fan mail.

chickfactor would never fancy a frontman like *that* but we are super-chuffed to be a reference in this short film by brett vapnek (whose cat power and helium videos are ace too).

mon gala papillons.

Bridget wrote this song after performing at our fab event of the same name (which is named after a Lartigue photograph) and it’s so awesome to have this performance to listen to! (it’s a few songs in btw)

bowlie 2!

Not sure yet if we can swing Bowlie 2 in December, but we really want to go! Between that and Matador 21, the autumn will be filled with your indie past.

hangover lounge!

Congrats to our pals at the Hangover Lounge in London, who’ve just released their first proper 10-inch vinyl record, designed by chickfactor cofounder Pam Berry, who is a master of such handmade packaging, crafting, gocco-ing, etc. Sure wish we could be there for the release hoo-ha. We cannot wait to get our hands on one of these!

Image by WIAIWYA

strange powers screenings and festivals.

Sorry for the slow-down on the website — I blame Blogger for changing things around and messing things up! Luckily we have a new webmaster lady at chickfactor (welcome, Janice!) and hopefully soon we will be catapulted out of the past and have a modern website that has a working RSS feed, and soon Twitter/Fbk and all that crap. I apologize for the state of things! Meanwhile, most of you know that I worked on the Magnetic Fields documentary! It opens in theaters in North America (and hopefully the UK) this fall, starting with a showing at Film Forum from Oct 27-Nov 9, a Toronto opening Nov 4, Los Angeles opening Nov 5 and San Francisco Nov 11. More cities TBA soon! We are also close to getting our very first screening dates confirmed for the UK. The dates are usually updated here.

We have shown Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields at:

The Starigrad Paklenica film festival in Croatia!

PopFrenzy presented the film in Sydney, Australia on August 4. Details here.

The Melbourne International Film Festival on August 7.

At the New Zealand Film Festival in Auckland (July 9, 10, 12, 13) and Wellington (July 16, 19, 21) in July.

At Outfest in Los Angeles, California, in the lovely DGA theater, where we won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature!

At Sled Island in Calgary on June 28.

Twice at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 6 & 7, 2010.

At a Brooklyn Arts Council sneak preview at Brooklyn’s Bell House on May 10.

Twice at Toronto’s Hot Docs in May 2010.

IndieLisboa (in Lisbon, natch) on April 29.

The Independent Film Festival Boston on April 25, 2010.

Four times at BAFICI in Buenos Aires in April 2010.

Twice at the Florida International Film Festival in April 2010.

The Irish Film Institute’s Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Film Festival in Dublin in April 2010.

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC, in April 2010.

World Premiere: South by Southwest Film Festival screenings on March 15, 18 and 20, 2010.

San Francisco Film Society Sneak Preview event on Feb 28, 2010.

world premiere and a lot of eating…


a photo of art deco palace cicada (by gail o, natch)

march 13: fly to lax. staying in downtown l.a. just next to the moca. had a few flashbacks to being about 12 and having my grandmother navigate us around LA on public transportation. ashley took me to wurstkuche to eat artisanal veggie sausages and truffle oil fries with a tzatziki dipping sauce. I was feeling rather lardy or I would have had a giant mug of one of the appealing belgian beers they have on tap there too. did we do anything else? I wasn’t feeling so lardy, though, that I could resist getting a sugar-free “skinny bun” at babycakes LA bakery, though I didn’t eat it till the morning of march 14 with a gigantic black eye (a barista tells me this is what you call a cup of coffee with two shots of espresso in it). dinner was soon to follow and we went to one of my fave LA macro spots, m café, where connie and I each had a big macro and ashley had juice and sushi. their desserts are to die for!

march 14: ashley slept way in so I was out on the california plaza chatting on the phone and drinking large amounts of coffee while waiting for her to get up. we walked around downtown LA and came across this absolutely stunning art deco palace called cicada. holy jesus, I want to have chickfactor parties there! (I could use funding, btw). if I ever decide to get married (in los angeles), it will be here. what a place! after much more faffing and a visit to the moca store, we went to m cafe (again!), this time I had peanut sauce kale salad, puy lentil salad and a soba noodle salad, which was all super delish if a bit too close to dinner time. we headed off through the fricking insane LA traffic and ended up at the luxe hotel for felicia and justin’s awesome wedding. they both looked like movie stars. the fella doing the service looked like bob balaban. they walked down the aisle to “this will be our year” by the zombies and the music for dancing later was just as top drawer (even I had to roust my tired bum on to the dance floor for some new order). the party favors were those tiny macaroons that look like hamburgers in crazy colors, yum.

march 15: we’d barely slept an hour and it was time to get up, get gas, return rental car, blah blah blah, and get to LAX, fly to austin, texas, for the world premiere of strange powers: stephin merritt and the magnetic fields at the south by southwest film festival! considering the fact that we three ladies (ashley, connie et moi) had gotten zero sleep, I think did a pretty good job at enduring this challenging day! ashley started ordering around the hotel staff, which is one of her many skills, while connie and I went to the largest whole foods on earth (lamar and 5th). I really just wanted some bottled water but walked around in a zombie-fied daze looking for ages. the place was mobbed with festival goers, business people and students, just mobbed. it was highly comical. recently I saw the wooden birds (whose frontman andrew kenny is from austin) open for the clientele and he recommended a couple “vegetarian-friendly” places to eat in austin, since I hadn’t been there in a decade. one place he mentioned, east side café, looks like a lovely place you’d take your parents to. the enchiladas were a bit dull, sadly. they didn’t have too many veg-friendly options either.

from there we went to the hotel and tried to revive ourselves and get ready for a big evening. we were at the alamo movie theater by 6:30 for the world premiere, and the thing sold out. the film was shown and people seemed to like it, though I think it may have gotten more laughs in SF (more people perhaps). kerthy and I did a Q&A after and people had Qs (even though TMFs were not there!) all in all, a big success. me and my traveling companions, who were beginning to feel like all-girl bandmates, decided to try another wooden birds recommendation: sazon, though we were short on time since we had to get to the after party. we ordered very simple items (beans and rice and soup, that’s it) and sat for 45 minutes waiting… but the food never came! I was DJing at the party and couldn’t wait much longer so we left hungry! the picture on their website and the actual restaurant are quite… different.

many, many jokes were made about the bar sister act 2 where our film’s after-party was held. what a silly name! was the name so good they had to use it twice? hard to believe. I was rushed into the DJ booth upon arrival and kept there for far too long (the drag queen due to entertain was late), and my merritt-heavy set list included:
1. I thought you were my boyfriend
2. jaan pahechaan ho
3. take ecstasy with me
4. like a motorway
5. luckiest guy on the lower east side
6. tour de france
7. three way
8. kites are fun
9. smoke and mirrors
10. heaven
11. I’m sorry I love you
12. almost (crash)
13. the dead only quickly decay
14. utopia (goldfrapp)
15. too drunk to dream
16. leave me be (sonny & cher)
17. meaningless
18. I know she will (zombies)
19. all dressed up in dreams
20. real summer
21. but you’re so beautiful
22. queen of the savages
23. when my boy walks down the street
24. all you ever do is walk away
25. hopeless
26. wi nae wee bairn ye’ll me beget
27. absolutely cuckoo
but not necessarily in this order and there may have been a few others! sorry I missed some of you folks at the party, glad I got to meet michael from the london film festival though!

march 16: today was about relaxation and recuperation. it took forever to get caffeinated today! but we had an excellent raw food feast for lunch at beets including some tasty stuffed jalapeno apps, milkshakey things, and other salady things. I was finally able to get an espresso fix at the adorable rio rita. I lost myself for what seemed like hours in the fabulous uncommon objects, everything in there is so well presented and it’s a good thing I had to fly home or I would have filled up a truck. we had a hearty mexican dinner at the parent-friendly fonda san miguel, where I had fond memories of eating with candice and tristin so many years ago. it was pretty great, still, and today made up for yesterday.

march 17: our last day in austin. it was right in the middle of festival mania, but snack bar (recommended to us by mr. smog, bill callahan, an austin resident) really did hit the spot and we wished we’d discovered it sooner. I had a comforting veggie burger stuffed with avocado and tasted other people’s food (all of which seemed ace apart from the vegan gravy, very bad indeed). later, we tried to drive to beerland for gerard’s hoo-ha, mostly to see him and carrie, but got stuck in a sad maze of gridlock traffic and once we got out, we decided we needed some energy in a glass at beets. austin, we only wish we had more time here to take more photos, check out more food carts and even see live music! we did miss a lot of our friends too.