The Great Brooklyn Storytelling Event

June 11, 2011, 1-4pm 
Brooklyn Public Library Grand Army Plaza 

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.

Share your family fairy tales, fables, or Brooklyn stories in Sabrina Artel's specially equipped Trailer Talk trailer. Sign up for time slots is first come, first serve starting at 12:30!

Presented by BAC with support from The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation in cooperation with Brooklyn Public Library 



Sabrina Artel Sabrina Artel's Trailer Talk is a live performance, a community event and a broadcast. I drive my vintage camper to Main Streets, festivals and events. People step inside, I welcome them with homemade brownies and we sit down to talk over the kitchen table. It's goal is to bring attention to important issues where least expected, on the streets and in people's neighborhoods. At Trailer Talk events, the kitchen table represents the democratic tradition of public dialogue that values the coming together of diverse and often opposing voices to create common ground and inspire social change.

Adam Brown and Lenny Speregen

Adam Brown is founder and director of SilverScreen Marine, is a long established marine consultant and professional deep-sea diver. With over twenty five years of experience on both domestic and international projects, Mr. Brown has extensive expertise in maritime and environmental port issues. He and Lenny Speregen have worked together since 1977.

Lenny Speregen is certified to work on many brands of diving equipment, has completed more than 20,000 repairs, and has also performed on television and in movies as a stunt actor. Together, Mr. Brown and Speregen can map the NYC harbor bottom and bring up tales of the deep.

Glenda Cadogan is a prominent media consultant/publicist, prolific journalist and speechwriter who has served New York's diverse Caribbean American community for the past 18 years. A national of Trinidad & Tobago, she migrated to New York City in 1989 and committed herself to the Caribbean population, articulating an unequivocal immigrant position in the media. Ms. Cadogan is deeply knowledgeable of Caribbean culture and language, and is keenly aware of how storytelling intersects with other Caribbean art forms found in Carnival, music, and dance.

George Davidson was born in Guyana in 1938. He has lived in Brooklyn for many years now, but he retains traditional folktales learned from his mother and father when he was a boy and later from his wife. Some of these tales have an African lineage, such as the Anansi spider trickster tales. Others are part of a broader lineage of malevolent female shape-shifter and witch stories, such as Ole Higue (Old Hag), told in different traditions throughout the world. George exemplifies the kind of traditional storytelling that is culturally specific, learned informally and performed in intimate settings on moonlight story nights.

Capri Djatiasmoro is a storyteller with a special relationship to water. Many swimmers spend the winter dreaming about warmer months, when they can get out of the pool and back into the open water. Not Capri Djatiasmoro; she swims outside year-round. The daughter of an Indonesian diplomat, Capri spent her childhood in more than a half-dozen cities around the globe. But regardless of where her family lived, one thing remained constant: the open ocean, with no walls and no lanes. Nearly every weekend, no matter if the water is warm or cold, you will find Capri at either Coney Island or Brighton Beach, swimming with her friends from the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. But then, Capri's always had trouble staying away from the water.

Joyce Duncan is a first generation American born on "Sugar Hill" in Harlem, New York. She was raised as well on the luscious Caribbean Island of Jamaica. Joyce holds an honorary doctorate in theology and is a folklorist, cultural historian, community organizer, mediator, and facilitator. She became intrigued by folklore and storytelling upon her first hearing the African proverbs, "hard times makes the monkey eat hot peppers" (Zanzibar) and "talking with one another is loving one another" (Kenya). In 1996, she founded the African Heritage Folk Circle and continues as its president today. Joyce loves coming to the Pearls of Wisdom meetings and sharing her personal experience with other people, "I like seeing people, watching how we evolve, and how the aging process affects each one of us. How the beauty shifts and changes, but always grows."

Rose Fontanella is a proud Italian-American daughter, community activist, mother, friend, tenant, graphic and visual artist, entrepreneur, writer, stand-up comedian, and storyteller. Rose began storytelling in the 1980's when a corporate take-over forced her out of a job. She compares storytelling with the ocean, "Just throw it out there, then it comes back to you, and that is what starts the whole circle of communication. That is what storytelling is about. It is about connecting with people; otherwise there is no purpose to it." Rose has presented at many places around NYC. She has been heard on public radio as well as seen on cable TV.

Izell Glover is a storyteller, teacher, artist, and cowboy. A founder of the Black Cowboys, he tells historical legends of Black cowboys such as 'Legend of Nat Love, Annie Oakley and Wild Bill Hickock.' He has been teaching at Medger Evers College since 1989 as an adjunct and became a fulltime professor (in the Department of Mass Communications) in 1995. For over 50 years, art has been an indispensable aspect of his existence, beginning with his own art, which ranges from the fine arts, sculpting, and projects in African and Egyptian artistic styles, and his career as a teacher in which he teaches others to express themselves through art. Izell is also a noted speaker on the arts scene.

Tammy Hall, a former New York City teacher and advocate for literacy, has been called "Storyteller Supreme" and conducts storytelling and writing workshops throughout the greater metropolitan area. As an African-American and native of Clarksville, Tennessee, she draws from her black southern rural heritage to deliver an unforgettable tale. Listening to wonderful stories at the foot of her first and most memorable storyteller, her father, had a profound effect on her life. Ms. Hall believes storytelling to be an artistic, expressive way of bringing people together and guiding them on a journey of the world's cultures, peoples, and landscapes through imagination.

Ahmad Jaber Dr. Ahmad Jaber grew up in Palestine and has lived in the US since 1974. He co-founded the Arab American Association of NY and is currently the board president of this social organization in Bay Ridge. He is also a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist. As a child, he used to gather around a fire of clay and wood with other children and listen to his grandmother tell Palestinian folktales. He carries these tales with him stories about ghouls, evil stepmothers and magical apples.

Kid Lucky is a beatboxer, emcee and spoken word artist. Since 1996 Kid Lucky has been considered one of the most cutting edge beatboxers in the world. He shows his talents with "Mixed Vocal Arts," a one man show that fuses beatboxing, rapping, Vocal Percussion, singing, spoken word and vocal sound effects into one vocal style. The entire piece is created in the same fashion of Miles Davis's ground breaking album "Kind of Blue" with a structure filled with improvisation and freestyle. As solo acapella artist, Kid Lucky has collaborated with numerous of vocalists from all over the world including Stevie Wonder, Rahzel, Eklipse (France), Baba Israel (NYC/UK), Tik Tak (Poland), Cossiga (Czech Rep), Bee Low (Berlin), Hobbit (UK) Roce (France) and more. He has also performed at top venues all over the word including Madison Square Garden (NYC) Archa Theater (Prague), Mama Shelter (France) and many more.

Aeilushi Mistry is an Indian classical dancer, and performs Hindu myths of Lord Ganesha and narrative dance. Aeilushi Mistry was born in Gujarat, India, and has studied the complex classical dance of Bharatnatyam under several noteworthy teachers, including Kalanidhi Narayan, Jigna Sheth, and C.V. Chandrashekhar. In 2001, she earned her MA in Bharatnatyam from the prestigious Kerala Kalamandalam School of Dance and Music in Kerala, India, and has taught and performed throughout India and the United States. Aeilushi is also an expert in several of India's folkloric traditions.

Caraid O'Brien was born in Galway, Ireland, where she first heard Irish stories from her grandmother. She is a three time recipient of a new play commission from the Foundation for Jewish Culture for her translations of Yiddish plays. The director of numerous Bloomsday broadcasts, Caraid performed the complete Molly Bloom monologue and is a guest host for The Next Hour on WBAI. As an actress, she has appeared in numerous productions with the Obie award winning theater company, Todo con Nada. Caraid has lectured on theater at universities and institutions throughout the US and her essays and reviews have appeared in books, magazines, newspapers, on the radio and online. Her grandmother Annie was a seanchai, a traditional Irish storyteller.

Born, bred and buttered in Brooklyn, Professor Louie has been rapping endless neighborhood street poetries since he learned how to talk. He could walk to Prospect Park from the house where he was born, he can walk to Prospect Park from the house where he lives now, and he hopes to be able to walk to Prospect Park from wherever he is after he dies. Another Brooklyn lifer, Fast Eddie, on percussion, is descended from a long line of African and Taino princes who taught him the ancient rhythms of the motherland through countless ritual gatherings on the nameless stoops and streetcorners of the endless barrios of New York City. They have four CD's out on the Free Brooklyn Now label.

Jane Catherine Shaw began working with puppetry over 20 years ago. She estimates she has given over 2000 performances and has worked with a wide range of puppet styles. Ms Shaw creates her own work for puppet theatre, most recently THIRST: MEMORY OF WATER as well as THE LONE RUNNER, BED OF LIGHT, and UNIVERSE EXPANDING all of which premiered at La Mama, She also enjoys working with others who are creating original works for puppet theater. (Theodora Skipitares, Ellen Stewart, Mabou Mines, Lee Breuer, Janie Geiser). She designed and built 36 puppets for Lee Breuer's DOLLHOUSE and directed the puppetry sequence for the show. She was Master Puppeteer for both Hook, and Jane in the original cast of Mabou Mines' PETER AND WENDY as well as serving as puppetry director for the show. She is co-founder and co-curator of the VOICE 4 VISION PUPPET FESTIVAL. She recently graduated on the Dean's List with an MFA in directing from Brooklyn College.

Rita Silva, a native of Bahia, Brazil has lived in Brooklyn since 1991. A practitioner of candombla traditions learned from her aunt in Salvador, Ms. Silva has intimate knowledge of the blend of Yoruban animism and Portuguese Catholicism in her native land. She has carried these traditions of 'healing, invocation, dance, drumming and altar making' forward in the Brazilian community in Brooklyn. For Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn Ms. Silva will relate the many stories associated with her orixa, Shango. She will participate in the Parks and Gardens Narrative Performance Series.

ZuoBin Tang currently serves as a Program Coordinator of Adult Education and Literacy Services at the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association (BCA). In addition, he has also been serving as the BCA Lion Dance Team captain for the past two years. With the goal of celebrating Chinese heritage and spreading good luck across our city, the BCA Lion Dance Team has performed at various venues across the city including: Brooklyn Borough Hall, area schools and hospitals, as well as BCA's own Annual Chinese New Year Celebration Parade in Sunset Park. Aside from serving as a Lion Dance performer, ZuoBin has also told the story behind the Lion Dance performance as well as the story of the famous Chinese moon goddess named Chang Er.

Thelma Ruffin Thomas serves as the Artistic Director of the Pearls of Wisdom. As an independent storyteller, she performs throughout New York City and along the eastern seaboard. She has traveled all over the world telling stories in Tanzania, Brazil, Ghana, Coast Rica, South Africa, Russia, and Australia. Her extraordinary storytelling skills provide a uniquely entertaining and educational experience. Thelma is a founding member of the African Folk Heritage Circle, along with being a member of the Network of Biblical Storytellers, The Storytelling Center, the National Association of Black Storytellers, and the Harlem Arts Alliance. She says with enthusiasm, "Go out and tell your stories wherever you go."

View the event flyer View the event flyer Great_BK_Story_Event_Jun_11.pdf