Meet our Featured Storytellers for the GRAND SLAM February 25th!
Yvonne Healy’s personal stories share moments of deep emotion through a wry, politely Midwestern lens. She is the former president of the National Storytelling Network.
Jordan Rukin-Forer lived in London, England with his family for 5 years before moving back to the US at the age of 5. In 2015, when he was 11, he took a year-long trip traveling around the US with his mom and brother via an Airstream trailer. As a young entrepreneur, he started a small business making walking sticks. While traveling through Steamboat Springs, Jordan was introduced to improv and hasn’t looked back since. He writes his own music for acoustic guitar, which he also plays. He is an avid soccer player and loves playing tricks on people while out and about in Boulder, CO, his new and beloved home.
Heather Grimes is a licensed massage therapist who works primarily with (and finds much inspiration from) folks who have Alzheimer’s and dementia. She is also an essayist who has written for Mindful, Mindful.org, and Elephant Journal.
She has been involved with the Boulder County Foster system since 2014, first as a foster parent and now as a volunteer. She loves walking under leafy trees, playing board games with her crew, and all kinds of dance. This year she will attempt to learn how to play the guitar and speak Spanish for the 10th year in a row. She lives in Louisville with her husband and two vibrant (though in very different ways) young daughters.
In 2003, George began voicing with a trip to a local recording studio to do some narration bits for a First Union National Bank industrial. The gig stirred his imagination, and he began the research and practice to make his first demos. Working with sources both local and national, new opportunities came over time, and he started working on projects as small as phone messaging to as large as national ad campaigns.
Since that time, George has provided voice over services in documentaries, video games, radio and television commercials, in-store announcements, marketing on hold, websites and web ads, virtually every aspect of the voice-over industry. His voice has represented companies like McDonald’s, Courtyard by Marriott, Nike, Gatorade, Time Warner Cable, and Lowe’s Home Improvement. George has called Charlotte home since 1998 with his daughters Grace, Naomi and Ella, and his son Jordan.
Brenton Weyi, often called the Modern Voltaire, uses the power of words to cultivate humanity. As a philosopher, poet and polymath, he writes essays that blend the poetic and historical in order to examine the beautiful struggle of the human experience. He also writes/performs his own unique style of narrative poetry that borrows from Greek and classical forms.
He has traveled to over 55 countries, connecting communities through the power of story and the arts. He is also a member of Playback Theatre West, which builds community through the potency of narrative. It’s Brenton’s belief that life is philosophical, moral, psychological, artistic, and so much more. And it is in drawing connections between these areas that truth can be found.
Mark grew up in St. Louis as the middle child of five, with two older sisters and two younger sisters. He attended Antioch College in Ohio and the Eberhard-Karls University in Tubingen, Germany, as an undergrad, then went to law school at Washington University St. Louis. He later taught appellate practice and civil rights law at Wash. U. and coached the school’s moot court team for two decades. As an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives in 2008, Mark garnered the second-highest vote total that any Dem had ever achieved in a heavily Republican district. He began spending most of his time in Denver in 2013 but still keeps a law office in St. Louis. Mark loves occasional ventures into community and regional theater, doing Fireball shots with friends and strangers, skiing, playing the flute, and most of all his son, Sam, and his wife, Renee.
I learned to tell stories from a father. Being involved in Texas politics, every account of his day at the Legislature lay somewhere between truth, lies, and exaggeration. Sitting around campfires with friends and a boot flask of bourbon for much of my life helped me hone my own storytelling skills. For the last several decades, I have managed digital marketing agencies helping brands tell their stories to consumers. Unfortunately, most of those stories ended up as “buy one get one free” or “endless enchiladas”. I now work directly with brands helping them build out their own in-house agencies. For stories to resonate with consumers, they must be authentic, genuine and well lived. Professionally, I have found that no one can tell an advertiser’s story better than the advertiser themselves. Now I find myself trying to tell compelling stories in both my personal and professional life; in each case I strive to make an intellectual and emotional connection with my audiences – whether for a smile or for a paycheck.
Dan Curtiss is a designer in Boulder who knows not to pet animals backward.
If you ask him to sing a song, he’ll do it.
Hal Walker is a singer, a songwriter and a musical explorer from Kent, Ohio. As a teaching artist, he has introduced thousands of children to the lifelong search for unique ways to express the music that’s within each of us. He’s the developer of the modern day “Banakula” and also a highly effective, whole-body approach to learning the harmonica. His most popular video on Youtube, with over 3 million views, is “How to Play the Ancient Hand Whistle.” Also, Hal Walker is the music director of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Kent.