kansas City Storytelling Celebration, including a special performance at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Stay tuned for schedule updates and more info
on this year's performers!

Regional Storyteller Spotlight: Dianna Waite

A native of Salina, Kansas, Dianna has always been inspired by her Cajun and Creole roots, collecting fascinating stories from both cultures and the regions they are interwoven with. Dianna uses personal history, tall tales, children's stories and cultural legends to paint a vivid picture of southern Louisiana's bayous and deltas.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Featured Storyteller Spotlight: Bobby Norfolk

Stand-up comedian, children’s television show host and former park ranger Bobby Norfolk knows how to connect to audiences of all ages through the tradition of storytelling.
Using dynamic movement and vocal effects, he can create vibrant characters that come to life. Bobby uses his stories to highlight the African American experience and promote character education, cultural diversity and literacy.
Bobby is a three-time Emmy-winning host of “Gator Tales” and was also nominated for his show “Children’s Theatre at Bobby’s House.” He has been honored nationally with the Circle of Excellence Award, which recognizes master storytellers committed to the highest standards of their craft.
He has co-authored eight award-winning children’s books and is currently serving on the St. Louis Storytelling Festival Advisory Council.

MCC-Maple Woods announces 11th Annual Kansas City Storytelling Celebration

It's that time of year again! The 11th Annual Storytelling Celebration will be held Nov. 2-6, 2010 at locations throughout the KC Metro Area.

In addition to the most popular events, like the Regional Storytelling Concert, Ghost Stories, Youth/Family Concerts and the Storytelling Spectacular, there will be new events this year for the whole family to enjoy.

Check here and the Maple Woods Storytelling Celebration Facebook page for schedule updates in the very near future!

See you there!