Stories are an important part of how we understand our place in history and the world. The Dandelion King is a graphic novel which serves as an exhbition and distribution space for a series of short films. These shorts expand on the historical context of the author's personal story, while presenting narrative vignettes from her life. Personal narratives which fit into such histories as that of the California mental health system, immigration or divorce can contribute to the local/national dialogues about how state institutions (from marriage to mental hospitals to the World Bank) contribute to families and communities. Representations of how the state intersects with family or community can contribute to a contemporary debate around these issues at the diner table and in the legislature. These discussions are accomplished with online distribution campaigns and local organizing—a reading at the Bridge Over Troubled Waters Homeless Shelter, collaborations, and exhibition through the Boston’s Comic Roundtable.
The Dandelion King tells the story of a generation reshaped by enormous divorce rates, women in the workplace and a changing economic policy. This historic paradigm shift is important to contemporary debates spanning from the family to economic policy.
Archival & Documentary Films
"Perry Mason is so handsome...Just like Gregory Peck. Y'know, I married your Grandfather because he looked like Gregory Peck." As a little girl I would fold into my small, very round soft grandma. Her homemade polyester outfits were scratchy and together we would watch Perry Mason or PBS when Grandpa wanted to be educated. Church going folks were accustomed to a confessional mode, and the folks seemed comfortable with their daughter's pursuit of healing through the talking cure.
Durer's Melencolia shows an angel surrounded by objects which represent her, "Melancholy has wings and from her belt hang keys and a money bag, symbolizing power and wealth...At her feet are the tools that can fashion the material world. Yet she does nothing: lost in thought, she turns away from the light." My mother, divorced from the important world that marriage afforded, turned away from the light and sunk into Melencolia.
The 'Thorazine Shuffle is a phrase popular among psychiatric clinicians; It refers to the shuffling gate which is produced by Thorazine medication. When we moved across LA county from Whittier to Santa Monica in 1977 my mom changed her job from working at Metropolitan State Hospital to working as a psychiatric social worker with out-patient schizophrenics. Around the corner from where we lived was a half-way house and their residents were a benign, though puzzling part of the neighborhood--us kids did not understand their atypical behavior. Most noticable was a man who walked up and down 23rd street everyday. Some time called 'the smoking guy' I imagined him a spy, his constant vigilant walking fueled pre-adolescent imaginations. When I finally asked my mother, she was clear: "Honey; that's the Thorazine Shuffle." My mother was both a dancer and a psychiatric social worker-- so it took me a while to understand what she meant.
The Dandelion King, a trans-media graphic novel; including short films, archival media & interactive book APP, all of which contribute to a divorce biography chronicling a social history of the 1970's.