Sunday, October 31, 2010

The M&M Hotel - farewell to horror

Front entrance and waiting room where we spent hours
Looking for a story for the "horrified" story slam I bumped into an "old friend" and took some pics. Then I recorded my thoughts while sitting in our car, on an errand. In this short digital story, I have combined my thoughts and images with some images I found on line. They were amazing. These photos by Anna Shuelit were the exact mirror of images in my memory from my many visits to and from MMHC as a daughter and sister of mentally ill family from 1968 -- until 1990? Not sure.

The picture of our mother, sitting lost and alone, on our living room couch is seared in my mind.

Since I was not chosen as a contestant at the "horrified" slam,  I am posting my story, warts and all,  here. The Guess Who song "Undun"  in this soundtrack was popular during one of my mother's breakdowns and was kind of an anthem for us.

I was surprised to see this art installation and celebration of mmhc online. Check out the mmhc site and the project at:

The main entrance - all that was left on OCT 26, 2010
The Massachusetts Mental Health Center opened its doors on June 24, 1912. From its inception, the institution has been a partnership between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Harvard Medical School. It is one of the oldest public teaching hospitals in the United States and has trained several generations of leaders in American psychiatry. Located three blocks from Harvard Medical School, it is both a state mental health facility and a center of academic psychiatry, combining public service with clinical- and research programs. MMHC serves an ethnically diverse catchment area of about 285,000 people in several Boston neighborhoods, with a mission to care for the seriously mentally ill regardless of their financial circumstances.

The center began as the Psychopathic Department of Boston State Hospital in 1912, under the direction of Dr. Elmer E. Southard. It separated from the hospital and was renamed the Boston Psychopathic Hospital (BPH) in 1920. It was initially created to provide for the reception, diagnosis, and disposition of acute psychiatric patients in Boston, usually admitting patients for short periods only. After diagnosis patients were transferred to state hospitals or discharged for outpatient care. As the institution developed a reputation for active teaching and research in psychiatry, cases from other state hospitals were transferred to it for observation or special treatment.

When a building is closed after nine decades of continuous use, its long history moves from a physical setting to an abstract place in our memory. In the course of closing the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, the people who worked and stayed in this building for years, whose lives were affected - often unconsciously - by its dimensions, directions, and traffic ways, are moved to a new environment."
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taylor Mali poem on conviction!

I am so often chided for speaking too strongly and I noticed this trend at the charter school I taught at.
Thanks, Taylor Mali. And I love the graphics too.

Ya know?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stationery, Not Stagnant ~ University Stationery

First Emerson assignment

Just had an amazing and typical experience at University Stationary with my heroes, Gail and Barry Seidman. They just helped us find and install a part for an Automatic Numbering Machine. We had looked on line for replacement pad and ink and we saved money and our sanity by checking in at University, before we ordered. The part was a 3/4″ X 1/8″ inch felt pad. Online it cost $7.95 plus shipping. At University, it cost $2.95. Barry helped me install it and Gail made a copy of the directions for my machine which I had long lost, from a newly boxed version of my gunked up model.

This is something that big box stores would like to emulate but cannot fully pull off. They will have many excellent employees, who give their heart and soul to their work but corporations are organized to value and reward profits. their corporate masters worship the “bottom line” and never care about the product/s the way people like Gail and Barry and their staff do. Small stores value their customers and often really love and always understand the needs of the people in the the field they service. I looked at Yelp for contact info on University and found this story. I smiled because I could so easily imagine the entire story unfolding….

” Before a lunchtime meeting, I realized that the zipper of my suit pants were mad at me and would only stay up for about 2 minutes before drooping inevitably down. I walked down the street hunched into my jacket trying to mentally engineer a solution until I bumped into University Stationery. I walked in and asked, really begged, for A safety pin – no not a box, but I will buy a box if I need to, all I need is one…
Surprisingly they didn’t sell safety pins or were out of them. As a very nice older lady rooted through her desk drawers for one, she told me the story of how one day a poor young man had walked into the store asking also for a safety pin, because he needed them to hold his pants up. She chuckled at this story, but in the midst of telling it, had miraculously dug out not one, but two safety pins (just in case). I thanked her profusely and triumphantly safety-pinned my pants together.”
Loving paper and pens as I do, it was pure fun to spend a few hours shooting stationary objects while listening to Gail talk about "life, the universe and everything". I spent a few hour on a Saturday AM with Gail talking about her work as I shot the way the stacks of merchandise created patterns and I am afraid I was thinking about "paintings" and not film. Considering my turgid filming and editing, Gail's lively personality has a lot of dead weight to carry in this project - but she is up to the task. Prepared as an assignment for Digital Media Production at Emerson College, OCTOBER 2010

Music: "Stand By Me" Ben E. King Playing for Change

Several years ago, a small group of filmmakers set out with a dream to make a documentary film about street musicians from around the world. That dream has grown not only into a reality, but into a global sensation called Playing For Change, and has touched the lives of millions of people.

While traveling to around the world to film and record these musicians, the crew became intimately involved with the music and people of each community they visited.

Many of these people lived very modestly in communities with limited resources; nevertheless, they were full of generosity, warmth, and above all they were connected to each other by a common thread: music.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

stories about being transported - JP slam huge success!

Stories about being transported - JP slam huge success! Here is the story I did not get to tell - that is not a complaint - we want more new people to tell.

My father was a lace curtain-Irish/American-Edwardian-self taught orphan who ran away to join the cavalry in 1921 - by lying about his age. He was just 17. He told me a story about my great great grandfather which helped me a lot.

I told this into my cell phone while running errands on SAT. Chopped it to under 6 minutes. So it is rough. Added the Pogues and images to taste.