Thursday, January 16, 2014

Photos from Port Townsend

In November2012 Denise Kenney and I went to Port Townsend at the invitation of Key City Public Theatre. We spent ten days in Port Townsend but by the time we left we felt like we had lived there for year. In a good way.
We spent the first three days getting to know the town and cooking in the kitchen they provided as we cooked and served four dinners in exchange for stories about the Olympic Peninsula.

We then had four days to turn those 25 stories into their own unique performances. Some were read, some were acted out, some were told and some were... well, you had to be there. Then we had two performances at the Masonic Hall.

The first performance was for those who attended the dinners and their guests and the second performance was for those who were simply interested.

It was a great experience and one of the most amazing ways to get to know a place. Of course that may have something to do with Port Townsend. It is a world unto itself. Thank you for letting me listen to your stories.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Writing- Social Potluck Thesis

Social Potluck Writing and Related

Social Potluck was created as my masters thesis project. I returned to school to figure out how use my skills while living in a smaller city. I was looking for structures to emulate. After not finding any that suited my interests I created my own. The thesis I wrote up after creating Social Potluck is heavily focused on the oral tradition. I wrote it to be read, maybe even out loud. It is full of stories, has some academic context and hopefully gives enough information so that someone could try to create a Social Potluck project of their own.Social Potluck is an open source idea. If you try it, please let me know.

Thesis - Social Potluck: Everyone has something to bring to the table.

Social Potluck has received funding from the Eco-Art Incubator and will be included in an upcoming book about eco-art projects. For more on the eco-art incubator click on Eco-Art Incubator- Social Potluck. I recommend exploring their site as there are a lot of interesting ideas to "recycle."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Funeral Cafe is taking reservations!!!

I will be hosting three more story exchange lunches. Held at noon on October 31st, November 17th and December 1st at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. It is free to attend this catered lunch but you must be willing to share a story. Contact 250-260-8757 to reserve your spot.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Funeral Cafe is Opening Soon!!!

The Funeral Cafe is opening on October 18th for all to hear. Hear? Yes, The Funeral Cafe is a storytelling installation that sometimes serves lunch. On October 15th, October 31st, November 17th and December 1st I will be partnering with local restaurants to offer a lunch in exchange for stories about, wait for it..., funerals! The stories that are told will be recorded and played back, as well as represented in different ways in the empty cafe when lunches are not being held. There will also be opportunities for spectators to record their stories when the cafe is empty as well as other interactive story opportunities. These new recordings will be added as the installation progresses making this a changing space that is filled entirely by participants' stories.
So, what's with the funeral theme? I chose this theme to give focus to the stories not to be morbid, per se. Being someone who hosts a ghost tour I do love how life, death and stories are so linked. If "the truth about stories is that that's all we are" (Thomas King) then at no time is that more accurate than at our own funeral which is why I am asking people to bring stories they would like told at their funeral, or heard/told at another funeral, and, because funerals are such interesting social occasions, stories that simply occurred at funerals are accepted as well.
In many ways funeral stories are a celebration of life and I have made a conscious effort to make my work celebratory. The Funeral Cafe is a celebration of the power of tables to bring us together. It is a celebration of our ability to perform and entertain through the art of storytelling, and it is a celebration of food, which is an art form unto itself, that not only keeps us alive but whose rituals are central to our existence.
I hope to partner with four cool local companies to provide the food for these lunches. We have great chefs in this town who take pride in what they do. Already Crush Bistro has signed on!
More information will be coming shortly...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thank You!!!!

Thank you to all the participants and supporters of Social Potluck! As a master's thesis project I can say with certainty that the project is complete. I received the final email stating that I have successfully crossed every "t," dotted every "i" and fulfilled everything that the University of British Columbia expects of me. I could not have done this without the support and participation of so many generous and trusting participants.
While this means that one chapter comes to a close it does not mean that Social Potluck is over, in fact it is just beginning. From October - December, 2012 I will put what I have learned in a gallery setting and create a sound installation entitled "The Funeral Cafe" at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. Then, in November I will be taking Social Potluck on the road to Port Townsend, Washington where I will team up with Denise Kenney and do a complete Social Potluck in just ten days!!!!
I will post information as it becomes available.
Gabriel Newman

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hello Social Potluck participants and supporters,

On July 10th at 9:30 am at the "Playtpus House" on the UBCO campus (called "The University House" on campus maps) I, Gabriel Newman, will give the oral defense of my master's thesis project, Social Potluck. It is the final step in completing my master's degree. As participants and supporters I would like to invite you to attend. The morning will consist of a twenty minute talk by myself, then I will be asked three questions by each of my examiners before the the floor is opened to questions from the audience. The whole process takes 2-3 hours. I will try to make it as entertaining as possible... I will also provide some snacks, because food is important to my work, so please let me know if you plan to attend so I can make sure I make enough. Potluck is always welcome as well.

Yours, Gabriel Newman

Friday, March 9, 2012

Social Potluck 2012

Dear Potluckers,

I have exciting news, embarrassing news and updates for you.
The exciting news is that I will be doing a long term Social Potluck installation at the Vernon Public Art Gallery from October-December. I will be turning their small Up-Front Gallery into a small cafe and looking for stories about... wait for it, funerals. I will be looking for stories that you would want told at your funeral, that you wish you could have told, or you did tell at another person's funeral. I'm also looking for stories about events associated with funerals. Thomas King stated, "the truth about stories is that that's all we are" and at no time is that more relevant that at funerals when all our belongings are stripped away and just our stories remain. For those of you who know that I host The Ghost Tours of Vernon the macabre topics won't come as a huge surprise.
In true Social Potluck format I will be creating new performances every few weeks for those who attend.
I will post more information shortly.
The embarrassing news is that I still haven't finished my thesis yet so nothing else is planned for the year until that is complete. I would much rather speak than write which is why it is taking so long.
As an update, a short rough video was put together that I will attempt to upload shortly as well.
Gabriel Newman