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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Spars

2020 Blowout

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

What a way to end the year. I thought the Six Feet Apart Productions event would be the last, but then I got a message from Sheila Arnold asking me to be a part of a day of storytelling. It began on the East Coast at around 11 am, which is 8 am PST, and it lasted right up to midnight. I got to end the year for many people, as I told right up to about 11:55 pm EST.

There were 32 tellers that performed over the course of the day—too many to mention individually—but holding the whole thing together was Sheila. After I told my story, which was the epic behind the Rangda mask, Sheila took back the spotlight wearing her "liquid red" dress. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and it definitely set us all on a positive path into 2021. Sheila had a second glass of Andre champagne, and maybe a third... I wasn't sure.

I put the Rangda story together in just two weeks, which was intense and, at some points, as scary as the subject matter. The day before I felt like the whole story fell apart. Thank goodness for friends who will listen patiently and give steady encouragement. I was lucky enough to get to record a version of the story in the sound studio just hours before I went on. While tellers like Laura Packer and Donna Washington were dazzling the audience, I was performing different sections of my story over and over to a camera manned by David Mahlaku. The video is on YouTube.

I think the high point of the event was the youth tellings by Sheila's students in Artists Standing Strong Together. I am awaiting the recordings of these. I am realizing that youth storytelling really is what this is all about.

Story Blowout 2020, December 31, 2020


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