The head of curriculum is in my art room and I can see she has some concerns. It’s Thursday morning, a week before SIFF 2018 and controlled chaos would be a good description of the scene. There is a painting station outside under the overhang with three students, a second station for putting the luann plywood on the wooden frames, a third for designing and creating donation boxes, a fourth where students are hammering grommets into an 8 x 2 foot BOX OFFICE sign and me coordinating, moving giant lettersencouragintroubleshooting.


“Hmmm, you need a clean paintbrush, and there is a sink right there, whatever could you do?” Welcome to my world.


I have had to rig very inventive painting and drying racks in my classroom because of the torrential rains but overall we’re in pretty good shape.


Creekside is kinda like the Rodney Dangerfield of the film festival. This is the 10th year of creating and erecting the sign and you won’t find any information anywhere (except here) about what we do, the projects we create, the four week unit on film or how and why a 60 foot by 10 foot sign magically appears (this year two will magically appear) in our community.

Am I jealous of Peter Hansen’s video program and funding and treasured artist status and prominence on the website and in the festival. Well, hells to the yes I am, but we are on the same team and so I stay above those petty feelings (mostly).

A week before SIFF 2018 is usually a crazy time but this year, not so much. The students have been awesome in designing, building and painting the signs. And the second sign has been a great teaching tool for the SONOMAWOOD performance task I created years ago. Students have to calculate board footage, costs, angles of the supports and write a letter to the Sonoma City Planner. (Total cost of the sign: $470.00, creating a giant art piece that connects students with the community: Priceless)

The rains mean I have no tennis team responsibilities, which is a bummer but frees up my afternoons. I’m taking a two week break from wine touring and the financial pit that I landed in after skiing in Austria is getting less deep with each side hustle.

And what do I have to whine about? Kevin always takes care of passes for my students, and myself which makes this one of my favorite weekends of the year. I meet filmmakers and writers and actors and go to four days of films, drinking and eating strange and wonderful things, having strange and wonderful experiences 








I have partied with John Waters and Shaggy (Mathew Lillard). Danced Zumba with Lauren Drinkhall in an 8-foot cage while hopped up on Kombucha. Done shots with U2 in their tour bus (not really U2 but after shots, who knew?). Last year I injured my shoulder catching a transvestite who jumped out of a six-foot cake.


Plus I run into my old boss from San Francisco and the “SIFF family” of volunteers who allegedly live in town but who I only see once a year at the festival.


My personal best is 27 movies in 2015. I stay for around 10 minutes then if I’m not into it, I’m out. With 7 venues there’s always something else to see. And I learned many years ago (U2) not to go too hard at the parties because you can lose the next day, and with only four days, each is critical.


The student films are always a favorite, we bring our entire school because we can and the films never disappoint. This year I’m also looking forward to “Borg/McEnroe”, “Faces Places”, “The California No”, “Frank and Ava”, “Life Hack”, and “The Square”. Plus I plan on stalking Karen Allen who I’ve had a crush on since Animal House and super excited to see Dumpstaphunk on Thursday night.


I’m always amazed at people who don’t go to the film festival. You don’t have to spend $2500. on a patron pass, for $35.00 you can get a punch card for four films, see the student films for free, or just go take selfies next to the SONOMAWOOD signs.


Get inspired, get connected, and get to the festival.








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