In honor of the upcoming election, the collaborative team behind Berning Love, a romantic tragicomedy about the search for love during the waning days of the Bernie Sanders 2016 primary campaign, decided to release the film publicly one year after its television debut on PBS in Vermont. We the makers hope that it inspires you to increase your civic engagement, get involved in your community and also, next week—GO VOTE! For information about what’s on your ballot, check out Ballotpedia.
I'll be showing some very preliminary footage and sharing lots of archival materials from my historical documentary about Jane Addams and the U.S. government's propaganda and surveillance campaign against feminist peace activists in the wake of the First Red Scare. The talk is on the De Anza College campus--the talk is free but daily parking at De Anza is $3. Also my colleague David Howard-Pitney is bringing his guitar to play a piece of music from the time period, so it should be good times all around as we learn about a period in U.S. history marked by xenophobia, anti-feminism, and violations of civil liberties by the surveillance state. ;) This talk is sponsored by the California History Center.
In October, I did a series of workshops for folks in San Marcos CA about economic inequality, on behalf of the 1500 Stories project. 1500 Stories is a collaborative art, digital storytelling and civic engagement project about rising economic inequality in the U.S. Storygatherers in California have already conducted over 150 in-depth interviews with people from all walks of life, about their struggles and their work and their hopes at different economic positions. Storygathering has also begun in Wisconsin and Ohio. Here, you see a socially engaged art piece called the Stacked Deck, which asks participants to think about and reflect on economic inequality as it is expressed through a deck of thirteen cards featuring documentary photography. The project now has piles of unedited audio and video and is raising funds to edit those stories and make them publicly available on the website and for use at public discussions and forums about economic inequality. Consider making a donation to the project here, and be sure to choose "Other" in the program box and type in 1500 Stories. Everyone has a story to share. Help the project get these stories out.
This spring I wrapped up most of the research and development on my next documentary short, called The Spider Web, about the U.S. War Department's surveillance and propaganda campaign against feminist pacifists in the early 1920s. I visited archives in Chicago IL, Swarthmore PA, Ramapo NJ, and Washington DC. I also filmed interviews with Louise Knight, Jane Addams' biographer, and Dr. Kim Nielsen, who wrote an excellent book about anti-feminism during the First Red Scare. In the process of working on what will be my first historical documentary, I have discovered that I am a secret historian and archive nerd. Who knew?!