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. This week they were treated to a tour of local art staple, Arts Worcester.

xoxox,
Apple

ArtsWorcester is a delicious little art-filled organization, located in the renovated Aurora – a hotel that once existed in the heart of Main Street. The non-profit organization works to showcase the art of locals, and publicize the importance of the arts within the community. Most importantly, they encourage artists of all skills and ages to be a part of the thriving association, which unifies over the enjoyment of art.

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, Sarah and I made our way to 660 Main Street (after taking a few wrong turns). We were welcomed enthusiastically upon our arrival by executive director Juliet Feibel. Juliet took us on an extensive tour of the downstairs gallery, introduced us to the staff (including Scarlett Hoey and Tim Johnson), and gave us a run-through of the history of the organization and building.

ArtsWorcester was founded in 1979 by a group of artists and supporters, who originally named it the Cultural Assembly of Greater Worcester. After changing the home base of the organization multiple times, its headquarters and main galleries now reside in the old Aurora Hotel. ArtsWorcester has always been known for its celebration of the arts, and is eager to promote artists of all sorts. While touring the gallery located in the basement of the building, I was shocked to see the multitude of styles that each exhibiting artist portrayed. There were artfully carved sculptures, water color paintings massive in size, detailed still life paintings, simple drawings, and intricately designed ceramics. After noting each work of art, you can comparatively conclude that no two artists are alike at ArtsWorcester.

The exhibiting artists contribute to a huge part of the success at ArtsWorcester. Worcester artists are constantly seeking to display their work in the accompanying galleries. There are 3 main galleries extended from ArtsWorcester, including The Aurora, The Hanover, and The Hadley. The Aurora is the main gallery, and is located at the main location of ArtsWorcester, at 660 Main Street. The Hadley is right across the street from the Aurora location, at 657 Main Street. And the Hanover is located at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Becoming a part of ArtsWorcester is a piece of cake (Wayne Thiebaud…anyone?) and a membership makes a variety of artist opportunities possible. With an ArtsWorcester membership, you’ll have the chance to exhibit your art, receive feedback on it, learn from other artist members, and establish lasting relationships with artist in your community. Exhibiting artist memberships are $55, Dual-Artist Household memberships are $90, Student Artist memberships are $20, and memberships for Worcester college students are free! Financial assistance can also be applied to, which helps artists who are in need financial support to afford the membership. A few membership perks include exhibiting work in members-only shows, complimentary entry to Artist Business Skills Workshops, discounts at C.C. Lowell, and 60% commission from personal gallery sales. I’m also happy to say that I requested a membership following our meeting with Juliet, and I’m now a proud member of ArtsWorcester!

To check out the gallery, find out more information about a membership, or visit an awesome spot in Worcester, head to 660 Main Street (or the Hanover/Hadley locations).

  ~Alli

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!

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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. Like goats & sheep and LITTLE TINY HORSES!

xoxox,
Apple

Green Hill Park is one in which Lesley Knope would be extremely proud of. Located at the top of Bell Hill,  it is complete with two ponds, a golf course, restaurant, little league baseball field, petting zoo, gardens, and plenty of area to run around, picnic, or walk your three legged dog. It is the largest park in the city of Worcester and truly is a delightful place to spend your time. For this video, we focused mainly on the petting zoo because, well, it’s a petting zoo – and who doesn’t love giving a good pet to some farm animals? It’s open until 3pm all week long so make sure to stop by in the early afternoon so you don’t run out of time. There are goats, sheep, various types of birds, alpacas, donkeys, AND ponies (PSA: contrary to our singing, that is not Lil’ Sebastian. We’re very sorry if we got your hopes up. They’re still super cute though!) Alli and I had so much fun exploring all the different parts to the park and we hope that you all find as much joy in it as we did.
~Sarah

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!
**There’s an accidental dad joke in there, oops ~.o

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. Like a lovely mid-week extra taste of Caturday!

xoxox,
Apple

Worcester Animal Rescue League (WARL) is the largest animal shelter in Massachusetts, and an amazing non-profit organization that cares for animals in need. This week Rabbit Heart adventured to 139 Holden Street, right by Indian Lake, to hang out with some cuddly creatures and learn more about the program. We met with Allie Tellier, WARL’s executive director, in her office which also houses her adorable office cat, Reece. Allie filled us in on what WARL does, how to get involved, and about the importance of the organization.  

WARL was founded in 1912 and was originally established to take care of farm horses who had been overworked. The organization then grew to care for other animals in need including dogs, cats, and ferrets. The program operates on so many levels to ensure that their animals get the excellent care and treatment they deserve. Whether an animal is brought to WARL in need of surgery, needs a broken bone mended, or requires urgent love and care, WARL does everything possible to give these animals the care they need. Most importantly, WARL gives these animals a voice and spreads the word about adoption, foster care, donations, and volunteering so that the programs can flourish and the animals can find forever homes.

Not only does WARL give animals without homes a place to stay and a chance at adoption, they also offer services to animals who already have homes – the organization conducts spay/neuter clinics and vaccine clinics for animals who are in need of them. They treat the animals with love and care, and don’t overcrowd their space. They only take in animals when enough space is available so that the animals aren’t packed in or overwhelmed.

The ladies of Rabbit Heart spent a beautiful Monday hanging out with the WARL staff, petting some adorable kittens, spending time with the dogs, and learning about what makes WARL special. We were all tempted to adopt an animal right on the spot – and of course we’re urging you to make spot for one in your home ~.o

If you’re in the need of a cuddly companion, have the urge to visit some adorable animals, are interested in fostering a pet, or want to learn more about how to help out cats and dogs in the area, contact WARL today! They are a non-profit that receives no additional funding, so are always in need of donations** and volunteers.

~Alli

ps –
The Bow Wow Luau is coming up on 8/13 from noon to 2 pm. FUN!

*#TeamSalli FTW! Thank you Clark LEEP Program!
**If you’re looking for the perfect (and thrifty) gift for WARL,  non clumping litter like Johnny Cat is always on their wish list.

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 from the wilds of Shrewsbury Street, GRIME.

xoxox,
Apple

When driving down Shrewsbury street, you’re met with a variety of delicious eateries, a piercing parlor, dozens of coffee shops, and GRIME: an eclectic clothing store housed in a renovated garage building. GRIME is one of the most notorious Worcester spots, known for its funky array of clothing, vintage accessories, and dozens of newly stocked items to please any fashionista. Although GRIME is like no other clothing store I’ve visited, I’ve concluded that its Worcester home is the most fitting city it could possibly be housed in. Worcester residents are tough cookies with the right amount of spunk and free spirit. What better place to represent Worcester’s array of personalities than a store that caters to every resident in the Heart of the Commonwealth? Whether you’re looking for vintage pieces for a fun night out, a jacket to jazz up your style, some staples to add to your wardrobe, or a funky outfit to push you out of your comfort zone—GRIME has what you’re looking for.

GRIME is a store where the hard work of their employees is evident. Not only is the store beautifully organized  and aesthetically pleasing, but their ever present social media pages urge customers to visit and check out the store (and for college students to present their student ID’s on certain days to get a discount). The employees are always thoughtful and kind, and had no problem snapping a few photos of Sarah and I when we tried on some floral vintage pieces and had a makeshift photoshoot in front of the dressing rooms. And even if you’re not there to shop, browsing around the store is comparable to visiting an art gallery with its artfully placed retro décor, dazzling jewelry displayed at the cash register, chalk paint lined walls embellished with cool lettering and phrases, artful posters decorating the interior, and the wide range of patterns, cuts, and washes that are displayed on clothing racks. Everything found in GRIME makes you feel like you’re in the costume design department for an 80’s movie.

GRIME is one of my favorite places to visit in Worcester, whether it’s to find myself some new attire, or to show a visiting friend one of the hidden gems of our city. I can’t even put into words how fun this little store is, so you’ll have to go check it out for yourself. A plus is that if you purchase an item, you receive a free GRIME sticker to decorate your belongings with! I already have dozens adorning my computer, water bottle, and notebooks. GRIME is located at 356 Shrewsbury Street and is open 11-7 Monday-Saturday and 11-5 on Sundays. More info at http://www.grimeworcester.com

~Alli

*#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* 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

 

Kelley Square. Wowza! If you’re from the Worcester area you know exactly what I am talking about. If not, chances are your gps will betray you and send you there soon enough. In Kelley Square there are no rules: no road markings, a few yield signs, and a lot of cars.

ANYWAY, lucky for all of us, Kelley Square is also home of the Crompton Place, an old textile mill on Green St that’s been restored and filled with gems. Firstly, Birtchtree Bread Co: you walk into this huge open space filled with the smells of everything from coffee to homemade sandwiches, soups, and pastries. Then, you order the feta toast – life changing – and sit down in one of the cozy booths or communal tables. On Sundays, they have bands play, and it is just the most lovely place to meet a friend, sit and read, or do the work that you’ve been dreading to do (which, of course, you can’t do until you finish your toast ;-)).

Next there’s Seed to Stem – OH HOW I LOVE THIS PLACE! Filled with the most beautifully green plants, sweet smelling candles, and all the cool things you could ever dream of. Literally, I want everything in there. Oh, and they rotate through the greatest set of playlists that I can’t resist singing along to. Badly and loudly I might add.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Crompton Collective. A space where local vendors, craft makers, artists, rent booths and sell their goodies. Once again, the music is always great, and you can easily get lost looking at all the amazing things the craftspeople and collectors of Worcester have to offer.

(Also located in the building is a barber shop and a salon. If I wasn’t bald, I would eagerly get my hair cut at them both.)

In all, as ridiculous as Kelley Square is, there are some fantastic things happening there that you must check out if you haven’t already. Saturday I was at the farmers market in Crystal Park (There is also one held every Saturday in the parking lot of Crompton which is DELIGHTFUL) and I bought honey from a hive located on the rooftop of a building  right in the square. How cool is that?! Kelley Square honey!

~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* 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!

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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barricade_zpscjkbcmvq

– 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 »

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