O! O! O! So! Many! Feelings! Last night we wrapped up five years of celebrating poetryfilm at Nick’s in Worcester, MA, and I am so proud! I’ll miss this,* but also, five years of filled houses has been a fantastic run that I’ll revel in for a very long time. This festival came from a tiny spark, a sheer, very personal idea, and grew into a celebration that this city (& beyond!) embraced, supported, and joined in the fun for – I’m wicked grateful, y’all. I feel like I just cannot say Thank You enough.

& what a delicious festival it was this year!

Nick’s took such good care of us from start to finish – shout-outs especially to Nicole, Sean, and Molly for giving us space in the must luxe establishment I’ve ever had the pleasure to run an event, for looking after our tech needs, and for bringing on the popcorn. Even in the flood year** when we had to move venues, you looked after us like we were family, and this year was no different. What a joy to set up the red carpet and eat and drink with you! What a delight to set up and feel like it was a homecoming.
Nick's Worcester

Matinee was fantastic! Light and relaxed, and full of people there to enjoy themselves. I keep thinking of Ava Duverney’s 2013 Keynote address at the Film Independent Forum when she talked about people who like movies, who like to sit in the dark together, and how much everyone at RHPFF arrives with just that on their agenda, and it makes me feel so so very good that we could give that to everyone. And we gave them the best of the showcases, the best of Worcester’s poetryfilm, the best of Rabbit Heart winners, and even (what a treat!) a screen premiere of Rachel Kann and Brad Cooper’s new film, Rock the Bells.

The Awards Ceremony & Viewing Party was also everything I could have hoped for – emcees Tony Brown & Missy Mitchell very almost wore pajamas to help us put the festival to bed, but arrived instead in dashing reds and blacks*** and set a fantastic tone for the night, leading us through not only the awards, but all the past Best Overall Production winners, and another screen premiere, this time H Paul Moon’s America by Walt Whitman in his own voice, from a wax cylinder recording.

What a fantastic audience this year! This was a vocal and excited crowd, from the moment Aisha Naseem appeared on screen, people were cheering (and calling out their name!) to singing along with the first film, Tracy Park’s Meat Wrapped in Dough, to audible gasps and sighs (and of course, cheers) in each category showing – not to mention the unabashed group giggle fit when Rachel Kann & Brad Cooper welcomed us back from intermission with their video.

 

I feel so… so… satisfied, ya’ll. The film was wonderful – our judges picked some stellar work from a big pile of work that was outstanding to begin with, and it showed. It SHINED. Big shout-outs to the judges this year, Aisha Naseem, Rushelle Frazier, Seren Divine, Jenith Charpentier, Bill MacMillan, and Allan Broskowitz. Big shout-outs to Karen Garrabrant, who came all the way from Atlanta and let me put her on the stage to receive Irene Pin’s acceptance, and to Molly MacArthur and Kerry McGurl, who made the show happen from doors to close. It was beautiful, and warming, and so very very good a note to close on. The bunny is to bed now, and may she sleep well. She earned it.

Five years is a long time, you know? And looking at it from over here in 2018, I really just want to keep saying thank you. There are people who have held me dearly during all of this, and I want you to know who they are and how incredibly grateful I am for them:

Jenith Charpentier and April Desmond, do you even know that you are my favorite collaborators? When I thought about this project, when everyone else squinted at me with pursed lips, you didn’t. You brought ideas to the table (sometimes literally!), you got behind the camera with me to test-drive, and we dreamed together, we made movies poetry together, we have reveled together in the What-Can-We-Do. When I was so worried two years ago that things might go sideways, you two and Karen Garrabrant were the incredibly capable people I trusted with the disaster plans. Thank you for believing, for being part of this, for helping navigate the big ol’ bus. Thank you.

Aisha, you have traveled along this thing with me from the start – you made that first film and I knew from that moment that you would be a big part of Rabbit Heart. I’m so happy that we could really dig in together this summer with the interns and immerse ourselves, not just as friends, but also in the moment of catching and harnessing magic. Thank you.

Beautiful family, Bill and Liberty and Allan – you have been my rock through all of this, and I don’t have good enough words to express how grateful I am that you have been on board with this through and through. Allan, everyone asks me how I got you to do all those What Not to Submit Monday videos, and I’m not sure I have a good answer except to say that you’re the same brand of goofy as me – you’re absolutely my favorite thing on the internet, btw – and thank you for every time you’ve been supportive of my projects. You’re my very favorite brother, you know ~.o Liberty and Bill, thank you for not just trucking along with me, but for handling details like pros, for listening to me cry when I get ridiculous,**** for holding me up when I think I can’t, for being the rocks that I can lean on, for letting me play out my ideas. Thank you.

Fam

(xD That’s my dad in the front, Bill & Lib to his right (& me & my mom), & Allan to his left with lovely Katy)

Rachel Kann, my shekinah sister, you amazing woman, thank you for everything you do. Every time we talk, I just want to do more things with you. Watching you hatch your incredible poetryfilms has stirred me from the belly out and filled me with joy. Just seeing you do the things you do with poerty, with film, with music and dance, has made me feel like I can reach higher, like I can lift a little more, like I can dream bigger, and like I can make Real Things in the World with those dreams. Thank you.

Poetry community of Worcester, thank you. Especially Sarah and Jessica Guimond, and Gary Hoare, for making (really really really good!) films for RHPFF. Especially Bob Gill and Angel Gonzales, Liz Heath, and Rushelle Frazier for judging and nudging, and helping keep this project on the rails. Especially Molly MacArthur and Kerry McGurl for helping the shows glide smoothly along (in fancy shoes, even!) Especially Tony Brown and Melissa Mitchell for emceeing and being the face of Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival for five years. Thank you.

And thank you to the folks who are part of this from afar! Thank you Jeff Knight & Cassidy Parker Knight (and Tony & Harrison too!), thank you Greg Brisendine, thank you Barbara Silcox and Bryna Kirzner, and Dave Bonta, and Ana Navio, and Scott Woods, and Helen Dewbery, and Linda Jackson, and Suzi Banks Baum, and the women of Vibrant Visionary Collage, the wonderful Shakti Women’s Writing Group, and everyone who’s cheerled for us, or sent us their films – there are so many of you that I’m just so grateful for <6 Thank you.

Thank you for five years of joy like a diaphanous glowing golden cloud around this project. Five years! I really can’t believe it’s been five years – but I can too, because there’s just been so much magic surrounding Rabbit Heart that I’m maybe a touch overwhelmed by all the good stuff. Thank you. Thank you all.

People keep asking me what I’m going to do with myself now that I’m not running a film festival anymore, and every time they do, my heart jumps a little. Because I know there’s A Very Good Project in the works, but I’m not yet sure which one to research and put into motion first. Hang tight with us – Doublebunny Press has an amazing group of people around it, and that ensures we’ll have something in the works in a year or so ❤

With enormous gratitude and love,
Sou

trophies 2018

***

*Especially the part where we build a stop-animation trailer at the beginning of summer! Oh, interns, how you have filled my heart by stepping in at the spark of creative endeavours. I have so much gratitude and love for you all – Julie Wyman, Lori Shanley, Fay Bchara, Alli Jutras, Sarah Miegs, Audrey Dolan, THANK YOU! (& thank you Clark University & Worcester State University for sending such brilliant women our way!)

**Thank you, Hadwen Park Congregational Church, for taking us in & treating us right!

***Folks, I keep telling you about these glamorous rapscallions, but for real, look at the photo gallery on The Show page & you can see for yourself!

****Y’all, I’m a crier. Sad? Cry. Frustrated? Cry. Happy af? Yup, I cry then too.

My sweet sweet friends, it’s time. 2018 will be the last year of Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival.2018trophies
I’ve been trying to write this love letter to you for a little while now, but I keep getting caught up in the details – there are just SO many feelings wrapped up in those. So for today, Elliot Smith in the background, candles lit, and here’s the scoop.

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who’s been part of this beautiful little project over these five years. I am humbled and filled with gratitude for every submission, every set-up and break down, every volunteer, every judge and every round of judging, and every poet who’d never shot footage before who stepped up to the plate and said, Hey, I’m gonna make a movie out of my poem – let’s see what happens!

Because I tumbled into this project with that feeling – Let me put this in motion and see what happens!* I’ve told every intern I’ve had the pleasure to have worked with that we’ll try this thing, and if it works, great! If it doesn’t work, and no one got hurt, that’s ok too (we just won’t publish it). It’s been amazing – just the sheer number of outstanding films I’ve gotten to see and been privileged to reward has been incredibly nourishing. The contacts I’ve made and the people I’ve gotten to meet around poetryfilm have fed me bone deep. The young women I’ve gotten to work with in the summers** have opened my eyes and helped me see the city I live in from a place I hadn’t been before.***

What’s going on here are wrapped up in a number of factors† all coming together leading to the close of R<3, but mostly it’s time for a little financial mop-up. The last few years in the US have been pretty rough on us regular folks. My husband works for a nonprofit, too, which has made things a touch more fiscally tricky than they might otherwise be. Long story short, I’m looking for some steady employment to get things more solid & send our household books back into the black.††

I love this project, and I’m going to miss it. That said, I’m also really looking forward to a year or two to decide what my next project is going to look like, and excited about what’s next. More than anything, I’m really looking forward to sending Rabbit Heart off in grand style, with a fantastic last show and some popcorn. Come celebrate with us, help us send her up right October 20th at Nick’s. You can pick up your tickets at the Doublebunny Press store right here – hope to see you at the show <6  

***

*Actually, that was kinda secondary, even if it became my ethos quickly. It really started with trying to get other people to do it. Turns out it was my Big Work after all ~.o

**Thank you, Clark! Thank you Worcester State!

***And stop-motion trailers, FTW! I would never have started on these little projects without my beloved interns <6

†Not insignificant in this mess are my mixed feelings about social media promotion. I love seeing my friends when I turn on my computer – but also, I get really worried about tiring them out with my insistence that they LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT MY THING, right?

††Say what you will about the economy these days, but I’m looking right at you, Fear of Scarcity. And I believe in my heart of hearts that it was manufactured in rumor at the beginning of this administration, and then, like it does, it became real and immediately impactful. No doubt: things have gotten more expensive and difficult, and I find myself having to ask more often before I get a Yes. I hate that this has become the new normal.

Hello and welcome back to the 2018 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival’s 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project! This year, our wonderful interns Fay, Julie, and Lori are #TeamEatYerVeggies – exploring Worcester to bring back the best of  the best for you to enjoy.

On this week’s 100 Delightfuls, the crew hit up Wetherell Estate Field on Newton Ave in Worcester, Massachusetts. Locally known as Duffy Field, this 12.88 acre plot of land has a newly installed playground and little league field. The new playground is super safe and super fun for the small ones. With plenty of shade, parents can sit on the benches and enjoy watching their kids run, climb, slide, and swing!

One of the highlights of Duffy Field is its location. After taking the kids out to the playground or after baseball/softball practice, (or if you’d like to take some food/drink with you to the field), there are plenty of places to eat or drink right around the corner from the field. There’s Corner Grille that sells delicious pizzas and salads, Espress Yourself Coffee for a pick-me-up drink, and Pleasant Market if you’re looking for a quick snack and a cool and refreshing Arizona Iced Tea.

Duffy Field is perfect for kids to have fun, and parents to relax in the calm and quiet area of Newton Ave.

Hello and welcome back to the 2018 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival’s 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project! This year, our wonderful interns Fay, Julie, and Lori are #TeamEatYerVeggies – exploring Worcester to bring back the best of  the best for you to enjoy.

Mondays are for the poets. At least they are down at Ralphs Rock Diner (148 Grove St). Last week, Julie and Lori headed over to the Dirty Gerund to hear some slam and talk to some poetry enthusiasts at Ralph’s 21+ event. Before the show began, the team sat down with Nik and Gabbie, two Gerund frequenters, as well as some other Worcester locals, who were more than excited to pop their faces in and say hi to our cameras. Usually, the Gerund will feature a poet, but while we were visiting, comedian Wes Hazzard headlined the night. The event offered us a creative atmosphere of slam complete with lovesick ballads, social commentary, and everything existential, all while we enjoyed the laid back comfort of this Worcester staple dive bar.

It’s that time of year again, sister – tickets for Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2018 are now available for purchase at the Doublebunny Pess Store \o/

This year’s #RHPFF judges are currently hip-deep in fantastic work, picking out the best of the best to move on to the shortlists, and it’s shaping up to be a fantastic festival –

This year we received over 200 entries from 26 countries across 6 continents, in a multitude of languages. I am super excited about what will be showing this year at both the Awards Ceremony and at the return of the Showcase Matinee – I’m also super excited to announce that Tony Brown and Melissa Mitchell will be returning as our emcees this year (& quite possibly with a very special friend)!


Nick’s Bar on Millbury Street in Worcester will once more be hosting this year’s festival (luxe!), and we at Doublebunny couldn’t be more pleased. The shows will be on Saturday, October 20th, with the matinee at 2:30 (doors at 2:oo), and the awards ceremony at 8pm (doors at 7:30), so please save the date. As this is our last year of festival, seating is limited – we expect a packed house again, so you’ll want to check in at the Doublebunny Store soon to reserve your seats (or, if you want to help but cannot attend, to donate seats).

You can purchase tickets now for Rabbit Heart 2018 at the Doublebunny Store.AWARDS2018

Hello and welcome back to the 2018 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival’s 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project! This year, our wonderful interns Fay, Julie, and Lori are #TeamEatYerVeggies – exploring Worcester to bring back the best of  the best for you to enjoy.

This week Lori, Fay, and I headed down to The Living Earth (232 Chandler Street). This organic food and wellness store is a family owned business that has deeply rooted itself as a vital centerpiece for Worcester since its early beginnings almost fifty years ago! The store opened in 1971 and has adapted and evolved over the years while remaining entirely committed to providing environmentally conscious, fair trade, all natural, organic, and high quality products to customers.

Like many cornerstones in this city, the establishment has seen itself change overtime, but if there’s one thing that is still the same as ever, it’s the business’ dedication to their local community and beyond. People come from all over in search for healthy food and supplements they can trust, and quickly find that The Living Earth has so much to offer. The store includes a local and organic produce section, all natural meat and dairy, bulks, breads, and so much more. Additionally, the store includes a wellness and beauty department, as well as a newly installed area of the market called The Island. The Island can be compared to a cafe in that it serves coffee, kombucha (on tap!), and various other grab-n-go items, but it also caters to those looking to sit down and eat some breakfast or lunch.

What makes The Living Earth so special, in my opinion, are the people that come in and the employees you will find there. Everyone who works at the Living Earth is so kind, down to earth, and eager to help. As an employee myself, I can say one of my favorite things about working at the Living Earth is meeting the devoted customers who have been with the Living Earth from the start, as well as the new faces that come in wide eyed and excited to try all the things we have to offer. As an employee behind the counter at The Island, I get to do so much more than pour coffee. Often I get to talk to people and learn new things about the people I share this beautiful city with. They give me all sorts of lessons and stories that teach me a lot about where I’m from, and I can share some useful tips and ideas I’ve come to know too, and to me, I think that is the most rewarding part. I feel lucky not only to work there, but to have this place right here in the heart of this city.
xox,
Julie

Hello and welcome back to the 2018 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival’s 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project! This year, our wonderful interns Fay, Julie, and Lori are #TeamEatYerVeggies – exploring Worcester to bring back the best of  the best for you to enjoy.

After meeting up for coffee at the Living Earth, Lori and I decided to take a trip to a local art supply store up the street and around the corner called CC Lowell. As we later found out, not only is this store the coolest art supply store ever, but it is also the oldest in the country! We had no idea that the store does so much more than just sell paint brushes and canvases. Browsing through the shop we found fantastic gift ideas lined up against beautiful big windows, piled high with mugs, pins, notebooks, pens, posters, and more. The inventory manager named Amanda greeted us at the front desk which practically doubled as an information desk because this woman knows her stuff! Not only is she super passionate about her job and the store’s purpose, but she knows a whole lot about the products that can be found in each aisle. and was super helpful in answering customers’ questions. She talked a great deal about the vital role CC Lowell plays in our city’s artistic community and beyond, and how the business does especially important work with education. The store even has a downstairs classroom designated for art classes and special events.

Amanda also gave us a quick tour of CC Lowell’s mini museum shelf, which showcases rare historical artifacts of some of CC Lowell’s oldest products that have been rediscovered throughout the years and donated to the store. Amanda let Lori and I test out some pens and paint and taught us the essential differences between oil and acrylic paints. Lori and I had a hard time leaving by the end of our visit – we could have stayed there all day! CC Lowell isn’t just simply a place to go and buy stuff, it’s an experience that is as equally playful as it is enlightening. If you’re thinking of channeling your inner artist, don’t hesitate in heading down to CC Lowell where Amanda and other wonderful employees will be waiting eager to help you get started or continue on your creative journey!  

Hello and welcome back to the 2018 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival’s 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project! This year, our wonderful interns Fay, Julie, and Lori are #TeamEatYerVeggies – exploring Worcester to bring back the best of  the best for you to enjoy.

This week the gang headed downtown to check out the Worcester Public Library. We got the chance to take a brief tour of the floors and sections as well as speak with the Library’s very own outreach librarian, Jillian Parsons, who was kind enough to answer all of our questions!

In addition to providing the public with free access to literature and other medias, the library runs a variety of free programs that benefit the community. With classes on computer basics, photography, and Zumba, the library has something for everyone. They even run classes that assist members of the community working towards citizenship.

Doors are always open for anyone looking for a quiet spot to study or catch up summer reading goals. You can check out www.mywpl.org for tons of information and schedules for programs and classes.

We’d like to thank our friends at WPL for a lovely time. Be sure to head on downtown to sign up for a library card or pay off any existing late fees (like we did)!

Hello and welcome back to the 2018 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival’s 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project! This year, our wonderful interns Fay, Julie, and Lori are #TeamEatYerVeggies – exploring Worcester to bring back the best of  the best for you to enjoy.

Maria’s Homegoods is a thrift shop located on 406 Chandler Street, Worcester Massachusetts, that features an impressive selection of antiques, furniture, collectables, and more. After strolling through nearby neighborhoods on the West Side or grabbing a bite to eat at the Loving Hut conveniently located across the street, Maria’s Homegoods makes for a unique and affordable thrifting experience. I would say that this place is especially a goldmine for local artists here in the city—photographers, film or stage set designers and the like; those who regularly seek props or furniture to enhance their creative visions. It’s also a neat place for anyone looking to liven up their home with decorative tea sets or pretty framed paintings. There’s an idea and a story on every shelf. One corner of the store is loaded with beautifully woven picnic baskets that would be perfect for an old school romantic picnic date in the park. Another area features all kinds of assorted collectables from NASCAR to Star Wars. In all, Maria’s Homegoods has something for everybody, whether you’re into action figures or vintage jewelry, antique vials or funny coffee mugs, or if you’re simply in the mood to browse through the aisles and wonder what the history is behind every piece you find, Marias Homegoods is a quaint little establishment bursting with imagination and fine taste that meets all the criteria of a cool thrift store. 

Hello and welcome back to the 2018 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival’s 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project! This year, our wonderful interns Fay, Julie, and Lori are #TeamEatYerVeggies – exploring Worcester to bring back the best of  the best for you to enjoy.

Along with being home to a plethora of artists and craftspeople alike, Worcester itself is a blossoming canvas. This week the team went on a mural hunt throughout the city and found some truly special pieces that we are more than excited to share with you all. Our quest began in the lobby of the Worcester Art Museum where we found two murals masked as one* and concluded on Park Ave with a comic book inspired piece appropriately placed on the brick exterior of That’s Entertainment.

Over the course of our journey we attempted to look up the artists of the murals we were visiting to get a feel for their work and discovered that many of them were based outside of Massachusetts. A few times we set off for one location expecting to find a specific mural and were surprised with multiple murals upon our arrival. Although we saw a lot of gems, there are dozens more we just didn’t have time for.

Many of the murals we visited were part of POW! WOW! Worcester, an annual creative movement organized by different Worcester locals attempting to give back to, showcase and inspire the community they love with public art. Head over to powwowworcester.com for more information on this year’s up and coming goals and events.

xox,
Lori

*Unfortunately that one didn’t make it into our video, but you can check it out at WAM during museum hours <6
~srm

todays

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