Sunday, June 23, 2013

Everyone's an Artist in this town ...*

You'll never find peace by hating, lad. It only shuts ye off more from the world. And this town is only a cursed place, if ye make it so. To the rest of us, 'tis a blessed place!

-from Brigadoon

Last night The Village in Winter Festival was held at Victory Park, illuminating a little corner of the 'maine - The concept was to transform a community space into a European village - think fairytale and think Moomins! And it really did feel like the The Invisible Circus that appears magically to inject some life and warmth and crazy, and then disappears again.

Daytime Castlemaine has its manic moments when you can't find a parking spot and potential tree-changers pause mid-walk to ogle shop-windows. But most nights after 8pm the streets empty out.On these wintry nights, a deep-sea darkness descends. It gives me a stark and doomy feeling, as if the world has gone to sleep, and upon waking everything will be different.

Last night was like a brief reprieve.

I arrived just after five to see a circle of tents and caravans - a fairy ring of intriguing spaces. There was mysterious music, kilims and cushions and dancing. Roasted chestnuts, sourdough donuts, cinnamon and pumpkin soup and mulled wine and a roaring fire for people to warm themselves around. Also roving entertainers, a shadow theatre, story-telling and a variety hour replete with plaintive song and exotic tap-dancing. The audience was excellent for people-watching - lots of New-Castlemanians looking all Ladies of the Canyon - capes, hats, fake fur over thermals, boho boots. And there was a fat full solstice moon overlooking the festivities. 

In The Caravan of the Ages a tea-lady proffered hot beverages while you sat to watch a video. In it people of all ages faced a camera (country Warhol!) while a soundtrack of voices of all ages answered random questions - it was humans being interesting and banal, humans staring or being unable to stare ... and even though it was a 'watching' thing as opposed to a 'doing' thing, you still felt like you were participating by dint of your own human response ... 

Lisa and I were running The Caravan of Found Poems. We decorated the van with flowers, objects, fairylights and floating pictures of poets. We greeted interested persons and they entered the caravan with a set of instructions that led to mad poetry-making! Finished poems were left in the drawer (they will be distributed at Castlemaine library this week.) Our caravan was most popular with early teens - it was very gratifying to see them queueing up to write poetry and then to hear the tap-tap-tap of the typewriters and to read the strange and delightful poems that 'happened' (or were 'found'.) 

Here are some photos:

Caravan of Found Poems

All writers need a nick-nack shelf

floating poets and thinking couch (I spy John Berryman )

Poets hard at work!

Finished poems

*Title comes form a poem by Lisa D'Onofrio

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