Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stories That Move

Story can be related to another being in practically unlimited ways. Or "limited only by our imagination," as the saying goes. Stories come from all around us and within us; they can be expressed in writing, in pictures, in movies, in symbols; they can cause us to laugh or cry or reflect.

One category of storytelling is "spoken word." This can be poetry, fictional stories, political statements, theatre, and more. It may be entirely written out in advance or completely extemporaneous, or a mixture.

I am fascinated with the genre of spoken word. I had one of those synchronous moments about 18 months ago. I was in New York City for two and a half weeks, working. I was nearly done with treatment, which included massage, for an auto accident. But the plane ride, the subways, sleeping on an unfamiliar bed, all of those factors combined meant it would be a good idea to get a massage while I was there . So my massage therapist here gave me the name of a massage therapist there, who just happens to be a spoken word artist: Juliana Luecking. (She is a wonderful massage therapist with very healing hands.)

After I returned home, I decided to track down some of her spoken word work. I found a three CDs and bought one, "Big Broad," from Kill Rock Stars. It has 30 tracks of stories of people, everyday kind of people and extraordinary people. I also found her on YouTube, with a video project underway, called "People Are A Trip." This is real-life storytelling and spoken word art.

Juliana continues to put herself out there with her art and her camera and her microphone. She puts her passion and her politics and her art out there for others to see and participate. I find her energy infectious and inspiring. Below are a couple of introductory videos, with links to more!

After viewing a couple or a few of her questions and responses, try picking a couple and writing a response. If you were to make a video of your response, where would you film it? What would be your vision for your response to her?

Queen Juliana: "People are a Trip, Introduction"
" 'People are a Trip' is a series by Juliana Luecking, a spoken-word artist on Kill Rock Stars. The premise is simple: she asks people blunt questions, and they answer with the truth of the moment. They are hilarous. No, poetic. Well, maybe they're quite philosophical. The interviews include subway prophet J.R., Johanna and Kathleen of Le Tigre, Ropstyle of Semiautomatic, and people on the streets of NYC. And you, since she encourages you to post your own video answer, or add to the comment section. What fun!"

A couple of my favorite responses to a question or two, or three....
Ginger Lee, #22
Toby from the UK #32

Juliana moved to MOLI near the end of 2007, where she continues the "People are a Trip" project and has other projects in the works. (You can still see earlier responses on the YouTube site.)
"Queen Juliana on MOLI.com!!"