seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
King Porter Stomp

Jelly Roll Morton - "King Porter Stomp" 1924
Benny Goodman and his All Stars- "King Porter Stomp" 1935
Pat Williams- "King Porter Stomp" 1968
Manhattan Transfer - "Stomp of King Porter" 1997
Wynton Marsalis - "King Porter Stomp" 1999

Women in Jazz

Billie Holliday- "They Can't Take That Away From Me"
Ella Fitzgerald - "Take the A Train"
Mary Lou Williams with Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds of Joy - "Mary's Idea"
Albinia Jones with Don Byas' Swinging Seven - "Evil Gal Blues"
Terri Lyne Carrington - "Mosaic Triad"

Jazz as Concert Music

Miles Davis- "So What"
Charlie Parker - "Ornithology"
Thelonious Monk w. John Coltrane "Bye-Ya"
Dizzy Gillespie - "Salt Peanuts"

Modern Jazz

The Bad Plus- "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Esperanza Spalding - "Endangered Species"
Vijay Iyer - "Optimism"
Ikue Mori - "Invisible "Fingers"
Matana Roberts "Pov Piti" from Coin Coin vol. 1
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
Vividcon in general was an amazing time. Highlights were pretty much as predicted- I had a lot of fun doing my jazz panel, which I've separately written up. Premieres was full of beautiful and smart vids. Club Vivid was wonderful, and dancing to my vid was a high I may never come down from. My Shabbos dinner was terrific, with the lovely company of [personal profile] kass, [personal profile] roga, [personal profile] bironic, and [personal profile] ride_4ever. Playing a half-orc bard in [personal profile] jetpack_monkey's D&D game was a blast. And hanging out with so many awesome fans and talking about vids and fandoms all weekend was wonderful. I'm really going to miss Vividcon after next year.


Favorite Vids from the con (but there were so many others beyond these that I liked)

-[personal profile] gwyn's Star Wars vid Battleflag, which jumps from era to era beautifully telling a story of fighting for what you believe in against great odds.

-[personal profile] cherry's Thor vid Monsters of the Cosmos, which okay, I HATE the Symphony of Science because I think it fetishizes science, stripping away all the hard work and controversy and pretends like science is something inherently and unambiguously beautiful, emerging from these lone genius scientists for whom the beauty of the cosmos just magically unfolds.

And I'm frustrated with Thor because of its science-as-magic ethos, which only rarely the movie lets Jane Foster do battle with.

So the idea that I love Monsters of the Cosmos astounds me, but it's such a brilliant mashup of different kinds of fake science, and the way it centers Jane's journey is wonderful. Like, in Thor I, Jane is searching for evidence of an Einstein-Rosen bridge, a theoretical mathematical model of the interaction of exotic particles and relativity. In finding that it's real, she instead of getting entangled in the physics finds herself entangled with the literal monsters of the cosmos. It's like she gets swallowed up by something that should have just been a metaphor, while the song is elliding the fact that the idea of monsters is just a metaphor. The song says "Truth is stranger than scifi," and this is the kind of line that in my opinion has no place in a serious conversation about science, but it's the world Jane inhabits!

It's such a brilliant combination and the timing and arrangement of the visuals is stunning.

-[personal profile] dar_vidder's Harry Potter vid "The Tale of the Three Brothers", part of a yet further extended set of Harry Potter vids to Fantasia that I have not had a chance to fully watch yet. But this piece is gorgeous and grounds the whole Harry Potter series in a saga that goes back much farther and reaches much deeper than Harry's experiences, centering Dumbledore as the man who digs up ancient and powerful magicks that end up exacting a heavy toll on the lost boys around him.

-[personal profile] pipsqueaky's Keanu Reeves multivid Incredible Thoughts, about all the deep thoughts that much be going on behind Keanu Reeves's blank face. Brilliantly hilarious.

-[personal profile] sisabet's New Girl vid Wake Me Up Before You Go Go because it lets Schmidt be a total douchebag and Cece be a total bitch and still takes them seriously and celebrates their undying love for each other.

-[personal profile] anoel's Star Wars vid Carry that Weight even though I'm not capable of coming up with the words to explain how amazing it is, how it celebrates Leia and Rey, and Carrie Fisher and Daisy Johnson, and appreciates how significant they are as focal points of female pride, and yet they also reflect a fundamental failure to center women's stories in the SF we consume. I love how the end of the vid widens the scope.

-[personal profile] sweetestdrain's Harry Potter vid Blackbird, which overlaps significantly with [personal profile] chaila's amazing "I am the one who will remember everything" in terms of source footage used, but which by moving more linearly presents the clear and stunning image of McGonagall as a woman on a mission.

-[personal profile] grammarwoman's Star Wars vid "That's What's the Matter" (not yet online that I can see), which uses a Union song from the US Civil War to snark at the Imperials so cleverly.

-[personal profile] bessyboo's Ghostbuster's vid Light 'Em Up from Club Vivid, for so much exciting Ghostbusting action.

-[personal profile] sisabet and [personal profile] trelkez's Thor vid "Tubthumping" (Not yet online that I can see), so delightfully over the top.

-[personal profile] jetpack_monkey's Wuxia multifandom vid Uptown Funk, capturing the tropes and the balletic joy of the genre.

-[personal profile] pi's multifandom older women vid Worth It, proving that writing this post in one sitting has exhausted me because I have lots of feels about this vid but nothing to say except Watch it.




Now I am in Helsinki for Worldcon. Worldcon is more of a mixed bag, but mostly I'm having a great time in Helsinki.
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Because I am perverse, I structured my vidding panel around the reasons why you shouldn't vid jazz music. I had come up with a pretty good list of reasons before the panel:


-unstructured 'songs', not necessarily verse-chorus-verse-chorus
-many different versions of songs, no 'canonical' expected version from audience
-audience not as familiar with the music as with pop songs
-vidder not as familiar with the music as with pop songs
-sounds old-fashioned
-Can be hard to follow the melody
-syncopation/swing makes tricky rhythms to cut to
-Songs often much longer than typical vids
-concern to be sensitive about jazz as an African-American music and avoiding racism/appropriation
-not a lot of female musicians visible in the genre/misogyny in the music


The audience agreed that yes, these were all good reasons not to vid to jazz. We considered adjourning the panel right there. Instead, I tried to play a variety of kinds of jazz music to illustrate some ideas I had about how to overcome these problems. I didn't manage to mention all of my ideas in the panel, so these notes will constitute both an attempt to summarize what we talked about at the panel and an attempt to restructure the panel retrospectively so that it conforms more closely to its platonic ideal form.


The first set of music I played was five version of Jelly Roll Morton's classic jazz melody "King Porter Stomp." Composed in honor of his friend and fellow pianist Porter King in the early 1900s and first recorded by Morton in the early 1920s in the infancy of recorded jazz music, "King Porter Stomp" has had long, long legs as a jazz standard.

The playlist was

Jelly Roll Morton - "King Porter Stomp" 1924
Benny Goodman and his All Stars- "King Porter Stomp" 1935
Pat Williams- "King Porter Stomp" 1968
Manhattan Transfer - "Stomp of King Porter" 1997
Wynton Marsalis - "King Porter Stomp" 1999

By looking longitudinally at one song, we get to see the way jazz reinvents itself while retaining its history. Goodman's version is considered historically important as the kickoff of the big band era, at a seminal Los Angeles concert that told the record companies that swing would sell. The subsequent recordings retain specific and calculated quotations of both the Goodman and Morton arrangements- the Williams recording opens with the exact piano riff from the Morton version, the Manhattan Transfer version uses the Goodman arrangement but interpolates lyrics relating the story of the creation of the Morton version, and the Marsalis version returns to the original Morton arrangement only with a more highly prominent trumpet part and better recording fidelity and .

I had intended to talk more about the recording technology and the history of jazz, as I think it's actually important to keep in mind since jazz's history overlaps almost exactly with the history of recorded music. Until the mid 1940s, jazz was recorded to wax, which was then laboriously transferred to a metal master for pressing to 78 rpm vinyl. The result was mono both in recording and playback: If you wanted to 'mix' different instruments you did so by literally rearranging the musicians with respect to the recording head, moving the horns to the back to keep them from drowning out quieter instruments and so on.

In the '40s, three technologies emerged in parallel that changed this: the electronic microphone allowed instruments to be recorded individually with different recording settings, magnetic tape allowed those recordings to be separately edited and mixed and overdubbed, and the LP allowed those recordings to be played back at a substantially higher fidelity. As a bonus, the LP gave musicians the choice of either writing multiple songs to fill a side, or for the first time recording songs longer than ~ 3 minutes. The technology changed the way jazz was performed once artists assimilated the new capabilities.

So if you are looking to use a jazz song from the '20s or '30s, one of your difficulties is that it's going to sound like shit, and it's specifically going to sound old fashioned, because that grainy, mono sound is what we think of when we think of old fashioned music. You have several ways of dealing with this. One is to embrace it. If you're vidding a 1920s fandom, or vidding something more modern that you want to sound old fashioned, then choosing something recorded to wax will give you the sound you're looking for. The other alternative is to look at recordings like the Marsalis recording- there are musicians today who are recording consciously nostalgic versions of classic jazz songs, with the latest and greatest new recording technology.


The other thing we pointed out about the set of "King Porter Stomp" covers is that the song is a dance song, with a straightforward 4:4 time signature, obvious and repeated jazz form, and a lot of elements that make it fairly unintimidating to vidders compared to a lot of jazz music. In the late '40s and into the '50s, jazz was transformed from primarily being a dance music to being as much a concert music for sitting and listening to as a dance music. The next set of music I played was a collection of jazz music from this period of transition, highlighting the new sounds coming into jazz: Trickier rhythms, stranger harmonies and dissonances, faster note patterns. Music not consistent enough to dance to, but music that relied on the individual voices of its lead practitioners to tell expressive, emotional stories through music.

The playlist was:

Miles Davis- "So What"
Charlie Parker - "Ornithology"
Thelonious Monk w. John Coltrane "Bye-Ya"
Dizzy Gillespie - "Salt Peanuts"

To counter comments from the audience about the difficulty of finding structure in these more musically complex pieces, I pointed to specific structures common in jazz music, like the precomposed call and response passage that opens "So What", a technique originating in jazz's history as a music inspired by African folk traditions, and a technique we'd come back to in the Modern Jazz playlist to follow. I also pointed to examples of improvisional structures such as 'trading fours', the technique of two soloists altenrately improvising four measures back and forth. I also pointed out that the classic AABA 32 bar pop song form and 12 bar blues song form don't go away in this concert jazz era, it's just that rather than repeating the melody each time, the chord progression is what's repeated, embellished and revoiced to suit the individuality of the soloists. Someone in the audience pointed out that this individuality of instrumental expression offers opportunities for vidders to associate particular instrumental parts with themes or characters.

It was particularly hard for me to cut these songs down to a minute or so, because their overall structures play out over the full scale of the song.


The next set I played was Women of Jazz, to present some female voices, both singers and instrumentalists, as a counter to the idea that jazz is this male-driven genre. Because I do think this is a problem for vidders, who are predominantly women. This set also let me revisit some genres and techniques otherwise not as well covered by my music choices- Ella Fitzgerald's song highlighted the use of vocalese or scat, a technique of singing nonsense syllables that offers tremendous potential value to vidders who are often thwarted by that one lyric that undermines our whole vid. "Take the A Train" is also the prototypical 32 bar song, and "Evil Gal Blues" is a prototypical blues, so it let me talk more about the importance of those song structures to jazz music, and to consider those structures if you need to cut down a song. Meanwhile, Mary Lou Williams let me bring in some more swing music that wasn't "KIng Porter Stomp", and Terri Lyne Carrington introduced listeners for the first time in the panel to contemporary jazz sounds.

The playlist was:

Billie Holliday- "They Can't Take That Away From Me"
Ella Fitzgerald - "Take the A Train"
Mary Lou Williams with Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds of Joy - "Mary's Idea"
Albinia Jones with Don Byas' Swinging Seven - "Evil Gal Blues"
Terri Lyne Carrington - "Mosaic Triad"


I concluded with a set of music from the last ten years or so, contemporary jazz in some of its multifarious forms.

The playlist was:

The Bad Plus- "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Esperanza Spalding - "Endangered Species"
Vijay Iyer - "Optimism"
Ikue Mori - "Invisible "Fingers"
Matana Roberts "Pov Piti" from Coin Coin vol. 1

It's a bare sampler of the diversity of modern jazz, but it at least hints at all the directions jazz is heading in, use of electronics alongside acoustic instruments in Ikue Mori's music, use of rock and roll idioms in the music of Iyer and the Bad Plus, use of funk and soul idiom alongside jazz improv in Spalding's music, the incorporation of spoken elements in "Pov Piti" and the consciousness of modern political struggle. And I pointed out that the opening call and response between piano and bass in the Bad Plus "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is an almost explicit homage to Miles Davis's "So What", that no matter how much jazz pushes in new directions, what makes it jazz is its awareness of its history and its relentless reinterpretation of that history.

So I think the bottom line of the panel was that jazz is a terrible music to vid, but it's awesome music, and the more you learn about how jazz works, its context and its history and its structure, the easier it will be to overcome the inherent difficulties it presents to vidders. That's not necessarily an easy answer, there's no great and simple technique that solves all the problems, but different jazz music suffers from different problems, and in this way the diversity of jazz is a tremendous asset to vidders.

I will post a download link for all this music once I'm back at home after Worldcon.


Also, [personal profile] settiai posted notes on the jazz panel
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
Title: Warning: Might Lead to Mixed Dancing
Responsible for the lack of consistent title block from vid to vid: seekingferret
Vidder: seekingferret
Song: "Et Rekod" by Yakov Shwekey
Fandom: Um... all of them? Or at least 104 of them.
Content Notes: Warning: Might Lead to Mixed Dancing
Length: 4:16
Summary: All the Jews! All the Feelz!. The Jewish dance vid of my heart.
Premiered at: Club Vivid 2017
Thanks to: Oh, man, the list. First and foremost, thanks to [personal profile] sanguinity and [personal profile] ghost_lingering for so much support and helpful feedback. Thanks to [personal profile] kass for positive feedback when it was desperately needed. Thanks to J,L,L,T, and B for giving me the opportunity to watch people respond to the vid in person and see what was landing. Thanks to a different J and L for offering a round of specifically Jewish feedback. Thanks to [personal profile] thirdblindmouse for canon suggestions and source provision. Thanks to anyone who has listened to me babble about Jewish movies in the past year, which is most of the people I know, even if they didn't necessarily know the reason I was watching a particular movie or show.




(Download available through the Critical Commons website. Note that you have to get a free account.)

(also posted to youtube)

I have so much to say about the making of this vid and my feelings about all the characters and fandoms in it that it's honestly a little paralyzing. I've written thousands of words of reveal notes and I still have thousands of words to go, but here is the vid! I worked on this vid from October to May and I poured all my heart and all my soul and all my might into this vid. It feels so amazing to finally share it with the world. It was so amazing to dance to it at Vividcon, wearing my Soulless Golem T-shirt.

Song lyrics )

List of all fandoms, not quite in order )

Vividcon!

Aug. 4th, 2017 03:34 am
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Like last year, I had airplane trouble, but unlike last year my flight was not cancelled, just delayed three and a quarter hours! I am now at Vividcon, it is now after 2 in the morning though my East Coast brain still believes it's after 3 in the morning, and I should be sleeping.

Also [personal profile] ghost_lingering owes me a drink- while we were commiserating over her delayed flight at LaGuardia and my delayed flight at Newark, we decided to race to Chicago- the winner would have to buy the loser a drink. She beat me by about fifteen minutes, proving a miserable night was had by both of us.

But I am so excited for todya at the con! My jazz panel! Vid Roulette! Vividcon Shabbos! Premieres! Other cool vidshows! Many many awesome people!
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (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: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (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: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (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

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.
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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: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (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: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (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. ;)

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seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
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