Once Upon A Time in Brooklyn

May-June 2011

Once Upon A Time in Brooklyn: Traditional Storytellers and Their Tales was a series of public programs and workshops held in parks, libraries and community gardens all around the borough. Folk tales, fairy tales, ghost stories, tall tales, and the legends of the saints 'based on traditions from around the world' will be told in a chorus of voices reflecting the rich diversity of Brooklyn today.

Listen to Guyanese folk tales told under the full moon, enjoy a traditional uraga with Garifuna artists of Belize and Honduras, screen classic and contemporary fairy tale films, participate in a story swap, or turn out for The Great Brooklyn Storytelling Event at Brooklyn Public Library Central where diverse raconteurs will delight listeners with tales from Brooklyn's oral story book.

Once Upon A Time in Brooklyn is a celebration of story arts. Come catch a tale!


Garifuna Tales
June 10, 7 - 9 pm

BIKO 1474 Bushwick Avenue (Bushwick)

A traditional uraga (storytelling session) with Garifuna artists of Belize and Honduras and special guest storytellers. Presented by Brooklyn Arts Council in cooperation with BIKO.

The Great Brooklyn Storytelling Event
June 11, 1 - 4 pm

Brooklyn Public Library Grand Army Plaza Rain site: Dweck Auditorium

Highlighting all manner of traditional storytelling, the event features raconteurs from all over the borough and plenty of opportunity for the audience to join in by recording their own Brooklyn stories in Sabrina Artel's specially equipped Trailer Talk trailer. Artists include George Davidson, Tammy Hall, Winston "Jeggae" Hoppe , Professor Louie, Kid Lucky, Aeilushi Mistry and more. Presented by BAC with support from The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation in cooperation with Brooklyn Public Library.

Stories in the Park
June 12, 3-4 pm
Lefferts Historic House Prospect Park, use Flatbush and Ocean Avenue entrance

A story session for the whole family, featuring Lenape Indian tales and stories from Trinidad. Presented by BAC in cooperation with Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park.

The Tower's Tale: Sacred Story and the Giglio Feast in Italian Williamsburg
June 22, 6 - 8 pm

The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute
25 West 43rd Street, Suite 1700 (Manhattan)

Panel discussion on the sacred legend of St. Paulinus of Nola, Italy, whose virtuous and miraculous exploits are celebrated in the Williamsburg giglio celebration. The event also includes the opening of a photo exhibition documenting the giglio feast in Nola. Presented by Brooklyn Arts Council in cooperation with the John. D. Calandra Italian American Institute of the City University of New York.

What's the Story: Diverse Storytelling Practices in Brooklyn A Public Symposium
April 17, 2:30 - 4 pm

Brooklyn Historical Society
Pierrepont Street (Brooklyn Heights)

Storytellers and folklore scholars gather to discuss the relevance of storytelling in the diverse communities of Brooklyn. In the age of memoir, Facebook, and other means for promoting personal stories, we explore the important cultural practice of telling traditional stories,folktales, ghost stories, hero legends and myths and the role of storytellers as community artists. Introduced and moderated by Brooklyn Arts Council's Folk Arts Director, Dr. Kay Turner, the panel includes presentations by: Brooklyn folklorist Kathy Condon, who years ago ran the storytelling tent at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn festival, and who will discuss the art of Brooklyn stories; Aeilushi Mistry, Indian classical dancer, on Hindu myths of Lord Ganesha and narrative dance; musician Irka Mateo on the context for performing Dominican tales such as "La Ciguapa"; and artist and curator Maxine Alexander, discussing storytelling in the Jamaican diaspora. Engaged discussion with the audience follows these brief presentations and Dr. Turner will also video-record traditional narratives "folk tales, jokes, parables" offered by audience members. Presented by Brooklyn Arts Council in cooperation with the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Festival Storytelling Session: Folk Tales from Guyana and the Dominican Republic
May 7, 1 - 2 pm

Thomas Boyland Park, Broadway between Granite Street and Aberdeen Street (Ocean Hill/Brownsville)

Storytale session featuring folk tales from Guyana and the Dominican Republic presented by the Brooklyn Arts Council in cooperation with the Mt. Zion Pentecostal Holiness Church as part of the "Let's Make It Happen in Our Community" Annual Festival. Event is rain or shine.

Enchanted Brooklyn: Fairy Tale Films 
May 9, 7 pm 
BAMcinematek 30 Lafayette Avenue (DUMBO) 

Modern interpretations of classic fairy tales by contemporary Brooklyn filmmakers, introduced by folklorist Kay Turner. Presented by Brooklyn Arts Council Scene: Brooklyn in cooperation with BAM. 

Read More

Reading, Writing, Telling and Hearing Traditional Tales
May 19, 3 pm

Bay Ridge Public Library 7223 Bay Ridge Boulevard (Bay Ridge)

A special session of "Ridge Kids Write," focusing on the difference between oral and written stories. Presented by BAC with support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation in cooperation with the Brooklyn Public Library.

Lunchtime Story Swap
May 23, 1 - 2 pm

Elders Share the Arts 138 South Oxford Place (Ft. Greene)

Following a workshop with the Elder's Share the Arts Pearls of Wisdom story group and some of the Brooklyn Arts Council's traditional storytellers, the public is invited to a brown bag lunchtime story swap. Presented by Brooklyn Arts Council in cooperation with Elders Share the Arts.

Full Moon Storytelling Night: Folk Tales and Tellers from Guyana
June 1, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

St. Stephen's Church E.28th St and Newkirk Avenue (East Flatbush)

This special event outside St. Stephen's Church will feature Guyanese folk tales told by the light of the full moon. Presented by Brooklyn Arts Council in cooperation with the Guyana Cultural Association.

Moonlight Stories in the Garden
June 2, 7 - 9 pm
Rain date: June 9
Prospect Heights Community Farm 256 St. Marks Avenue (Prospect Heights)

Stories from around the globe told by Brooklyn storytellers. Presented by BAC in cooperation with Prospect Heights Community Farm, a fiscally sponsored project of the Open Space Institute.

Changing Skins: Folk Tales About Gender, Identity and Humanity
June 3, 9:30 pm

Dixon Place Theater 161 Chrystie Street (Manhattan)

A special night of stories researched and performed by Missouri-based actor and writer Milbre Burch, who interweaves gender-bending folktales from cultures spanning the globe with musings on the construction of gender and identity. Compelling storytelling for grownups. 

Once Upon A Time in Brooklyn is made possible, in part, by support from Con Edison, The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York City Council.