Tuesday, February 01, 2011

February 4-6 And Everything is Going Fine

I am convinced that the appreciation of storytelling is in our DNA. Your and my auditory neocortex differs significantly from other species while retaining the deep brain connections tied to primitive emotion.

Thus the history of human is the history of storytelling. From the Illiad and epic, spoken or sung, found in many early cultures, to our appreciation of the lyrics of the sappiest of pop music, our brains, trained by storytelling from infancy, are narrative hungry.

Spaulding Gray was one of America's primier storytellers. A theater person, he found his groove with sit down storytelling. It's a little like stand up comedy, but less ADD. For instance, see his famous monologue Swimming To Cambodia, a tiptoe around one of the top five human-made tradegies of the 20th Century.

The great filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has woven the metanarrative of Gray into a film. It's a great review of the Gray era. Many followed, including former Portlander Miranda July. Today it has become a popular art form with examples Mike Daisey, and many performative storytellers curated by The Moth, Radiolab, Portland's Back Fence, Mortified, Nervous Breakdown and more.

The film has its Portland premiere at NW Film Center. In the Art Museum Whitsell Auditorium, www.nwfilm.org 1219 SW Park, 7PM Friday, 9PM Saturday, 4:45PM Sunday $9