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About Brandon

Brandon has been a high school teacher for the past twenty years, and it was in the high school classroom that many of his stories first took shape. Teaching about the places where he has lived and loved, especially his family’s home state of Missouri and his wife’s country of origin, Indonesia.

Brandon first took storytelling outside of the classroom when he won the Moth StorySLAM at Berkeley in 2015 for the theme, “The Fast Lane.” This led to five more Moth performances including two GrandSLAM titles at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. Locally he has won several slams at West Side Stories, which include two GrandSlam titles at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma.

Once while reading an issue of Storyteller Magazine, Brandon came across an article about Story Swaps, and it featured the “Do Tell Story Swap” in Santa Rosa. He began attending these regularly and quickly started participating in the yearly Tellabration!™ events held every November. In 2015 he was a featured teller for “Do Tell” (along with Muriel Johnson) and then the following year at the Delta Wordweaver Tellabration!™ in Antioch. That same year he hosted the “Do Tell” Tellabration!™ and was able to share the stage with Diane Ferlatte.

In 2017, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival was reborn as The Wine Country Spoken Word Festival. Brandon hosted the Liars Contest and introduced Bil Lepp and Willy Claflin. He was a teller for the closing concert that year for the Sunday SAC workshop series. In 2018 Brandon returned as a featured teller, taking the stage for the Sunday event for a full hour. He was part of the closing concert, which featured Bil Lepp and Elizabeth Ellis.

In 2017 Brandon began his own annual event, Coyote Tales, which is a fundraiser for Sonoma Academy. The inaugural event was held at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens, but has moved to its permanent venue in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center in Rohnert Park for the 2nd and 3rd Annual Coyote Tales. For this event, Brandon begins with a ten minute performance and then moves into his role as MC.

One year after the fires, Brandon was chosen by The Green Music Center, The Press Democrat, and the Lasseter family to host the event “Thicker than Smoke: An Evening of Community Storytelling” a fundraiser for the first responders who lost their homes while fighting the Tubb’s Fire and saving the lives of residents in Sonoma and Napa Counties. Brandon put together a spectacular line up and wove the evening together with his own anecdotes from the week of fires.

In 2017, Brandon put out his first book, Live to Tell: Six Award-Winning Tales. The book was published by Wayzgoose Press, a press that features books useful in the college classroom. Brandon’s book analyzes genre in oral storytelling, includes the scripts for six winning performances, and suggests activities for teachers to try in the language arts. The sequel, Live to Tell Again: Tales of Self-Discovery and Healing came out on June 18, 2019. On August 24, 2019, his third book Setting a Plot: The Impact of Geography on Culture, Myth, and Storytelling was published. Brandon's latest book Rangda: The Legendary Goddess of Bali, illustrated by his daughter, Clara Spars, was published on August 10, 2020.

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