Sew What?

Sewing Stories of Displacement at the Museum of International Folk Art

Let's be real here a second—usually, if you were to tell someone something like, "It's an exhibit about sewing," your friend's eyes might roll back up into their head with such ferocity they'd be able to see their own brain. But for a currently running show at the Museum of International Folk Art, the idea goes much deeper.

"It's more about stories," curator Martha Manier tells SFR. "I've always been interested in embroidery that tells stories, and these are very personal—the series deals with different stories of displacement."

Representing countries around the world, Sewing Stories of Displacement delves into the medium as narrative device. And while a term like "displacement" might conjure dramatic imagery—and the show certainly includes such tales—sometimes it can be as simple (and terrible) as an eviction.

"I'm trying to look at it in as many ways as possible," Manier explains. "Sometimes it's from war, sometimes because allies left, sometimes it's resource depletion or natural disasters."

Manier also contends that the pieces, which can most easily be described as tapestries, provide much-needed therapy for the groups that create them. And though, Manier says, the groups are primarily made up of women, men have been known to pick up a needle.

"They find an artistic outlet they didn't know they had," she says.

You'll find pieces from Guatemala, Chile, the United States, Pakistan and elsewhere, and though the scope of the show is ultimately under 15 pieces, it runs a rather impressive gamut of materials and styles.

"These people aren't writing their lives, they're sewing them," Manier continues. "It's aspects of their lives that we might take for granted, but that are universal; people are evicted all over the world. How do they react to that? How do they cope with natural disasters?"

Sewing Stories will certainly provide some insight into the daily lives of the artists behind the pieces.

"They tell us a lot," Manier tells SFR. "They tell us a lot about the lives that are disappearing because of displacement, globalization and modernization."
(Alex De Vore)

Sewing Stories of Displacement:
Regular operating hours through Sept. 27. By admission.
Museum of International Folk Art,
706 Camino Lejo,

Even More Storytelling

Courtesy Raashan Ahmad

Last week, we brought you a long read on local MC Raashan Ahmad, and you no doubt remember in great detail that he's the mind behind the ongoing series I Got a Story to Tell. On the off-chance you've forgotten, let us remind you: Ahmad puts together a night full of speakers who take the stage to recount their personal stories. Previously, locals like Sol Bentley and Ahmad himself have told their truths, and the upcoming iteration features a bevy of interesting locals. Even better, it's a free event. Go for how interesting it is, but also go because we think you'll understand it's impossible to not feel for someone once they've explained to you the things they've accomplished, survived or hope to still do. (ADV)

I Got a Story to Tell: 
7 pm Friday Feb. 21. Free.
El Museo Cultural,
55 Camino de la Familia,

The Secret Ingredient

Courtesy Arau Films Internacional

Food is the most magical and liberating substance on Earth, especially when it's prepared by a loved one. Especially when it's prepared by the woman you're in love with, who becomes your sister-in-law because she's forced to take care of her mother and you marry into the family to be close to her. It's so much deeper than that, but that's the gist of the novel-turned-film Like Water For Chocolate, a screening of which accompanies a delicious meal prepared by local fine chefs. Hopefully they have a handle on their magic and you don't, like, catch on fire from lust or anything… (Cole Rehbein)

Like Water for Chocolate Dinner and a Movie:
6:15 pm Saturday, Feb. 22. $40.
Jean Cocteau Cinema;
418 Montezuma Ave.,

Throw Me Something, Mister!

Courtesy Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery

Here at SFR, basically every Tuesday is Fat Tuesday, 'cuz putting together the paper for you, dear reader, is one huge fun party. But for folks who don't have that privilege, it only comes once a year, and it's this week! Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery is throwing a special bash in benefit of The Life Link, a local mental health outreach and advocacy program, which makes the party basically 100% sin-less no matter how many beads you earn. Musical support from the Partizani Brass Band promises to transport you to the French Quarter, so you better go well-dressed: there's a costume contest with a $100 prize, plus a limbo competition, along with all the Creole accoutrements. (CR)

Mardi Gras Madness:
6-9:30 pm Tuesday, Feb. 25. Free.
Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery,
2791 Agua Fria St.,