Narrative İnfrastructure


Grandson’s middle-school project saves classic theater in St. Pete


ST. PETER Wisconsin

I approached grandma Clara to ask her questions about her life in St. Peter during the 80s for my social studies class. Nerd that I was, came over with a microphone and computer showing a map of St. Peter. Clara viewed the consent form from the school—which she signed, including her email.
  As she talked about her family, her friends, and jobs, life at the church, etcetera, I would occasionally interrupt to check I had the location in her story correct, even bringing up street photos 

  She was sad to think someone wanted to tear down the old theater and re-posted to the NGO site on her social media. Several of her friends also shared their stories from the theater. They tagged the NGO and later that week the NGO sent them a link where they could enter their address and get the contact info for their elected representatives.
  Her and her friends wrote their reps and said they have many happy memories from the Rialto and asked that the demolition

to remind her if she was unsure.
  She talked for over an hour. She hadn’t talked this long in years! When she concluded, I tidied up   emailed her a copy of the recording and map; “For safe keeping” I said. A week later I emailed her a transcript and asked Clara to play the other video and check the transcript for accuracy. Clara found one or two wrong words, and changed her mind about the location of one of her stories.
  Once I had the corrected transcript, I sent it off to the Uni Mappers, and a 

permit be denied. A staff member of the rep wrote back, saying that it was almost impossible to deny the developer the demolition permit. The building wasn’t officially historic, it had been abandoned and was no longer compliant with fire code. Later Clara learned that her representative made a deal with the developer (who wanted to make the ground floor shops and condos above), that, in exchange for expedited permitting, he would change the shops in his design to a

week later all her stories were published to the Narrative Infrastructure website. The website emailed her a special code for her stories, and it directed her to write down the code and put it with her important papers.
  She spent an afternoon browsing the locations of her stories located around the city. She could turn on and off other stories that overlapped her own. Some were from the 60s, other s much more recently. Using the slider bar, she could turn on stories by decade and found stories she was sure were by one of her old friends, even one story she knew was about her! But the names were all changed.
  A couple months went by. I was very grateful when he got a B- on my interview project. Then next day, grandma got an email saying one of her stories was published to another website! Clara went to the address and found it was a Non-Profit group trying to save the Rialto movie theater where she’d gone on a really nice date once. There was her story about the date! Even though anonymous, it was fun.

combination retail space and small theater.
  The developer was given a special permit that he needed anyway, and once he thought about it, he realized having both retail and entertainment meant the same commercial space was being used day and night. This is more lucrative, and the added evening traffic meant a higher perceived sense of safety for the potential condo buyers. One perk the new residents would enjoy as member of the condo association was a significant discount for renting the theater for special events.
  The Architect for the new project was instructed to use the original theater as both theme and ratio for the new building. She preserved and restored the theater marquee, and the double front doors. After the new frame was up, these were reinstalled in the same locations. The building was much taller, but it looked and felt very familiar at the street level.
  The developer sold every condo before construction was completed. Grandma Clara and I went to the grand opening together.

Special Edition



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>