Listening Is an Act of Love: A StoryCorps Special

(Rochester, NY)—The first-ever animated television special from StoryCorps celebrates the transformative power of listening. Directed by the award-winning animation team the Rauch Brothers, Listening Is an Act of Love: A StoryCorps Special, airing Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 7 p.m. on WXXI-TV, features six stories drawn from StoryCorps’ 10 years of asking everyday people to share their conversations with family and friends. These oral histories are a never-ending testament to how much can be revealed in the closest of relationships and how readily, as StoryCorps founder Dave Isay says, “you find wisdom and poetry” in the words of regular folks. An interview between Dave and his inquisitive 9-year-old nephew, Benji, frames the program’s intimate conversations.

This broadcast takes place the day before the National Day of Listening, a holiday created by StoryCorps to encourage people take the time to record conversations with loved ones the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally known as Black Friday. To coincide with the POV broadcast, The Penguin Press has released a new book, Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps, and re-released Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project, supported by a national book tour (details below).

Since StoryCorps began with its first recording booth in New York’s Grand Central Station in 2003, the project has traversed the country recording and preserving tens of thousands of stories. Select conversations are aired Friday mornings during NPR’s Morning Edition. Since 2010, the conversations, given distinctive and delightful animation by Mike and Tim Rauch, have found a new audience on the POV series.

Listening Is an Act of Love: A StoryCorps Special offers a couple of greatest hits, new treats, dramatic “reveals” and Dave’s telling of how StoryCorps began. He explains to Benji that he found an old tape recorder one Thanksgiving when he was a boy and began playfully taping the talk of his grandparents and aunts—an undertaking that made an unexpectedly deep impression on him, especially when he saw the pleasure his loved ones found in just being listened to. The tapes were lost, but to this day Isay keeps looking for them. In typical 9-year-old fashion, Benji doesn’t quite get it. “I’d love to play the tape for you,” Dave tells him. “Doing that recording really taught me something: You can find the most amazing stories from regular people. All you have to do is ask them about their lives—and listen.”

Intimate, surprising, frank, comic, moving— Listening Is an Act of Love: A StoryCorps Special is a wonderful doorway into the StoryCorps archive and into profound questions about memory and its legacy across the generations. “So, maybe this year, I’ll ask Grandma some questions,” Benji tells his uncle Dave after hearing people tell their stories, “just like you did when you were a kid.”

Credit: Courtesy of StoryCorps



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