Category: Behind the Scenes

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Join us for The Last Drunken Telegraph, 6/13/15 7:30p http://bit.ly/1SAzwQU

Join us for The Last Drunken Telegraph, 6/13/15 7:30p at Tacoma’s Broadway Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets here: http://bit.ly/1SAzwQU

 

When Tad and I started Drunken Telegraph back in 2012, we were both at turning points in our lives. Three years, eleven shows, six workshops, three Story Snapshot booths, and more than sixty stories later, we find ourselves at another crossroads. So, we will bring our community storytelling project to a close with our final show,That’s All, Folks! Stories about Endings, Goodbyes and Moving On.

***

Our initial vision for Drunken Telegraph was to create a space where people could gather and share the kind of stories they usually only told on first dates, at family reunions, or to friends over drinks. If we shared those stories with strangers, we surmised, we might not feel so much like strangers anymore. At coffee houses, restaurants, bars, and a black box theatre, we have been delighted to host evenings where that exact transformation occurred. Even more, we discovered diverse and dynamic storytelling talents around Puget Sound.

As a long-time radio host and producer, I dreamed of creating a show like this. In Seattle, I loved taking part in A Guide to Visitors, Seattle’s longest-running curated personal storytelling show. Started by my former colleague at KUOW, Jeannie Yandel, AGTV showed me how fun and moving a night of real-life stories could be. Jeannie helped me figure out how to structure the show, and gave me valuable advice about keeping it running.

Tad and I were neighbors for ten years and always enjoyed sharing personal stories with each other. He was the first person I thought of to help develop the show here in Tacoma. Lucky for me, he agreed. Having grown up around stories in the rodeo scene of Eastern Washington, he had fond memories of men whiling away hours sharing their escapades. For me, storytelling was woven so deep in the cultural fabric of my North Carolina upbringing, I didn’t realize I was doing it until I moved to the Northwest.

We pored over Murray Morgan’s Puget’s Sound, looking for inspiration to name our fledging show, along with my husband (and our designer), Britton Sukys, and agreed that we all wanted to capture an old-timey appeal. We imagined townsfolk gathered around the pub fireplace, regaling their neighbors with their greatest adventures and most painful lessons. We wanted a name that evoked the character of Tacoma, as well as the tone of the storytelling. That’s when we ran across this quote from Rudyard Kipling, describing Tacoma on his visit in 1889:

 

“Overhead the drunken telegraph, telephone and electric-light wires tangled on tottering posts whose butts were half whittled through by the knife of the loafer.”
– from Tacoma Public LIbrary

 

We all raised our beers because we recognized that city. And so, “Drunken Telegraph” was born.

***

Having had so much fun and so many powerful performances, it’s hard to say goodbye. In fact, when it comes to stories, endings are the hardest part…and also the most critical. It’s not until the end of a story that you actually know what it all meant. So, even though we’d love to keep the party rolling, our personal paths are pulling us toward new horizons.

If movies taught us anything, it’s that you gotta know when to go.

 

On the bright side, we’re not in *that* movie. We’re not leaving the country, or even the city. Thankfully, we’re also not fleeing a fascist regime. Instead, we’re stepping away to be able to develop our next big dreams. And, knowing how fundamental storytelling is to both of us, you can bet we’re not done sharing the experience of true tales told in Tacoma.

So, in accepting the need for our own transformations, we looked to the great movies again to find another way to end Drunken Telegraph’s story.

 

Before we hop into our hot-rod Delorean and put on our gold shades (remember, Back to the Future 2 takes Marty to October 21, 2015), let’s have one more big evening of stories to remind us that the ending of one story is just the beginning of the next.

Click here to get your $8 ticket to “That’s All Folks!”.

A Show Of Hands: Crossing The Threshold Of A Drunken Telegraph Video

This is a re-post from “The Wonderful World of Britton”

For this edition of Drunken Telegraph, we decided to use illustrations of 'hands'.

 

For this edition of Drunken Telegraph, we decided to use illustrations of ‘hands’. This defied our unspoken “no-figure” rule, but Megan relented. Concepts > Rules!

 

Every successful drawing begins with a "thumbnail sketch". This is where I work out the basic forms, values and composition. I ended up flipping the orientation.

Every successful drawing begins with a “thumbnail sketch“. This is where I work out the basic forms, values and composition. I ended up flipping the orientation.

This hand is in a pencil rough. I then trace over the image with ink refining it as I go. ink.

This hand is in a pencil rough. I then trace over the image with ink, refinement!

In looking back over my old hand drawings for this post, I realized that prior to 2003, my hands were hidden or clenched in a fist. This was the level of hand construction typical of the way I drew hands "pre-Whaletown".

In looking back over my old hand drawings for this post, I realized that prior to 2003, my hands were hidden or clenched in a fist. This was the level of hand construction typical of the way I drew hands “Pre-Whaletown”.

I began work on a still-as-yet-unfinished graphic novel called "Whaletown " in 2003. This forced me to face my inadequacies of my hand-drawings. I bought a book called "Hogarth's Dynamic Hands". http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Dynamic-Hands-Burne-Hogarth/dp/0823013677

I began work on a still-as-yet-unfinished graphic novel called “Whaletown” in 2003. This forced me to face my inadequacies of my hand-drawings. I bought a fantastic book, “Hogarth’s Dynamic Hands”.

I began to use a rough sketch to capture the gesture and energy.

I began to use a rough sketch to capture the gesture and energy.

I use the rough sketch to refine the forms...

I use the rough sketch to refine the forms…

Then I build the hand using simple shapes to construct the hand.

Then I build the hand using simple shapes to construct the hand.

This technique can be applied to any hand position. This was for a poster I was working on.

This technique can be applied to any hand position. This was for a poster I was working on.

Here is a hand I drew for a medical diagram we use in our Vascular surgery department.

Here is a hand I drew for a medical diagram we use in our Vascular surgery department.

http://brittonsukys.com/2014/06/28/earthling-1-chapter-1-8-2012/

This is a hand I was proud of. This is the ink work for a Earthling comic panel. I often use my own hands as models, because, well, they are always around!

http://brittonsukys.com/2014/06/28/earthling-1-chapter-1-8-2012/#jp-carousel-156

Here is the Earthling panel fully colored and illustrated.

Here's my sketchbook page of all my work-ups for the Drunken Telegraph teaser video.

Here’s my sketchbook page of all my work-ups for the Drunken Telegraph teaser video.

I found a neat monotone under color while scanning the drawings that really helped unify this set of images. I offset that color layer a bit, creating a print-like process.

I found a neat monotone under color while scanning the drawings that really helped unify this set of images. I offset that color layer a bit, creating a print-like process. Embrace those happy accidents!

I inked this series primarily with a brush. I like the moody contrasts that technique creates.

I inked this series primarily with a brush. I like the moody contrasts that technique creates.

I shave almost every day, so I figured I could draw this, but I still ended up using my wife's hand for the model!

I shave almost every day, so I figured I could draw this, but I still ended up using my wife’s hand for the model!

I couldn't get this pose right, so I let Megan show me. She grew up with a swimming pool in her back yard. But I used my memories of youth for the feeling and tone of the skinny-dipping!

I couldn’t get this pose right, so I let Megan show me. She grew up with a swimming pool in her back yard. But I used my memories of youth for the feeling and tone of the skinny-dipping!

This is a very rough thumbnail. Megan wanted the car in the background, so that also took some figuring-out.

This is a very rough thumbnail. Megan wanted the car in the background, so that also took some figuring-out.

The pencil rough for the purse image. I used my own hand awkwardly clutching a backpack for the model. Megan shopped for the right purse to copy.

The pencil rough for the purse image. I used my own hand awkwardly clutching a backpack for the model. Megan shopped for the right purse to copy.

My favorite drawing of the set. I love the lines on the car and the nearly op-art way the eyes want to make it 3-D. Pink and Green is a great combo, by the way.

My favorite drawing of the set. I love the lines on the car and the nearly op-art way the eyes want to make it 3-D. Pink and Green is a great combo, by the way.

For the background music, I recorded a bunch of lonesome guitar tracks, but Megan didn’t think any of them fit well, so she asked for something more “Spacey”. This is a track I recorded in 2011, I thought this tune had a “spaghetti-western spaced-out folk” sound, so I suggested it. She loved it. I guess it pays to keep that old experimental stuff sometimes! (Britton: Guitar and Harmonica).

 

And here is the preview video.

Hear all of the amazing and powerful full-length “Crossing The Threshold” stories at Drunken Telegraph.