Sunday, June 28, 2009

Iowa Chicken Tour: It is Heaven!

Weekends like this are what make all the long arduous filmmaking hours worth it.

Our whirlwind tour into Iowa with the Mad City Chickens documentary was just great fun! With public screenings in Iowa City on Saturday and Cedar Rapids on Sunday, we met wonderful people, ate delicious organic food and had fantastic conversations about chickens, gardens, and the urban sustainability movement.

It's what dreams are made of!

On Saturday night, we stayed with our wonderful Iowa City hosts, Cam, Stacey and their friend Seth.

New Pioneer Food Co-op in Iowa City

Sponsor: Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids

Friday, June 26, 2009

Is this Heaven? Mad City Chickens is heading to Iowa!

John Kinsella: Is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: It's Iowa.
John Kinsella: Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven.
Ray Kinsella: Is there a heaven?
John Kinsella: Oh yeah. It's the place where dreams come true.
Ray Kinsella: Maybe this is heaven

We're heading to Iowa for 2 public screenings of Mad City Chickens this weekend. Iowans want their backyard chickens, and we hope to help them get 'em.

~June 27, 2009 Iowa City Environmental Film Festival presented by IC Friends of Urban Chickens - 1:30pm Robert A. Lee Rec Center Social Hall, 220 S. Gilbert St., Filmmakers scheduled to attend.

~June 28, 2009 Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Public Screening presented by Cedar Rapids Chicken Chat group and the Indian Creek Nature Center - 2:00pm Indian Creek Nature Center, Filmmakers scheduled to attend.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Response to Kansas City screening of Mad City Chickens

Katherine Kelly is the Executive Director and Farmer at the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture. Here's her facebook post today after seeing the KC premiere of MCC:

Mad City Chickens! What a great movie that was last night. There were some 75 people in the room, nearly all of them either had chickens already, or were interested in getting some. The movie was funny and very inspiring. I think one of the best points that was made is that chickens (and, by reasonable extension) are less of a nuisance to the neighbors than dogs are, so why do we outlaw them, but not dogs?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mad City Chickens screens tonight in Kansas City!

The Kansas City metro area has been having various educational activities this month on urban agriculture. In conjunction with these occurrences, the KC-based All Souls Documentary Film Series, a regular weekly event, decided to join in and screen a couple shorts on the urban agriculture subject matter.

In addition, they also wanted to screen a feature-length doc. So tonight, the All Souls Documentary Film Series presented by the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture will be holding the Kansas City premiere of Mad City Chickens

7:00pm All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut St., Kansas City, Missouri.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mad City Chickens screens tonight in Vancouver, BC

There's much interest in backyard chickens in Vancouver, British Columbia as the city council there has recently made it legal to keep hens. However, the bylaws have yet to be finalized so people are still waiting to get their birds.

It an effort to raise awareness about chickens and to insure that the city council staff author intelligent bylaws, Village Vancouver is sponsoring a public screening of MCC tonight at 7:30pm, Langara Collage, 100 W 49th Ave. Following the film will be a discussion led by local backyard chicken expert Heather Havens.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

MCC Screening Tonight in Northampton, MA

Mad City Chickens is screening tonight in Northampton, MA. Sponsored by the Pioneer Valley Backyard Chicken Association, this Massachusetts group was created in May 2008 as a way to connect folks who raise and keep chickens on a small scale in their backyards.

Tonight's screening is at 7:00pm, Forbes Library, 20 West St., Northampton, MA

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nearly Sleepless in Seattle

Our trip to Seattle for the screening of Mad City Chickens was a such a fun filled experience that we can't wait for our next visit. It was a lively whirlwind of activity where we crammed a week's worth of experiences into two short days (not counting travel days).

We had a 3 hour layover in Minneapolis. Then our connecting plane was a few hours late. By the time we arrived in Seattle on Thursday night it was 2:00 am our time.

The founders of the Wallingford neighborhood-based Friday Night at the Meaningful Movies were our hosts, tour guides, and all around suppliers of some of the best hospitality we've experienced in our travels. Rick, Diane & Erica really made us feel at home.

The Friday night screening of MCC was enthusiastically received by almost 160 people despite the unseasonably beautiful weather outside.

On the radio at 7:30 the next morning. That's us and Angelina Shell of Seattle Tilth. What fun!

A visit to the downtown market to see the fish "tossed".

Free tasting at the Theo's Chocolate Factory!!!!

On Sunday we were up at 5:00 am and spent the whole day at airports again and on various flights to get back to Madison. The plane from Seattle to Detroit was staffed by an all male flight attendant crew and a female captain. Refreshing!

Due to a scheduling conflict, we weren't able to stay longer, but Mad City Chickens is still in Seattle. There is another screening tonight sponsored by Sustainable West Seattle, 7:00pm Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chicken Filmmakers on Seattle Radio

We had the pleasure this morning of joining Seattle Tilth's City Chickens Coordinator Angelina Shell on 90.3 KEXP, Seattle Community Radio. Mike McCormick, host of the popular Mind Over Matters show, led the discussion about keeping chickens in the city and how Seattle has been one of the leaders in the urban sustainability movement.

Listen to the mp3 file of today's radio program.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nearly 160 Turn Up for Seattle Chicken Screening!

This is our first time in Seattle, and it certainly won't be our last. The Wallingford Neighbors for Peace and Justice were our hosts, and we've rarely felt more welcomed! Almost 160 people chose to ignore the unseasonably sunny skies and beautiful temperatures outside to take in the West Coast premiere of Mad City Chickens at the Friday Night at the Meaningful Movies film series. The screening was followed by a lively and informed discussion on city chickens, urban sustainability, and backyard goats--yes goats! Seattle is once again a leader in the sustainability movement by recently legalizing the keeping of up to 3 goats in the backyard.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We're Heading to Seattle for Screenings of Mad City Chickens

Wallingford Chickens Movie Poster.

Mad City Chickens will make it's West Coast premiere in Seattle at 7:00 pm this Friday, June 12th. Screening at the Friday Night at the Meaningful Movies film series, the event is being sponsored by Wallingford Neighbors for Peace and Justice. The venue is located at Keystone United Church of Christ, 5019 Keystone Place N., and the filmmakers are scheduled to attend.

Then on Monday June 15th, a second Seattle screening is being sponsored by Sustainable West Seattle, 7:00pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mad City Chickens screens tonight in Milwaukee area!

Milwaukee area chicken supporters suffered a defeat on May 18th when the efforts of Shorewood residents to legalize poultry were turned down by city council members. While this was a blow, it hasn't stopped people from wanting urban backyard chickens.

There will be a public screening of the Mad City Chickens documentary at 6:00 pm in Glendale, Wisconsin (north of Milwaukee). Sponsored by the North Shore Library Association, the free screening will be held at the North Shore Library, 6800 N. Port Washington Rd.

Filmmakers are scheduled to attend and will be on hand for a Q&A afterward.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Beanie the Piano Playing Chicken passes away

It was less than two of months ago that we posted good news of Beanie, one of the stars of the Mad City Chickens documentary. She'd recently moved to a new southern California home and was doing fine. But sadly, we just learned that shortly after her move, Beanie became sick and two weeks later she passed away.

When we first witnessed Beanie's unique talent (among chickens), we knew that she had to be in the film. She had a kind of presence on stage, and she really seemed to love playing the piano. Her short performance is always one of the segments people remember.

James Walker, Beanie's trainer wrote us that her passing has made your movie extra special. I really appreciate you including her. I had wanted her to play at Carnegie Hall (via green screen magic), so seeing her playing for the enthusiastic audience was the next best way to see this become reality.

James posted the sad news on Beanie's blog, but this may not be the end. Before she died, Beanie was joined by several new poultry friends that are now interested in learning how to play the piano too--Einy, Miney and Mo. (Meany was a rooster, who was voted off the property because he didn’t play well with others.) Plus, James has indicated that a new Beanie may be joining the flock to carry on the legacy.

Beanie will be missed, but not forgotten.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Baraboo girls stand up to city council in support of chickens

Fourteen year old Maia and thirteen year old Lydia stood before the Baraboo Administrative Committee on Tuesday night to once again present their case for allowing backyard chickens within city limits. Three months earlier, the girls introduced a draft of a new chicken ordinance which was rejected by the committee. Now the girls returned with an updated version. The following is Maia’s account of how the evening unfolded:

We had an awesome turnout last night at the meeting! There were at least 55 people! Part of our presentation included having members of the community talk about their reasons for wanting chickens in Baraboo. Before the meeting we had 4 people tell us that they would talk for sure. But during the meeting 7 more people spoke on their own accord. They all did a great job and there weren’t any people that came to the meeting just to complain about chickens.

We had met with Alderperson Joel Petty on Saturday and he had a lot of concerns about our original ordinance. Because of that, we added a few more points to it without the help of our City Attorney (who helped us draft the original). Although the changes we made were exactly what Joel asked for, he thought we should have the city attorney rewrite it before he would pass it on to full counsel. And nothing anyone would have said would have changed his mind. 

Alderperson Gene Robkin, who is the chair of this committee, really didn’t want to discuss the changes that we had made to the ordinance at the meeting. He was also dead-set on not letting it pass the committee. So basically, Robkin and Petty have 50 citizens of Baraboo that are very angry at them right now.

After the members of this committee said that they would not move our issue forward, our friend, Anna, really tried to convince them to approve it. What she said was awesome and totally true (that they really should not make this whole process to difficult and redundant). Then (the most amazing part of the meeting!) Alderperson Brett Topham, who didn’t even have to attend because he wasn’t even on the committee, gave a short speech urging the members of the counsel to vote to approve this ordinance and send it on to full counsel. He said that Lydia and I would have to touch up the ordinance before it went to common council, but that it really didn’t need to return to Administrative Committee again. Isn’t it great that he said that? We didn’t even think that he supported chickens!
Those two speeches caused Kolb to motion to approve the ordinance, but then Petty and Robkin refused to second that. The chicken part of the meeting ended there. We were not rejected like we were last time, so we can go back to this committee in one month instead of three. Before that meeting, we will meet with the alders again and show them our revised ordinance that we will work on with the assistance of our city attorney.

Robkin and Petty were both shunned by the group of pro-chicken people standing outside the city building after the meeting, while Topham pretty much became the most popular alderman in Baraboo and lots of people talked to Kolb.

So we will be heading back to that same council on the first Tuesday of July. The mayor is very sure that this ordinance will pass on to the city counsel when we go back in July. I can’t see how the members of this committee will choose to take no action again after 55 people showed up! If nothing else, we had the most interesting and crowded meeting that the city building has held in a long time!