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A Storyteller's Notebook: May 2018

This Month Featuring: The Poe You Really Should Get to Know, on LEA 18

American author Edgar Allan Poe is most often thought of as the "Master of the Macabre" for such works as "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Cask of Amontillado," and the poem "The Raven" in a very fertile writing career that lasted two decades before his untimely death at the age of forty.  What many people overlook is that, in the canon of Poe, tales of horror and mystery claim only one part of his complete works.  Of over five dozen poems and sixty-six short stories, less than half of these deserve the moniker "macabre."  The other side of Poe, the one that laughs, is currently being celebrated on Linden Endowment for the Arts Region 18 in an installation created by Daark Gothly, Mazie Halpern, and Cienega Soon.

In addition to "The Premature Burial" and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," Edgar Allan Poe wrote satire, fantasy, and essays.  The LEA 18 project celebrates one of the latter, his essay "The Philosophy of Furniture" first published in the May 1840 issue of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. It was later re-published in the Broadway Journal on May 3, 1845 as "House of Furniture."

On the surface, the essay is a theoretical analysis of interior design. Beneath the surface lingers the keen wit and satirically raised eyebrow that we most commonly associate with the commentaries of Poe's contemporary, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain).  Follies are exposed, and fads ridiculed.  Poe travels globe eviscerating the "styles" of the Italians, French, Chinese, Scots, Dutch, Spanish, and Russians, while lauding the superiority of the English decorative sensibilities.  The new world is not left unscathed, and Poe expresses his extreme offense at the American "well furnished apartment," and continues on to the "Hottentots" and the "Kickapoos." Poe rounds out the decorative tour by asserting the details and extolling the qualities of what he considers a "perfect room."

The creators of The Philosophy of Furniture, which is currently open on LEA 18 through the end of this current Artist in Residence cycle (the end of June), have combined a masterful understanding of their subject with a light, whimsical hand that is perfectly tuned to the humor of this essay.  LEA 18 is fully realized fun, exploration, and the opportunity to get to know a great author just a little better.

All the information you need to thoroughly enjoy the creation is available at the landing point (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/LEA18/171/199/22). Follow along with the text, or listen to audio of the essay being read.  Take the tour to each of the nationalities touched on in the work, all featured in an open, abstracted landscape of words and visual references to the Poe canon.  The tour will lead you, finally, to Poe's Perfect Room and some prizes for successfully traversing the entire scope of the story.

 But there's no need to end your visit there!  Grab a 19th Century Penny Farthing Bicycle and zoom along the interweaving network of pathways, exploring more of Poe's words and thoughts.  You'll discover lush venues for music, dance, and spoken word.  While no events were listed at the landing point, and it does not seem that the creators planned and organized spoken word events themselves, their open invitation to anyone to present readings of Poe's work is clearly posted with the rest of the build's information.  If you are interested, and would like to be listed on the TPOF Event Board, contact Daark Gothly.

This is really a fine example of a multi-disciplinary creation, and I only wish I had known about it sooner.  If you are reading this, and you love Poe, don't wait. Go now! The Philosophy of Furniture on LEA 18 will disappear into the virtual mists in just a few weeks.

In Other News

HuwTrefor Carr is a gifted actor and storyteller.  I first was introduced to his work when he joined Seanchai Library at last year's LoveFest benefiting Innsmouth.  He does not present regularly in-world, to my knowledge, but his skill with a story is unquestionable.  He recently added another offering to his The Black Dog Chronicles YouTube Channel. The new piece, "Scary Stories - The Face in the Mirror" is an inspired rendering of the late Welsh writer, Denys Val Baker's, chilling tale.  A deft hand with character, tone, pacing, and dialect, Carr's work is a study in how it should be done.

Check out "Scary Stories - The Face in the Mirror" on YouTube and judge for yourself.

Tea Time at Baker Street, one of Seanchai Library's mainstay Sunday afternoon offerings, will be returning, beginning June 2nd, with A Study in Scarlet, as the Tea Time crew approach their second complete circuit of the Sherlock Holmes canon of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The 1887 adventure introduces Holmes and Watson to each other, firmly establishing them as roomies in the soon to be familiar apartments at 221B Baker Street.

Written in two parts, the first takes place in the story's 1881 "present," establishing Dr. Watson as the narrator and chronicler of Holmes' further exploits, and introducing the case. Part II: "The Country of the Saints" explores the story behind the crime, leading back over three decades to a group of Utah pioneers, a man and woman in love, and a terrible crime of power.

A Study in Scarlet will be presented in four one hour installments, beginning June 2nd, at 1:30pm slt in the Fireside Room at Seanchai Library's Main Branch on Holly Kai.  The sessions are presented live in voice.

***

Know of a cool spoken word venue or related project?  Send me a notecard (Caledonia Skytower) with the basics and a landmark, and I will be happy to check them out as a possible feature.

This Month's Quote:  I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.

~ Edgar Allan Poe

 


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