Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist

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Once Upon a Time

There's nothing like a good story. Even if you can only understand a word or two of it.

For example, we ran into this guy during Chinese New Year.

storyteller with queue (and cheesy vignette added by me)

His fake queue and fancy outfit attracted our attention.

"Twenty kuai each to look into the machine!" he shouted to passersby.

– That's expensive, I thought.

Then I had a look at his machine. It was beautiful. I wanted to see what was inside.

looking at the lookers

The machine had 3D glasses.

the looking glass

This is what we saw through them:

through the looking glass 3

The storyteller sang to his own rhythm, a kind of Old-school Chinese rap.

It was the Chinese classic, Journey to the West. Ilustrated with line drawings and captions, like a 3D comic book. At strategic parts of the story, he'd flip the drawing – like a magician switching his cards onstage.

3D Journey to the West

The storyteller sang to a tape recorder and a clash of cymbals, entertaining everyone nearby.

watching the story play

While it lasted five minutes at most, it's an experience I'd take over a Hollywood blockbuster any day.

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