Sunday, January 16, 2011

WEEKEND ROUND-UP ON STORYTELLING

Just a few things I've come across this week, or thought to post about.

GLBT HISTORY MUSEUM: First, I'm excited about the opening, this past Thursday, of the GLBT History Museum at 4127 - 18th Street in San Francisco's very queer Castro District (photo from the museum's website). A project of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in San Francisco, the museum is the first of its kind in the United States, and only the second in the world (the first was the Schwules Museum in Berlin, which has a description of their permanent exhibition in English here). Drawing on the Society's large archive of documents, photos, audio and video recordings, ephemera, and other materials, the opening exhibit in the main gallery is called "Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating GLBT History." As the curators say in a statement, the show "offers a kaleidoscopic view of nearly a century of queer experience in San Francisco and the Bay Area. It does not form a single narrative; our history is too varied and unruly to be limited in that way. Instead, we bring together multiple stories, sometimes interlinking, sometimes isolated, sometimes in conflict." (You can also watch my short video about the GLBT Historical Society's archives here.)



RECOLLECTING ADAMS: This 2009 series of short animated videos from artist Marianne Rodriguez Petit is ridiculously well done. (The still image above is from episode 5.) In each of the 15 short episodes of "Recollecting Adams," one narrator from the town of Adams, Massachusetts tells stories from the lives of their families and town, and Marianne has beautifully animated these stories in different styles. As the website aptly says, together these stories "paint a rich portrait of the history of immigration, the mills, the Church, town life, and more, across generations." Dip in at random, or go through the whole series in order. Whatever the case, the series is gorgeous and well worth watching. 


KING LIAR: Lastly, here's something forwarded to me by Richard Ackoon, a painter from Trinidad. It's Lord Nelson's famous calypso tune "King Liar," about a lying competition in which the three top fabulists try to out-do each other. In other words, the song is a story about people telling tall tales. Calypso music started in Trinidad in the early 1900s, and is largely a form of storytelling, says Richard. His claim is backed up by no less an authority than the all-knowing if poorly-sourced Wikipedia, which says that calypso became a way of spreading news around Trinidad. I had a little trouble understanding the singer's accent, and if you do, too, you can read the lyrics here. Enjoy!

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