In conjunction with SXSW, writer, folklorist, photographer, filmmaker, and president of Documentary Arts ALAN GOVENAR will screen three short Texas documentaries—The Human Volcano, Osceola Mays: Stories, Songs, Poems, and Texas Style—and sign copies of his latest book, Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound, published in the Center for Texas Music History’s John and Robin Dickson Series (http://www.docarts.com/texas_blues.html). Books will be for sale at the event.
Alkek Library Teaching Theater
Texas State University-San Marcos
Hours, directions, parking, and more exhibitions/events:
The Human Volcano (1997, 10 min)
The Human Volcano is a reflexive, first-person narrative by Captain Don Leslie, a sideshow swordswallower, human blockhead, tattooed man, and fire eater. Recounting everything from childhood feelings of being an oddball to his injuries as a swordswallower, Captain Don spews flames, lights his tongue on fire, and sings about the circus and tattooing.
Osceola Mays: Stories, Songs, Poems (1996, 28 min),
Osceola Mays sits at the table without moving. She closes her eyes and starts to say something, but then covers her mouth with the palm of her hand as if to hold back her voice. There is a short pause, and then she begins to sing. The words come forth with a steady rhythm, and her body sways forward and back. The notes are long and deep, deliberately flatted, calling forth the memories of the spirituals she heard as a child, “Trouble I’ve Seen,” “Run, Sinner, Run,” “Steal Away,” and others that come and go as the morning becomes afternoon. In the stories, songs, and poems Osceola Mays learned from her mother and her grandmother—who was ten years old when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed to end slavery—the past is recounted with a reverent intensity that expresses the deeply felt emotions of three generations of black Texans, the harsh realities of segregation and discrimination, and the importance of family and a spiritual community life.
Texas Style (1986, 28 min)
Texas Style is an intimate look at rural Texas culture and the traditional fiddle music played on its back roads. With spirited rhythms and guitar accompaniment, Texas fiddling is a crowd pleaser that has influenced western swing and folk music across the country. Texas Style brings you to the Homecoming, Rodeo, Reunion and Fiddling Contest in Gustine, Texas, where there are armadillo races, tobacco-spitting and frog hopping contests, cow chip throwing and young and old comparing their hog calling skills. Inside a canvas tent, some of Texas’ most remarkable fiddlers compete to the foot-stomping delight of their audience.
Read more about Alan Govenar and his work at http://www.docarts.com/index.html.
Visit Texas Folklife at www.texasfolklife.org.