Thu, 21 December 2006
The wanderer has returned, to continue wandering with the rest of us. Zephyr just got back from his 10-day jaunt to North Carolina, where he recorded a mini-album with his punk rock band in Winston-Salem. He brought along a rough cut of the disc, and we play a brief excerpt from it on the podcast. He rejoins his parents in the San Francisco Bay Area, our old stomping grounds, where we've been stomping longer in recent days than in years - and indeed more time than we've spent just about anywhere in years. But after a performance at the Mitchell Park Library in Palo Alto, we're ready to hit the highway again.
The Gift of the Magi
This week's story is "The Gift of the Magi", which is appropriate for two reasons. First, it is of course a classic Christmas Story; and after a 3-month buildup, Santa is just about ready for his yearly cruise. Additionally, the author of the story, William Sydney Porter (better known by his pen name of O. Henry) was a native of the same area Zephyr has been visiting. He was born in Greensboro, N.C. (where the band's drummer lives) in 1862 and died in 1910. During the last few years of his life, he wrote fiction at a whirlwind pace, and became famous for his trademark surprise twist endings, such as the one in "Gift of the Magi". (He also, incidentally, coined the term "banana republic".) It's likely that the character of Della in this story was modeled after his first wife, who died of tuberculosis, from which he also suffered.
Dennis shares his favorite Christmas story, an incident he read about in the news two or three years ago, and recalls as best he can, despite being unable to find the details anywhere. If anybody has any info on this story, please pass it along to us.
And as we make it clear in our podcast, we extend happy holiday wishes to everyone, regardless of their religion, customs, or brand of holiday cheer - or lack thereof. See you in 2007!
Dennis (the narrator), Kimberly "Della" and Zephyr "Jim" Goza
Thu, 14 December 2006
High above the East Bay town of Castro Valley, California - just a few miles across the bay from San Francisco - is Lake Chabot Campground, part of the California State Parks. It's one of the few campgrounds available in the S.F. Bay Area, and just about the only reasonably priced one. So we've stayed there often during the years, and have many colorful memories of the place, some of which we'll share on this week's podcast. Dennis and Kimberly are spending a few days at this campground (while Zephyr is in North Carolina recording with his band A Simple Disaster) to focus on getting the new productions together.
The Swan Maiden
Since we are encamped overlooking a lake, we thought it would be appropriate to bring you the Swedish folktale of The Swan Maiden, about a hunter who sees three beautiful swans alight at a lake, and then before his eyes they remove their feathery cloaks and become beautiful young maidens who swim in the lake. Later, they put their feathers back on and fly away. He falls in love with the youngest of the swan maidens and can't get her out of his mind. So on the advice of his mother, he goes back to the lake and awaits their return, whereupon he steals the youngest swan's feathers, so she cannot turn back into a swan. She agrees to marry him (what other answer could you possibly give to a guy who steals your feathers?) and for a time it seems they are living happily ever after. But ultimately, the hunter pays a heavy price for "clipping the wings" of a free creature.
This story has parallels to many other tales, including Swan Lake (the basis for the Tchaikovsky ballet) and Lohengrin (the inspiration for the Wagner opera - what is it with composers and swans, anyway?) as well as several other variants-some involving other types of fowl-from China, Japan and India. There's even a similar story in The Arabian Nights.
Dennis "the Hunter" and Kimberly "the Swan Maiden" Goza
Tue, 12 December 2006
This week's challenge really had our brains doing overtime. "And now a word from our sponsor..." that's what they threw at us. So we pondered, brainstormed and batted it about for a few days before we finally came up with a piece we call "In Wolves Clothing".
Have a listen and then vote for your favorite by logging in on the Pickle Site, logging in to the forums (Yes, they make you log in twice) there you should see the place to vote and make comments. If not, click on Forums > Podcast Discussions > Pickle Tales Round 2 (it is pinned on the top).
Voting for this round begins December 13th (not the 11th or 12th as originally scheduled) and ends at noon (ET) a couple of days later - that's 9 am on the west coast. Please check the Pickle site for details as we will be off sewing costumes for a new show up in the woods and Zephyr is off recording with his band in North Carolina.
Thanks for listening,
Dennis (Red's Wolf), Kimberly (Red and the Director) and Zephyr the announcer
Category:general -- posted at: 5:01 AM
Thu, 7 December 2006
Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay was a notorious federal prison from 1934 to 1963, and a military prison and military base for many years before that. On a return trip to our old hometown of San Francisco, we finally took a tour of The Rock, beginning with a ferry ride from Pier 33. Once on the island, we participated in ranger-led tours (the island is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area) and an audio tour that told us about the prison's colorful history - including a riot in 1946 that left 3 guards and 2 inmates dead. On hand was Darwin Coon, who was an inmate here from 1959 to 1963, to promote his book "Alcatraz; the True End of the Line".
This week we present the Grimm Brothers story "Rapunzel", one of the best known fairy tales in the world, and one of the central plots in the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods". The story involves a woman who craved greens from a neighbor's garden so strongly that she was willing to give up her firstborn child for them; and the neighbor, unfortunately, was quite willing to take the child. This epitome of a nightmarish neighbor also happened to be an evil sorceress who imprisoned the girl (whom she named Rapunzel) in a tower, climbing up to see her by way of Rapunzel's long, long hair. But even a tower can't keep her away from handsome princes foreverâ�¦
Upcoming Public Performances
They are live and they are free (thanks to your public libraries and community centers)
Dennis the Prince (also husband and narrator), Kimberly "Rapunzel" (and wife), and Zephyr the "crone"
Thu, 30 November 2006
What better way to spend a Thanksgiving than by going to Disneyland? Well actually there must be dozens of better ways. The place was packed like a glass slipper on the foot of Cinderella's stepsister. But that didn't deter Zephyr and his "big sister" Ellie from spending a full day there, and we do mean a full day - from 9:00 a.m. until nearly time for the RV to turn back into a Thanksgiving pumpkin. They found the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride to be totally remodeled to pay homage to the movies that pay homage to the original version of the ride. The newly revamped Space Mountain was also back in operation after too long in inoperation, and the Haunted Mansion was given a complete makeover for Yuletide.
Santa Monica and Venice
A couple of days later, we took a stroll, for the first time ever, from the Santa Monica Pier (where we rode the roller coaster) to Venice Beach, soaking up the colorful atmosphere of street performers, arts and crafts vendors and inline skaters skating in anything but a line.
The Three Little Pigs
For no particular reason, we decided to present "The Three Little Pigs" this week, or as we call it, "The Pee Little Thrigs". That's because we thought it would be fun to tell the story in spoonerisms, a type of slip of the tongue (or "tip of the slung") that involves switching the first letters between two words. Thus, "hung out the flags" becomes "flung out the hags". Spoonerism was named after Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), an instructor at Oxford University. Telling fairy tales laced with spoonerisms was popularized by comedian Archie Campbell (1914-1987), writer and star of the TV series "Hee Haw"; it was also used by the dwarf Doc in the Disney classic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" (more correctly Dwarfs). Hey! We knew there was a logical reason we decided to do it this week!
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Dennis: the narrator, Hester the 3rd Pig (also the Brick Seller), Kimberly: mother pig and Lester the 1st Pig (also the straw seller) , Zephyr: the wig bad bolf, Jester the 2nd Pig (also the stick seller) Goza
Mon, 27 November 2006
Thanks to all who voted for us last round we netted a whopping 1/3 of the votes and we have made it to round two of the Pickle Tales storytelling contest.
For this round we were issued 3 sound effects and told to come up with a story. So, we told the "Fiddlestick Family and the Eggs" a traditional folktale from the Ozarks that we just made up.
Listen to the six stories in this round. Some of the other stories may be "PG-13" (ours is "G").
One of the stories in this round will be eliminated (we are hoping it won't be us!). Voting happens today Nov. 27th through the 30th (ends at noon Eastern) at Podcast PickleYou can also get there by going to the Podcast Pickle homepage, then looking under Forums > Podcast Discussion > Pickle Tales Round II.
Thanks for your support,
Dennis "Pa Fiddlesticks", Kimberly "Ma" and Zephyr the narrator and "Cousin Clem"
Category:general -- posted at: 7:05 PM
Thu, 23 November 2006
It's Cool to be Kind!
Welcome to our ThanksGIVING episode! This week we are focusing on putting the "giving" in Thanksgiving and spreading Random Acts of Kindness.
Last week we talked about the Green RV in which college students travel the country, usimg their life on the road to find their road in life. This episode expands on that as we talk about the Extreme Kindness Tour. In 2002 four young men from Canada decided to hit the road on a 3 month Extreme Kindness Tour. Find out about what they did to promote kindness and "pay it forward".
We've also got some other stories about people who have made a difference in the world by focusing on "paying it forward", including Larry Stewart of Lee's Summit, Missouri who decided at Christmas time in 1979 to take $200 out of his bank account and anonymously pass it around to those who were less fortunate than himself. He has been known only as the "Secret Santa" as he continued his giving spree throughout the years, giving more and more. He is now dyeing of cancer and has decided to reveal his identity so that others may continue his legacy. His story was in the news this week.
Also find out a bit about Podcamp West; and Zephyr tells his tale about his run-in with mall security while trying to give out "Free Hugs" in Massachusetts.
The Lion and the Mouse
In the spirit of giving and doing for others we bring you the Aesop fable about the unlikely acts of kindness between a lion and a mouse. A mouse promises to help the fierce lion if only the lion won't eat him. But how will the mouse repay the lion?
Folklore and Philanthropy Lesson Plans
Round II of the Podcast Pickle Storytelling Contest
Thanks to those who voted in round I of the Pickle Tales Storytelling Contest. THANKS to you we've made it to round II and have been issued a new challenge! This time we have to tell a story incorporating 3 sound effects selected by the folks at Podcast Pickle. Come find out how we did it in the never-before-heard "folktale" from the Ozarks that we just made up. Enjoy "The Fiddlesticks Family and the Eggs" and 5 other stories and vote for your favorite November 27th-30th.
What will YOU do to pass along kindness? We'd love to hear about it. Leave us comments and we'll share your random acts of kindness with the world. Remember, it's cool to be kind!
Dennis (the narrator and hunters), Kimberly the "mouse", and Zephyr the "lion" Goza
Thu, 16 November 2006
Define your own road in life!
Road Trip Nation
We're revisiting our roots and catching up with old friends in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we stopped in at San Jose State University to attend a presentation about Roadtrip Nation, a PBS program that dispatches teams of 3 college students to travel the country for 6 weeks in a green RV exploring career options by interviewing prominent personalities in business, entertainment, law, public service, and other fields. The team of students we met today interviewed the CEO of Starbucks and leaders of other well-known businesses, as well as stand-up comic Wanda Sykes and talk show host Wendy Williams. And their experience on the road this summer has given them valuable insight into what directions their own lives should take.
This week, we present a story about someone else who had to courageously forge her own path: The Song of Mu Lan, a folk tale from China. (Which we've been performing onstage as part of our production "Daring to Dream".) It's the saga of a teenage girl who disguises herself as a man in order to join the army and fight in place of her ailing father, thus preserving family honor. And according to tradition, she served her country extremely well and even became a high-ranking officer.
We don't know for certain whether The Song of Mu Lan is a true story, but it was written as a poem about 1500 years ago. The name "Mu Lan", which is translated as "Magnolia", means literally "wood flower", a very appropriate name for a person who appeared as delicate as a flower but turned out to be as durable as wood.
Dennis, Kimberly and Zephyr Goza
Mon, 13 November 2006
Recently we entered our story "Simple Ivan" in an online contest for storytelling podcasts. It was judged on creativity, writing, and skill of production. And we are happy to announce that it has been selected as one of 12 finalists. Now listener votes will determine if it moves to the next round.
Six of the twelve stories have already been released in episode "A" and were voted on Nov. 6th-10th. "Simple Ivan" is a part of the "B" group that was released today, Nov. 13th. Voting for this round will end on Nov. 16th at noon (ET).
Anyone can listen and vote. Some of the stories may be "PG-13".
If you would like to participate in the voting process you will need to register at http://www.podcastpickle.com (it's painless). You'll see the log in/sign up box on the top right of the page. Then go to the forum to vote for your favorite story (under "Podcast Discussion").
And so long as you are there, why not to add us http://activated.podcastpickle.com to your favorites and leave us your comments.
Voting for this round ends Nov. 16th at noon (ET). The top six stories will go on to the next level.
Dennis, Kimberly and Zephyr Goza
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:39 PM
Thu, 9 November 2006
It's National Geography Week and Children's Book Week, November 12-19. And we have just the tale to celebrate both occasions: Hansel and Gretel (a la Lemony Snicket meets Wizard of Oz).
We are back in San Jose, having been to Sacramento to appear on the ABC-affiliated show Sac and Company and to Modesto to perform at the library this week. We'll tell you a bit about the inner workings of a live TV show. And right now Zephyr is helping pull apart Callson Manor, the haunted house he worked at last week, while we babysit the property at night.
Nominated for Storytelling Podcast Award!
Our story "Simple Ivan" has been selected as one of 12 finalists in the Pickle Tales "Tell Me a Story" Podcasting Competion. Now listener votes will determine if it moves to the next round.
Register with Podcast Pickle so you can participate in the voting process November 13-16!
And so long as you are at it be sure to add us to your favorites http://activated.podcastpickle.com and leave us your comments.
Please check back for more information and links November 13th.
Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel get ditched in the woods and have to escape an evil hag who lives in a sweet house and find their way back home. In our version they meet a few other storybook characters who give them some bad directions along the way.
National Geography Week
We've been traveling full time since 1992 and have had more than our share of bad directions. Nowadays, we use GPS, computer map programs and Google Maps on our cell phone to get where we are going. But way back when we started touring, we had to rely on people to give us directions. It's amazing we got anywhere! Hardly anyone knows the name of the streets in their hometown. And we have repeatedly scratched our heads after hearing "Well, you turn left at the old Jones place and if you come to the train tracks you've gone to far!". And "Just turn right at the corn field." We'd like to point out that we are in Kansas and surrounded by cornfields but don't have the heart.
So bottom line, study those maps and read those street signs so you can help someone find their way. And if you want to get anywhere, learn your geography and how to use a GPS! Or else you will have to leave some bread crumbs!
Children's Book Week
Zephyr has been reading the entire "Series of Unfortunate Events" to mom and dad this month. And in this episode Dennis recounts his encounter with Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket).
Reading out loud is an excellent way to celebrate Children's Book Week. We hope you'll celebrate by following a map to your local library to see what special events they have planned. And while you are there, check out some childrens' books. Especially in the folktale section (Dewey Decimal 398.2).
And be sure to get a copy of "Tales from Under the Crevice" or the sequel "Tales from Under the Nook" by our resident young author Zephyr Goza at your library or bookstore, or online at CreviceTales.com.
Dennis, Kimberly and Zephyr Goza