Variation of Manufactured Folk Drama: A Case Study of The Ellettsville House of Prayer Hell House
A version of this paper received the prize for Best Poster at the 2010 IU/OSU Student Folklore Conference
Local Variation of Manufactured Folk Drama: A Case Study on the Ellettsville House of Prayer Hell House analyzes The Hell House Outreach, an Evangelical Christian outreach tool, a folk drama that has become widespread in churches throughout the United States during the Halloween season. The Hell House Outreach’s popularity and traditional aspects are because of the The Hell House Outreach, which became available for purchase in the 1990s. Variation exists in content as well as context in individual hell houses, though a traditional form is maintained. It is within the adaptability where the producers of The Hell House Outreach believe the power of the ministry lies. The Ellettsville House of Prayer Hell House in Southern Indiana is an excellent example of a hell house that altered the The Hell House Outreach Kit in order to highlight controversial moral and political issues unique to Monroe County of Southern Indiana. (more…)
Patrick R. McNaughton. A Bird Dance Near Saturday City: Sidi Ballo and the Art of West African Masquerade. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008. Pp. xvii+300, photographs, notes, index. $65.00 cloth, $24.95 paper.
Patrick McNaughton’s work, A Bird Dance Near Saturday City: Sidi Ballo and the Art of West African Masquerade, chronicles and investigates a particularly resonant masquerade performance of Sidi Ballo’s decades ago in a small town near Saturday City, Mali, as the text’s title implies. For years, the author struggled with how to accurately and fairly depict this powerful experience, the product of Sidi Ballo’s genius and the other talented dancers, singers, and community members that contributed to the performance. This book is the result of his journey. Accordingly, A Bird Dance Near Saturday City devotes equal attention to Sidi Ballo’s virtuosity, elements of bird dance performance, the performance itself, and the forms and functions of aesthetics. Examining both the particular and the general, McNaughton provides a useful and engaging account of Sidi Ballo’s June 1978 Dogoduman bird dance performance; in so doing, he examines its components and contributors, and Sidi Ballo as a performer and artist. Additionally, the author discusses artistry, aesthetics, and performance theory, both philosophically and practically. He looks at each of these in terms of the bird dance(s), Mande culture, and society in general. (more…)