Post Protest

Despite the rain, hundreds of people turned out for the protest yesterday, so many I couldn’t fit them all even in this wide panoramic shot.

Protest Panorama

View full size for maximum impact. Be prepared to scroll horizontally. I posted a set of twenty photos in all. (Of course, Derek has a set that’s twice as big and twice as good, so check it out.)

It was a good turnout, despite the weather. In fact the rain kept me stranded at home and I missed the first hour or so. (Bike was my only available means of transport and I just don’t like getting wet.) So I arrived late and missed seeing my friend John Clark speak. I arrived to hear the latter part of Ian Hoch’s speech, which was excellent. (Levees Not War calls it “the hottest and most articulate rant.”) There’s a video clip of the whole speech. I extracted the audio so you can just listen if that’s more your speed.

There were perhaps a thousand people in attendance, yet I found myself reflecting how in some countries, thousands of people would be marching in the streets every day raising a ruckus. Why are we so complacent here? Is it because of our affluence? No — the Nordic countries have an even higher standard of living, but they’ll take to the streets at the drop of a hat. (Or so it seemed to me when I lived there.) And in poorer countries too people seem to have a greater propensity to express their collective displeasure. So what’s our problem?

It’s extremely hard to organize something like this, so hats off to the organizers for pulling it together. There were a few awkward moments, but generally I thought it went pretty well. The last speaker had the megaphone yanked from his hand, apparently for saying a “militant response” was required. This was to be a peaceful protest, you see. But I think that’s another indication of our general timidity. I mean, the guy said “militant response,” not “military response.” Militant does not necessarily mean violent. They should have let him speak.

A much uglier confrontation happened right in front of me. There was this long-haired Latino dude who seemed to inebriated or otherwise slightly incoherent. He was shouting things at odd moments and being a bit of a nuisance but not hurting anyone. He shouted something about the Gulf of Mexico and a man standing directly in front of me said, sarcastically, “Why don’t you go back to Mexico?” It could have gotten real ugly real quick but some women got between them and demanded the white guy say sorry. “That’s racist!” He didn’t want to apologize, so he and his entourage departed. I think they were tourists who just happened to be passing by and got caught up in the event.


Bully Boy

Here are the seminars I’ll be attending at Tales of the Cocktail. You can expect an in-depth account of each one on this blog come late July.

  • Prohibition & Gin: “This seminar will explore gin and gin cocktails during some of the golden years of the cocktail (1890’s – 1919), the Bath Tub Gin and Gin Cocktails that came during the dark days of Prohibition and Prohibition’s effect on the gin industry in US after that noble experiment.”
  • A Shot of Black Stuff: Amazing Amaros and Brilliant Bitters: “From the simple frat-house pleasures of Jagermeister to the artisanal charms of Braulio and of course the take-no-prisoners of Fernet Branca and Underberg, you’ll learn, (and likely forget) the hundreds of herbs that give these drinks their intense flavour, as well as their serving styles, both old and new.”
  • Armagnac, France’s First Brandy: “Alain Royer Cognac and Armagnac authority explores the history and production of Frances oldest grape brandy. Find out why although Cognac is Frances biggest export brandy Armagnac is its most beloved by at home.”
  • I Hate Vodka, I Love Vodka: “Despite Vodka being one of the worlds most popular spirits it has become much maligned in today’s mixology community. A lively debate on one of todays most contentious spirit categories. The debate will be comprised of two speakers for the case of Vodka and two against.”
  • Religious Spirits: “in depth tasting and discussion of the history and lasting influences of the Trappists, Carthusians, Benedictines, Malthusians and other sacred orders.”

Five seminars maxes out my media “budget” but I’ve also got my eye on this one:

  • The Eggpire Strikes Back: “A presentation that hopes to clear up all the confusion, myths, and abuse of the world’s most feared cocktail ingredient: the egg.”

Salmon Quandry

Seasoned Salmon

We’ve been in the habit of eating salmon about once a week, usually on Sunday. I’ve perfected a very simple method: a sprinkling of Tony’s and twelve minutes on the Big Green Egg. That’s it. The results are always spectacular — moist and fatty and delicious. Xy has even had to stop saying she “doesn’t like fish” because she can’t deny she loves salmon prepared this way.

We often have asparagus and/or couscous on the side. But I digress.

We always bought fresh, farm-raised salmon. But recently I was apprised of the fact that the supposed health benefits of salmon are offset by various toxins in the farm-raised variety, things like PCBs which are really not good for you. Also, even though the farmed salmon are fatty, they’ve got less of those omega-3 fatty acids that are all the rage these days.

I read that wild caught salmon are less toxic, have more omega-3, and taste better to boot.

So I looked for wild salmon at the grocery. The only wild salmon they carry is frozen. But that’s OK, I thought, because I recently read that frozen salmon are actually a better choice from an ecological standpoint.

Therefore I’ve taken to buying frozen, wild-caught salmon.

Unfortunately, so far, this has been a major culinary and gustatory disappointment. I’ve tried thawing the frozen salmon in advance. I’ve tried not thawing at all. I’ve played with different cook times. But still I end up with a fillet that is dry. I abhor dry salmon, and Xy does too.

I’m not sure whether the difference stems from the fact that the fish is frozen or because it’s wild. But it’s been so frustrating that I’m about to go back to eating farm-raised. Maybe it’s those PCBs that make ’em so yummy. Besides, I read a lot of so-called “wild-caught” salmon are in fact raised in farms and only released into the wild for a short while before catching, so in fact they’re not much better.

I suppose in the interests of thoroughness I need to buy some fresh wild salmon and see how that tastes. But that means venturing to a different grocery.


I haven’t been to a protest for a while. Think I’ll make this one.


BP Oil Flood Protest
Sunday, May 30, 2010
1:00pm – 7:30pm
Jackson Square, French Quarter, New Orleans

Join us on SUNDAY, MAY 30th at 1 PM in Jackson Square, New Orleans, to demand the Federal Government and BP devote all possible available resources to stopping the continued outpouring of crude oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico NOW!

Calling for volunteers to help in organization of event; distributing fliers, contacting media, and phone campaign. If you are interested in helping, please send contact info to : [email protected]

NEED PUBLIC SPEAKERS with knowledge about about the situation. Please email bpoilflood@gmail with short description of your area of expertise, affiliation.

Thanks!! Please remember, this is a peaceful protest! Please, if you feel you cannot abide by that, Do Not Come!

I’m not on the inside loop for this. I don’t know who’s organizing it or anything, really beyond what I’ve posted here. A website has been mounted at but it doesn’t have a whole lot more detail at present.

I believe massive protests are in order whenever massive institutions screw up in massive ways. People are outraged and that needs to be expressed. Whenever something like this is organized, I’ve noted a lot of people feel compelled to express their skepticism about the efficacy of such protests. On Facebook, a friend of mine noted that “unfocused rage never solved anything.” I agree with that. However, the rage is already there, and public actions such as a protest rally can serve to give that anger a focus that it might otherwise lack. If we don’t come together, we tend to feel isolated and weak. A well-organized protest can empower people and help them make new connections. I don’t know if this protest will qualify as “well-organized” but the potential is there.

Still not convinced? Look at these pictures. Now tell me, when historians write about this chapter in our history, do you want the story to be that “no one protested”?

Sandbox Dialog

We stopped by our friends’ house yesterday and I talked to a couple four-year-old-boys playing in the sandbox. One of the boys had a sucker that had gotten coated with sand.

Me: Mmm, sand, that’s my favorite flavor.

Russell: Do you want it?

Me: No thanks, I just ate a bunch of sand before I came over here.

Sebastian: Did you eat Sephie’s purple sand? [Editor’s note: My daughter has a box full of purple sand, a gift from her grandmother.]

Me: Yes, I ate it all up, it was yummy.

Russell: Are you just joking with us?

Me: Yes, I’m just kidding.

Sebastian: I don’t really get that joke.

Me: Well… it’s just a ridiculous thing to say, because people don’t really eat sand.

Russell: I do!

And with that, he opened wide and poured a full bucket of sand into his mouth.

Dark Cloud of Oil

I hesitate to write much about the oil apocalypse in the Gulf, because it’s complicated and technical and I don’t want to be perceived as setting myself up as some sort of self-styled expert. That would be foolish. All I know is what I read in the papers and online. (Mainstream press coverage is bleak enough, but you don’t have to venture too far afield to find extremely divergent accounts, which is a fascinating phenomenon in its own right.) But this story dominates the local headlines, and the smell of petrochemicals fills the air, so it’s impossible not to think about what’s happening.

After all the harrowing events surrounding the hurricanes of 2005 and the subsequent struggle to rebuild, this feels like a massive kick in the crotch. I can only imagine what it feels like for people who live closer to the coast. In New Orleans, it was just a few months ago that we felt maybe we were starting to get it together. We elected a new administration, our team won the Superbowl, and HBO premiered a new TV show about our city. There was a pervasive sense of optimism, an idea that maybe the promise of recovery might be realized, that maybe we can do this despite all the challenges.

It almost seems like we were getting a little too uppity. Like we had to be taken down a peg. Like we had to be reminded of our rightful place in the scheme of things. I know that’s absurd, but it has sometimes felt that way to me — as if we are being punished for daring to hope that we were on the right track.

Meanwhile we continue to go through the motions of everyday life as if everything is OK.

There’s plenty of anti-BP sentiment around, but I’ve been surprised to see a number of people scoff at the notion of a boycott. To me it just seems like a given that when a massive company screws up so badly that a widespread citizen boycott should be organized. There should be an price to pay for bad behavior. Unfortunately consumers in the US don’t seem to think that way. Most people don’t seem to put much thought into where their money goes. But I’m baffled by thoughtful people who don’t see the value of a boycott.

Another response I’ve seen is to point the finger of blame at us, the consumers who desire cheap gas and petrochemical products. I suppose there might be some value in that criticism, but I wonder. Those who are receptive to the criticism are probably already acting on it. Those who need to hear this message the most are probably the most impervious. Many of us are already making efforts to reduce our consumption, but that’s only going to get us so far. As much as I’d like to see a revolution in consciousness spontaneously lead to more ecologically harmonious living across the board, I don’t envision that happening any time soon. Other measures are needed. For example, I’m convinced we won’t significantly reduce consumption of disposable grocery bags until stores stop giving them away. Criticizing the American consumer might be counter-productive if it draws focus away from BP’s malfeasance and from finding real solutions.

I asked Xy what she’d think if the price of gas went up to $10 a gallon. She said that would probably be all for the best.

It’s hard not to be extremely depressed about this catastrophe that’s unfolding in slow motion, but I feel a tiny bit better having expressed some of these thoughts.

Twenty-Seven Months

Walking in the Rain

Dear Persephone,

For some reason, I didn’t realize you were old enough to appreciate stories. I mean, even though I read you storybooks every night, I had never actually just told you a story. I guess I thought the pictures in your books were an essential element. Then, a couple weeks ago, I told you the story of “Little Red Hoodie,” and you were absolutely enthralled. Even after the story was over, you kept coming back to it. The wolf in particular seemed to capture your imagination. “A wolf, Dada? A wolf?” So now stories are a part of your bedtime routine. We’ll read some books, then I’ll put you in your crib and turn out the light and tell you a story and then a sing a few songs. Problem is, I’m running out of stories. Red Hoodie, The Three Pigs, Goldilocks that’s about all I got. You’re still a little young for Cinderella and Snow White? That story is twisted.

Lately you’ve been protesting when I leave the room, even though you’re clearly on the verge of falling asleep. You’ll point to the bed and ask me to sleep there. I tell you that I’ll come back and check on you later and that seems to console you. Sometimes.

Speaking of bedtime routines, the other night when you were picking books to read, you pulled Pomegranates by Ann Kleinberg off the shelf. “That’s my favorite book,” you said. It’s a cookbook. But it does have lots of delicious pictures.

At the dinner table one night you declared the salt and pepper shakers to be your “friends.”

You’ve lost a few friends recently. First Folds, then Nicky, the Archer. I showed you Archer’s body and explained that she had died. I’m not sure you understood; after all she just looked like she was sleeping. We didn’t allow you to watch her burial though, as it seemed like that might be confusing.

It’s not your first encounter with death, though. We see the occasional dead frog or what-have-you when we’re out walking around the neighborhood. The other evening you picked a flower and brandished it proudly, like a scepter, when we made a trip to Brocato’s. The next morning you found your flower all wilted, and you held it in your hand on our morning bike ride. When we got to school you said, “My flower died.” We left it at the foot of a larger living flower outside the door.

You are entering your representational phase as an artist. They (mostly) still look like scribbles to me, but you will indicate that what you have drawn is in fact a dinosaur or a butterfly.

And of course, no update of your activities would be complete without mentioning your debut speaking role in Geuxjira. Michael Homan came by with a DVD and we screened it last night. You were a little frightened of that big goofy monster suit. We told you it was Dada and you calmed down. I think this little cinematic excursion may yield a new nickname for you: “Hot Sauce.”


I can’t take the blame for this one. That goes to Michael Homan. But if you watch closely you’ll see me a few times throughout this incredibly weird video.

Xy’s in there too. Also, Persephone makes her first appearance in a speaking role. I always thought that would be in ROX. Guess I’ve been slacking off.

I’m actually very impressed with the final product. Michael enlisted his whole family and a bunch of friends as well. It’s great to know such creative people. Most impressive: the costume which was designed by Michael’s daughter Kalypso. I wonder who the fool in the monster suit is?

Anyway, you absolutely have to watch this video.

How Marxist Are You?

I was recently contacted by a college student at a certain large Midwestern state-sponsored university. It seems he was enrolled in a revolutionary film studies class, and was working on an assignment to give a Marxist reading of a radical media text, and he chose ROX.

His task: to compare us on a scale of most-to-least Marxist between Vertov, Eisenstein, Alvarez and Gutierrez Alea. He thought we were, perhaps, second to Eisenstein. His friend however, though that we weren’t Marxist at all; she said we were certainly socialist sympathizers, but not explicitly Marxist.

So he wrote to ask me the question: Just how Marxist are you, anyhow?

Never one to disappoint a seeker, I of course wrote back. Here is my reply.

Wow that is a really great question. I think Marx is absolutely correct in his theory of labor-value, and that perspective is essential to my understanding of how the world works. However, I don’t generally describe myself as a Marxist for several reasons. For one thing, Marx has a bad rap amongst a lot of Americans, and if you start quoting him you’re just going to turn people off. Another thing is the intellectual heritage of the left. I feel Proudhon’s analysis of property is just as fundamental as Marx, yet Proudhon doesn’t get nearly the credit. In fact, the rift between Marx and Proudhon is emblematic of a deep division between the authoritarians and anti-authoritarians, and I locate myself firmly with the latter. I hope that’s evident in my work, and in fact it’s made explicit in ROX #91 & #92.

This response caused the intrepid student to revise his estimate of my relative Marxianism downward several notches. He quoted me and got a B+ on the paper. I’ve always dreamed of being cited as “transgressive” in an academic paper, and now my dream has come true.

Street Flood Panorama

We got some heavy rain Sunday morning. It caused widespread street flooding throughout New Orleans. I know our street certainly flooded. I used the panorama feature of our new camera to take this picture.

Banks Street Submerged

Of course it is better viewed at a larger size. You may even want to examine the original full size photo, but you will have to scroll horizontally for that one unless you have an extremely large monitor.

I remember when the rain was pounding down, and I was looking out the window, and I said, “Rain like this always make me nervous because the streets might flood.”

Our house guest replied, “I like it when the streets flood. It’s fun.”

“Well, it’s not so fun if your car gets destroyed.”

“I can tell you how to avoid getting your car destroyed. Park it in your driveway.”

Which just goes to show that sometimes and eleven-year-old can be smarter than an adult, because I really should have moved our car to the driveway right then and there. Instead I waited, and when the water indeed began to rise, then I decided to move the car. The water came up quick, and the whole process was rather harrowing. Eventually I did get the car to higher ground. Given the vehicle has something like 13″ of ground clearance, I might not even have needed to move it, but why take chances? Several of our neighbors got water in their cars that morning.

My Introduction to YouTube Poop


We played host over the weekend to an eleven-year-old boy whose mother (a friend of ours) had to make a trip out of town. But it was a trip for us as well even though we stayed here. I was reminded of what a radically different way children have of being in the world. They are not constrained by the same norms of social behavior that govern (some) adults. Our toddler throws me for a loop on a regular basis, but I’m not used to being around preteen kids, and it was a bit of a shock to the system. But most shocking of all was the crash-course in popular culture I received at the hands of our guest. Ever heard of something called “YouTube Poop”? I hadn’t. There is an entry on this phenomenon at Wikitubia which defines it as “videos composed of sentence mixing, sound distortion, repetition and other strange techniques.” Here’s an example that is probably the most popular to date:

Keep in mind there are apparently thousands of these out there. Many of them are quite short and violent. Some of our guest’s favorites seem to involve Sponge Bob blowing people’s heads off.

Like this:

Now imagine that played at loud volume repeatedly for hours on end, and you’ll begin to understand my fragile emotional state.

Air in the Paragraph Line #13

As if I didn’t have enough problems, Air in the Paragraph Line #13 recently landed in my lap. It was sent to me by a distant acquaintance with dubious motives. I consider it nothing less than an all-out assault on my mental health. I didn’t know quite what to make of this thing when it arrived — and I still don’t. At first glance it might seem to be some sort of artsy literary journal. I mean, it has art on the cover, nice typographical layout, a perfect bound volume of 200+ pages with short stories by over a dozen authors. But upon further inspection, it reads more like a zine, full of the sort of deranged rantings I’d expect in a photocopied DIY punk publication from the 1980s (with the sort of proofreading that implies). So what the hell is this thing anyway? According to the official website it’s “a print journal of absurdist and outsider fiction.” I don’t really know what that means, but as I read through these selections randomly, I seemed to encounter all the “outsider” stuff first. At least I assume that’s what it is. These stories definitely run counter to the highbrow literary expectation one might have expected from the cover. They are low-down and gritty. Not gangster-fantasy noir-gritty, but real-life gritty. Many of these stories are bleaker than bleak, the sort of thing I imagine Samuel Beckett or Thomas Bernhard would read when feeling just a little too hopeful. There is also some humor here and there, but of course it is of the darkest variety. Then I encountered some of the “absurdist” pieces, and I really don’t know what to say about those except that I may have permanent brain damage. Approach this one with extreme caution. You can get it online cheap. But don’t say you weren’t warned.

Coffee Reduction #7

Empty cup of coffee

It’s that time of year again. Early last week I cut my coffee consumption down to three cups per day, then two, and I’ve been down to one for several days now. Tuesday will be a half-cup. By the end of the week I will be a free man.

You have to step it down like this. Cold turkey is not advisable for coffee addicts. By my count, this is my seventh (almost) annual wean from the bean.

Some questions remain. Will this be an iced-tea summer? Or will I survive and thrive on no caffeine at all? Should I go for a full detox and lay off the booze for a while too? Maybe get back into a regular exercise routine? Zen macrobiotic diet? Where will this madness end?

Photo by Stig Morten Waage


Our new camera arrived yesterday afternoon, a Sony DSC-HX5V. This is the first shot, straight out the box, without understanding how anything works.


Not bad.

So far, I’m quite happy with the camera. It is small, exceedingly easy to use, and the image quality is more than satisfactory. It also has number of “gee whiz” features that appeal to my inner geek, like GPS and panorama mode. I got a 16GB SDHC card which allows room for over 3,000 photos.

Expect to see some more images in my photostream soon.

Hike Report 2010


Saturday was the Sixth Annual Hike of the Lafitte Corridor, a great day for me — or it would have been, if it wasn’t sandwiched between the death of two pets and some other personal drama I don’t want to go into right now. As it was, my mind was just a bit clouded. The event turned out to be very cool, and I appreciated that, but I couldn’t fully enjoy it.

Forthwith, an assemblage of random notes and related media.

Here are my opening remarks before the hike.

Kickoff Speech by Editor B

How many people made the hike this year? Not sure exactly. 156 attendees registered in advance, 118 people signed in Saturday morning, and Lake counted 130 heads at one point. Approximately 80 people made it the full three miles to Canal Boulevard. Whatever the exact number, it was a bit less than last year, but that’s to be expected given the circumstances. Last year this project seemed on the verge of actually happening, and we’ve clearly taken a step back. But I still felt this was a very respectable showing and I was very happy with the turnout.

This was the first time we asked people to register in advance. I was hesitant to do anything that might seem to create a barrier to participation, but it sure does make planning easier. We used Eventbrite for this purpose. This was my second time using Eventbrite, and I remain impressed.

Here are some nifty graphics generated by the site.

Hike Registration Map from Eventbrite

Looks like we had people coming to hike from all over the country.

This chart shows that most people waited until a day or two before the event to register.

Hike Registration Chart from Eventbrite

Indeed, people were still signing up less than an hour before the hike began.

Registration was free, but people had an option to donate an amount of their choosing. We raised $175 through the registration process ($189 before fees) and we also collected $65 in donations at the actual hike. However, this was not conceived as a fundraiser.

We enjoyed the sponsorship of Massey’s Professional Outfitters once again, as well as Merrell, a shoe company out of Michigan. Rouse’s also chipped in to underwrite the cost of lunch.

The coolest surprise of the day, for me, was the musical entertainment which was provided my the Sunshine Steelers, an instrumental due consisting of acoustic guitar and steel drums. Very mellow and laid back, the prefect accompaniment to lunch.
Continue reading Hike Report 2010

Requiem for a Cat

We adopted Archer back in 2002, I think, when we were living uptown. Actually we didn’t so much adopt her as take over feeding her when some guys down the street abandoned her. I’m not sure how old she was at that time, but she was already full grown.

When we bought our house in Mid-City she came with us, but remained an outdoor cat. She lived in various places, but her favorite seemed to be in the attic of the house next door.

Other strays came and went but Archer hung around. We even took her up to Indiana when we evacuated. She was never particularly friendly with me. She and Xy shared more of bond, but as a rule she preferred to keep her distance from people. She gobbled down her food with the nervous air of an animal that doesn’t know where it will get its next meal. She packed on a few pounds.

Here are some pictures of Archer which I took over the years.

Sleepy Archer

Archer on Craig's Roof

Archer's Got a Mouse

Down & Out in the Morning

Archer Jumps

Thanksgiving Archer


Come and Lay on My Rug!

When we moved to our new house, Archer came inside for a while. She never fully adjusted to domestic life, though. For example, every night she pooped on a certain rug rather than the litter box.

Then, a month or two ago, Xy took her outside and she bolted. We’d catch glimpses of her every now and then on the perimeter of our property. But she seemed intent on staying outdoors.

On Friday, the same day Nicky died, Archer turned back up. Xy found her lying in the sun, covered with fleas. She took her in, cleaned her up, and began squirting water down her throat. But it seemed clear she would not be long for this world.

Last night, Xy slept on the couch with her, and some time in the wee hours of the morning Archer passed away in her arms.

She will be missed.

Requiem for a Rabbit


Nicky came our way last summer, under circumstances that can best be described as silly if not stupid. I was never too close to him, because I frankly hardened my heart against all pets after Lucy disappeared. But even I had to admit this docile little lagamorph held a certain charm.

Alas, Nicky died this afternoon. We are not sure of the cause but dehydration is the prime suspect. Xy liked to let him roam around the yard and this afternoon he spent perhaps too much time out there. My co-worker Jim T. told me a cautionary tale once of how their pet rabbit died in the heat one day. We thought Nicky was safe because he wasn’t in the sun, but perhaps he spent too long a time away from his water bottle.

Or maybe it was something else entirely. One doesn’t tend to assemble an inquest upon the death of a rabbit.

We thought about burying him in the yard but that was complicated by an number of factors and so in the end we did not. Taking his little body out to the garbage can in a plastic bag… well that just sucked.

I have to admit I considered the potential for rabbit stew. No disrespect Nick, to me that would be the ultimate compliment. If anyone feels like sinking their teeth into my tired old flesh when I’ve kicked off, have at it. But since we don’t know the cause of death, it didn’t seem prudent.

Cue the mournful mix.

Helen Hill Birthday Fundraiser

Helen & Rosie

Of course I will be hiking Saturday morning, and I encourage all to come with us, but there’s another event that deserves your attention. The aim is to raise the funds necessary to finish Helen Hill’s final film. The hike may preclude my attendance, but I’ll be showing a video there featuring Helen — the vegan lunch segment from ROX #90.

Read on for event details.

DATE: Saturday May 8th
HOURS:  Two shows:  3pm and 9:30 pm
LOCATION: Zeitgeist Multidisciplinary Arts Center
ADDRESS:    1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd
Cost of Event:  by donation

Zeitgeist is pleased to present the Helen Hill Birthday Fundraiser, featuring a special short preview of the newly completed The Florestine Collection, Helen’s last film.  This one-day only event will be Saturday, May 8th, at Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center. There will be two screenings, at 3:00 pm and at 9:30 pm. The event is by donation.  Funds raised go towards finishing The Florestine Collection, to create sound and master prints in 16mm film, Helen’s preferred screening format.

Animator Helen Hill received a prestigious Media Arts Grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for The Florestine Collection in 2004.  The film was inspired by a huge collection of handmade dresses that Helen found in a garbage pile.  Helen was murdered during a home invasion in New Orleans in early January 2007, and her widower Paul Gailunias has been working to finish the film in accordance with Helen’s intentions. Sunday, May 9th (Mother’s Day) would have been Helen’s 40th Birthday.

Currently Helen’s films are archived in the Harvard Film Archive, and her film Scratch and Crow, made in 1995 and which will be screened at the Helen Hill Birthday Fundraiser, was named to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 2009.

Also featured at the Helen Hill Birthday Fundraiser will be the band The New Dopey Singers (3:00 pm), a Fresh Fashion Flash by Howl Pop (3:00 pm); and Cheryl Wagner, author and contributor to public radio’s This American Life, will read a short excerpt about Helen and her animations from her book Plenty Enough Suck to Go Around (9:30).  Helen’s DVD The House of Sweet Magic will be available for sale, and specially made viewfinders from The Florestine Collection will be given away in a drawing during both shows.

For more information, call Courtney Egan at (205) 393-5588 or Rene Broussard at (504) 352-1150. Information is also available at Zeitgeist’s website,