My friend, Arielle, performing at Mortified recently. The Mortified Sessions are storytelling events where adults dig up and reveal childhood artifacts (diaries, letters, home movies, etc.) in narrative form. The result is hilarity. Check out their website to participate, or just to attend a session near you. You can hear Arielle's performance (recorded by her husband) here.
I've written about problems of empathy in storytelling before, but no film I have seen has put as much emphasis on that issue as The Act of Killing. All I can say about this movie is that it's a must see for anyone interested in films that approach disturbing subject matter in a creative way. This isn't your run of the mill documentary. The Act of Killing, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, follows the story of Anwar Congo, an aging paramilitary/gangster who cruelly murdered thousands of people during the Indonesian genocide of 1965-66. Revered by many in his homeland, Anwar is asked by the film crew to reenact the story of his murders on film. Eager to star in a film, Anwar enlists his gangster friends and some seemingly unwilling participants to embark on this odd and disturbing project. The results: even odder and more disturbing.
The Oral History Review recently published my review on "Recalling 1993," a storytelling project and companion to the New Museum's exhibit NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star. Unfortunately, if you haven't already, it's too late to see the exhibit or "Recalling 1993," which utilized payphones to recount New York stories of 20 years past--but hopefully the article I wrote will be enough to simulate the actual experience! Enjoy!
If you are in Manhattan anytime from now until May 26, pick up a pay phone for a bit of history. Advertising agency Droga5 and the New Museum teamed up for "Recalling 1993," a project that revives the use of NYC's payphones to tell stories of 1993. Here is how it works:
- Find a pay phone in any neighborhood in Manhattan.
- Pick it up and dial 1.855.FOR.1993.
- Listen and you will hear a short recollection about the neighborhood you are in from someone who lived or worked there during 1993.
And if you love this project, pick up as many pay phones as you can. There are over 50 interviews you can listen to.