Stranger: A Festival in Search of Hospitable Acts | Get Outside | Indy Week

Get Outside

Stranger: A Festival in Search of Hospitable Acts

When: Fri., Feb. 24 2012

Various places downtown—For a couple of days now, we've been puzzling over a press release for something called The Stranger Festival. Paraphrasing from the release, it's a series of micro-events in 10 "acts" designed to intersect with and explore Durham's daily patterns. The objective is to examine the "dynamics of hospitality in Durham, from tiny daily acts of civility to the impact of rapidly changing public policy."

So, you may be wondering what this means. Face painting? Food trucks? Not necessarily, but there is a "Mural Truck" (Act I) that will "wander around town asking citizens to contribute to the self-made portrait." Something called "stranger cakes" (Act IV) will be involved during the day throughout town. The North Carolina DREAM Team (Act III) will provide "intimate training that explores the immigrant experience in the United States." An artist or sociologist named Kimberly Welch will spend the day—13 1/2 hours—riding the DATA bus system (Act VI) "using a very precise and proven observational methodology." There's also a writing workshop and an art installation in the Bull Plaza before a final gathering on the second floor of the central bus station on Pettigrew Street, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

It's fair to say that we're not really sure what to expect. But if a stranger offers you a cake today, we think it's best to smile and say thank you. Otherwise, visit —David Fellerath

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