is what I said to Ben as I popped out around 9 last night to go see nofunangie at Mimi's. I didn't get home till about 3.
It was crowded. I wasn't going to stay. Then I found some friends and started gabbing away and laughing very, very hard. More friends sifted through. Then, quite out of the blue, someone set up a projector and showed a tribute film to Helen Hill, which was comprised of some of her short films and some interviews with her.
I didn't know Helen she was just a face I recognized from being around, but a lot of my friends did know her. It's cliché to speak of someone who met with such a horrific end in terms like, "sweetest person in the world," and "wouldn't hurt a fly," and all manner of complimentary adjectives. But after watching some interviews with her and seeing some of her short animated films last night, you really get the idea that the people who say these things are not just struggling to come up with something nice to say. There is er, was a wondrous awe about her. An almost childlike innocence and gleeful optimism, although clearly she was anything but childish. One of her films (for example) dealt with her grandfather's death, but was written and animated in such a way that, although the subject is certainly a grim one, you're left with an up-beat, grateful feeling which is, I gather from listening to her and watching her films, pretty much the way she was 24 hours a day. She seems to constantly acknowledge the ugly inevitabilities inherent in living in this world, this country, this city, but what she has to say is never, never a downner. You're left feeling happy, not despite The Way Things Work, but, in a weird inexplicable way, because of them. What should by all accounts be bittersweet leaves no bitterness on the palate. I suppose this is a very confusing description of the thoughts and emotions she leaves you with. I've never seen anything like her. I hope people can continue to have access to her work.
I was angered anew at what happened to her, to her husband, and that their child will grow up without such an extraordinary mother.
Spliced into the tribute was some footage from the march on City Hall some weeks ago. I think half the people in the crowded upstairs at Mimi's were present that day at City Hall. And, mixed in with the anger and confusion over what happened, I was somehow left with a weird feeling of gratitude that her death brought so many thousands of people together from every corner of the city, so many different kinds of people, all with one goal in mind: Please don't let this happen any more.
Please, don't let this happen any more.
Yes. These are the things I've been trying to encapsulate, trying to hold on to every day.
It is indefinable, and it means that you're alive. We are.
Thank you for being so, and for being you.
love and love and love to you