The image above is the painting for "CAMERA OBSCURA" by Tom Wright
from the NIGHT GALLERY episode of the same name. All Rights Reserved.


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MARCH MADNESS

 

My two busiest months have always been October and December; obviously the first for the Halloween Season and December for Christmas celebrations. September and November have also been eventful because of their prelude to the aforementioned Seasons. But March? Not before this year have I done so much wandering as spring makes its arrival.

It began, of all things, with a bowling tournament.

 

 

Or more precisely, a bowling event. Bowl for Kids Sake is an annual fundraiser for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, a very worthy cause. The actual bowing event doesn't raise money; rather, it provides a celebratory conclusion to the previous months of fundraising, where everyone can get together and enjoy the fruits of the hard work they've put towards their goals.

As in previous years there was a theme for 2016's event. In times past there have been Pirate Bowls (where everyone naturally came dressed in their best pirate attire) and Super Hero Bowls (where Batman, Superman, Spiderman and Wonder Woman bowled alongside their mortal friends). This year's event, depicted so wonderfully in the advertisement logo above, caught my attention this year.

Monster Bowl!

How could I resist? I contacted several of my human friends to see if they'd like to put on their Halloween costumes early (or late, depending on your point of view) and join me in some fundraising. I contacted Big Brothers Big Sisters and submitted my team Carpathian's Creatures, then set about soliciting funds.

 


Our local television station, News Channel 3, runs a public service announcement concerning MONSTER BOWL, complete with Sendek-inspired Wild Things!

Yours Truly, bowling shoes and implement of destruction at ready! (Actually a publicity photo; sadly, the bowling ball isn't real.)

My friend Guyla in disguise as Brigita.

 


Yours Truly & Brigita at Harbor Lanes in Eureka, CA.

My human companions Jaycee and Gwen prepared to do battle in the alley! (Bowling alley, that is!)
We did fairly well, considering that we got a late start and only collected for a little over a week. We raised $917.00, just short of our $1000 online goal. (Actually, the credit for our contributions goes to my human companion Guyla, who spent the week before the event tireless sitting outside a local grocery store in her costume as Brigita the Witch with her large glass jar.)

The day of the actual bowling it poured on the Lost Coast, but those that made it to Harbor Lane in Eureka, CA (spectators as well as contestants) found a very festive environment, with every variety of creatures from Maurice Sendek's Wild Things to yellow Minions from the movie of the same name to the band KISS in full leather and facepaint. As notorious as Humboldt County is for having start times that are more suggestion than strict, the event ran like clockwork, and at our appointed time my human companions – Guyla as Brigita, Jaycee as a zombie (named Jaycee) and Gwen as Samara from THE RING – lined up at our alley, bowling balls at the ready and bowling shoes on our feet. (Even mine; ectoplasm is frowned upon in this sport.)

 

Jaycee was our leading scorer; my score was best forgotten immediately, but it was a very enjoyable outing. The final frosting on the cake was our team being awarded Best Costumes, which pleased my friends greatly (especially Gwen). We were given a bowling pin painted with one staring eye and devil's horns; it was lovely.

In all the event was very successful, raising $122,000. I was pleased to be a part of it, and thank my friends at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Coast for putting this year's celebration together!

The team of Carpatian's Creatures - Myself, Brigita, Jaycee & Gwen. Note our
Best Costume Award in Gwen's arms.

 

 

March is also, of course, the time for celebrating a little bit of Celtic feeling in everyone. St. Patrick's Day is a splendid holiday, for I've always felt akin to that wonderfully haunted island, and have numerous Irish Ghost Stories to share. Because it had been such a busy October and December, I let March 2015 slide without a performance, and I heard clearly from my human friends that they didn't want to repeat the omission this year.

 


My musician companions collectively known as "The Ethniks" for St. Patrick's Day entertain the crowd with an Irish hornpipe.
Emily and Sara duet on flute and violin respectively, while I continue to haunt in the background.
Of course I exist to serve, so I called my human musician friends Emily, Sara and Guy to see if they'd like to accompany me again as they did two years previous. The answer was affirmative, and the Saturday before the Irish Holiday Old Town Coffee & Chocolates was quite crowded as everyone gathered for a fine night of music and 'crack'. (An Irish slang expression for storytelling.) The music was delightful, and I enjoyed listening as much as the audience did, and they truly seemed to enjoy my seasonal tales of faeries, ghosts and leprechauns (especially the vampiric kind!)

Sara (with Guy) on bodhran, the traditional Irish drum. (And despite its spelling, it's pronounced "Baal-ron")

A rare shot from behind the scenes (by Guy), showing the standing-room-only crowd at Old Town Coffee & Chocolates.

 

Spinning some fine Irish tales in Old Town Coffee & Chocolates.

 


One of my favorite moments at St. Patrick's Day was sharing Tom Leher's perfectly dark “An Irish Ballad”. My human companion Elizabeth captured this in a fine video that can also be found on my YouTube channel (but you can enjoy it here now by clicking on the image).

 


Emily's lovely voice leads the audience in a rendition of "My Wild Irish Rose".

My human companion (and occasional videographer) Elizabeth. Note her fine taste in attire and Christmas films.

Guy, Emily and Yours Truly accompanied by Sara on our finale, "The Parting Glass".
There were other wonderful episodes, including Emily singing “My Wild Irish Rose” and joining Guy and myself for the finale of “The Parting Glass. There was a lot of laughter, some tears, a fright or two and splendid music to cap the evening. I was very glad to host again this year, and look forward to next year's celebration! (I think my human friends will be as well!)

 


A thorn among some Celtic heather - Yours Truly and "The Ethniks"; from left to right, Emily, Guy and Sara.

 

That wasn't the end of the St. Patrick's Day revelries, however. The Humboldt County Library invited me to come tell some of my Irish tales to my younger friends the day before the holiday at the Eureka branch. I was quite pleased to see a very crowded room greet me at my arrival, and between the stories and some musings from my audience on the nature of faerie folk (and the reliability of leprechaun traps!) all had a marvelous time. It was doubly pleasing to be presenting my stories under the auspices of the Humboldt Literary Project; there were free books available at the end of the evening for everyone to take home!

 

 

March 20 was World Storytelling Day, a global event dedicated to the art of the oral tradition. My human companion and fellow storyteller Paul Woodland put together our local event in Humboldt County and invited both myself and a splendid local teller named Mary Lawrence to participate. The theme was “Folktales from Around the World”, with a subtheme of “Strong Women”. As I'd just completed my St. Patrick's Day performances, I still had Ireland in my thoughts, and knew of a few Celtic tales that fit these criteria that I thought audiences would enjoy. I seem to have been correct in my assessment.

 


A view of The Old Steeple from one of my favorite vantage points: the beautiful Ferndale Cemetery.

The welcoming entrance to this splendid new venue.

 

Entertaining the crowd on World Storytelling Day. The woman to the right (my left) is Phaedra,
an American Sign Language interpreter who generously assisted us during our performances.
One of the most exciting things about this event was that it was taking place in a new venue, a reconverted church in Ferndale, CA. (Regular visitors here in the crypt will recall that Ferndale has been the setting for several Hollywood productions, including OUTBREAK and THE MAJESTIC, and most notably was used as a stand-in for Stephen King's doomed town of Jerusalem's Lot, Maine in the 1979 miniseries adaptation ‘SALEM'S LOT! It's also the home of one of my absolutely favorite cemeteries; you can see some pictures of Yours Truly haunting this fine parcel or unreal estate on the “Halloween 2010” Camera Obscura Archives, as well as the upcoming video editions to my CARPATHIAN'S TOMB YouTube Channel.)

The venue is run by the Ferndale Music Company, and has already brought fine independent musical performers to the Lost Coast. When Paul approached them about a storytelling event, they jumped at the opportunity, and so we found ourselves inside a beautiful old church before an enthusiastic crowd of all ages.

Paul Woodland shares one of his tales with the crowd.

Mary Lawrence enthralls the audience with one of the folktales from her childhood.

 


A panoramic view of the interior of The Old Steeple, to give you a better idea of the wonderful look of this beautiful new venue, complete with storyteller and presenter Paul Woodland.

 

Ms. Lawrence told some stories from her roots in the South, Paul explored folktales from many of the major continents, and I regaled everyone with the ancient story of Tam Lin and a parable about a young girl, a brave knight and the meaning of courage. To judge by the comments from those departing afterwards, the day was a great success, and more like it may be forthcoming! Thank you to Ms. Lawrence for your lovely tales, to Paul for his dedication to the art form and for generously including me in the event, and to Paul Beatie and the staff at the Ferndale Music Company and The Old Steeple for hosting us, and to all who gathered to help us celebrate!

And on that note, March and the start of Spring drew to a conclusion. And now - on to Summer!

 

I want to offer a very sincere and grateful appreciation to the photographers who offered their work for this page: Guyla Divinagracia , Elizabeth Holverson, Guy Smith, Patrick Rutherford, Karen Roemke and Paul Beatie. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 


© 2016 Patient Creatures Ltd.