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We need to talk about Worcester FilmWars. 72 hours to make a short film, what? Wait – YES!
When 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.
What 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.
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.
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/
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.
September has come and hit me full in the face, and I sincerely cannot believe the shit I’ve gotten myself into. Where do I even start?
Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival is rolling along smoothly, at least. We’re coming up on the last little bit of judging this week, and then it’s on to let the finalists know that their films are moving on. Which is probably the most exciting part of this, outside of the actual festival dates – really, is there anything finer than handing out good news?
In the meanwhile, there are the details: tickets go on sale tomorrow, there’s a final judging party on Tuesday, the shows need to be curated and the program printed, posters need to be made, the trophies need to be constructed… And Sunday Rabbit Heart is the spotlight feature at the 7Hills Poetry reading with Angelique Palmer, so today and tomorrow are going to be a story of mad scrambling to put gear together. Next year we hire an intern, hello. #somanydetails
So I opened up submissions to Rabbit Heart last night,* and check it out – first thing in the morning, there was already a submission! From across the Atlantic, even! How cool is that??
I am deeply excited about the festival this year – I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing more international entries than last year, and I’m stoked to see what comes across my desk. I had no idea (no idea!) that poetry films (or videopoems, as I’m hearing them called more often) were such a big deal – apparently in Europe, they’re a really big deal, with 15 or 20 festivals going on through the year.** I jumped into this because I just got tired of not seeing people do anything with poetry aside from performance videos. Who knew?! Well, the Europeans, clearly.
All this to say, submissions are open for the Rabbit Heart 2015 Poetry Film Festival, and please feel free to send in your (non-performance, under 4 minutes) poetry film. ::MWAH!::
*It officially opened up today, but by 10:30, it was clear that there was no way I was going to make it ’til midnight last night. Omg, sleep.
**Aside from Rabbit Heart, I’ve only found one in the US, and their website is down, so I’m not sure if they’re around or not anymore. I really hope they’re still around.
Update from the office: I am stunned. Absolutely stunned. Kneeling in the middle of a valley of chaos, attempting to coax our most reluctant cat out from under the sofa
The office is a wreck. Every carefully stacked pile has been toppled. We will have to replace a carpet. Houseplants have been de-potted and there is dirt in every crevice. Gunther is under the sofa growling and moaning something like no-no-no-no-no, and it roughly translates into I’m Never Ever Coming Out From This Safe Place Ever Again. #catladyproblems
HO Tanager has been here.
It’s not so much HO – really, I’m sure she’s a very nice person – but that she stormed the office to drop off promo material* and a copy of her new book,** and apparently it was Bring Your Badger to Work Day, and no one notified me in advance. Did you know that badgers bark? And did you know, also, that cats do not appreciate badgers?
A badger! She has a badger – on a leash! Or, rather, she had a badger on a leash. Well, technically, the badger stayed on the leash, but the leash did not stay in her hand, and #omigod, sweet #motherofgawd, this office will never be the same.
Needless to say, I won’t be heading into Cambridge tonight, as I’ll be piecing the place back together. #truestory But you can catch up with her at the Cantab tonight, as I hear she’s going to see Cheryl Maddalena perform. #youarewelcome
HO has left for time being. Right now, I think I’m just going to pour more coffee on it. #soblessed
*Please note, Doublebunny Press is not her publisher.
**Autograph Penis. Actually quite good. Did you miss 2011 Nats in Cambridge? It’s all right here, in living, vivid color.
Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival was huge, and beautiful, and there were no tech hiccups, and there were glamorous gowns and Tony wore a tux, and the venue was perfect, and people came in from New York and San Francisco, and omigod omigod omigod, I am over the moon. Bursting with gratitude to the filmmakers and the people who made it happen, and the people who came out to see it. Over. The. Moon. It was exquisite to watch these films again, and now on the big screen – I saw things that I had missed in previous viewings, I got chills, even. Because look! Look! Look at what happened! Look at what happens when poems and films collide!
This took years for me. It took something like two years worth of just thinking about it before something snapped in me last winter and I pushed my shoulder into it to make it real – just like that. I decided to say yes. Hello, we have a film festival. I am still astounded, and gleefully gobsmacked. No really – I don’t know how to put the words in order.
One of my favorite things about last night was that I got to sit with the filmmakers and the poets after the show was over. And it wasn’t just the finalists – people came in from all over to see the screenings. It was a bar full of people who live art.
At one point I found myself at a table with Josh and Chris, who had come in from New York, Carolyn, who just moved back from the Cape, Lauren, who had come down from NH, and my brother, and I realized, Hey – this is how it happens. Here I am at a table with filmmakers, poets, musicians, dancers, and book-binders. Here I am with the makers. And it is SO good. I was relaxed like I rarely get to feel, and right with the world.
This afternoon I am exhausted. Last night I came home late from the show and did about a zillion web updates before rolling into bed, then got up early to work on a grant app, and have been knee-deep in it all day – there’s still a LOT to do before Wednesday’s postmark – but I don’t feel gross. I feel good on so many levels. Tired, indeed, but honored to be in the work.
What’s say we do this again next year? Yes?