It’s two years now since we lost The Dissolve. We’ve clung to connections, here and in the Facebook group and so forth, but two years. What strikes me is that part of what drove our connection was writing. The community came together in writing, of course, because the community came to exist in a written medium. But part of our love came, it seems to me, from our love for one another’s writing style, cemented by the number of group projects we’ve embarked on—group projects that continue and indeed increase to this day.
I must admit that the title came first. I thought of the title in the heat of the moment and realized with delight that I needed to use it. Still, this week (tomorrow, in fact), sees a new installment of Lovefest begin, with my own piece on the 2009 Sherlock Holmes. It’s an ongoing tradition that I’m pleased to be a part of. Further, it would be hard not to be aware that we’re putting a hard drive into Year of the Month this month, with a wide array of articles scheduled (including, yes, my own on the Zorro TV show for Disney Byways next week. In addition, we’re going to introduce a new feature in the Facebook group, which I’ll be crossposting here, called Tradefest.
Tradefest will be a series wherein everyone submits three films in secret. These films will be entered into a randomizer, and everyone will receive the name of a film. If they haven’t watched it and don’t have any kind of moral objection to it—as in, I would trade in a Tom Cruise movie—they then watch it and report. At the end of the month, we find out who assigned our movie. Repeat next month; we actually have more entrants for next month, because it all came together so quickly for this one.
There is this attitude that internet connections aren’t real ones. This has always been inherently frustrating to me, as this also comes from people who lament the lack of penpals in the young. As if dozens of daily contacts with people from around the world isn’t more interesting and informative than a single person. And a closer connection, in many cases, as you aren’t going a couple of weeks between letters. If you can’t get to know someone through their words, how can you get to know them at all?
And, in many cases, we are getting to know each other the way we’ve gotten to know Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael, and so many others, critics and not. It started, as I’ve detailed before, with Lovefest the first time around. Lovefest is in my opinion one of the greatest expressions of cinematic appreciation the internet has spawned; it is deliberately stepping in to express love for something that others do not share. In the face of all predicted scorn, in the face of all predicted mockery, expressing love.
Lovefest has always brought us together, and I suspect Tradefest will do similarly well. Tradefest is about sharing underappreciated films. After all, you have to trade in a movie that you’ve seen before, so it’s expanding our boundaries. It’s worth remembering that the series that has always done the worst when we try it has been Hatefest.