May 19, 2018

NDP Story Circle

Illiteratty                  Photo by Stefan Nielsen

Our first major fundraiser outside an election was staged Wednesday, May 16th, and it was a grand success!

Photo by Ron Richings

Story Circle was a themed evening all about storytelling ~ in words and in music ~ and was staged at The Cottage Bistro on Main Street in Vancouver.

Illiteratty on stage at Story Circle    Photo by Ron Richings

Producer of Story Circle, and Vancouver-Langara BC NDP member, Jim Murray, set about creating a showcase of storytelling by combining great music with some of Vancouver's best storytellers, and stories that come from outside the box, and inside the circle.

Jim Murray    Photo by Stefan Nielsen

Stories had to be original, could be read or memorized, told within five to seven minutes, and adhere to the basic storytelling model of having a beginning, middle and end -- no speeches, no rants and, in this night's case, no poetry.

The evening opened with Illiteratty doing four songs...

Illiteratty at Story Circle       Photo by Tristan Dickson

Illiteratty is a folk group from Vancouver, performing original swing, European cabaret, ambient, celtic, rockabilly, a cappela, folk, world, pop and more. All with sharp lyrics and five part vocal harmonies. The songs are funny, angry, intelligent and political.

Sherry y Jeem         Photo by Tristan Dickson

Sherry y Jeem  recounted a story about a slight misunderstanding in Buenos Aires.... "No, politico movimiento!"

Leslie Stark  Photo by Tristan Dickson

Leslie Stark told a story about a high school president that had more than a vague resemblance to a contemporary president of the Excited States. Leslie is producer of Vancouver Fringe Festival plays with her group: The Elegant Ladies Collective. Leslie Stark also tells stories at Vancouver Story Slam and The Flame. Leslie is a high school teacher, playwright, poet, mom, dancer, hoop-maker, and cat cuddler.

Spillious  Photo by Stefan Nielsen

Next up: Spillious, a Trans-feminine poetic creature from Vancouver. Spillious was the 2017 Grand Slam Champion of the Vancouver Poetry Slam, and a Vancouver Story Slam Finalist in 2017. Sometimes loud, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and always brutally honest, Spillious touches on what it is to be queer, Trans femme, a father and an educator all at the same time. Spillious is also a high school music teacher, workshop facilitator and academic. They have been performing spoken word for over a decade and have been featured in venues all over Canada and the Excited States.

Sherry MacDonald   Photo by Stefan Nielsen

Sherry MacDonald told a personal story of family tragedy. Sherry lives in Vancouver-Langara and volunteered for our campaign during the last election. She is frequently seen on this stage telling stories at  Vancouver Story Slam and The Flame. She’s a writer, playwright, teacher and mother of three adult sons. Sherry is currently working on a musical about the Battle of Ballantyne Pier, with her composer, Illiteratty's own: Earle Peach.

Kelly Greene    Photo by Ron Richings

After another set by Illiteratty, special guest Kelly Greene took to the stage. Kelly was our party’s candidate in the last election for Richmond-Steveston. When once asked what her theme song might be, Kelly answered: We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister. Kelly led our gathering in a fundraising exercise that exceeded expectations!

In the next election, whenever that might be, Kelly will become the MLA from Richmond Steveston, and we'll be adding our support in making that victory happen!

Susan Dickson
Photo by
Stefan Nielsen

Next up, with a personal story of love and Cuba, was Susan Dickson. Susan is a retired school teacher, a world traveller, a drama teacher, a lover of Shakespeare, and someone who lives in Vancouver-Langara and knocked on doors for our campaign during the last election. Susan Dickson tells stories at the Vancouver Story Slam.

Mike Funergy     Photo by Ron Richings

Mike Funergy told a story about exploring in Victoria, getting hauled in by the police and explaining it all away, "Just like Dora".  Mike is a creative therapist, facilitator, storyteller, and performer who believes in building stronger connections and communities through the use of play, creativity, and imagination. Mike tells stories at Vancouver Story Slam and The Flame, and believes that world peace can be established through good stories and sock puppets. 

Don Simpson
Photo by Stefan Nielsen

Last up for our evening was Don Simpson and a story about cats.... No, not the musical. When asked to provide a brief bio of himself, Don said, “I live in quiet retirement in Kitsilano and appear, to my daughter's amazement, to still have almost all of my marbles.” Well, regardless of how many marbles are still in the bag, Don Simpson is a perennial favourite at the Vancouver Story Slam, and recent winner of the Verses Spoken Word Festival Invitational Story Slam. and he provided a great final story for the Story Circle.

Stefan Nielsen                  Photo by Tristan Dickson

Our first Story Circle was a success! Thanks to all the performers and to Cottage Bistro for setting the stage. Thanks to all who attended!

Part of an appreciative audience    Photo by Stefan Nielsen

Story Circle was produced and hosted by 
Jim Murray, with help from Sherry MacDonald and the Executive of Vancouver-Langara BC New Democrats.

Text by Jim Murray.
Copyright 2018 by V-L BC NDP.