Tagged: Arts

Giant slides and zombie robots – another day in London

“I’m near a giant pile of wool. Near the singing lift.” I’m meeting someone in the Royal Festival Hall, trying to explain, on the ‘phone, where I am.

“Are you near the weird people?”

I look around. “Um…”

“Those weird wooden figures?”

“No”, I say. “I didn’t see any wooden people. I’m by the windows.”

Eventually, she finds the singing lift and the giant pile of wool and joins me.

Later, we notice a crowd start to form outside the building opposite. They are queuing for the two enormous helter-skelter-y slides that have appeared outside the Hayward Gallery. I nip off to the loo and am informed of the news on my return: the slides are not working; people are getting stuck. We are mesmerised by the sight of the staff trying out the slides. Each is instructed at the top by a woman with a severe bun atop her head and a walkie-talkie in her hand. Each starts well enough, but slows down at the third curve and after slowly inching down to the bottom, is forced to shuffle their way out on their bum. We watch the repeated indignities, silently hoping someone gets stuck, just to see what would happen. Our attention is drawn to the right of the slides, on another of the Southbank Centre’s myriad levels, where a group of people wander aimlessly with arms out, perilously close to the edge. They are wearing what appears to be virtual reality masks. They mill around like zombie robots.

We try to work, but it is difficult with giant slides and zombie robots to distract us. But we manage, because this is London.

The people continue to fall slowly down the slide and, at the time of writing, no zombie robots have fallen off the edge.

Problematic area clearly marked

Drawing by Amy Pennington highlighting the ‘problematic area’

Drawing by Amy Pennington

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Wotever DIY Film Festival 2015 – Submissions Now Open!

Are you, or would you like to be, a queer film-maker? Do you have a story to tell or know someone who does? Then read on…

We are thrilled to announce that we are now accepting submissions for the fifth Wotever DIY Film Festival 2015 . Our annual celebration of queer lo-fi filmmaking will once again feature films, discussions, workshops and more at the beautiful Cinema Museum in London.

Deadline for submissions: 31st May 2015

Festival dates: 21st – 23rd August 2015

Venue: The Cinema Museum, Kennington, London UK (fully wheelchair accessible)

Last year’s WDFF was a huge hit!

We are looking for short films of up to 30 minutes on a queer theme. However, we will prioritise films 15 minutes and under. Feature length films will be considered although please be aware we have very limited space for these. All films need to be DIY or independent films of any genre on a queer theme. We have a particular interest in films about queer people and queer culture reclaiming space. Other than that, our only criteria is that they must be in keeping with our Wotever ethos and as such we will not consider submissions that are racist, misogynist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, sizeist, feature religious intolerance or are in any way prejudiced or exclusionary towards a particular group or identity. We are always trying to improve accessibility at Wotever DIY Film Festival and with that we assert that all filmmakers selected for the festival must work to commit to subtitling their films.

We welcome films that push the boundaries of queer thinking and ideology, are thought-provoking and progressive. Saying that, we also appreciate a nice queer-meets-queer love story, slap stick comedy or music video we can dance to.

This is a film festival by and for the queer community, and we would especially love to see submissions from people who may feel under-represented in the queer community, such as QTIPOC, trans and disabled groups as well as people with refugee status. With this in mind please share this with your friends, lovers and family and get the word out to as many corners of our wonderful queer community as possible.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 31ST MAY 2015

For submission forms, questions, suggestions or queries contact Theresa and Tara at woteverfilm@gmail.com. Please do not send your film until you have received a submission form, and ensure you provide a download/streaming link to your film

www.woteverfilmfest.co.uk

http://woteverworld.com/

http://www.cinemamuseum.org.uk/

@WoteverFilmFest

https://facebook.com/WoteverFilmFestival

As seen on the Good Blog Guide

NWS_WIDGET_72dpi The lovely people at New Writing South have, in their infinite wisdom, included Chez Goldberg on their Good Blog Guide. WooHoo! They’ve given me a little internet badge and everything. Dedicated to “inspiring, nurturing and connecting all kinds of creative writers across the region and beyond”, New Writing South are a brilliant resource for writers. Their workshop ‘Stop fucking about and start writing’ looks particularly good and is the kind of ethos I fully endorse 🙂 Check out all the good writerly stuff they have to offer.

Writers Workshop in South London’s Newest Cinema!

Cinemas are one of my all-time favourite spaces. The feel of plush velvet beneath your fingertips, a dark room filled with anticipation, the whir of long red curtains being drawn back to reveal a giant screen. And then…the music, the flickering lights, the sound and pictures so big, so all-encompassing.

Agata Zielinska-Hryn clearly loves it too, because she’s built one beneath her shop in Forest Hill, South London. Doopo Doopo opened in 2012 and is an independent art gallery, boutique and arts hub. It’s home to the Vortex Cinema Club, creative workshops including film-making, oil painting, guitar classes and life drawing. I’d been in several times before popping the question earlier this summer: Have you ever thought of hosting a writer’s workshop here? Yes! she said, that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for! And so The Forest Hill Writers Workshop was born.

Every Thursday night from 7pm – 9pm the newly developed cinema space will be converted into a writers workshop and I’ll be taking writers through their paces in a supportive atmosphere. There will be detailed feedback and inspiring weekly excercises. Writers will write. And laugh. Because laughter is important in these things 🙂

The new workshop begins on 23rd* October and is strictly limited to 12 places. See the Forest Hill Writers Workshop page for more details.

Testimonial:

I studied with Stephanie Goldberg for two terms and found her classes dynamic, challenging and hugely enjoyable. The structure of the class was always reliable, allowing time for free writing and shared responses to students work. Her critical feed back was always immensely valuable. My writing grew significantly under her tutelage and I would not hesitate to recommend her classes to writers of all levels.

Denise Stephenson, writer of Pentimento (recently awarded 4 stars by The Stage)

TO BOOK, POP IN OR CALL DOOPO DOOPO ON 078 4271 8336.

DOOPODOOPO

*This post originally stated that the workshop would begin on 9th October. The venue then changed the date and this was updated on 5th October 2014.

Conversations with my Mother, Part #3: “Nothing weird”

I am taking my mother to the theatre for a birthday treat. “What do you want to see?”, I say.

“Nothing weird”, she says.

“What do you call ‘weird’?”

“I don’t know”.

“Ok, leave it with me”.

An example of what my mother thinks I will make her sit through if I do not heed her detailed caveat

Queer Film Festival Now Open for Submissions!

Queer Film Fest - 30 August - 2 Sept 2014

Queer Film Fest – 30 August – 2 Sept 2014

 

***SUBMISSION DEADLINE – 4TH JULY 2014***

As someone who describes the cinema as “my church”, I admit I got a little over-excited when I was asked to be involved with this year’s Wotever DIY Film Festival. It’s by and for queers. It’s independent. It’s do-it-yourself fantastic. And it’s going to take place in some of the most inspirational cinemas in London. Weeee!

So grab anything with a lens and get shooting. Here’s what you need to know:

This is the fourth Wotever Film Festival and the biggest one yet, with films, discussions and more over the August bank holiday in multiple venues, and we want to screen your creations!

We are looking for shorts (3-15mins) and mid-length films (15 – 30 mins). We will consider some feature-length films although please be aware we have very limited space for these. All films need to be DIY or independent films of any genre on a Queer theme. We have a particular interest in films about queer people and queer culture reclaiming space. Other than that, our only criteria is that they must be in keeping with our Wotever ethos and as such will not consider submissions that are racist, trans*/homophobic, religiously intolerant, ableist, sizeist or in any way prejudiced or exclusionary towards a particular group or identity.

We welcome films that push the boundaries of queer thinking and ideology, are thought-provoking and progressive. Saying that, we also appreciate a nice queer-meets-queer love story, slap stick comedy or music video we can dance to.

This a film festival by and for the queer community, and we especially would love to see submissions from people who may feel under-represented in the queer community, such as people from QTIPOC, trans and disabled groups as well as people with refugee status. With this in mind please share this with your friends, lovers and family and let’s get the word out to as many corners of our wonderful queer community as possible.

For submission forms, questions, suggestions or queries contact Theresa and Tara at woteverfilm@gmail.com Please do not send your film until you have received a submission form.

The Goldberg Guide to Writing (in 200 Words)

1. Read. Read a lot. Read everything you can get your grubby little hands on. For years, decades.

2. Live an interesting life. Make terrible decisions. Fall in love with drunken idiots. At crossroads, take the path strewn with fallen trees, pot-holes and gnarled branches clawing at your sleeves.

2a. Alternatively, live a life so excruciatingly dull that you are forced to live in your imagination.

3. Be grateful for your fucked-up family. Emotional blackmail, Olympian feats of denial and traumatic get-togethers are literary gold! Whether you write down everything they do as a coping mechanism or merely revenge, all the raw drama of life is here.  If you ever run out of material, you could do worse than telephone your relatives for a chat about what a disappointment you are.

4. Remember that the blank page is nothing to be scared of.  Remind yourself of this often.  Every day, in fact. One day you might even believe it.

5. Write thousands of words of pretentious bilge. Fill a forest-worth of notebooks with future embarrassment.  Fail again and again. At some point, fail better.

6. Shut the door. Sit. Pick up a pen. Repeat steps 4 and 5. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

The fear of the Blank Page

I finished my 30 Day Challenge on 30th November. It was exhausting, exhilharating, inspiring. My Queer Writers Retreat is up and running (and there’s an earlybird discount if you book before Christmas Eve), this blog is growing steadily and I now have the confidence to play, experiment, have fun with ideas in a way that my perfectionist self warned me against in the past.

And yet. The fear. It’s always there. Lurking.

The blank page

The blank page

I teach people free-writing*. I have abseiled off the top of a 500m building, done stand-up comedy, performed to a 200-strong rowdy audience wearing little else but my underwear and a long velvet cape, stood up to bullies. So why does a blank page hold such horror?

I have been re-reading On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. I love this book. Love its humour, advice and wisdom. It’s candour. But most of all, I love the intimacy King creates, as if he is speaking only to me, as if this is just a relaxed conversation between us two.  It is simply a joy to be in his company. (Hell, if he was writing about corporate tax law, I’d still lap it up.).

There are a couple of lines, near the end, that I want to screen-print onto a large poster, frame and hang on every wall in my house. To remind me. To remind me what you, and I, and everyone already knows deep down:

The scariest moment, writes King, is always just before you start.  After that, things can only get better.

Oh Stephen, you speak the truth!

So. Sit. Pick up your pen. And start.

 

*the art of just getting the fuck on with it

What one talks about on the Queer Writers Retreat (clue: it’s bollocks)

Or at least, this is just one of the topics covered during an afternoon break at the first ever Queer Writers Retreat. We are giggling in the kitchen: the playwright working on a new play, the literary agent who’s got her own book to deliver in January, the comedian creating a brand new set, the blogger working towards a book and the host – yours truly. The novelist couldn’t make it. The novelist missed out on other conversational gems such as “M_’s nut milk”*, “the fanny grooming shop” and “the proper use of coasters”. I make a pot of strong coffee and we eat biscuits and chat.  The conversation becomes more animated and threatens to last a while. I gently interrupt and usher everyone back upstairs, to continue what they started.

Earlier that morning…

It’s 10:10am, ten minutes after the QWW is supposed to begin, and I’m struggling to clear a blocked sink that was perfectly fine just five minutes before and no-one has turned up. There’s a problem on the trains and four writers are running late, one has given up trying to get here altogether. The place is sparkling clean and fragrant with oils of bergamot, lime and peppermint. There is freshly baked lemon polenta cake sitting pretty on a cakestand in the lounge, coffee and a gazillion types of tea at the ready. The writing table is poised for action. The roses in the hallway stand to attention. We wait. And we wait. All we are missing is some writers. And an unblocked sink.

Five minutes and some heavy duty sink unblocker/ prodding with a metal curly wire/ plunging + a lot of swearing later, and the sink is satisfylingly empty and the first guest arrives. The kettle goes on, two more writers turn up, a pot of tea is made. We sit in the lounge and I give them tea and cake and paper to pledge their committment to what they will achieve today. This fixes a goal in their minds and they work harder for it.  They are nervous.  Of course they are – they’re spending the day with a bunch of strangers and a monstrous expanse of empty white page. I know this feeling. That’s why I soothe them and offer them cast-iron tips for how to get writing. Because if there’s two things I am bloody good at it’s this: feeding people and getting them to just write.

Once all four are safely at the writing table, I tiptoe upstairs like a parent checking on a sleeping baby and peek into the room. The nervous chatter is gone. All I can hear is the scratching of pens. They are lost in whatever worlds they are creating. It is beautiful to watch. With a happy heart, I return to stir the hearty soup I am making for their lunch.

Image

At the end of the day, they are rewarded with wine, sparkling elderflower juice, crisps, olives, personal satisfaction, a little debrief and some wonderful new friends. And pages and pages of words. Lovely, delicious words.

What they said:

“Thank YOU. It was such a brilliant day. From the start you took care of everything: from gentle prodding on the writing, to a comfortable space and wonderful food and drink all day. And the unexpected bonus, the funny and open-hearted fellow writers. We did chat but it was mostly about writing and only a little about hair…”

“The view is just magic”

“Stephanie creates a wonderfully warm and relaxed environment where writers across disciplines can come together to work. Support is available at all times, be it in the form of tea and cake, or a sounding board for an idea. Having writers from mixed disciplines is great for fresh perspectives and new techniques and the atmosphere of creativity and mutual respect is really quite special.”

“I cannot recommend this enough for anyone looking to refocus and give real time to their work away from everyday distractions.”

*Because M could only drink almond milk, of course.

Unleashed and unblocked: The loveliest praise

I received the loveliest message today:

STEPHANIE. You have unblocked or unleashed something inside me and I am all spilly over with words, like sick with them, grrroooo. I had to get up at 5.45am to write. Goddam you!

This made me so happy! It’s one of the reasons I’ve started the Queer Writers Retreat – a whole day of writing with no distraction. It trials this Saturday and I’m excited, nervous and planning what cakes to bake*. It’s the time and space to nurture your writing, because in turn the writing will nurture you.

Let us all be “spilly over with words” 🙂

*lemon polenta and coffee & ginger, since you ask