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Godzilla, samurai and anime at Belton’s Japanese Film Festival

In conjunction with the Anderson International Festival 2014: Youkoso, A Celebration of Japanese Culture, the Belton Area Museum Association will host a Japanese Film Festival beginning Feb. 13. BAMA will introduce four famous Japanese movies to the public over the next two months. The movies will be shown in the center section performance hall at the historic Belton Train Depot, 100 N. Main Street, Belton, and will begin at 6 p.m. each night. Scholars Dr. David Larson and Dr. Wayne Cox will introduce each film by discussing an important theme, topic, or content relevant to the individual films that will improve the community’s understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture and history. “Prior to each film, Dr. Larson or Dr. Cox will offer brief discussions on topics including traditional and modern Japanese culture, Japanese filmmaking techniques, and Japanese heritage,” stated Alison Darby, BAMA volunteer. The first film to be shown is Seven Samurai on Thursday, Feb. 13. Rooted deep in the Japanese culture is the power of the anomalous character of the samurai -- dangerous, yet honor-bound. In this film from 1954, a poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help defend the village. Before the movie, Larson will offer a brief presentation sharing the reasons for the pervasiveness of the samurai mythology and its importance in postwar Japan. “The strength of an anomalous hero is that he just might be on your side. This is the case for the medieval Japanese peasants in Seven Samurai, and accounts for much of the film’s epic stature, both in Japan and around the world,” commented Larson. Other films in the series: Thursday, Feb. 27: Godzilla: Imperialism, Body Snatchers and the Post-Nuclear World in Japan From the only nation in the world to have experienced first-hand the devastation of an atomic bomb, Godzilla is the embodiment of the post-nuclear Japanese experience. This discussion will explore one of the most expensive, popular movies made at the time (one that spawned no fewer than 28 sequels), covering what it means, why it’s still relevant, whom it influenced, and how it embodies Japanese attitudes about war, monsters and imperialism. Thursday, March 13: The Tokyo Story and the Japanese Aesthetic of Simplicity Hailed as one of the great films of Japan, the simplicity of The Tokyo Story is a powerful dramatization of the Japanese aesthetic qualities of shabui and wabi sabi: simplicity and imperfection. Yasujiro Ozu’s masterful film captures the joy and inevitable pain of generational struggle -- but always “less is more.” Thursday, March 27: Spirited Away: Alice in the Spiritual Wonderland of Japanese Anime Winner of the Academy Award in 2003 for Best Animated Feature and the largest grossing film in Japanese history (surpassing even Titanic), Spirited Away is one of the most successful and fitting examples of Japanese anime. This discussion will include the features of Japanese animation, why it’s different from American animation, and how it reflects the shifting morals of modern Japanese society. Sponsored by The Humanities CouncilSC, the films are appropriate for all ages and are free for the public to attend. Popcorn, candy and soft drinks will be sold for a nominal fee as a fundraiser for the museum. For more information, contact Shirah Smith, (864) 338-7400 or beltonmuseum@bellsouth.net. Via: Belton Area Museum Association

Historic Belton Train Depot site of new Upstate Heritage Quilt

Thanks to the skill of upstate quilters, volunteers, and a local manufacturing company, a painted copy of a century-plus-old heirloom quilt now graces the side of the historic Belton Train Depot. The quilt block was erected in May by employees of Darby Metalworks, Inc., of Anderson and Belton Area Museum Association board member Walter Smith. The “Carolina Lily” quilt joins 113 other examples located in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties as part of the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail. The blocks can usually be found on historic buildings, fusing an interest in quilts with heritage tourism. “The board of the Belton Area Museum Association chose the ‘Carolina Lily’ quilt because it is among the oldest in the local area and is owned by board member LuAnne Childress Foster,” said BAMA President Tim Drake. The pattern, which has numerous pseudonyms, dates back to the 19th century. “It took almost a year to complete the work on the block because it is such an intricate pattern,” said Foster, who coordinated the quilt block project. [caption id="attachment_7031" align="alignright" width="600"]Historic Belton Train Depot Left to right: Shirah Smith, Tim Drake, LuAnne Foster, Shirley Smith (descendant of quilt maker Elizabeth Worsham) and her husband, Mike Smith.[/caption] Members of the Prickly Fingers Quilters Guild of Anderson again transformed their skills as quilters into one-dimensional artwork, having produced several blocks for display since their first effort in 2011. Quilters who completed this block include Diane Schonauer, Stamie Cline, Marcia Whaley, Debby Stone, Joan Korth, Lou Russell, Robin Kaja, Wendy Wolff and Teri Walker. The original quilt was started in 1851 and finished in 1854. It was made by Elizabeth B. Worsham to prove her worthiness to become the second wife of John H. Worsham of Jackson County, Georgia. His children’s initials and hand prints are located in each corner and throughout the squares on the quilt. The quilt was passed down from mother to daughter for three generations until it was sold at auction. “The quilt block can be viewed at any time since it is located on the outside of the building," said BAMA Executive Director Shirah Smith. "We’re so pleased to preserve this important art form for the public to see.” The painted quilt block is on display at the North entrance (Breazeale Street) of the historic Belton Train Depot, located at 100 N. Main Street in Belton, S.C.  The quilt block is sponsored by the Belton Area Museum Association. (Related: Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail Celebrates 100th Quilt - Nov. 2012) About the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail (UHQT) was begun in 2009 when Oconee County became the first to embrace the quilt trail concept. Since then, Oconee has been joined by Pickens and Anderson counties along with four other quilt trails in South Carolina: York County Quilt Trail, Foothills Quilt Trail-Landrum, McCormick County Quilt Trail and Ridge Heritage Quilt Trail. Information and interactive maps of all the S.C. trails can be found at www.uhqt.org. About the Belton Area Museum Association The Belton Area Museum Association oversees the Ruth Drake Museum, the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame, the Center Section, the North End Gallery, and Whistle Stop Gifts, all located in the historic Belton Train Depot. For more information, call (864) 338-7400, or visit www.beltonsc.com or Facebook. Via: Belton Area Museum Association