HonoluluWeekly article on '08 Talk Story Fest #20 (Steven Wagonseller)
Honoluu Advertiser- Blog interview '08 (Richard MacPherson)
The annual TALK STORY FESTIVAL is Hawaii’s largest storytelling celebration. Created (in '89), produced and hosted by Jeff Gere.
It is sponsored by the City & County of Honolulu’s Parks Department. It is held each October in McCoy Pavilion’s McCoy Auditorium in Ala Moana Beach Park. The format, which has evolved over several years, now generally features 3 FREE nights with various themes (Friday is always ‘Spookies’- drawing the largest audience).
PRODUCTION: Dramatic lighting colors 8 tellers a night doing 20 minute sets (no teller appears more than twice a year). Sign interpreters are placed at one side of the stage (with their own lighting) and Les Adam, a piano improvisational wizard, adds a musical score to the tells of some. A 4 camera video (Leeward Community College TV students serve as crew) records 9 hours of performances each year with professional directors using the Olelo: Community Access TV's Mobile van studio.The live video is projected on the wall beside the stage. These videos become the ongoing series, Story TV, which has aired monthly storytelling shows on ‘Olelo since 1991. Jeff Gere edits these shows. It’s a production. Media coverage is extensive in all media leading upto the event. Crowds remain large and VERY attentive. Join us!
TALENT: Talk Story features a continuing constellation of the best storytellers in the islands and a few 'mainland' talents each year. Hawaii's own stars include:
Makia Malo (leprosy or Hanson’s Disease survivor from Kalaupapa, Molokai; above left) ‘Tita' Kathy Collins (radio DJ/comedian from Maui, right), Lopaka Kapanui (Ghost Tours of Oahu, left), Nyla Fujii-Babb (retired librarian featured at Tennessee's National Storytelling Festival), Ed Chevy (Hawaii’s best deaf teller who annually interprets Edgar Allan Poe in sign (right below),
Dan Kelin (Honolulu Theater for Youth Education Specialist, left), Sandra MacLees (Big Island pro, below left), James McCarthy (musical tellings, below right). Each year includes Slam Poets (Hawaii has a vibrant scene). Jeff Gere hosts each night and often performs. A Neighbor Island tour (since '07) occurs with Gere and visiting talents, followed by Halloween shows.
HISTORY of TALK STORY FESTIVAL
Jeff Gere, Drama Specialist for the Department of Parks and Recreation, inspired by the hundreds of moving stories he heard visiting senior centers, created this festival in 1989. The vision was to bring Hawai`i's best tellers and tales to Hawai`i's people. With no precedent, no money, a part-time aide, and the Parks Department staff, some fifty volunteer storytellers filled eight hours of storytelling on five stages each hour. Media response was (and continues to be) tremendous. One thousand people attended that first event. Their unanimous response was simple: "Do It Again!"
In the years that followed, the crowds swelled to nearly five thousand. There was usually a Friday Night Spooky show, and Saturday offering eight hours of tellers on four stages (Children, Oral History, Music and Dance, and Pacific Island Tales). The non-profit Alliance for Culture and Arts (ACA) assisted the Parks Department with corporate sponsorship (Bank of Hawai`i 1990-1998, LavaNet 2000 and 2001). `Olelo TV has recorded and aired Festival programs since 1990. In 1999 the program format changed into three free consecutive nights, each night with a theme, 8 tellers each evening. A core of exceptional local talent returns annually, with new voices added as well. Pacific Wings and Aloha Airlines transported our Neighbor Island talent for years. No Airline sponsor has stepped forward for 2006. For the second year, Ocean Resort Hotel Waikiki - Queen Kapi`olani Hotel hosts our neighbor island and mainland talent. Crowds remain large and enthusiastic, media generous and responsive.
Performances at the Talk Story Festival form the backbone of the Talk Story Radio show, airing weekly on Hawai‘i Public Radio (Mondays 5:30pm on KIPO, 89.3FM), KTUH 90.3 FM Thursdays 6am, and Sunday nights 10-11pm (two shows) on Maui’s Mana‘o Radio (91.5FM). This half hour program features exceptional tales and tellers from Hawai‘i and the Pacific Rim.(www.talkstoryradio.com). You can find programs from the 18 years of Story TV aired on Olelo: Community Access TV , 'show on demand' type in Story TV.
- National Tellers:
- Joel Ben Izzy, Margie Brown, Sean Buvala, Alton Chung, Cathryn Fairlee, Bret Fetzer, Lyn Ford, Kate Frankel, Ruth Halpern, Kendall Haven, Baba Jamal, Vicky Juditz, Jim Lewis, Angela Lloyd, Rafe Martin, Randel McGee, Margaret Read MacDonald, David Novak, Michael Parent, Katy Rydell Jon Spelman, Ruth Stotter, Jim Weiss, Brenda Wong-Aoki, Kuniko Yamamoto, Kathleen Zundell.
- Ethnic Tellers:
- Johnny Moses (NW Indians), Martha Barron (Alaska), Clotilde Gould (Guam), Latu Popi Mafileo (Tonga), Wyuppa Tossa (Thailand), Jyoti Rout (India), Pat Braden & Jim Green (Northwest Territory, Canada). Local Tellers (core): Makia Malo, Lopaka Kapanui, Marie Solomon (deceased in 1999), Sandra MacLees, James McCarthy, ‘Tita” Kathy Collins, Dan Kelin, Nyla Ching-Fujii, Ed Chevy (deaf teller).
- TSF has included Local Legends:
- Glen Grant, Nona Beamer, Walter Chotzen, Kenny Endo, Raymond Kane, Keli’i Tau’a, Karen Yamamoto- Hackler, Woody Fern, John Lake, Puanani Burgess, Emil Wolfgramm, Yukie Shiroma & Ben Moffat, Darrell Lum, Vicki Kneuble, Mark Jeffers, Brenda Freitas-Obregon, Kealoha & Selah, Gardener McKay, Puanani Burgess, Terence Knapp, John Kaimikaua, Jack Boyle, & Uncle Wayne.
- Jeff Gere hosts annually.
Talk Story Festival Brief History (1989-2013)
Oct. 2013 2 nights @ McCoy (sponsors Aqua Hotel, Aloun Farms) guests Kuniko Yamamoto (Japan), Lyn Ford (Ohio, 4th time), Pete Griffin (Alaska). Small Neighbor Island tour.
Oct. 2012 2 nights @ McCoy (sponsors Aqua Hotel, Aloun Farms) EthNohTec (Nancy Wang & Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo from California), Pete Griffin (Alaska). EthNohTec toured state libraries, UH Concert.
Oct. 2011 2 nights @ McCoy (sponsors Aqua Hotel, Aloun Farms) Jo Radner (Maine) & Eric Wolf (Ohio), tour with Gere and Shain Miller (Oahu), recording at Mana'o Radio.
Oct. 2010 2 nights @ McCoy (3rd night cut by DPR due to Furlough shortened work schedule)(Queen Kapiolani Aqua Hotel, Aloun Farms) Cathryn Fairlee (2nd time), Margie Brown (both from California), Jim Green & Pat Braden (Yellowknife, Canada) tour Kauai & Big Island (with Gere), Brown & Green with Gere on Maui and recorded at Mana'o Radio (Kathy Collins independent radio show).
Oct. 2009- 3 nights @ McCoy, DPR sponsor (Queen Kapiolani Hotel again, and Aloun Farm Pumpkins) Lyn Ford (3rd time), Kuniko Yamamoto, Michael Parent mainland guests, Ford tours Kauai & Maui (with Gere). Alton Chung joins us again.
Oct. 2008- 3 nights @ McCoy, DPR (cut budget, ACA fills in) Cathy Spagnoli, Jennifer Cayley, Baba Jamal Koram (no Alton). Maui, Kauai, JCCH Obake show (small)
Oct. 2007- Lyn Ford, Alton Chung (Hero), Sean Buvala, bad sound. Maui Big Island (EHCC, Akiko), Jack Boyle mishap ended long collaboration. Japanese Culture Center (Obake show Kapanui Chung, Gere HUGE!)
Oct. 2006 - 3 nights @ McCoy, DPR, Website, 2 dailies, Weekly, 3rd Night EARTHQUAKE! Tusitala: John Kaimikaua. Erica Lann-Clark, Les Adam (piano). Maui Tour (Seabury), Japanese Culture Center (Obake show)
Oct. 2005 - 3 nights @ McCoy, DPR, Pacific Wings, Late Night Show. Lyn Ford, Katy Rydell, Lopaka Kapanui & Les Adam (new) Tusitala: Nona Beamer. Maui Tour (Seabury, Lahaina Prison & MACC) Oct. 2004 - 3 nights @ McCoy, DPR, Aloha Air. Talk Story Radio. Jim Weiss, Jon Spelman, George Kahumoku, Tusitala: Kindy Sproat Oct. 2003 - 3 nights @ McCoy, DPR & WebPage, Hana Hou Mag. War Children, Margaret Read MacDonald, Alton Chung. Tusitala: Makia Malo.
Oct. 2002 - 3 nights @ McCoy, DPR . Kids & Legend. Kate Frankel, Tita (new), Emil Wolfgramm. Tusitala: Marie Solomon (passed earlier in the fall).
Oct. 2001 - 3 nights @ McCoy, LavaNet & DPR ($ budgeted), Web & stream, AOL Pick, Star Bulletin Ads. Bret Fetzer, Barbara Shirland, Pat Masumoto, (I fall off porch & hurt back, Dominique Meyer assists)
Oct. 2000 - 3 nights @ McCoy, LavaNet, Web page. Spookies (fri), Aloha (sat), Hilarious (sun). Kathryn Fairlee, Kevin Williams, Dawn Wasson
Oct. 1999 - 3 nights @ McCoy, no sponsor, 3 nite format (thurs- sat.) Ruth Halpern & Jyoti Roit, Elly Tepper
Oct. 1998 - ACA & Bankoh; Oct. 16 Spooky Night, 4 stages Sat. Ruth Stotter, Sandra MacLees, Wajuppa Tossa (Thailand)
Oct. 1997 - ACA & Bankoh at Bishop Museum; Oct. 18, Spooky night inside Bishop Hall, 4 stages Sat. w/ rides,etc. Kendall Haven & Angela Lloyd
Oct. 1996 - ACA & Bankoh, 4 stages, Oct 11 Spookies Randel McGee, Joel Ben Izzy, John Kaimikaua, Nona Beamer
Oct. 1995 - ACA & Bankoh, 4 stage format, Friday the 13th Spookies. Johnny Moses, Vicki Juditz, Brenda Wong-Aoki, Jim Lewis, Barbara Kawakami, Gardner McKay
Oct. 1994 - Sat & Sun, 3 stages daily, Spooky show Sat. night Johnny Moses, Sandra MacLees, George Nelson (Statewide Tour)
Oct. 1993 - ACA & Bankoh, 4 stage format, Death of Ke’oua, Pansori, Onipa’a, Rafe Martin, Lucille Breneman, Kathleen Zundell, Sachiko Nakamura
Oct. 1992 - ACA & Bankoh, 4 stage format, Hon. Weekly feature (Hawaii Tour) Johnny Moses, Martha Barron, John Lake Hawaiian language play
Oct. 1991 - ACA & Bankoh, 4 stage format (Hawaii Statewide Tour) Rafe Martin, Pu’ukohola Reunification Ceremony, Clotilde Gould, NI tour
Oct. 1990 - ACA created, Bankoh sponsorship secured. 4 stage format. David Novak, Tau & Rose Moe, Will Kyselka, Glen Grant, Pat Mamaia, Neighbor Island Tour (SCEP) Makia Malo, Pat Mamaia, Latu Popi Mafileo, Gere
Oct. 1989 - 5 stages for 8 hours each, free, no monies, good press. Beatrice Krauss, Bill Panui, Floating Eagle Feather