Hooked on Oregon Public Broadcasting

7 03 2012

I told you about my first scheduled performance at Fisher Poets Gathering 2012, but I didn’t tell you what happened next.

During the break, a tall, kind-eyed man introduced himself. Ifanyi Bell, digital producer with Oregon Public Broadcasting. He wanted to do a story about a greenhorn performer, someone brand-new to the Fisher Poets scene. Would I be interested?

I recalled the fall course I’d taken with editor Brooke Warner. She’d rejected proposals based on the author’s nonexistent platform, and urged us to start building our online presence before shopping our books. Would I be interested? Ah, yes.

We met up Saturday afternoon in the Fort George Showroom, the same venue that I’d perform in later that night. Good for his filming goals, and a welcome opportunity for me to get comfortable with the acoustics while rehearsing that evening’s piece. (If you were in the audience that night, you’ll notice that what I rehearsed isn’t what you heard. Abrupt change of plans a few hours before show time… But that’s another story.)

With floor to ceiling windows and brick walls, the former car showroom was cold, but the company was warm. We bonded over our unique names, both familiar with using their mispronunciation to weed out telemarketers. (If-ahn-ee and Tell-ah, BTW.) Delightfully personable, he asked insightful questions about the culture of commercial fishing, storytelling, and where they intersect. Our interview re-routed into an almost two hour conversation.

Ifanyi’s story went live on OPB this afternoon. Watching the finished video, I felt like I’d stepped into one of my favorite storytelling podcasts. His gifts as an interviewer had been apparent, but seeing the way that he pulled it all together was astonishing. Take a look, and keep an eye out for this man’s work. You can follow @ifanyi on Twitter.

Thanks, Tom Hilton, for this photo.

Serious skills you have, sir… Much gratitude for promoting my work with such generous artfulness.





Coming Soon: Fisher Poets 2012!

8 02 2012

Hey, you guys – it’s almost time for the Fisher Poets Gathering!

Not familiar with FPG? Every February, men and women connected to the fishing industry flood into Astoria, Oregon, to share poems, songs, memoir, and visual art in celebration of this unique livelihood. People come from around the country to take part in this event (from around the globe, in fact: one of this year’s FisherPoets is from Japan) Now in their 15th year, more than 70 artists will be performing this February 24-26.

(Having a hard time imagining a fisherman/woman poet? Veteran FisherPoet and photographer Pat Dixon put together this gorgeous site of past performers and their work.)

Fishin’ folks, writers, storytellers, nestled into bars and restaurants in a seaside town… Some of my favorite things, right there.  So it’s more than a little shameful that I’ve never been to a FPG. Astoria is only about 5 hours south of Bellingham, but somehow, the timing just never worked out. I’ve been a long-distance, wanna-be groupie for an embarrassing number of years now, swooning over various highliner performers from afar. (Yes, I’m lookin’ at you two, Moe Bowstern and Jen Pickett!)

But no more! When, at the end of last season, Cap’n J and I discussed our winter goals, I announced, “I want to finally make it to Fisher Poets this February.” He’s always game for a road trip, especially to the Oregon Coast. (One of his favorite photography destinations, as you can see here.) And just like that, the room’s rented, we’re going, and I’m a quivery mess of excitement.

That quivery mess? Not just about excitement, but nerves, too. As it turns out, sweet readers, this won’t just be my first time in the Fisher Poets audience, but on the stage, too. The organizers generously gave this greenhorn two slots on the schedule (7 pm Friday at the Baked Alaska, and 9 pm Saturday at the Fort George Showroom. Just, you know, if you’re in the area and wanted to stop by.) I’m grateful to be on board, and am eager to learn from the pros.

Between the thrill of hearing some of my FisherPoet idols in person, and the anxiety of filling my 15 minute slots with worthy pieces, I expect the weekend will fly by in a blur of shanties and salt-tinged stories. I can’t wait.

If you’re within range and looking for a fantastic weekend, please join us in Astoria, February 24-26. All of the information is here – admission, scheduling, etc. Info on lodging in Astoria is here. Can’t make it and want to enjoy vicariously? NPR-affiliate KMUN 91.9 FM will be livestreaming the Astoria Events Center performances on Friday and Saturday nights, beginning at 6 pm. Wherever you are, you can listen here.

 








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