‘The old stories are alive’: Traditional ‘Trickster Tales’ to be told April Fool’s night

Quinault tribal ambassador Harvest Moon is one of the storytellers who will share tribal and traditional yarns this Monday night in “Trickster Tales

Quinault tribal ambassador Harvest Moon is one of the storytellers who will share tribal and traditional yarns this Monday night in “Trickster Tales

PORT TOWNSEND — The Trickster will slip out to play this Monday night.

That’s a promise from storyteller Brian Rohr: In the voices of four humans, those masters of creative chaos — Coyote, Raven, Mink and companions — will whisk listeners off to another plane.

Rohr is host of the fifth annual Trickster Tales, yet he will not predict what the featured tale-spinners will do. What he does know is that the four tellers will gather at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April Fool’s Day, at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Ave.

Trickster Tales admission is a suggested donation of $12 to $25 to benefit the Boiler Room, Port Townsend’s nonprofit youth-run coffee house.

This year’s event has Johnny Moses of the Tulalip tribe; Harvest Moon, a Quinault tribal ambassador; Daniel Deardorff of the Mythsinger Foundation of Port Townsend and Rohr himself poised to tell stories — in English with tribal languages, sign language and drumming stirred in. The evening is open to all ages, Rohr noted, though the Trickster Tales stories of past years have contained some salty language and themes.

“We’ll be coming together as a whole community to really listen to these old stories,” Rohr said.

To truly hear these tales, he added, is to let go of the rational and the mundane. The tellers take people into the world of the imagination, of emotion and of the ancient oral tradition.

“This is how people entertained,” Rohr said, “for hundreds of thousands of years.”

Trickster Tales is a full, two-and-a-half-hour immersion, he added.

“I love movies and TV. Don’t get me wrong. But this is an opportunity to go deeper . . . [into] our indigenous souls.”

Rohr offered some history on each Trickster Tales artist:

■ Johnny Moses, whose traditional name is Whis.stem.men.knee — Walking Medicine Robe — is one of the most popular storytellers in North America, Rohr said. He has offered traditional and contemporary stories from California to New York City, where he appeared at Lincoln Center. He shares each story in English, traditional sign language and one of the eight Native American languages he speaks.

■ Daniel Deardorff is a “singer” in the old sense of that word: a musician, storyteller, poet and maker of ritual. A longtime Port Townsender, he is the founder of the Mythsinger Foundation and the Mythsinger Consortium, an online community at www.Mythsinger.net.

■ Harvest Moon is a Quinault ambassador, historian, basket weaver and storyteller whose name means “a light shining forth in the midst of darkness.” She has been telling stories over half her lifetime and has received the Peace and Friendship Award from the Washington State Historical Society in recognition of her contributions to the understanding of Northwest tribal heritage.

■ Rohr, for his part, said he’ll slip in a story while hosting Trickster Tales. He’s the originator of the event to benefit the Boiler Room, as well as host of the First Friday Storynights at Better Living through Coffee. These evenings traditionally have a featured storyteller as well as an open-mic section.

Rohr noted that the Boiler Room, established 20 years ago, is believed to be the oldest continuously operating youth-run coffee house in the United States. The place at 711 Tyler St. is a venue for music, art and theater and a free soup kitchen for all ages.

It is also a place for sharing stories, including the traditional ones.

“The old stories are alive,” Rohr said, “ and can inform us on how to live our lives as authentic human beings.”

For more on Trickster Tales and other storytelling events in Port Townsend, visit www.BrianRohr.com or phone 360-531-2535.

More in News

Dave Swinford of Sequim, left, and Marlana Ashlie of Victoria take part in a workshop on Saturday about cropping bird photos for best presentation during Saturday’s Olympic Birdfest. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Bird spotting

Dave Swinford of Sequim, left, and Marlana Ashlie of Victoria take part… Continue reading

Annette Nesse, at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s main campus in Blyn in December 2021, is serving as interim director at the Dungeness River Nature Center, the organization announced. (Emily Matthiessen/for Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Nesse to serve as interim director at River Center

New position to begin May 1; organization will continue its full-time search

Sequim Wheelers, seen on the historic Railroad Bridge near the Dungeness River Nature Center, prep for a ride on the Olympic Discovery Trail. The nonprofit's season begins in May, and it has an open house for potential new volunteers on April 20 at the River Center. It also has an orientation for new volunteers on April 25 at the River Center. (Sequim Wheelers)
Sequim Wheelers gearing up for 2024 rides, seek recruits

Nonprofit looking for help during for 20-week season

Ashlynn Emiliani of Port Angeles, center, tosses woody debris into a pile for collection as volunteers work to clean up a section of hillside above the parking lot of the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles on Saturday. More than a dozen members of Elevate PA spent the morning clearing up overgrown areas on the hillside from Haynes Viewpoint to the hotel’s Front Street driveway as part of a city beautification effort. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Hillside cleanup in Port Angeles

Ashlynn Emiliani of Port Angeles, center, tosses woody debris into a pile… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

Operations set at Bentinck range

The Royal Canadian Navy has announced that the land-based… Continue reading

Pictured, from left, are Wolfe, May, Reader and Emily Fry.
May recognized with BEE award from medical center

Reuben May has received a BEE award from Olympic Medical Center. The… Continue reading

Schools open following contract

PAPEA, district reach tentative agreement

Port Angeles School Superintendent Marty Brewer, second from right, speaks with members of the Port Angeles Parents for Education, on Friday about the Port Angeles Paraeducation Association strike. Assistant Superintendent Michele Olsen stands at right. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula Daily News)
District, PAPEA to pick up bargaining Sunday

Parent group presses officials for answers on strike

Instructor Josh Taylor, left, points out the workings of an electric vehicle on Wednesday at the Auto Technology Certification Program at Peninsula College. Nick Schommer, center, and Brian Selk get ready to do some testing on the electric auto’s parts from underneath the vehicle. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
College’s automotive technology program gets a reboot

Students can earn a certificate separate from two-year degree

Port Townsend transportation tax dollars to be put to work

Benefits district to raise $400,000 to $600,000 in first year