Storytelling | St. Louis Public Radio


Karissa Hsu wrote the story "The Inheritance of Hope" about her grandmother's journey to America after fleeing conflict in East Asia during WWII. She is pictured here with her father, Leo Hsu.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Since 2005, the Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration has encouraged young people to discover, write and share stories about their family history. 

Monday on St. Louis on the Air, Sarah Fenske talked with Grannie Annie board member Martha Stegmaier, as well as Karissa Hsu, who wrote a story about her grandmother’s journey to America after fleeing conflict in East Asia during WWII. Her father Leo also joined the conversation.

Erica Vickers Cage Ellen Futterman Judy Gladney
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

University City, Missouri, is considered to be among the more diverse communities in a region still grappling with the stubborn legacy of segregation. But five decades ago, things were different in U. City, including at the local schools.

When Judy Gladney began attending University City High School in the '60s, she was one of its very first African American students, and found herself bridging two disparate worlds. So did Eric Vickers, Gladney’s future husband.

Years later, the two would send their children through the same school district, which is now largely nonwhite. As Gladney looked toward her 50th high school reunion this month, she joined St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske on Monday alongside her daughter Erica Vickers Cage and local journalist and storyteller Ellen Futterman.

Local author Amanda Doyle (right) signs a copy of one of her books for Charlie Wunderlich, age 8, at the Missouri Athletic Club after the STL Storytelling Live event Aug. 29.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The legacy of George B. Vashon. The history of the St. Louis Browns. The special moments that took place at the Top of the Tower. A handful of local authors and historians revisited all of this and more during last week’s STL Storytelling Live event at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis.

Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air featured highlights from the evening, with stories running the gamut from the humorous, to the surprising, to the hopeful. The storytellers included Bill Clevlen, Carol Shepley, Amanda Doyle, Ed Wheatley, Calvin Riley and Cameron Collins.

The event was sponsored by St. Louis Public Radio, Reedy Press and the Missouri Athletic Club.

Cheeraz Gormon is a poet, storyteller, award-winning advertising copywriter and St. Louis native.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the eve of the five-year anniversary of Michael Brown Jr.’s death, St. Louis Public Radio and poet and activist Cheeraz Gormon presented a live storytelling event featuring speakers whose lives changed drastically after Brown, 18, was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson. The stories featured in this edition of St. Louis on the Air include reflections on race, violence and community trauma.

Hear highlights from the event:

Comedian Kenny Kinds telling a story at The Story Collider in March 2019.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

When Kenny Kinds got accepted into engineering school, it was the best and worst day of his life.

As a teenager, he knew it wasn’t his dream. It was his father’s. Kinds realized over time that he shouldn’t have pursued engineering when he received report cards full of terrible grades, which he’d hide from his parents. Eventually, a professor asked him not to come back to school.

At The Story Collider’s “Moment of Clarity” show at The Ready Room, Kinds and four others told stories about times when they’ve come to terms with painful truths.

After retiring from a long career as a teacher in St. Louis, Beverly Buck Brennan opted to take up the art of cabaret. Her show "Love and Marriage" begins at 8 p.m. Friday at the Kranzberg Arts Center.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been said that life is a cabaret. But what exactly is a cabaret? Ask storyteller and performer Beverly Buck Brennan, and she’ll list three key things: a singer, a piano and someone to play it.

“Cabaret also, by definition, is about getting to know the performer personally,” the lifelong St. Louisan told host Don Marsh on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “It’s not like you’re in a musical or you’re playing a character – you’re just you up there, which I had to learn about … I had to really pull back [from musical-theater training] … and try to mellow out and be really in a conversation with the audience.”

Six-year-old Rae Reece, at left, tells a story about "the best day ever" during St. Louis Public Radio's We Live Here" house party Nov. 27 as storytelling coach Chiffontae Ross looks on.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

For four seasons now, St. Louis Public Radio’s We Live Here podcast team has been telling community-driven stories for listeners “somewhere on the woke spectrum.” A couple weeks ago, co-producers and hosts Tim Lloyd and Kameel Stanley took that concept one step further and asked a handful of local young people to do the storytelling themselves.

The fresh voices that were in the spotlight at We Live Here’s well-attended house party on Nov. 27 are also the focus of this week’s new episode of the podcast.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh previewed some of the highlights with Stanley, who noted that the new episode is part of an effort to get more youth voices on the show.

Storyteller and author Patrick Dorsey
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh explored some of the region's spooky locales and tales with Patrick Dorsey, author of the book "Haunted Webster Groves."

A storyteller and organizer of many ghostly and bookish gatherings in St. Louis area, Dorsey is heading up Friday evening’s Candle Game Night event at the Book House in Maplewood.

There, several people will be reading scary stories – running the gamut from true stories and folktales to ghost stories.

Chemist Chanté Summers shares a story at The Story Collider show in St. Louis on Oct. 4, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo

Chanté Summers was expecting an uneventful day when she walked into her chemistry laboratory three years ago at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Instead, she found herself putting bandages on a bleeding labmate who caused an explosion after mishandling chemicals.

At the Story Collider’s “Uncharted Territory” show at the Ready Room this month, Summers and others shared stories about how they navigated challenges in their lives. Whether it was trying to protect a package of fruit flies on a flight to Hawaii or dealing with depression after surviving cancer, every storyteller talked about how they found empowerment through their experiences.

The Men's Story Project takes the stage with 14 meditations on masculinity

Apr 26, 2018
ante3 |

What does it mean to be a “real man?” Fourteen metro St. Louis men will share their perspectives on an auditorium stage as part of The Men’s Story Project.

The participants, ages 20 to 48, will use spoken word, monologues, poetry and storytelling to examine masculinity and expectations of manhood in a free event at Saint Louis University on April 28 and 29.

Organizers say most of the participants of The Men’s Story Project have never spoken publicly before. They include local artists and activists, students and professors.

Sonja Perryman has found her niche at the intersection of storylines and public health.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Sonja Perryman’s love for storytelling developed early in life, along with her sense of its potential to impact lives. She has vivid memories of reading “The Baby-Sitters Club” books as a girl and telling her father about one particular character in the series.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, she has diabetes, and she’s always thirsty and always hungry,’” Perryman recalled in a conversation this week on St. Louis on the Air. “And I remember my dad’s face going pale – well, as pale as it could go, but he looked like he saw a ghost – and he was like, ‘What were her symptoms again?’”

Treasure Shields Redmond and Karen Yang at Yang's kitchen table.
Provided by Kristen Trudo

The kitchen table can be a place for conversation, nurturing and sustenance. Two St. Louisans are making the intimate space the source for an ambitious podcast.

With “Who Raised You?” Treasure Shields Redmond and Karen (Jia Lian) Yang hope to explore a variety of experiences.

“It’s like a springboard,” Shields Redmond said. “Because people cannot just talk about family … they can talk about rearing influences, the music, food, travel, everything!”

Storyteller Bobby Norfolk once worked as a park ranger at The Arch. The lack of represenation of York in the Museum of Westward Expansion helped inspire his current performance.
File photo | Provided | Bobby Norfolk

Who were the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition across the Western United States? The obvious answer is Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. But many likely don't know that an enslaved African played a crucial third role.

Lewis and Clark are famous for undertaking the “Corps of Discovery” in the early 1800s. But another man, York, typically only receives a footnote in history books.

St. Louis storyteller Bobby Norfolk wants the change that. In our latest Cut & Paste arts and culture podcast, we talk with Norfolk, whose Sept. 15 storytelling event at The Link Auditorium in the Central West End focuses on York’s experience, which included adventure, hardship and terrible mistreatment.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 30, 2012 - Storyteller Dovie Thomason knows that many in her audiences have not heard about government boarding schools when she presents her tales about the attempt to re-educate and assimilate Native American children into U.S. society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Thomason, 63, who is of Lakota and Kiowa Apache descent, said she herself knew nothing of the schools until she began studying Native American history during college because her own family members never spoke of their experiences.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 7, 2011 - The first foreign language Amanda Clark ever heard was glossolalia, the religious practice of speaking in tongues.

There's a lot more to this story, but that is the only detail Clark can share. She's preparing to tell the story in front of a room full of strangers on Thursday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 17, 2011 - MothUp is currently going through a MothOut. The popular local storytelling group has decided to part ways with The Moth and re-name itself. This decision has been made to keep the program running and avoid new restrictions and guidelines from The Moth, a nonprofit based in New York City.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 29, 2010 - I ventured to my childhood home over Thanksgiving. As my trips surrounding holidays tend to, this one included time spent with friends made in high school.

Now scattered throughout the country, our group is doing things so varied it doesn't seem possible our common background could have adequately prepared each of us. Our conversation turned to those "good old days," absent friends and former teachers.