Portland Storytellers’ Guild Monthly Showcase
Stories are how we make meaning of our lives and our world. They make us laugh, think–and teach us how to be human. When the pace of change accelerates absurdly and our definition of “community” seems to change with every headline, stories can ground us and help us remember who we are.
The Portland Storytellers’ Guild preserves the ancient tradition of oral storytelling in the modern world by creating a space where teller and listener sit down and together, recreate the stories of our common humanity. Like all living things, stories come to life when they are nurtured by being told, heard and savored.
For 25 years, the Portland Storytellers’ Guild has been introducing people of the Pacific Northwest to the joy and power of stories in person, face to face. Old stories that may have been committed to print long ago breathe and move and sing again. New stories find their way from our lives into our tales. It is said that to be human is to have a story to tell. That is what the Portland Storytellers’ Guild is all about.
We invite you experience this magic at one of our monthly performances, now at the Historic Clinton Street Theater!
Since the 14th Century, the North Star has guided voyagers —helping to determine their position and point them toward their destination — and also served as a metaphor, that constant people have come to depend on to point the way in moments of doubt in life’s voyage.
Howard Alder, Pam Maben, Holly Robison and Penny Walters,, four members of the Portland Storytellers Guild will dwell on this phenomenon in “Follow Your North Star” at the Clinton Street Theater, Saturday evening, March 7, revealing what they consider their “North Star” in true tales about how they followed it, were inspired by it and sometimes even strayed off course.
Do you have a “North Star” of your own? Maybe faith? Love? Family? Tradition? Their stories may help you identify it and plumb memories of where it led you.
Edward Hershey draws stories from his career as a sportswriter, news reporter, author, teacher, government official, college publicist and union activist that includes stints as an antiques columnist, Shakespearean theater president, city alderman, college basketball announcer and, for 42 years, a mainstay of the George Polk Awards in journalism. His memoir, “The Scorekeeper,” was a finalist for the 2018 Oregon Book Award.
As the BackRoads Teller, Rebecca Hom has been an adventuring storyteller for more than 30 years. She has shared, gathered and created stories across the U.S. and on six continents. Around a campfire, on a couch or in a crowded theater, it's all about the stories being shared. Currently Rebecca is entranced with the stories and history of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots of WWII. More at www.rebeccahom.com
Ken Iverson has brought stories to life for audiences for over 35 years. He loves how a story can bring people together. He tells original stories and traditional and contemporary folktales and myths from around the world for all ages. Ken believes that the old adage “laughter is the best medicine is close to true. “It's not the only medicine,” he says, “but it is certainly the most fun to take.”
Enchanted by story from early childhood, Pam Maben entered storytelling through her work as a school librarian. For more than 25 years she has enjoyed telling archetypal tales—particularly folklore and mythology—that embody the wisdom of many generations and cultures and continue to offer deep meaning and application to contemporary situations. A graduate of the School of Sacred Storytelling, Pam especially enjoys telling stories in retreat, sacred, and community settings.
Have you ever stepped over a threshold, into a new beginning? Did you act with clear intent, or accidentally, perhaps even by mistake, only realizing you had passed into new territory when you looked back?
Storytellers Eric Foxman, Wink Harner, Janet Liu and Chuck McConnell consider such passages in their own lives and in the lives of others – both real and imagined — in “Thresholds and Passageways,” the Portland Storytellers Guild monthly show, Saturday evening, April 4 at the Clinton Street Theater.
Wink Harner began training as a multilingual stckoryteller with the South Mountain College Storytelling Institute. Off stage she has “spent several lifetimes of careers” as a foreign language professor, translator, interpreter and typesetter as well as a manager of disability services and a developer and trainer of assistive technology programs in higher education. She has told stories in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English “with some Quechua and Nahuatl thrown in.”
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. She 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.
Chuck McConnell credits his penchant for storytelling to genetics. I grew up in a family of talkers,” he says. In 1914, his father (a second grader at the time) was given an award for “excellent performance in the oral presentation of stories.” His mother, a champion debater in high school, went on to become a children’s librarian. Before settling in Portland in 2010, most of his storytelling was as a pledge drive pitchman on public TV stations where he harangued audiences in 12 states.
Eric Foxman would rather be telling or listening to stories than just about anything — with one notable exception. Over many years, he has learned that stories feed the soul with a delight and satisfaction only equaled by the slow flavorful enjoyment of a mouthful of melting dark chocolate that has gone through a long process of “conching.” intense mixing, agitating, and aerating in its heated liquid form. Eric has learned that stories, too, need “conching” to be told to best effect.