Friday, August 22, 2008

Howe Library CD Release Party

Well, friends, it happened yesterday evening! Aidan, my eight year son, came with me to the Howe Library, Hanover, NH to help me set up my performance space with posters, postcards and, of course, CDs for the CD release party. Aidan quite often comes with me to gigs over the summer and that is something I thoroughly enjoy. His company, the chats we have, the help, his face in the audience still grinning at the funny bits he has heard many, many times over, his eyes widening at the scary bits he has heard many, many times over. Once we tested the microphone we ended up not using, we popped over to Romento’s for a pizza supper. We met up with some friends and my wife and daughter who I left there to finish their pizza, to get myself ready for showtime.

A few people were already there, so I hurriedly got into my storytelling outfit (out of my raggedy shorts and tee shirt) and tuned up my drum. As more and more people arrived I kept looking at my list of stories and changing it. In the end the list proved useless. With an age range of retirees to one year olds I went with a few requests and a couple I had planned on telling. The requests kept coming from my three year old daughter, who is quite stubborn, so it is sometimes quite useless to fight her. Hence me telling “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”, not something I usually do. Other tales told were “The Fly” from Vietnam, “The Goat from the Hills and Mountains*” from Alma Flor Ada and her wonderful book ‘Tales Our Abualitas Told’, “The Dragon and the Monkey’s Heart*” from China, and of course “Ananzi Gathers Stories,” my signature piece, if one can call it that! The evening went well, and nobody, as far as I could tell, minding the heckling from the little voice at the back of the room, and I heard some other voices join in with a couple of the stories. Always a good sign.

The Howe Library once again proved cake for all, and once again it had the CD cover on it and tasted wonderful. Denise did a great job organizing and helping, and Peter Blodgett did a great job introducing me. The people who were there were friends, family, fans and some faces I had not seen before, but hope to see again. Sarah, my wife, was able to sit through the whole evening and listen to the tales without having to take Perry out for being noisy, which is a first. So, the night was a happy success.

The photograph above was taken at the first CD release party held at Orford Library where Perry actually helped tell the story "The Three Billy Goats Gruff”.

Thank you to Alex Hanson for the well researched article he wrote for the Valley News about me and the art of storytelling: a great piece of writing. To those who came: thank you. To those who couldn’t make for whatever reasons, I missed you. To all: thank you for helping me get where I am today with five years as a professional teller of tales and a second CD to my name.

*Stories from the new CD, 'More Second-Hand Tales'

Thursday, August 21, 2008

CAMP! and CD Release Party

What is CAMP! I hear you ask? It is a summer camp for Vermont children of migratory workers. It has been in its present form for 18 years, I believe, and was doing business in another form for three years prior to that. Some of the councilors have been working there for 18 years, and many of the others have been coming back year after year - sucked into the love of the place and the children who attend. It is a great place and I volunteer to go there mid-week and tell stories. It turns out I have been going for 4 or 5 years (I have so much fun I forget!) and I love it. Last night was the day for 2008 and after Steve Glazer, Duncan McDougall and myself told stories to the entire camp, we split into three groups and I was taken with the oldest group up on top of a hill with a wonderful fire pit and told tales into the darkness. Duncan takes the youngest kids and Steve took the middle group. The kids always want more and more and if it were not for the other younger kids being in bed already and the councilors not wanting to disturb them with screams in the night I would have gone on for another hour. These kids, many very underprivileged, are so welcoming and eager, and quiet often better behaved then kids from affluent families. It is an honour to to tell stories to these faces year after year.

Today is the last day Aidan and I have to play together all day as he is off to school next week. This is our last summer 'Daddy - Aidan day", just the two of us, as Perry is in daycare, so I need to be brief. Tonight is the CD release party for "More Second-hand Tales" and I have everything ready. I have a bag of stories to take with me as I am not 100% sure which tales I will tell. There will be two from the new CD but I will throw in some other new stories, or some old faves, not sure yet.

Anyway, it has been a while since I posted anything and I am pretty excited about tonight, and am still buzzing after last night, so had to say something!

Remember to find your tales that excite you and share them - there is a world of stories out there for your making.