Mom was admitted to the hospital today with a fever of 103, they're still working on a diagnosis. I wanted to go to the hospital but work got in the way; my sister Juli was handling things and mom was grumpy, sick, but not in crisis. I decided I should focus on work tasks, then head down to the Vera Project for the last Sasquatch Yearbook meeting. It was tough, I wanted to go see Mom, but I didn’t want to let everybody down right before we headed off to Sasqatch.
I donated an old jacket that I've outgrown to the Sasquatch yearbook project during the meeting at the Vera Project at the Seattle Center. Rani checked the pockets (it hadn’t occurred to me) and found Seattle International Film Festival tickets from 1987, a midnight movie, I recall it was "Dead End Drive-In" I saw with Dana while we were dating. That was pretty cool! I think Josh was impressed that I could recall the movie after 24 years. Thinking about being in my twenties, dating my wife before we were married and had children was nice - life was so simple, mom was fine and dad was still around, I still had a grandparent. Nice bit of mental escapism, those tickets were a little nostalgia gold mine, and they indirectly led to an even more physical escape related to SIFF.
After the meeting I went and took pictures and high definition video footage of Dyme Def’s performance.
While I was downloading some videos to my laptop my daughter Carina called and said she could come down to Seattle and give me a ride home which was nice. I had more time since I didn’t have to go catch buses, so I went back into the venue and filmed some more of Dyme Def’s show.
Josh found me as I stepped out of the venue and offered me a wrist band good for admission and a free drink at the SIFF Opening Night Gala. I asked him if I could have two so that Carina could get in too and he was happy to give them to me. Hearing my story about the tickets less than an hour before the SIFF party folk dropped a few free tickets off to Josh as the party started inevitibly led to my being offered SIFF Gala passes. Now that's an odd but happy bit of synchronicity.
I picked up my camera and my heavy bag with my laptop and tripod and lugged it out of the venue, down the stairs, around a building or two, past the exhibition hall to McCaw hall where the SIFF opening night film was playing in the basement. I asked the lady at the door about the after party and she pointed me across the plaza to the Exhibition Hall. Picking up my heavy bag again I walked down the stairs to the lower level door on Mercer where they had a small security contingent and I was let in.
The Exhibition Hall was dressed up nicely, with a big bar in the middle and three vendor snack stations surrounding it with a dance floor in the back on the fourth side. The diagonal angles had tables and chairs, and there were lights and bunting around some of the concrete pillars. The doors had just opened and the film playing in the basement of McCaw hall wouldn’t let out or another hour, so the crowd was very light. The bag I was carrying with my equipment and laptop was heavy, so I went up to the first table and set it down to rest my arms and back. I occupied myself by looking at the boxes on the table, perhaps the first “customer” to check it out. Looking carefully (poor eyesight) I caught the attention of the lady running the display and she came over to tell me about it. Each box had 4 consistently themed short films and was a “mini-festival” in a box. You paid your $60 (I think half of that went to the SIFF) and got a DVD with the short films (I saw at least 6 different groups, romance, assorted comedy categories, potty mouth variants, and so on. She described a mini-film festival party – invite your friends, watch the short films, and discuss and rate them. A social networking aspect allows you to post your opinions and results on the web with others who have purchased the mini-film festival in a box.
I fancy this idea! Short films don’t get enough marketing and exposure any more. Fifty years ago when movie theaters were a huge element of popular culture, several shorts (and a newsreel and a serial or two) would be shown before the feature films. Today the multiplexes show film previews and low end local slide show adds, then one film, then repeat. No market for short films there at all. On-line everybody expects to be able to watch short films for free. Having another avenue to get short films out is a great idea, and having a focused session with 4 short films followed by discussions and judging is an attractive idea. I know many of my friends who participate in book reading clubs and/or point each other to interesting intellectual and creative endeavors via Facebook and e-mail would enjoy this sort of social engagement. I hope she figures out how to get the marketing working and it catches some popularity, this could turn into a thriving sub-genre and drive a market for short films that would inevitably enable more short films to get made and bigger budgets would then allow for more ambitious short films. Add in the social media and crowd based ratings an you may have some interesting network effects, too. If a critical mass of income to content purchase to content generation flow feeds back to a growing group of people comparing and rating the more inspiring work will naturally bubble up and provide increased revenue opportunities to the artists who generate the most effective work. I have no idea if this idea will ever pan out enough to reach these sorts of scales and inspire competitors and kick start thriving content markets and review communities, but I really hope it does!
After an enjoyable chat with the lady behind the mini-film festival in a box I wandered on to some of the snack stations. The Exhibition Hall was mostly empty, with fifty or a hundred workers, vendors, bartenders and security staff in position but probably only forty or sixty guests, maybe half of them volunteers.
The snacks caught my attention, I was hungry!
The bars in the middle already had people getting drinks and the snacks were just starting to get served, so the people coming back from the bar area and more people entering slowly started to fill in the venue.
I took pictures as I walked around enjoying myself and the buzz of a party getting started. A group of ten or twenty were standing around back towards the dance floor, but nobody was dancing yet and the music wasn’t too loud. The DJ was playing music off of a Mac and running a pretty good light show with LED panels, 6 or 8 robot spotlights, a couple of mirror balls and other assorted lighting devices in front, on and above the stage.
I was mistaken for a photographer working the gala which I found flattering.
Carina got parked and checked in on her cell phone so I went out and got her, giving her the second bracelet. Carina checked out the mini film festival in a box then we wandered over to the South snack station, eating sliders and pasta pockets with mushrooms and whatever else was offered. The crowds were picking up and there were lines at the free snack booths.
We stopped in at the bar and got a couple of drinks then hit the North snack station for more goodies. The crowd in the hall was picking up an more people were at the tables around the dance floor, with ten or fifteen people standing on the far end of the dance floor, obviously this was a crowd that wanted to dance but wasn’t quite ready yet. I think Seattle’s polite reserved Northern European influenced culture makes us a little slower to get our parties started, nobody wants to go first until they get a good head of alcohol up. I don’t have that problem, though, so I asked Carina if she’d like to go up and dance to some 25 year old dance music I recognized and we got out onto the dance floor and started dancing. It took a couple of songs before somebody else got up enough courage to be the second dancers out on the floor, and within another song or two ten or twelve were dancing and having a good time.
We finally humped my laptop and photo equipment bag out to the trunk of the car, then came back for more dancing. We ended up dancing for well over an hour so I was sore and completely sweaty, soaking through my shirt. Totally fun way to distract ourselves from mom being in the hospital; I slept pretty well, better than expected anyway. Between the dancing and the hike up Mt. Zion two days later I've had lots of physical distractions, anyway.