PORT TOWNSEND — Baba Yaga is a kind of witch, a Russian fairy-tale creature who lives in the forest in a hut that rotates on chicken legs.
One has to be careful when encountering her.
Such is the basis for “Eating Baba Yaga: An Evening with Brian Rohr,” the new DVD from the storyteller who hosts the First Friday Storynights every month at Better Living Through Coffee in Port Townsend.
This time out, Rohr is switching nights and hosting a DVD release party at the Rosewind Common House on the corner of Haines and Umatilla streets at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The public is invited, and admission is $5, or free with the purchase of the $19.95 DVD.
Patrons can also enter drawings for prizes such as a hoop drum made by Rohr and enjoy performances by storyteller Daniel Deardorff, singer Judith-Kate Friedman and others.
When asked to explain the title, Rohr offers options.
First, since Baba Yaga has a reputation for eating people, his story is a turnabout of that.
Then again, “Eating Baba Yaga” can also mean taking in the “medicine” she offers.
Agent of change
Baba Yaga is “a great agent of change,” Rohr said.
In one of his stories, she’s an old, sick hag who asks a young girl for help.
At first, the girl is repulsed, but then compassion overcomes her.
In helping the hag, the girl discovers her best self.
Yet another meaning comes from poet Robert Bly, who wrote about “eating the shadow.”
Finding your shadow — the darkest aspect of yourself — and ingesting it can be a way of reclaiming your energy, Rohr explained.
“We can now use that energy that was trapped to create art, poetry and music [and] meaningful relationships.”
The curious can find out more about this during the DVD party while getting to know Rohr.
A Chicago native, he moved to Port Townsend in 2007 to study here with Deardorff, a master tale-teller and mythologist.
Rohr became a professional storyteller and promoter of community events, then embarked on a West Coast tour this summer.
Last March, Rohr returned to Chicago for the first time in four years and gave a performance that became the 71-minute “Eating Baba Yaga” DVD.
The disc contains a pair of stories, one 18 minutes long and the other 38 minutes, plus teachings on how the tales relate to everyday life.
To learn more about Rohr and his DVD, visit www.BrianRohr.com or phone 360-531-2535.
________Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.