Tag Archives: Larry Johnson

World Storytelling Day 2017 – Local plans

World Storytelling Day has been around so long now that it has earned the right to be characterized as a “tradition.”  It began in Sweden in the  early 1990’s and has since spread to nations around the world, a world now connected by Ratatosk, the Scandinavian storytelling web.

A WSD post in 2016 describes more about the history of World Storytelling Day and the local expansion of the living tradition. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/world-storytelling-day-2016/)  The international theme for the World Storytelling Day 2017, celebrated round the world on May 20, is “Transformation.”

Again this year local storyteller and educator Larry Johnson is heading up plans for World Storytelling Day in this community.  The gathering will explore the ways in which stories transform education.  Four storytellers will share their reflections on the theme at a grand public event on Tuesday, March 21, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Landmark Center, 75 West 5th Street in downtown St. Paul 

Beverly Cottman, former high school science teacher, will share African and African American Stories that celebrate the rich heritage and culture of the African Diaspora.

Maren Hinderlie has traveled the world as a storyteller for theatrical, educational, religious events and festivals.  She has just returned from telling stories in Vietnam and the Philippines.

Larry Johnson will share his storytelling skills, particularly as they shape his recent publication, Sixty-One, his personal story told as a powerful challenge to embrace peace, end war and face the health concerns of the nation’s veterans.

Kubisa S Muzenence is a respected human rights advocate, founder of Let Africa Live, a nonprofit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The evening will also showcase the winners of the 2017 Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers Peace Essay Contest for high school juniors and seniors.

There is no charge for the evening; donations will be appreciated by the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers.

Reception and information tables open at 6:00 pm.  The program of storytelling will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Updates and any changes are posted of Facebook.

Voices of Northeast Minneapolis Captured and Shared on Video

Kudos to Allie Shah for a fun piece in the Strib about day tripping in Northeast Minneapolis. (http://www.startribune.com/day-trip-historic-northeast-minneapolis-maintains-old-world-charm-while-embracing-its-new-status-as-a-hotbed-of-hipness/329547671/#1

Though some of us worry that NE is becoming just too trendy we are pleased that the writer included the neighborhood’s bookish gems among the treasures. In fact, bibliophiles and their ken can actually take a virtual trip to a growing number of Northeast’s gems literary via a video project with which I am engaged. The project-sine-nomine aims to shine a light on the breadth and depth, and invisibility, of Northeast’s broadly defined “community of the book” and the diverse voices of the community.  Find the existing tapes here – more to come on a regular basis   (http://ias.umn.edu/2014/07/29/book/)

The initiative is based on the long-time work of Peter Shea who for several years has produced videotaped conversations with people who have much to say; tapes of his series, enigmatically entitled Bat of Minerva, are cablecast on the Metro Cable Network and archived at the University of Minnesota Institute for Advanced Studies. I wrote about Peter in an earlier post (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/here-comes-peter-the-magnificent-peter-shea/) Together we are now producing a series of video conversations with bookish individuals who live or work in Northeast Minneapolis and who give voice to that vibrant community.

We started this project several months ago when Peter taped video interviews with Chris Fischbach, 20-year veteran and now CEO of Coffeehouse Press, noted writer Sarah Stonich, and publisher Michelle Filkins. During the time Peter also had a conversation with storyteller and librarian Jerry Blue whose untimely death shook the storyteller community as well as patrons Jerry served as librarian at Bottineau and St Anthony Village libraries. We took a break when Peter received a grant to study and travel in Austria and Germany – and I was full-time outreaching to further the cause of open government.

We have reconnected, re-focused and re-located this effort to give voice to the literary arts in Northeast. Best of all, we have made arrangements with the library at the American Craft Council, another Northeast treasure, to videotape the conversations from that elegant site. In fact, our first conversation was with our hosts who speak with experience and vision of the ACC. The ACC and the library are gems of Northeast – and the people with whom we have worked are committed to this community. http://ias.umn.edu/2015/08/28/craft/. The first conversation from the ACC was with ACC Education Director Perry Price and Jessica Shaykett who is the librarian at the ACC Council, a unique global resource.

Every Friday afternoon we share the joy of learning with folks who give voice to those who have deep thoughts and much to say about the literary life that lies somewhat beneath – sometimes inspired by – the breweries and pubs that are the draw of today’s Northeast.

Among those hour-long conversations are recent chats with Scott Vom Korghnett of Eat My Words bookstore, storyteller Larry Johnson, Key of See Storytellers and Veterans for Peace, who spearheaded a recent gathering of public access pioneers, local author John Jodzio, video animator/producer John Akre and Carolyn Halliday whose studio is in NE and whose beautiful fabric art is on display in the ACC Library.

Fun forthcoming tapings include conversations with local celeb “Mary at Maeve’s” the congenial proprietor who provides both a platform and a hangout for local and emerging writers and bibliophiles.   We will also be talking with Holly Day and Sherman Wick, authors of Walking Twin Cities and a helpful digital guide to walking tours of Northeast, as well as Jaime Gjerdingen of LitKnit, all of whom have Northeast and bookish connections.

As we continue to learn more and to connect with the expanding breadth and depth of the reading/writing community in artsy/trendy Northeast Minneapolis we welcome ideas. So many stories to tell, so little time;  we are inspired by viewer interest, technology and thoughts of how to build the Northeast Minneapolis community.

History, the Stevens House and Kid Power Featured at July 17 Environmental Fair

“Gerda Pulls Harder then the Horses” is the intriguing title of a story to be told by Larry Johnson as one of many features of the Environmental Fair at the July 17 celebration of Colonel John and Helen Stevens, pioneer environmentalists who helped to shape the profile of Minneapolis.  The house that the Stevens built in the  mid-19th Century still lives – just not where it was built.

John and Helen Stevens were early settlers along the downtown side of the Mississippi where they built the first house West of the river in 1849.  In their spare time the Stevens helped to organize the city itself, the first Minneapolis school and the first association to help growing and agriculture in Minnesota.  They earned the land on which that first home was built by offering a free ferry from the West bank (now downtown) to St. Anthony Village (now St. Anthony Main.)

In the late 1800’s historic preservation called for the Stevens House to be moved to Minnehaha Park, a block south of the Falls, where it proudly stands to this day.  Over the years its served the community in a mix of ways including years as a public library, now the John H. Stevens is designated as an historic site open to the public for tours.

So how does one move a house in 1896?  That’s where Gerda comes in!  On May 28, 1896, 7000 Minneapolis school children actually pulled the house from the West Bank downtown to Minnehaha Falls.  That’s the story Larry Johnson will tell at the Stevens House at 1:30 on Sunday, July 17.   During the storytelling session children will enjoy a chance to calculate their own horsepower and to play with old time toys that do not leak mercury into the environment.

Storytelling is just part of the Environmental Fair at the Stevens’ House from Noon to 4:00 p.m.  At 2:30 Jerry Foley will talk about natural plant medicines and the Stevens’ role in promoting early growing in the state.  Throughout the afternoon the yard of the Stevens House will be dotted with tables for current environmental groups including Gardening Matters, Transit for Livable Communities, the Bioneers and others.

The Environmental Fair is free;  tours of the Stevens’ House are $3 for adults or $1 for children.  The John H. Stevens House is at 4901 Minnehaha, right in Minnehaha Park.