Larry was born in Swedish Hospital and took coffee intravenously the second day. In 1961 he did JFK's 50-Mile Hike, because it was a physical challenge and a story. When he turned 61, he did a 61-Mile Hike, accompanied by the environmental, social justice, and conflict resolution stories he's been telling since the 60s, as a camp director, army medic, originator of participatory children's hospital TV, and public schools storytelling/video specialist. He plays music on multiple items others might just throw away, like FRENCH SHOE HORN, SWING GARDEN HOSE, and HEAVY METAL RECYCLED WATER FAUCET. He's been able to tell stories and teach storytelling in many places, from the Hutton Yacht in the Stockholm, Sweden Harbor, to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, to "opening" for Captain Kangaroo at a conference at the Kennedy Center, but his favorite place to tell is still neighborhood schools, and with his grandchildren. Larry's favorite letter of recommendation is still one of the first he got, when doing school assemblies in the 70s:
Dear Mr. Johnson- Thank you for coming to our school to tell stories. I was sick that day, but the other kids liked it a lot, so I'm going with that. Your friend, Keri
Since the late 70s, Elaine and Larry have taught many, young and old, to use story and storytelling in their work as parents, grandparents, educators, and activists. In 1980 they originated STORYTELLING AS A MODERN COMMUNICATION ART at Metro State University, teaching it for over 10 years. In 1990 they organized the National Storytelling Conference on STORYTELLING AND THE ELECTRONIC MEDIA, and in 1994, worked with Mark Wagler of Madison to create HEADS AND TALES, an experiential conference on using storytelling in all forms of education. It was designed as regional, but ended up drawing participants from all over the world.
In 1996, George Gerbner, retired as Dean of the Annanberg School of Communications, asked Larry and Elaine to represent storytelling on the founding board of the CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT MOVEMENT, with its battle cry of, "We must get the stories into the hands of those with something to tell, not just large corporations with something to sell". CEM became a forerunner of the current operating media reform movement, FREE PRESS. Larry and Elaine continue to do this work in many different venues, believing that many people being able to express their deepest convictions from the heart is a key to preserving our democracy.
SIXTY-ONE, Much Bigger Than The Number
East Side Freedom Library www.eastsidefreedomlibrary.org
1105 Greenbrier St. (near Maryland and Arcade in St. Paul, where the 61 Mile Hike started)
Over 10 years ago Elaine and Larry started holding annual COUSIN CAMPS, with their now 13 grandchildren. A week of fun, connecting, storytelling, videomaking, social justice, loving the outdoors, and more.
Watch this space at www.freewebs.com/worldstorytellingday/ for local events connected to World Storytelling Day 2017. On or around March 20, groups around the world (usually about 25 different countries) will gather to celebrate and promote storytelling.
Elaine grew up in a farming community in northern Minnesota, as well as 4 years in Alaska. Her parents were 2nd generation Americans and her mother spoke only German when she started school. Farm life was enlivened by the joy of neighborhood dances in town halls and barns! One of the great themes of her stories is Dance - her father's dancing in the great ballrooms of Chicago, together with her family being regularly invited to pow wows. Cross-cultural life experiences shaped her growth as a storyteller. Elaine has performed and taught in Minnesota and around the world since 1976, focusing primarily on the Healing Art of storytelling. She still believes the most important storytelling we do is for and with children in our homes and communities.
|Copyright © 2017 Larry Johnson and Elaine Wynne
"Key of See Storytellers" is a trademark of Larry Johnson and Elaine Wynne.
Online Feb 12, 2010 :: Updated Jan 03, 2017
Website by Greg Isola