Sunday, December 23, 2007

Junior High Storytellers ~ December 18,2007

A story from West Africa and 6 junior high students. December 18,2007= Wow! Showcase
At Citizen School's South Boston Gavin campus this fall,
Andrea Lovett coordinated this project with Norah Dooley, and Doria Hughes who all volunteered as teachers in a storytelling apprenticeship.
Terry, Christline, Isaak, Carlos, Calvin, Kenny, Alfredo and Ashley,and Ryan are some of the junior high storytellers in Boston MA who participated.

Please come see some of us:
1:30PM DEC 27th @ South Boston Library
12:30PM DEC 28th @ ICA, in Boston
1:30 PM DEC 31st @ First Night, Boston 3 half hour shows

"Tricksters & Noodleheads"
Folk tales from youth of Boston's neighborhoods through Citizen Schools.
Hynes Convention Center Room 106: 1:30 PM 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM -

Please check us out on youtube too:

Talk Talk is a tale from Ghana in West Africa.
The apprentices learned this story through the oral tradition.
We shared the story frame and they created their own dialogue
and movements.
Video by Doria Hughes
Edited by Norah Dooley
Music by Gavin Music Business Apprentices

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Move it

dunno why but this song cracks me up.

and this is corny but true:A professor stood before his philosophy class and

had some items in front of him. When the

class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty
mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls .

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into
the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled i nto the open areas between the golf balls. He
then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more
if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the
table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively
filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor, as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to
recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are
the important things; your family, your children, your health, your
friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else
was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.'

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your
house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,'he continued, 'there is no
room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will
never have room for the things that are important to you'

'Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take
your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run
down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house
and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine

The professor smiled. 'I'm glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may
seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Comic relief

Saw this cartoon* and said Yes! This is my life. Maybe it is yours too?

It is all a part of the glamorous life of a live performer.

It starts with the "simple gratis gig".You the kind of gig I mean? The presenter is a friend or a relative. Someone you like a lot. You are doubtful but hate to say "no". They have been so good to you. The venue is a stretch - they do not really do this kind of thing but wouldn't it be "fun" if you came and performed at their place? They would be doing you a favor and you would be helping them out. And oh yeah, since they don't actually hire and promote performances, they'll have to get back to you on the details. Emails are promised and you wait and hold a date. Each time you drop by you ask for clarification. Emails are promised but never appear so you send a few yourself.

Weeks go by and frankly you forget. There are way more pressing matters, like the full time job that keeps a roof over your head and the children and the other gigs and... and... Oh look! It is Thursday before the weekend event. Finally, you get an email. "Be there on Sunday at 4PM".

Low and behold this is a big deal. You check out the event website - who knew? Luckily a friend who is also performing has sent the URL to you. The whole town is having an open air art event and every business worth their salt is having some art performance. BUT you are not on the schedule on the website and you write back to your friend/ presenter...Huh? Come on Sunday? The big art event ends on SAT? And of course this web research takes place on Friday night.

Waiting for a reply seems foolish so you call first thing AM. Your friend, the presenter is not in town and his staff knows nothing. Sorry. Then you get an email from another friend. She says -"Hey I'll see you today at your performance". Whoa - what performance? Do I have a performance other than the one at the school, where I was supposed to be paid but someone was mistaken there are no funds to pay performers. The day already had some complications. But your friend says, "Oh yes, not that one. Its the one on Saturday PM at the arts festival." Seems I am listed on the website on another page of schedules I had missed. A flurry of emails and calls later and you tell the presenter, who is back in town now, you will not come on Sunday, you will be there as advertised on Saturday but a little late- as you are double booked for the starting time. I have a gig that starts exactly at the same time. Except these folks answered emails.

I hate it when I violate my own rules.
Two of my non negotiable performer standards are:

1. Always show up. Early or very early if possible.
2. Once there always perform - even if it is for just one person.

I couldn't swing rule No.1 [note to self: Must learn to bi-locate]
but I did fulfill No. 2. Hence the above cartoon.

So...I rushed to my second "gig" and it seemed, not surprisingly, that no one was there for my performance. The place was packed with 20-somethings and their laptops. 20-somethings with their heads up their modems are not my fan base. I know my "cult" when I see them. So I kicked back and had a chat with my friend over a cup of his excellent coffee and was just about to leave when a family that had trekked quite a way to see me, two lovely girls and their parents, walked in and asked if they had missed me? Switching gears, I told them a story. I had fun. They had fun. And I had a parking ticket on my car for 20 dollars.

The life of a performer.

Not what you hope for, not what you expect and often, not glamorous.
But often fun.


* Cartoon by Ziegler graffitti-ed by me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Some Fall performances

Some Fall performances:

OCT 16th
Pirate Mary Read
at MacArthur School in Waltham
call school for info see website for
program notes

OCT 29th
Literacy for All
presentation at conference
on Storytelling and Literacy
with Andrea Lovett
Literacy for All Conference in Providence, RI

NOV 10th
Beverly Farms Library
Stories from the Neighbors

NOV 14th
Worcester Public Library
Pirate Mary Read
Call library for details or


City Sprouts
Green Stories and Light
7th Annual Harvest Festival
Saturday, October 13, from 11am-4pm,
at the Amigos and
M.L. King Schools at
100 Putnam Avenue Cambridge MA
In the event of rain
festival is held inside the school.

Stories from the Neighborhood
at the new ICA
September 29,2007
10AM - Saturday
100 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210
T 617.478.3134 / F 617.478.3110

Garlic And Arts Festival
September 16, 2007
Green Stories of Hope
3PM - Sunday
Fosters Farm, Orange MA

Friday, August 10, 2007

Power of Community ? - Herbivores fight back and win

I hardly ever look at videos online but this was amazing.
A pride of lions attack and capture a baby water buffalo.
A crocodile tries to steal their prey but the lions prevail. For a moment.
Then the herd returns and saves the baby buffalo literally from the jaws of death.

Never give up hope - nor doubt the power of collective action.

Monday, July 30, 2007

4th annual 2 week Shakespeare workshop Much Ado about Nothing

We, Royalston Shakespeare Company,
put on our 4th annual 2 week Shakespeare workshop
culminating in a performance of Much Ado about Nothing
[pictures by Melanie Mangum below] with 35
kids from Royalston and surrounding towns.
Directors, Maureen Blasco, Norah Dooley and Beth Gospodarek
had a blast and thank the Town, the Arts Council and the
Friends of the Phinehas Newton Library for their continued support.
We set the play in an imaginary place in the 1960s and were invited to plunder the local Salvation Army stores for the costumes. Thanks to Major Copeland!

I am happy to send you a mix cd of the rocking sound track on request.

Much Ado about Nothing

the pictures above...

Da' Duke and his homies enter -they received an ovation for their entrance-
Beatrice disses Benedict (played by Rosie in a transgendered state)-
Guys talk about girls Claudio is in LOVE-
Hippy Dippy Peacekeepers in Tie Dye armed with Whiffle bats and badminton racquets-
Dissed Hero Swoons at altar,left for dead-
Baddies apprehended-
All is well that ends well...oops wrong play, dancing at the happy ending
to Let the Sun Shine In-

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Summer Schedule

Call or email for times and addresses
All of these are open to the public.

JULY 9th
West End House - Allston
St. Columbkille School BC Campus
Gardner School Allston

JULY 9th
Stockbridge Summer Music
with Susan Miron harp 8 PM

JULY 10th
Springfield Musuems
Princess and Pirate Day 12 noon

JULY 11th
Storytrain! to Marblehead, MA

JULY 13th
Children's Quarters Charlestown Navy Yard
JFK Family Service Center
Charlestown Boys and Girls Club

JULY 16th
West Roxbury Community Center
West Roxbury YMCA
Washington Beech Community Center

JULY 18th
JP Head Start
Lena Park
Egleston Square Library

JULY 20th
St. Katherines Drexel Parish, Dorchester
Carter Playground Tenacity
Carter Playground Sociedad Latina

JULY 23rd
Yawkey Center for Early ED
Children's learning Center
Franklin Park Tenants Association

JULY 24th
Log School Dorchester
Codman Square Library
Murphy Community Center

JULY 25th
So. Boston Neighborhood Center
Tynan Community center
Condon Community Center

JULY 31st
Laboure Center South Boston
Tenacity@ Moakley Playground
South Boston Boys and Girls Club

Jackson Mann Allston
Oak Square YMCA
Commonwealth Tenants Association

AUG 6th
Yawkey Center for Early ED
Children's learning Center
Franklin Park Tenants Association

Thursday, June 28, 2007



by Rumi

translated by Coleman Barks

A story is like water

that you heat for your bath.

It takes messages between the fire

and your skin. It lets them meet

and it cleans you!

Very few can sit down

in the middle of the fire itself

like a salamander or Abraham

We need intermediaries.

A feeling of fullness comes,

but usually it takes some bread

to bring it.

Beauty surrounds us,

but usually we need to be walking

in a garden to know it.

The body itself is a screen

to shield and partially reveal

the light that is blazing

inside your presence.

Water, stories, the body,

all the things we do, are mediums

that hide and show what's hidden.

Study them,

and enjoy this being washed

with a secret we sometimes know,

and then not.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

NEA lists 50 Childrens Books

Here are excerpts from a great list of books:

Please visit the Cooperative Children's Book Center for a multitude of information and resources about children's literature.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Connection between voice, language and music

[Thanks to Jon Hardie,Partner He included a pdf of the report - just email me if you want me to send it to you]
A very interesting connection between voice, language and music from Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Research at Duke University Abstract below from CBC - Research pdf from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sound of music embedded in vocal vibrations, scientists say
Last Updated: Friday, May 25, 2007 | 11:41 AM ET
CBC News

The essential tones of human music are rooted in the physics of how our vocal cords produce vowels, according to a study published Friday.

Researchers at Duke University's Center for Cognitive Neuroscience found that particular notes sound right to our ears because of the way our vocal apparatus makes the vowel sounds used in human languages.

Humans can't hear it directly, but when the sounds of speech are looked at with a spectrum analyzer, the relationships between the frequencies produced in the throat correspond with the relationships between notes in the 12-tone chromatic scale of music, said Dale Purves, the George Barth Geller Professor for Research in Neurobiology.

When humans speak, our vocal cords vibrate to create "peaks" of resonant sound in air coming from the lungs that can be modified by the way we change the shape or position of our tongue, lips, soft palate or throat.

The two lowest vocal tract resonances, called formants, are used to produce vowels, said Purves.

"Take away the first two formants and you can't understand what a person is saying," Purves said.

The frequency of the first formant is between 200 and 1,000 cycles per second (hertz) and the second formant is between 800 and 3,000 hertz.

When a speaker produces a vowel sound, it resonates on the two frequencies, with each vowel producing a different ratio between the frequencies. Purves said these ratios match up consistently with the ratios in musical tuning.

For example, the relationship between the two frequencies produced in the English vowel found in "bought" might match up with the musical interval between C and A on a piano keyboard, Purves said.

Purves and co-authors Deborah Ross and Jonathan Choi tested the idea by recording native English and native Mandarin Chinese speakers uttering vowel sounds in both languages and comparing those sounds and their frequency ratios to the numerical ratios found in music.

They say the results could help explain why some cultures prefer one kind of music to another, particularly if differences in vowel sounds found in the languages produce different resonances.

The study was published Friday in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Stop the BIg Guys& Save internet Radio!

I wrote to my political reps with the following points (from, because I listen to at least these stations / show on-line:

TO: Kennedy, Kerry, Capuano

1) I am a constituent and I'm calling to ask you to save Internet radio by co-sponsoring the Internet Radio Equality Act.
2) The Copyright Royalty Board's decision to increase royalty rates for webcasters is going to turn off my Internet radio and I do NOT want that to happen. Please co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act.
3) I believe that artists should be fairly compensated for the music they make, but putting my webcasters out of business will only hurt artists more. They depend on Internet radio to get their music out to fans and build new audiences. When the webcasters go off the air, so do artists. Please co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act.
4) Internet radio is one of the only bright spots for independent music and diversity. We NEED Internet radio. Don't turn it off. Co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

edited and uploaded Newer LaBefana

I have tried to shorten the content
and improve the quality of the visuals.
We shall see.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Mike Daisey at the ART

I really liked Mike Daisey's show @
the ART.

I sent him these comments.
To read his ideas on storytelling...

Excerpt from my letter
<< ...As a storyteller, and I do not mean to be a purist, but the
way or fact that you use notes irks me.
Sometimes I have a little cheat sheet like the playlist
that a folk singer puts on their guitar.
I look at it during applause, in between stories
So what is my beef?
Maybe your looking down breaks the connection we have with you?
And, anyway , you have the notes and a glass o' water
AND the gigs @ the ART, right? So who am I to say?
But I digress...

Last night when you went from your experience
of 9/11 back to the history of the subway
I found myself scrambling to keep up with you - emotionally- conceptually.
In every way it was a rough transition.

Before it was a gorgeous moment - pure poetry.
Exquisit theater and deeply human. We were with you.
Then the history of subway and the fantasy
interlude in a restaurant?

I thought - Huh? What is this ? Maybe this
transition is okay for him,
A] he has heard all this before
B]he has notes.

That is the purist speaking - excuse me
while I tell her to shut up)
Still, it was jarring.
I wanted to hear more about choices- ...

Such great images!

It was at that rough transition that
I found myself looking at your
unread pile of notes and wondering
-- *sigh* how much more?
Not a Q I ever want my audience to be thinking...but I got right back
with you when the story went to Maine.
So there you are....>>

To see Mike Daisey's monologue....
"Invincible Summer" will run through April 29, followed by
"Monopoly!" May 1-6 and
"Tongues Will Wag" May 8.
For information on tickets and showtimes,
visit the ART website

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Norah At a Library in Arlington Heights Suburban Chicago

Back in October of 2004 I was invited to come and
talk at a series of libraries that had included
my book Everybody Cooks Rice in their community
wide reading project.
They just posted this video of part of my visit
to the web at youtube.
And now I know how to post video too.

Hitchiking in Italy w/the GrandpaGang part 1

The beginning of the story...recorded live @
Story Lab in Club Passim on March 19, 2007.
My first trip to Europe was less than a triumph of
planning or execution. Fascists were blowing up trains
when we arrived and we decided to ditch our Eurail
passes hitch hike through Italy. TRAGEDY + TIME = COMEDY
Thanks Laura Packer, Bill McGowan, Jamie OConnell and all
who came out and made the evening.

For more? Email me a request for the link to part 2

video from youtube

my first Attempt to publish video
on a blog - Very easy!

An ideas whos time has come?


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Serves Me Right...tempting the fates

Sure enough serves me right
- Today I had to be more interesting
than throw-up. And I thought dog poop
was stiff competition? [See Jan 31st post]

Today I tested the power of storytelling.
For real.
A poor little 1st grader quietly let fly
right in the beginning of my presentation in a cafetorium
filled with 200 or so K- 2s sitting on their bottoms.

The Kindergardners were already a bit rambunctious
as it was. Luckily the

throw up
tossed cookies
lost lunch
sidewalk pizza
technicolor yawn

was behind the K- folk who were not very attentive.

The space for 15 feet around was immediately evacuated.
This happened so quickly.
I scanned left to right as I spoke and
when I looked back, there was a hole in
what had been a
visual field full of kids.
In the middle of the large white space
was a huge puddle of
red vomit.
For quite a while the spot was vacant and
the other kids kept poking their heads up like
gophers to try and "see".

Finally, a teacher covered the 1 foot circle of
vomit, with small paper napkins.
This manouever took some time
but finally the fire engine red circle with orange chunks
was covered up. Mostly.

And then janitor came. Moving
with the measured, precise movements of a character in a Noh
play, he carefully swept then
he brought out sawdust and swept some more
and he came back with disinfectant
and sprayed and wiped and wiped again.

It was not a simple task. A laborious process.

But by god - I was more interesting than
throw up today. I never stopped and never lost the
crowd or my train of thought.

This is the POWER of storytelling.

But I am still a bit queasy.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

What should we call ourselves?*

* if not storytellers?

This issue has been
raised by many in LANES over the past few years –
notably Jo Radner, Mark Binder, Loren Noemi and most recently by Michael
Anderson at STF 2007.
How we are defined and how we wish to be known are
topics worthy of a rollicking debate and a thorough investigation.
Identity is a deep subject.

We may have to generate lots of smoke around this fire
to get a blaze large enough to shed some light...

Dunno – are my meandering thoughts just more smoke ?
Or will my woolgathering invite others to add some serious fuel?
Whatever may be, here is some kindling for the fire...

Statement: - storytelling is family entertainment.
I have no mad beef with that.
But does that make us storytellers family entertainers?
Like Mr. Rogers, Barney and Raffi?

Well, Yes. In a way it does. But who makes these designations?
Isn't separating and codifying like this all about marketing ?

What makes something adult entertainment –?
When did "adult entertainment"
come to mean entertainment that contains explicit sexual content and little else.
Don’t we want to do more than that? I mean in public –

How about complex, resonant, abstract, engaging and evocative
entertainment ? And why should stories be any less than complex, resonant, abstract and evocative when they are for families?
Granted when you must keep 18 month old happy while telling to a 5 year old a story you planned for an eight year old...complexity and abstraction may not be your leading qualities.

But should we abandon the notion of family as “uncool” ?
Wow, that is messed up… And so in league with "the Man".
Because to make our plastic world spin,
everything of real value anything that cannot be turned into a commodity
--entities that cannot be bought or sold must be denigrated, put down or aside
They must be seen as valueless in this society.

Love – wisdom—friendship – wonder ? Or any manifestation of these really priceless treasures that cannot be put into shrink wrap, barcoded or downloaded must be seen as worthless.
This makes the space for the dominant consumer culture to sell you the plastic, virtual, get-it-now-while-supplies-last Walmart version of friendship, love or dream for as low as $19.99 a month ! Buy two get one FREE,

Sure, artists should take chances and risks. But toward what end?
Often I am told at the end of a performance of folk tales –
" Wow, those were not just for kids, adults could enjoy them too."
Some of the talk I hear about “risks” and all that seems like cant and
ideological posturing.
And posturing or being anything less than
genuine is the worst thing any artist can do.
just as deadly is being obscure, elitist or cutesy.

On a purely practical level, can I become known for my mature material and
still get booked in schools? Why and why not?
With all the access on the web –
can I even write a blog that expresses my
deepest cares and woes and still get booked in schools?
While telling to adults is so much fun, being
booked in schools helps pay the mortgage and puts food on the table.

So –

Should we turn away from the one strong
connection we storytellers have to our culture? Should we turn away from storytelling as family entertainment-?
I think this is a very bad idea.

Should we shy away from genuine expression of our adult selves?
This is a kind of living death I am not ready for. So, what to do?

We need to add meaning to the word “storytelling”,
not disconnect it from meanings and positive experiences.

How to do this ? Where?

Maybe we need to we need to get our butts
to the scene – where adults gather --
Wherever that is? And entertain them.
Now, just where that is and how to do this...that is another exploration.

Your turn…
All the best, norah

** STF =Sharing the Fire
which is the annual conference of LANES

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

save the internet!

Save the Net

Rock the Net (Neutrality)

March 27th, 2007 by Jhoward

The Future of Music Coalition today launched Rock the Net — a nationwide coalition of musicians and labels that support Net Neutrality — at a press conference that featured Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.), musician Ted Leo and CD Baby founder Derek Sivers.

“Four years ago we got 4,000 musicians to sign on to the battle against radio consolidation,” says Jenny Toomey of the Future of Music, a charter member of the Coalition. “With Rock the Net, we intend to get thousands of the nation’s musicians, independent labels and music services to become part of the effort to keep a ‘payola’ system from being established on the Internet. This will be the largest coalition of musicians for Net Neutrality in the country.”

There are more than two-dozen founding members of the Rock the Net Coalition including the Kronos Quartet, R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan, The Wrens, OK Go, Death Cab for Cutie and the Barenaked Ladies. These musicians will help recruit thousands of artists to support the fight for Net Neutrality.

The Rock the Net Coalition already has 124 bands and 24 labels signed on, and 24 shows scheduled. Bands and fans can track Rock the Net events around the country with their interactive map.

Musicians, indie labels, online music stores and others that want to join the Rock the Net Coalition can sign up and schedule events on the Rock the Net

Monday, March 19, 2007


Tosca- by Giacomo Puccini after a play by Sardou. Tosca is a story of overwhelming passion amidst the perils of war. Set in Rome, in 1800 at the time of Napoleon�’s advance on the city, the opera opens with the flight of Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner. He seeks refuge in a church where he is protected by Mario Cavaradossi, a local artist who is also the lover of the famous singer, Floria Tosca. The young painter acts suspiciously while protecting his friend and Tosca thinks jealous thoughts, believing him unfaithful. The evil and venal chief of police, Baron Scarpia, plays upon Tosca’s jealousy to snare the two men. Mario is arrested and tortured and Angelotti takes his own life rather then be held prisoner. Tosca desperately begs Scarpia to spare Mario, but Scarpia demands her affections in exchange for Marios’s life. After securing a note saving her lover from his death sentence, she stabs Scarpia and hurries off to be with Mario who is awaiting his execution. Soon, Tosca finds she has been tricked, and she makes one final decision.

O'Carolan, the blind harper

Turlough Carolan was born in 1670 in Nobber, co. Westmeath, Ireland. He was taken under the patronage of Mrs. MacDermott Roe of Alderford to be educated. However at the age of 18 he was blinded by smallpox, and so his patron stopped his education and instead had him sent to be trained as a harper for three years. Upon his finishing his musical training at the age of 21 she provided him with a horse, a guide and some money, to start him on his career as an itinerant harper.

Carolan built a succesful career as a harper, winning many patrons both Irish and English, Protestant and Catholic. He himself was Catholic and composed music for the church. (the early Irish harp was often used to provide church music). however only one of his sacred pieces is known to have survived, "The Elevation".

Carolan married Mary Maguire from Fermanagh; they had six daughters and one son. Mary died in 1733 and Turlough died in Alderford in 1738.

O'Carolan's Music...

Carolan is known today for instrumental music, but most of the tunes attributed to him do or did have words. Many of his tunes are actually older tunes, which he re-set for his songs. He also composed variations on some older tunes, an example being his variations on the Scottish Jacobite song "Cock up your Beaver". [you can't make this stuff up!]

Carolan's music is notable for combining different influences. As an Irish harper in the 18th century he had been trained in the old Gaelic bardic tradition of harp playing and composing. He also is said to have had a fascination with the latest Italian music that was the height of fashion in Dublin. And there is an element of folk-song in his music as the old Gaelic order, which maintained harpers and poets as high-status artists, was collapsing, and like the other 18th century harpers he had to find work where he could.

Carolan composed instrumental music as well as songs for his patrons. He is said to have composed "Carolan's Concerto" when staying with an Italian composer at the house of an Irish nobleman. But its other title, "Mrs Poer" suggests that it may just have been composed for a patron, Elizabeth Power (nee Keating) of Coorheen.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dinner @ Passim before show and...

Join us for dinner at Veggie Planet
Passim before show ?
and... I am thinking maybe some
Guiness after the show?


more on Sublime...MAR 19th @ Passim

Ridiculous & Sublime
Norah Dooley
with Bill McGowan, bass and Susan Miron, harp

@ Club Passim MARCH 19 @ 8PM

The tunes of 18th century blind harper, Turlough O’Carolan are combined with legend and folktales from the vast store of Irish whimsy and tradition. These nontraditional tellings are the products of this storyteller’s boiling brain combined with more standard versions of the lore.

A set of Irish legends and folktales and stories accompanied tunes of 18th century blind harper, O’Carolan Susan Miron, harp

Ridiculous & Sublime MAR 19 @ Passim

Ridiculous & Sublime
Norah Dooley
Bill McGowan, bass
Susan Miron, harp

@ Club Passim MARCH 19 @ 8PM

A set of stories about growing up and absurd adventures will be accompanied on bass by Bill McGowan.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"More Interesting than Dog Poop"

Summer 2000 -

My work sends me to some funky venues.
This one was a park along side a highway where the planes
are low overhead in their approach to Logan. It was about 90ยบ F.

It was also before lunch and maybe after nap

About 20 kids about 3 years old each,
walking like somnambulists, holding on to
clothesline were brought out to me and
we were all led to a huge tree.
How primal - how essential !

Me, a tree and a group of children.

This is storytelling.
This is what it is all about!

The disaffected teen staff were sullen
and glum. Who could blame them?

It was so damn hot, humid and smelly.

But when I pointed out that the broken glass mixed in the
wet with dew*grass as unsuitable for tender toddler bottoms of my audience they
became even unhappier.

We moved around the tree and finally to another tree.
And I started at last.
A plane roared overhead. I pushed on.
Traffic flowed and growled in the background.
I engaged and cavorted.
Then a bright and perspicacious little boy noticed a huge dog
turd about 18" inches away from my foot.

God I wished I had seen that first.

"Wow. Look Dog POOP!"

20 little heads were snapped around and riveted
in attention on the brown, perfectly
formed canine offering by my foot. The teen counselors perked up.
This became a moment of intense interest. My audience could not get enough -
Then it evolved into group participation.

They had to see and share and even wanted to touch.
This last desire snapped the teen's into action.
They had no tools to remove the intruder so the
counselors worked on crowd control.

The rest of my gig was spent in shameless competition.
By god ! I am storyteller!

I am more
interesting than dog poop.

Aren't I?

Story is bigger than this!
Isn't story bigger than this?

Apparently not.

I bought a sound system next year.
I bring plastic bags.

I know who I am.
I am a storyteller and
that is "the %@$!."

Such is the power of storytelling.

[*dew? - indeed -dog pee more likely]

Why I am here...

Before MTV and iPods and youtube
there were stories.
Before books and magazines and comics
there were stories and storytellers-

Language was oral before it was written.
Our brains are hard wired for storytelling but
reading and writing are "unnatural acts".

its part of who we are as human beings
It's natural.

Storytelling is as old as the hills.
Storytelling is tomorrow-
How do we know about tomorrow?
Tomorrow does not exist yet
We know it by the stories we tell.

Stories are everywhere
we are. On the bus, train
supermarket, school on your cell and in
your tubes and screens.

We all use story to
move through this story which is our life.

Life is like this...

Well, my life is like this.
A man dies and is sent to Hell.
Satan meets him, shows him doors to three rooms, and says he must choose one room to spend eternity in. In the first room, people are being roasted on spits by sniggering demons. The man says "No, let me see the next room." In the second room, people are having the flesh flayed from them by whip wielding demons while they hop about on hot coals.
The man says, "No thanks" Finally, Satan opens the door to the third room.
People are standing in a pool of excrement up to their waists, drinking espresso from demitasse and eating pastries.
The man says, "This looks more likely, I pick this room."
Satan smiles and a demon hands him a cup of espresso and the man wades in.

Just as he starts nibbling on his biscotti and sipping at his coffee,
Satan yells, "All right you bastards!"
Demons with whips appear at his side.
"Coffee break is over. Everybody back on their heads!"