Last night was the fourth installment of Big Sur Sound and Story, our new and exciting outdoor listening series.
If we seem to be talking about us, we hope you’ll forgive us. It’s taken on a life of it’s own as of late. A few weeks ago the New York Times wrote a piece on it, and last week Magnus was on KQED, public radio for Northern California, talking about it. (Listen to it here). We also have barnd new and very welcome sponsor: Stitcher.com.
There is a buzz!
But what does a typical Sound and Story night look like “behind the scenes?”
Glad you asked.
Here we hope to shed some light – but not too much; don’t wanna ruin the mystique.
No discussion about Big Sound Sound and Story is complete without talking about two people. The first, of course, is Magnus Toren, the Library director and brains behind the series (and pretty much everything else we do. And since I assume he’s reading this, I’d also like to add that his new haircut is fantastic and that he does a great version of “Ziggy Stardust” at Fernwood karaoke.)
Then there’s Brendan Newnam.
Brendan is a friend of the Library who also happens to co-host of the Dinner Party Download, who, not surprisingly, will be curating an evening of outdoor audio here on July 20th. (Info here.)
But Brendan is also expertly dialed in to the burgeoning and confluent world of storytelling, radio, and podcasts, etc. We looped him in in the embryonic stages of planning the series and he was instrumental in providing us with guidance, feedback, and most importantly, direction on what groups to contact to help curate installments.
He’s a dream come true, and if you’ve yet to check out Dinner Party Download, please do so here.
OK. So. We have our curators lined up. What comes next?
Well, provide them with the BSE – that’s the Big Sur Experience.(™)
Curators get to stay at “The Barn,” which is Magnus’s guest house that seems to be situated on the cliffs of heaven, way up on Partington Ridge. (The NYC and LA folks really lose their mind over this one.) They then roll up to the Library around 6 pm for a soundcheck and — here’s the best part — family dinner!
Last night we had a big ol’ salad (picture above — really, that’s the salad from last night) with kale and greens, a rice concoction with veggies, sardines, wine, and Esalen bread. The greens came from Magnus’s garden and the food was prepared by VFLs (Volunteers for Life) Abby and Anna Leigh.
At 8 pm the doors open, we play some Alice Coltrane on the hi-fi, people set down their blankets, lay down, and at dusk the magic starts. Maybe some day if we ever buy an iPhone or get a reasonable internet connection we’ll actually videotape it. But that too could kill the mystique. Nothing like the written word – that’s our motto.
The highlight last night? Beyond the stories? That’d be when host Brian Finklestein (left) talked about the genesis of the “The Moth” itself. And it goes like this. Back in the day, the Moth’s founder – whose name escapes me – used to tell stories with his buddies on his porch in North Carolina. Over time moths would congregate around the porch light. And “The Moth.” was born.
Brian brought this to our attention when our own Big Sur moths were fluttering around his lamp!
Lastly, Sound and Story, we think, also represents a redefinition or transmutation of the art of storytelling (if we can be so bold.) After all, we tell stories in small groups, or – like the Moth – in clubs and such, or we listen to them in our cars. But rarely do we do so in such a natural and bucolic setting like the Library. Our ancestors did it back in the day, but somewhere along the way, things went awry (we blame the Industrial Revolution.)
Anyway, thanks for reading and check out our upcoming Sound and Story installments HERE!