Week 6 De Lyser: Localore: Project Takeaway

Localore.net represents a great partnership between digital and broadcast media. It’s a great blend of traditional and what the site refers to as “street media,” providing a unique multidisciplinary platform for story.  The focus on giving diverse populations a voice really creates a sense of community between both the subjects and the viewers.

I was particularly struck by Planet Takeout, which provided viewers with the opportunity to watch video within video.  I spent a lot of time in “The Regulars” which I felt really captured the project’s tagline: “Where Chinese Takeout Becomes a Lens into our Local Neighborhoods.”  Owners are interviewed about broken windows, being threatened with theft and violence when one youth claims to have found a hair in his food.  The owners recount the incidents in their own language as voiceovers over footage of them stoically serving customers and assembling orders. Despite this hazing and threats of violence, vandalism and theft that the restaurant owners experience at the hands of some neighborhood youth, they provide them with a place to “hang out.” They make restrooms are available to the homeless to wash up and use the bathroom.  The Dollar Plate, with its generous portion of rice, is a hot, filling meal for the homeless and area youth. As one homeless man puts it, “I respect them; they respect me.”

While the project explores the expected cultural and language challenges the Chinese restaurateurs experience, the sense of community the restaurant engenders is also explored in compelling exchanges between customers and employees, each telling their own sides of the same story.  The multiple voices, differing ethnicities and conflicting agendas of those featured in the project is made all the more compelling within the framework of something as compelling as Chinese takeout. What an incredibly engaging way to tell stories of urban neighborhoods.

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