Saturday, October 25, 2008

Taking a Break from the Biz to Talk About the Fest

I'm taking a few days out of the corporate-storytelling, business-storytelling, artist-marketing, private-coaching world to participate in the Mesa Storytelling Festival 2008. Here are a few of my random, sorta-sentence-like random thoughts about days 1 and 2 out of 3. More later.

Random thoughts only, not using an real grammar or structure. I'll make a pretty post later.


Mesa Storytelling Festival (MSF) 2008

Day One: Thursday Random Thoughts.

Sandy Oglesby newest of the "featured tellers" doing a very nice job with a small room of school-children. When a teller finds their energy, their audience will go with them. Sandy starts rough and then, boom, she gets and the audience just falls right in with her. Well done.

Being out of the tents and into this modern, well-run facility has brought things to the next level.

Youth teller (she is a high-school freshman) for session in black-box theater tells very well. I hope she stays focused in the art.

Kala JoJo abandons his plans to do Kora music and instead stays focused on the needs and energy of the audience of kids in front of him. Fantastic. I need to invent an award for when storytellers
put their audience first. Way to go, Kala.

Feels to me like Sheila is distracted today.

I know by lunchtime today that this event is very well organized- can not be said about all major events.

Hospitality crew for the tellers is doing a fine job. Lunches were very good.

Did not attend workshops, but was told they were very good, with Donald Davis being most-attended event.

Evening event with "best of the west" tellers goes very well. Interesting mix of very experienced as well as very new. Large crowd for a Thursday night in October.

Doug Bland is, as always, one of the best MC's in our communities.

I am very happy with my new version of "Silence: The Beasts and Beauty."

I had great conversations with several audience members who talk to me after the evening concert, several of which have never been to any type of
storytelling event like this...ever. They are hooked after the "best of the west" event.

Day Two: Friday Random Thoughts

Today is the day when thousands of school children attend vs. Thursday's several hundred.

This was the first time I was in the three-tier major theater at the Mesa Arts Center. WOW! I did not know this facility was so diverse. I am very impressed.

Session with 1500 school children, in one theater, becomes a WORLD CLASS event. AMAZING work from Donald Davis, Willy Claflin, Charlotte Blake Alston and Olga Loya. MC's were me and Marilyn Torres. Two eighth-grade girls were youth tellers for within this two-hour block. Honestly, this should have been video-taped for future DVD release or major event for television. All factors, from building to kids to staff to performers pull each factor up to a new level. Reminds me of why I love this art. so. very. much.

Over lunch with Antonio and Willy, talking about the use of storytelling within adult events. I will try to pick up some of this in interviews with tellers on Saturday.

Spent some time coaching another teller on her sets for this weekend. How much fun it was to have a theater to ourselves while we worked. Giggle.

Evening concert with Willy, Olga, Sandy and Kala is fun and feels welcoming and casual. Smaller audience than last night, but very responsive. Liz Warren, MSF director, gets to be MC and as typical for her, finds just the right words to say to bring on tellers. She also is genuine and compelling as she talks about the major sponsors for the event. Four very different types of telling tonight from these featured performers.

Presented the first-time "adult only" late-night concert in the black-box theater. Filled the room, 100-ish people. 94 more people than I expected. Stories told by Harriet Cole, Kindra Gayle, me and Antonio Sacre. Great stories, not vulgar. The few adult-language words were placed well in context and illustrated instead of just being used for shock value. Very pro and yet something new for this event. Stories included personal tales from Kindra and Antonio, the "Porter and the Three Ladies" from Harriet and a quick lascivious-wolf version of Little Red Riding Hood from me. I am amazed at how many of the featured tellers make the time to be at the late-night event.

This festival has a great mix of featured tellers, "best of the west" tellers and local tellers blending together for sessions. I am very pleased with the attempts to go beyond labels at this event and asking people to play to and with their highest strengths.

Hats off to the staff and crew of the Mesa Arts Center. Seamless work, great attention to detail, cooperative, hospitable and professional. Great leadership from Randy Vogel of the MAC.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.


  1. Great to see this report. Got me thinking about a lot of things, including tents... over at Breaking the Egss

  2. Anonymous3:42 PM

    I'm glad to see this report, too, Sean. Thanks for writing it! (And thanks, Tim, for linking to it. I got here via your "Eggs" blog.)

    Hope Baugh