This is a photo of a family legend. She is Mae Wilson, my Great Great Great Aunt. In April of 1920, she stood on the stoop outside her home in Rock Island, Illinois, about to leave on a trip to Hollywood. She was an actress, she was a singer, she was gaudy, she was, in her words, "swellelegant". The only memory of this journey she made is a collection of old photographs. I've been rather consumed by this story, the Myth of Mae Wilson, ever since I happened upon the box of photos a year ago.
Aunt Mae has always been a larger-than-life figure in my family. And while I never met her, she inspires and captivates me now more than ever. It is a frightening thing to define your dreams and pursue them, and the incredible thing about Mae is that she did exactly that. It is so comforting to have this drive, this spirit, this "gumption" in my blood. I'm in good company.
No, I'm in GREAT company. My Great Great Great (Great?) Uncle Carlisle (yep, it's a family name) was a jazz piano player on the Mississippi River paddleboats. Way back when, before the Evanses emigrated from Wales, they were travelling bards, going from town to town telling stories and singing songs. Music, travel, storytelling: it IS in my blood.
So, as I finish the necessary preparations; like packing, burning CDs, assembling zines, I'll be thinking of Mae. She'll be showing us the way.
Step 1 in following in Mae's footsteps: Make some promo materials.
Abby and I were burning CD's and enjoying the music at the Stateless Fair festival at Seward Cafe in Minneapolis yesterday, when a caricature artist offered to draw our portrait! Ha ha! So, we've got our promo poster down! You can see Mae's flyer and our very realistic poster below.