Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

He Saw the Sign

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

He Saw the Sign

Article excerpt

Answering machines. Two days of phone tag. For a guy who makes a living promoting the fine art of personal communication, Steve Parker is a tough guy to get hold of.

Then again, the unpredictable force of nature more than qualifies as a valid excuse.

"Thank you so much for being patient, I've just been through a travel nightmare," says Parker, safe in his Pittsburgh home after a hellish few days of snowstorms, canceled flights and layovers. Parker, who comes to town this weekend for a series of family performances at COCA, knows a thing or two about traveling. His act keeps him on the road for an average of eight months a year. Quite a busy schedule for "The Pied Piper of Sign," a former social worker who just chanced onto this second career. "Just out of curiosity, I decided to take some sign language courses back in the mid-'70s," Parker explains. "I became fascinated with it, eventually studying all aspects of sign for about four years." When a teacher friend asked Parker to share his knowledge with her third-grade class, his combination of education and entertainment went over big. More schools called. Then festivals. All of a sudden, Parker is entering his fourteenth year of full-time performance. So what exactly happens when he hits the stage? "The show really is nothing like people might expect from someone who teaches the value of sign language and the wonders of communication," Parker says. "They usually think of someone just standing still and signing different words. …

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