Tuning Up: Story Slam season 3, African American Civil war reenactors
"Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...
- Women's History Month begins Thursday, March 1, and on the same day Story Slam returns to the Columbia Museum of Art in partnership with the #WhatSheSaid Project. SCAC quarterly grant recipient Shannon Ivey is #WhatSheSaid founder and the evening's host. “This is my third Soda City Story Slam at the CMA, and I can tell you, magic happens here,” Ivey says. "I am thrilled to bring these powerful women to the stage at the CMA.” Festivities kick off with a 6-7 p.m. cash bar, and is included with museum admission or membership. NOTE: event recommended for mature audiences only.
- An event that bridges Black and Women's history months, get ready for a reenactment of African American women during the Civil War era to be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 16 at the South Carolina Archives and History Center (8301 Parklane Road, Columbia). The reenactment will be performed by Female Reenactors of Distinction (FREED,) an auxiliary organization of the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, D.C. (The event is co-sponsored by SCAC.) It's free, but you must register to attend first.
- The South Carolina Arts Alliance's work isn't done now that Arts Advocacy Day is in the rearview mirror. Did you know membership is free? They give wonderful advocacy tools and keep you updated on critical legislative activities related to the arts.
Soda City Story Slam gives community an opportunity to open up
From The Free Times
Article by David Travis Bland
If Shannon Ivey told you a story, she might tell you about “THAT FACE,” her name for the subtle contortion of a person’s visage when they find out about her divorce. The words created by the embouchure of “THAT FACE” often speak too much about eHarmony and too little about rolling in the sheets. She speculates this latter phenomenon is due to some sort of guilt that kicks in right at the good part.
“Why do we make THAT FACE at folks?” Ivey notes in a finely crafted essay that the local Southern women’s website Auntie Bellum published in May. “A divorce is an arduous, scary process, and at best, it takes well over a year. I SHOULD be congratulated. I made it out. I made it through. And, I have enough leftover to buy expensive mascara that, thank goodness, is waterproof.”
Ivey, an actor, director and “recovering theatre professor,” gives the stage to other story-smiths with the Soda City Story Slam. Taking cues from The Moth, the popular onstage, storytelling podcast, the slam brings together 16 people of diverse backgrounds in front of an audience and allots them each about six minutes to break hearts, bust guts or both.
“It’s the human condition in a condensed form, empathy in a bouillon-cube size,” Ivey says. “Extremely powerful for those telling the stories as well as those listening.”
The Story Slam grew out of Ivey’s work with forum theatre, a type of performance in which audience members engage with and alter the production.
“I wanted to see if Moth-style storytelling could be a way to get to the same thing, giving often ignored or oppressed folks the mic,” she explains.
Earning a grant from the SC Arts Commission, she put on together a story slam series last year in Orangeburg where she was a professor at South Carolina State University.
Ivey came to Columbia by way of her new career as a trainer in reproductive health and justice and found connections between acting and her latest gig. Through both jobs, she looked for a way to give voice to those often silenced, and in that search galvanized empathetic ties to her new city. She began discussions with the Columbia Museum of Art about an event that could realize this passion.
“At first, they wanted a piece of forum theatre,” Ivey says. “When we talked more about how to make the event truly connected to the community, of and by the community, as well as respecting the busyness of folks’ lives, a story slam format was much more accessible.”
In many ways, Ivey found Columbia to be a golden town.
“When I was offered my current job, I could live anywhere in South Carolina,” she offers. “I chose to come here because of people. Because I’ve seen positive change happen for people, by people.”
That inspiration guides the Soda City Story Slam, an event she hopes will become a regular series.
“Story is all we have, really, that is ours,” Ivey says. “It’s also our most valuable natural resource when it comes to building community. So a Story Slam is a natural fit for Columbia.”
For Ivey, the Soda City Story Slam isn’t her event as much as it belongs to the city. It’s another way for her to bring people together and to help them understand each other, goals she has long actualized.
“Columbia has so many people doing great work, meaningful work,” Ivey posits. “This is a moment for folks to have five minutes to be authentic, to revel in what we share as humans, and connect with someone you might have never thought you could connect to. A good story can be many things. As a performer, I encourage my storytellers to prepare it well but write it from the heart.”
[caption id="attachment_26870" align="alignright" width="300"]
Shannon Ivey and Nancy Marine, a participant in this week’s Soda City Story Slam[/caption]
: Soda City Story Slam
: Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main St.
: Thursday, June 23, 6 p.m.
: $10 ($8 for CMA members)
: 803-799-2810, columbiamuseum.org