Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Three Rivers Storytelling Festival

[updated, July 13, 2011; original post, Dec. 30, 2007]

Current mood: happy

I wish I had written this back in August when it happened, but before the memory is gone altogether, I'll record what I can remember. That said, I'll keep this short & sweet.

The event was called the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival, and was held August 10 & 11 (2007) at Northland Library, in Pittsburgh's North Hills. Storytellers traveled from all around the area, around the state (Philadelphia), around the continent (Toronto), and around the world (Ireland), to tell stories with one another, and to whoever showed up. Much of it was held outside, and fortunately the weather was just perfect.

What can I say about storytelling? Done well, it's riveting entertainment! Done even half decently, it's just plain fun. The thing is, it isn't possible to do it poorly. If you can speak, you can tell stories. If you have ears, you can listen to them. No iPods, CDs or boom boxes necessary, though having a mike helps if the crowd or venue is large.

For me, the high point of the show was my own family. My daughter told a story written by my son, not once but three times, to the assembled throng. At show's end, when the five out-of-town tellers took the stage for final bows, they had her come up onstage and join in receiving the applause. Truly cool.

Some of the stories transported me to different places and times, to other universes. Some had me laughing so hard I almost wet myself. Others reduced me to tears. They all cut through whatever cultural differences existed, showing us that under whatever color skins we have, we're all the same.

I only wish thousands could have attended, though we filled the tent quite a few times. There will be another one, I'm sure; check for details. (July 13 2011 update, yes, it's posted: Friday, August 12 and Saturday August 13, 2011.) Meanwhile, there are smaller storytelling events going on all the time. Yes, the place is handicapped accessible, though public transportation is lacking (3/4 mile hike from the 12 McKnight bus). [calendar] [directions] [Contact me for public transit and bicycle instructions.]

Any other upcoming storytelling events anyone knows about, feel free to post the details in a reply!

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