As we ramp up for our China Journey in September, the International Storytelling Center has posted a great article to their website about the deep storytelling culture of China, about the special relationship Eth-Noh-Tec has cultivated with the Gengcun village, famed for their storytelling tradition, and some details about our upcoming delegation that *you* can join. Please have a read at 2010 Featured Tellers To Lead Storytelling Delegation To China.
Archive for April, 2010
Enjoy an evening of performing, literary, media and visual arts. Each month Eth-Noh-Tec hosts a plethora of local Bay Area talent. Eth-Noh-Tec, a kinetic story theater company will perform a selection from their repertoire of Asian mythology along with:
Cio Casteneda (spoken word artist) aka the Hiphop priest is a positive Emcee coming up out of San Francisco trying to make the world a better place in the name of the Universe. We met Cio on that stage at last years Art Expo in Golden Gate park, a festival of local talent of all art forms. Cio brand of spoken word and rapport with the audience is upbeat and positive as are his messages. His craft moves beyond the stage as he often features local guest artists to promote the local Hip Hop scene in the SF Bay Area through the radio program that he runs on the East Bay.
Na Leo Nahenahe (Hawaiian acapella choir): “Sweet Voices” was founded in 1999 by artistic director John Lehrack. Our current director is Leolani Grace Renaud. The purpose of the group is to promote and preserve Hawaiian language, culture and song through choral music. The chorus performs around the Bay Area, including at the annual Aloha Festival at the Presidio, the Makana o Hawai’o Festival in Hayward, the Metropolitan Community Church in the Castro and other places. The chorus has also performed with Hawaiian artists such as Patrick Landeza, Kawika Alfiche, Steven Espaniola, Pili Moreno, and Pulama. Current plans for the group include a tour and performances in Hawai’i and a professional CD recording.
Folawole Oyinlola (dancer) is a performance artist, choreographer, director and movement coach. Born in Chicago to Nigerian parents, lived there for a month then lived and performed in many countries before residing in San Francisco. Trained extensively with San Francisco ballet and with international artist of contemporary dance, theater, singing and improvisation. Folawole’s work is fully improvised and guided by audience interaction.
Rose Khor (Asian American filmmaker): The documentary “In Your Hawaiian Way,” directed by Rose Khor, embarks on a journey of discovery of the Mormon religion and its influence on Hawaiian culture. We are guided through a Polynesian living museum filled with cultural artifacts and “native” performers, a ukulele class learning pop Hawaiian melodies, and a tour through the Mormon Temple led by missionaries from Australia and China. This film looks deeply into lives of Hawaiians as they negotiate complex cultural, indigenous, and religious histories.
Lian Guow (writer) was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, then a Dutch colony known as the Netherlands’ East Indies. Her short stories and poems have appeared in Quietus Magazine, Writing for our Lives, Voices and Visions, The Highland’s Low Down and Reflections. Her Predicament, an earlier version of the first chapter of her novel, Only A Girl, was included in the 2006 anthology of the SF Writers Conference, Building Bridges from Writers to Readers. In her writing, Lian explores themes of human relationships, connection with animals, and fable-like fantasy. She is particularly interested in the lives and struggles of women.
The Salon is a unique arts experience!
What makes the salon so special is the not only the variety of artists and art forms presented, but also the post-performance dialogue where artist and audience engage in conversation about the creative process, upcoming performances, and other artistic projects in the community. To top off the evening, each Salon culminates in a social gathering garnished by lovely array of refreshments and all of this for the amazing unheard of admission sliding scale price of $5-$15 dollars (you choose the price that you can afford). Very recession friendly!
977 South Van Ness Ave
between 20th and 21st Street
close to 24th Street BART Station
$5-$15 sliding scale
Nancy and Robert performed in Nancy’s old hometown Chicago! We were at the 8th JustStories Storytelling event which commissions one storyteller annually to create a story around justice or racial equality – a personal story that reveals history not usually heard or learned. This year that commission went to Nancy! My story is called ‘Bittersweet’.Storyteller Sue O’Halloran and Father Derek Simons of the Society of the Divine Word co-produce and sponsor this amazing project with a brilliant webpage called Race Bridges.
“My story is about my mom. It’s a story that looks at me trying to figure out who this lady was. Was she the mean mama I grew up with? And why was she so mean? Or was it just the limited perception of a young girl, a daughter attached to the ignorant and shallow illusion of a Donna Reed or a Father Knows Best show? Guess which one!? By going through the period after my mom’s heart attack in which she completely changed to this sweet soft and funny person, I was left with ‘really, who is this person?’”
“I go through trying to figure it out by looking at our history in this country: our 1st generation came in 1850 and started the fishing industry despite the hatred and unprovoked anti-Chinese violence rampant up and down the west coast, and continues through the 2nd and 3rd generation challenging this prejudice to finally the 4th generation, my mother. And, like a healing story, a happy ending. I discover how amazing my mom was and the noble sacrifice her life was so that I could be who I am today”
“I’m a 5th generation American. My children are the 6th, and there are already 7 generations in our family. But if I am walking down the street with a friend from Australia, which one of us will be seen as the foreigner?”
And so, it is hoped by JustStories and Eth-Noh-Tec that these kinds of stories, made available to schools with a curriculum guide, will correct the errors and replace the paucity so prevalent in teaching the full history of this country.
Our performances this week took place in several locations between Chicago’s Chinatown and Evanston on the Northshore. We performed at St.Teresa’s School across from the Chinese American Museum. Afterwards we got a quick private tour of the new museum (still in repair after a devastating fire). Special thanks to Margaret Larson and the staff who helped make the Chinatown collaboration concert a wonderful turn out. They had a great turn out of 100 people- best crowd they’ve ever had for a show.
These performances were especially significant to Nancy who has deep roots here in the Chicago Chinese American community. The show became a gathering point as relatives drove in from far away to attend the premiere of this piece. Thank you Brother Ed and Sis-in-Law Rachel Wang, Cousins Roger (& Elaine) Foin, Debbie (& Gary) Alderman, Jordan and June Wong, and nieces: Michelle Cheung (and kids Hannah and Jakey) and Marcia Wang and all the other friends of the Wang Tribe in the area.
One of the events in the tour was video taping shorter versions of Asian American family history at the “SPACE” (Society for Preservation of Arts and Culture in Evanston). Hours of prep condensed into 10 minute excerpts which later will be rendered for the website of Racebridges to be used by educators in schools to advocate for racial, ethnic and religious tolerance. Kudos to Sue O’Halloran and Father Derek Simon! The storytelling community should be so proud of their work!
On a final note from Nancy: “I wish to thank all the storytellers, artists, writers, film makers and friends who’ve been a part of the this creative process: Olga Loya, Mimi Motoyoshi, Erica Lann-Clark, Nancy Gaglio, Lynn Mueller, Canyon Sam, Felicia Lowe, Ginni Stern, Anne Shimojima, Nancy Donoval, Beth Horner, Sue O’Halloran, Ann Scroggie, and Robert. And for their stories thanks to: my mom Gladys, Gramma Yokelund, and Aunt Mary”.
Check out: www.RaceBridges.net/JustStories
Finesse with Fibers: Our ‘pretend screen’ of cloth from Home Depot served well the slide show of Naomi Kubota-Lee’s fiber art. She mixed slides of her art work with slides of her nature photos. It was very enlightening to not only see how her art is inspired by nature, but it gave all of us a new way of looking at nature – a tree, a branch, leaves… It was a lovely spacious 15 minutes for us all to deep breathe.
Michael Katz, old friend and storyteller, told a beautifully crafted and endearing personal story about his 5th break up with a previous girlfriend, his move from Santa Barbara to Berkeley, and a woodpecker and a warrior statue whose value became priceless… Had to be here!
Conversations on Culture and Creation: As always, the dialogue following our performances just made the community here even more obvious. Man, you just had to be here!!!
Often times our audiences ask “How does Eth-Noh-Tec create their stories? Why do they appear so seamless? How do they make every word and movement seems so intentional…” This week Eth-Noh-Tec answered these questions by working with several storytellers from Stagebridge, a local multi-Arts, intergenerational performing arts non-profit. The workshop was titled “Tell it! Move it!”, and it explored the use of the entire body as a tool for storytelling.
“We’re projecting holograms”
Robert tells the workshop attendees “We are creating illusions using our words, imagery and gesture in a way so that the images are projected into the listeners’ imagination. One thing that helps evoke the realism of the imagery (and therefore the story) is the power of the tellers’ “focus”.
“Focus and concentration”
…is the first concept in this workshop. “As storytellers, we must be able to use every bit of energy, from head to toe. This will draw the listener into the clarity of the story’s illusion (or hologram)” says Nancy Wang, the choreographer for the tandem telling team. Shown here are the participants projecting their total body and mind’s awareness into a focused countenance, much like the light emitted from a search beam.
“Make a shape!
Bodies make shapes… shapes make pictures…and pictures help tell a story. Our approach to storytelling engages full body gestures. In taking participants through this process they begin to include “visual” approaches to storytelling. Once they are comfortable using their arms, legs, spines, elbows and chins to make shapes, we take it to the next stage: movement.
“Punching! Pressing! Slashing! Wringing!”
These phrases are inspired by the choreographers, Laban and Carpenter, in what they categorized as the “Eight Qualities of Movement”. Eth-Noh-Tec refers to this system to convey different ways to inspire movement, vocal textures for developing characters, and even psychological moods in their stories. Now the groups starts shaking things up! For three full hours we explored vocal improvisations, facial gesturing, group storytelling and finally, after putting all of this into their creative minds, the workshop culminated into a mini-storytelling demonstration.
Are you curious for more? Interested in the “Tell it! Move it!” Workshop?
These creative, kinetic and energetic approaches to performance can be applied to many artforms. Whether you are a storyteller, a dancer, poet, monologuist, and drama specialist or performing arts instructor contact Eth-Noh-Tec and ask them conduct a group workshop for your organization. We are also gathering names of individuals interested in forming a group storytelling class in the Fall-Winter period. For more information contact us and get your name on the “Yes, I’m interested” List.