fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Leftover from June -- the National Storytelling Conference

Resuming the catch-up, much of the first week of June was occupied with the National Storytelling Network virtual conference. I understand going virtual, but I was irritated by replacing a 4 day conference in August with a 9 day conference in June. I was even more irritated by the schedule being published only 5 days before things started – and being published largely incorrectly since they published times as Standard time vs. Daylight Savings Time. This is particularly egregious for an international conference, which should really include both local time and universal time (UTC) so that automated schedule conversions can get it right.

Anyway, because of the short notice, I was only able to go to a very small number of the events, which were at least as much festival / performance as conference. The real conference has some showcase performances and fringe performances, but is at least ¾ workshops. I really missed the fringe, which is an opportunity for greater diversity in telling, albeit often less polished. For the record, for anything that involves more than an hour or two of my time, I would like at least 6 weeks notice. Otherwise, one week is appropriate. Yes, my life is a schedule conflict.

In the end, I registered for the opening keynote by Ekansh Tambe and Elizabeth Ellis, a workshop on virtual events, and 4 performance events. I also attended the NSN member meeting and the Oracle Awards. I should also note that the registration was frustrating as there were repeated server errors when trying to pay. I did eventually get things to work but it took two days. (I had a contact to email, but she wanted to call me, without allowing me to specify a time. This does not work as I am in meetings most of the day nearly every day.)

I didn’t manage to take notes during the keynotes. I remember that Elizabeth spoke well (as always) but not any of the specifics. I was hoping to go back to listen to the recorded version, but there is another screw-up and I can’t see that recording. (More about that below.)

The workshop on virtual events had some interesting tips and a potentially useful handout. Though, to be honest, it mostly convinced me that virtual events, in addition to being unsatisfying, are more trouble than they are worth.

Summary of the membership meeting was that NSN is, again, in dire financial straits. I was also annoyed that the existence of state liaisons (which I am one of) was never even mentioned. As for the Oracle Awards, my one disappointment is that there was never a call for nominees from our regional director to state liaisons for nominees, but we were without anyone in that job for a while and our current regional director is new on the job so it probably just slipped through the cracks.

That leaves performances. I’ve been unable to watch the performance by the Oracle Awards winners yet (and, as you will see below, probably at all). The first performance I watched was the Mid-Atlantic Regional Showcase. I was already familiar with several of the tellers and I am pleased to say that the ones from groups I am involved with were the best of the evening.

I ended up watching the show of Multi-Cultural Stories from Israel after the conference – in fact, just a few nights ago. Most of the stories were Ashkenazi (i.e. Eastern European), but there was one Bedouin story and one Druze story. I was somewhat surprised there were no stories from Mizrahi or Sephardic Jews. The most powerful story was one by the son of a Shoah survivor. Overall, I thought this show flowed well, balancing styles and tones of stories.

The absolute highlight of the whole conference was a concert of Hot Stories From Boccaccio’s Decameron with Paola Balbi, Germana De Ruvo, and Davide Bardi. They told some very adult stories without crudeness or vulgar language. Davide’s guitar playing enhanced the stores and the whole show was absorbing and magical. I hope that someday I get to see them perform in person.

Everything was supposedly recorded and would be available to attendees. However, I never got the email with the link for the recordings and only realized that they’d expire September 1st when I saw a facebook post on the viewing time being extended to then. And when I logged in and went to watch, both the Oracle award winners’ concert and the keynote speech (which I had seen, but wanted to refresh my memory on) were missing from the list. I’m still trying to get that straightened out, but I don’t really expect to have time to view those.

The moral of the story is that rushing through planning for no valid reason is likely to result in significant disappointments. (Or even more disappointment since 99.99999% of the value of the conference to me is the random conversations in the hallways between workshops.) This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/474870.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: kvetching, storytelling

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