seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
I submitted my vid for Club Vivid last night!!!

Looking through emails, I conceived the idea for this vid at the start of October, started collecting clips on 10/15, had the first draft on 11/28. I have put so much work into this vid over what is for me a very long time to work on a fanwork. I definitely think this is the fannish project I've put the most of myself into.

It feels very funny to be done with this thing that's consumed so much of my attention for months. I celebrated the completion by doing a shot of slivovitz, as felt appropriate. I subsequently felt a little dizzy, but I'm not sure if that's because of the liquor or the feeling of loss.

August seems a long way away. Funny to have to sit on a fanwork for so long before sharing it. I'm used to the instant gratification of finishing something, posting it, and getting comments more or less right away. I widened the circle of people I asked to beta in the last week, so I did get to see some new people reacting to seeing it for the first time, including the first set of people I actually literally was in the same room with and watched them react to it. They responded as I'd hoped and it was awesome.

I can't wait to dance to my vid at Vividcon.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Vividcon posted its dates. It is the weekend before Worldcon. I have flight tickets to Finland the Sunday of Vividcon. So... I'm not sure if I'll be going to Vividcon. It's still possible- I'd just fly from O'Hare to JFK Sunday morning and do a self-transfer to the flight to Helsinki, which leaves JFK at 5:40PM. But that's a lot of travel.

But I want to go to Vividcon. I had a great time this year in spite of missing a third of the con because of travel issues. And I have a Club Vivid vid I've been working on that I would like to dance to in person. Hmm.. I'll have to think about this.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Title: Circles (Ma'agalim)
Vidder: seekingferret
Fandom: The West Wing
Song: "Ma'agalim (Circles)" by Idan Raichel
Content Notes: Club Vivid Premiere 2016. The posted vid is ripped from the con DVD because I seem to have already lost the original file. Will try to find that.
Length: 3:18
Responsible for the lack of consistent title block from vid to vid: seekingferret
Summary Remix of LauraShapiro's West Wing fanvid "Circles", focusing on Toby Ziegler
Acknowledgements Thanks to [personal profile] ghost_lingering for betaing, the tech glitches are not her fault. Thanks for [personal profile] laurashapiro for inspiration.


lyrics )

As often happens when Idan Raichel releases a new album, I listened to "At the Edge of the Beginning" an awful lot when it first came out in January. The album's standout is "Ma'agalim (Circles)", a really great dance tune with thoughtful lyrics. I wanted to vid it before I knew what to vid it to.

The song is also a designed pun: As a song called "Circles", it is intended to be danced as an Israeli circle dance. There's something awfully attractive to me about pun songs. As I listened to the song on repeat, I thought about what I could vid it to, and the punnishness of the title called to me to respond with my own pun. In viddish circles, "Circles" is the name of a well-known West Wing vid premiered about ten years ago at Vividcon by [personal profile] laurashapiro. It tells the story of the West Wing crew bobbing and weaving through the White House to Tommy Schlamme's lyrical camera movement,, the famous 'walk-and-talks' sending the whole West Wing spinning in literal circles as Jed and Leo and Josh and CJ and Toby struggle with the various scandals of the Bartlett administration. It's one of my favorite vids, because it captures characters I love so much, so well. And it's a quintessential vid, one that takes the visual elements of a show and reuses them in a way that completely reinterprets them. So I started to get stuck on the idea of somehow mashing up "Circles" the West Wing vid and "Circles" the Israeli dance song. Especially as a Club Vivid vid it seemed to work- dancing along to this song seems essential to what it says as a vid.

Because "Ma'agalim" is Hebrew and Idan Raichel as a poet and musician often draws inspiration from his Judaism, Toby Ziegler was the natural focal point for this vid, as the locus of Jewish identity on the West Wing. Also because I have ridiculous amounts of Toby Feelz. All the feelz. I don't think this vid says anything really specific about Toby, it just testifies to the way he keeps cycling again and again through the vicissitudes of life, always rolling with the punches, the way he suffers and loses and just carries it inside him and works as hard as he can to serve others, because he believes in America's promise. And how in spite of his surliness he builds family and love all around him, love he's uncertain if he deserves but which ultimately carries him when he needs to be carried. This was for me an intricate vid, with some faster cuts than I typically use, and a quite long list of episode sources, but it also sort of straightforwardly followed from its premise. I knew what images needed to be where with very little rethinking required. I feel like I know Toby very well.

Sadly my laptop broke shortly after submitting this vid, and recovering files from it is a little hit or miss. So I ripped the vid from the con DVD set in order to get it posted quickly. I will try to dig up the cleaner better prettier version of this vid and post that when I can figure out how.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
I did in fact make it to Vividcon more or less in one piece! The only further drama left unreported was that once I got to O'Hare, there was the trouble with my bag, which had been sent from Newark on a later flight than the one I'd been on... I beat my suitcase to Chicago by about forty five minutes, and had to wait to claim it. This was exacerbated by the fact that the very friendly people on the American flight I'd switched to had no fucking clue what United had done with my bag. But no matter, I made it to the hotel around 2PM Friday, just minutes after the food I'd ordered for Shabbos dinner arrived. The hotel staff very helpfully stashed it in a refrigerator until I showed up to claim it. And then the weekend actually got good.

When I got to the con, after a shower and clothing change that made me feel vaguely human again after fifteen hours in trains and planes and airports, I went down to the con suite and found [personal profile] ghost_lingering and [personal profile] thirdblindmouse, the only con attendees I'd met in person before (Proudly Team Fake Birthday!) So that was kind of reassuring to my social anxiety. After brief hellos, we stopped in on the first hour of [personal profile] milly's panel on use of text in vids, which was full of interesting and inspirational ideas that I will probably never follow through on. And then I had to change clothes again into more Shabbos-y clothing and get the food ready for the Shabbos dinner I hosted.

It was me and [personal profile] kass and [personal profile] bironic and [personal profile] the_shoshanna and [personal profile] thefourthvine and [personal profile] ghost_lingering. We tried to bentsch licht but the air conditioning blew out the candles almost as soon as they were lit, which I suppose is better than setting off the fire alarm and sprinklers, as we were worried we might. Then [personal profile] kass made a lovely Kiddush and we ate and talked about all sorts of fascinating stuff with the glorious oneupsmanship that comes of a pile of smart and creative people being in the same room together. This was a complicated weekend for me Jewishly speaking, but this dinner was an unambiguously positive Jewish moment for me and I was so glad to have it. (Also, to the three of you who cornered me at some point afterward and offered to pay for 'their share' of the meal: NO! I mean, thank you for offering, but hosting guests for Shabbos dinner isn't just a mitzvah, it is the clearest thing one can do in emulation of Avraham Avinu. You are not taking that away from me. I was so happy to have all of you at my Shabbos table and that is all the payment I need!)

And then we hurriedly put away the leftovers because it was time for Premieres. They do Vividcon Premieres in two rooms- a main room where supposedly everyone very seriously watches the vids in respectful silence and an overflow room where a little talking and reacting to the vids is allowed (but everyone is seriously there to see the vids, so it's not like people were having irrelevant conversations over the vids). I went to the overflow room and had a really great time, and I'm not sure I ever want to try the main room experience, but it was an extraordinary Premieres show and it was amazing to watch it with so many people who were so attuned to all of the nuances of what makes a great vid great.

Highlights of premieres for me were the Fringe vid "1985", Eurovision vid "Tribute", and ALL THE STAR WARS VIDS. If The Force Awakens was good for anything, it was awakening the enthusiasm and creative impulses of hordes of Star Wars fans. There were so many great Star Wars vid premieres all weekend, not just as Premieres, but the ones at Premieres were wonderfully technically intricate and emotionally expressive vids that surveyed the full breadth of the history of the Star Wars narrative arc and knew exactly how to go for the kill. So many Star Wars feels. So many feels in general, was the story of the weekend.

[personal profile] jmtorres's "1985" was hilarious, but in that "Oh, Walter, you're the most heartbreaking monster" kind of way that never forgot just how destructive 1985 Walter was despite its clear affection for him. I was sitting next to [personal profile] kerithwyn, who basically didn't stop vibrating with excitement from that vid for the next day. And just generally, more Fringe vids is always amazing. I should finish more of mine. :/

And [personal profile] echan's "Tribute", which, holy hell, the batshit is strong. I only know Eurovision from osmosis and seeing gifs, but this vid committed to just how outrageously image dependent Eurovision is. And how music might sometimes take second fiddle to image- this is not the greatest song in the world, this is just a tribute. But the aesthetic power of Eurovision is there anyway.

After premieres I went to sleep. Haha, no, just kidding. Intelligent Ferret would have gone to sleep, but I am not Intelligent Ferret. There was trivia. Trivia, I say! How can I be expected to resist trivia? I am mere flesh, after all. I teamed with [personal profile] jarrow, [personal profile] isweedan, [personal profile] kiki_miserychic, and someone else... [personal profile] ohvienna, maybe? Too much of trivia was vidding and Vividcon-specific knowledge I did not have, but I contributed a little and we had great fun coming up with new ways to fold our answer slips before submitting them.

And then I went to sleep. For real this time. I'd had quite a day, after all. I deserved some sleep. And after all that had happened, it had turned out to be a pretty good day, but it was not the day I'd hoped it would be. I wanted to get in Thursday night so I could ease my way into the Vividcon experience, but instead I came in running and didn't stop running and a part of me never really felt settled in. I really hope next year, (if I go next year, which I probably will) I can get the full weekend experience. Unlike the weekend regional cons I'm more familiar with, Vividcon uses the full Friday for programming, which it needs to do since more of its programming comes in two hour blocks that just eat up the schedule quickly- and has to be that way, if they're going to have time to show vids and do discussion.

Also in the very brief time at the con I had on Friday, I got to see just how amazingly friendly everyone was. I hadn't really worried that much since I knew a bunch of #vidding people who were at the con, so I figured there I had a built in group of people to hang out with, but a part of me did worry about all these new people. And it was great to actually meet [personal profile] elipie and [personal profile] jetpack_monkey and [personal profile] shati and [personal profile] bradcpu and [personal profile] milly and [personal profile] anoel after years of talking to them in irc, but lots of other people just walked up to me and introduced themselves and started talking about vids, and it was so great meeting all these wonderful people. I am not good at meeting new people, not good at introducing myself, but it felt like a thing I could safely do at the con and I did it a bunch and people were okay with it. It was weird because on the other hand, I can see why people might find the con isolating, because despite the great amount of friendliness extended to me as a newbie who barely knew anyone, this was also a convention full of people who have been going to Vividcon together for a decade or more, and the depth of the relationships was intimidating. I definitely felt that, too, that sense of not wanting to jump in when people who'd known each forever and only got to see each other once a year were talking, but... I dunno, it was weird, but mostly it was great.

Saturday morning there was premieres vid review, where people sat in a room and discussed responses to the premieres. This was really neat, hearing really smart people unpack the vids we'd only seen once or twice, kind of figuring them out as we want along. It's fascinating to see all the different kinds of things people see in vids, things I don't necessarily always key on but are important to others. Vid Review was led by [personal profile] jarrow and [personal profile] sisabet, aka Sisarrow, who had so many smart things to say about vids and who still managed to keep the panel moving at the frenetic pace needed to cover all the vids. After Vid Review we broke for lunch.

After lunch, there was a panel on the breadth of Star Trek vids and Star Trek feels, that opened with [personal profile] cosmic_llin's "Long Live" making everyone in the room cry and... continued to more crying, with some laughing mixed in.

Then there was [personal profile] ghost_lingering's panel on nonmusical audio in vids, which introduced a very useful set of taxons for thinking about audio- Is it musical/nonmusical/semi-musical? Is it found audio or created audio?

Then, uh... I think a nap and then dinner and then getting ready for Club Vivid.

I guess the thing to say about Club Vivid is that it lives up to its advertising. Beforehand several people, particularly [personal profile] jarrow, were telling me about how awesome Club Vivid is. And I believed them, but I also figured that nothing is equally awesome for everyone, that there would be elements of CVV that different people would value more or less. But CVV is pretty much all things to all people. It's an exceptional event, the perfect geek dance party.

It's hard to point to a technical reason why this is. I mean, I think there are technical reasons for it- opening with the Joxer Dance as a dancing icebreaker of deep fannish significance, the availability of plentiful alcohol starting an hour before the dancing, the presence and placement of alternate quieter locations for people overwhelmed by the dancing and loud music and flashing lights, the fact that the vids having been created by con-goers gives everyone an investment in enjoyment... in many respects, Club Vivid is in fact very well designed, and clearly honed by years of running it. But more than any of these technical aspects, it is just the fact that so many long-time con-goers have committed fully to making Club Vivid a place that they and everyone else can enjoy. And that's not something I can explain well. I've been at awkward geek dance parties where pressure was applied to lure people out onto the dance floor, and it led to resistance and half-hearted dancing. Nobody put pressure on anyone at CVV, they were just clearly having so much fun, and having fun in so many different ways, that there was no other option but to have fun.

I was nervous as hell when my own Club Vivid premiere played, but people went out of their way to reassure me. [personal profile] anoel and [personal profile] jarrow went up to me beforehand and told me they were excited to see a West Wing vid at Club Vivid, and their enthusiasm was such that it somehow didn't make me feel even more pressured. And [personal profile] ghost_lingering, my beta, kept telling me over and over that people were going to like the vid. I am so appreciative of that support. And then the vid happened, and blink and it was over- all I could see while it was happening was the tiny technical glitches I'd missed before, but people seemed to like it- a bunch of people came over to tell me I'd awoken their Toby Feels, which was really the whole point of the exercise, especially since I was probably the only person at the con who knew what the lyrics meant. And then I could go back to dancing without being stressed.

After CVV, I went up to my room, lit some candles, sat on the floor and read Eicha, the book of Lamentations traditionally recited on Tisha B'av. It was hard to go from the joy of CVV to the sadness of Tisha B'av, and the whole experience was weird, but it felt important to me. I feel like as a Jew I carry so much with me all the time. Paris, and Tel Aviv, and so many others, just adding a little weight to my emotional load everywhere I go. Tisha B'Av in a way is a moment to unload myself.

It's very striking in Perek Gimel of Eicha, how easy it is to read the second half of the perek as sarcasm, especially in light of the first half of the perek. (3:15-19) "He hath filled me with bitterness, He hath sated me with wormwood. He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, He hath made me to wallow in ashes. And I said: 'My strength is perished, and mine expectation from the LORD.' And my soul is removed far off from peace, I forgot prosperity. Remember mine affliction and mine anguish, the wormwood and the gall." That is Yirmiyahu's perspective in the beginning of the Perek, his misery and his doubt and his suffering, but then he shifts. (3:21) "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope." And it looks at first like he is turning inward to his faith to endure the hardship with honest sincerity and belief, but listen as he goes on: (3:26-29) "It is good that a man should quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and keep silence, because He hath laid it upon him. Let him put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope." That doesn't like honest faith. That sounds like too-good-to-be-true faith. It sounds like a parody of faith, like the parroting of faith by a man embittered, a man mocking the idea of being faithful to God when God has been faithless.

And perhaps paradoxically, and perhaps not paradoxically, for Yirmiyahu was a true prophet of great power- speaking those words was an unburdening. Speaking those words of disappointment and frustration with God's delayed mercy centered me, brought me back to my faith.

But on the whole, Tisha B'av was hard at the con. Everyone was eating, everyone was enjoying, and I was not eating but I was definitely enjoying, too, and yet the fasting was keeping me mindful of the meaning of the day, of the fundamental loss that is so central to contemporary Judaism, of Jerusalem as a centering point for the whole nation. And I struggled between those pulls, struggled to be present and engaged at the convention when most of the people I was talking to didn't understand the significance of the day.

Sunday morning I watched part of the Nearly New vidshow, then spent a few hours in the con suite, staffing it for an hour and then chatting with a rotating cast of awesome people about fanfic and vidding and the history of disease and convention history and traffic mishaps and ... oh, I love hanging out with hordes of geeks. And then I went to the Challenge vidshow, which was also full of terrific vids. I think my favorite was [personal profile] trelkez's Kate from Lost vid... I've only seen the first season and a half of the show, and I have little interest in seeing any more, but this vid was so excellent at presenting's Kate's story and so visually striking and beautiful.

And then I flew home and I am exhausted now but very glad I went to Vividcon, and hopeful that next year, with no flight delays and no Jewish fast days, I'll have a more normal and more unreservedly enjoyable con experience.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Hahahaha life sucks right now.

I was supposed to be at Vividcon ten hours ago. My flight was supposed to leave Newark at 9:29PM Eastern and be in Chicago by 10:50PM Central. My new apartment is walking distance to a Northeast Corridor train station and so I walked to the train and took the train to the airport and skated through security in a couple minutes and thought I was so damned clever for getting to the airport so easily. Instead there was lightning and problems with getting the crew in place and a hell of a lot of getting jerked around by the skeleton crew United Airlines had in place, who kept popping up every half hour or so to delay the flight by another half hour. At 1:30AM they finally cancelled the flight leaving us to scramble to find new plans.

I thought outside the box a little and was able to get booked on a flight out of Philadelphia that leaves at 11AM Eastern today, while a lot of my flightmates were settling for flights out of Newark that didn't leave until Saturday, which was obviously a no-go for me. Of course the problem with booking a flight out of Philadelphia was, you know, getting to Philadelphia. By the time I had my new flight booked the train station at Newark was closed for the night, so I had to wait until 4:30AM in the baggage claim at Newark Terminal C, then take the NJ Transit to Trenton, transfer to SEPTA, take SEPTA regional rail to 30th Street Station in Central Philadelphia, transfer to the SEPTA regional out to the Airport, then go through security for my second time in twelve hours, and here I am... running on the hour of sleep I got on the train to Trenton.

In about five hours I will be at Vividcon and hopefully things will stop going wrong and everything will be great for the rest of the weekend. But life sucks a bit right now.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
First, [community profile] festivids have been revealed.

I made [personal profile] ghost_lingering a Storylords vid: Ex Libris!

Storylords is a terrible educational tv show made in Wisconsin in the 80s. I do not have a good explanation of why I made this vid, but I did and it didn't come out terribly. [personal profile] ghost_lingering of course instantly guessed that I'd made it, but that's okay, I instantly guessed that she'd made Your Mother, so we're even on the guessing front.

Second, I have purchased an attending membership for this year's Vividcon!!! I am excited, this will be my first time going to Vividcon and there are lots of cool people I am looking forward to meeting. I have also signed up to claim a song for Club Vivid, and have thus spent the past half hour swearing at my editor for crashing every time I try to adjust the credits. ;)


seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)

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