News

L.A. Storytelling Festival 2007 Features
Armenian Folktale and Songs

Alidz Agbabian and Tellers from the Mountain
to perform in the November 10 Annual Event

Armenian folk and fairy tales will be in the air at Exposition Park as part of an afternoon family program at the 6th Annual Los Angeles Storytelling Festival, which will take place on Saturday, Nov 10, 2007.

Dubbed "Building Community One Story at a Time," this year’s daylong festivities will feature concerts for adults, workshops that explore how storytelling fits into everyday lives and work, story swaps where everyone gets a chance, and a special afternoon family program with stories, games and performances especially geared for children.

Alidz with the Tellers from the Mountain

“I am happy that the Armenian community will be represented with an Armenian legend, a medieval fable and a folktale integrated with songs and chants,” says Alidz Agbabian who, along with the three-member Tellers from the Mountain, will take the stage in the “Folk and Fairy Tales” segment, from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. They will share the hour with two other storytellers.

An established storyteller and author who specializes in Armenian and Middle Eastern oral traditions, Agbabian brings folk tales, myths, songs and legends to many communities nationwide and around the world. Based in Los Angeles, she offers classroom, library and museum presentations, teachers’ workshops, and develops special-theme presentations for schools, exhibits, conventions and festivals. As an author of children’s books, she has established Dziludzar Publications, which for the past dozen years has introduced high-quality, story books from the Armenian tradition to readers of all ages.

As in her recent appearances at the Getty Museum, she is again joined by Tellers from the Mountain, the next generation of musicians and Armenian folk troubadours. The troupe consists of Areni Agbabian, who recently received her MFA in Music from CalArts and has worked with and learned from artists such as Vicki Ray, Vinny Golia, Michael Gordon and Richard Foreman. Areni’s primary interests are in contemporary and improvised music, as well as theatrical and interdisciplinary forms. Mher Vahakn received his B.F.A in photography from Art Center College of Design in 2002. He has since worked as a commercial photographer and graphic designer. Aside from photography, Vahakn is regarded by many to be a talented percussionist. His love for music motivated him to co-found Songs & Flight -- a non-profit organization that helped promote and expose new musicians to the community. He has also collaborated with countless musicians, both local and nationwide, as well as storyteller Alidz Agbabian. His current musical projects include local ethnic rock band Visa. Ari Agbabian is a graduate of New York University’s Trish School of Arts, specializing in acting and dramaturgy. His master’s degree thesis topic was medieval Egyptian shadow puppetry. Based in New York, he presently is participating in workshops by storyteller Laura Simms, and interning at the Civilians Theater Group, a company that develops original projects based on creative investigation.

Supported in part by a grant from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the annual celebration has something for every age group throughout the day. It starts at 9:00 with morning workshops for those who want to learn the art of storytelling, offered by three seasoned storytellers. There are programs for adults featuring nationally and internationally renowned storytellers. The Open Story Swap allows anybody to participate with a 5-minute story. In addition, there are concerts, a block party, award presentations and extended family programs. The day concludes at 8:30 p.m. with a concert.

Early childhood educators could apply free for a certificate on site on the day of the festival. Registration is available at the festival website for the whole day ($30) or for a single event ($10), with special prices for students and children.

The festival will take place at the Exposition Park Intergenerational Community Center, 3980 Menlo Avenue, near the L.A. Coloseum in Los Angeles. More information is available at the official website:

lastorytellingfestival.com