10.22.2005

We Heart New York

So here's a little photo tour of the New York we've seen so far.


On Thursday, Monster & I walked around Manhattan and took in some sights. We tried to get some rush tickets for a broadway show, but it didn't work out. So we walked down to Battery Park, near the Southern tip of Manhattan, and caught an amazing show featuring some Carribean street acrobats. This guy was crazy flexible. Later in a death defying jump stunt, he got hit in the nuts and had to sit out for a bit. The show was incredible, and just before it ended, the performers gave a nice speech about staying off drugs and respecting our bodies and each other. Bravo!



Here's Monster posing in front of the Brooklyn Bridge. We decided after Battery Park not to take the Staten Island Ferry, and instead to walk up to Chinatown for Dim Sum.




Before we found the Dim Sum place (umm, we were lost for a while), we stopped in Chinatown under the Manhattan Bridge to get my shoes fixed by this nice lady with an old hand operated sewing machine. She did an amazing job for 5 bucks, and made my shoes work again! Supercool. Chinatown is HUGE here. Think Kits, but with more roast duck.


So after Chinatown, we caught up with J.D. and our friend Daniel Maté, and went to a show called Desert Sands, about an Israeli soldier and a rural Palestinian who become friends in the desert. I think we had mixed reviews, but we all agreed it was handled fairly well for such a powerful topic. Then we went for fettucine in the Lower East Side, and went home to sleep.





Here's some pigeons roosting on a lion's face. How brave.















So Thursday we did some more walking around. We went hat shopping, and I found my hot new look. It's camoflage for the grapefruit jungles of Florida, I think. I'm totally Beyoncé.












Later, before our screening, Monster, JD and I met up with PU and his friends Bernadette and Amanda at a bar near the venue for happy hour (every 2nd drink was free!). They are lovely lovely people. This is Bern and Amanda with PU getting their tickets at the venue.





Our screening took place at the Anthology Film Archives, a cool venue that programs a lot of films that just don't seem to fit anywhere else. The screening went well (it filled up quite a lot more than this picture lets on), and the Q&A after was pretty short and sweet. It was kind of a bummer for me to think that this is the end of our tour (except for JD's trip to Guelph next week), and I was a bit sad afterward as we walked with some friends to hang out at a local bar/restaurant around the corner. I perked up though, and JD and I got wrapped up in a pretty cool conversation with some New Yorkers contrasting Canadian and American politics.

Later Monster and I went dancing at the Bulgarian Cultural Center. It was amazing. They played great music - a combination of Eastern European traditional music, Rai and gypsy-punk, and 80's Euro-pop. Everyone in the whole place was dancing, even if they were just standing around - you couldn't help it. We came home a sweaty, happy mess.


Today has been a bit rainy, so we've spent some time blogging and napping and hanging around with Steph, one of our lovely hosts. We had brunch with Lila from High Life, and later tonight we're going out somewhere, possibly a spot called the Russian Vodka Room, where they serve homemade vodka by the pitcher. Sounds like fun.

Hope you're all doing well. We're all coming home pretty soon, like Wednesday or Thursday or something. See you then!

--pants

10.20.2005

New York City

Hey all. We're here in NYC, having super-fun. We've spent most of our time so far walking around the East Village and the Lower East Side in Manhattan. And last night we went to a dinner-party in Brooklyn with some friends. It's weird being in NY, around every corner is some landmark that hs cultural significance for us, whether it's a place we heard about on TV or the Hare Krishna tree. I walk around grinning all the time, because it's somehow just funny to be here.

Today we're walking around to do some touristy stuff and then going to a broadway show. Here's some pictures from the last couple of days.






Monster tossing flower petals at the base of a tree where one of the founders of the modern Hare Krishna movement had his all important epiphany. (For more info try here: hinduism.about.com.)











A stylish picture of the 7 Ave. Subway stop in Brooklyn.







Ya, I know these pictures aren't much. We'll post some more later.

Take Care,

--pants

10.16.2005

Pants on the last few days.

I'm here with PU and Monster in Vermont, visiting with some friends from a development project they worked on in Angola 5 or 6 years ago. It's like heaven, even though it's miserable outside. Right now the team is watching our movie on a nice projector in the fire-lit room that serves as our pretty little shelter from the rain. We're sitting in the library where Toby's (one of the guys from the project) mom is the librarian, in a quaint town called Craftsbury. Since I've seen the movie, now seems like a good time to catch y'all up on the latest happenings from the tour.

Here goes.

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh was great. (Everything is great. Great is a great word to describe the greatness of this great time. We use it a lot.) We arrived in town from Baltimore without any mishaps, although once we got there, we couldn't really figure out how to leave the bus station. Eventually we found the exit, which I guess is obvious since we're now in Vermont. Anyway, we caught a cab with a stand-up comic cab-driver, who left the ride convinced that we were bank-robbing porn-star IRA agents attending a conference on boringness called blandfest. (Sucker - little does he know, we're fraudulent pornographers posing as DIY superstars. HAHAHAHAHA.)

The venue, called the Mr. Roboto Project, is a really cool DIY punk-rock space in Wilkinsburg. It was packed to the gills with about 80 (?) Pittsburghers of various description. After the movie, there was a heated discussion which revolved around one man's contention that our movie didn't have much social/political value since we weren't actually releasing an alternative to conventional porn into the world. Many people were convinced otherwise; for them, the political value lay elsewhere, they said.

After the screening, we went back with a bunch of people to the lovely lovely home of Q & Emma, two very nice folks who were our hosts. Q & E made us excellent vegan soup and biscuits, and we had interesting discussions with some folks there who were looking for tips on making their own pornographic films that had integrity and catered to their tastes. We also talked about ghosts and the fact that Pittsburgh is a completely impossible city to navigate.

Speaking of which, in the morning we called a cab to get to our toronto-bound bus (a 12-hour ride), and it didn't come for AN HOUR AND A HALF! We fully missed our bus, and had to catch the later bus that got us in to Toronto at midnight. The bus ride was bad, too. Much baby-crying and poop-smelling. The only solace I found was in these neat old-time radio shows I had on my mp3 player. I don't know how the others got through at all... it was awful. Also, in Buffalo, Sarah saw someone stealing a bus-drivers baggage in the bathroom. She got caught and dragged 'to jail'.

Toronto

We got in to Toronto at around midnight, thanks to some quick connection work from PU, and cabbed it to my friend Kate's, where we were warmly received by a troupe of drunken modern dancers and the like. Duff and Kate have a nice new place together in the east end, with a finished attic that they set aside for us. It was pretty sweet.

We woke up and did some work, then went out to get breakfast. At breakfast, we had an impromptu meeting about a press crisis that arose over a CBC television piece we were thinking about doing, which lasted a lot longer than we hoped and ultimately ended up stealing our whole day. It was very dramatic, but we all survived. After the ordeal was finished, we all felt that the whole ordeal was worthwhile, even if it was frustrating at the time. Press can be stressful.

Monster and I went for dinner with my mom, her husband, my sister, her boyfriend, and their roommate. We spent the whole time feeling desperately nervous about my mom seeing the movie for the first time. Her and Ron (husband) and I had a big talk as we all walked to the venue, after which I felt a lot less nervous. When I talked to her afterward, it was hard to get a sense of whether she liked it or not, but at least she got to see it, and she was still talking to me after which I think is a good sign.

The screening went really well - the sex store that sponsored us, Come As You Are, did an awesome job of packing the place (about 150), and the energy in the room was amazing. Torontonians are total pervs. After the movie, about half a dozen people said they wanted to start porn collectives of their own, and some started taking names. Total Pervs.

Our friend Shaughnessy set up a reception for us across the street at the trés fancy Massey College. Lots of folks came and chatted, and a bunch followed us from there to a local bar for debauchery and debriefing. Nice.

Ottawa

Alright, so then we slept and woke up and went to Ottawa. Fun. (What do you call people from Ottawa? I said 'Ottawarriors'. I dunno, but I like it.) Shelley from Venus Envy met us and put us up, and also found a place for Sarah and I that was pet free - CHAMP. She made us dinner, too. Yay.
We stopped in at Venus Envy, which is a beautiful sex store in Ottawa. It's really big, and very friendly. Check it out if you are out that way.

The screening sold out - about 170 seats, plus standing room - and we ended up actually making quite a bit of cash. Ottawarriors are a fun bunch, with some cool questions. PU, Monster and I had a low-key night after the q&a, caught some sleep, and woke up early to meet Monster's friend Rosa, who drove us here to Vermont. JD stayed up in Ottawa to hang with Shelley and Steve and Michelle, which I hope has been rad, too.

Vermont

We drove from Ottawa to Vermont, and got stopped at the border for a long and uncomfortable inspection. Ow. They have spikey tools. Ow. Stop. I hate the border. Ow. Just kidding. We did get stopped, but their tools are perfectly fine.

So, that's the last few days. Now we're here in Vermont, and we've all safely ascended up to the clouds, where we'll sit forevermore, eating Montreal bagels and talking about Africa. Amen. At least, until tomorrow when I think we're heading out for NYC.

Thanx to all the folks who've helped us out lately - you are SUPER-RADICAL!

love,

pants.

10.11.2005

greyhound magik

we're on the bus from baltimore to pittsbrugh, and my knees hurt. i've discovered the downfall of being a small person on the bus: you don't get as cramped up as the tall people. but your feet don't quite touch the ground, and so the weight of your legs and feet just hangs off your knees for hours. it occurs to me as i type this that i could lose about 10lbs of this weight by taking off my boots. maybe i'll try that.

-evpc-

things to know about baltimore, maryland:



1. don't ask cab drivers to estimate the fare.
we thought this was a normal thing to ask, just to know if we would have enough cash. we were told this was "a complicated question".

2. go to red emma's
the infoshop in baltimore has a really nice sign, good food, and a suprisingly diverse bunch of people hanging out inside. also, this was another case of an infoshop surprising us with the quality of projection and sound in a little place. red emma's collective is a really nice bunch of people and be a very functional collective. (it's true!)

3. they have the strangest public art of all time
there are a lot of monuments and statues in "charm city", but by far the strangest is the massive figure in front of the train station. todd described it as a "barry manilow song come to life". it's a 50 foot tall translucent white person who looks male from one angle and female from another. its chest glows with two lights that slowly alternate between pink and purple. to me it says: "i am a robot. feel me."

4. you are being watched.
after the screening we were invited to go drink on the roof of one of the collective members houses. she lives in an amazing warehouse space, and when we climbed out onto the roof we could see the robot statue and most of downtown. we had a great time eating sunflower seeds and drinking "nattybo" (i.e. national bohemian: "the best shitty beer you'll ever have"). we got to meet finny the felater, a lovely little dog that likes the bigger dog a lot. then, all of a sudden our littel roof party was brightly illumnated, just for a second. turns out that every night, the baltimore police tour the city in a helicopter, like a bruce willis movie, shining this beam of light at people on the streets. i think it's meant to have some sort of deterrent effect. i found it alarming.

5. people are total sweethearts
thanks a ton to red emmas and to andrew for taking us in at the last minute. we'll miss you guys.

-evpc-

people keep giving us things

as we left philly in a state of some confusion, lost film fest organizer and generally amazing guy scott beiben gave us this handmade lost film fest cup. then he insisted on wrappping it in newspaper and placing it gingerly in my bag. then he foisted food on us, and drove us to the bus in his biodeisel car wearing his fuzzy gorilla slippers. thanks mama scott.

-evpc-

cockroach magik



it's always been a fantasy of mine to take over an old theatre and fix it up for shows, so our second screening in philadelphia was really fun for me. we were in "cockroach magik" - a closed down movie theatre slated for demolition. there was all this cinematic detritus strewn around - cardboard cutouts, popcorn bags, marquee letters, rows of seats. during the movie, we went upstairs and watched from the projection booth, surrounded by dusty rolls of film. i felt like a pilot. i noticed that in philly, the questions were more about process and less about porn. i guess that's to be expected, given who attended. we got asked how our film supported or challenged stereotypes about consensus, which gave us pause for thought. (and, as always, people asking if we were realeasing bikesexual. pervs.)

after the screening we went with some lost film festers to an ethiopian bar to watch each other's mouths move while the restaurant tested the effects of extreme high volume west african pop songs on drinking behaviour. we kept sneeking over to turn down the volume, and then it would slowly climb back up from loud to teeth-rattling. good times were had by all. i think we should try playing the movie that loud and see if people just stay and buy beer anyways.

-evpc-

10.10.2005

washington DC, it's paradise to me...

I went on a lone mission to DC, and the screening was amazing. we played at Brian Mackenzie, an infoshop in NW, and the turn-out and response certainly surpassed my expectations. thanks to lelia and the rest of the volunteers at brian mackenzie, and also a big thanks out to the audience with their suuport and thoughtful questions. i've been staying with my buddie charlotte, who was a fellow survivor of my MA program at the University of Manchester. She's shown me the DC sights and also been incredibly supportive of the film - despite the fact that she calls me a naive socialist and i call her a capitalist pig. what can i say, good arguments rock.
DC has been great, and i'm stoked the movie made it out here. i'm meeting the rest of the crew in pittsburgh tomorrow, and i can't wait.

lotsa love
JD SS.

-evpc-

10.09.2005

Dispatches from the Lost Film Fest


Hello all from Philadelphia.

It's been rainy, rainy, rainy and fun here in the city of brotherly love. We had a screening on Friday that was well attended, and we had a very lively and interesting q&a afterwards. The Venue we're screening in is a lovely space called The Rotunda, where we're projected onto a huge wall behind a theatrical stage for folks in chairs and curled up on the floor. It's a pretty cool sight, and to top it off, there's a radical 'vegan cupcake brigade' that keeps showing up with the best carrot cake ever for folks (mostly me) to eat. (it's really easy to be a vegan in philadelphia. people here have kept me stuffed full of wonderful treats since i arrived.)

We've caught some great films, too. Notably: Still We Ride, a documentary about critical mass in NYC and the arrests of cyclists there, and The Winking Circle, a great, great movie about a cool group of people in Uxbridge Ontario. We bought a copy of The Winking Circle to screen for movie night, but both are definitely worth checking out. Plus, the filmmakers are very very nice.

When we're not at the film fest, we've been having a cool time wandering around Philly, checking out Professor U's old houses and haunts, and generally acquainting ourselves with the nice folks who live here. We toured Vortex and Not-Squat/Cindergarden, both of which are really cool group houses where PU used to live, and we had a lovely feast made in our honour last night at Rachel's house (I don't know the name), which featured some of the best soup I've ever had. People just kept showing up there throughout dinner, coming in out of the pouring rain for some food and company. It was like a really neat spontaneous party full of the nicest people you've ever met. Very fun.

We have another screening tonight with LFF here in Philly, and at the same time we're screening in DC, where J.D. Superstar is representing us solo at the Brian Mackenzie Infoshop. From here, we all meet up in Baltimore tomorrow, at the local infoshop, Red Emma's. Tuesday we're off to Pittsburgh, and Wednesday we make our long pilgrimage to Toronto, which I'm especially excited about, since that's where I know some people and I don't have to ask my way around so much.

Everything is going swimmingly with us; I hope the same is true for you all.

Love,

mr. pants.


-evpc-

10.07.2005

People Keep Giving Us Things



And we love it! At the Boston screening, a lovely and charming person presented us with a handmade art-tie, silkscreened with the words "porn star." I love it. We've been taking turns wearing it.

Want one of your own? Check out her website at www.truthserum.org.

-evpc-

The Head Update (Getting and Giving)



So, as some of you may have read in an earlier post, we were the recipients of an extremely prestigious audience award at Film Pop Montreal. By which I mean, of course, that a lone member of the audience came on stage and presented us with the severed head of a department store mannequin inscribed with the words "Best Film of Film Pop."

A few people have asked how it is possible to win such an award at the opening night gala, when most of the other films haven't even been shown yet.

We don't know. But we couldn't be more honoured.

Still, in the spirit of plurality and pay-it-forwardness and generally not wanting to explain to the border police why we are traveling with a severed head, we have decided that this award is too big to belong to any one film. Instead, we have decided to treat it more like the Stanley Cup of Film Pop, passed from champion to champion and inscribed with an ever-growing list of winning categories.

So, in the category of Best of Schand, the coveted mannequin head goes to Automatic Vaudeville Studios for their amazing film/performance, Schandfilm Dreis. I don't even know where to begin to talk about this... film? Event? Harbinger? But I will say this: I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. And that was just the Q&A.

To whom will the auto-vaudvillians give head? Stay tuned to their website for details...

www.autovaud.com


-evpc-

Yay for Boston! Yay for the Lucy Parsons Center!


We had a truly inspiring and heart-warming time at the Lucy Parsons Center last night. So many smart, kind, beautiful people packed into one room... it really gives you hope.

Thank you so much to all the amazing people who came out to see the movie, and those who stayed and talked with us, and those who put up flyers and were nice to Monster's mom, and those who took us home and fed us and gave us places to sleep.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!



-evpc-

10.06.2005

shout out from the west...



-evpc-
hello one and all-
back on the wet west coast, this is one nerdgirl happy to be back, but sad to be parted from my other tiny whales. but the seattle queer fil fest awaits and sometimes real life gets in the way.
montreal was so amazing and exciting. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who made it great, especially all the automatic vaudvilles dudes, you rock !
this is the awesome award we got at our screening!!!
so much love
nerdgirl

10.03.2005

oh my gawd it's amazing

i love it here. this is radical. 'ow do you say... montreal es le power-party-people. comprend?

where do i start?

saturday i woke up early and had a great breakfast from a portuguese vegan bakery. i came back and we all did some publicity work and saw some great films - among them 'high life' by our friend and fellow filmmaker lila yomtoob, starring our friends sharon and michael, who were all here for it. then we went dancing at casa da popolo where sarah danced non-stop for about 3 hours. much fun. then we went on a late night wild poutine chase, to no avail. home to sleep.

sunday we woke up and went for brunch at a great restaurant called la sala rosa, a local hipster space that used to be (or still is - it's hard to tell) the spanish cultural center. it's a hall and a restaurant and a place to play cards or to put on a show for 300 people. and they have great food and mucho stylo. about 12 of us were there, maybe more. much huevos rancheros was consumed. most went from there to 'puces pop', an alterna-crafts fair set up as part of pop montreal. there are many cool things there. many many. posters and t-shirts were bought. jam was purchased.

sunday nite monster, prof, and i went to a screening of a movie about a little-known 90 year old jazz musician named gordon thomas. after the movie he played a little set. he's a beautiful man and the movie was quite cute. he admonished us all to use what talent we are given, out of fairness to others, ourselves, and whoever gave us that talent. he was inspirational.

then we had a little informal screening of the short films our various little production teams have made, including some great sketch comedy, profiles of fancy-parkers, and some gems from the autovaudeville vault. laughter was laughed.

today professor u and i had a meeting with a film board guy to pick his brain, and we all went for nice breakfast after. cool bagels, cool tapes. we came home and had a meeting about distro etc, and then i fell asleep for about five hours. tonight we're headed out to a show featuring a 90 year old jewish musical comedian, an accordian playing rapper named so-called, and some electronic genius (robot brain?) named gonzales.

and tomorrow, who knows? montreal es, 'ow you say, radicale! bonsoir!


ps. we will post some pix of our exploits soon.

-pants-


-evpc-

10.01.2005

thank you montreal

thanks so much to everyone who helped to make last nite such a great success - the venerable FilmPop organizers, our radical and super-smart audience, all the great bands, the folks at theatre national (what a beautiful place!), and anyone i might have left out. we love you montreal!


-evpc-

tired after screening...

-evpc-
hey all,
well, we just had our screening in montreal.Yeah! it was in a beautiful old theatre and we had a good turn out. people asked some really awesome and insightful questions. and, we won an award from jimmy, some dude in a striped toque, for the best film at film pop.Yeah! thanks Jimmy!!
everyone here has been great.
now, we get to just sit back, relax, and watch other people's movies...well, and get ready for the rest of the tour...hmm...
so, i'm tired from the evening, also a little drunk, and this is probably the most inane blog entry ever-i'm gonna call it a night.
over and out
nerdgirl