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

Monday, June 29, 2009

We've Been Jumpin'

The Patchwork Players' Summer is officially about to begin. Throughout June and July, we will be taking our 'Art To Life' program to libraries throughout SoCal. In this program, we teach the kids to see the relationship between stories, and art. We will tell them some stories with art, and help them to create new stories from art.

On July the 11th we will be telling at the, in San Diego. They have a special area where kids can make shadow, hand puppets. We will be telling some interesting stories, with lots of audience participation. Come on down, bring the family. This museum is a beautiful space to explore.

Later, Patti will be taking a much deserved trip to Alaska. She will be gone from the end of July, thru August. She will be traveling by car, so she will get to see a lot of beautiful country. We are sure she will be bringing back some True Tales from her adventures.

July 15th & 29th James will be at the South Coast Storytellers Guild's 'Yarning and Yakking' concerts. He will be MC & Teller at beautiful Heritage Hill Historical Park, 25151 Serrano, Lake Forest, CA 6:30 to 8:30. Admission is $5 per person. For directions log on . There will be some great tellers from around Orange County, and one or two of us from San Diego.

James will be taking a trip as well. From August 5-10, James will be in Montreal for the annual World Science
Convention Convention: World Con;
Anticipation. Longtime readers will remember that The Patchwork Players performed at the World Con when it was in Anaheim a few years ago. Then James was a Storyteller panelist at last years' World Con in Denver. This year he will be performing a concert, teaching a beginning storytelling workshop, and will appear on a few panels. Montreal, James is going international!

Saturday, August 22nd James will be producing a storytelling concert: 'Lessons Learned; It's never too late'. 6:30p-8:00pm James brings some of his storytelling friends from San Diego and Orange Counties.including some nationally known tellers; Laura Beasley, Dave Chittenden, Doris Hand, Marilyn McPhie, and Sarah Saulter. Be prepared for a a fun evening. Just a few days before school starts, they will be telling tales about lessons learned. Admission at the door will be $7 for Adults, and $5 for Kids. Such a deal!

First Lutheran Church of Vista

1410 Foothill Dr
Vista, CA 92084
(760) 724-5440

Patti & James will be back together as The Patchwork Players again in September. We will also be looking forward to October. Always a busy month for us, what with spooky, and Not Too Scary Stories and all. Book us now and beat the rush.

So what have we been up to since we last blogged? A lot, that's what!

Everyone knows April 1st is April Fools Day. But not everyone knows of The Fools Of Chem. Chelm is a town that is a part of the Eastern European Jewish storytelling tradition. Everyone in town is a fool. Their a multitude of Chelm stories. On April Fools day James shared some tales of these fools in one man concert, at the First Lutheran Church, in Vista, California.

The folks at Emeritus Senior heard James tell Mexican stories for Cinco de Mayo.

The annual Sam Hinton Folk Festival in Poway was on May the 9th this year. There was lots of great music, and storytelling. James & Patti were there, along with Sam Diego tellers; Linda Whiteside, Fred Laskowski, Steve Gregory, Charles Johnson, Cynthia Griffin, Lynn Manning Ross, and Marilyn McPhie. We hope to see you there next year.


On the 25th Patti was off with her partner, Panchita
Acevedo. They told bi-lingual stories, for the Fallbrook Library. Patti tells in English, and Panchita tells the same story in Spanish. They put on a great show. Try to catch them sometime.

Meanwhile, James was at the 26th annual Southern
California Story Swapping Festival
, In Culver City. As one would imagine there were tellers, beginners as young
as 8 years old, and old pro's alike, from all over. There
were tellers to represent LA, Riverside, Orange Counu
ty, the Inland Empire, the High Dessert, San Diego, and st about anywhere else in SoCal you can think of. There are workshops, concerts, and fun. James told tales from
Norse Mythology to the crowd of his peers.

Sunday the 26
th, we entertained friends,and families of walkers at the Carlsbad Multiple Sclerosis Walk. It's important to set aside time, to give back to the community.

Wide, hooped, and ruffled skirts, soldiers from the North, and the South, Mountain Men, and even Abe Lincoln. It was Roos
evelt Middle School's annual 1800's Day on May the 29th. Kids and staff alike came in some incredible costumes. There was a cotillion, other events, and James telling classic Tall Tales; Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and John Henry.

The Quail Botanical Gardens is one of the most beautiful places in North San Diego County. On June the 13th they had the grand opening of their new Children's ' Garden. The Patchwork Players were there to tell stories about plants and nature, for the eager crowds. We also had the chance to peruse the gardens. They were wonderful. A creek for the kids to splash in, a tree house to climb. And of course, lots of cool plants And they had food, musicians; like Martin Espino of Mexica, and lots of great stuff for the opening.

Jontsok is a traditional Norwegian Summer celebration. The Vista Son's of Norway Norge Lodge, and the
Fish Club Odin (James is a member, and resident storyteller) threw a joint celebration on Saturday, the 20th. There were more than 150 people gathered to throw axes, toss spears, watch live fight demonstrations, and to eat. There was also some fine music from Highland Way, among others, and pageantry. James was on hand to tell how how the Norse God Odin gained his wisdom.

We love the Girl Scouts, and we love telling stories for them. So on the 24th the Patchwork Players did some heavy lifting for them. We went to a Girl Scout Day Camp in Anaheim, were the theme of the week was Pirates. We told pirate stories for more than 500 scouts, plus volunteers, and a few brothers who got dragged along. Since this was the Girl Scouts, we talked about true life women pirates, and told a great story called 'The Pirate Girl', surprise, she has a pirate mom as well. The girls (and boys) loved the show.

At the end of the month, James went to the San Diego Highland games to celebrate his Scottish roots, and listen to two of his favorite bands, The Wicked Tinkers, and Highland Way. Well, it happens that their storyteller, Steve Gregory, had a dickens of a time finding a parking spot. The event is huge. So, until the teller arrived, James jumped in, and told Tale of a Tail, Rory the Fox, The Man with no Story, and the Legend of Red O'Halloran. At last Steve was able to situate himself, and took the stage. No rest for the weary.

Along with all that, we continue our regular gig at Rady Childeren's Hospital. We are there every week to tell stories, and do a magic trick or two. We are also lucky to do a little show with musician Sundiata Kata, also on staff in the Healing Arts department. We have drumming, a plethora of other musical instruments, and storytelling. It is a very healing time.

See our Facebook pages under & Patti Christensen.

As always; check out our calendar for our schedule.

Don't forget this regular event:

Story Swap; The Fourth Wednesday of every month at the Barnes & Noble. 10775 Westview Parkway, San Diego, California 92129. Storytellers of all levels share stories. If you are new to storytelling, this is a great place to be. Hosted bu Marilyn McPhie; 858-484-1325,

Storytelling Tip: Folk Tales, Fairy Tales & Legends;

Everyone knows a Folk Tale, Fairy Tale, or Legend. As we mentioned last time; these are stories that you know, not that you memorized. This time we will talk about how to really put your own stamp on a story. James follows a process that works quite well for, and may work for you as well: Most every story you know, or about to learn, has many versions. Variations from different regions. Spins by individual tellers, and writers. We suggest that you get your hands on several versions of the story you want to tell. Go to the library, search the net. Here are some great sites; courtesy of Vicky Reed, She teaches storytelling at USD. Then read, and digest them all. Think about the elements that speak to you, run through the story in your mind. Then write your own version, one that incorporates all your favorite elements. Practice that version. Now, you still don't have to memorize. But now you have a deeper understanding of the story. And have personal ownership of your version. That will stick in your mind, and come from your heart, more than someone else's version. Now go wow your audience.