A Glorious Success!!

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Just catching our breath – by all accounts and measures, a wonder-filled time was had by all – presenters and attendees at the First (probably Annual) Woodstock Story Festival.

From top: Shelley Stockwell-Nicholas, Richard Schwab, Paul McMahon, Audience members holding puppets representing parts of the brain (skit), Mitch Ditkoff, Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barb Mainguy, Khenpo Pema Wangduk, Gioia Timpanelli, Elizabeth Cunningham, Doug Grunther, and David Gonzalez. Many more pictures (and videos!) to follow…

Shelley Richard Schwab PB intro remarks Paul McMahon Parts of the Brain Mitch Lewis & Barb Khenpo Pema Gioia Timpanelli Elizabeth Cunningham Doug Grunther David Gonzalez2

From the Poughkeepsie Journal: “Festival celebrates ‘story’ in all its forms”

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(By Peter Blum, for the Poughkeepsie Journal, 1:29 p.m. EDT, April 20, 2016)

“What was I thinking?”

I wonder how many other first-time producers and organizers of large public events have stopped at some point and asked themselves this question. The first Woodstock Story Festival is scheduled to take place very soon, and as the creator and producer of this weekend event (April 30-May 1), I am discovering just how many details and how much work is involved in such an endeavor.

As the The Talking Head song asks, “How did I get here?”

One day last fall, an idea appeared in my mind. There are times when certain ideas announce themselves with an unmistakable flair and depth. This was one of those: a BIG idea! I was thinking about some old friends and a couple of new friends who were very involved with “story.” I was thinking, “Wow, it would be great for them to meet and find out how each one views and uses story.” I pondered how that could happen …


Story & storytelling have always been around,

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David Gonzalez performs "The Frog Bride" at the New Victory Theater on March 9, 2006. Credit: ©Stephanie Berger
David Gonzalez performs “The Frog Bride” at the New Victory Theater on March 9, 2006.
Credit: ©Stephanie Berger

during every period of recorded history, in every corner of the world. Recently, the importance of personal narrative, and cultural narrative in the fields of medicine, commerce, education, therapy, and entertainment, have come front and center.

Both the inevitability of story (humans are story creators), and the conscious use of it in every field of human endeavor are in the media every day. Psychiatrist and neuro-researcher Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona has pointed out that the brain’s “default setting” is story!

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