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Harley to perform at Storytelling Center

Bill Harley, a storyteller known for personal tales of exceptional warmth and humor, will soon spend a week at the International Storytelling Center sharing some of his best work.
The popular performer plans to debut new material and revisit old favorites during his weeklong stint as storyteller-in-residence.
“The heart of my work is to talk seriously about growing up,” Harley said. “I like to be really emotionally honest about it. A lot of times when people talk about childhood, they say how beautiful it is. I think people often forget it can be kind of a scary place. You don’t know how it’s going to turn out, and you don’t have much power to change it. I’m able to touch kids and adults because I don’t turn away from that.”
At the same time, Harley’s stories have an undeniable lightness. “Humor comes naturally to me,” he said. “I can’t go for too long before I make some kind of wisecrack. I’m a humorist, but I hope I’m saying something a little bit deeper about who we are. It’s a balance. That humor opens people up a little bit to hear that message.”
Harley’s residency will run June 24 – 28, Tuesday through Saturday, with daily performances at 2 p.m. in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall. Tickets for all matinees are just $12 for adults and $11 for seniors, students and children under 18. Season passes that offer savings of 44 percent are also available while supplies last.
In addition to his afternoon shows, Harley has been engaged for an exclusive evening concert, “Home: Stories About the Place We Live,” on Thursday, June 26, at 7:30 p.m. Presenting a new collection of stories with an environmental bent, Harley dives deep into what really makes a house (or a state, or a planet) a home.
Tickets are only $15 and are expected to sell out quickly, so advance purchase is strongly recommended. All ticket holders will save 10 percent on same-day dining at The Olde Courthouse Diner, The Dining Room, Jonesborough General Store and Eatery, or Main Street Café.
For all his performances, Harley plans to bring along his guitar and ukulele. “I’ve been influenced by a lot of different kinds of music, and I feel like I steal from a lot of different traditions,” he said. “My brother is a classical musician, so I’ve done a lot of work with orchestras. But mostly it’s me and a guitar and a handful of chords trying to figure out how to make words rhyme.”
A Grammy award-winner and frequent commentator for NPR, Harley’s stories are in high demand. His last residency was in 2007. “I’m really glad to be coming back,” he said. “Jonesborough is a jewel of a town. I’m looking forward to being one of its townspeople for a week. We’re going to have a great time.”
Information about all TIR performers, as well as a detailed schedule for 2014, is available at www.storytellingcenter.net.
Storytelling Live! is supported by presenting sponsor CrestPoint Health, program sponsors Eastman Chemical Co. and Eastman Credit Union, and media sponsors News 5-WCYB, FOX Tri-Cities, Tri-Cities CW, Johnson City Press, Kingsport Times-News, Herald & Tribune and Cumulus Media.
The International Storytelling Center is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
For more information about Storytelling Live! or to make a group reservation, call (800) 952-8392 ext. 222 or 913-1276.