Posted at 8:15 AM on August 17, 2009
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Culture
It's the oldest form of art there is: the first person narrative. For as long as we humans have gathered around campfires, we've also shared our stories. Over time, the campfire has made way for the office watercooler, the open-mic night, or the occasional autobiography. Now we have blogs, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
It used to be that each person would have to wait their turn around the campfire to tell their story. Now it's as though everyone's talking simultaneously.
Alex Williams writes in the New York Times Sunday Styles section about the surge in first person storytelling at open-mic nights. Williams writes more people are flocking to such storytelling events in the hopes of parlaying their story into a book deal or a one-man show on Broadway.
Storytelling in this manner has apparently become so relevant to the moment that it can no longer be confined to a few sporadic events populated by a small group of would-be memoirists. After all, it's basically just confession, Mr. King [Anthony King, artistic director of The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater] said, and everyone seems to be confessing the most intimate details of their lives on social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
"The private is now public," Mr. King said. "And great source material."
This self-obsession is not just limited to storytelling - it's also manifested in images, as Euan Kerr reported a while back. Self-portraits abound, as people seek to document their lives on Facebook and MySpace.
So what are the consequences of this "culture of the self?" Is it democracy in action, in which all our voices have equal power? Or will all the great voices naturally rise to the top? Have we all become our own personal curators, choosing which stories are worth following?
What, if anything, are we losing?
Special effects producer Bruce Branit created this short film, which is now getting its own legs. "WorldBuilder" is a sweet little story that revolves around the notion of what we might be able to create in a virtual world.
Imagine yourself the city planner, architect, decorator and gardener for your own virtual neighborhood. What would you build?(1 Comments)
Posted at 7:32 PM on August 17, 2009
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Events
It's that time of the year that many reporters dread...and also secretly love. It's the slow time of year, when a lot of people - including newsmakers - are on vacation, and so our news coverage starts to feel a bit sparse. For those reporters who always feel like they're one step behind where they need to be, it's an opportunity to breathe a little easier.
In the theater world this holds particularly true. Most theaters close for the summer, knowing Minnesotans have precious few days of good weather to enjoy, and really don't want to spend their evenings in a darkened room when they could be at the lake.
The Fringe Festival - the bright blazing comet of the summer theater season - has passed, and we're left in its quiet wake.
To make matters worse, in these hard economic times many theaters appear to be shortening their seasons as a way to tighten their budget belts. That means some companies, such as Penumbra Theater, won't launch their first production until October.
What to do, in the meantime? Enjoy the theater of the outdoors. Work in the garden. Take in an music concert in the park. Those cold fall evenings - and cozy little theaters - will welcome you in soon enough.