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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?
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.
– All the gear it takes to not get smushed in derby
– Derby names
– Derby 101
– Action shots!****
*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 ♥
*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.
*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/
Sarah Gillis* is a confirmed Cat Lady. It’s one of my favorite things about her. She keeps me stocked in stress-reducing photos of her furry brood, her netsuke cat game collection, and even the sweet new boarders at Worcester Animal Rescue League during kitten season.
As well as working for WARL, Sarah is also a registrar** over at Worcester Art Museum. When you bring her two specialities together, you get somthing really quite exceptional – the Cats in Residence Program.
Cats run the internet, everyone knows that.*** And, as well, until September 4th, they will hold court over at WAM. In the aviary over the Franklin Street entrance,**** you can meet some of the WARL kitties – and, yes, they’re all up for adoption.
ps – WAM is open free to the public for the entire month of August.There’s a really great show up right now, too, Meow, a Cat Inspired Exhibition.
pps – there’s also a cat cam in place that peeks into the aviary, for when you need an off-hours kitty fix!
*Yes that Sarah – our copyright go-to girl and a judge at last year’s Rabbit Heart =)
**Kind of like a librarian for things that aren’t necessarily books. In her case, artwork. A librarian with mad loading skills, if you will.
***Behind every server is a fuzzy, clawful IT guy, keeping that business well-cooled and debugged and running. You know it’s true.
****This is different from the Hermitage cats – these buddies are all in one place and looking for people to take them to their forever homes.
Everyone in Worcester knows about Turtle Boy. And if you’ve visited Worcester, chances are someone took you to go see Turtle Boy while you were here. On the edge of Central Common is the statue of a boy -ahem- riding* a giant sea turtle. It’s actually a fountain, not currently functional, but, hey, we’re having a water thing right now. The statue, also known as the Burnside Fountain, was commissioned after a gift of $5,ooo was given to the city from Harriet F Burnside in memory of her father. Over the years it has become kind of a mascot to the city. Its official name is Boy With Turtle.** Of interest: somene tried to steal it in 2004.** Where were they going to put it??***
Anyway. In conversation with Molly about the fountain on the Common, I was given the heads-up about another statue in Worcester featuring sea life and a young man, and this one is awe inspiring in an altogether different way. Boy With A Dolphin by David Wynne resides in the courtyard at One Chestnut Place, and it pains me a little that it’s tucked away so well. This fountain (yes, it’s a fountain too!) is a true beauty.
Audrey and I went one rainy afternoon to see for ourselves. For the record, neither of us recommend sneaking past the orange barrier (in our defense, we found it ajar when we were there****) – we went and took some footage so you don’t have to wait until it’s officially open again to get a good look.
*You know what? I keep tryping a joke in here and then deleting it after feeling grimy as soon as the words land. You decide for yourself if there’s a good quip to be made. I can’t make it.
**A moment, please. I’m having a Wes Anderson moment.
***This amuses me to no end. The statue is twelve feet wide, and five feet tall. Did the thieves arrive with a vehicle or were they going to hijack it on foot? Were they going to stuff it in the back of a pickup truck and drive away? I retain an image in my head of two giddy (possiby drunken) bros dragging the thing down the sidewalk to a double-parked somewhat beat-up hatchback. That’s probably not the way it happened (I don’t even know if they got it off the base – this is conjecture, y’all. I maintain a rich interior life), but I like to think of it that way.
****This it the stuff that keeps me up at night (giggling). Would it have become a lawn ornament (surrounded by a bevvy of little gnomes in little red hats)? A roof topper (perhaps with a little weather vane atop it)? Also, having once seen the underworkings of a fire hydrant (once upon a time at a bbq in Dallas – but that’s a story for another time), I’m pretty sure there are pipes involved that would make mounting the thing a Pinterest project from hell.
*****Please forgive us, for we are lovers of public art, and so it felt like a speakeasy invitation: Psst – wanna see some ahhht?
Oh, how I do love Lock 50 – tucked away in the Canal District (50 Water Street) with her lovely staff and delicious coffee treats, I have found her equally the perfect spot for a work meetup or a relaxing morning.*
Highlights of this film include:
– Audrey gets KISSED BY A TINY DRAGON!**
– Talking Worcester and Second City politics with longtime resident Bill MacMillan and recent transplant Eirean Bradley***
*And I hear that now the café has extended hours in the evening – woot! Also, Lock 50 is indeed a full service (and rather fancy!) restuarant – I have not had the chance to check out the food yet myself, but I keep hearing super good things about it.
**She samples the delicious signature Facebreaker (macchiato with chili peppers!)
***I nearly snorfled coffee out my nose when Eirean said: “I actually kind of view Worcester as the middle sister of New England … Worcester is the one with the tattoos on her knuckles and really bad taste in men..?”
I really wish you could have joined us for this conversation – there was almost 20 minutes of footage by the end, and it was really tough to crunch it all down to just this little bit. But then, editing is painful like giving away puppies, right?
Will Dearest and I share in common the fact that we have family who had a hand in building big things: my granddad put the lights on the Verrazano Bridge in NYC; his dad was part of the group from Boys Trade that built the Ernest A. Johnson Tunnel. Both of us are proud of that stuff in the same way that little kids get excited about earth movers and dump trucks – it brings a gleam to the eye and a catch to the breath, and it demands be repeated as part of the fun trivia of our lives when occasion permits. We come to love the stuff that our families have had their hands in, you know? When I first moved up to Worcester, Will made sure that the Ernest A. Johnson Tunnel was on the list of places I needed to see.
I wasn’t actually 100% sure that it was a tunnel when we first drove it. I mean, it’s not very big at all; you could miss it if you closed your eyes for a good yawn* – maybe it was an underpass? But, then again, it’s long enough to demand lighting. And it has a name! No one just gives an underpass a name, y’all.
This tunnel has hosted black-tie parties and car burnouts, and once had some business called human bowling happen in there.** Occasionally, after a good hard rain, it hosts an amazing floom-style puddle.*** Good Times.
Anyway – while the Ernest A. Johnson Tunnel isn’t my favorite place in the city, it is one of my tiny joys, and I drive it whenever I have the opportunity.**** So of course, while we were downtown last weekend I brought Audrey to check it out =)
*While riding in the passenger seat, natch.
**I don’t know what that is – I wasn’t working at First Night that year.
***Ok, sometimes it floods out.
****Also, it’s super good for avoiding getting on the highway from downtown while that exit at Lincoln Square is all ripped up with construction.
A couple years ago I woke up with the startling realization that I’ve lived in Worcester, MA longer than I’ve lived in any other place. But as the saying goes, If the cat has kittens in the oven, you don’t call them biscuits. I’m not a native – I still get lost while driving here, I’m unclear on all the prideful fuss around that statue on the Common, I do a crap job of using wicked as a modifier,* and y’all is still my favorite pronoun.** I’m not entirely sure I know how to Worcester yet.
So anyway – with all that in mind, I started a blog project with the aim of not just understanding this city in which I live, but also maybe to fall in love with it a little bit, too: The 100 Delightful Things in Worcester project began in 2013 (2012?) And then, um… well, I kind of fell out of love with the project – stuff got in the way, and work got super busy, and I started Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival, and just, I dunno – I lost track of the whole thing around item 6.***
But now it’s back! As I’ve been working on R♥ it never fails – someone asks me if it wouldn’t be better throw this affair in Boston. And my hackles go up, because, you know, I live here – and also, you know, Worcester deserves nice things. And so, with the help of fantastic R♥ intern Audrey, the 100 Delightful project is up and running again, this time on film (because home movies are fun, y’all! Wicked fun, even).
We figured we’d start things off right with a quick Sunday afternoon trip to the venue for Rabbit Heart, Nick’s Bar & Restaurant, at 214 Millbury Street.
*Seriously – watch when it comes out of my mouth. Generally it’s followed by a blink and a blush. It gives me Feelings. Feelings like I’m doin’ it wrong.
**Shortly after I moved here I worked waiting tables. It never failed to amuse paying customers when I would ask, “Y’all all set?” after setting down the food.
***Seed to Stem – which has actually moved since the blog post. They’re over at Crompton Place now.
Mercy! Has it really been 17 days since Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival wrapped? It feels like it was just this last weekend, and I am still absolutely flying from it. We had a spectacular weekend celebrating poetry on film – you can see all the good stuff here (pictures) and here (the finalists) and here (all the films), if you weren’t able to make it, or if you want to relive it (highly recommended! Omg, so much good work!)
I feel like I came out of this year better than I went into it – it’s been a slammin’ year, y’all.* And I was about a week behind the whole time. And I got super ambitious halfway through when I realized we had a glut of Very Good Submissions, so I decided we needed a second day of showings, but hadn’t really thought about the work that entailed (oops). So what I’m saying is that, whoa – I’m kinda proud of myself for getting it together on time.
But more than that, I’m still awash in all the feels about the the festival itself. In a nutshell, even with a couple of late-presenting snafus, it went off beautifully, and I was thrilled with the shows. But more than that, I was thrilled with the connections that happened.
Friends came from across state and out of state. There were lots of hugs, and people got to reunite and to meet each other – some of them who had learned about each other just online. Makers met makers and talked about the things that makers talk about when you get them together. It was more than I could have hoped for.**
Looking down the barrel of the afterparty,*** I very much expected that when everything was put to bed this year, I would be exhausted. But instead I put it down feeling invigorated, inspired, and excited.
One of the things I do at festival is catch as much footage as I can of people talking about the festival. Mostly it’s because I love a souvenir (and also, it’s for grant apps), and there’s nothing nicer than a moving snapshot, hello. But also, it’s because I am a curious creature who’s generally engaged in some research, and primary sources are the best thing in the world for research purposes. So I asked questions – I asked about process, and about favorites, and about what it’s like to be a judge or a filmmaker, or an audience member. I asked What made you do this? I asked How does it feel on this side of the curtain? I asked What do you think about the short film format? I asked How did you pick your collaborators? And it turns out that I know some super smart people who have super smart answers, and I was bowled over, and humbled, and overjoyed to hear the answers.