The story of Redhand Guitar starts in the dustbowl of the 1930’s as a young man with a guitar and a secret begins the journey West towards the promise of California. On the way, he falls in love with a carny fortune teller whose predictions always include some vision of the worker’s struggle:
“You will join together. Demand work. Demand fair pay for that work.”
Despite her efforts, the visitors to the carny are more entertained and politically emboldened by the young man’s songs.
The young man disappears one night, but leaves the fortune teller a note and his guitar. The next time the guitar surfaces, it has a blood-red handprint on its face and a secret of its own.
For the story of the young man and the fortune teller in the carny, attend the theatre piece.
To find out about the young man’s story from that point on, follow the social narrative.
To hear the young man’s music:
The young man is also featured in an installation at the after-party.
The guitar is passed from the fortune teller to her daughter who is married to a charismatic rock star in 1969 San Francisco. He writes all his songs on the guitar.
For the story of the fortune teller’s daughter and her rock star husband, attend the theatre piece.
Find out even more in the social narrative.
To hear the rock star’s music:
You might also like to go to the after-party. The rock star is playing in one of the installations.
The fortune teller’s daughter eventually leaves San Francisco and her marriage and resettles in Seattle. After her death in 1991, her niece finds the redhand guitar and a journal of poetry in her attic. The niece meets another young musician in a local club where she performs on her aunt’s guitar. He becomes her manager.
For the story of the niece in Seattle, attend the theatre piece.
To hear her music:
attend the theatre piece, listen to its soundtrack, or get her album Eternal Bliss: The Tragically Compleat Works of Flanery Collins.
Or visit her installation at the after-party.
After the niece’s death, the manager goes on to establish a hugely successful entertainment empire. He hangs the redhand guitar under glass on his wall.
For the story of the niece’s manager turned mogul, attend the theatre piece.
The mogul meets a struggling young musician at a charity benefit. He knows her only as an attractive member of the catering staff and invites her to his home for… the weekend.
For the story of the weekend and how the mogul’s life is changed forever by the young musician’s visit, attend the theatre piece.
To find out what drives the young musician to seek out the mogul – and how she discovers her connecton to the redhand guitar – follow the social narrative.
Seek her out at the after-party.
Eventually the aspiring musician will become a mega-star with sold-out concerts bringing together spectacle and protest songs.
One of her signature pieces is “The Ballad of the Redhand Guitar.” It begins as a sweatshop urchin starts a revolution in an oppressive shoe factory. Then we hear the story of a greedy pirate’s attempt to silence the song of an old gypsy man by making off with his guitar.
Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and the like.
And, who knows? She may soon be playing at an amphitheatre near you.
In the late 21st century, a generation of teenagers works in grimy sweatships alongside the elderly, making products for the wealthy few. When two of the teenaged workers are cast out onto a wasteland of sand, they stumble upon the remains of the mogul’s home, preserved Pompeii-like under the desert that was once Los Angeles. There they find music and a history of protest that will lead them to the redhand guitar and a revolution of their own.
For the story of the teenagers and their journey, read the graphic novel.
For the music that comes out of their struggle, listen to American Underground.
They, or their contemporary, prophetic alter egos, are the DJ/VJs at the after-party.