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Inspirational storyteller Kevin McMullin to speak Nov. 12

| Linda Tollefsrud and Diane Walkoff

Photo caption: This photo from Kevin McMullin's book, "Into the Black Sea: Stories of Darkness and Light," shows hoodoo stones at Yehliu in Taiwan.

Storyteller Kevin McMullin will present excerpts from his one-man show and recent book, "Into the Black Sea: Stories of Darkness and Light," during UW-Eau Claire – Barron County’s “Thursdays from the U” livestream from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Nov. 12.

Kevin McMullin

Kevin McMullin

McMullin’s life has taken him from Chicago's housing projects to suburban neighborhoods to tuba studies at Northwestern University and performances at Seattle's Pike Place Market. He has since settled in Sarona and has made a career of music, storytelling, writing, educating and, in general, plying a trade for which he says there is no appropriate box on any federal tax form.

Co-founder of the folk-dance band Duck for the Oyster, McMullin has cut a CD with jazz violinist Randy Sabien and toured Chile, Mexico and Peru. After being diagnosed with a nonmalignant brain tumor in 2015, he was left deaf in one ear and has struggled with chronic dizziness, tinnitus and fatigue. While recovering from surgery, his father was diagnosed with a rare lymphoma.

But those years of illness, recovery and loss suppled McMullin with stories, his own as well as others.

“I realized at some point that I could tell these stories, that I needed to tell these stories,” McMullin says. “Stories of people walking in dark places and finding or making some kind of light in the most unlikely ways. And once I started telling them, I realized that people wanted to hear them.”

McMullin used the stories to create his one-man show. A short video preview is available on McMullin's website, along with more information about "Into the Black Sea."

Due to COVID-19, the fall 2020 series will be entirely online. To access the livestreamed presentations, visit the “Thursdays from the U” webpage at least 5-10 minutes prior to the start of the event. There you will find instructions for joining the live session, as well as the complete fall schedule and archived recordings.

The series, which is free and open to all, is sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County Foundation.

For more information about the series, contact Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, professor emeritus of psychology, UW Colleges, at tollefla@uwec.edu or 715-788-6216.