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* are taking the reins & bringing us the good stuff. Check out this great little bit on Clark off-campus staple,  Acoustic Java  (932 Main St # B).

xoxox,

Apple

Acoustic Java is a cozy, small, local coffee spot located on Main South. Here you know the coffee will be strong, food delicious, and the playlist great. Some days they even host live musicians.

Alli and I go to Clark University therefore making Acoustic, as we call it, a popular spot. Last week, when we were all hit with blistering heat (after having to bring back out our snuggies a few days before), we decided it would be a great idea to share this gem with you all. Inside there are about 8 small tables, and an ever-changing array of local artists’ work hanging on the walls.

Just recently they even started carrying lavender syrup – a few pumps in a big iced green tea was the best thing that happened to me. Also, they make smoothies with various options of milk OR orange juice which personally I enjoy a little frequently.

A big thank you to Henry for taking the time to speak to us and we hope that you check the place out!
~Sarah

 

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

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doll20parts_zpsoei23o2mSo… Looking at this project from the front and kind of far away, without anything in hand and just the paper dollies stop-motion trailer from last year under my belt, it looked like simply A Good Time. A little closer up, sitting on the orange rug in the office, surrounded by ripped open bags of secondhand Barbi, Bratz, and a variety of other unidentified dolls* from the thrift store, it still looked like fun, albeit somewhat complicated fun – there was a problem to solve, and I generally like a problem to solve, especially when it involves clay, dictionary pages, ink, and glue. And over the course of a few weeks, with the generous application of all of those (delicious) supplies** our models emerged at last, rabbit-headed and incredibly tippy,*** but creepily darling in their own right.

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And then I had no idea what to do about it. Because that’s kind of how I work, right? I write novels without outlines,† I push things into motion sometimes (ok, often) with only a general plan, and I have been known to go on a spending spree at the craft store just because I want to touch all the things to find out how they feel. A friend once asked me what I thought my defining drive/emotion was, and for me it came down to Curiosity. This is to say, my inner critic is strong, but she also often gets squashed down by my inner six-year-old, who just wants to know How Things Work.

Ok, so I had a clue: I knew that Picasa would crunch pictures for me once they were amassed. I knew that we would need something stable to hold the camera while we took a brazillionty†† pictures for Picasa to crunch. I knew that lighting was going to be A Thing. And I knew that keeping track of two figurines, specifically, which leg of which figurine was going in which direction during micro-movements, was going to be a little tricky.††† I also knew that we were going to need to build a set that not only looked nice, but accommodated some really top-heavy movie stars.‡ And so, armed with an idea, we dug in to make a trailer.

Here’s how it went, bullet-point style:

– We opted for the iPad to take the pictures, because it does a better job than my phone. Also, I do not own any high-end camera equipment.

– We moved two six-foot tables into our space – one for the set, and one parallel to it for a workspace & camera. There was about a foot and a half between the two. We masking-taped the floor around the feet to mark the tables in case any of us bumped them, so we could move them back if need be. Also we duct taped a couple of the feet down and prayed it wouldn’t pick up the finish upon removal. (We got lucky there \o/)

– Books books books. And tiny birds. And dominoes. And the tiny model trees I had always wanted to buy but had no reason to buy, and a birdhouse, and some bitty paper apples. Dictionary paper, a watch key, and a bunch of fat produce rubberbands, cut into strips, to keep the slidy stuff in place – we built a set. A really cool set \o/
PRO TIP: Take reference shots. Things will move as you move all the, well, moving parts. It’s really good to know where they were before they moved. Also, if you have cats where you work, reference shots are invaluable. (SPOILER: we have 3 cats. We also employed a barricade overnight because Gunther likes the way Barbi hands feel against his fancy fancy teeth. Project board worked really well. G’bless the science fair, y’all.)

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– We set up lamps. We broke a lamp. We agreed we needed more lighting. We bought two cheap clip lamps (cheap clip lamps are The Best! Just, you know, make sure you have something to clip them to.) and a pack of 100-watt bulbs from HoDo. We moved in a couple power strips. We adjusted and adjusted and adjusted, and sighed and decided to humor one particular set of shadows in favor of dulling a big shiny reflection on the pretty green wall. In retrospect, we probably could have benefited from a string of LED Christmas tree lights taped strategically behind the set.

– We stuck the iPad on a couple books and boxes (and a tiny side table), and strapped that mess together with masking tape.
PRO TIP: I picked up a pack of foam popsicle stick looking things, initially to place between books to keep them from sliding. They were sort of ok for that, but not as good as the rubberbands. What they were REALLY good for, tho’, was as shims – we used them to keep pretty much everything level. And by everything, I mean the camera setup – we slid some under the iPad case, we slid some under the tiny side table, we popped a couple in under a book when the shot looked a little off.

– We applied generous amounts of modeling clay to the feet of our dollies to provide some support. This really worked out really badly. We revised our approach.
PRO TIP: if you want to get something to stay in place, the intuitive leap to modeling clay is great only in theory. Pick up some sticky-tac. You know, the stuff you use to hang up posters without cocking up the semi-gloss on your walls? It is AMAZING in these situations. Truly, I cannot praise the stuff enough for on-set shenanigans – with the sticky-tac we were able to make our models go where we wanted without having to employ balancing tricks; we just sort of, well, stuck stuff to other stuff where we wanted them to be and shot quickly. Hello, I ♥ sticky-tac.

– Team Salli posed the models, ducked out of the frame, and I shot. Pose, duck, shoot, pose, duck, shoot, pose, duck, shoot. Sometimes I posed and ducked and one of them shot. We did that for roughly 250 pictures – Good Times.

– And I let Picasa crunch the pictures: you select your pix from the files, tell it to make a movie, use the time-lapse option around 1/9 (play with it – you may find you like 1/10 or 1/8), and export that business. Afterward I popped it into Windows Movie Maker and added some music and fades, and voila! My friends, we have a trailer =)

For more information about Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival, check out www.rabbitheartpoetry.com

Also! If you’re poking around looking for info on making a film with practically no budget, check out the Rabbit Heart Pinterest page, How-To Tuesday for Rabbit Heart, where we’ve collected all kinds of good links for you <6

***

*Some of which were unidentifiable because they were missing a head, or were only a head. The thrift store sells them in plastic bags that seem to have been scooped roughly out of a bin marked Random Doll Parts. Or maybe a dumpster behind a daycare. Anyway, the contents are all mismatched and really ought to be washed down before too much handling. I, natch, spilled them out on the rug and decided to wash my hands really well afterward. Before I vacuumed.

**And paperclips (to hold on the ears). And a multitool (gogo Leatherman!) There’s most of a Skipper doll inside the little bun – some bits needed to be trimmed. Honestly, the most difficult part of the transformation was getting the hair off the dollies so that the air-dry Crayola clay would stick to the doll.
And on that note, I must once again mention (I know you’ve heard me say this before): Behold the humble glue stick. Your materials almost never need to be expensive, they just need to do the job. Stuff we used for this project included wood glue, an $8 glue gun, Elmer’s glue sticks, used toys, a sheet of sticky tack, roughly-used dictionaries, a couple of $6 clip lamps (the bulbs were pricier than the lamps!), and kids’ craft air-dry clay. Stay simple, y’all.

***Some of this is down to the user. I was never a kid who played with dollies. Our interns, Alli & Sarah (whom I have been known to refer to fondly as Team Salli) were able to get them both to stand up with far less stress than I.

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†Admittedly, the last one took me 10 years to complete. I’m not proud of that, I just can’t seem to stick to an outline. In my own defense, I did write four short stories and a chapbook worth of poems that applied to the same universe in that time.

††FWIW, there are easily a Brazillion Portugese speakers on the Ragnaros realm in World of Warcraft. And I have pugged with a fair number of them.

†††This is where having two interns was particularly great – one dolly per intern really helped!

‡Sidenote: there’s a serious riot grrrl rant in here somewhere about how dolls marketed to boys, action figures, stand up better than dolls marketed to girls. But since I did happen to add a shitton of weight & counter-intuitive-balanced ears to the figures (not to mention, encased Skipper in an super unnatural position inside that small bunny), this is probably neither the time nor place.

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Sister! Sister! It’s poetry movie time again! Submissions for Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival are now open. Deadline: July 1st.

Once again, we’re planning to be at the lovely Nick’s in October – on the 21st there will be a matinee in the afternoon, and in the evening, a gala awards ceremony & viewing party \o/

Full rules right here.

Good afternoon & Happy Halloween!

You know what that means, right? It means that tomorrow is my mother’s birthday, for one thing – Happy Birthday, Mom!* Also! It means that tomorrow begins NaNoWriMo!**It was a dark and stormy night

So the gist of National Novel Writing Month is that you write a whole novel in 30 days. It doesn’t have to be a poished novel (or even a particularly good novel),*** but a novel. You write every day, you meet your word counts, and you make your story hit the page.

Or, if you’re a poetry writer, you can show solidarity with your fiction-writing friends, by taking on the challenge as a 30/30 – thirty poems in 30 days.****

And guess what! 7 Hills Slam is getting on the bus this year! Every day in November, 7 Hills will post up a prompt on our Facebook page for your NaNo/30 needs. Will you join us? We’d love you to join us! Feel free to post up your stuff to your page and tag it with #NaNoWriMo and #7HillsSlam (#NaNoWorm-O?) so everyone can find each other in this muddle-y, Good Times, inky-ass writing thing ~.o

Here’s to November!

***

*yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay CAKE!
**Also known as That Month When I Realized I Left Half A Draft of a Long Fiction Piece Untouched For Six Months – oops – and try to get back into the swing of it (finish it? Oooo – the possibilities!)
***For reference –

****Yes, haiku count. Because everyone has a frustrated day (or seven) like that someplace in the month. Also, just like in the fiction-y NaNo, there’s no obligation for the writing to be good – just written – so no need to be shy with the page. There will be gems in there among the rocks; it’s 30 days of mixed bag, y’all.


I just – I don’t even know where to start, sister. This week – omg, this week. You know what? Really, this month.


Do I start with the part where everything broke? Because everything broke. Will Dearest is home now, recovering from open heart surgery on the 6th, did I forget to mention? He’s on the mend, thank gawd, and I’m watching, because I need to see him heal – I need it like water and food and sleep.*

Then there was the porch fire. And then there was the debit card that stopped working for no good reason while Will was in the hospital (and started working again the next day for no good reason). And the PayPal that was caught on the verge of being hacked and so the card had to be cancelled & reordered. And then there was the bit where the number keys on the Chromebook I use for Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival stopped working and I replaced it only to get it home and find out the new one didn’t work (or the other two at Best Buy).**

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photo credit Sarah Guimond

Then on Friday there was a flash flood that soaked down poor Nick’s  – our venue for Rabbit Heart – and took out the power. But the power came back on right before six! And then, as we were celebrating the lights being on, there was an explosion (I am not kidding – a big BOOM and smoke and smell and panic) down the block and the power went back off.***

But Rachel Kann who represents the stuffing out of R♥ in all the Best Ways, and who held my hand all day & made me know that everything would be all right, and then carried the carpet out of my office to the new venue, and then reminded me that I need to eat too
But Will Dearest and his dad and their Good Ideas and Hadwen Park Congregational Church
But Will Dearest again, who ripped my ass out of the freaking fire

But Nicole & the staff at Nick’s who not only took care of us Hard and Deep, but sent us off with popcorn while they waited in the candlelight with flyers and maps and directions (and we made plans not only for next year, but for maybe in-between too!)
But Christian who hauled the bigass amp to and from the venue like it was Just Something He Does
But Molly who moved stuff and took pictures and breathed with me
But April & Ted Desmond who picked up food and mobilized like the sharp side of an end-raid two-man bossfight and then took pictures, even
But Tony img_3099Brown and Melissa Mitchell who hauled and organized and set up and emcee’d and still remained glamorous like omg
But Our Man Cub and his Sweetie who moved tons of stuff, cut things down, drilled holes, punched tickets, set up, and brought me coffee (because my kid and his friends? Are abso-fucking-lutely AMAZING human beings and anyone who has shit to say about “those millennials” can screw right off RAWR)
But Aisha who sent good energy all the way from South Dakota, and opened the show in the best way I could never ever do justice to myself  Read the rest of this entry »

 

We need to talk about Worcester FilmWars. 72 hours to make a short film, what? Wait – YES!

filmwars20screen20bill_zpsnapyrebfWhen I heard about Worcester Film Wars I got really excited – there’s always been a little part of me that wanted to do a fast and furious film festival entry. I’m the kind of person who likes to binge-do stuff – get the ducks sorted and then just, you know, plow though the project.* Stuff like the Choreofest that Carolyn Jepsen let us all peek into last month as she catalogued it in pictures, gets me weak in the knees. I love watching that kind of super fast collaborative thing, and I have loved the idea of being part of one even more. So when Grime announced that they were putting this together, I wanted in like whoa.**

Best thing about this filmy business? Working with people I love. Jenith Charpentier & I had worked on proof-of-concept film for Rabbit Heart all the way back in the beginning and it was a total treat, so I was absolutely stoked to work with her again on filmstuff. April Desmond & I have worked on a variety of projects from layout to raiding and enjoyed the process deeply – and, sister, her eye for the camera o! o! o! We rounded out our team with Will Dearest, who, you know, I like just a little bit,*** and April’s hubby, Ted, also wonderful, whom we didn’t even know would be available until a few days before – bonus! See what happened there? Four Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival judges and the producer – oh, hello, no doubt we’re making a poetryfilm.

setup20table20sou_zpsu1g9gstuWhat you’re looking at here are five Very Busy People – we started a Facebook message thread and then kinda forgot about things until the prop swap a week later, because, well, life. Teenagers, dogs, work, impending business trips, one impending wedding, groceries – alla that nosed in. Will had a doctor’s appointment on Friday morning to have some cardiac pictures taken and would be guaranteed loopy until at least noon, so we decided to start shooting on Friday at 2.

Jenith lent her poem, Alice’s Lament, already recorded and ready to go. She also brought some teenagers to the table, which was wonderful, as all the adults involved are all a little camera shy. At the last minute Our Man Cub walked in the door to round out our cast – whom we would have for roughly 2 hours.

Read the rest of this entry »


O! O! O! August 28th was Audrey’s last official day as the Very First Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival Intern and Marketing Co-conspirator* and I’m already missing her. From making a stopmotion trailer for the festival,*** to getting out and about to investigate Worcester† and talk to people making wonderful things happen, to helping build this year’s trophies, to reaching our goal of selling out the venue before September 15th,†† I can say with sureity that we kicked some butt as a duo.

This has been a truly phenominal summer pulling the ends together and getting Rabbit Heart out into the world, and I’ve enjoyed it to the teeth. Thank you, Clark LEEP Program, for pairing us up!

You’ll still see more of Audrey – she’s opted to stick around as much as she can (classes are in swing now, so she’s working around that schedule and her two -2!- jobs), just not as much. There’s also still more 100 Delightful footage that has to be crunched, so her smiling face will grace the R♥ YouTube channel now and again,††† which makes me super happy. In the meanwhile, please wish her a fantastic senior year, and look for her at the festival, where you can tell her in person what a wonderful addition to the Doublebunny crew she made over the summer!

***

*Gunther will tell you that Audrey was not actually the very first Rabbit Heart Intern, as he’s been here all the while, and he long ago claimed the title of First Chair Intern for himself. Of note: when Audrey was in the office, he refused to do any work, occasionally sauntering through a room, muttering under his breath the phrase, “Second Chair Intern,” with side-eye and all, and then trotting off to sulk under a bed. Such is the life of a tuxedo cat** in a casual office environment.
** White shirts and fur coats: Gunther says it never goes out of style.
***
APPLE: First order of business – let’s take apart this photo enlarger and build a rig!
AUDREY: Um… Ok!
cut to –
APPLE: Which leg is moving forward again?
AUDREY: …
APPLE: …
cue nervous laughter, then gut giggles
† First open mic! First poetry slam! First Coneys! First roller derby! Aquatic animal statuary! Absinthe!
†† How about by the 5th? Whaaaat?? \o/
††† 100 Delightful is down for a nap now that Labor Day has passed – but do not despair! The Worcester featurette will still happen, just not on a regular schedule again until subs close for 2017.

The 100 Delightful Things in Worcester* project is winding down for the season** – Rabbit Heart 2016 is heating up and heading for the finish line, and there’s an awful lot to juggle that requires hanging out in the office. All that to say, I’m glad we’ve arrived at this one*** as one of the final shorts, because we had a ridic good time filming it.

Highlights:
– All the gear it takes to not get smushed in derby
– Derby names
– Derby 101
– Action shots!****

WoRD is always looking for new members – you can see their info and class schedules online at their website. You can also visit them on Facebook.

***

*While technically, we were in Auburn for this one, the team is Worcester’s own, and practices out on the QCC side of town.
**100 Delightful isn’t going away – it’s heading for a little nap is all, & will be less consistent for a bit. There’s still some footage left to crunch for this year, and there will very probably also be some random stuff between now and next summer. The plan is to pick it right back up after submissions for Rabbit Heart close for 2017.
***Which I’ve been affectionately referring to as Audrey and Apple’s Big Derby Day – wheee!
****Thank you Bill MacMillan and Audrey Dolan for getting the center line shots!

O! O! O! I know Angela Pasceri and Randal Gardner from back in the old Java Hut* days when we were all a whole bunch more aimless (and even a little more silly) than we are now. Well, I’ll tell you what – running into them a couple years ago at an art museum opening was like coming home and finding out that things are even nicer than you remembered. We caught up about life as burgeoning grownups, and what we were doing,** and they not only told me good stuff about Eternity Iron Works, but they also let me in on their plans to open up a maker space in Worcester – of course I swooned!

So when Audrey and I had a chance to tour the WorcShop (open a scant three months now, and already blowing everyone’s minds), we jumped at it. Lots of machines! Studios! Newborn bunnies!*** Come see ♥

 

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*Aww – you too? It’s ok – someone’s just cutting onions around here, nbd.
**I was handing out stickers that night for the first Rabbit Heart, y’all ~.o
***Three days old, omg!

Oh, PopUp Gallery , Worcester, you are so cool! You’ve hosted all kinds of seriously osm events, from art showings to dance exhibitions, to spoken word events. Which is to say, thank you WCC for making the space available to the city! GoGo #woopopup !

On August 7th, Bob Gill put together this really great reception for poets who were published in the last year, and I was super excited to hear about it* – Tony Brown, Victor Infante, Judith Ferrara, Joe Fusco Jr., Carol Mays, James Nicola, Catherine Reed, Christian Relfsteck, Susan Roney O’Brien, and Richard Fox** were on the roster. Audrey and I took a trip down on a perfect Sunday afternoon*** and enjoyed the celebration – we also got a chance to talk with Bob, and with Mark Thomas, half the organization behind the wonderful space in the old Printer’s Building.

 

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*If not amused by the insistance to bring a chair ~.o
**Richard has been unwell of late – Gary Hoare stepped in to read his work and totally did him proud.
***The humidity didn’t hit until later that night \o/

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