Tag Archives: Good Times

Show Update

13 Jul

Just completed the debut of my short solo show “Speaking the Names” at Monday Night Marsh. It went really well. There was a great audience including several friendly faces and a strong line-up of other performers. It was great to get my material up in front of a large audience and suss out the reactions. I got more laughs than I expected, which is good. And they were with me on the entire journey. Felt real good. So I’m looking forward to next performance on 26 July 2010.

Hope to see you there.


The Bay Area Storytelling Festival

26 May

I went to my first storytelling festival last weekend at Kennedy Grove Regional Park. It was a good festival to for my first. The Bay Area Storytelling Festival has been going on for 25 years, so they’re well established. They featured a diverse line-up with some heavy-hitters in the storytelling community. My favorite tellers were Diane Ferlatte and Ben Haggarty (from the UK).  Both superb. Willy Claflin and Connie Regan-Blake came in a close second place.

I was especially excited to see Ben because I had wanted to take a class from him while in London. Unfortunately, I was kicked out of the country before I had the chance. On Friday, he did an impressive 2-hour telling of Frankenstein. The talk he gave afterwords was even more exciting, as he laid out his feelings about the craft. I scribbled notes furiously.

The Monday after the festival, I awoke, woozy, a bit story drunk, and with this thought: Yes. I want to be a storyteller.

Star Trek vs. Monty Python

20 May

Re-edit, tell a new story.

Well done, sir, well done.

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Best of Times: Two Bits of Good News

11 May


I started taking a storytelling class with Michael Katz, a local teller, last week.  I sensed from the start that I was in the right place. Michael is warm, gracious, and knows his craft, everything you’d want in a teacher. During the first class,  he talked about about his process, how he found his way to telling,  and told us the story of “How the Sea Became Salty”, a polycultural tale that he gave a Japanese slant. This class was atypical: the rest of the time will be devoted to workshopping stories.

I read all of “Ready-to-Tell Tales”, an excellent resource for the beginning storyteller.  From it, I selected “Strength”, a story from the Limba people in Sierra Leone. Briefly, it’s the story of the animals (including man) having a contest to see who is the strongest. It has the potential for lots of energy and physical comedy, but has a strong and serious sting at the end. Just what I like: a tale where the laughter lends the story power.  I’d debated whether I should work on my one-person show or a traditional folktale, and settled on the latter because I wanted to work on a piece very different from my show, and get experience in traditional storytelling.

I told it for the first time this last class. If I’m honest, I almost chickened-out. Fortunately, Michael asked if I wanted to do it and I quickly said yes. It went very, very well. People were positive about the story and my telling of it.  The two things I took away from it (aside from the group’s feedback) was the joy I found in connecting do directly with the audience, and the power of serving the story, focusing on channeling it rather than worrying if I was doing a good job.


I just found out today that the short version of my solo piece about 9-11 was accepted into Monday Night Marsh at the Marsh Theater! In the 2 months I’ve been pursuing performance work, I’ve quickly found that all roads lead back to the Marsh. I am elated.

More specifically, all roads lead back to David Ford, with whom I’ll be taking a class next month. My goal was to perform there by September, which I guaranteed by signing up for the class.  But now I’ll be performing in mid-July, roughly two months before I thought I’d be. And, combined with the class, I’ll get to perform the show 4 times on their stage. I anticipate the show making leaps and bounds in this time.

This rounds on me, boys. Progress!

Update from the Wilds of Oregon

20 Mar

To all of of my readers:

I hope you both are well.

I haven’t been meaning to neglect you. You’ve been on my mind constantly (in fact, could you shift to the right? My amygdala has fallen asleep.)

It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve been terribly busy with three creative projects that I had deadlines for at the beginning of this week. And now I’m in Oregon and working on a ghostwriting project which is taking all of my time. I know, I know, we talked about my relationship with work, but as addictions go it’s better than meth. Right?

Portland is lovely. You’d love it here.  The city is built on beer and trees. And it loves happy hour like a cup loves soup. If you haven’t been, I recommend Binks, Jake’s, and Bluehour for drinks and food.

I’ll be back in my normal haunts next week. Let’s hang out then, okay? I’ll make you corndogs filled with hope.  Until then, know I miss you and think of you often. Wearing those socks you love.



Me vs The Flying Poo Monkeys of Distraction

10 Mar

I’ve got three big story development goals for next Monday. Last Friday, I accomplished one of my intermediary goals: to produce a draft of a 10-minute one-person show. It’s rough and it’s clunky, but seeing as I usually won’t let people see my stuff until its perfect (i.e. never) hitting send with the attachment was a big enough step in its own right. And, heckfire, it was readable, which was the goal: to cut through all the stalling and other mental crap and knock something out I could get into someone’s hands other than my own, and clearly enough written that they could give me feedback.

Me: 1
The flying poo monkeys of distraction: 0

The past two days have not been so productive. I have been working on two freelance projects and have done nothing else. Well, I managed writing practice each day. And I’m glad I at least got to that because it’s kept me (mostly) sane. However, for dos dias running, I’ve gotten no story development work done. With a (self-imposed) 15 March looming like a manic weaver, hulking like an incredibly green and muscled man, and bearing down on me like a grizzly, I’m feeling a wee bit antsy. Or at least, I feel antsy when I’m not busy trying to kick my own ass for failing to stay on track.

Me: 1
Flying poo monkeys of distraction: 2

It’s easy to fall of the wagon at this point. Or to reduce my goals and tell myself I was being unreasonable. The best way I’ve found to move on is to just move on. Fortunately, if my ADDish tendencies allow me anything, they allow me this. In a couple second I’ll be all “Ooh shiny!” and forget about my right foot’s attempt to kick my shapely rear end. Which is good, because otherwise I might strain something. All this sitting in a chair is cramping my quadriceps. Oh, yes, I am feeling —

Ooh, shiny!

Writing: An Ebullient Apologia

16 Feb

God, i love writing,

That’s how I feel right now, and I’m sticking to it. As far I’m concerned, writing can heal lepers, bring about world peace, and make the perfect milkshake. It’s just. that. good.

Why the happy happy? Well, that’s complicated. And very simple. The reasons are as  follows: Continue reading