SWAN Saturday

Jim went with me to M Street in Georgetown this afternoon for SWAN - and it was good to be out and about together again. Could it be that normal is ahead?

SWAN - Support Women Artists Now - was fun - and there was an unexpected surprise for me.

My Surprise
Jim and I arrived at Barnes and Noble and found the group gathering on the 3rd level. I checked in with Director Catherine Caselford to let her know that I was on time and on tap.

We settled into our seats. Then, “Ellouise.” I turned to look into this woman’s smiling face. “ My name is Debbie and I am a friend of Granny Sue’s in West Virginia.” ‘You are kidding” and I gave her a big hug – any friend of Granny Sue’s is immediately a friend of mine. Debbie and I talked about how we know Sue and she told me they went to school together – that’s really a connection. She and her husband had driven up from Virginia to hear my stories. Wow. “I am so glad to see Jim here looking so well. I recognize him from the pictures you put on your blog.

Do you wonder that I love blogging. Debbie tells me she is one of my internet readers – a cyber friend. And now I will know her face, her voice, we can talk and hug. We are meeting in real time.

Debbie, thank you and your husband so much for coming to hear my stories – and I hope that our paths cross again in real time and space. Please leave me a note - wave hello - when you stop by the blog. Lets keep this new connection.

Ah, Granny Sue – another link in our “small world “ chain.

Panel Discussion - De Ja Vue
Catherine Caselford, Director and event organizer convened all the women artists who were participating to start the events with a panel discussion about issues and concerns of women working in the arts. I found myself sitting on a panel with playwrights, authors, directors, actors, filmakers, and poets - I was the only storyteller.

Catherine opened by asking if panelists were influenced in their art making by being a woman, by a woman's sensibility? And I felt a very strong sense of de ja vu. I have been on panels like this before, discussing these same issues - thirty years ago during my involvement with the women's artists movement. As the questions probed deeper for the problems facing women with careers in the arts - it was clear - little has changed - the art world is still male favoring.

I was the lone ERA veteran on the panel although there were a couple of other women who had been involved at the later edge of the movement. We all agreed that is important for younger women to know their history. Melisssa Houghton, Director, Women in Film and Video added but more than that, "Do Something." I agree but think the history is important so that women making careers in the arts will not think its them - they will understand they are women working in a field that favors men.

At the end, a woman stood up, "I am just shy of 50 years old and I never heard any of this."

Isn't that a shame.

It is time for Pushing Boundaries, my ERA Story, which I introduced in February. Anybody want to hear that story?

Only part of the action happened at Barnes and Noble after the panel. There were poetry readings and plays in other venues.
Curvy by Nature -
Meet Curvy by Nature - Katie Nelson-Croner, Kristin Cantwell and Leah Young -
a trio of young actors from New York City who formed this group two years ago. They write their own material and perform comedy sketches. They have talent, energy and guts.

Adjoa Burrowes
, author and artist, talked about her illustrated books and told how her stories are drawn from personal experience and memories.

and Me - telling stories.

When I looked at this photo Jim took I could not resist the back ground image of Salvador Dali looking over my shoulder.

I told two folktales about Wise Women, La Bruha and Middle Woman and one of my favorite personal stories, The Wedding Dress. A small audience of wonderful listeners. Fun.


couture6@aol.com said...

Ellouise, It was so nice to meet you today. My husband and I really enjoyed your stories. Glad to see Jim looking so good. Take care, Debbie

Granny Sue said...

I am so surprised, and delighted, that Debbie drove over to your event, Ellouise! We attended Catholic elementary school together, so we've known each other for about 50 years. Absolutely amazing. And to know that she came to hear you just made my day.

It sounds like you had a wonderful event. What a joy it must have been to be part of it (and I bet you were the best part!).

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