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