Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shut me up

So here’s what happened:

I’m sitting in my third floor apartment reveling in the quiet--no one using the laundry room, outside a calm Great Barrington Sunday. Then I hear laughter and scuffling. Pretty soon there’s a small pack of teenage boys gathered in the alley/courtyard my apartment building shares with the back of the Mahawai Theater and the backdoors of the shops on Railroad Street. (And pack is really the right word).

The teens are clean cut enough, in jeans and sweatshirts, two wearing down vests. They are fake wrestling and playing hacky-sack with an empty Poland Springs water bottle, raising dust. I am immediately annoyed. They are full of energy and noise. Drunk? I wonder. But no cigarettes and two of them are knocking back water (which I realize from my own partying days could be anything). They don’t seem drunk anyway.

They are roughhousing and no one is falling or slurring. I conclude they must be tripping. What would a yell out of my window into the echoey alley sound like to them? But before I can do it, a woman across the way yells from her apartment window: “I’m going to call the police!” Thank god, I think, it's bugging someone else.

The boys don’t hear her. They look up like maybe they hear something. Finally, a ground-level shop owner comes out of his back door and shoos them away. “You guys can’t be back here,” he says. He’s not an unimposing guy. Bald. Big dark mustache. Long dark coat. I know him from town. Right on! I make a mental note to thank him later for saving my Sunday.

Flash forward three hours:

The quiet has returned save the hum of a far-off generator. I’m nursing a headache while I work on my laptop.

I then hear the beginnings of a light hip-hop beat. Music coming from someone else’s apartment I assume. Just behind the beat a wave of collective voices rises, some kind of chorus. It’s probably one of the body workers who has an office in my building, or maybe my sweet neighbor T. doing some peppy yoga to some tunes. Sweet or not, I am annoyed once again. The singing dies down then picks up. Seriously? I say out loud. I actually like the music, but I’m not going to admit that because someone somewhere is not thinking of their neighbors.

I crawl across my bed to look out my window, see if I can pinpoint where the music is coming from. I scan the apartments across the way, but movement in the courtyard catches my eye. And I have to put my glasses back on to confirm that there is, again, a pack of boys, the same pack of boys, only this time there are more of them, and this time they are not raising dust or kicking a plastic bottle back and forth.

They are dressed in jackets and ties. They are in a half-circle and they are bopping and bouncing to the beat of music. Then their voices start.


Last night when I was parking, I noticed the marquee at the Mahaiwe: “An Afternoon of A Cappella” with the Steiner School.

I know now who the troublemakers were. And why they were so full of energy. I am happy for them. Maybe even a little jealous. They are excellent and talented and they are about to perform!

So just shut me up.

Friday, March 19, 2010

In the Eyes of Everyone: Assignment completed FINALLY!

So the assignment from my creative partner over at beitelblog was the following:

In Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity, the protagonist...opens the book by listing his Desert Island Five All-Time Greatest Heart-Breaks, and then he goes on to justify each selection. So, make a list. Your Desert Island Five All-Time Greatest...somethings. Resist media if at all possible -- books, movies, music, tv shows, etc. Something human (whatever that means). Something real (ditto). Then justify your selections with a single sentence each. Photos optional. Due Dec 15.

Dec. 15th. Right. It's now March 19. Which explains the new dialogue the two of us have embarked on which will be showing up on our blogs about why it's so damn hard to follow through with "making stuff."

You'll notice the result looks nothing like the assignment. There're six things instead of five. It's video. And I wouldn't call them Desert Island clips as much as my top-six favorite visual moments captured on my handy FLIP camera. The point for me was that I did get into it, I did feel moved, I did enjoy making it, and I FINISHED it. I also had something of a vision (this is why In the Eyes of Everyone's tag line is "a project for everyday visionaries") even if the result is somewhat disappointing when held next to that vision. And I worked on it. THREE HOURS it took me to make this thing, and that was after I cut each clip (I limited myself to 5 to 10 second clips). My first ever moving-image project. So it feels good and humbling to have done something and to be posting it.

Enjoy, and do the assignment. His way. My way. Start it. Let it morph. And even if it takes you THREE MONTHS, finish it...and then e-mail it to us!