Whirlwind

IMG_20160129_131056_255

This past Friday marked one year since my last episode.  One year of battling the unknown issue causing my PVCs (bad beats that are non-productive, causing exhaustion among other symptoms).

The anniversary passed in a whirlwind.  I’d just returned from a trip to Grace Bay in Turks & Caicos.  The return trip was extended and stressful thanks to Winter Storm Jonas.  I ended up with an evening to recoop before the next big adventure.

IMG_20160118_155427_830

Which wasn’t enough.

But Monday am we reported in anyway to Balloon Adventure: Journey on the Genesee.  Our friends at Airigami have once again surpassed themselves.  40,000+ balloons, 75 crew members, and 4 days to produce a 5-story sculpture full of detail, vibrance, and texture. A new theme introduced 3 curious kids who have access to a balloon that lets them explore what they want – and they were exploring the Genesee’s wildlife this year.  Storychick had several roles:

  • Story stations – In relatively quiet space on the 3rd floor, we placed 5 story stations which played fables I’d recorded related to animals in the sculpture.
  • Audio tour – I put together a backstory for the kids and an audio tour, like last year, but with more real-time audio than before.  (You can find it here)
  • Stage performance – This is upcoming!  I’ll be on stage Friday night, right before the start of First Friday, telling stories!  Some old tales, some new, some new twists on ones you thought you knew….

I love working with Kelly & Larry’s designs, then building a story that incorporates great audio clips from throughout the week of the build.  It’s a great story endeavor.

IMG_20160129_131056_255

And there’s more!  I have some other projects starting – more on those soon!  But other things to watch for this week include:

  • Story beads at the Brainery!  Learn to make regular, rolled round & S, and origami water bomb beads – and build your stories into them.  Include parts and pieces, words and symbols, in your beading.  Tell your story to the piece you create and share with the class, if you’re cool with that.  It’s a great way to heal, vent, and commemorate while also getting in the meditative handwork of craft.
  • Saturday on ROC Soup – January was Human Trafficking Awareness month but we didn’t quite get this show together while I was gone.  It’s an important topic, so we’re having a bit of January in February.  My guests will be from the Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking – Lauren Van Cott (of Angels of Mercy) and Melanie Blow.

A show about neighbors

A little over a year ago, I came up with an idea that would make our Rochester community stronger using stories. I knew that, fundamentally, the principles were right, but I didn’t quite have enough details to make the sale. I kept at it, pushing and pulling at the design to get to something that would resonate AND work.

Last spring, I bit into a plan to do a show for the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. It gave me a hard deadline – I had to have something to put on stage on the show date – and meant that I could be part of an awesome Rochester event (Did you know that Rochester’s Fringe Festival, in 2012- the first year – was immediately the 5th largest in the US? This year, it doubled in size…) and surrounded by shows that I’m honored to be associated with.

Last week, we put on the show! Wow. Or, as Gordon Ramsay would say: “Wow. Wow, wow, wow.”

First, my thank-yous. Thank you to my marvelous cast – without you the show would have been quite dull and your personal stories were a wonderful addition. Extra thanks to Dave for helping me with all of the stage bits that I had no clue about. Thanks Donald, Dave, Alexis, Judy, and Miriam!

Thank you to the people who contributed stories – to Kate, Davin, Lilly & Rhonda, Micky, Tanvi, Jan, and Joan. Your stories are the heart of Rochester and what made this all possible. Thank you so much for sharing.  Thanks to those who contributed stories not used in the show – yours will be part of the trading cards to come!

Thanks also to RAPA, the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival, Joan Hildebrand at the Rochester Public Market, and Voula’s. And to Futons & More, our show sponsor. Thank you to my husband, Joel, for listening throughout the process and helping to gather stories. Thanks to Jenny for bringing refreshments while gathering.

photo

I thought that the project would bring the audience and the story owners and the cast closer together by challenging assumptions. Challenging stereotypes about what types of people live where and what their lives are like. That the show would reveal common emotions and experiences to create one-on-one connections between people.

This did not happen, but that does not mean that I failed.

Because, ultimately, I wanted to draw our community closer together and make it stronger through the use of stories. And what happened at the show was just that. People learned more about Rochester and the types of people in it. They felt a universal common bond of place. They came together as Rochestarians.

That’s wicked cool.

People were excited, emotional, and inspired after the show. From the comment cards that I collected, the one universal improvement mentioned was to include more stories – some mentioned neighborhoods that I have yet to mark on my map.

105_0923

I am so happy at the success. So excited to be named “Best Community Exchange” in the mid-festival review from our City newspaper. And brimming with ideas for what’s next.

This will move forward and I can’t wait to show you where it can go!