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Airborne Infantry to Aid Worker: 8 Years of Deployments to War Torn Countries
The Jesus He Deserved & Other Thoughts on War & on Returning
An Evening of Stories Curated by Mother Foucault’s Bookshop.
Children's Stories, Also Good for the Adult Soul
My Mother Takes on US Immigration
The Choctaw Nation and the 'Famine Irish'
El Dreamer That Woke Up / El Que Desperto
Circle of the Community
"Rain Magic" - a magnificent tale for children and adults
How Portland Places Got Their Names
Lifting Up the Sky: Tales for Dark Times
The Magical Cats of Miller Street: A Love Story
Chou Chou the Talking Cat
The Original and Mystical Story of Why Women Bleed with the Moon
A Favorite Portland Children's Storyteller!
Cynthia Shur Petts
Who Read That Letter and What on Earth Did it Say?
Line in the Sand
& Norm Brecke
Tales and Tunes of Wisdom, Wit, and Warmth
Ukranian Folk Tale and Music!
Stories Around the Fire evokes the human tradition of gathering around fire to share warmth and wisdom through story. In these times, we recognize the importance of hearing unique stories from varied voices. We invite individual communities of Cascadia to program an evening of storytelling during the event. We provide a space and production support to storytellers during PDXWLF, with promotion of participants and content. With the elements of light and community — cornerstones of the Portland Winter Light Festival — the series offers a shared experience, exploring how we can connect as strangers when we gather. Set aside from the hubbub, this intimate setting, with fire art adjacent to benches and covering, presents a comfortable space for engagement. Visitors are able to find respite and reflection from the storytelling experience.
THURSDAY (FEB 7th)
Hosted by Q: Center
Q Center serves as Portland’s LGBTQ2SIA+ dedicated community center and receives over 20,000 visits every year. They provide safe spaces, community building and empowerment for the positive transformation of LGBTQ2SIA+ communities and allies in the Pacific Northwest. Q Center offers a diverse spectrum of resources, including a drop-in space, volunteer driven peer support groups, a monthly LGBTQ+ art exhibit, elder-specific programs, LGBTQ+ specific information and referral services, and fiscal sponsorship.
Skyler Reed (6:30 PM)
Skyler Reed (pronouns: Skyler/Skyler/Skyler's) is an artist, writer, and musician living in Portland, OR. The founder of Moved By Words (www.movedbywords.org) a project dedicated to connecting new writers with writing communities, Skyler is the former Oregon Folklife Slam Champion, has read at Literary Arts in Portland and at Hugo House in Seattle, been featured at the Invisible Spectrum storytelling series, appeared in Portlandia, and is published in Voicemail Poems, R.I.S.E: Survivance: Indigenous Poesis, The LBCC Journal Creative Highway, and the Poetics Corvallis anthology This Love Is Legendary. Skyler is the author of two chapbooks, And All Ampersands (2016) and Sex & Wikipedia (2017).
Shaley Howard (7:30 PM)
Shaley believes community involvement and volunteering are essential to living a balanced life. She’s been on the steering committees of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Habitat for Humanity Women Build and volunteered for organizations such as Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI), the Q Center, and Cascade AIDS Project. In addition to volunteering, she’s organized all sorts of fundraisers including the OTI fashion show and HRC’s annual Portland Women’s 3x3 Basketball Tournament, which over its 10 years raised over $55,000 for HRC. She considers herself a big ol’ butch who can’t help but stand out. In the little spare time she has, Shaley writes for her blog “The Adventures of a Butch Dog Walker”, she loves hiking, playing with her own dog Dingo, hanging with friends, and hands down, absolutely loves driving her perfect partner Gia crazy.
Beck Smith (8:30 PM)
Beck Smith: Beck Baca (they/them) is a indigenous fiber artist and lover of all things handmade. Beck draws their inspiration from their experiences as a queer person of color, and the generations of makers who came before them. From their abuelita weaving intricate lace patterns by hand, to the buzzing of their mother's sewing machine. Beck's work modernizes beloved needlecrafts by showing queer reality as inseparable from the art form itself. Originally from Delaware, Beck lives with their family in southeast Portland.
FRIDAY (FEB 8th)
Casey Curry “Breaking Stereotypes” (6:30 PM)
Born and raised Oregonian; raised by my US Navy mother. My father was a WWII veteran, stationed at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th, 1941. I enter the Oregon Army National Guard in 1981, spent 22 years with the famous 41st BCT, then Infantry Brigade, 141 BSB, (then Support Battalion), 3 years with the 82nd Brigade and 1 year in the Army Reserves. I did many jobs in the Guard, Drug Interdiction Team, Police Activities League, tour in Germany, tour in Afghanistan. I retired in 2007 after returning from Afghanistan, went to school, received an AGS degree and Project Management Certificate from Clackamas Community College, received my bachelor’s at Marylhurst University and last October received my master’s in military psychology. I have been working in veteran services since 2008 and currently the new Director of the Veterans Resource Center at PSU. Currently live in Beavercreek OR., with my wife, two dogs, six cats, 14 hens, 1 rooster, and 3 ducks on a 2.5 acre hobby farm.
Jacob Meeks (7:30 PM)
Jacob Meeks “Airborne Infantry to Aid Worker: 8 Years of Deployments to War Torn Countries.” Jacob Meeks is a veteran, an aid worker, a storyteller and a leader. He’s worked from 2009 to present a humanitarian aid worker specializing in operations and security. He’s done humanitarian work in South Sudan, Guatemala, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, and is recently returning from a deployment in Nigeria. In the past, he deployed with the Army, 82nd Airborne to Kosovo and Afghanistan. He is currently working on his writing career with his first stories published in War Stories (2017) and the Jesus He Deserved.
Sean Davis (8:30 PM)
Sean Davis “The Jesus He Deserved & Other Thoughts on War & on Returning”. Sean Davis is the author of The Wax Bullet War, a Purple Heart Iraq War veteran, and the winner of the Legionnaire of the Year Award from the American Legion in 2015 and the recipient of the Emily Gottfried Emerging Leader, Human Rights award for 2016. His stories, essays, and articles have appeared in the Ted Talk Book, The Misfit’s Manifesto (Simon and Schuster), Forest Avenue Press anthology City of Weird, Sixty Minutes, Story Corps, Flaunt Magazine, The Big Smoke, Human the movie, and much more.
SATURDAY (FEB 9TH)
An Evening of Stories Curated by Mother Foucault’s Bookshop.
THURSDAY (FEB 7th)
Cristie Chamberland (6:00 PM)
Cristie knew she wanted to be a storyteller since 8th grade when a teller came to her small Catholic School in RI. She recently completed a 13 week course in the UK in storytelling and loves to bring her humor and animation to stories for both kids and adults. She is creating an interactive storytelling project for kids called “Empowerment Through Imagination” which links themes of super hero powers, overcoming fear, and finding our unique gifts to learning how to build and embodying those skills. Cristie also works with children as a reading tutor and social skills teacher. Facebook: Cristie Chamberland Storyteller
Janet Liu (7:00 PM)
Janet Liu grew up in Taiwan and immigrated to America with her family when she was a child. She has lived with perspectives from two different cultures. Janet wants to share her personal stories, especially her Chinese-American stories; to help nurture understanding of the Chinese culture. She is retired and enjoys playing the piano, storytelling, and volunteering in her community. Janet is the fortunate mother of a beautiful young woman.
Patrick Gannon (8:00 PM)
As a third grade teacher, Patrick loved reading stories to his students. Now that he is retired, he has been exploring the art form of oral storytelling. Though he tells children’s stories and personal narrative stories, he particularly enjoys telling historical stories of people whose achievements are rarely recognized by the public. To paraphrase George Santayana’s statement “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Patrick adds, “Those who do not learn the lessons of courage from people of the past deny themselves the opportunity to emulate those acts of courage in the present.” www.portlandstorytellers.org
Ivan Hernandez (8:30 PM)
Ivan was born in Puebla, México, but was brought to the US at the age of 12. Once in Oregon, he continued his education while working doing labor during the summers and weekends. Ivan graduated high school with a scholarship and went on to college where he got involved in student leadership and worked his way up to Student Body President and intern to the office of PCC's president. Ivan has participated in different movements in support of the most vulnerable members of community. He is currently wrapping up his associate degree to transfer to Pacific University, where he'll double major in Political Science & Communications, work on his MBA and PhD in Leadership & Education. Ivan has a major life goal of becoming Mexico’s President on December 1st, 2036. He visions himself creating an equitable education system, develop programs that will help homeless children, teenage moms and animals. Ivan strongly believes that if you are hit with a tough circumstance, you have two options: Feel sorry for yourself, or stand your ground and grab the bull by the horns. Ivan currently serves as the Latino Outreach Coordinator for the Hillsboro Hops, professional baseball team.
Ramazan Yiğit (9:00 PM)
Ramazan (Rama) grew up as a shepherd in a Kurdish village in the East of Turkey. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and begin college in the capital, Ankara, where he studied Political Science. After the Turkish political coup happened in the summer of 2016, law enforcement started seeking him out because of his background with a Kurdish political party. Fortunately, he was in the United States during that time and applied for asylum. Now Rama teaches circus and tells stories in Salida, Colorado.
FRIDAY (FEB 8th)
Daniel Flynn is an Emcee, Actor, Comedian, and Musician from Portland Oregon. His humor is built on a lifetime of attempting to meditate while getting through his half-read personal growth books. He also knows almost every random 80’s songs on the guitar. Connect with him at www.danielflynnmc.com
Carina Borealis (6:00 PM)
Carina Borealis is a Portland based intergalactic-post-butoh-drag-qween, educator, and producer. As a performer Carina takes audiences on journeys that question the whats and whys of being in a human body through narrative acts. As a teacher they work as Mr. Matthew for 4-7 year old students at Cedarwood Waldorf, striving to create a wholehearted education. It was this work that motivated the creation of Portland’s premiere Drag Story Time, inspiring youth and their parental counterparts to remain true to who they are through the sharing of LGBTQIA+ picture books. Carina also performs as Zaddy Fou with the Portland based clown ensemble Fou Fou Ha, as well as produces performances with the Eugene based drag troupe The Farce Family.
Tito Anders (6:30 PM)
Originally a Connecticut Yankee, Tito found his way to Oregon in the early nineties, and has come to make Portland his home. For the past decade he has been an event producer on numerous festivals, an orthopedic bodyworker, stage manager, holds various other directional positions within the arts, and generally helps to keep the arts community alive - kicking - singing. Tito works within multiple communities in our fine city of Portland.
Will Hornyak (7:00 PM)
“Storyteller par excellence...boundless imagination, endless wit, and an ability to transport children and adults into an amazing imaginary world.” The Oregonian newspaper.
From Irish myths, Mexican fables and American tall tales to Russian fairytales and lively participation stories, Will Hornyak weaves a wide web of stories into imaginative and highly engaging performances. Will teaches storytelling in professional communication at Clark College and performs throughout the United States. He was named Artist of the Year by Young Audiences of Oregon and awarded the Brimstone Grant by the National Storytelling Network for his assembly program “Living Streams: Stories for Healthy Watersheds.” Will is an advocate for storytelling as a change agent for personal and collective empowerment, and has offered workshops and programs for the Oregon Dept. of Corrections, the American Cancer Society, Multnomah County Juvenile Justice, Intel, Johnson Controls, the United States Forest Service and numerous schools, colleges and communities. Will lives in Milwaukie, Oregon. Affiliations: Portland Storyteller’s Guild www.willhornyak.net
Lara Messersmith-Glavin (7:30 PM)
Lara Messersmith-Glavin is a writer, educator, and performer based in Portland, Oregon. She serves on the board of directors of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, as well as on the editorial collective for their house journal, Perspectives on Anarchist Theory. Her work has appeared in Across the Margin, Still Point Arts Quarterly, MaLa Literary Journal, Anchored in Deep Water: the Fisherpoets Anthology, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Gertrude Press Book Reviews, Selkie, the EMMA Talks collection Radiant Voices, and elsewhere. She was awarded the AtM 2018 Best Nonfiction Award, as well as the Chinalyst Award for Best Travel Writing in 2008. When she's not in a classroom or working on a book, she can be found performing onstage with other Fisherpoets, exploring the woods with her child, or swinging kettlebells at the gym where she coaches. Check out her work at queenofpirates.net.
Sean Talbot (8:00 PM)
Sean Talbot is a writer, woodworker, and former Alaska commercial fisherman, barreling toward old-white-manhood in Portland with as much awareness and presence as possible.
Cristie Chamberland (8:15 PM)
See bio above.
Elodie Massa (9:00 PM)
Elodie is a well traveled french artist. Stories cascade in her blood, and she can hear spirit birds whispering long forgotten tales from older places and far away times. With an imagination fueled by thousands of story books, hands deep in clay, a heart flowing and eyes far in the trees, her stories are rich with the old mysticism of the great grand mothers and the naivety of her inner 4 year old.
SATURDAY (FEB 9th)
Rick Huddle (6:00 PM)
Rick Huddle has performed school assemblies all over the United States, Mexico, Thailand, & Colombia. He has been a storyteller at the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, the Art of Story, Tapestry of Tales, the National Storytelling Festival- Exchange Place, and is a Moth Story Slam winner. He is the creator of Open Up Records, a web series that teaches social skills through the narrative of a recording studio. In his spare time, you might find him diving for ultimate Frisbees, spinning around in a Cyr wheel, or hanging out at a coffee shop. Rick believes that stories, songs, and laughter can help us better understand ourselves & each other- especially those with whom we don’t agree. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his talented and charming wife, Kristin, and their wonderful little twins, Gus & Marlo. www.rickhuddle.com
Cynthia Shur-Petts (6:30 PM)
Cynthia Shur Petts moved to Portland in 2017 after spending many years in Chicago working as an actor, improviser, standup comedian, storyteller and playwright. Cynthia is the co-creator of This One Woman, a comedy and variety showcase where each show is inspired by the life of a different famous woman. It continues to run monthly in Chicago and is a podcast available at www.thisonewoman.net. Since moving to Portland, Cynthia has acted with Profile Theatre, Anonymous Theatre, and Corrib Theatre, and has embodied various non-human characters created by young writers at PlayWrite, Inc., where she is also a writing coach.
Steve Eggerts (7:00 PM)
Steve is a transplant from Southern California, don’t hold that against him. After Steve was kicked out of the worlds largest canoe club, also known as the Navy, he came to Portland to meet a girl but she never picked him up at the airport. Steve has a very colorful past that he has no problem sharing with his audiences. He can make people laugh and cry in the same story and you can tell he really loves the stage.
Annie Rosen (7:30 PM)
Annie has been telling stories since she could talk. A trained musician, clown, and movement worker, it is Annie’s delight to meet an audience breath for breath, pause for pause, and wonder for wonder. It is with deep regard for the listener, and for those from whom her most potent stories come that Annie tells. Thank you for listening.
Anne Rutherford and Norm Brecke (8:00 PM)
In 1999, Anne got an idea for a story program for adults, rented a hall, sold tickets - and people came! Since then, she’s been a four-time winner of Northwest Folklife’s Liars Contest, Teller in Residence at the International Storytelling Center in Tennessee (2016) and was a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival (2018). Her CD, “The Habit of Joy” is a Storytelling World Award winner (2015). Besides telling in festivals, Anne enjoys working as a teaching artist in schools, telling at libraries, and writing new stories. Anne’s warm, flexible performance style entertains audiences with smart, genuine fun. www.annerutherford.com
Norm Brecke loves a good story. Before becoming a full-time professional storyteller, he was an award-winning teacher who told stories daily in his classroom and taught storytelling skills to students after school. Norm has told stories from Oregon to South Carolina, LA to BC. He’s been a featured teller at the Powellswood (2012), Art of the Story (2017), and Stone Soup (2018) Storytelling Festivals. Norm’s proud to have narrated for the Seattle Symphony (2012), told at the Seattle Art Museum (2014), and National Storytelling Summit (2017 and 2018). Norm tells traditional stories, personal narratives, historical tales, and stories in song. www.normbrecke.com
Darka Dusty (9:00 PM)
Darka Dusty is a life-long musician living in Portland, Oregon. As a singer, Darka is known for her big voice and likes to genre-hop from blues to jazz to country as well as sing in Ukrainian, the language of her ancestors. Born in Detroit, Darka dedicated the early part of her musical life to Ukrainian music as part of the NYC-based duo, “Darka & Slavko” who produced five critically-acclaimed records and traveled to Europe several times, winning “Best International Band” at the first non-Soviet Ukrainian Pop Music Festival. Darka currently sings, teaches, plays piano and accordion as a soloist and with several Portland bands, including her own bands "Darka Dusty and the Borscht Beatniks" and "Mammoth in Space." In addition to creating music, Darka is also a published writer and co-owner of mirifoto.com, a full-service photography company in Portland. www.andalism.com/darkadusty, www.reverbnation.com/darkaandslavko
Photo credit: Meri Lee Photography.
Stories Around the Fire
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