FOOL Festival

FOOL Festival Preview

Toronto's first ever FOOL launches today--the Festival of Oral Literatures. A quick look at the schedule promises four days of amazing story-telling with performers like local dub artist d'bi.young, Yukon-born Ivan E. Coyote, and Brazilian story-teller Regina Machado. The fest kicks off with a set of six house concerts tonight and tomorrow.

The house shows have a suggested donation of $15. Reservations are essential (by reserving, you get the exact address of the house where the show is taking place). The house shows are an inspired idea--intimate but communal, a perfect venue for telling stories.

"A few years ago, I started getting interested in Storytelling," explains FOOL co-founder Lisa Pijuan-Nomura, "and soon found that it seemed to be having a revival in many other cities. Hearing about packed houses of young people coming together to listen to stories sort of put me in a serious search mode to find Toronto's equivalent. New York has the Moth, Montreal has a giant bilingual festival. What did we have? When I met Dan Yashinsky, who was one of the original founders of the Storytelling Festival of Toronto 30 years ago, he asked me, Where is the next generation of storytellers?"

Yashinsky is still very much involved with Storytelling Toronto but FOOL is aiming for something different. "Dan and i shared and talked and kvetched and laughed and hatched a grand plan to start a new festival that might bring together not just storytellers of the traditional world, but also to bring some wordsmiths that play with stories in contemporary forms," says Pijuan-Nomura. "We wanted to honour the rich tradition of storytelling in Toronto, all the while spicing it up with something new."

The weekend brings free performances to Wychwood Barns Farmers' Market, Saturday morning (starting at 10am), along with workshops and evening shows. Sunday's highlight (1pm at Bread & Circus in Kensington) is an experiment to communally create a new myth, led by Dan Yashinsky, who'll be channelling "the Listener"--a contemporary medicine spirit anchored in very old stories. And no doubt, a very wise FOOL.

Ivan E Coyote photo by Laura Sawchuk

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