When Anansi, the trickster-spider, decided to hoard all the world's wisdom for himself in a hollowed-out gourd, he found the task self-defeating and eventually realized the path to wisdom is in sharing it with others. Seems he must've passed that principle on to the tellers at the 16th Annual Signifyin' and Testifyin' Black Master Storytelling Festival. The event promises a wide array of traditional stories—from the West African Anansi stories to their African American Brer Rabbit counterparts, as well as original tales. The fest is subtitled "Sankofa," an Akan word meaning a return to the past in order to move into the future, and an impressive group of tellers has gathered to help us do just that. For example, Danny "Slapjazz" Barber's stories are often in rhyme, accompanied by his specialties of body percussion and jaw harp, while Mama Koku, an Atlantan teller, draws her audience into the stories with call-and-response. Friday features a liar's contest where you'll get to release your own inner Anansi. The storytelling festival is at the Capri Theater (2027 W. Broadway, Minneapolis) Thursday, Ames Elk Lodge (1614 Plymouth Ave. N., Minneapolis) Friday, and the Perpich Center for Arts Education (6125 Olson Memorial Hwy, Golden Valley) Sunday. For a complete schedule, visit here or call 612.529.5864 for more info.
Sat., Sept. 29, 6:30 p.m., 2007