|Rachel Kate and Joel T. Hamilton|
I heard about The Unchained Tour because I follow Hub City Bookshop in Facebook. One day they posted that this random event would include Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors. I thought that couldn't be right, but there it was, so I purchased tickets immediately. The entire tour pairs up with independent book stores, to encourage reading and book purchasing throughout the south. It also includes musicians and raconteurs for each evening's performance. (The Unchained Tour's web site also lists circus performers, but I didn't notice any last night!).
Joel T. Hamilton and Rachel Kate performed several songs, some featuring instruments Joel had made from scratch. Rachel Kate also acted as timer for the raconteurs, who were limited to 10-12 minute stories.
The host of the evening was Peter Aguero, who also told a few stories of his own and reminded everyone that Neil Gaiman was just a person. I imagine that the first night's events had a handful of stalkers, or fangirls, considering how often we were reminded of Neil's humanity. I slowly put away my stack of Neil Gaiman books and decided not to hang out at the bus. You know, just in case I was in that category.
The theme for this year's tour is "heart-shaped," and most of the stories were about love. The venue was small enough where everyone there felt like a part of the event, and I had no idea how much time had passed. Since this was the Spartanburg event, my husband (a Wofford employee) knew at least half of the people in the room, but it was nice to see a mixture of students, faculty, and .... normal people.
When it comes back around again, I'll be back. And in the meantime, I've decided that maybe I need to develop a class about storytelling for the May program where we work. Everyone has a story, after all.