Monday, July 30, 2007

Felix, Squid and Moose

I made some new animal friends this weekend. Felix the cat roams a big barn, climbs ladders nimbly and purrs up a storm. Squid the dog rules the Mad River Valley, cuddles quite sweetly and bounces off the walls. Mama and Baby Moose mosey on by in search of something good to eat.

Donuts, Rambles, Gliders, Rapids, Barns and Moose

I flew this weekend. I flew IN THE AIR like a bird. I glided in a plane that looked like a space age toy.

And that wasn't all. After a hectic week of summer camp that left me frazzled and sleepless, I hoped to spend the weekend immobile. No such luck.


Friday we toured the Roxy projection booth with the kids and then showed their films to a group of 40 or so parents and family members. Then I rushed off to the Roxy for the Simpsons donut eating contest (video up Wednesday).

The winner was a Canadian runner who ate 8.5 donuts in 4 minutes. I ate 3 donuts over the course of the next 2 hours but Tim Kavanaugh and Aram helped. My sister (modeling the donuts above) followed suite and added some Red Bull and vodkas to boot.

Between the two of us, we could have beaten that Canadian, no problem. Merrill, the owner of the Roxy and the generous donut provider, was just pleased no one choked.


Saturday I Rambled in the Old North End (video up Wednesday) and supported the South in the water balloon toss at The War of the Wards, also known as Field Day. Michael's dog barked up a storm every time anyone cheered and the North brought home the bacon this year.

Casey of the Garden Project made me a nice flower wreath but it was too humid to wear it all day long. Neighborhood kids ate fancy hamburgers and painted their faces. Scott and Will interviewed people with a cardboard camera and microphone. The Old North End was ALIVE and full of rambles.

Saturday night Molly and I had a moonlit swim and did not meet one snapping turtle or leech (that we know of) and had bubbly at my new abode. I ceremoniously unpacked my baubles and tchotchkes as well as my granny's hand embroidered hankies and aprons.

We explored the house inch by inch including the newly christened, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre Room." Yep, it is an odd house with many strange holes in the floor!


Sunday I was late and sped at about 95mph to Warren to go up in a glider at Sugarbush Soaring. It is impossible to put into words how awesome this experience was (video up Wednesday - Mike's article also in paper Wed). It is as close as a mere mortal like me will ever come to flying.

I did not want to come down even after we did some scary acrobatics where we flew straight up into the sky and then fell over backwards all higglety pigglety. We went from 2Gs to weightless. Wow.

Below is a face full of fear...

My grandpa used to fly a Cessna airplane and I have hours of footage he shot on his weekly journeys around the Mid-West. Gliding miles above the earth with my cameras in hand made me think of him and wonder if he was giving me his little wink and saying in his thick German accent, "Good girl."

My friend Tracy was having a film festival as part of her Phantom Theater in the Edgecomb barn later that evening. Rather than drive back home, I had an entire day to kill in the beautiful Mad River Valley where your cell phone not only dies completely but gets sucked of all its battery power. It is a cell phone black hole.

I spent the afternoon lazing around the Warren Falls, reading Bazaar and Harry Potter, cloud watching and sticking my feet in the rapids. The rocks were worn away in spots and I lounged in cold whirlpools while reading and keeping my feet in the rushing water. Hell yeah.

This was the first day I have been able to do nothing in a looooooong time. It felt like heaven, even if I did get a really bad sunburn and a million bug bites.

Then I was off to the barn for films - half of them were mine and half were made by this kid named Woodrow (above with Tracy) who is a local movie making star who now goes to Vassar.

On the way to the barn, Tracy and I saw a moose and her baby. That was my first moose sighting ever despite many viewings of Northern Exposure. They are such strange, prehistoric creatures.

And after this full weekend, I made my way back on the long drive home underneath a sumptuous moon. Now do I get to sleep all week long? Oh right, time to get editing...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Making Movies with Kids

I've been co-teaching a summer camp at the Flynn all week. We've been making movies with 16 boisterous 8-10 yr old boys and girls. I am amazed to say that we have managed to make a different film each day.

The kids play ALL the roles except director, editor and cinematographer. The amazing thing is that they take their roles VERY seriously. Every day they switch so everyone can try different sized acting parts and alternate crew positions.

The students also wrote the scripts which we shot rough cuts of on our first day of camp. The difference between the rough cuts and the finished product is HUGE. But it is interesting to see that the "essence" still remains.
They chose the genres after I showed them clips from a ton of different movies. The winners were drama, adventure and suspense but there are elements of action, musicals and horror as well. They like to have battle scenes in every movie and a lot of death scenes too.

I go home every night after an all day camp and edit ALL night long. I calculated my hours and have gotten about 12 hours sleep all week. I plan on dropping dead any moment. Is it worth it? You tell me:

Tomorrow is our final screening when we show the parents what we have been doing all week. There will be popcorn. We are also shooting a documentary and going on a field trip to the Roxie. I'll miss the kids but can't wait to get a full night's sleep...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Home Sweet Home

I have been saving for a home of my own since I was 15 and scored my first non-babysitting job cleaning condos at Trapp Family Lodge for $5/hour (which I thought was a HELL of a lot of money at the time).

I grew up in an ever-changing series of shitty apartments with bad carpeting and fake wood walls. My friends in VT lived in houses, big ones, with big families and horses and barns and stables. I envied them. I wanted a big rambling old Green Gables house in the middle of nowhere to call my own.

It only took me 15 or so years to scrounge together enough pennies to make my dream come true. And as of this Tuesday, it is official. I am a HOMEOWNER?!?!

I know, right? What crazy bank decided to lend ME money!? My new home is a money pit and a fixer upper all rolled into one but it is MINE. Mine, mine, ALL MINE!

I have a drill and I am not afraid to use it. Door jams need to be replaced, asbestos needs to be removed, would you like to discuss the merits of hot air vs hot water heat? I could go on and on for hours about this shit. I will be glued to DIY websites and reading everything I can about home improvement.

The thing is, I could have bought a condo for a similar price, one that is not falling down all over the place and rotting but...well, that is just not really me. A run down, rickety old house with funny angles and peeling paint and a funny smell seems like home to this weirdo lady.

And now that the piles of paper have been signed and I am in debt till I am old and gray and it is official, I can begin my new life as Little Edie. Grey gardens, watch out, there is a new crazy cat lady in town and I am about to start decorating and wearing pantyhose on my head.

Monday, July 23, 2007

YouTube Haters

A YouTube feature brings many good things in its wake such as hits, subscribers and nice new contacts. And then there is the ugly YouTube underbelly as well...

Such as nasty comments from creepy people and oodles of worthless spam. It is hard to imagine that anyone could find something yucky to say about 8-11 year old girls learning how to weld but...expect the unexpected:

Lesbians in the making camp. Just kidding! Had to say it.

girls are stupid.

I think its ignorant how you think doing some menial labor task "empowers" you, give me a break. Wow, you can change a tire, whoopdefucking do, let me go start a camp where we do laundry, knit clothes, and bake cookies. Maybe that'll "empower" little boys, pshh, please.

hahahaha, who cares what "women" can do these vermonters are pathethic

Cathy and I are doing our best to weed out the spam and offensive comments that pop up like cyberweeds when you get a wee bit of YouTube sunlight shone in your direction.

Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for the attention. But I also feel a responsibility to the girls featured in the video. They don't deserve to get smeared with the cowardly internet haters crud.

There is also a bit of a debate raging at the Rosie's Girls video and also on the Stuck in VT homepage about the merits, or lack thereof, of Vermont. This I can stomach even if it is a bit ridiculous.

What an interesting cyber world we live in!

Vertigo for Kids

Today was my first day teaching kids movie making as part of a week long camp. I showed them a bunch of clips from my favorite movies to teach them the different "genres" (fun new word!).

It was tough finding kid-friendly movies that don't bite. I was stumped for the Horror/Suspense genre. I worried that Jaws might be too disturbing so I went with my all-time favorite, Vertigo.

None of the 16 kids have ever heard of Hitchcock. At first they thought it was boring. I showed them the opening scene where Jimmy Stewart is chasing this crook across the roof and figures out he has vertigo for the first time. The gunshots got them interested.

I also showed them the clip of Kim Novak supposedly jumping from the tower and Jimmy's surreal dream that follows. Someone noticed, "There sure are a lot of people falling in this movie." Hee hee.

I told them to go home and talk to their parents about Hitchcock. Hope this opens a whole new world for them.

The class is mainly boys who love action movies and ask every other second when we are doing a fight scene and if they can bring their weapons to camp and, by the way, "Have you seen Transformers?"

If you noticed some mass death scenes in the park, that was just me killing the campers with waves, magic spells, gusts of wind, canon balls and the occasional sword jab.

"Kill me next!"

"No ME! Kill me with a tidal wave!" rang out from the grassy tranquility.

Why is it that grown ups spend all their time skirting death and kids think it is the most fun thing in the world to recreate?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thanks YouTube

There is nothing nicer than coming home to see hundreds of emails from YouTube. It generally means that they have featured your videos in some capacity or other and people are leaving comments or, better still, subscribing to your channel.

So far, three Stuck in Vermont videos have gotten some YouTube loving. Not on the main homepage mind you (that might cause me to have a conniption fit) but on the subsection pages. It is a grand feeling to watch a video's hits go from 200 to 39,000 in the course of a day. Jesus, is this what it feels like to be LisaNova!?

This weekend, YouTube featured Stuck in Vermont 36: Rosie's Girls on their DIY video page. They also put Rosie's Girls on the Director Video sidebar. The spotlight led to many nice comments, some creepy comments, some Spam and some new subscribers.

I even met the uber nice advice columnist for Elle, Ask E Jean whom my sister has been reading for many years. What a sweetie (even if it is just her assistant)!

Thanks YouTube for all the awesome work you do and for giving the Rosie's Girls some attention. Even if many of the commenters assumed the video was referring to Rosie O'Donnell instead of Rosie the Riveter. Sigh...

PS I ran into Tiffany, the Executive Director of VT Works for Women (the group that organizes Rosie's Girls) at the Harry Potter book release late Friday night (what a madhouse, there will be a video). Turns out she is the sister of the owner of The Flying Pig Bookstore. Small world!

The Cabaret Hits the Mad River Valley

Oooh, my body hurts so bad. Is this what is feels like when you get old? When is nap time?

Saturday, July 21st, the Spielpalast Cabaret traveled a mighty long distance to Waitsfield to perform at the Big Picture Theater. Film director Eugene Jarecki had a blow out party for his wife Claudia's 40th birthday party.

The cabaret was supposed to be the surprise for German-born Claudia - but how exactly do you keep 20+ partially naked girls hidden? There were oyster shooters, fireworks, yummy chocolate cake, tons of booze and of course, a scantily clad cabaret doing their naughty show for the masses.

You can see the pics here. It was all a mad blur. I was nervous to perform again because I am out of shape and have been too busy to practice much. Plus, I had a scary new added solo singing bit and was frightened my voice might choke up under pressure. Egads, worries abounded!

Our dressing room was a tent behind the stage door which led to one of the theaters. We had a scenic pond behind us and a playground in front of us. The grass got muddy with all of us tromping over it in heels and there were lots of bugs. Still, the cabaret is pretty flexible and can make a home just about anywhere. They brought out couches, gave us food and booze and everyone was happy as could be - and a little wet and muddy as well.

The rowdy crowd was into the show and I only screwed up two little dance bits (that I know of). My song went off beautifully and I was so pleased to be in the piece as it has always had a special meaning for me.

When the show was over we all patted each other on the back. It is hard to take a HUGE 20+ person show and cram it into a tent and onto a new stage in a movie theater with only 2 rehearsals. The band kicked ass, the lights were awesome, and the show was just SO much fun. The cabaret is just so god damn amazingly talented.

Afterwards, we hit the dance floor and shook the place UP. I was so happy to be DONE that I danced my ass off. Nicci and I did ridiculous dance routines and acted like utter fools. It felt awesome.

This morning I felt like death and had to drag my half alive body to Oakledge to shoot the Bocce Social. Tomorrow, I start teaching camp for the week! There is nothing like full days of 8-10 year olds to make you feel old and exhausted and drain every last ounce of your strength.

Aw, fuck it. I can sleep when I am dead.

PS And as of Tuesday, big changes are afoot. Knock on wood...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Video Experiments

Here is the thing. I am making a lot of videos for my new job at Seven Days. But it is all sort of new and we are experimenting with different formats and topics and, to quote Cathy, seeing what sticks.

So if you have any comments or feedback, please add your 2 cents to Cathy's blog - harsh criticism, technical feedback - bring it on!

I enjoy doing random on the street interviews and also mini-show montages. But enough about me, what do you think?!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Vlog Envy

I admit it, I am green with jealousy. First up, Matt Petty who is the art director at the SF Chronicle and makes art vlogs every now and again in his down time. His new most excellent video is about an SF artist who makes celeb portraits out of junk. How cool!

And also, Brigitte Dale who lives in Nebraska and makes a living doing a DAILY vlog that is witty, dry and well made. And to top it all off, she is young and drop dead beautiful. She has pretty blue eyes and a stellar fashion sense.

After watching five of her tasty, thoughtful, bite-sized vlogs in a row, I wanted to sew my loud mouth shut and never speak again. Brigitte has such an arty, under-stated, dry wit and she rarely smiles - we are about as different as an apple is to a drooling, smiling, wild-eyed space alien. Ooooh, not fair! I got a mean case of vlog envy, I am turning green...

Simpsons and Riveters

Local Burlingtonians react to the news that Springfield VT will host the Simpsons movie premiere. You may recognize Herb of The Jazz Guys, Mandy of Home Items and Aram, the manager of the Roxy.

And more with my beloved Rosie's Girls:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I love you Little Edie

...even if I am scared to death I may end up like you, dreaming alone and dressing up in various strange costumes. Still, there are worse places to live than Grey Gardens....

Rosie's Girls are Stuck in VT

Hanging out with these awesome girls for a day made me want to have a 9 year old daughter so bad ! And if not that, at least some younger friends. They are so cool and honest and open and fun. They inspire me. I want to tap into my 9 year old inner-girl.


Monday, July 16, 2007

The Mighty Boosh Live

Oh how delicious...I am having an attack of the Boosh variety...

Barn Dance

Truly, it does not get much more Vermont than watching modern dance in a big barn in the middle of nowhere off a dirt road that it took hours to find.

Molly described the show best when she said that it was like watching her whole life go by at a fast speed (did I remember that right?). Not many shows can encompass such breadth and this 4 minute video only skims the surface.

The All-Purpose Dance Company

Molly and I wanted to stop for an antique lamp by the side of the road but were late for the show. Then we got all turned around on the way to Tracy's palace of a house which in country terms is, "right around the corner." Next time, the lamp is ours.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tourists and Drag Queens

Did I mention lately, how MUCH I love my job!?!?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cirque du SO ME!

Sigh, short lil' me and a statuesque Miss Chastity. This super model dame has some mighty gorgeous long legs, all the better to run marathons with. MC Chastity is probably over 7 feet tall when you combine her bouffant hairdo and nosebleed heels. Va va voom!

Burlington rounded off a heady celebration of 25 years of Pride at Higher Ground on Saturday with the mighty Cirque du so Gay (be on the look out for the Stuck in Vermont vlog Tuesday).

Naked sexy people, plenty of pasties, sequins galore, whip-wielding hotties, glamorous ball gowns, a community love fest, balls out dancing, lots of squealing (mostly from me) and so many new and old friends! When I wasn't running into someone I haven't seen in forever, I was making all sorts of new pals for life.

I met some sassy strangers who watch The Deadbeat Club on cable access or the Stuck in Vermont vlog at Seven Days. Random people in the hall or bathroom telling me they loved my mom and my sister and watch all this crap I churn out regularly!? What? Really? Moi!? * Blush, blush *

Above is me and the fabulously talented songbird, Dana Smitten. If you watch Stuck in Vermont you get to hear her dulcet notes over and over again (someone even sung this to me at a party the other day!?).

"We're trapped in, trapped in Vermont." Can you believe that I am still not sick of this song tidbit, even after hearing it about a gazillion times!?! You can see The Smittens at Metronome this Friday - woot!

Above is the amazingly talented dancer, singer, musician, go go dancer and Pistol Packing Papa, Miss Sarah Mell. The go go girls were working it so hard that their pasties fell off from all the sexy sweat! They had a back-up pair but by the end of the night, who knows if they were still attached?!?!
Above is the sultry diva, Allison the Mistress of Ceremonies who explained that she prefers to give orders, not take them - DUH! Please don't use the whip Mistress!

Below is the Order Giver, Master of Ceremonies and event organizer, Shawn Lipenski. I have never felt so short in all my life. Shawn, Chastity and the Sisters LeMay towered above me. It felt delicious to feel so small but next time I am wearing taller shoes and higher hair!
"Meow," says Don the sexy pink-eyed roller boy. Not everyone can pull of a headband, headphones and Hello Kitty - Don is special like that. Ffft!
My friend Tracy got me the wildly popular book Eat, Pray, Love and I read it cover to cover in days. One of the main themes is learning how to BE YOURSELF. This sounds easy enough to do but still, DAMN IT, it is so blasted hard.

It is easy enough to say, "I am being me." But who the hell is "me" and how the hell do you be ME when you are so busy trying to think what to say, do and how to respond in the moment. ME is complicated. Me takes thought. Maybe I am over-thinking this!?

I asked many of the revelers at Cirque du so Gay what "pride" meant to them. Many of them defined pride as BEING YOURSELF, or being someone else, or being whatever the hell you want to be in this moment without fear of repercussions.

So in honor of Pride and 25 years of protesting, celebrating, dressing up, and having the guts to be who you are openly - I am going to say what I like, act as I please and not waste time trying to impress people.

I pledge to squeal loudly, dress brashly and make a big, utter fool out of myself. Yeah, yeah, I know, how is this different than my normal behavior? Damn good question.

Cause I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."

PS It will be tough to whittle 1.5 tasty hours of Cirque footage down to a 5 minute bite sized Stuck in VT chunk. The secret? Equal parts obsession. caffeine, Ben and Jerrys, sleep deprivation, nicotine and kitty purrs. Meow.

PPS For more Pride fun, visit the House of LeMay blog. They have lovely Cirque du so Gay pics as well as pics from the entire fun-packed weekend! Oof!