Rabbit Box: Summer Lovin’by Melissa Harward
Why is it that love usually comes to us in the sweltering months? School is out, and it seems like everyone has sweet summer romance on their mind. It’s an iconic notion, from flashes of Grease to beach fronts and first kisses. Last Thursday, our Rabbit Box storytellers brought us their tales of Summer Lovin’, butterflies, and bittersweet goodbyes, all wrapped up in hope, hilarity, and heartbreak.
Former Rabbit Box storyteller Tara Stuart made her first appearance as Master of Ceremonies for the evening, and welcomed everyone at The Foundry to reflect on their own story of summer love.
Our first storyteller of the evening was none other than Rabbit Box founder, Marci White. Marci shared a story from her travels in Israel, where her 17 year-old self falls for a stranger. The connection made with him expands beyond their fleeting summer romance to somewhere Marci never expected.
In the summer of 2004, Robby Bailey had two goals: One, to be Carrie Bradshaw and two, to kiss a boy. After stumbling into a surprising crowd, Robby struggles to realize his second goal, but learns an important lesson about being yourself in the process.
Laurie Allen, teacher and mother extraordinaire, reminded us all of the importance of having a core group of friends, those you know will pick you up, carry you through, and get you home.
You want your first date to go perfectly. Unfortunately for Naji Lyon, not everything falls quite into place for his first case of first love in the summer of 1992. Thankfully, he gets a couple more chances to get it right.
Our crackerjack storyteller of the evening was Rabbit Box veteran Ivan Sumner, who had the audience rolling with laughter with his tale of a thank-you gift to his wife back in 1972.
After leaving home, Mark Evans joins the United States Army and finds himself at the invasion of Panama in 1989. With his brothers in arms, he finds that some of the deepest connections we make in life don’t necessarily have to be romantic.
Paul Guillebeau has a reputation for making the Rabbit Box audience laugh and cry with his stories, occasionally at the same time. This particular tale about the many loves of Guillebeau on a cotton farm in South Georgia happens to be hilarious.
Madelyn Powell told of the power that just a few people possess to make changes for a cause they love. In this case, Madelyn works her way through the Atlanta political scene in the 1980’s and saves her original summer love, Willie B.
Sometimes, the most heartbreaking part of saying goodbye is the thought of “what if?” Christopher Becerra reminds the audience that it might be better to let a summer love live in memory.
Rabbit Box thanks its numerous volunteers and supporters, and will return on September 10th with Busted!. As a reminder, Rabbit Box will return to Wednesday evenings in 2016.
Last night’s show, Summer Lovin,’ was a truly great set of stories and storytellers! Athens is truly lucky to be gifted with so many talented and passionate folk. Thanks to everyone who came out and made it possible! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone again for our next show on September 10th – Busted!! If the hype is to be believed, it’s going to be scandalously good!
Also, come get ice cream with us this coming Wednesday, August 19th, at the Athens Ben & Jerry’s! Ben & Jerry’s has been a wonderful partner for Rabbit Box, and we encourage you to come out and support us both!
Rabbit Box: For Art’s Sake: Celebrating 40 Years of the Lyndon House Art’s Center
Summary by Melissa Harward
Athens has always been flush with creative types. Our tiny town is home to a community of incredible artists running the gambit of skills: photography, painting, sculpture, design, production, architecture, and more. Thursday night’s Rabbit Box: For Art’s Sake highlighted nine community members who have been touched by the power of art cultivated in Athens and beyond. The lovely Lorraine Thompson, who teaches drama at Athens Academy, spoke of the power of stories during her first event as emcee.
The very funny Greg Benson kicked off the evening in high gear. A well-known local landscape painter, Greg touched on a dilemma many successful artists encounter: When you’re no longer creating for yourself, it can be difficult to stay inspired.
Dantae “Danny” Robertson, another first-time storyteller at Rabbit Box, said that art was just another word for opportunity. After being rejected from a prestigious arts-centered high school, Danny soon learned that sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you try — or even how hard you don’t.
Local writer and musician Elsa Durusau spoke of the power of a single work of art. After loving Van Gogh’s The Starry Night for most of her childhood, Elsa had the opportunity to view the painting at the High Museum. She reflected on the painting’s beauty and reminded us that art can keep us going when we falter.
After describing the public’s angry reaction to an art exhibit she helped pull together in rundown, downtown Augusta, Lauren Fancher emphasized the importance of providing context for art and artists. She noted that we’re lucky that the Athens community has access to a variety of venues such as the Lyndon House and Athica that encourage artists and provide this much-needed context.
Our crackerjack surprise storyteller of the night was Christopher Carpenter, who told of the challenges that occur when someone close to you doesn’t “get” art — or wants to pull you toward them and away from an enthralling engagement in the arts.
Athens artist and Pylon co-founder Michael Lachowski recalled his early immersion in an emerging Athens art scene in the 1970’s, including a surprising first-place finish for a conceptual piece he entered in a local, big-deal sculpture competition.
Back in high school Morgan Middleton was one of the founding members of Social Suicide, a rap group known throughout the school for their cool T-shirts. When a prank goes wrong, Morgan and friends find themselves defending their artistic abilities to school administrators and the school’s cop.
Art is the greatest adventure, says Phillip Elie, who described toiling for years as part of a horde of rasping crickets in Silicon Valley before finding himself — miserable — in one of the world’s finest hotels.
Director of the Lyndon House Arts Center Didi Dunphy recalled her years as a teenager exploring the art scene in New York City with a close group of girlfriends who lived in the Upper West Side. Through celebrity sightings, pining over teachers and cultural figures such as Cat Stevens, and taking in the city, Didi describes the moment she knew she would be an artist.
Rabbit Box will return in August with Summer Lovin’ on August 13. September will feature stories on the theme Busted! on the 10th.
Thank you to all of the Rabbit Box volunteers who help make the show great each month!
Last night’s show, For Art’s Sake, was a great success! Thanks to everyone who came out and made it possible! We’re looking forward to seeing everyone again for our next show on August 10th – Summer Lovin! Let us know if you’ve tales of summer romance to share!
Rabbit Box: Fatherland by Marci White
Thursday, June 11, 2015
In June we heard touching and terrific stories on the theme “Fatherland” at The Foundry. Guest MC Christopher Becerra was the charming and witty host.
Elise Stangle, the director of Rabbit Box, opened the night with her first story on stage, telling about a happy childhood interrupted when her father, Phil Stangle, began to suffer a slow deterioration from a degenerative disease, eventually dying when Elise was not quite 18. Her father is fondly remembered, among other things, for being the creator of The Taco Stand, a popular local Mexican eatery.
Paul Quick wanted to feel like he mattered to his larger-than-life minister dad, but they had a hard time understanding each other. He had to wait until one of the hardest years of his adult life to see that his dad cared for and supported him in unexpected ways.
In the tiny town of Empire, Michigan, Mark Evans‘ charismatic preacher father goes to bat for him after Mark experiences bullying from an overbearing coach.
Growing up in Florida in the 1960s with just her mom, Mary Miller had disturbing revelations after thinking her dad was dead, to finding he was not, to finding he was.
Ruta Abolins‘ name was chosen from the Crackerjack box, and she took the stage to tell us of her journey in search of her “fatherland,” the place her parents immigrated from: her luggage but found some things she was looking for.
Disney World was his dad’s favorite place, his grandfather’s favorite place, and, as a child, was woven throughout Matthew Epperson’s family life. As he grew older and Matthew’s love for Disney dimmed, he found that a distance had also grown between him and his dad.
Mel Cochran was largely raised by her “smaller big brother” and her “brother bear” after her mother (“The Glue”) was unable to care for her after her birth, and her mean Marine dad suffered a permanent brain injury. Her brothers “loved to torture” her but also just plain loved her.
Chuck Horne discovered a new kind of homeland when he spent 6 months living in Perth, Australia.
Naji Lyon was intimidated by his gruff strongman dad, the foreman at a rock quarry. When he was finally able to get his exhausted and exacting dad’s attention to help him make a car for a Boy Scout’s derby car race, the stakes are high for his car to win first place.