Chaos Attraction

Sierra Storytelling Festival 2019, Night 1

2019-07-19, 8:19 p.m.

Quotes from others in conversations I had that afternoon:

“I think I’ve seen you here before wearing a fabulous outfit like that. Thank you for wearing it, it is so much fun.” -lady who liked my tie-dye lace top.

“Around here nobody would know if you had on underwear or bikini bottoms.”

“My mother is the sheriff of the county jail. It’s like she’s been in jail for 20 years.”

“Ron and I went to Alcatraz for our anniversary. Well, it’s an institution and marriage is an institution...” -Dawn

“Ooh, porta potties.”
“You like them?”
”Not really.” -kid and mom

After the workshop we went over to Mary’s house for a bit for dinner and hangout time.
Quotes from Mary:

“It was my birthday and I was being obnoxious about it.”
“I got the loveliest chainsaw for my birthday.”
“We have a great craft show here. They’re not even crappy crafts.”
“I think we ladies can chase away a few bears.”
She told me about a couple she knew that were together for decades before actually bothering to get married, and ended up being married by the Easter Bunny.

We later came back to work on the tapestry.

Mary on the tapestries:

(a) There is one tapestry that features a blue cradle that lots of people have passed around, and another tapestry that features small pictures of all the locals.

“Have you met Starlight Compost yet?” (Met her last year, didn’t see her this year.) “They put her right next to me. Drives me nuts.” Also: “According to Starlight Compost, I’m a fire wolf.”

“They’re going to have to do a miniature blue cradle. She must be out of her mind.”- a miniature scene of the blue cradle tapestry is being put on the photo one.

“This is a mistake Jennifer” (not me, the artist who drew the pictures) “shoudl not have made. This is” (name redacted’s) “her ex-husband and her current boyfriend next to each other.”

That is also where we met Kim Weitkamp, one of the storytellers. She is also a crafter and runs a craft store/makerspace in Ohio called The Makery, which sounds delightful. She worked on the tapestry too. I didn’t get to hang out with her more than that, which is too bad because she was cool.

This year’s performer lineup:

* The aforementioned Tim Tingle, specializing in modern-day stories about Choctaw, I believe. The best Native American storyteller I have heard.
* Kim Weitkamp: mostly real life stories with some songs, fun lady.
* Motoko: a VERY SMARTASSED Japanese lady (seriously, don’t think I’ve ever met one of those before) that was a delight. My impression from her merchandise is she normally does folk tale stuff, but here she mostly did stories from her real life that were a hoot. I don’t have a clear standout favorite this year but if I had to pick it’d probably be her.
* Antonio Rocha: both he and Motoko are mime people, he did some real life stories and some folk stories. Funny dude.
* Kirk Waller: I’ve seen/mentioned him before so I will save myself some time on that, also I have a shit ton to write about here....
* Liz Nichols: “featured teller” status, she works with seniors (oy, that would drive me nuts) and told some folk tales and some real life.
* Dalrymple MacAlpin: “local teller” status, had a VERY plaid outfit, played the harp, did Celtic folk tales about Finn MacCool.

Dawn decided to work volunteer shifts this time and ended up regretting it because she couldn’t hear the storytellers half the time. I was all, well, this is why I didn’t want to volunteer. She’d rather help with the tapestries anyway. She also told me that my laugh got picked up by the microphone. Another guy complimented mine, which Usually I get the opposite.

Friday night’s show:

* Tim: tells a story about a Choctaw girl being friends with a slave, how to turn invisible (“not too fast, not too slow, eyes to the ground”-y’know, I’ve tried that IRL and it works.) and escaping.
* Motoko: so quotable:
“Inside every one of you is a Japanese woman. Aren’t you so lucky that we’re so small?”
“I have been working so hard to relax!”
“In Japan people build robots so they can take vacations for them. And then the robots build robots...”
Her dad would laugh at a joke 3 times: first time he hears it, later when someone explains it to him, then when he thinks about it later. Another quote from her dad: “What separates man from beast? Financial difficulties.”
She did a whole acted out thing of “Japanese Culture 1012: The Art of Bowing,” such as bowing to a vending machine.
“You can’t buy love with money, you can only rent it.”
She told a story about two competing misers and one went over to the other’s house to ask to borrow his hammer. When the second one refused because it would erode his hammer, the first one said, “I guess in this case I’ll just use my own hammer, then.” Then there was a bit about being charged to smell fish, with the line “the smell of your fish is worth the sound of my money.”
* Kirk:
He had to drive up from the Bay Area that night. “That’s the thing about telling locally: You understand my pain.”
He told a story about a king getting a prophecy that if he married an ugly woman, he’d have a son who became a mighty king. Except he already had a wife and son....awkward. I love how Kirk steps out of formal storytelling mode periodically to be all “Who ARE you?!” like a normal person. Also, “I mean, I just killed a buffalo, right?” He didn’t finish that story, saying he’d pick it up again tomorrow. Crafty, dude.
* Liz: told a story about how she liked to eat dirt as a kid and later saw a painting of Krishna eating dirt. (The emcee: “We eat a lot of dirt in the country.”)
* Antonio: talked about going on trips when he turned 40, being a mime, going to Africa, eating dirt (ahem), taking tons of pictures on safari (something people made jokes about the rest of the weekend, I’m told), losing his camera, getting chased by an elephant (not really) and how he’s pulling our legs on that last bit...That’s very Ed Lewis of you (or vice versa, maybe) to do that joke.
* Kim: asked us to NOT give her a standing ovation because she makes bad life decisions while high on herself after one. (Naturally, she got a lot of these now. Ahem. Tim tried this trick later.) “Granted, in those venues there were no chairs....” So she did things like dye her own eyebrows, buy leggings, etc. Also, she talked about her makerspace, knitted knockers, and “I am the hippie in town, so that tells you about Ohio.”

After that we went back home and hung out with Mary (Paul was forced to sleep at the venue all weekend for security reasons). She accompanied Paul to some adult corporate camp experience in Idaho that he was working at (“I’m glad you guys are here. I haven’t laughed this hard since I went to camp”) and had a lot of odd stories out of this whole thing:

They offered classes like “International Rock Skipping,” during which she learned about companies that make their own rocks, how rocks should weigh about as much as a tennis ball (20 oz), you want a smooth rock for smooth waters and a triangular one for choppy waters, they broke out a protractor to figure out the right 20 degree angle...

There was also laughter yoga (“Paul was not going to be able to laugh for five minutes about nothing”) and exercises involving uncooked fettuccine. They did some exercise involving duct tape, string, hard spaghetti and a marshmallow and how they had to build the tallest structure. “And it fell over when they put the marshmallow on it.”

Quote from Mary: “I took cooperative blah blah blah...” “I’m a really noncooperative person. I do not think that things like balancing rock cairns can be done by a group.”

They also had “full immersion walk in the woods Spanish” as a class.

There was a rule at the camp about what to say: “is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?” which she loved.

I don’t recall the context of this one: “I love it when books cooperate.”

“There were three nights we were pirates.”

Poor Paul “couldn’t play with his chainsaw or his tractor and he was having a terrible time.” Also he was there to teach/lead folk dancing and nobody was taking that class.

She said this camp was $320 for 7 days--a good deal---and their website is if you are into this idea.

She also talked about another rescue dog they used to have that they kidnapped when the sheriff said, “Why don’t you lose the dog?” to get it out of its bad situation.

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