Listen to Trickster at tonight's storytelling fest in Port Townsend
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Quinault ambassador, historian and storyteller Harvest Moon shares “Trickster Tales” tonight at Port Townsend’s Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
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Johnny Moses also appears at “Trickster Tales,” a night of storytelling.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Be careful on this particular evening, the storyteller Harvest Moon says.

“I am a trickster, and I may do some April Fools' jokes,” she warned, referring to her appearance tonight in “Trickster Tales,” a playful evening of live storytelling at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Ave.

Harvest Moon, a Quinault ambassador who lives in Olympia, is one in a triumvirate.

She'll share the stage with Johnny Moses of Seattle, a man she calls “the grand poo-bah of storytellers in the Pacific Northwest,” and Daniel Deardorff, the man behind the Mythsinger Foundation in Port Townsend.

Coyote, Raven, Mink

On this foolish night, “we will listen to the stories and wisdom of those masters of creative chaos: Coyote, Raven [and] Mink,” promised organizer Brian Rohr.

Harvest Moon has one more to add — the sea otter. “That's my crest and the animal that best represents me,” she said.

“Sea otter loves to tease,” and so do she and her family — provided the teasing is 100 percent humorous, with no hurt or harm.

Tonight's “Trickster Tales” will unfold from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Admission is a suggested donation of $12 to $25, though no one will be turned away, Rohr added.

Proceeds will benefit the Boiler Room, a nonprofit, youth-run teen center, art gallery and coffeehouse at 711 Water St. in Port Townsend.

Rohr can hardly wait to welcome Moses and Moon back to town for the third annual “Trickster Tales”; both tellers appeared in last April's event.

“Johnny Moses is one of the most popular storytellers in North America,” Rohr said. Moses has shared stories with thousands of people at the prestigious National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tenn.; at Lincoln Center in New York City; at the University of Washington; and at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colo.

“In his tradition, there were no formal schools; wisdom and knowledge about all areas of life were handed down in stories,” Rohr noted.

Moses offers each tale in English, traditional sign language and one of the eight native languages he speaks fluently.

To learn more about him, visit

Musician, storyteller

Deardorff, a Port Townsender, is “a ‘singer' in the old sense of that word, which involves being a musician, a storyteller and a maker of ritual,” Rohr said.

A composer and a performing artist for more than four decades, he's a driving force of the Mythsinger Foundation's online community,

Moon, also a historian and weaver, has been telling stories for 26 years — more than half her lifetime.

“She speaks from her heart and spirit, leaving people looking at a different perspective of the Northwest coast Native Americans,” Rohr said.

Among many honors, she has received the Peace and Friendship Award from the Washington State Historical Society for her contributions to the understanding of Northwest native heritage.

‘Rolling rocks'

For tonight, Moon is polishing her “Rolling Rocks” story about why we see those highway signs cautioning us about falling rocks.

In this contemporary tale, Rolling Rocks is a young male with a brother named Quicksand who has many children, a mother named Crystal and a powerful father, Boulder Head.

Moon is lighthearted when she tells her stories, but she hopes they will stay in the mind of the listener.

“As weeks go by, whatever they may be doing, I hope that they may have a light bulb,” she said, “about ‘Oh, that's what she meant,' so they will understand how they can place [the story] in their life.”

Families are invited to tonight's gathering, though Rohr said parents should be aware that mature themes and language are part of the “Trickster Tales.”

To learn more about this and other storytelling events in Port Townsend, visit or phone 360-531-2535.


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at

Last modified: March 31. 2011 11:08PM
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