I just finished watching a very intense documentary called "Stranger with a Camera." It's a film generally about Hugh O'Connor, a Canadian filmmaker who came down to eastern Kentucky (just over the border from me) in the late 60's to film footage for a documentary series called US. While there, he filmed a family living in a house they rented from a local man, Hobart Ison. To make a long story disturbingly short, Ison found out about the filming, came down to tell them to get off his land, and Hugh O'Connor ended up dead. It was pretty highly publicized at the time and still gets mentioned from time to time in books on Appalachia and ethnography texts (my advisor even warned me of this kind of thing when I came down here). The movie itself is more directly about representation and the dillema of the documentarian, particularly those who come from this area and then turn the camera back on their own community. I've been wanting to watch this film for a long time, particularly because I encorporate film in my own work and partly because I have begun to feel the discomfort attempting to represent a community of which I am not immediately a member. Although I live here, and have been living here for the last three months, although I know many people know and the woman at the gas station calls me "baby" when I fill up my truck, although the guys at my local jam session greet me with warm smiles and encouragement when I show up there every week, I have been hesitant to bring my minidisc recorder or my (still or motion) cameras. No, I'm not worried I'm going to get shot. And that wasn't really the point of the film today -- what worries me is the line between sensationalism and romanticism and the comfortable (and ethnical) margin that lies between them, sometimes so difficult to find. I am a central Virginian, transplanted to Brooklyn, transplanted to Philadelphia, transplanted to the mountains of Appalachian Virginia, trying to find a way to make this experience make sense to people who haave never been here, all the while trying to make it make sense to the people who live here... I don't know. Sometimes I wonder if I really know what I'm doing...
That said, I had an amazing time at the jam session I went to last night. It's my weekly session, in a diner my neighbor owns, just up the road from my house. I've been going for almost three months now and for the first time, I really felt like I was part of the community and not an outsider anymore. I played the whole night, which I am suffering for today with what can only be called "banjo neck." My banjo weighs in close to 20 lbs. I'm not in the greatest shape these days and apparently holding a 20 lb banjo for four hours strapped around your neck and then sleeping funny in a cold bedroom aren't so good for your muscles. I can't really move my head or neck or shoulders today. Knitting has been kinda out of the question. It wasn't until I took a few ibuprofen that I could even type today... stupid stupid stupid. It's like running 10 miles after not running for a month.
And, just in case you were wondering if it was coming, the knitting content for today:
(Pardon the ugly linoleum... my sun porch is the best place to take pictures light-wise, if not floor-wise) I made some progress last night on my Elfine socks. I sewed up the tips (next time I will check out this turkish cast on -- thanks leah!) and made it through 1.5 repeats of the pattern. They are so pretty, though I have concerns that they might be a little loose after some wear. We'll see... if they are too big, I can always keep them and knit mel another pair :) I couldn't get a picture of these without the kitties... I tried. Notice how Phoebe is eyeing that piece of yarn...
Oh... I almost forgot -- I finally wove in the ends of my Jaywalker #1. Completed and ready to be mailed out.
Pattern: the infamous Jaywalker Socks
Yarn: Knitpicks Sock Garden "Hollyberry"
Needles: god... I have no idea... some metal dpns size US 2
Started: December 29, 2005
Completed: January 25, 2006 (I took some time off between socks one and two)
Notes: I sized them down a little, to compensate for gauge issues... Oh, and they are designed for someone with size 5.5 feet (I wear an 8. How I managed to get them on my feet for these photos is beyond me... I've found Jaywalkers to be very forgiving, size wise)
Hurrah! One pair down, three more to go before I've completed my ridiculous holiday obligations. sigh...