Celebrate ‘Tellabration,’ annual festival of tales

By Kate Bobby

This weekend the art of storytelling will be celebrated throughout New York, across the country, and by an increasing number of nations around the world with the festival “Tellabration: The Night of Storytelling,”

“I really believe telling stories is the way we survive as a people,” said Barbara Aliprantis, a professional storyteller who is both producer and artistic director of the Queens Tellabration, starting 3 p.m. at new Langston Hughes Library, 100-01 Northern Blvd., in Corona.

“Everybody has a story to tell,” said Aliprantis, explaining the growing popularity of the event that was founded by J.G. “Paw Paw” Pinkerton, a retired businessman turned professional storyteller. In 1987, Pinkerton started a storytelling festival in his home state of Connecticut. With the event deemed a success, the seed was planted and by 1988, six such festivals were held across Connecticut.

In 1990, the festival was adopted by the National Storytelling Network, attracting an audience of more than 12,000 people with sites in 74 towns within 27 states in the following year. By 1997, Tellabration expanded to become a worldwide cause for celebration, recognized by 44 states and 10 foreign countries, including: Japan, Bermuda, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Africa, Scotland, New Zealand, Brazil and France.

And this year there is an ever-growing list of cities signing up to celebrate for the first time, including an estimated 177 cities across North America, plus 47 newcomers from other parts of the world. Counted among this year's first time celebrants for example, is the city of Shanghai.

Renowned storytellers who will be enhancing the art form in Queens will include: published author Penninah Shram; Patricia Shih, famous for blending stories with song; Jim Hawkins, a storyteller born in America and raised in Ireland; Motoko, with her stories of Japan; Eshu Bumpus; Thelma Thomas; and Ken Corsbie.

The Queens Tellabration is hosted with the help of the Flushing Jewish Community Council, the New York Commission on Human Rights and Greenpoint Mortgage.

The five other city Tellabrations are scheduled for Nov. 20, from 7-10 p.m., at the following locations: the Museum of the City of New York, Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street in Manhattan (call 613-3117); the Unitarian Church, 312 Filmore Street, Staten Island (call 720-5349); Unitarian Universalist Church, Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset, Long Island, call (516) 587-7176; Little Portion Friary, Mount Sinai, Long Island, call (516) 473-0553.

For additional information, call 461-1355 or visit ttp://members.aol.com/tellabrate/