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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.

For Rabbit Heart’s 35th out of the 100 Delightfuls, the crew went up to the iconic Bancroft Tower in Salisbury Park on Bancroft Tower Road in Worcester, MA. The “crew” consisted of the Rabbit Heart interns of summer 2018, Julie Wyman, Lori Shanley, and Fay Bcharah, and also expert reader of plaques, Aisha Naseem.

As you drive through the windy and hilly road up to Bancroft Tower, you sense almost an eerie vibe, but the 56-foot high natural stone and granite tower surrounded by grass and trees uplifts the mood, and makes you want to jump out your car and check the monument out.

The castle-like building was constructed in 1900 in memory of George Bancroft, who was a native Worcester politician and historian. It was built by his friend and admirer Stephen Salisbury III.

This monument has become a sightseeing area for the people of Worcester. It has a great view of the city landscape, including the clock tower of city hall. This view is particularly beautiful in the fall and winter, when the trees have lost their leaves, leaving a clearer view of the landscape. With its greenery and unique tower, this monument is also a space high-schoolers use to take pictures for their proms.

Though you cannot go inside the tower, there have been openings in the past by a team of organized Worcester volunteers called Park Spirit. The last tour was back in October 2016; they opened it to the public for five days, and it has not opened since.

If you are ever looking for something to do that includes scenic views, historical sights, and no money at all, head to Bancroft Tower! For mroe information, about Bancroft Tower, check out this rad writeup from Roadside America

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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 they headed over to The Queen’s Cups (56 Water Street) for treats of the cupcake variety.

This was my first time visiting The Queens Cup since their new Worcester bakery opened. I once visited their location in Millbury, but upon arriving to their new joint I immediately noticed a revitalization of their brand. What was once a tiny mom n’ pop shop has since metamorphosized into a trendy establishment with a contemporary feel consisting of lots of natural lighting, an open floor plan, and all sorts of modern decor. The mason jars and picture frames of customers on the wall still gave it a bit of charm and character, and it was cool to see from the entrance a little window that peeks into their kitchen/bakery. Their signature cupcakes are still as massive and mouthwatering as I remember them  being upon my first visit, and the employees were just as warm and welcoming. While many things are new and different, the Queens Cup has never lost sight of their vision of specialty sweets with a smile. They are continuing a legacy of bringing delicious sweets for all two and four legged friends in central massachusetts, and it’s certainly a treat to have this gem right here in the heart of this city.
xox,
Julie

 

Hello all, and welcome to the 2018 Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival’s first edition of our 100 Delightful Things in Worcester Project! This year, our wonderful interns Fay, Julie, and Lori are teaming up to explore Worcester and will be bringing back the best of  the best for you to enjoy.This week Fay and Julie headed over to Asian Supermarket (50 Mill Street, right off Park Ave) to grab ingredients for taro smoothies and to tour the aisles.

You might never think to go into the Asian Supermarket if no one would have told you how great it is. Like many interesting areas in Worcester,  Asian Supermarket is a hidden gem in the busy streets of Park Ave and Mill St. Not only did our fantastic interns not know about this ethnic supermarket, they did not know how big it is! Right when you walk in you will be shocked that you haven’t seen this or heard about it before – there are aisles and aisles of colorful produce, from fruits, to veggies, to beautiful greens that are so familiar from favorite Asian restaurants. And if you’re ever looking for pomegranates in the middle of the summer when they’re off-season, or for strawberries for under $2, this is the place to come! Our team also found delicious snacks and drinks, and of course, a whole aisle of just RAMEN! Food has such an influence on culture, and going to Asian Supermarket gave #TeamEatYerVeggies a little peek into the diversity of Asian culture just by observing the aisles of food at AS.

Some favorites our team found include matcha green tea flavored Kit Kats, and fresh lychees – these little fruits are sweet, refreshing, with a flavor somewhere between rose petals and grapes, and perfect for summer! Along the way, Fay and Julie also picked up taro, coconut milk, and tapioca pearls (boba!) for making some delicious homemade smoothies. The recipe is below if you want to try it out too <6

Taro Smoothie – makes 2 small, or one large
1 c ice
~⅓ c coconut milk (add more for a thinner smoothie)
generous dash of coconut extract
2 tbs sugar
¼-⅓ c cubed and cooked taro (add more for a thicker smoothie)
handful of boba cooked according to package instructions (optional)

  1. Start by peeling the taro and then cutting it into cubes. Add to boiling water and cook for about ten minutes, until soft but not falling apart, then rinse under cool water to bring to room temp.
  2. Cook boba according to directions and cool
  3. Combine ice, coconut milk, cooled taro, sugar, and a generous dash of coconut extract in a blender.
  4. Pulse ingredients until smooth.
  5. Pour the smoothie into glasses, add boba, and enjoy!

It’s trailer time, sister! Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2018 has but three scant weeks of open submissions left and then it’s on to the judging and promoting! Which is to say, we’re playing with dollies and raiding the craft store for pieces and parts, and, in general, getting glue all over the place – SWOON! Let me tell you a bit about the latest build –

I was never really a kid who played with Barbis. I mean, I had some Barbis, right? They were my aunt’s, actually, and they came in a really cool red vinyl case – I think there were two of them. But I never really got into, you know, playing with them. Which, in the big picture, isn’t that much of a thing, I suppose – I was busy climbing trees and reading books when I was at that Barbi age. I think I was into roller skating too. And I remember a summer when I, a kinda uncoordinated kid*, spent hour after hour in the driveway learning to bounce and catch a pink Spalding high-bounce ball because it felt like something I really ought to be able to do.

So, yeh, I never really played with Barbi dolls. Which is to say, I’m missing a few key bits of experience:
1. I have not mastered the art of balancing dolls, nor do I understand the physics behind how to work with a top-heavy object
2. Oh, yeh – perportion x.x

bun stars
So in working up the set build, it never occurred to me that the modified Barbis that are our #RHPFF trailer movie stars (one of which is reallllly top-heavy now that she has a bunny face and ears) are, well, rather tall in comparison to the trees I purchased for background. They look kind of like shrubs on posts. Or like they’re really far away. Which is to say, we needed bigger trees.**


So I decided to build some. (Like ya do.) Read the rest of this entry »

Darling! Submissions for Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2018 are now open!

star jar 300Welcome back to Q&A Wednesday! Today’s question is super important, filmmakers:

 

Q: Hey, Rabbit Heart – How come you’re charging for submissions now? I thought you were all about accessibility and freedom to create art without a budget.

 

A: Yes, it’s true – we’re charging a little bitty submission fee this year ($5) on FilmFreeway. At the same time, it’s still absolutely free to submit your film to Rabbit Heart directly through the website. So if the fee is a stretch* get that film ready and choose Submissions from the dropdown menu on www.rabbitheartpoetry.com. We gotcha.

I really wrung my hands over the decision to charge a fee. As the festival director, it’s huge to me that filmmakers need not spend a lot of cash to get their art out into the world. A girl’s gotta eat, y’all. And pay rent n’ stuff. When we started this festival business, it was in the mindset that even if you just borrow a phone from a friend and then edit your footage at the library, you should be able to make a poetryfilm. Good art =/= big budget. And so free submissions really falls in line with the Rabbit Heart philosophy. Which is why submissions directly through the Doublebunny website are still unqualifiedly free.

Here’s the scoop: we love FilmFreeway. FilmFreeway has been 95% fantastic for Rabbit Heart, especially in terms of reaching far and wide (6 continents worth of subs since we started accepting films through them!) Hearts and stars, y’all.

That last little 5%, tho’ – it’s films that people submitted with complete disregard for festival  guidelines. With a $0 submission fee, folks are submitting films that are completely divorced from poetryfilm, and in droves (we’re turning down twice the number of films we’re accepting). We’ve received scads of not just overlength films, but  feature-length films, children’s programming, aerobics instructional videos, and pornography.** All of which I have to wade through to find the legitimate entries (because holy carp, I do not want to have an intern stumble onto the racy business x.x) Of interest, direct subs to the website might be a touch overtime, but they’re pretty much always on target – if you’re on the R<3 website, you’ve very probably read the rules, and aren’t just shopping for a (free) place to send your film.

So, very basically, the fee on FilmFreeway is there to make sure that the subs we’re getting are actually relevant to the festival. I really hate sending out disqualification notes. It totally makes me sad (and in some cases, super awkward. See second starred item).

And, you know, if we get a lot of subs through FilmFreeway, that’ll all get to go back into festival prizes. So, hey, win-win \o/

***

 

big picture72*Honey, believe me, I understand operating on a budget.

**LOTS of pornography. Enough porn that we briefly considered doing an intimate toy party fundraiser, or an adults-only Dirty Losers showcase. Briefly considered. But overwhelmingly, the lighting just wasn’t that good. Pro tip: you can’t shoot porn in the dark. Three lightbulbs, people. Three lightbulbs. & maybe a bounce.

 

LettersY’all, I don’t have my own personal Twitter feed. I have one for Rabbit Heart (#RHPFF, y’all – @RabbitHeartPFF), but not one for me. I got my marbles together last year & made an author page, but the idea of supporting a Twitter feed for just my stuff made me weird from the inside out. I mean, really, how much can I get accomplished in 140 characters or less (ok, ok, 280 now) aside from poetryfilm stuff, the occasional Omigawd (#omg), and some videos? I can do it in pictures (love that Instagram, I do), but in itty bitty sentences that I can’t go back and edit for typos* once they’re out in the world? #Nope – #longwinded #craptypist


Which is why this Thursday is going to seem surreal to you all out there in the Rabbit Heart twitterverse. I apologize, but I’m going to co-opt the feed for personal bsns for roughly 12 hours, and then we can get back to the important stuff. You know, back to poetryfilm.**

Did you know I write fiction? Because there’s this book I wrote (and finished, even)!  Free Pirate Radio (you can read excerpts at that last link) – and a bunch of short stories that beset me while I was writing it – is set in the Reboot Universe: a US where the land is being rebooted by science priests; the Train, the Radio, and some (magical) whores must save Ohio. I mean, in a nutshell. Also people sometimes explode into flocks of birds. It clocks in at somewhere around 78k words. (Did I mention #longwinded?)

And I’ve been doing kind of a crap job of getting it out into the world.*** I’ve queried agents, but not that many (15? 18? I’ve been picking at it), and well, you know, gone on to start other stories and work on the poetryfilm things. But some stuff is starting to stir with FPR (stuff I can’t talk about just yet, but maybe soon, let’s not toss grit in the gears, k?) and I’m feeling the vibe, so when a friend suggested to me that I take part in the #PitMad Pitch Party  this week, I suddenly found myself drafting tweets in my notebook like:



YOU get a #pterodactyl! #YOUgetapterodactyl! #YOUget a pterodactyl!



among others.****

Read the rest of this entry »

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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