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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.

Well, it took a hot minute, but we now have a trailer for Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2016! Shot on the rig that Audrey and I built from a defunct photo enlarger and some odds and ends, and pushed uphill through post-production in Photoshop from its first draft, it took about a week from start to finish.*

This was an incredibly rewarding project – I mean, just learning how to do it was pretty exciting all on its own, but there’s more, too. Seeing something grow from scraps of paper to a moving thing is amazing. Collaborating with someone to make it happen is affirming. The groove of Process is renewing. This whole thing just feels really really good. If you ever have the chance to do one, I would highly recommend it =)

So save the date, ya’ll – Rabbit Heart 2016 is coming to Nick’s this year on Saturday, October 2016!

 

*Tho’ the paper dollies took a couple days on their own back in February.

WooT! We have a fine beginning for the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival trailer – this is the first draft, the proof of concept, if you will, that Audrey (best intern EVAR) and I cooked up today on the repurposed rig. 180 frames, I think.

Next I want to adjust the color and contrast, and crop out the messy stuff on the left and top. Tomorrow is All Photoshop All Day. Please send good thoughts – xoxo

finished20rig20at20rest_zpsagbk2depRepurposing is a thing that happens around here. Because of the lives that Will Dearest & I live, a wide assortment of oddball stuff has a tendency to accumulate in our home – I have a suspicion that this isn’t unusual for people who make art on the regs; most of my friends have a junk drawer (or room) that they refuse to open in mixed company. We’ve acquired the regular stuff – a variety of printers and computer parts (some that work, even), pallets, milk crates – as well as some of the less usual: a fussy lighting rig, a photo enlarger for analog camera film, a ziploc bag of feathers, three steamer trunks, you know, biggish and/or eyebrow-raising stuff. All of these items one of us looked at and said, “This might come in handy at some point,” and then stuffed into a corner.

But, check this out – this week we used some of it \o/

I’m not gonna humblebrag until the project comes to completion (there’s still a ways to go), but I am excited af to tell you that the first steps of making a stop animation trailer for Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival are finally happening – we have built a rig!

The biggest problem I’ve had with filming anything, much less stop animation, has been about keeping the camera from wobbling like a drunken cartoon character. I know for a fact that there are folks around with stable arms, people who can shoot handheld and make it look like gold, but I can assure you I am not one of those people. And some my previous attemts at building a rig involved rubberbands. Spoiler alert, that business bounced around like an outtake from The Blair Witch Project. I don’t need to tell you that was less than ideal. So I approached this project with some trepidation. Luckily, our fantastic R ♥ 2016 intern, Audrey, was there to the rescue! So, here’s how it went.

Tools used: a screwdriver with a star-shaped bit, pencil, xacto knife. Not pictured: scissors, cutting mat & board (I like my carpet, y’all), most of a roll of blue painter’s tape, and a few sheets of cardboard. And a pot of coffee.

tools_zpsxd2p4nyr

We started with two pieces of equipment: the enlarger and the light rig. The initial idea was to have the enlarger do all the work, hold the ipad and keep out the shadows, but it turned out the light was a) blocked by the ipad, and b) just not that bright. Hence the two-piece solution.
220rigs20left_zpsgegng2fu

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