Sunday, January 29, 2012

Home Cooked Comics Festival: Kamishibai and other outdoor stories

I've been watching the weather all week - checking the long range forecast which changes constantly and feeds open air performance anxiety. The Home Cooked Comics Festival in Batman Park (how bizarre is that?) promised to be a celebration for those who love comic books and graphic novels but it could have all gone to mush if it had been too wet, too hot, too windy...

But the elements were kind. The weather was perfect - hottish but with a cooling breeze and Batman Park has a good scattering of mature, shady trees - all up, a wonderful environment for an outing with the bike and the Kamishibai.

The festival had a fabulous buzz and though I was busy telling stories for most it and missed out on a lot, I can say in all honesty the vibe was happy, the smiles stretched from ear to ear and folk were coming up to me expressing open hearted delight at the whole thing. The program included a parade, a fight choreography workshop, giant comic book making, live music ... Bernard Caleo mcd the Comics Quiz... You can read more about the program here.

Thanks to the Festival and Darebin Council for inviting me along. The K was a huge a success. I am absolutely hooked on the idea of taking stories out into the world - into parks, markets and festivals.

On the subject of the joy of taking stories out into public spaces, here is a video clip of friend Luis Correia Carmelo selling stories in a park in Portugal. His stories cost between 1 and 5 euro.

Enjoy ...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kamishibai hits the road

Peter - up to his elbows in bike entrails

Oh Boy! Has this been a process!

Not having the skills to make my own kamishibai rig, Peter Santos who sold me my bike, bravely took on the challenge.

With Christmas and New Year and a constant stream of helmut heads wanting his beautiful bikes, I have had to be patient. But at last the rig has been fitted and I have been pedalling the streets of Newport road testing the design.

Bel supervises all sales

The box is made of powder coated steel and fixed to the pack rack with four removable clamps. Ted Smith, who made the K inserted 3 earth magnets into the base of the K and it clamps to the lid. The beauty of this idea is I can sit the K on any angle.

Inside the box is a shelf. The K sits snug in a purpose stitched blanket case and is prevented from bouncing around by a roll of socks. The bottom shelf fits a ton of drawings. The rig is very heavy and the steering is different - just need to be cautious. The Pilen bike is so beautifully geared and balanced, that I really do not notice any extra effort pedalling. I know of no other bike that could cope so well with the load.

Peter has fitted the bike with a double leg kickstand but to add to the stability I have added a few tent poles. These will be replaced in time with Clickstands.

Now I know all this detailed info will not be of interest to everyone - but trust me, there are kamishibai enthusiasts around the world and this kind of sharing conversation makes us happy!

Peter Santos : psbikes

Bookings: The Storytelling Garden

Monday, January 23, 2012

Immigration Museum Kids Fest: All Aboard! 21-22 Jan 2012

The temperature is rising and the tennis is growing ever more exciting. International visitors are pouring into the city looking unmistakably like fans - I think its the visors!

But in the Immigration Museum, we were kept cool by the historic thick walls. Just as well, as children raced through the doors to enjoy All Aboard : a special children’s festival for children aged 3-12 and their families.

Packed with exciting performances, inspiring art installations, fun activities and adventure trails celebrating journeys and arrivals, the punters were treated to hours of fun.

The staff created a beautiful storytelling space for me with a plush red chair. I had the fun of telling some of my favourite stories from around the world: Spain, Hawaii, Turkey and China ... just to name a few.

And how about my gold Thai silk fisherman's pants? I felt very exotic!

Next week I will be at The Home Cooked Comics Festival

Date: Saturday 28 January
Time: 3-7pm
Location: Batman Park, corner St Georges and Arthurton Roads, Northcote.

The Home Cooked Comics Festival is a free celebration for those who love comic books and graphic novels. There will be live music by Animaux and Squid Squad, fight choreography and comic making workshops, Kamishibai (Japanese ‘paper drama’) and the Allen & Unwin Comics Quiz Show.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Storytelling off the back of my bike

I live in a beautiful part of Melbourne in a community that is embracing of diversity and supportive of the arts the environment. Today I had a taste of it all when I had the privilege of telling stories as part of GOWEST for Midsumma.

Hobsons Bay proudly creates opportunities and events at this time of year supporting and representing GLBTIQ (Gay Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer) communities in the west.

Such a perfect morning, I was able to ride my bike around Port Phillip Bay, through the Williamstown Wetlands, around the old racecourse where Phar Lap once thrilled the crowds and along the Altona Esplanade under the towering Norfolk Pines.

My bike coped magnificently with a heavy basket loaded with props and all sorts of bibs and bobs that a storyteller needs. The frame, rack and stand are so sturdy, that even with such a load, it's
perfectly stable and I can work out off the back of
it without any fear of a topple.

Please enjoy the pics I took on the way. If only I had a better lens I could have shown you some of the birds I saw: rails, swans, stilts, pelicans, grebes ... and I narrowly missed a tiger snake who likes to cross the path between one pond and the next. But I did nearly collide with a frantic parent who was dealing with a catatonic child. Ahh ... urban wildlife

This sculpture marks the site of the old Williamstown racecourse. Its called Requiem for a Champion and the artist is Yvonne George.

This pic was taken on a bridge crossing one of the ponds in the Williamstown Wetlands. Beyond is Port Phillip Bay. With so much rain in the past two years - the vegetation is looking brilliant and the wildlife is thriving - and only about 12 ks from the CBD.

Coming into Altona, the bike path follows the esplanade under the trees. Glorious!

Thankyou to Hobsons Bay librarians for inviting me to be their guest storyteller. Info about preschool Storytime and Rhymetime here. And thankyou Russell for taking the photos.

This weekend: Immigration Museum: Kid's Fest: All Aboard!
January 21 and 22
12.15 2.15. 3.15

Bookings: The Storytelling Garden

Friday, January 13, 2012

Story Time in Altona Park 19 January 2012

As part of GoWest: celebrating Queer Culture in Melbourne's west, I will be telling stories to children in the park.

The idea is to load my gear onto the back of my beautiful bike and pedal to Logan Reserve. I had a test run today. I loaded up my little beauty - my Pilen (that's Swedish for arrow in case you had forgotten) and went for a buzz around the back streets of Newport. Stately as a galleon we sailed around corners and glided up hills into the wind.

So weather permitting, next week I will be delivering stories off the back of my bike.

My Kamishibai is not ready yet so I have opted for the basket however I have been advised that the numbers could be large at this gig and the kamishiba would not work so well.

However ... the K will be at The Home Cooked Comics Festival info: here.

In the meantime I will be at the Rainbow Family Story Time – celebrating all our unique families. Bring a rug, and relax on the lawns.

19th January
10.30am to 11.30am
Logan Reserve, Pier Street, Altona.

I tell stories all over Melbourne. If you want me to visit you ...
email Tania: The Storytelling Garden

Visit my website here


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