Thursday, July 16, 2020

SO overdue

Like me, I suspect you've been experiencing Quarantine Time: weeks seemed to drag by and suddenly we were 100 days in.  We mark time's passing in different ways. Since March I've become quite habituated to a schedule of 3x/weekly Meals on Wheels deliveries. Partway through the pandemic I started a daily series of 30-second nature videos on Facebook most particularly for my NYC and shut-in friends, recently posting Outside #82!  In early June I hit the 1,000 mark of masks sewn for Nyack MaskMakers, and was told we'd stockpiled enough for the next surge.  A few days after George Floyd's killing, I joined a group of residents protesting nearly every afternoon in downtown Nyack. In fact, lately the balance in my life of making art and actively working for change feels just about right. Social justice IS climate justice / there's no art on a dead planet.

Then the dog days of July arrived with a hot-and-humid bang as we all prepared for some kind of opening - only to buckle down in earnest as news of spikes in the south and west make us tremble again. All this time it felt almost unseemly to be crowing here about the ups and downs of my brilliant career. Nonetheless, I decided to post, finally, to prove that time hasn't ground to a complete halt. 

Jenny Tortorello Walker & Leah Barsky who'd danced with me since they were teenagers at Coupe Studio invited me to make a dance about their friendship - remotely of course. They spent a few weeks chatting over Zoom and sending me footage via WhatsApp.  It was a truly collaborative project, and completely zero budget. For those of you who have heard me whine endlessly about music permission, you'll find it ironic that I was utterly delighted to be able to pay these accessible and talented artists for the use of their music at this moment when all artists are so under-employed. It's called Dancing is an Old Friend and it will actually premiere at Mobile Dance Film Festival at the 92nd St Y - remotely of course. Previews have been very positive - and funnily enough, there's more dance-y dancing in it than most of my "dance films."

Delighted with the response to Drift of the World (below), I was glad to collaborate on a second video with poet / husband Daniel Wolff, called Brinks. No dancing (or ducks) but a chance to create a visual world that neither illustrates nor distracts from a powerful poem concerning history and revolution, both personal and political. Zero budget again - unless you count the six-pack I had to buy (okay, okay ... and drink) in order to gather the necessary footage. Check it out.

Meanwhile there have been quite a few festival outings for quite a few of my films - remotely of course. Imagine my disappointment in not attending Athens Marathon Film Festival - that would be Athens, Greece where I've aways wanted to travel - to receive the nomination for Best Editing for Through Mabel's Eyes.  The award for Best Director bestowed by Trail Dance Virtual Film Festival for Her Magnum Opus was gratifying - remotely of course. Roxie was part of a "Watchalong" at Women Over 50 Film Festival; Through Mabel's Eyes is soon to be shared at Senior Movie Film Festival in Poland and Moscow Shorts in Russia; In search of lost time at Experimental Music & Dance Feedback Film Festival and Rogue Dancer. Tumult screened last week at ReelHeART which is based in Toronto - they even had an awards ceremony remotely of course - and is an Official Selection of Choreoscope: the first time my work has been accepted by that Barcelona festival.

And finally, I've been invited to direct a dance film with Island Moving Company back in Rhode Island, where I've had the pleasure of working so often.  This will feature choreography by co-artistic directors Mikki Ohlsen & Danielle Genest, and cinematography by Jon Gourlay who did such beautiful work on Mabel, our first project together. We've all been in conversation - remotely of course - but I am delighted to report that we'll be shooting IN PERSON albeit with masks and social distancing.  And then of course, I'll have all that luscious footage to keep me busy as fall arrives. 

And with the arrival of fall, perhaps some good news, starting with a new president. Please.

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