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Rosa Keller Library (5:00-9:00 PM)
My House NOLA presents a rolling food vendor mini festival
The Antenna Gallery (7:00 PM)
A series of music-themed movies and documentaries, curated and hosted by DJ Soul Sister, and co-presented by Charitable Film Network, Press Street, and WWOZ
Jewish Community Center (7:30 PM)
The second evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Catch the Indie rockers on their North American tour
Moth Money Moth Problems
Characters USA & The Moth Unite
In an area as rich in the tradition of oral histories and storytelling as the clay beneath our feet, New Orleans is absolutely seeped in generations of lived and shared experience through spoken word. Finding roots in the preservation of history and culture through the African Diaspora, storytelling has been premiere in defining the geo-social space, vitality, and effusive value of the city; from Congo Square to the front porch.
This past week Generations Hall witnessed a new frenzied craze of transplanted storytellers as The Moth, longtime hip & savvy enterprise, has paired with cable dominant and newly “multi-culturally championed ” USA Networks to debut, their latest brain-child, Characters Unite; “A More Perfect Union: Stories of Prejudice and Power”.
The Moth, now an NYC based nonprofit, came from humble beginnings. The organizations was founded by author George Dawes Green on his friend Wanda’s porch in St. Simon’s Island, Georgia.
Now touted as “New York’s hottest and hippest literary ticket” by the Wall Street Journal, The Moth provides free weekly stories podcasted in over 200 radio markets nationwide. It has created six ongoing programs and shared more than 3,000 live stories ranging in presenters from movie star, Ethan Hawke (barf!) to exonerated prisoner Rocky Zimmerman.
Entrenched in this lavish performance of neutered disaster capitalism lies this primary question: “In a tour continuing in primary markets such as Seattle, Chicago, and New York, why select New Orleans as a stomping ground for such a subversive and intimate discourse?”
When confronted with this question, executive director, Joan Firestone curtly advised us to readdress this inquiry with the USA network. Searching for answers from USA, failing to be appeased by the Moth, NoDef had the opportunity to sit down with manically charismatic host Angela Bassett. First Lady Bassett a newfound Moth enthusiast exclaimed, “I love New Orleans, I love stories, I love good storytelling”.
According to Bassett, storytelling allows for the “validation of character through struggle, and difference” (and Hallmark sealed monolithic diversity avoiding any actual engagement into the marginalizing and oppressive functions of power or prejudice.)
Amidst our indulgently cynical reactions to this concentration of gratuitous, commercially packaged sentiment, we were struck by the candid and disclosing personal account of Ward “Mack” McLendon, as he recounted his personal transformation in forming the Lower Ninth Ward Village Community Center after Katrina came and left his life unrecognizable.
A standing testament to the richness of storytelling in New Orleans, Mack was both approachable and accessibly vulnerable in a way that the premeditated executions of the socially palatable “outsiders” were lacking. (Elna Baker: the Mormon that didn’t fit in; Jacqui Vines, COX Vice President: headstrong professional who finds fulfillment in family over work (so hetero); Jeffery Rudell: put out for putting out; Stephanie Summerville: rising above racism out of duty to over-achievement).
The silver lining of the night, regardless of the amount of production and cultish praise for USA, lies in the simple discovery that although this is not the first time these people have told their stories, a rejuvenated appreciation for the natural compulsion to find comfort in empathy, and understanding in the commonality of difference stretched from the stage to the audience. (Cue the tin man who now has a heart).
Learn more about The Moth and all of its on-going productions, both on tour and on the web. Learn more about the amazing work happening at The Lower Ninth Village click here. Donations (such as all proceeds from the event that went to Mack and the Village) are strongly encouraged. Give what you got.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Ryan Sparks, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Ryan Sparks, Kerem Ozkan
Michael Weber, B.A.
Assistant Managing Editor
B. E. Mintz
Published Daily by
Minced Media, Inc.