What Youth Tellers Want & Need – Part 4 of 7

This is the fourth of seven parts on gleaming from personal experiences as well as experiences of the 100+ youth who have taken the stage – live and virtual – through Story Crossroads since 2016. We support youth beyond the stage through Youth Teller Reunions as well as Live & Virtual Story Camps.


  • Part 1 – Choosing the “Right” Words – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Friend/Listener/Mentor – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – The Storytelling Birthday – REVEALED
  • Part 4 – Combining Talents – TODAY
  • Part 5 – Ownership of Events & Beyond
  • Part 6 – Virtual Options
  • Part 7 – Wishlist Stages

Youth have more than one talent, and storytelling is one of many.

When it is the first time for youth to learn storytelling, then focusing only on that talent is best. Though the second, third, fourth, or any other time after that initial instruction needs to be exploring what the youth enjoys beyond the art.

One of my favorite combinations was a youth teller who told a personal story while doing Karate. Obviously, Karate was important to the movement of the plot. He had the right amount of kicks that enhanced rather than distracted from the whole experience. He ended up being one of my top youth tellers for that year of Story Crossroads and moved along to the National Youth Storytelling.

We have plenty of adults that combine other talents with storytelling.

Although coming from an adult, I have always been fascinated by what Dustin Loehr contributed to the storytelling world with merging his tap dancing to the tellings. I could tell you of the time when he flew into Utah, needed a tap board, and I was scrounging and taking pictures of different wood panels to see if they “would pass inspection” the day before performance….

Though once on stage, his way of tip-tapping different sounds and postures to represent different characters was inspiring. We certainly will want him to perform at Story Crossroads again.

Any talent can combine with storytelling.

Music and dance are always brought to mind, though what are different genres and styles?

To get the brain-a-bubblin’, here are some music: Blues, Jazz, Rock and Roll, Country, Soul, Dance Music, Hip Hop.

Normal, right?

Notice that dance and music often overlap.

Have you heard of: Enka, Isicathamiya, or Frevo?

Here is a highlight of one of them, and I will let you explore and learn about the other two.

Enka = Japanese semi-traditional singing style and folk wardrobe, mixed with modern and traditional instrumentation and influences…yet see some youth at a pep rally combine this style with “Let’s move” by Beyoncé – could there be some kind of combination with storytelling? Though, experience Enka and an interview with the singer, Hitomi Idemitsu…and the reason she is attracted to this style is that “Enka has stories in it.” Hmmm.

What about in the dance world: Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Ballroom.

Though have you heard of: Demi-Character, Bugg, or Ghumura?

Again, here is a highlight of one of them, and I will let you explore and learn about the other two.

Demi-Character = Classic ballet though must focus and portray a character in a…story, many competitions are out there for it and here is one youth with a “swimmingly” wonderful story dance.

Back to the youth in your life.

More talents are out there than music and dance. What else could youth combine with storytelling and draw them more so in the art than ever before?

  • Photography – with big enough pictures, projections on stage, or virtual means – this talent can be amazing with storytelling. Plus, I recently learned about PechaKucha.
  • Cooking – sometimes the cooking can be shared after the performance – the aromas can enhance the overall experience – or can be shared on screen of making/baking while telling. So many food stories around the world. David Novak had bread baking in an important Gilgamesh scene. Here is an article about it.
  • Fashion – how can the change of wardrobe help in the telling of a story – can more than one teller take the stage or can this be done solo – Pippa White (interview with her – she admits she did not call herself a storyteller until later) loves to do a simple switch of hats for historical representations while Darci Tucker (interview with her) has been three characters in one performance due to strategic layering. Why cannot youth do this with a twist? Does it always need to be historical…perhaps modern or even futuristic? We had youth tell 1-minute or so stories for the Story Train that stopped to the past, present, and future. The youth had to dress up to match their time period and story. The future ones…were fantastic. Actually, all were wonderful.

And this is only a sneak of talents that can make it to stage or performance in one way or another.

Brainstorm with youth.

Are they great at foreign languages? Can there be bilingual storytelling? What of visual arts beyond photography? Pottery? How can that tell a story?

How can anything truly be used to tell a story?

Yes, teach the basics of storytelling without the combining first…though there is no harm is letting youth know that you love their fill-in-the-blank talent and hint that you would love to see what they do with it for storytelling after learning how to do “pure” storytelling without the embellishments or add-ons.

You will be amazed.

Be there for our youth – today.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

And…Spread the word about our upcoming Story Camp for youth aged 8-17 in mid-August of two kinds: Limited-Sized/Proper-Distanced as well as Virtual.

Visual Visions – A to Z Blog Challenge

Visual Story Artists--Mark Gollaher, Christopher Agostino, Julius ChavezVersión en Español se puede encontrar a continuación o haga clic aquí para ir allí. Haga clic en mí para saltar a la parte española.  Support the free Story Crossroads Festival by giving today.

This post is part of the A to Z Blog Challenge.  See more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.

Your wrist twists and turns while painting with such grace and ease that people say “oooo” and “aaaahh.”  Or you hear, “I wish I could draw like that!”  Then it is time to merge this visual artistic ability into telling stories.

Visual art does not need narration to be respected.  Yet creating visual art at the same time as spoken word art enhances the experience.

Delve into these three tips on making it ready for the stage.

Be Bold.

When painting or drawing from stage, people need to see it whether in the front row or the back row.  The coloring needs to be bright enough to shine forth the image.  The lighting needs to be adjusted or added so as to see the contrasts.

Mark Gollaher uses his already-made drawings and shows them one at a time on a movie-theater-sized-screen.  These were not images flipped along like one might see a librarian do with a book during a preschool storytime.  A single image sometimes represented the whole story.  Thus, the audience enjoyed his talents while easily glancing and focusing on him with the telling of the piece that involved plenty of animation and body language.  The visual aided (rather than distracted) from the overall experience.  I have always loved the phrase from the famous story of Mr. Fox of, “Be bold, be bold, but not too bold.”

Be Simple.

While sharing “Before Cave Walls…the story on our skin” with high schoolers, Christopher Agostino  said that he emphasizes the simplicity of a design rather than the minute details.  He does make intricate strokes though not as many as someone who does not have the pressure of keeping to the right timing when performing for a live audience.  If Christopher takes too long to paint a line or detail, there could be too long of a pause that interrupts the audience from these melding arts.  Many cultures around the world have simple and abstract ways to represent an idea.  Christopher researches these techniques and adopts and adapts them as necessary.

Be Memorable.

Julius Chavez had people of all ages drop their jaws and watch in wonder as he sandpainted a story from a Native American tribe.  As this was about 200 people, a live video stream allowed people in the back still feel and see the reverence of the story of corn and its importance to indigenous people.  Many people said, “I have never seen that before!”  In fact, these same people wondered if such a moment would happen again for them.  I told them that I learned about Julius Chavez doing these kinds of stories for more intimate-sized audiences at Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah Campus.  People roamed from place to place in the garden and it would only be a couple families at a time.

With Story Crossroads, we aim to bring to stage the arts that typically are not seen on the storytelling stage though deserve to be there.

Of all the merging of arts, we see the visual arts the least combined with spoken word.  We hope to change that practice.  Tell us of someone–visual artist or other kind–who is adventurous and willing to work with the spoken word.

Aquí lo tiene.
Visual Story Artists--Mark Gollaher, Christopher Agostino, Julius Chavez

Visiones Visual

Su muñeca giros y vueltas mientras la pintura con tanta gracia y facilidad que la gente diga “oooo” y “aaaahh”. o escuchar, “ojalá pudiera dibujar así!” Entonces es el momento para combinar esta habilidad artística visual en contar historias.

El arte visual no necesita una narración a ser respetados. Sin embargo la creación de arte visual al mismo tiempo que la palabra hablada arte realza la experiencia.

Profundizar en estos tres consejos sobre lo que quedará listo para el escenario.

Estar en Negrita.

Cuando la pintura o el dibujo desde el escenario, la gente tiene que ver que si en la primera fila o en la fila de atrás. La coloración debe ser lo suficientemente brillante para que resplandezca la imagen. La iluminación debe ser ajustada o agregado para ver los contrastes.

Mark Gollaher utiliza su ya hicieron dibujos y les muestra uno a la vez en un cine-teatro de tamaño de pantalla. Estas no fueron volteadas junto como uno podría ver un bibliotecario con un libro durante un preescolar de cuentos. Una única imagen a veces representada toda la historia. Así, la audiencia disfrutó de su talento mientras fácilmente de refilón y centrándose en él con la narración de la pieza que involucró mucha animación y lenguaje corporal. El visual ayudada (en lugar de distraídos) a partir de la experiencia en general. Siempre me gustó la frase de la famosa historia del Sr. Fox, de “Estar en negrita, de ser audaces, pero no demasiado audaz.”

Ser Simple.

Mientras comparten “antes de que las paredes de las cuevas…la historia sobre nuestra piel” con estudiantes de segunda enseñanza, Christopher Agostino dice que destaca la sencillez de un diseño en lugar de los detalles. Él hace trazos complicados aunque no tantas como alguien que no tiene la presión de mantener a la derecha cuando realice la sincronización para un público en vivo. Si Cristóbal tarda demasiado para pintar una línea o detalle, no podía ser demasiado larga de una pausa que interrumpe la audiencia de estos meld arts. muchas culturas alrededor del mundo tienen formas simples y abstractos para representar una idea. Christopher investiga estas técnicas y adopta y adapta según sea necesario.

Ser Memorable.

Julius Chavez había personas de todas las edades caer sus mandíbulas y observe con asombro como él sandpainted una historia de una tribu americana nativa. Como esta era de aproximadamente 200 personas, de una secuencia de vídeo en directo permite que las personas todavía se sienten en la espalda y ver la reverencia de la historia del maíz y su importancia para los pueblos indígenas. Mucha gente dice, “Nunca he visto eso antes!” De hecho, estas mismas personas se pregunta si ese momento iba a suceder de nuevo para ellos. Les dije que me enteré acerca de Julius Chavez haciendo estos tipos de historias para audiencias de tamaño más íntimo en el Red Butte Garden en el Campus de la Universidad de Utah. La gente deambulaba de un lugar a otro en el jardín y sería sólo un par de familias a un tiempo.

Con la historia de encrucijada, nos pretenden llevar a la etapa de las artes que normalmente no se ven en la narración etapa aunque merecen estar allí.

De la fusión de todas las artes, vemos las artes visuales al menos combinado con la palabra hablada. Esperamos que cambie la práctica. Nos dicen de alguien–artista visual o de otro tipo–quien es aventurero y dispuesto a trabajar con la palabra hablada.

Headlines & Headliners (Day 8–A-Z Blog Challenge)

Christopher Agostino--StoryFacesEnjoy all of these A-Z Blog Challenge posts. Versión en Español se puede encontrar a continuación o haga clic aquí para ir allí. Haga clic en mí para saltar a la parte española. Also look forward to the Story Crossroads crowdsourcing campaign May 1, 2015.

“H” is for Headlines and Headliners.

To make those headlines, you need to create wonder.  The anticipation developed from that wonder can bring the people to the stage.  Thus, “headliners” are born.

Christopher Agostino creates wonder.  We are pleased that he will be one of our headliners for the April 15-16, 2016 Story Crossroads.

Christopher painting while telling the storyWhile painting on someone’s face, he tells the story to the audience.  He looks into the eyes of the ones he paints as well as those out among the hundreds or thousands.

Any great artist must have great support and for many that takes the form of loved ones and friends.

Enjoy these questions and answered posed for Christopher and his wife, Lorraine Zeller-Agostino, and discover how headlines and headliners can be made.

Questions & Answers for Christopher Agostino and Lorraine Zeller-Agostino

Rome_Colosseum--Christopher and Lorraine

You both are artists.  Who delved into the arts first?  (You can count childhood times.)


Well, I am older than Christopher so technically I delved into the arts first. I recall my first outing as the soloist in my first ballet recital in Kindergarten. I was scared stiff and got lost backstage at the high school and quit ballet after that.  But I continued to dance in my living room.  I took up piano and violin and still play some now. In college I danced and acted in musicals and with the college’s modern dance company (although I graduated from college with a BS in Math.)  My connection to the arts has been a constant in my life as I moved through various art forms to end up in my current life as a director, actor, theatre teacher and face painter (by virtue of my association with Christopher.)


Visual art and performing are things I’ve done since I was very young. As a young kid I particularly liked to create things with my hands, like creating animals or super hero figures with clay and using those as my toys to play with. And I liked classic movies and comedy (like the Marx Brothers) and loved performing in school plays. By Middle School I was starting to think about a career in the arts.

How did you meet?  (Was it art connected or something else?)


I first saw Lorraine in a performance in the theatre at the Lincoln Center Library. She played the albatross in The Ryhme of the Ancient Mariner, and looked stunning in a white unitard as she hung suspended by her arms from the neck of the performer playing the mariner. It was in the 1980s and we were both working with groups doing physical theatre, so after seeing her perform I did get the chance to meet her at other events within that small world of performers.


Yes, we connected at a reception at the Lincoln Center Library after that performance but it wasn’t until a number of years later that we found ourselves at a table of artists and “available.” In the interim I do remember seeing Christopher at a large corporate event we were both entertainers on and seeing his facepainting and thinking “Wow – this guy is amazing!”

How do your arts influence the artistic vision of your spouse?  How do your spouse’s arts inspire your artistic vision?


Christopher and I have been able to build an artistic life together that has supported us as well, which is a rare and wonderful thing. It’s a terrific artistic collaboration – we are really very different people whose artistic strengths and visions complement each other (that’s not to say we don’t have our disagreements – but even in those, it is the fire from which the phoenix rises.)


Lorraine and I together created the performing arts company that has been both of our main occupations for more than twenty years, so we have a great influence on and confluence with each other’s work. It’s an artistic partnership as well as a marriage. We also rely on each other’s strengths to help with our own projects.

What else would you like us to know—about you individually or as a married team?


Our family life and household reflect our profession, in a general focus on and appreciation of the arts. We have many art objects in our house, including masks, artwork made by colleagues and our own creations. As a family, with our kids, we all enjoy music, museums, movies and theatre. We all tell each other stories. For me, personally, I don’t see much separation between art and life.


I agree. I personally feel so fortunate to have found Christopher because he is the embodiment of an artist – I often have described him as a “Renaissance Man.” His life is Art. Not because he is painting all day long, but because everything he does, whether it’s cooking or gardening or designing a new concept for stretching our company of artists into painting in new ways, he is creative and artful and fully committed to every aspect and nuance of the task, while pushing the boundaries and challenging himself.

Thank you Christopher and Lorraine for answering the not-so-often-yet-important questions that we enjoyed knowing.


Aquí lo tiene.
Christopher Agostino--StoryFacesNoticias & protagonistas

Rogamos disculpen esta traducción al español que hemos utilizado un software de traducción. Estamos en proceso de hacer que las personas ayudar a traducir estos A-Z Blog Desafío puestos, así como todas las demás entradas del blog.

Para que los titulares de la prensa, que necesita crear asombro.  La anticipación de esa maravilla puede traer a los hombres en el escenario.  Por lo tanto, “Inland empire”, nacieron.

Christopher Agostino crea asombro.  Nos complace que él será uno de nuestros protagonistas para el 15 abril -16, 2016 Historia encrucijada.

Christopher painting while telling the storyMientras que pintar la cara de un personaje, que cuenta la historia de la audiencia.  Mira a los ojos de los que las pinturas, así como los que no están entre los cientos o miles de personas.

Cualquier gran artista debe contar con un gran apoyo y para muchos de los que toma la forma de los seres queridos y amigos.

Disfrutar de estos interrogantes y respuestas que plantean para Christopher y su esposa, Lorraine Zeller-Agostino , y descubra cómo los titulares y los revestimientos.

Preguntas y Respuestas para Christopher Agostino y Lorraine Zeller, Agostino

Rome_Colosseum--Christopher and Lorraine

Ambos son artistas. Que incursionaron en el arte? (Usted puede contar la infancia veces.)


Bueno, yo soy más de Christopher así que técnicamente me metí ya en las artes. Recuerdo mi primera aventura como solista en mi primer ballet considerando en el jardín de infancia. Me daba miedo muy dura y se perdió entre bastidores en la escuela secundaria y salir ballet después de eso. Pero no he parado de bailar en la sala de mi casa. Yo me hice cargo de piano y el violín y todavía juegan algunos ahora. En la universidad TUVE QUE bailó y actuó en musicales y con el colegio compañía de danza moderna (aunque me gradué de la universidad con una licenciatura en Matemáticas.) Mi conexión con el arte ha sido una constante en mi vida, como me he pasado a través de diferentes formas de arte final en mi vida actual como director, actor, profesor y teatro cara pintor (en virtud de mi asociación con Christopher.)


Artes visuales y escénicas son cosas que he hecho desde que yo era muy joven. Como un chico me gustaron especialmente para crear cosas con mis propias manos, como crear los animales o figuras super hero con arcilla y con los que mis juguetes con los que jugar. Y me ha gustado películas clásicas y de la comedia (como los hermanos Marx) y nos encantó en teatro de la escuela. En la Escuela Intermedia que estaba empezando a pensar en una carrera en las artes.

¿Cómo os conocisteis? (Se puede considerar arte conectado o algo más?)


Vi por primera vez Lorena en un espectáculo en el teatro de la Biblioteca Centro Lincoln. Ella jugó el albatros en El Ryhme del viejo marinero, y parecía increíble en un blanco unitard que cuelga de los brazos desde el cuello de la artista reproduce la mariner. En el decenio de 1980, y los dos nos quedamos trabajando con grupos de teatro físico, por lo que tras ver a su realizar conseguí la oportunidad de reunirse con ella en otros eventos en este pequeño mundo de los artistas intérpretes o ejecutantes.


Sí, nos hemos conectado a una recepción en la Biblioteca del Centro Lincoln después que el rendimiento pero no fue hasta unos años después que nos encontramos en una mesa de los artistas, así como “disponible”. En el ínterin recuerdo ver Christopher en un gran evento de la empresa que fueron artistas ambulantes y viendo su facepainting y pensando “Wow, este chico es increíble!”

¿Cómo pueden los artes influyen en la visión artística de su cónyuge? ¿Cómo su cónyuge de artes inspirar su visión artística?


Cristóbal y he sido capaz de construir una vida artística que nos ha apoyado, así, que es una rara y algo maravilloso. Se trata de una magnífica colaboración artística: estamos realmente muy diferentes personas cuyos puntos fuertes y visiones artísticas complementan (eso no quiere decir que no tienen nuestros desacuerdos, pero incluso en estos, es el fuego del que el phoenix se levanta.)


Lorena y YO juntos crearon la compañía de teatro que ha sido tanto de nuestras principales ocupaciones de más de veinte años, por lo tanto, tenemos una gran influencia y confluencia con el trabajo de cada una de la otra. Se trata de una pareja artística, así como un matrimonio. También nos basamos en cada uno de los puntos fuertes para ayudar con nuestros propios proyectos.

¿Qué más le gustaría saber acerca de usted de forma individual o como un casado?


Nuestra vida familiar y de los hogares reflejan nuestra profesión, en un enfoque general de y el reconocimiento de las artes. Tenemos muchos objetos de arte en nuestra casa, como máscaras, obras de arte hechas por mis colegas y nuestras propias creaciones. Con la familia, con nuestros hijos, todos disfrutar de la música, museos, cines y teatros. Todos contarse historias. A mí, personalmente, no veo mucha separación entre arte y vida.


Estoy de acuerdo. Personalmente, me siento muy afortunada por haber encontrado Christopher porque él es la encarnación de un artista -a menudo lo han descripto como un “Renacimiento”, La vida es arte. No porque sea pintura durante todo el día, sino porque todo lo que hace, si se trata de cocinar o jardinería o diseñar un nuevo concepto para estirar nuestra compañía de artistas en la pintura de una manera nueva, él es muy creativo y con el compromiso total de todos los aspectos y matices de la tarea, al mismo tiempo que empuja los límites y desafiarse.

Gracias, Cristóbal y Lorena para responder a la no-tan-a menudo de cuestiones importantes que disfrutamos sabiendo.