Short Short Story Film Festival 2016

When you’re three inches tall like my pal Moonie, you like short things.

So Moonie is a really big (but really little, too) fan of the Short Short Story Film Festival, which just celebrated its tenth year this past week. The festival, consisting of two different programs of 17 films each, attracts filmmakers from all around the world as well as superstar folks in the film business to serve on the jury. The resulting films are funny or cute or sad or beautiful or disturbing – but all have one thing in common: a length of six minutes or less.

All the hard work is done by Merging Arts Productions, run by Toni Pennacchia and Paul Elsnau.

We joined dozens of people last week at AS220 to enjoy the festival. Toni, who doubles as a world music DJ named Madame B, spun tunes in between the programs.


Moonie tried to worm his way up front, but people had to ask him to crouch down. His punk-rocker pink hair was too tall.


But he was pretty happy with the seat he took. Everyone seemed pretty happy that night, with 34 interesting films to watch and DJ Madame B to pump up the crowd.


This year’s Short Short Story Film Festival was extra special. For its 10th anniversary, the founders arranged a spread of food for a reception, and artist Mark Zajac made a special limited edition poster just for the occasion.


“So cool!” Moonie said of the poster. And the 34 different movies. And the music pumped between programs. And the food and popcorn. Good job, people at Merging Arts; you made this little dude happy once again.

Flowers vs. the Frost

A few weeks ago, Moonie insisted we check out “Flowers vs. the Frost,” which was billed as “a celebration to embrace the end of the growing season,” at the downtown club Aurora.

Boy, does my dude like to embrace things that grow.

Giving Tree 1

Flowers vs. the Frost turned out to be a group of happy people bringing together all the flowers still left – many grown and donated by a nice young lady we met there – for a last joyful arrangement instead of letting the frost take them away. Everyone collaborated in some way in using the petals to create images like they do in Day of the Dead altars in Mexico.

My dude sure loves art and celebrations. And, of course, flowers.


First he checked out one of the drawings that our friend Jen was making, which would be turned into flower art.


Then Moonie helped out at the “beheading station,” where the flowers were de-petaled so they could become art.


So many flowers!

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Hey, friends, guess-



Um, guess what-



Er, guess what tomorrow is-



Moonie, buddy, I thought we were going to give your friends a chance to guess what tomorrow-



Well, you’ll have to excuse Moonie. He’s a bit excited because tomorrow is PRONK! And that, of course, is his very favorite day of the year.

Thai shirt 5

Last year he wrote a 72-staza PRONK opus, which was backed by a philharmonic orchestra and three kazoos. (I’d still like a word with whomever taught him the word “badonkadonk.” Given that not too many words rhyme with PRONK, it features heavily in the verses.)

So of course we were happy to go to the PRONK Family Day festivities in late August to start getting psyched up for PRONK.

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Short Short Story Film Festival

When you’re three inches tall, you can get pretty excited about short things.

So Moonie was elated about attending Merging Arts Productions’ 9th annual “Short Short Story Film Festival” a few weeks ago. The festival included four screenings – two each of a 17-set of “heartstrings” films and a 17-set of “headtrip” films – followed by a late-night reception, and Moonie was ready to rock.

We arrived a few minutes early for a 7:00 screening at wonderful AS220.


There was already a pretty good crowd!


Moonie found a good seat.

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Moonie and I had a great afternoon at #CelebrateDowncity, a fun event our friend Chris Daltry curated in downtown Providence with a bunch of talented singers performing Christmas songs, plus all kinds of yummy food trucks. We stopped in all the local shops, enjoying wonderful wares, as we made our way to the action.

At Grant’s Block, Moonie got to hang with his little buddy Poco Loco while we waited for our tacos.


He wolfed his tacos quickly so he could go check out Allysen Callery and her daughter Ava. The two of them are super talented and so adorable!


Moonie also admired the little ears sewn into performer Chris Monti’s holiday hat. They were elf-eared twins!

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At last, Moonie’s favorite day in the whole wide world was here. It was time for PRONK!

He’d been up all Sunday night making himself a PRONK headpiece, but he’d gotten carried away and forgot how little he was. He looked a little silly trying to balance it on his tiny head, so he made himself a PRONK sign to carry instead and ordered me to wear his headpiece. Yes, sir!


Off we went to Burnside Park for music and merriment!


Ooh, the PRONK sign. Moonie approached it with reverence. A beam of light shone down on him as he posed for a photo, approving of his pronkiness.

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ERB Shirt for Pronk!

When we last saw our hero Moonie, he had run out of time to make a Pronk! costume because he’d dedicated Saturday afternoon to making a Planned Parenthood banner for Pronk!.

So you’d think he’d be a little sad, but he wasn’t.

Then I came upon this scene this morning.


“Uh, Moonie? Where’d that envelope come from? And what are you wearing? And who do we know in Thailand? And since when do they deliver mail on Sundays?”

He only gave me that mysterious little smile in return, reminding me that trolls have just a little bit of magic about them.

Then he held up the teeniest little shirt and said he’d be right back.

Thai shirt 2

And, only about 20 minutes later, he emerged from his little troll studio decked out as Extraordinary Rendition Band’s biggest fan.

Thai shirt 3
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Pronk! Readiness, Level 5

New Urban Arts is an awesome program in Providence where artists mentor city youth, encouraging them as emerging artists in a safe spot and even helping with homework. But today NUA was a hive of mostly grown-ups as hordes of volunteers, activists, individuals and families attended NUA’s open studios for Pronk! preparations. Those crowds included, of course, our own Moonie.


His new friend Beth from NUA took Moonie aside and gave him two choices. He could make himself something fun to wear at Pronk! – a costume, a crown, a sign, a mask, a cape, whatever he wanted – OR he could help the other volunteers make something for Pronk! for the greater good.

I could see him thinking hard. He so loves the idea of dressing up in a funky little costume to celebrate a festival he’s looked forward to for weeks. But he likes helping people even more, so he chose the second option.

Not that he didn’t have a little fun poking around New Urban Arts’ giant studio while Beth and I gathered materials in the basement. He found all kinds of artwork to hug.


And he seemed to have gotten a bit stuck while exploring the loom.

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Help Pronk!

Remember Moonie’s pre-Pronk! song? He’s been working on it for weeks now. It’s become a 40-minute opus that he says cannot be performed without the backing of an entire philharmonic orchestra plus at least one kazoo. And whoever taught him the word “badonkadonk” will be pleased to know that he’s worked that phrase into at least 65 of the verses “because they rhyme with Pronk!”

And with just a little ol’ week to go until Providence Honk Fest, Moonie is more excited than ever. Pronk! is a special day that draws talented musicians from all around the world to perform for individuals and families – and it’s all free. Moonie cannot wait for this 8-hour-long festival of music and merriment, from the initial parade to the last celebratory note. The “cacophonous street celebration” extols everything except Columbus Day (it is specifically NOT a Columbus Day parade). Moonie cannot wait for the colors and energy and joy and glitter – everything he loves in one bright shiny package.

pronk poster

But there’s one hitch. All those musicians and artists and activists and the hundreds if not thousands of people coming out to enjoy them create a need for permits and safety details and toilets and feeding/housing people who have traveled many miles to entertain Rhode Islanders for zero compensation – which costs money. And as Pronk! charges no admission, that money needs to come from generous folks like you.

Moonie and I were proud donors to Pronk!’s annual Kickstarter campaign, which had him puffing out his little pink tuft, but we’re both a little sad that there are only 22 other backers so far. That’s an awful low number for the amount of merrymaking that will brighten everyone’s afternoon and night next Monday. The goal of $2200 is very reasonable for the amazing day Pronk! stages, but they’re only 1/3 to that goal with just a week to go. Many hundreds of people will benefit from Pronk! next Monday. Moonie thinks it would be awesome if each of them gave a dollar or two. What do you say?

(You can’t hear it, but Moonie is making the most endearing little puppy whining noises just for you.)