|July 10, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In Edmond Rostand's ingenious work Cyrano de Bergerac, Roxanne tells the tongue-tied Christian to “speak to me...be eloquent, be brilliant for me. Improvise! Rhapsodize!...Please gather your dreams together into words."
In my own infinitesimal way, this has been my goal for each newsletter. To go beyond just telling you what we are screening, but instead share a bit of my outlook on this world, and how we are all connected through shared experiences and beliefs. Today, however, I will be brief as I have therapy in just an hour (mental health is necessary!!), and this week has been taken up with organizing our upcoming CST Videothon.
The outpouring of love from this community has humbled me beyond measure. As Sally Fields said in her Oscar acceptance speech, “This time I feel it. And I can't deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me!” But I don't believe that it's ME--it's what has evolved under my stewardship--a community space for artists of all stripes and a place where folks feel safe to make their voices heard.
The CST Videothon premieres tomorrow night at 7pm Eastern Time, and you won't have to pay anything to watch. Of course, like the The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, I'll provide reminders to donate if you can at the CST store: store.cstpdx.com.
Our first program is "Guignolfest: The Early Years." GuignolFest was founded by Dylan Hillerman in 2009. Back in the day, movies screened at the Red Flag Bar, but then the teams and audience grew beyond the bar's capacity, so GuignolFest headed to the Clinton Street Theater in 2014. (To be honest, Guignolfest is such a hit, it has overgrown us, too, but they keep coming back because we've built such a great supportive partnership.)
Somewhere along the way, Dylan met and married the talented, beautiful, and simpatico Julia, and together they are the driving force behind GuignolFest Productions. If you haven't been to Guignolfest in the past, you are in for a treat. This annual 72-hour horror movie contest pits teams against each other, and by constraining the time to make and produce a film, folks need to think and act fast, cooperate on many levels and together improvise, rhapsodize--gathering dreams into words and blood, guts and other forms of gore.
Throughout the year, Guignolfest Productions produces other short horror movies, the Horror Hot Tub Interview Show, and live productions in Portland. AND YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THEM ALL THROUGH THE CST VIDEOTHON CHANNEL!!! Guignolfest is a large part of what keeps the local independent horror community strong, and the Early Years is only the first of many evenings of horror entertainment we will be providing over the coming months while we are closed.
In addition to Guignolfest's feast of programming, we'll have book readings, live theater, live music, burlesque, bubble shows, sex-positive theater, and more and more and more. Some will even be recorded live in the theater (with appropriate social distancing, of course!!).
So tomorrow, go to our website: cstpdx.com at 7pm, and there will be a link to watch Guignolfest: The Early Years on our Vimeo channel. This program will stay up indefinitely, though some of the events will have a shorter life span. Then bookmark that webpage, and I will send out notices whenever we have new content. With so many creatives stepping up, we will have local, independent, engaging entertainment through the rest of this year.
Thanks for all you are doing to keep us afloat. If you want the Clinton to be here when we are finally able to live somewhat normal lives, these are the ways you can help:
- Watch movies through our Virtual Cinema
This poem was my "poem-of-the-day" this past Tuesday, and it spoke volumes to me. Dreams and Fears were gathered together into words.
- Go to the Popcorn Pop-Up Friday & Saturday from 4 to 8pm. If you are in our neighborhood, please drop by for best hot popcorn in town. We are selling bags of popcorn, along with beer, cider and candy, at rock-bottom prices. You are helping me draw down my inventory so that it doesn't go to waste, and I will refill our cupboards with all new stuff when we can safely open again.
I ask a student how I can help her. Nothing is on her paper.
It’s been that way for thirty-five minutes. She has a headache.
She asks to leave early. Maybe I asked the wrong question.
I’ve always been dumb with questions. When I hurt,
I too have a hard time accepting advice or gentleness.
I owe for an education that hurt, and collectors call my mama’s house.
I do nothing about my unpaid bills as if that will help.
I do nothing about the mold on my ceiling, and it spreads.
I do nothing about the cat’s litter box, and she pisses on my new bath mat.
Nothing isn’t an absence. Silence isn’t nothing. I told a woman I loved her,
and she never talked to me again. I told my mama a man hurt me,
and her hard silence told me to keep my story to myself.
Nothing is full of something, a mass that grows where you cut at it.
I’ve lost three aunts when white doctors told them the thing they felt
was nothing. My aunt said nothing when it clawed at her breathing.
I sat in a room while it killed her. I am afraid when nothing keeps me
in bed for days. I imagine what my beautiful aunts are becoming
underground, and I cry for them in my sleep where no one can see.
Nothing is in my bedroom, but I smell my aunt’s perfume
and wake to my name called from nowhere. I never looked
into a sky and said it was empty. Maybe that’s why I imagine a god
up there to fill what seems unimaginable. Some days, I want to live
inside the words more than my own black body.
When the white man shoves me so that he can get on the bus first,
when he says I am nothing but fits it inside a word, and no one stops him,
I wear a bruise in the morning where he touched me before I was born.
My mama’s shame spreads inside me. I’ve heard her say
there was nothing in a grocery store she could afford. I’ve heard her tell
the landlord she had nothing to her name. There was nothing I could do
for the young black woman that disappeared on her way to campus.
They found her purse and her phone, but nothing led them to her.
Nobody was there to hold Renisha McBride’s hand
when she was scared of dying. I worry poems are nothing against it.
My mama said that if I became a poet or a teacher, I’d make nothing, but
I’ve thrown words like rocks and hit something in a room when I aimed
for a window. One student says when he writes, it feels
like nothing can stop him, and his laugher unlocks a door. He invites me
into his living.
VIRTUAL SCREENINGS THAT BENEFIT CST
We still have a few films available through our Virtual Cinema. We will be cutting back on the nationally-released films to focus on the videothon, and highlighting our local filmmakers and performing artists. However, you can still check the homepage of the Clinton Street Theater website for up-to-date links to film screenings that benefit us with a portion of the proceeds from your ticket. If you click on any one of the film titles or the film poster, you will go to a page with a more in-depth description of the film, a link to the trailer, and a link to buy your "ticket."
I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.
Don't be a stranger. Write until we can meet again.