Home Tonight: Lydia Fair 2011
True Stories Dinner: a North Cambridge Community Dinner with a twist

• • our stories, our food.

The dinner table is the centerpiece of my family story as a third generation Italian-American immigrant. It’s here - around our food - that we pour out our hearts. We retell stories of old (with embellishment) and offer new stories from today. We get to know each other. We interrupt each other. We fight over and forgive differences. We laugh.

So important is the table that my parents’ house has not one or two but five of them. My mother knows, as did her mother before her, the value of a good story well told and good food overeaten. She lives for it!

And ours isn’t the only family table where hearts and mouths are open. This North Cambridge neighborhood is full of homes, and homes away from home, with tables where stories and foods vie for our appetite for connection, meaning, and community.

• • what’s the story?

Over the past three summers, city-wide Soccer Nights have flung open a window into the striking diversity of our neighborhood. Standing on Russell Field amidst an ocean of smiling faces and happy feet, you can’t help but marvel at how people from so many different places in the world ended up here in North Cambridge. Soccer has the power to bring us together, but it doesn’t afford us the opportunity to get at the story of how we got here or what it all means.
For that, we need a table and food.

• • a shared table

Here’s a thought. What would it be like if your table and my table were joined together for a night? If your food and my food was served side by side? And your stories and my stories filled the air? So many differences, for sure. But so many commonalities and surprises as well.

The Greater Boston Vineyard church is uniquely positioned in the North Cambridge neighborhood to be a neutral and hospitable host for such a community dinner, and our Dome Gallery offers the most beautiful setting around where such a shared table can be set and feasted upon.

Would you be game to give it one night only and join with dozens of your neighbors from diverse ethnic backgrounds for a night of food and true stories of home? We’re calling it a True Stories Dinner, and it takes place on Saturday, April 9, 2011.

• • who’s invited?

We’re looking for folks of all different stripes – old timers, new arrivals, and in between. Folks who remember what it used to be like, and folks who are striving to make a new home here away from your original home. We’d love to hear from first, second, and third generation immigrants: the Irish, the French-Canadian, the Haitian, the Ethiopian, the Somalis and other Africans, the Indians, Bengalis, Pakistanis, and other Asians, NoCA artists, contributors and readers of Growing Up in North Cambridge, renters, homeowners, and guests passing through.

• • true story theater

We’ve invited True Story Theater to join us for the evening to help facilitate and give shape to our storytelling. Following dinner, this Arlington-based ensemble of actors will listen to our stories and create short plays which we will videotape. Their approach, primarily based on the form of improvisation called Playback Theatre now seen in over 50 countries, aims to promote the development of community and the breaking down of unhelpful social divisions.

Excerpts from these true stories will be woven together and presented on video as part of Lydia Fair 2011: Home Tonight, a unique multiarts event featuring the work of more than 50 visual artists, writers, dancers, actors, and musicians. The Lydia Fair takes place May 21 & 22, during our neighborhood’s Open Studios, in conjunction with the Cambridge Arts Council and NoCA. You are invited to join us for that as well.

• • don’t be shy

We won’t be able to create theatre pieces for more than a dozen stories at our True Stories Dinner, so no worries if the lights, cameras, and crowds cause you to clam up! We’d still love for you to come for dinner, share your stories with your table companions, and take in the show as an audience member. Of course, we’re guessing there are several of you who will relish the opportunity to take centerstage and offer your story to be acted out for all to see.

• • food to share

We would like for you to be our guests, and so there is no expectation for you to bring anything other than your self and your stories. At the same time, we realize that there may be a handful of you who would feel left out if you weren’t able to bring some of your people’s food for all to enjoy. We invite your partnership in the menu planning and food preparation if that’s a gift you’d like to share with this community.


• • want to join us?

We only have a limited number of seats for our True Stories Dinner. Please email or call if you would like to join us, and we will send you a formal invitation with final details.

Learn more about Lydia Fair www.lydiafair.org

Contact: Christopher Greco
Call: 617-252-0005 x303
Email : lydiafair@bostonvineyard.org