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Festival? How was festival this year? you ask. Well!

Let me start here:
Behold the perfect tool for your sustenance, the humble crockpot.

No, wait – lemme start here:
emoji RK

Rachel dearest sent that off from the bus on her way out of Worcester on Tuesday morning, and I blubbed some happy tears when I saw it.

Nonono – wait – listen:

I think I didn’t manage to put down 2016’s show until almost a year after the fact – there was just So Much. Too much, even. Dearest Bill’s heart surgery on October 5th, the flash floods day before show that washed out Nick’s, all that focus on waiting for the power to come back & the last-minute move over to HPCC. It was a rush, for sure, but really, let’s not do it like that again, k? And even with the grant reimbursement* wrapped up and the trophies mailed & the prize payments made, and the 2017 logo set up & stickers ordered, and the new season ready to go, it still sort of dragged on as this stressful pulsing echo, like, for months.** Until about a week before festival, I wasn’t even sure I was ready. I had nightmares about being pregnant in Patagonia (which, of course, was part of Peru, whut) & stamping around about it, y‘all.

And then Rabbit Heart this year? It was AMAZING. Ah-May-ZING.

Some stuff we learned last year was that you really can’t stuff 70+ people into Nick’s without a crowbar and some mad engineering skillz.*** So, armed with that knowledge, we intentionally split the 2017 show, and put together a matinee this year – which I panicked about for a hot minute (Will people come? If I throw a party in the middle of the afternoon, will people come to it? AND WHAT ABOUT BRUNCH?!) until I realized that it gave us o,somuchmoreroom! to show more films (\o/), and that lots of people nabbed those tickets because they were stoked (!!) and wanted to see more poetryfilm! And they came! We threw a party and people came! And they enjoyed the stuffing out of it! Hello, I am over the moon remembering all the smiles and hugs.

And then – and then – AND THEN! The awards ceremony! Our emcees for the night, Tony Brown & Melissa Mitchell, omg – these two glamorous bastards – I need a moment to get my marbles back in the jar here, because WOW.

Tony and Missy red carpst

Let us all fan ourselves off a minute here -whew!- Ok, steampuk became the theme for the night, Missy was armed to the teeth (check out that hawt whip, y’all), and the tone was set from the moment they stepped on the stage. So. GOOD.

The caliber of film this this year made me wicked proud – I’m absolutely thrilled with the judges’ picks.† I can’t even pick the most stand-out-y of the bunch, because I kept falling in love over and over. You should go check out the 2017 Finalists Page and the R<3 YouTube page to see – grab a coffee and your comfiest hoodie, ‘cos you’ll want to be there a while ♥

All that said, I need to tell you about the winner of Best Overall Production – Rachel Kann’s Dancing Lesson (Or How to Let the Words Leave You), made with Brad Cooper & Atom Smith – even just thinking about it right now makes all the little hairs stand up on my arms. Because you need to know: the women in that film with Rachel? Dancing like the queens they are? They are not professional dancers or actors. That’s Rachel’s Zumba class. (And I was told the shoot was a dream, and the hardest part of the whole she-bang was getting the colored Holi powder out of the sets three months after the fact. Which, of course, amuses me to no end.) RACHEL’S ZUMBA CLASS! Here – check it out.

There was so much dance this year! And it brought me to a place of joy I didn’t even know about. Sure, interpretive dance is an easy mark for eyeroll – we’ve all been to that one poetry reading, right? But this year, watching the subs roll in was a total game/perspective-changer – we got a ton of really good interpretive dance poetryfilms. The more interpretive dance I saw over the year, the more I realized how much I just love the stuff! And to be able to show films at the showcase matinee? Like Jeremy Hahn and Stephen Beitler’s Dances for the End of the World Ch 2, and videopoem I Am Life/ Soy Vida by Jose Alirio Rojas? It just set me soaring.

But but but! But omg, also the people! My very favorite thing about festival happened again this year – it became a gathering for some of my very favorite people. And getting to meet filmmakers and people new to the festival just leaves me bursting all over. I got to meet the winners of the WCPA-sponsored Shoots! Youth prize, Luz Emma Cañas & Ella Quinn who came in from NYC, I got to meet the producer of the Best Smartphone Production, Eduardo Guerra who came in from NY, I got to meet Nick who came out from CT for his friend Aleksandr Kirienko’s film, and the winners of The Marble Collection’s fundraiser raffle, and the folks who won the Sprinkler Factory’s raffle,†† and I got to meet director Brad Cooper and his lovely friend Linda, and I got to meet Aisha Naseem’s parents and their housemate Alex, and everyone was so lovely! And I got to reconnect with friends who traveled in from afar! Filmmakers Cassidy Parker Knight & Jeff Knight came in from Austin TX, and Rachel came in from LA, and Eric Darby came in from San Francisco, and Linda Jackson and filmmakers Aisha Naseem and Adom Balcom came in from western MA – and friends who came in from right here in town – Molly McArthur and Kerry McGurl who were our perfect ushers, Tony & Missy (natch), #TeamSalli, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras (our badass interns for 2017), and Birgit Straehle (who gilded our first place trophy!) & Luis Antonio Fraire, and two of last year’s exquisite judges, April & Ted Desmond, Isaac Baron and Sylvia Bagaglio, and Rushelle Frazier and Jenith Charpentier and Angeline Bilotta who were judges this year, and Gary Hoare, who’s been a finalist and winner at R<3 three times now, and Angel Gonzalez, who’s been a judge twice, and Bob Gill (who judged our first year) & Ted Blackler, and and and and AND! It all happened in the company of family – what warm delight to share this with my dear husband Bill, and my brother Allan and my father-in-law Charlie††† who have been pulling this boat along with me for four years now (omg, fam – you are The Best).

And for real, Nick’s took such good care of us – huge kudos and thank yous to Nicole & Sean & the rest of the staff on Saturday for making such good space for us and treating us like a Very Big Deal. They made sure we had the sound and projector up and running, and a place for our red carpet, and that the popcorn & drinkies & treats flowed (Have you ever had a pretzel there?? Seriously. If you haven’t, you’re totally missing out, so you should do that).

What I mean to say is that this year tore me open in all the good ways. All this to say Thank You.

xoxox,
Apple

*Thank you WAC & MCC!
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Worcester Arts Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
**I’m 100% sure some of that had to do with the US elections. That garbage storm is still cascading horrific on the daily.
***So the basement over at HPCC actually solved that problem >.>
†It wasn’t until after festival that I realized that all our winning films were made by women \o/ There’s something here that I have been struggling to put my finger on over the last few years – what is it about poetryfilm that lends women such good license, that allows them to give themselves permission to excel? Jenith & I keep spilling coffee over and spending time on this topic, and it never ceases to keep me feeling alive in my own skin.
††You have an osm arts org that wants fundraiser tickets? Talk to me!
†††Who totally saved our bacon last year with the whole venue thing. Thank you, Charlie!

ps! Omg, guise – LITERALLY, as I was writing this, my phone chirped and told me it made a movie memory out of the bazillionty pictures (ok, 372) I took at Rabbit Heart on Saturday – oh iPhone, you amazing creature, you. ♥ And it’s totally darling. Here it is –

pps – that song that everyone at festival can’t get out of their head? It’s by Erin K, and it’s amazing. Here, have a listen –

Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* grabbed the reins & brought us the good stuff. Over the summer they visited with Pastor Judy Hanlon at Hadwen Park Congregational Church** (6 Clover St.) to find out about the LGBT Asylum Support Task Force.
xoxox,
Apple

 

 

Last summer, Rabbit Heart was scheduled to screen its film festival at a venue near Kelley Square. After an unexpected incident prevented the venue from hosting the event, Pastor Judy Hanlon at Hadwen Park Congregational Church stepped in and offered her church’s space for Rabbit Heart’s screening. Rabbit Heart was extremely grateful for Pastor Judy’s kindness, as well as the selflessness and virtue of the congregation. In this edition of 100 Delightful Things, we want to highlight the accomplishments and success of the Hadwen Park Congregational Church.

Hadwen Park Congregational Church  is located at 6 Clover Street in the southwestern corner of Worcester. The beautiful church is set on a small hill and casts a welcoming atmosphere to visitors and passerbys. The community is nonjudgmental and friendly, and always puts a smile on the faces of those who visit. One visit will instantly feel like you belong in the community.

Some of the most significant work that Hadwen Park Congregational Church does is in terms of their LGBTQ+ Asylum Support Task Force. Pastor Judy identifies herself as a follower of Jesus, rather than a Christian, because her progressive views don’t always coincide with the beliefs of the Christian community. Pastor Judy’s work with the Task Force helps those who are shunned from their country due to their sexuality find a safe community and a place of refuge while they transition into their lives in the United States. It is illegal in 80 countries to be gay, and many people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community flee from their countries to find freedom and acceptance. However, because of their sexuality, they are typically not welcome into communities of their cultural backgrounds and are also not permitted to work within the first few months of entering the U.S. The Asylum Task Force encourages these people to join its space in order to find a safe community and express their faith.

Pastor Judy opens her church to anyone in need, regardless of race, sexuality, gender, or disability. The church’s work with the Task Force attracts people from all over the world and creates this accepting and diverse community that is rooted in Worcester. There are tons of people from all over the United States who journey to Worcester in order to join the congregation – it is the best church in terms of accepting and caring for asylum seekers in the country. The church schedules all sorts of events to promote the task force and raise money to care for its asylum seekers.

Pastor Judy is one of the most loving and kind humans I have ever met, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to meet with her and be introduced to some of the asylum seekers who are a part of the Task Force community.

To find out more information on the Task Force and Hadwen Park Congregational Church, visit www.hadwenparkchurch.org and www.lgbtasylum.org/ or call 508-853-8853
~Alli

 

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!
**Yup – these folks totally saved our bacon last year ❤

Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* grabbed the reins & brought us the good stuff. Over the summer they popped in for some delicious business over at Hacienda Don Juan.
xoxox,
Apple

 

Hacienda Don Juan (875 B Main St.) is a family owned and operated Salvadorian and Mexican restaurant located in Main South. As Clark students it’s one of our go-to’s, which makes it unbelievable that Alli had never been there. Although we both ended up getting pupusas, nothing on the menu disappoints. The burrito supreme is out of this world and the nachos which they make with homemade chips are the best I’ve ever had. In total the restaurant has about 10 tables that are pretty much always full with hungry customers. Have no fear, if you do’t have the time to wait they DELIVER. Can you believe it? a dream come true. We sincerely hope you all check it out if you’ve never been there because as Alli can now attest, it will be a wonderful experience.
~Sarah

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

Welcome back to the 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project, 2017 #RHPFF edition \o/ This year the lovely Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival interns, Sarah Meigs & Alli Jutras* grabbed the reins & brought us the good stuff. Over the summer they went to the Canal District Farmers Market  =)
xoxox,
Apple

The Canal District Farmers Market is a year round weekly event that draws in vendors and visitors from all over the area. It is located at the beautiful Crompton Place, which houses a few of Worcester’s most beloved franchises: Birch Tree Bread Co., Crompton Collective, and Seed to Stem. The Farmers Market gives visitors the opportunity to purchase locally made, wholesome goods, and allows Crompton Place to receive an abundance of visitors on Saturday mornings. Buying organic, freshly squeezed juice from a vendor, then heading upstairs to Birch Tree to enjoy some toast is, indeed, the perfect morning.

This farmers market gives vendors from the Massachusetts area the opportunity to sell their goods, establish connections with visitors, and initiate relationships with dozens of other farmers and vendors throughout the state. The environment is extremely friendly, I enthusiastically carried conversations with a few of the vendors and a curious customer, and smiled at those passing by. My friends and I, all Clark University students, were thrilled to strike up a conversation with one of the vendors who happened to be a Clark Alum! As she reminisced about her Clark days, we were happy to hear more information about her college past, as well as the background of her daughter’s company (which she works for).

The Farmers Market features products ranging from organic fruits and vegetables, handmade jewelry, local honey, fresh flowers, yummy baked goods, and refreshing coffee. I was in awe of the array of goods at such a small market! I loved walking around with my friends, making memories, while also experiencing one of the many delightful things that Worcester has to offer.

To visit the Canal District Farmers Market, head to 138 Green Street in Worcester MA. It is open every Saturday from 9 AM- 12 PM. See you there!

~Alli

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

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