Jeff Gere

 
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A Master Storyteller

Jeff Gere is one of Hawai`i's most prolific and popular storytellers. He blends talents as a painter, puppeteer, mime, teacher, and director into a performance style that has electrified audiences of every age throughout Hawaii and the mainland for two decades. Jeff's physical energy, wide range of voices, morphing elastic face and clear characterizations make his performances unforgettable events. Jeff becomes his stories! Read his Biography, Resume and What People are Saying about his performances.

Jeff also produces the Talk Story Festival and Talk Story Radio. He has Traveled and toured extensively. His performance series include the Arabian Nights, the Art Off The Wall Series, stories for Children, and Spooky tales. He is an innovative Puppeteer. Jeff has written Storytelling articles and the Media writes articles about Jeff. He also is an active recording artist with many CD's.

 

News

'Living Delicious' This TV Interview gave me a chance to talk about storytelling, story listening, the brain and ideas about the art of telling stories- FUN & fast! (29 minutes) 

'Making Waves: A Thinking Bigger Blueprint with TV/Radio' ('08 interview with Eric Wolf on his 'Art of Storytelling Show', a nationally prominent podcast series)

Please check out my new SPOOKY SHOW page (with videos of the tales & shadow puppets) in this gorgeously staged solo show, produced by Honolulu Theater for Youth (Oct. 2012). There's LOTS to see! 

 

2015 HIGHLIGHTS

THAILAND STORY FEST (January)  Jeff returns to work with Waiuppa Tossa at the Mahasarakham & Rajabhat Universities for storytelling workshops, performances and getting to know the talents in Southeast Asia

INDIA- CHENNAI STORY FEST (February)  Jeff joins producer Eric Miller in Chennai for a week of all things Story! Details to be shared as planning progresses!  

ISHARA INTERNATIONAL PUPPETRY FESTIVAL (Feb-March) This Ishara Puppetry Festival happens in four cities: New Delhi, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, and Jaipur. Jeff was invited in 2014, but could not free his schedule. Details coming soon! 

  

2014 HIGHLIGHTS

NATIONAL STORYTELLING CONFERENCE in Phoenix, Arizona (late July)  Jeff is on a panel (Producers Special Interest Group) discussing STORY RADIO with Allison Downey & Buck Creacy. Then he'll perform a Fringe Show (late night show) of 'Haunted Hawaii'. Gonna be Big Fun!

TAIWAN TOUR (late August)  Two weeks of bilingual tells to English students in Taichung & Taipei. Jeff is one of five storytellers (Mike Lockett, Bobby & Sherry Norfolk, Michael Anderson), projected as an annual event with discussions of a late fall tour to China. All stories have had to be written out to help the translators prepare. Jeff is taking shadow puppets along as well. We will see! It will be HOT! 

TALK STORY FESTIVAL #26  TSF #26 returns to McCoy Pavilion for two FREE nights:  Friday Oct. 17 SPOOKIESOct. 18  PELE & HI'IAKA EPIC (a 6 storyteller tag team relay race through a major Hawaiian epic tale. Special Guests: Kuniko Yamamoto (Japan & Florida) & Charles Johnston (San Diego)  Here is the website with details

  

2013 HIGHLIGHTS

JAPANESE IMMIGRATION TO HAWAII INTERNATIONAL EVENT                                                              @ Hawaii Theater (December)              (Video)                         

 A collective of Japanese Buddhist and Shinto associations wanted to put on a storytelling production as they have done for a decade in Japan. They had a budget. I’ll help! The script was terrible. I tried to quit. They gave me full artistic control, keeping the original famous author’s structure. I brought in Yasu Ishida, a Japanese friend (younger) drama master’s student at University Hawaii as the narrator/main character. I created images (historical & artistic) on an overhead projector to interpret and extend the narrative. We wrestled the script from 15 pages to barely 8.  At the first rehearsal with the 3 musicians, two Japanese producers sat in the back of the room taking notes. This was a BIG DEAL, including a reception for 100 at the Governor’s Mansion. All 1500 seats in the historic Hawaii Theater were FULL!   When we entered the ‘after party’, the whole room of Japanese visitors stood up and applauded: we passed the audition!  

RESIDENCY @ INTERNATIONAL STORYTELLING CENTER, (Jonesborough, Tennessee)       I took my turn amidst America's premier storytellers as part of the ISC's 'Live' Residence Series in Tennessee August 6 to 10. It was an honor, I was well treated, told well. Push this link for details. After, Eric Wolf took me for a quick tour, telling in South Carolina, Kentucky, and Ohio.  

'NOT CAMP' TOUR  3rd Annual Beach Storytelling Gathering July 19-21,fell through when the Parks Department yanked the permit. So we 7 storytellers (from Japan, Philippines, Canada, Chicago, San Francisco and 3 Japanese tellers) created a tour of local spots for a very diverse, successful experience all around Oahu.  Push this link for details... LOTS of photos and a blog of this intense week!

SKIRBALL FAMILY PUPPET FESTIVAL (Los Angeles)  April 6 @ LA's Skirball Culture Center

JEFF GOES VIRAL i a cell phone caught me dancing at a Willy Nelson concert, and two years later it was on national TV shows (several), blogs, 700,000 hits last time I checked! I got notes from friends in Philippines, Ireland, mainland.      TAKE A LOOK

 

2012 HIGHLIGHTS 

MIAMI BOOK FESTIVAL  I perform Nov. 17 & 18 daytimes, and at the Broward County Telebration (evening of Nov. 17) and one other Telebration show (I forget where). What a delightful surprise to be invited!  

HONOLULU THEATER FOR YOUTH presents  SPOOKY  features me telling gentle (and not so gentle) scarey stories & shadow puppets in a full stage production, 'Spooky' in the 2012-13 season (Oct. 12- Nov 2- three weeks of shows for upper elementary school audiences weekdays and public shows on Saturdays. This collaborative effort with HTY director Eric Johnson features storytelling with a stage built for me and all the theatrical effects in a totally crafted professional show (built to tour in the years to come. Invite me!) I made a video of the production. (Push here for details and videos). (Here's the glowing Midweek Review of the show)

TALK STORY FESTIVAL #24  comes October 19 (Spookies!) & 20 (Family Times) at McCoy Pavilion, Ala Moana Park, 6-9pm FREE each night, sponsored by the Parks Dept. Follow link here to full schedule, featuring the best local Hawaii tellers & mainland guest EthNohTec (Asian folktale duet) Ah yes, it falls directly in the middle of the SPOOKY shows! October is full!

TALK STORY CAMP at Kualoa Park (July 20-22, Windward tip of Oahu's Kaneohe Bay) featured mainland tellers Lyn Ford, Gene Tagaban, and Linda Yamamoto. This is the second year, and we left more time free for canoeing, swimming, and lots of swaps... cheap too!  Check out the website with an extensive description of what happened and lots of photos. I promised to do it again in 2013!

SHARING THE FIRE CONFERENCE (New York, March 16-18) taught my 'In Your Face' Workshop, & renewed friendships amidst New England/New York storytellers.   LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (Washington DC, March 19-21) collected storytelling recordings for a National Storytelling Radio Show for National Public Radio.           

FLORIDA STORYTELLING CAMP (Lady Lake near Orlando, March 22-25) I was a featured teller with Antonio Rocha, Doug Lipman, Kim Weitkamp, and local tellers Kaye Byrnes &      Mij Byram. This was a full-on 'retreat', packed with 3 days of concerts, workshops, swaps, meals, campfires... a deep storytelling fellowship. It was an honor and I gave 'em my            best shot!    

HONOLULU STORY SLAMS (themed personal tales, 7-8 minutes long) at Ong King Art Center (182 North King Street near River Street, Upstairs) twice a month began in January, with small but growing audiences and participation (now Tuesday nights, 7:30-9pm). I simply want to hear new tellers, new tales, & fresh voices. Though small, I always go home feeling deeply nourished by the evenings. Cohost Shain Miller is an incredible new talent, comfortable with an audience and full of startling personal stories. If you live on Oahu (or are coming for a visit) email me and ask when the next one is scheduled (and what will be the theme).

  

2011 HIGHLIGHTS

Hearing Voices Storytelling Festival  (Portland, Oregon April 13-16) I performed with Gene Tagaban, and local tellers Kelly Hoffman, and Ken Iverson in library & public shoools. Workshop after with Portland Storytelling Guild, and house concert in Northern California (Fisherman's Tale from Arabian Nights) 

'Talk Story' Summer Camp  July 15-17 at Kualoa Camp (Windward Oahu). It improves the Talk Story Conference '09 format in Waikiki = no expensive hotel & food bill (or grumpy staff), a more relaxed program; more swimming, canoing, and swapping; more local families, and a kid strand. Kualoa is a gorgeous, rural, private Camp with big tents. Local talents were joined by Mainland tellers for workshops and tells.  Additional days before and after for cultural field trips and storytellings too! We will do it again (differently) in July 2012.


2010 was a BIG YEAR!

I told in the Exchange Place (1 of 6 tellers on Oct. 1-3 in Jonesborough, Tennessee) at the NATIONAL STORYTELLING FESTIVAL (write-up linked)... it was my first visit & first chance to perform at America's premier storytelling event (a pilgrimage of sorts). It was quite a Big Deal!

Two weeks later I host/produce the 22nd Annual TALK STORY FESTIVAL (Oct. 15-17, 4 mainland guests (Cathryn Fairlee & Margie Brown from California; Jim Green & Pat Braden from Yellowknife) and the best local talents. Afterwards we tour to Kauai, Big Island (East Hawaii Culture Center, Volcano Arts Center) and Maui (Brown & Green record).        

I’m still reeling from NSN’s NATIONAL STORYTELLING CONFERENCE (July 29- Aug. 1) in LA. Yes, l told (Western Regional Showcase), assisted recording this gabfest, and stayed up late. So much input! I also presented the iTales Mix, a themed storytelling download project (on Audible.com & iTales.com, a huge potential audience, which will consume the next year or two). After, Susan Klein, Alton Chung, Lyn Ford and I gave a MALIBU HOME CONCERT (Aug. 2). After a standing ovation, a woman said, “I’ve seen all these shows, and this was the best”.  The show grew out of my tell at the LA Storytelling Festival ’09. Lyn, Alton and I did a CD, 'Cultures in Collision' (2007) which I gave to hostess, who invited them too.

YELLOWKNIFE STORYTELLING FESTIVAL (write-up linked, May 27-30, Northwestern Territory, Canada, 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle). Performances & Workshops with many regional talents (read my article about it). Immediately after I did my annual Oahu’s Summer Fun Tour (3 shows daily, 6 weeks, 5-6,000 kids).

NORTHLANDS STORYTELLING CONFERENCE (April 22-25, Wisconsin) I was part of a group evening concert, did a ‘Fringe” hour of "Pele: True Contemporary Tales of the Volcano Goddess" and the 'IN YOUR FACE' Workshop first done at the Talk Story Conference. It was exciting to contribute (first time in that part of the world) to meet and hear so many new storytellers.

HERE'S AN EDITORIAL COMMENTARY (INSPIRING?) MADE ON THE STORYTELL LIST-SERV (8/2010) 

Dearly Beloved,

In storytelling performances, we have all been witness to miracles; a teller/tale that just puts a story into your heart, touches you deeply, and stays with you to revisit and draw nourishment from for weeks. That is art, high art.

It is a given, it is assumed that they have on a clean shirt and show up on time and stick to the time-limit. Of course. But we are talking about what happens within that allotted time. To do something simple is very very difficult.

Every art requires immense and continual practice, discipline, study, failure. It is not a discussion of 'rebel' or 'elephant art' or 'outside the box'. This numenous, efficent, life-altering power in a narrative is at the heart of our craft. It is the center. A novice who 'hits' this awesome center is indeed gifted, and if there is enough positive feedback, perhaps they will begin to travel that long road to understand what they have so naturally done. And will do the work to be able to do it again and again.

Some devote themselves to classes, guilds, readings, etc. and will never touch high art. Sorry. And this is common. The lives of the 'common' storyteller is still enriched in the giving of story. It is a great hobby to cultivate. But Singular and Exceptional is rare, of course, and those who live there are sought out and rewarded... and have a business card, website, etc... it's what they do when given the gift of an audience's attention that matters. It matters the most. They speak art. It feeds us. It takes us away. We live fuller.

Though everyone has a story, few create events with a tale. Even practiced tellers (myself for example) occasionally find themselves in a rarified moment that is far beyond the high percentage, sure-fire crowd pleasing standards we all have in our back pocket. We stumble into ART. I aspire to live there more.

I wish (as do my storytelling students and Parks staff workshop attendees) that there was a prescription, a pill, a well trod path that could be taken, or given, or eaten. I wish there was a computer program for 'original, singular, unique'. .. see the irony here?

What fascinates me about storytellers is how many different ways there are to 'take an audience away'. And that the best tellers have a unique voice, a singular tone. They are the hand-crafted chairs (Bill Harley). What they have in common is that they work magic with an audience. It is a living breathing, laughing wonder.    It is art.

SO?

So let's turn off the computer, go into the study, the street, the class, the library, and tell. And tell again. And try something different, and search and work and study. And tell some more. So let's devote ourselves once again to finding that voice and pitch and tone within us that makes our tellings Art.

Amen.



 

Storyteller Jeff Gere

Portrait of Jeff Gere