Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Open Mic Night : Tellers and Others Can Entertain

Friday, June 20, 2014, 8p.m. to 10 p.m. in the east courtyard of Wesley UMC in OKC kick back and enjoy some laughs as people share their talents.

Call 405-525-3521 to sign up for a spot!

Rules:
5 minute limit
No politicals
Clean, family friendly

Share:
Songs
Musical instruments
Comedy routines
Monolouges
Magic acts

ANNOUNCEMENT: OKC Tellers Dissolved

Due to a lack of interest in the group, OKC Tellers is disbanding as a viable, monthly storytelling group.   Despite a great venue, central metro location, lots of free parking, and some great tellers, there was simply not enough interest in keeping it going.

There will - occasionally - some storytelling events.

Monday, May 5, 2014

TALL TALES, May 5, at 7 p.m.

Come join the fun with tall tales, whoppers, and sorta-true stories....

7 p.m. , meeting in rooms at Wesley UMC, NW 25th and Classen.
Use the roomy west parking lot and west entrance.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

APRIL MEETING, MONDAY 4/7/14

Join the OKC Tellers on Monday evening to listen to and share some stories about spring, your battle against winter, your garden, your....well, you name it!
 
7pm at the Wesley UMC located just off NW 25 and Classen Blvd. Big free parking lot. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

MEETING UPDATE!!!

Tonight's meeting has been re-scheduled for next Monday night at 7 p.m. (March 10).  Come out and share some stories! Celebrate or complain about the weather with stories of the season, the Time Change!, St. Patrick's Day, school, families or whatever!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March Meeting - Monday March 3 at 7 - Weather Permitting

We may need stories of spring and warmth! I will keep you posted here and on Facebook if we have to cancel or reschedule our OKC Tellers meeting.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

'I LOVE STORIES" WORKSHOP SAT. FEB.8, 2014 (OKC)

"I Love Stories" Workshop.  Saturday, February 8 th, 2014 from 10 a.m. to about Noon.

Location: Education Wing, Wesley United Methodist Church (NW 25th and Classen; free parking and entrance on the west side- past Douglas).

 Two wonderful workshops will be offered for both the beginner and the more experienced story teller:

Chara Watson, Edmond, will share tips and methods to begin your storytelling journey. She holds a masters in storytelling from East Tennessee University.

 Kathryn Thurman, Del City, will share skills for those who have some experience but wish to fine tune skills in stage presence and use of microphones, etc.
 


Sunday, February 2, 2014

ALERT: FEB. STORY MEETING CANCELED - PLAN TO ATTEND 2/8 WORSKSHOPS

 After traveling some roadways and visiting with a weather expert it is wise to cancel the Monday night storytelling meeting and focus on next Saturday and the workshops beginning at 10 a.m.
 
Please advise any friends who might be interested in attending. I am posting it to the Facebook page and to the blog.  See you next Sat. and bring a friend or two!!!

"I Love Stories" Workshop.  Saturday, February 8TH, 2014 from 10 a.m. to about Noon.

Location: Education Wing, Wesley United Methodist Church (NW 25th and Classen; free parking and entrance on the west side- past Douglas).

 Two wonderful workshops will be offered for both the beginner and the more experienced story teller:

Chara Watson, Edmond, will share tips and methods to begin your storytelling journey. She holds a masters in storytelling from East Tennessee University.

 Kathryn Thurman, Del City, will share skills for those who have some experience but wish to fine tune skills in stage presence and use of microphones, etc.
 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CALENDAR THIS! 'SPIRIT OF OKLAHOMA STORYTELLING FESTIVAL' IN BETHANY 2014



As many of you may know, the 2014 Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival location has been changed to Southern Nazarene University on Rt. 66 (now known as NW 39th Expressway) in Bethany, OK.  The university is between MacArthur Blvd and Rockwell Ave.

Kent Rollins, a cowboy storyteller and poet, will be our featured teller.  Numerous Territory Tellers will also be spotlight tellers. 


Kent Rollins
By February 15, the festival schedule and registration form will be posted on the Territory Tellers web page

Many wonderful events are being planned and among them will be performance by a bluegrass group, F5four.


Perfect On Paper cover art
F5four
Make plans now to come and join with others to promote the oral tradition of storytelling.
 
The Territory Tellers is Oklahoma's organization for story tellers, story listeners, and anyone who shares a love for the art of storytelling. On this website, you will find information about our annual festival, storytellers, events, and more.    Territory Tellers offers opportunities to learn the art of storytelling by supporting storytelling concerts, conducting workshops and providing information at professional conferences and local and regional events
Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival
June 13-14, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

FEBRUARY WORKSHOPS IN OKC

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"I Love Stories" Workshop.  Saturday, February 8TH, 2014 from 10 a.m. to about Noon.

Location: Education Wing, Wesley United Methodist Church (NW 25th and Classen; free parking and entrance on the west side- past Douglas).

 Two wonderful workshops will be offered for both the beginner and the more experienced story teller:

Chara Watson, Edmond, will share tips and methods to begin your storytelling journey. She holds a masters in storytelling from East Tennessee University.

 Kathryn Thurman, Del City, will share skills for those who have some experience but wish to fine tune skills in stage presence and use of microphones, etc.
 

STORYTELLING STUFF IN THE STATE

Here are 2 storytelling events coming up at the Choctaw Library.   
  
Art of Storytelling
Saturday Feb 1, 2014
10 am--11 am
Choctaw Library (2525 Muzzy St in Choctaw, OK)
 405-390-8418 ext 3
 
  • "ART OF STORYTELLING" : tips and techniques of Storytelling will be the nexus of this informal gathering of storytellers. Liz Parker and Susie Beasley with WayWord Tellers and Oklahoma Territory Tellers will lead this session. Session is free and open to those interested in the art of storytelling. Resource materials and refreshments will be provided for Storytellers Co-Sponsor: WayWord Tellers & Oklahoma Territory Tellers.
  • The WayWord WHOPPERS FESTIVAL will be on Sat March 22- 9:30 am--1:30.  More information will be available after the festival committee meeting on February 1.  For more information contact Susie Beasley at the Choctaw Library 405-390-8418 x 3.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Jan. 1st Monday Meeting Cancelled

The meeting scheduled for this evening (Jan.6, 2014) at 7 p.m. is cancelled.

The next meeting will be on Feb.3 at 7 pm and there will be a Saturday workshop on Feb.8th at Wesley UMC. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Join Us in 2014

Every first Monday (except for holidays) a group of people meet at Wesley UMC for a community group to learn about telling stories.  We ask questions, we learn tips, and practice sharing stories in a comfortable and welcoming setting.  We encourage membership and participation in other local groups such as the statewide organization, the Territory Tellers and the storytelling festivals in the state and the region.  We encourage tales of every type  and for a variety of settings.
 
Come learn, come share, and come be part of the OKC Tellers.  Next meeting Monday, January 6th at 7 p.m. at WUMC (NW 25 and Classen - use the west entrance just past Douglas Street - in OKC).  We are only 2 blocks from OCU!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Newsletter

OKC TELLERS E-NEWS
Greeting Friends and Supporters of Storytelling :A BIG THANKS to all those who attended, volunteered or donated to the OKC Tellabration event!  We had bad weather but high spirits as we gathered over nearly fifty strong to hear delightful stories.  About $400 was raised to help with the historic preservation of the lovely sanctuary. 
 
The pre-concert tour was crowded as well as people learned the history of the site and viewed the lovely styles in stone, wood and textiles. 
 
Some workshops are being planned for 2014 and we have some great festivals in the new year to look forward to as well.

Schedule for this SPRING 2014 -
  • Jan. 6, at 7 P.M. join us for the first meeting of the year! We will share stories and learn about participation stories.
  • Jan. 25 - Members of Territory Tellers (the state group) will be in a retreat at Roman Nose. Learn more at www.territorytellers.org
  • Feb. 3, 7 p.m. join us for a meeting; share stories and learn about using props.
  • Feb. 8 (Sat.) - "I Love Stories" Worshop Event. Time to be announced. Join us for a workshop featuring Chara Watson and Kathryn Thurman designed for both beginner and intermediate story artisans.
  • March 3, 7 p.m. "Global Stories". 
  • March 8 or 15, Sat.,  TENTATIVE event
  • April 7, 7 p.m. "Children's Stories" and how to 'stretch a tale'
  • May 5, 7 p.m. "Stars and Sky Stories"
  • June - 2, 7 p.m. "Camping and Nature Stories"
  • June, 13-14, the 2nd weekend will be the "Spirit of Oklahoma" Storytelling Festival in Bethany on the campus of Southern Nazarene University.  We may want to have a table there to promote our group and gain new members of OKC Tellers!  There may also be opps to share stories in special concerts and classes.
  • July 7, 7 p.m. - "Americana"
  • August 4, 7 p.m. - Storytelling Picnic
  • September - 8th, 7 p.m. (Note date due to holiday), "School Dazed" and adding learning to stories. 
  • October 11, Sat. - Workshop and Mini Concert - Fall 4 Stories Event
  • November 3, 7 p.m. "Story Feast"
  • November 22, Sat. - Tellabrations around the state!!!
  • December, 1, 7 p.m. - "Ho, Ho Stories!" - Funny tales.
  • TBA.  Link to keep up with news about the  OKC Storytelling Festival, for 2014
Looking into 2014:
Lots of opportunities to volunteer, tell stories, and just have some fun!
  • Choctaw Library will probably host another "Whopper's Contest" - more as details emerge.
  • Later in the summer will be the OKC Storytelling Festival sponsored by the OKC Arts Council. National and international tellers are brought in for concerts and workshops.
  • Need a T-shirt, golfshirt, to proclaim you are a member of the OKC Tellers? : http://www.cafepress.com/okcstorytellers
  •  You should also check out membership in the state organization at www.territorytellers.org
Explore Storytelling Online:Sean Bulava, a nationally known storyteller, has put together this video on "How To Tell a Story" : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOA8mUflH-QThe End
 
See you next month and remember everyone has a story to tell!
Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS (marilynahudson@yahoo.com/ 405-307-0962)
OKC Tellers Storytelling Group (weblink) 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Steaming Up Storytelling: Part 4

THE STEAM PUNK SMASH-UP

 
Steam Punk is an alternative reality where society and technology made a different turn than the one that produced the 20th century.  In our reality the analog gave way to digital, gas and electric to nuclear, and the abacus to the computer.   The gears, clockworks, and industrial machines become something of beauty.  The dirigible is dominant along with steam, gas, and electricity; a portable phone created by different technological advances, a ray gun inspired by Tesla’s daring electromagnetic experiments, or chemical additives to enhance the power of the steam engine.

 
One way Steam Punk people portray this smash-up of elements is shown in the way the corset moves from being under the garment to worn outside the garment. It therefore exemplifies not the restraint, control, and tempering of women’s mobility as it did in Victorian times but becomes a symbol of liberation and female power.   Some even attack it as being gender specific and men might also don the corset (men actually did wear corsets for health reasons).  Another way may be the mixing of cultural elements – what if the Chinese had reached North America and established a trading center in the area of California?  Pirates might fly the skies in airships carrying an assortment of men and women – Arab warriors, African Bandits, English dockworkers or soldiers.  Alternatively, a mixture of all three!

 Add to this the gadgets and contraptions of steam technology:

 Goggles may be because of all that airship flight in the open cockpits or it may be because of the recent natural calamities, or as Cherie Priest explained in her novel, Boneshaker, it protects from a poisonous gas.

 Clocks, gears, etc. symbolize craftsmanship in a time when the ordinary person could still make things, tinker with things, and create the extraordinary as ‘armchair amateurs.’   The sturdy materials, the polished work seen in the smallest workings of a watch or the gigantic functions of steel, bronze, or iron, all reflect that desire to return to a more anchored reality,

 --Marilyn A. Hudson

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

December Meeting

The monthly meeting of the OKC Tellers, a story sharing and learning guild, will be Monday, Dec. 2nd, 2013 at 7 p.m..

A short mini-skill builder will be followed by drawing names out of the "hat" for opportunities to share stories on cold, winter, holidays, and related themes. So craft your tales now and join us on the 2nd.

If the weather is inclement (snowy or icy) we will cancel.

Meetings are open to the public and plenty of free parking at 1401 NW 25th (NW 25th and Classen) at Wesley UMC.  Use the west entrance and parking lot (behind the church).

STORY WORKSHOPS COMING IN FEBRUARY

Sat. February 8th, 2014 OKC Tellers will sponsor a workshop event addressing basic storytelling skills and an advanced session on stage presence and technology.

Friday, November 22, 2013

WEATHER UPDATE; TELLABRATION STATUS is "ON"

We are "ON" for this evening.  Streets are mostly dry and any storms due to arrive after midnight to the west or later on Sunday.

So the night will be cold but come warm your hearts and stir the imagination as we join to celebrate storytelling in a "TELLABRATION!(r)"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stories Will Light Up the Night!

Let me tell you about.... the OKC Tellabration event!!

Contact: marilynahudson@yahoo.com /405-307-0962
EVENING OF STORYTELLING TO BENEFIT LOCAL HISTORIC CHURCH
 
K.Thurman, Contemporary
native American Storyteller /
Flutist
Members of The Territory Tellers, the statewide story arts organization, the OKC Tellers (a new Oklahoma City story guild) and Wesley United Methodist Church will combine to present an evening of the storytelling art this November. The date is Saturday, November 23, 2013 from 6 to 8 p.m.  A special guided tour will be available from 5:00 to 5:40 p.m. followed by the story concert at 6 p.m. Tickets will be $10 per person and available by reservation or at the door.
The internationally notable event, "Tellabration", will be celebrated in numerous locations to highlight the rich tradition and ever-new innovation of the art of oral story sharing. Although produced locally, the event is in association with the National Storytelling Network in Jonesborough, Tennessee.  
The OKC Tellers  is a new Oklahoma City story guild that will begin meeting at the church in late summer. Storytellers will include numerous professional talents from across Oklahoma and will include Molly Lemmons (Mustang), Salley Riffey (Oklahoma City), Kathryn Thurman (Del City) and Chester Weems (Yukon).  M.C. will be author storyteller Marilyn A. Hudson (Norman).
Reserved tickets will be available for the event and will be available at the door.  
 
Funds raised will go to help with the historic preservation of the church, which was founded in 1910. The Lovely Gothic English style stone sanctuary dates to 1928.  The church sits beside the historic Route 66 as it loops through the area of the city designated "Uptown" and the “Asian District”. The church is located at NW 25th and Douglas Avenue, just north of NW 23 Street.  The current pure English Gothic architecture design sanctuary and stained glass art was dedicated in 1928.
To purchase tickets, donate to the fund, or reserve your tickets for the event, or information about the story guild, email event coordinator Marilyn A. Hudson, marilynahudson@yahoo.com.  
 
Hudson can also be contacted to do phone interviews with local radio stations. 
 
If emailing put on the subject line: “OKC Tellabration.” The church is located at 1401 NW 25 (corner of NW 25 and Classen Blvd.) and the office phone is (405) 525-3521.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Steaming Up Storytelling: Symbols and Stories, Part 3


SYMBOLS AND PROPS OF THE STEAM-VERSE

As with any custom experience, you must wear the outfit and not let the outfit wear you - in other words one is mere dress-up and the other apparel. Anything can become caricature and meaningless unless you establish its significance for the character.

Goggles (usually brass but sometimes from other metals. More aviator style than swimming or sports, the goggle reflects the daring open-cockpit, bi-plane, balloon, and airship dare devils.

A parasol serves the purpose of reflecting a more genteel time but also a real usefulness as a skin protection device. So too an appropriate walking stick. The epitome of classic Victorian and Edwardian adventure was the Pith Helmet.  Gears, clockwork, timepieces can symbolize steam age technologies.  
 
 

Those ideas in mind - explore some of the written works of the genre and get a 'feel' for the nature of steampunk and creative universe. 

Steam Adventuring Inspirations - Bibliography:

 

Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure by Jim Teal

 

Amazing Traveler, Isabella Bird: The Biography of a Victorian Adventurer by Evelyn Kaye.

 

The Desert and the Sown: The Syrian Adventures of the Female Lawrence of Arabia by Gertrude Bell.

 

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi (graphic novel)

The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby

The Death Collector by Justin Richards

Doctor Illuminatus by Martin Booth

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by C. Wooding

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade

“The Hungry City Chronicles” by Philip Reeve

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The List of 7 by Mark Frost

Nick of Time by Ted Bell

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Teen Readers and Adults –

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

The Difference Engine by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling

Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore

The Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann, Paul Morrissey,& Janet Lee

The Windup Girl  by Paolo Bacigalupi

 

 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Steaming Up Storytelling: Connecting with Steampunk, Part 2

Sources for suitable stories:
Classic tales:
Jules Verne
Mark Twain'
Edgar Allan Poe
Arthur Conan Doyle
Bram Stoker
Oscar Wilde
Lovecraft
H.G. Wells

General -
Victorian Literature
Victorian literature and pre-Victorian written by womenVictorian literary themes
Edisonades

Recent Inspirations:
Graphic novels


Movies: (Wild, Wild West; League of extraordinary Gentleman; The Time Machine; Howl's Moving Castle; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Sherlock Holmes (2009):9; Sleepy Hollow; Hellboy; Van Helsing; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; The Prestige; The Golden Compass; The Brothers Grimm; etc. )


*Here is a list of books, films, and television shows.

Performance Values:

Costume: period or cultural pieces, perhaps juxtaposed with unique or arcane 'gadgets'.  Props can be useful but should be used only with much practice: the umbrella, the cane, the ladies hand bag (a drawstring affair), a "ray gun", or apparatus, etc.

Language: Spiced with the formal language of the Victorian era, delivered in a more precise manner, and utilizing larger more diverse vocabulary.  Too heavy an accent will be defeating to the ease of the audience to actually understand your story.  Too modern a style or vocabulary will negate the suspension of reality required to place the story and the teller in an alternate reality.

Biases: Some of the biases may include presuming audience has a wider knowledge of the literature,  history, time, or customs of the time period.  Another bias can be too narrow an understanding of steam punk as English, European, etc.  Steam punk is a global movement which easily adapts and meshes diverse styles and cultures in the new reality of the steam punk world.

Transition: Current storytellers can ease into steam punk if they have told stories of the old west, of history, of adventurers, of travel, of invention and discovery or human interest tales.   Classic myths and legends can have their essence 're-cast' in a new suit of steam punk - if the teller firmly understands the nuances, diversity,  and motivations found in steam punk.

Sub-categories of steam punk include these groups:

BoilerPunk -blue collar industrial age workers; opposite to aristocratic steampunk
ClockPunk- emphasizing the technologies which augment and replace steam
DieselPunk - A "heresy" where diesel fuel and nuclear power take the place of steam
GaslightRomance - A British term; American steam punk is considered by some to actually be Gaslight romance or fantasy
MannersPunk - Broader category of stories and works which may or may not be steampunk but which focus on hierarchy in society, some emergent technologies, and involve parties, mansions, and the more formal and civilized aspects of society.
RaygunGothic - A more sci-fiction approach with broad application; could also be called Raygun Melodrama.
StitchPunk - A reflection of the crafts, handson, inventing, tinkering, and do-it-yourself elements in steam punk.
---The SteamPunk Bible (2011), pg. 54-55

Friday, November 1, 2013

Other Tellabration Events Around the State

November is the time for 'Tellabration' (tm), a evening of storytelling celebrated around the globe.  Catch one near you this fall in Oklahoma!!

Nov. 16 /ROMP Tellabration
Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry, Locust Grove
Stories, poetry, and more at the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry. See the ROMP website for more information or contact Shaun Perkins via The Territory Tellers webpage.

Nov. 19 /WayWord Tellers Tellabration
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Choctaw Library
For more information, contact Susie Beasley.

Nov. 23 /Apache Tellabration
Clark-Hobert Community Building
7:00 p.m.
Contact Steve Kardaleff for more information.

Nov. 23 /Old Angus Barn Tellabration
Old Angus Barn Event & Cultural Center, Wolf
6:00 p.m.
Storytelling around a fire pit with refreshments. For more information, email Jeanette Harjo or call 405-398-4310.

Nov. 23 / OKC TELLERS (Oklahoma Association of Storytellers) Tellabration
Wesley United Methodist Church, Oklahoma City
6:00-8:30 p.m.
Admission fees ($10 per person) from this storytelling event fund the preservation of the historic church. Contact Marilyn A. Hudson for info or call 405-307-0962.


For more information and updates visit www.territorytellers.org

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Trials and Tribulations of Wearing Costumes



The lure is there, maybe a hold over from  childhood, maybe an inclination to the dramatic; whatever the case some people really like costumes.  The problem is they can take some getting used to if you use them to tell stories.
Some of the problems:
  • They get can and often do get in the way
  • They can limit the type of stories shared
  • They can be awkward and artificial
  • They can be culturally insensitive or stereotypical
  • They may signal a story genre or characterization not in step with the teller
  • They require a certain amount of 'stage presence' to carry off the look
  • Some will tend to expect an "outfit" from every storyteller
Some of the advantages:
  • They bring a large dose of realism to certain settings
  • They are dramatic and memorable
  • They support thematic stories all set in the same place or time
  • They lend themselves to teaching and story combinations
  • They bring to life historic settings or events
  • It can be easier to assume the "persona" and share stories
Where to find places to wear these outfits?
  • Local history days
  • Historic celebrations
  • State history sites (volunteer as a tour guide, etc.)
The first rules of costume storytelling -
1. Start simple to get a feel if this is something you might want to explore.
2. Go the extra mile to get well made costumes or accessories (including undergarments!)
3. Remember you wear the clothes and they should not wear you; aim for a large degree of comfort in the clothes.
4. Collect stories, songs, poems, games, etc. from the time period or place your costume reflects.  This will allow you to add an educational or teaching moment and help smooth transitions from one story to another for that particular 'look',
 
Safety Issues:
Can you see? That dramatic cowl or veil may look great but not if you trip...
Can you walk? Sturdy shoes for tours or walking over uneven ground.
Too dark?  Get an old fashioned lantern or one from a craft or garden store.  Can't use a candle ? In some historic settings you cannot use an open flame.  Use the LED candles instead (insert in a regular candle for a more impressive candle look).
Do you have a favorite tip or help? Leave a comment and share.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Steaming Up Storytelling: Steampunk Meets Storytelling, Part 1

In 1987 a small, select, and arcane sub-culture was given a name, “Steampunk” but few really noticed. A nod to the reactionary punk music and the manners, styles and invention of the Victorian steam era, the movement began a slow climb out an obscure sub-genre of science fiction to crawl into mainstream or at least within calling distance of that broad thoroughfare.

Today huge steam punk conventions are held around the globe and comic book conventions (comic-cons)once home solely to superheroes and Jedi Knights, now sees as many stream punk characters strolling the promenades as any of the other personas.

A mixture of role play (costume or cos-play) based on a character of your own creation,  an opportunity to dress up in fine Victorian-Edwardian costumes, a place to meet others who enjoy tinkering with contraptions, drinking tea, exploring imaginative alternate worlds and histories, the current steam punk movement is arriving in Oklahoma. 

From my research, storytelling has not made serious or widespread inroads into the movement.  Samples of performances labeled as storytelling found online indicate there is room for experienced storytellers to share their talents in story crafting and sharing into this new reality.  

Although attracting membership from the late 20’s and older, the movement includes many a seasoned individual.  So steam punk may be a way to interest youth tellers it can also be a way for other tellers to expand their telling repertoire and audience.  How, though, to cross over into this world?


1) Understand the role of such movements as a response to the overly technical, specialized, non-personal, polarizing, and fragmenting aspects of modern society.  As with all millennial and quasi-millennial movements there is a underlying sense of “somewhere we went wrong”.    

Steam punk explores the communal act of finding the soul in the middle of the real, sterile, and isolated world.

2) Understand the guiding themes of steam punk as a retro-futuristic exploration of another world peopled by humans, metal robots, steam powered technologies replicating modern ones (what if the atom had NOT been discovered to change the course of science?). 

 
3) Understand the great diversity of the movement that allows cultures to pick and choose the best of each and integrate them in creative and peaceful ways.   Costumes may include elements of the kilt, the Victorian explorer pith helmet and a Middle eastern turban or a woman’s walking dress may be shorter, with near mandatory Victorian boots, a corset or cincher worn over the clothes on the outside, and a pair of brass goggles.

 
4) Understand the movement as providing an opportunity to write an alternate history that sees nations flowering, which might have been cut down in their prime or see issues resolved which were ignored in the real time line.  For example, the role of women is often greatly expanded in stream punk to include activities, behaviors, and values denied them in the real gendered Victorian Era.
 

5) Recognize the literature sources which have influenced the movement:  these include the classic tales of Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft, Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and others. Turn of the century newspapers and dime novels.

 

6) View the Movies which have had a touch or broad stroke of steam punk: Wild, Wild West; League of extraordinary Gentleman; The Time Machine; Howl's Moving Castle; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Sherlock Holmes (2009):9; Sleepy Hollow; Hellboy; Van Helsing; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; The Prestige; The Golden Compass; The Brothers Grimm.  On television, Warehouse 13 and Dr. Who have occasionally reflected the culture.


7) Become familiar with necessary performance Values:

 

Costume: period or cultural pieces, perhaps juxtaposed with unique or arcane 'gadgets'.  Standard props for both sexes can include: brass or metal/leather goggles, vests, hats, boots, leather/canvas bags, canes, umbrellas/parasols, etc.

Props can be useful but should be used only with much practice: the umbrella, the cane, the ladies hand bag (a drawstring affair), a "ray gun", or apparatus, etc. can be very dangerous!

Costuming for women may include some standard props:

Victorian gown

Corset (worn outside the clothing)

(See illustrations later)

 

Language: Spiced with the formal language of the Victorian era, delivered in a more precise manner, and utilizing larger more diverse vocabulary.  Too heavy an accent will be defeating to the ease of the audience to actually understand your story.  Too modern a style or vocabulary will negate the suspension of reality required to place the story and the teller in an alternate reality.

 

Biases: Some of the biases may include presuming audience has a wider knowledge of the literature, history, time, or customs of the time period.  Another bias can be too narrow an understanding of steam punk as English, European, etc.  Steam punk is a global movement which easily adapts and meshes diverse styles and cultures in the new reality of the steam punk world.

Transition: Current storytellers can ease into steam punk if they have told stories of the old west, of history, of adventurers, of travel, of invention and discovery or human interest tales.   Classic myths and legends can have their essence 're-cast' in a new suit of steam punk - if the teller firmly understands the nuances, diversity,  and motivations found in steam punk.

 
8) Be aware of the ongoing evolution of the movement and these sub-categories of steam punk as a starting place:

BoilerPunk -blue-collar industrial age workers; opposite to aristocratic steampunk;

ClockPunk- emphasizing the technologies that augment and replace steam;

DieselPunk - A "heresy" where diesel fuel and nuclear power take the place of steam;

GaslightRomance - A British term; American steam punk is considered by some to actually be Gaslight romance or fantasy;

MannersPunk - Broader category of stories and works which may or may not be steampunk but which focus on hierarchy in society, some emergent technologies, and involve parties, mansions, and the more formal and civilized aspects of society; 

RaygunGothic - A more sci-fiction approach with broad application; could also be called Raygun Melodrama;

StitchPunk - A reflection of the crafts, hands-on, inventing, tinkering, and do-it-yourself elements in steam punk.  ---The SteamPunk Bible (2011), pg. 54-55.

 
For the storyteller,  the challenge will be to determine could they share a Lovecraftian story of the macabre, or a take on Sherlock Holmes (maybe from Mrs. Hudson’s view? or the cabbie who drove them here and there?). Perhaps share also an original tale incorporating some of the archetypes or motifs of the genre: the goggles, the clockworks, the clanking robotic men powered by steam or clocks, etc. 

For the storytelling selection choices include select retellings of Gulliver’s Travels, The Golem, the travels of Burton or Livingston, the early Victorian women explorers, the early flyers (plane and balloon). These and others provide a rich resource to be discovered and given a fun little twist to fashion a creatively refreshing tale for steam punk audiences.

 Part 1 of a teaching series by Marilyn A. Hudson

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

OKC Tellers Oct. Guild Meeting

Join the OKC Tellers on Monday night, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. for stories of "Fall and Halloween." Learn about upcoming events and training opportunities. Some select storytellers will share and then others will draw for an opportunity to share their best 3-7 minute tale. Location is Wesley UMC, NW 25 and Classen, OKC. Plenty of free parking and entrance at the west side.  Contact: marilynahudson@yahoo.com for information.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Basics of Storytelling: Becoming a Storyteller

BECOMING A STORYTELLER

Every person has the potential to be a storyteller.  There are no “born tellers” – only people with differing levels of gifts in sharing human experiences. Everyone is already involved in the process of story sharing every time they share their experiences, recount historic events, tell a funny anecdote, and share core values.  All these individuals need to become intentional story bearers is for them to make the decision that they will learn to do it better, with greater self-confidence and skill.

WHAT STORIES ARE BEST FOR ORAL TELLING?
  • Family history stories, magazines, newspapers.
  • Events from your childhood or personal experiences
  • Folktales, fairy tales, myths and history books
  • Simple picture storybooks

WHERE DO YOU FIND SOURCES FOR STORIES?
  • The 398.2 area of the library
  • The picture book area of the library or a bookstore
  • Older family members or people in the community
  • Newspaper articles, old magazines
  • Historical events, oral histories, or biographies of historical people

HOW DO I LEARN AND TELL A STORY?
  • Find a story you really like (you will be living with it for awhile)
  • Become familiar with the story (read it several times)and any different versions
  • Picture in your mind the major parts of the story in the beginning, middle, and end.
  • Practice telling it to yourself.  Repeat adding details. Repeat until story is firmly in your mind.
  • Tell it often and enjoy.

HOW DO YOU GAIN SKILL AS A STORYTELLER?
  • Tell every chance you can. 
  • Record yourself: are you too fast, too slow, too soft spoken, too monotone?
  • Add a gesture to bring your story alive
  • Practice using voices to help tell the story.
  • Add a prop (a hat, an object from the story, a visual, a costume, or puppets)
  • Add music from hands or an instrument
  • Review what works, delete what does not, and keep learning more stories.
  • Become a member of a group that will provide training, feedback, and constructive criticism.
  • Attend training events, workshops, and concerts.  See if the library carries tapes or CD’s of well-known storytellers - listen and learn.

BEGINNER’S RESOURCES

Bauer, C.  Caroline Baur’s New Handbook for Storytellers. 1993.
Cabral, L. Len Cabral’s Storytelling Book. 1997.
Hamilton, M. Stories in My Pocket. 1996.
Macdonald, Margaret Read. Three Minute Tales. 2004.
Pellowski, A. The World of Storytelling. 1977.
Storytelling: It’s Not Just Kid’s Stuff, Milbre Burch homepage at http://www.laig.com/kindcrone/article_2.html
http://www.ualberta.ca/~lmireau/plan.html (tips on building cue cards)


 QUICK GUIDE ONE.  Marilyn A. Hudson
Basics of Telling A Story /A story that is told can be 1-15 min. long, however, most stories are in the 3 to 10 minute range.  The teller stands before an audience and speaks to convey a story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end; variations include sitting and moving among the audience.  Microphones may be needed in some settings.  Teller introduces them self, names the story or shares the theme; if using another’s work proper credit is given.  The teller speaks clearly and varies tone, emphasis and volume for interest to the listener.
Listen, Read, View and Analyze /Review folklore in books in the library (they are usually found in the 398.2-398.29 area), listen to tellers in person and on audio tape/CD, watch tellers in person or on a video.  What makes them successful?  What did you like?  What did you not like? What works?  
Themes /A good story will have usually a universal theme: hope, love, courage, survival, redemption, self-discovery, community values, respect, justice, peace, family, etc. 
Enhancing the story /The story experience can be enhanced through the addition of repetitions within the story, participation, chants, songs, sounds, music, props, visuals, costume, or dance.  Additionally, puppets (from simple hand creations to complex shadow or marionettes) have been a traditional favorite for some.
Characters /Most stories revolve around a character (hero, protagonist, counterpoint).  A good story has a memorable and sympathetic figure with which the listener can care and empathize.   The character is the “everyman” of the medieval street theater and yet unique enough to peak interest. 
References /Organizations: National Storytelling Network (www.storynet.org);
Support Groups /Join or, if none exists, form a support group.  Focus should be on helping other tellers, self-improvement,  and the active, frequent sharing of stories.  Avoid groups where there is no opportunity for telling, learning, or where the atmosphere is elitist.


  
STORY  FRIENDS

Connecting with others who like to listen to, create, or share stories.  Many organizations exist to help the beginning storyteller.  Some of the major ones are listed below, and some specific to Oklahoma.  

Joining with other tellers is an excellent way to improve your craft, especially if the groups can answer the following:  Are there educational opportunities to improve my skills? Are there performance opportunities so that I can hone my delivery and stage presence? Is the group supportive and willing to help new tellers?

                 NATIONAL STORYTELLING NETWORK    www.storynet.org  
 NETWORK OF BIBLICAL STORYTELLING    www.nobs.org
 NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF BIBLICAL STORYTELLERS www.nobs.org