Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

What, Am I Out Of My Mind? 

As if storytelling outdoors and beginning a new blog isn't challenge enough,  I've decided to further borrow trouble by kicking off something I call "Gorilla Telling."  I know, you can't tell a gorilla anything.

I am pretty sure there must be at least one other crazy person out there doing something very similar, if so please feel free to share your experiences, advice and the name of your therapist. Actually, it might just be a another form of busking.

Briefly, "Gorilla Telling" is where I come to a venue armed with a bunch short stories, big "what-if's", and "imagine that." The tools of  improvisation and storytelling. And descend on unsuspecting patrons waiting in line at one of our local venues.  This particular establishment, Little Man ice cream,  is open to just about anything, and provides a different kind of entertainment every night during the summer.  I am their first storyteller.  The Friday night flavor of the week, if you will. They found me thanks to my listing in NSN.  Yea NSN!
We are hoping for a win-win.  They are giving me two hours every Friday night, pretty much carte blanche.  So, in exchange for "working the line" and performing two 30 min. shows. I get a chance to keep up my chops as I upgrade my material.  I am forced to come up with new and very short material. By the by, if you have a good resources for short-short stories you'd like to share, I could use them. I get to sell my book-- MIDNIGHT and the MAGICAL PRAIRIE SCHOONER-- meet new people and new challenges (never had to compete with a slide and  ice cream -hyped four-year olds.)  They in turn get bragging rights for being the only establishment in this up and coming area with "GORILA STORYTELLING." 
With just a few moments to hook them, I single out a person or persons and give then a  short story and or a little improv, whatever it takes to get them to stick around after they get their cone  and listen to my longer Tall Tales, Personal Stories, Irish folk tales etc.  I need a lot of stories as I never know what age range will make-up the majority of the audience.  Last week the adults outnumbered the kids. We are not in set venue mode anymore, Toto.  The rushing waters can be scary but, so far, I am enjoying riding the rapids!
So, if you are in Denver on a Friday night this summer, come on by Little Man ice cream, for a scoop and a story. 'Til then ... see you on down the road ... may it rise up to meet you, and until next time ... go out and kiss somebody.
Peace and Grace, Den

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Comment by Lois Sprengnether Keel (LoiS) on June 18, 2011 at 2:05pm

"What is the name of that teller who works the Renaissance Festival circut?  I heard him a long time ago on an ineterview with Eric Wolf. storytelling with"  I'd recommend contacting Eric to ask, Denis.  In our local group we've a member who's a Wench (actually she's been Head Wench, FWIW) at our local RenFest, but she tends to take Shaggy Dog stories & stretch them out, which I'd think would be the opposite of what works for this. 

Thanks for keeping in touch on this.  Festivals tend to take about a year's prep. in my experience, so I guess this will be looking down the road towards next year.  I really wonder about the permission angle & yet, if it's brought up where it's not been considered before it may raise problems that just showing up might avoid.  I feel like the Rootabaga story by Sandburg where Deep Red Roses keeps going back & forth between the clock & the looking glass.

Comment by Denis Gessing on June 17, 2011 at 3:13pm
Lois, will keep you abreast of the experience here and on my blog.  Can't really offer any valuable feed back just yet.  What is the name of that teller who works the Renaissance Festival circut?  I heard him a long time ago on an ineterview with Eric Wolf. storytelling with
Comment by Lois Sprengnether Keel (LoiS) on June 17, 2011 at 2:55pm
Hit a personal snag, but I, too, would like to try busking for weekends when there might be "downtime" on booking.  This is the only discussion so far, but I'd love to hear more about the experience others have had with it.  Your focus on repertoire is right since you have a guaranteed location.  I'd like to know if others find festivals require an o.k. & possibly even a payment.  Any other comments on busking are most certainly welcome.
Comment by Denis Gessing on June 13, 2011 at 4:27pm
Reisa thanks much for the words of encouragement. Will keep you posted.  And if I approach the wrong person with the right story, may be contacting you for bail. Ha-ha.
Comment by Reisa Stone on June 13, 2011 at 2:38am

Good for you, Denis! Busking has given me some of the finest, most gratifying performances I've ever had. Musical theatre got me kudos, and is of course sooooo socially acceptable---but damnit, singing it the same way every time nearly drove me bonkers. Good on ya. I wish you much success!




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