Saturday Light Brigade Productions has done several remarkable rounds of oral history projects that pair elders with youth, and the latest one, Crossing Fences, features men and boys from the North Side, Beltzhoover and McKeesport.
SLB is a radio show that plays in several local markets and whose staff has held workshops for children, teaching them what jobs in radio look and sound like, giving them some experience at interviewing, recording and sound presentation.
The latest oral history/storytelling project is the second one, with financing from the Heinz Endowments, and it is having three CD and book release parties this week to celebrate the participation in each neighborhood and give the public a chance to meet the participants, hear their stories and get a copy of the booklet and CD.
+ Tomorrow, from 5 to 7p, the Beltzhoover/Hilltop event will be held at the McKinley Park Recreation Center, 900 Delmont Ave.
+ Wednesday, same time, is the North Side’s event at the Cafe ‘n’ Creamery, 2700 Shadeland Ave.
+ Thursday, from 6 to 8p, the event is at the McKeesport Library, 1507 Library Ave.
+ Wednesday of next week, from 6 to 8p, all three neighborhoods will join a citywide celebration of at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, 980 Liberty Ave., Downtown.
This is SLB’s description of the project:
“Crossing Fences connects generations of African American boys, youth and men through conversations. The program celebrates and archives these connections by creating multimedia publications while also sharpening skills that students can use to support success in school and beyond.
“A first-of-its-kind program in the region, Crossing Fences combines cutting-edge audio technology with intergenerational communication, historical research and youth media arts.
“Last year’s program included African American men and boys from the Hill District, Homewood and Hazelwood. The project will continue in three additional neighborhoods next year.