Storytelling in the News
Adam Booth Wins Tell! Fredericksburg "Away We Go" Storytelling
Fredericksburg, VA - Storyteller Adam Booth has won the Tell!
Fredericksburg,"Away We Go Competition - a summer storytelling event featuring true tales of adventurous travels. Adam
won with his story, "Give Me a Break!". You can hear his story via the podcast at Tell! Fredericksburg.
Remembering Joe Hutchison, Founding
Member of WV Storytelling Guild
Joseph McKee Hutchison III, 76, of Morgantown died Saturday,
July 26, 2008 at his home. He lived most of his early life in Charleston, WV and graduated from Charleston High School. He
attended and graduated from Muskingum College in Ohio in 1953--where he met his wife, Ann Ringer. After a Masters Degree from
WVU, he was a professor of recreation at WVU until he retired after 40 years of service. Joe died of cancer.
the director of the National Youth Science Camp, which he helped start in 1963. He helped start and was active in the West
Virginia Storytelling Festival that is held each year at Jackson's Mill. He was also Treasurer of the West Virginia Botanic
Garden. He loved WVU athletics and served as a statistician at WVU home basketball and football games. He served as a trustee
and ruling elder for First Presbyterian Church of Morgantown, where he has been a member for 50 years.
will be received at First Presbyterian Church, 456 Spruce Street, Morgantown from 4-8 pm Friday, August 1, 2008 and again
from 10-11 Saturday until the 11 am service.
King of the Liars Tickles Library Crowd
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Rich Knoblich, of Wheeling,
W.Va., past winner of the West Virginia Liars Contest, tells his stories at the Northland Public Library.
If Rich Knoblich is to be believed, there are outhouses in
West Virginia that have plasma televisions hooked to satellite networks, a car mechanic who doubles as an emergency room diagnostic
technician and the possibility that chili and moonshine can be used as an alternative fuel source.
But that's just the thing: Mr. Knoblich can't be believed.
And he's the first to admit it.
There are fibbers and liars, and then there is Mr. Knoblich
-- an award-winning teller of tall tales who so easily weaves such obviously made-up stories that his audiences can't help
Mr. Knoblich was at the Northland Public Library on Monday
evening to promote his new book, "Talking 'bout the Relatives."
The book is a collection of stories, many involving his real-life
friends and family members.
As part of his presentation, Mr. Knoblich shared some of
his best-loved tall tales, including a few that have won him ribbons at the West Virginia State Liars Contest. He took first
place in 2002 at the contest and has had five second-place and two third-place ribbons in the same contest during the past
The West Virginia humorist has compiled 17 of those best-loved
stories into a book.
"You've heard of mature themes?" he asked the audience. "Well,
I do immature themes, and that's all there is to it."
Mr. Knoblich told his audience about the time he was invited
to host a comedy roast in the Caribbean. He said it was the middle of winter, and he'd waded through waist-deep snow to get
to his mailbox just to retrieve the invitation.
The invitation included a one-way ticket to the roast. But
Mr. Knoblich said he decided to cash that ticket in and find his own transportation. A birch plank and slingshot later, Mr.
Knoblich said, he catapulted his way to the Caribbean, "Wile E. Coyote style."
But once he got there, he discovered it wasn't a comedy roast,
but rather a "health convention.... for cannibals."
The cannibals consisted of Wall Street types who were learning
how to cheat investors, he said, drawing laughter from the 40 people in attendance.
He decided to stay when he was invited to relax in the hot
tub ...until he realized the hot tub was an oversized kettle designed for cooking, with Martha Stewart stirring the pot.
"It was right about this time, I started to get a little
bit suspicious," he said. "So I pulled out that invitation and looked at it again, and it turns out they didn't want me to
host a comedic roast. They wanted to roast a comedian. And it suddenly occurred to me why my plane ticket was one way."
Mr. Knoblich went on to describe throwing money into the
air from his cashed-in plane ticket to distract the Wall Street cannibals, then making a hasty exit.
The only thing more unbelievable than that story was the
one he told next, about his Aunt Annie and her chili-and-moonshine alternative fuel source.
He said the fuel never made it to the public, thanks to Washington
big-wigs who put a stop to it.
"This is why, to this day, when you pull up to the pump,
you have to pay through your nose for someone else's gas," he said, laughing.
Amy Strickland, a 14-year-old student at Carson Middle School,
attended Mr. Knoblich's presentation. She had heard him several times before, including at the Three Rivers Storytelling contest
and the West Virginia Liars contest when he won his first-place award in 2002.
"I really love storytelling," she said. "I have an interest
in it, but it's mostly just for fun."
Mr. Knoblich's book is available online at Arcadian
House Publishing and selected outlets through the West Virginia Book Store.
Shari L. Berg is a freelance writer.
First published on April 6, 2008 at
Wednesday, January 30, 2008: WV Storyteller
The new title
from Mountain Girl Press, Self-Rising Flowers, includes a story by West Virginia storyteller Granny
Sue. Price of the book is $12.95, and can be purchased by contacting Granny Sue at email@example.com
December 8, 2007: Boos One of 36 ‘Notable’
(Scroll to the bottom for WVSG mention)
Former Triadelphia resident Karla Boos, founder and executive
director of Quantum Theatre of Pittsburgh, is one of 36 notable women in the arts being recognized in Pittsburgh as “Founders,
Boos, a graduate of Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy in Wheeling, attended Bethany
College before studying in Pittsburgh and at the California Institute of the Arts. Her theater company, Quantum, has received
national and international recognition for its innovative productions.
A new book honoring Boos and the other women
was released Nov. 30. The book was created as a memento of the Women in the Arts Festival (2007-08), which was organized by
the New Hazlett Theater in Pittsburgh and launched this past June.
New Hazlett Theater officials stated, “The
book gives voice to the words and wisdom of 36 of Pittsburgh’s notable women in the arts. These women are honored in
particular because their accomplishments have had effects beyond themselves, beyond their own personal hopes and dreams, and
have served to inspire others. As founders, pioneers and instigators their words resonate for all fields, for both genders
and for all ages.”
Upcoming events in the year-long festival include two symposia, “Creativity: Making
Work. Making Community,” featuring discussions and sessions with leaders in the arts in Pittsburgh and the mid-Atlantic
region Jan. 18-19, and “Feminism, Grrl Power, The Arts, the Arts Industry,” scheduled for June.
executive director of the New Hazlett Theater, commented, “This year’s festival events center on women in the
arts and especially recognizing the accomplishments of Pittsburgh’s impressive women arts leaders. This group has founded,
stabilized and continues to drive much of what is noted in our region’s cultural environment. Each generation sets the
foundation for the next generation and we hope to recognize what their energy has provided for us in Pittsburgh.”
of Wheeling native Aaron Galligan-Stierle, who’s making his Broadway debut in the role of Papa Who, were thrilled when
“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” returned to the Great White Way to resume its limited
“The Grinch” musical, of course, was the first of the Broadway shows affected by the recent
stagehands’ strike to resume production, after a New York State Supreme Court judge ordered the reopening of the St.
James Theater. In the Nov. 22 edition of The New York Times, staff writer Campbell Robertson wrote a hilarious account, in
the style of Dr. Seuss, of the court case.
On another New York theatrical note,
Academy Award winner Frances McDormand, a Bethany College graduate who worked with Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre
early in her career, is a cast member for the 52nd Street Project’s “Don’t Tread on Me,” which ends
a three-day run at the American Theatre of Actors today, Dec. 9.
According to an item in The New Yorker magazine,
the 52nd Street Project, a not-for-profit organization, is presenting “nine plays by playwrights ages 9-12, performed
by a cast that includes Frances McDormand.”
Storyteller Rich Knoblich of Wheeling related that a storyteller with local
ties has been honored by the West Virginia Storytelling Guild for tales based on the Mountain State’s traditions and
Knoblich said voting, by members of the guild, for the 2007 Bob McWhorter Storytelling Award resulted in a
tie, so sharing this year’s honors are Suzi “Mama” Whaples and the late Paul Lepp, whose parents reside
in Glen Dale. Lepp’s award will be presented to family members, Knoblich said.
Lepp was a six-time winner of
the West Virginia Liars Contest sponsored by the state Division of Culture and History. “Though Paul died in 1998, his
influence on the quality and hilarity of the contest continues,” Knoblich commented.
Lepp’s brother and
fellow storyteller, Bil Lepp, has collected Paul Lepp’s tales and supplemented the lies with some of his own. These
stories can be found in a book, “The Monster Stick: And Other Appalachian Tall Tales,” published by August House
Publishers in Little Rock, Ark.
The Storytelling Guild adopted a clock to symbolize storytelling achievements. “The
award represents the ageless art of storytelling from the past into the future,” Knoblich explained. The Bob McWhorter
Storytelling Award clock derived its name from one of the founders of the West Virginia Storytelling Festival held each October
at Jackson’s Mill in Weston.
Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-register.net
|The Braxton County Monster (aka Flatwoods Monster)
Flatwoods ‘monster’ might
be turned into a movie
By Mannix Porterfield
Move over, Mothman?
If the money comes in to finance a movie, you might not be the
only weird West Virginia creature memorialized on film.
An independent filmmaker in Los Angeles says he would gladly handle
a movie about the Flatwoods Monster — provided someone can put up sufficient financial backing for the project.
It was back on Sept. 12, 1952, that the 12-foot metallic oddity,
emitting a sulfuric odor, horrified a gaggle of children and adults on a summer evening, after a fiery streak was spotted
in the sky along a steep hillside in Braxton County.
A legend was born, unleashing torrents of speculation and inspiring
a book by Frank Feschino, a star player in a Sept. 7-8 gathering in Charleston devoted to unidentified flying objects.
Using their own funds, Thomas Dickens and his partner, David Burke,
are completing a feature-length film titled “Alien Gray Zone-X,” due to be released no later than next summer.
“This could be a great motion picture that could be done that
could basically compete with Hollywood films,” Dickens says of a possible Flatwoods movie.
Dickens spoke glowingly of “Alien Gray Zone-X,” using
such superlatives as “amazing” and “groundbreaking” to describe it.
“And that’s not
just because of the special effects, but there’s a lot of human drama to it,” he said.
“There’s a love story and a lot of great fight sequences
that use stunt people trained in fighting. There’s a message to it. Most films, and I don’t want to give away
our ending, kill the aliens, but ours is different.”
Given the funds, Dickens would do the same for the Flatwoods Monster.
“I would love to do this movie,” he said. “My
partner is interested. However, at this time, we don’t have the budget to do it.”
If he ever gets such a project
launched, Dickens wants to work with Feschino as a part of his team for technical advice.
Feschino believes the monster was a space alien, part of a contingent
engaged in a fiery sky battle with U.S. Air Force jets off the Atlantic Coast. The author also is convinced that UFOs continue
to buzz the Braxton County area, since it is on a direct flight line to the White House and the regional terrain affords ample
space in which to conceal craft.
“Basically, we would do everything,” Dickens said. “Write
the script. Do pre-production. Design the creatures. Based on a true story, we would use the best research and witnesses to
get the idea what this creature would look like. But we have to get a budget. We would be able to do the entire film.”
Dickens hopes to attend the September summit at the Capitol Theater
in downtown Charleston, coming less than a week shy of the 55th anniversary of the Monster’s appearance. This also is
the 60th anniversary of the Roswell incident.
Promoter Larry Bailey is promising attendees “hard evidence”
to show UFOs are piloted by extra-terrestrials.
If a Flatwoods Monster film were made, Dickens said, he would envision
some scenes on site, provided landowners are willing to grant access, including a depiction of what Feschino feels were aerial
warfare between alien craft and U.S. jets.
In fact, that is the theme of Feschino’s latest book, “Shoot
Richard Gere starred in “The Mothman Prophecies,” a
film dedicated to a moth-like creature said to roam an abandoned plateau near Point Pleasant in the area of an abandoned TNT
site left over from World War II.
Unlike Mothman, a precursor to the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge
that claimed 46 lives, no violence has been linked to the Flatwoods Monster.
A 17-year veteran of the film industry, Dickens says he strives
to compete with Hollywood productions in quality.
“We don’t want to make anything that looks low-budget,”
“We use people who look very professional. We use people that look like they have universal appeal.”
Bailey says he has attracted so much interest to his UFO gathering
that he might expand it by adding a Sunday matinee, since the Capitol Theater has a seating capacity of only 660. As things
stand now, Friday’s show runs from 6 to 10 p.m. with Saturday billed from 3 to 7 p.m.
An art contest supervised by Heritage Towers will reward children
for the best depictions of UFOs or aliens.
Besides Feschino and Flatwoods eyewitness Freddie May, the two-day
event will feature lectures by world-renowned UFO expert Stanton Freidman, who says the government has engaged in a cover-up
since the 1947 incident in Roswell, where many believe the Air Force concealed the bodies of aliens after their craft crashed
in the New Mexico desert.
Since the first Register-Herald story was published about the gathering,
Bailey said he has been besieged by media outlets across the nation, including live radio remotes in Los Angeles and Santa
Barbara, Calif., Brownwood, Texas, Bridgeport, Conn., and Lincoln, Neb.
“We’re getting contacts from everywhere,” he said.
the summit could evolve into an annual event, rivaling that of Roswell, now a mecca for UFO believers, Bailey says.
are welcome, but they could find themselves hard put to counter Freidman, a nuclear physicist who has appeared on a number
of cable television networks, the promoter says.
“Stanton has won two debates,” Bailey said. “They
were with people that were scoffing or trying to tell everyone the UFOs were just meteors. He has some hard evidence that
he uncovered under the Freedom of Information Act. That’s some of our hard evidence.”
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