Love: The good, the bad, the ugly
Storytellers Anne Rutherford and Norm Brecke are not here to tell you Disney princess stories.
The Portland-based husband and wife duo are coming to the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Center on Tuesday, Feb. 19, as part of the Walters' Creative Connections Speaker Series with their show, "Grimm Love."
The pair will share lesser-known stories by the famed Grimm Brothers all centered around a theme near and dear to everyone this time of year: the ups and downs of love.
After the event, attendees are invited to tell stories of their own in an open mic session.
Just like the name of their event, the pair met because of their love of storytelling, first starting out as friends and soon, partners.
This is Rutherford's 20th year being a professional storyteller. He has lived in the area for 35 years.
"I started by renting the basement of a church and selling tickets for a show for adults, and people came," Rutherford said. "I got really excited about storytelling and figured out how to work at schools, with seniors so I could begin doing it for a living."
She performed at national festivals around the country, winning first place four times at the Northwest Folklife Festival Liar's Contest in Seattle, and took the grand prize in the Northwest Tall Tale Challenge in 2016.
Brecke was a school teacher for many years, but didn't see it as his calling, he said. After attending a storytelling workshop, Brecke saw the opportunity to master the artform.
"I wasn't connecting with students and teaching middle school at the time, and I thought, 'This could be my thing,'" Brecke said. "As a teacher, I spent every day challenging myself to learn as many folktales as possible."
Both are successful in their solo careers at workshops and competitions, and the two love to speak together, they said.
By telling stories by the Grimm brothers, Rutherford and Brecke say they hope to show people that themes the Brothers Grimm were working with resonate with everyday life, not just in fantasy, they said.
"We'll come up with stories and research them. Even though the story may be about two animals, it really is about a toxic relationship," Brecke said. "There is no happy ending."
They both promise not only doom and gloom, but suspense and entertaining pieces, Rutherford said.
The open mic session following the event will allow audience members to take the stage and speak for five minutes.
"It will be a fun night," Rutherford said. "The beauty of going to a storytelling event is you may hear someone talk about an experience different than yours, but the reaction you have to that makes you realize you have something in common with them, like loneliness."
There are some themes, Rutherford said, that are universal.
"Maybe someone is a different age than me, but they are talking about a topic that I've been through," he said. "It makes you feel not alone."
The free event is open for people ages 13 and up.
Don't have a story to tell? No problem. Anyone is invited to just listen, Brecke said.
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