Our emcee will be the charming Tara Stuart and storytellers will include new faces and old favorites. Join us for an evening of stories on the theme of Summer Lovin’, including stories about summer romances, lifelong friendships and finding yourself!
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.
Rabbit Box: Mother Lode
By Melissa Harward
Rabbit Box’s Motherlode stories brought tears and laughter to all of us in the audience. The stories told were in honor of the honorable mothers and mother-figures in the lives of our storytellers and for everyone listening in. Mary Whitehead was our lovely and spirited Master of Ceremonies.
Our first storyteller of the evening was Robin Whetstone, who discussed one of the major challenges of motherhood: making mom friends.
It’s difficult to let go of those mementos that remind us of our loved ones. After her mother passes, Mariel Blake has to confront all the precious items left behind and searches for something she’s lost.
Paul Guillebeau discusses the three women in his life he loved the most: his wife, his mother, and Mary Daily, his childhood caretaker.
On a trip to Yosemite in 1968, Kathleen Cason is awakened by her fashion-forward mother for a frantic late-night drive. Thinking back to that night, Kat realizes that all the life lessons her mother taught her have made her the person she is today.
Ship engineer Mony Abrol learns a hard lesson on just how precarious disrespecting your mama can be.
Wanda White, our crackerjack storyteller of the night, talked about the loving bond between her parents and their everlasting conversation with one another.
After deciding to move in with her elderly mother, Jan Turner tries to overcome the history of her rough childhood in order to mend the ravaged bond between mother and daughter.
After giving birth to her first child in a military hospital in Texas, Jennifer Bray decides that natural births closer to home bring more joy and intimacy to her family.
Rebecca McCarthy’s answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was always to be her fearless, beautiful, smart, and funny mother. This is the story of being strong even as life ebbs.
Debbie From teaches us that our children love us just the way we are, mustachioed or not.
Rabbit Box returns in June with Fatherland on Thursday, June 11th.
Thank you everyone who joined us for last night’s “Mother Lode!” With our crackerjack surprise storyteller we had 10 stories in all in tribute to our beloved mothers and grandmothers spanning cradle to grave and every laugh and tear in between. We hope you join us for next month’s “Fatherland” back @Foundry – we still need storytellers!
Thank you to all of our storytellers last night, our volunteers, Foundry staff and listeners. Remember we now have stickers on sale for $2, glossy vinyl, the high quality kind you can show off to friends and family. It’s a great way to say “I am part of the Rabbit Box community!”
Until next time, keep on tellin’.