Will the forest city have a fringe festival?

Jesse surveying Walker Park (formerly Walker Elementary School) for a potential fringe festival.

There is a new initiative in town called “Forward for Fun” where every one of the Rockford’s 14 wards is being allocated several thousands of dollars in grant money for creative projects. I learned about this on Friday and was immediately excited. I talked to Jesse about it and he felt the same way. We have a certain calling for planning and executing public art-based events.

One of the first steps to acquiring a FFF grant is to float your idea past your alderman so yesterday, I pitched a Rockford Fringe Festival to Chad Tuneberg. In an email, I told the Republican it would take place at Walker Park the weekend July 8-11 with July 7 reserved for invite-only rehearsals. The outdoor event would embrace and offer diversity and variety in the form of an exciting lineup of live theatre. Gimme!

Maybe we could connect to this for electricity?

In a nutshell, I’d book several self-produced plays that would run one after the other on an outdoor stage that weekend. A weekend of seeing numerous original plays in one area could be a lot of fun. I invited the alderman to talk in person about this. There are many details to iron out including port-o-potties, electricity sources, fencing, food trucks, stage set-up, etc.. We’ll see what happens.

Last week, I applied for a different grant for a simpler project. It’s a small $500-grant and it would help me organize the 2nd Annual Winter Solstice Poetry Caroling event. Even if I am not awarded the grant, it’s not too soon to ask you to mark off Wednesday, December 21, 2022 for poetry caroling! Save the date!

Of course, I’ll continue to create and organize free, public events until I die but it would be nice to have some city funding and publicity behind them. Right now I solely rely on social media to get the word out. It just isn’t enough and has a desperate feeling to it.

But I’m not desperate; I’m compelled. There’s a difference. At least that’s what I tell myself.

It’s a short blog today, one that’s more of an update than anything. The reason is because Naked Angels Tuesdays@9 is resuming in person on March 22 (hallelujah!) and I’m part of the writer lineup so I need to focus my efforts on playwriting. I don’t want to kick off our live event with bad writing!

Until I get my play written, I’ll be posting very short blogs for the next several days. Until then, thank you for reading! -Connie

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter Z

Moments before I moved our car.

We got our two to four inches. I got up a little earlier than usual, retrieved our newspaper, shoveled our sidewalks and moved our car off the street. I took a moment to appreciate the sun rising in the east. Further in that direction, it was still the middle of the night in Ukraine.

Any minute, the City of Rockford’s snow plows will be clearing the boulevard.

Last fall, the City acquired five new trucks and for reasons I don’t understand, named them Snowtorious B.I.G., Sled Zeppelin, Plowzilla, Darth Blader and Plowabunga. Cute names for heavy, massive machines designed to wreak havoc on snowflakes that have every right to be here.

Halfway across the world, there is snow in Russia and Ukraine. But Russia isn’t plowing their streets. The Russian military tanks, each curiously emblazoned with an enormous white Z (or more), are plowing through Ukraine; a country that has every right to be there.

The Zs, I’ve read, are a signal among Russian tank operators. When a tank operator sees another tank with a Z, it’s a quick way of saying, “Don’t shoot.”

It’s OK to shoot their neighbors though.

Why did the Russian military name their tanks “Z?” There is no Z in the Russian alphabet. They have a ж, which has a “zhe” sound and a З, which is like the z in zebra.

Time to crack open the old books.

In case you’re wondering why I know this, I studied Russian in college at the time Ukraine and several other countries were breaking away from Russia. Seeing the Zs on the Russian tanks caught my attention.

Why wouldn’t Russia mark their tanks in their own language or with their own symbol? Why did they use modern English? I can’t imagine the U.S. government ever allowing a Russian symbol or alphabet character on one of our tanks.

I understand the letter Z isn’t owned by the United States of America, or anyone, but I can’t stand seeing it on the Russian tanks. I’ll admit that military language is fascinating, but it does little to soothe my soul. Wherever you are, whatever language you speak, I hope you are fluent in peace. Thank you for reading. -Connie