Adventures in Storytelling

The adventures of The Patchwork Players, Patti Christensen and James Nelson-Lucas, as they travel the dimensions of time and space, telling their tales

Saturday, March 18, 2006

St. Patrick's Day

This past week we have been celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day…we have also been celebrating Patti’s birthday. How do you think she got the name Patti?! So this is the time of the year we love to do our Celtic and Irish tales; Rory the Fox, The Pipers Revenge, Red O’Halloren, The Man Without a Story and the like, as well as a plethora of Celtic versions of some stories that appear in many cultures like The Theft of Smell and The Three Wishes.

Last Thursday, we told for the Diamond Gateway Women's Organization. These ladies a fine lot… They get together fellowship, cultural enrichment and community service. They invited The Patchwork Players to tell Irish stories at their meeting at the Double Tree Resort. When we arrived, we heard the group was ‘all a-buzz’ about having storytellers come to their meeting. It was yet another reminder that storytelling in NOT just for kids. We had a great time; there were even a couple of young folk in the audience to help us with The Theft of Smell story. These kids were great, a brother and sister team who had some ‘stage’ experience. They were great as ‘starving’ kids. They dropped to the ground, and dragged themselves to (the story cue) smell of food! Thanks your young folk for the help in that story. It was a great evening, telling tales to these fine ladies from all over the San Diego area.

Wednesday, the 15th, we were invited to “The Center for Positive Living’ to tell at their annual ‘St Paddy’s Day’ dinner. Wow…we had Corned beef & Cabbage, red potatoes, and a whole bunch of other good food. Good eats!!! This is one he most popular and profitable of annual events for The Center. So we were very happy to be invited to be the ‘centerpiece’ for the event. We told a bunch of stories, as mentioned above, and James sang a bit of “Oh Danny Boy” too. All in all, the evening was a great success.

The next night we were at Chaparral Elementary School. Not the Chaparral we were at last week…that was in Orange County. This was a school of the same name in San Diego County. This was again, one of our favorite gigs; a Family Reading Night. As per usual, our program helped to support the book sale going on elsewhere on the campus. We had about 150 folk at that show, who were all very pleased with the presentation. James was quite pleased as there was a father in the audience who has seen James tell several times before, in corporate settings as a storyteller and motivational speaker. The Patchwork Player has a wide range of styles and settings. We are glad that some folks get to see several of our storytelling faces.

All in all, it has been a fine Saint Patrick’s week

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Love is in the Air

It looks like we are settling into Blogging once every week or so. Hey, we even got some live, and in person feedback on our blog this week. Good to know that your folks are out there, thank you for stopping by. Well on to this weeks’ news…

The Patchwork Players storytelling week, well our performance storytelling week began Wednesday night at Chaparral School in Orange County (not to be confused with the Chaparral School in San Diego County where we will be on the 16th). There was a lot going on at this show. The night was called “The Magical Power of Reading”, a fine gathering of kids and their parents. In addition to our performance, there was a book sale going on as well. They had some great books. It is always a danger to tell at book sales. We might just spend more on books than we are earning. But we were strong, and avoided spending all our money. It’s so hard though, we love books so much. As for the show, we had a very nice crowd of kids of all ages there in the Multi-Purpose Room. We told some of our favorites, like Too Much Noise and The Baby Coyote. We also tossed in some newer pieces like The Sneeches. Afterwards, we knew it went off well. There were some of the tell tale signs; kids wanted to talk to us and grown-ups asked for our cards. That is what we call success!

The next morning, we were off to an elementary school in Carlsbad. We were there under the auspices of the SUAVE Program. The SUAVE Program is all about bringing the arts to the schools and tying the arts into the curriculum. This is a regular gig for Patti, and he hopes, soon to be a regular gig for James as well. Anyway, we were working with a class that is learning to create their own stories about their experiences of ‘nature’. We were able to tell a couple of tales, and take the kids through how we developed those tales. We talked about the 5w’s and the 5 senses, and using your imagination. The kids were very clever and engaged. It does our hearts good to think that we are there to support emerging, creative minds. GO KIDS!

From there we jetted (drove really) on to the Pacific Palisades, home to the J. Paul Getty Villa. As faithful readers may know, The Patchwork Players has done a good deal of work at the J. Paul Getty Center, so we were anxious to see the newly remodeled Villa. Here’s the story: J. Paul had a fabulous collection of art at his home in the Pacific Palisades that he loved to share with the world. Soon his collection outgrew his home, so he had a new place built in his front yard: The Villa. Eventually the Villa was overrun by artwork as well, so they built the impressive Getty Center in Bel Aire. As massive, and impressive as it was, they decided to move the statuary and antiquities back to the Villa. As part of the processes of re-imagining the Villa, the Getty Folks decided to redo the entire place in the fashion of an archeological dig. A daring move. All in all, we loved the place. The gardens, the ocean view, the statuary…all beautiful. We were especially pleased by the family room. Now, the family room at the Getty Center always rocks. The Family room at the Getty Villa rocks too. As part of the Villa collection there is a great deal of pottery and crockery that sports some fine artwork. The folks at the Getty came up with the idea of Dry-Erase pottery! That means kids (and James) can come in, grab a pot, vase or vessel, and draw their own art right on the piece. Now that is cool. And there was more to the family room too, costumes, shadow theater. WOW. We also got to see the beautiful outdoor theater there. We have plans to someday tell in that space. But don’t wait for that, go and check out the Getty Villa soon.

Now, we went directly from the Getty Villa to our next gig at the Malibu Library, some seven miles up the coast. If you have been paying attention to your calendars, you may have noticed that this day is the birthday of Dr. Seuss! Would that he were still with us, he would be 102. The Malibu Library remembered, and they invited us to be there for the birthday celebration. One of the first things we noticed was the early arrivals. First in the door was a mother and her, maybe five-year-old daughter. They were a half-hour early! Mom said she had brought her daughter to every library program there was since she was one-year –old. That’s dedication. Now, at venues like this we are used to most of the audience showing up 5-10 minutes after the show was supposed to start, so folks showing up early, what a treat! We did an afternoon of Seuss and Seuss-like tales. All of the stories were highly interactive, and we are able to have every kid who wanted to, participate. That is always fun when everyone who wants to, is able to get in on the show.

Friday was a dark day for us. We were supposed to be working our weekly hospital job. But we awoke with a bad cold, especially Patti, that we were not willing to share with the folks at the hospital. We love working at the hospital, but we sure don’t want to make sick folks sicker. Never fear, more work is near.

Saturday. Love is in the Air, and how! We spent the afternoon at the wedding of James’ cousin at the Montage Hotel and Resort in Laguna Beach. The ceremony was beautiful, performed on a promontory overlooking the pacific Pacific. The ceremony was very sweet, replete with storytelling. We were very touched; it was obvious that the minister had a personal connection to the bride and groom. It was so special. Afterwards, there was hosted bar, bountiful appetizers and a full, gourmet meal. Top notch and full flight all the way! However, The Patchwork Players had other places to be.

The South Storytellers Guild, Love is in the Air concert. This was an adult-oriented concert. No, not that kind of adult…just stories with themes and perspectives that are geared for grown-ups. This was the first South Coast Storytellers Guild concert produced by The Patchwork Players, so we were a bit nervous. In addition to producing, we had other duties as well: Patti told an original story about her parents, and James Emceed the event. We were there with a host of great tellers: Betsy Mosier, Laura Beasley, Doris Hand, Linda King-Pruitt & Bob Pruitt, Debbie Weller, Nancy Dawson, Larry Goldberg and David Whiting. Dave Chittenden, a fine teller, was scheduled to appear, but was not able to make it for health reasons. Our thoughts are with you Dave. Those tellers who were there, and all the folks at the Guild joined to create a very special evening of storytelling. Of course there was support from other members of the Guild as well. Thanks everyone!!! We had a fine turn-out and we expect to see many of those new-faces at storytelling events in the future.