Literary Carousel Shines at the 4th Annual Sunlit Festival

The 2018 Sunlit Festival features Literary Carousel, a blend of photographs from the Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg inspiring local writers.

The auditorium at the Museum Of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg was home to Literary Carousel as part of The 2018 Sunlit Festival in St Petersburg

Literary Carousel Shines at the 4th Annual Sunlit Festival

I have publicly admitted to a mild pixel addiction and perhaps I should out myself as an art junkie. Big picture, if you gotta have compulsion in your life, it's not a bad way to go! Combine that disposition with an event that combines two art forms like photography and literature and I'm in! The Sunlit Festival is a two week celebration of the written word in St. Petersburg. They call their brand of bringing together literary organizations and art disciplines "Litertainment”. Part of the 2018 fest, for the second year in a row, Literary Carousel took place at the Museum of Fine Art pairing local writers with photographs from the museum's collection to inspire new work. The event is a combination of Carousel, a  semi-nomadic happening celebrating photography where 8-10 mostly local photographers show and discuss cohesive bodies of work and The Sunlit fest.

  Todd Bates,   graphic designer and producer of the event, gives opening remarks and describes the process for this year's literary celebration paired with photography

Todd Bates,  graphic designer and producer of the event, gives opening remarks and describes the process for this year's literary celebration paired with photography

The auditorium at the Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg is filled with  folks seeking some litertainment at the second Literary Carousel, part of the Sunlit Festival 

In that pursuit literary work takes center stage here. Maureen McDole led the way as Founder and Executive Director of Keep St. Pete Lit making the event (and entire festival) possible. Carousel producer Todd Bates and Curator of the MFA Photographic Collection Robin O'Dell took it from there selecting groups of photographs for the collaboration. Writers, curated by writer and actor David Warner, were then encouraged to pick some of those images with which to tell their stories and the result was absolutely Litertainment! Organizers also called it “Ekphrastic,” a literary interpretation of a piece of visual art. This year's writers/presenters included Arin Greenwood, Scott Harrell, Shane Hinton, Jeff Houck, Tenea D. Johnson, Peter Meinke, David Warner, and Sabrina Dalla Valle

 Scott Harrell (as Dr. Leopold Scrumm)  gives excruciating details of circus performer maladies at MFA Literary Carousel at Sunlit Festival as depicted in photos of lion tamers, aerialists, and polar bears, to name a few.

Scott Harrell (as Dr. Leopold Scrumm)  gives excruciating details of circus performer maladies at MFA Literary Carousel at Sunlit Festival as depicted in photos of lion tamers, aerialists, and polar bears, to name a few.

David Warner's vocal interpretation of the characters in his story using vintage images like Woman Firing a Revolver (photographer unknown) are spot on and hilarious!

Stories ranged from Dr. Leopold Scrumm's (a.k.a. Scott Harrell) depiction of fictional diseases suffered by circus performers to dark tales of Shane Hinton's Uncle Elmer who "brought them (the family) up after mother's accident", all the while playing sad Russian music in the background. The audience struggled with nervous laughter not knowing if he was trying to be funny. Frankly, I still don't know.

 Shane Hinton's tale of Uncle Elmer using images of  The   Russian People  by photographer Margaret Bourke-White and background  Russian music  had people emotionally confused. That's what it's all about!

Shane Hinton's tale of Uncle Elmer using images of The Russian People by photographer Margaret Bourke-White and background  Russian music  had people emotionally confused. That's what it's all about!

 Robin O'Dell, Curator of the Photographic Collection  at the MFA, filled in by reading a piece from poet Peter Meinke who could not be there, used images from Andy Warhol.

Robin O'Dell, Curator of the Photographic Collection  at the MFA, filled in by reading a piece from poet Peter Meinke who could not be there, used images from Andy Warhol.

 Jeff Houck based his work in the world of Gestalt, musing in philosophical ideas like a basket says as much about the weaver as it does the straw. 

Jeff Houck based his work in the world of Gestalt, musing in philosophical ideas like a basket says as much about the weaver as it does the straw. 

 Tenea Johnson used images from J.E Allison and Harold Edgerton  for her Ekphrastic work.

Tenea Johnson used images from J.E Allison and Harold Edgerton  for her Ekphrastic work.

The evening was a delicious combo of vintage images and fresh tales. Keep an eye out for it next year. Sunlit just keeps getting better.