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Spring 2011 newsletter -

Thanks To Our Sponsors...

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North West Film Forum

California Humanities Documentary Project

Independent Filmmaker Project

Horizons Foundation

Spring 2011 newsletter

Big Joy Project News Spring 2011 Newsletter
PO Box 2003 Vashon, WA 98070
in this issue
:: Big Joy in the News!
:: Big Joy Hero: cartoonist Jok Church
:: Big Joy Wish List
:: Facebook Inspiration
:: Money and Success!
:: Poetry by James Broughton
Jumping for Joy!Dear Gorgeous, 

 Wow!  It feels like so much has happened since we last sent news.  We're so excited to share how our film is moving along, spreading Big Joy, inspiring ourselves and others.  

In addition to the articles listed above, we've also got a an article with a link to a great slide show on our San Francisco "In Bed with James Broughton event," as well as a list of all of the inspiring people who your dollars have helped us interview.

-- Stephen Silha and the Big Joy team

Big Joy in the News! 

In the last two months we (or Broughton) have been in print 4 times!  
  • The New York Times mentioned Broughton's work. (It's being showcased in an avant-garde filmmakers series around the country.)
  • The San Francisco Weekly published an online article about a great Big Joy event.
  • The Vashon Loop printed a great article about our film.  
  • The Vashon-Maury Island Beach-Newspaper imagecomber also did an article on our project's Kickstarter campaign. 

Big Joy Hero: Jok Church

This newsletter we'd like to introduce you to our Big Joy Hero, Jok Church.  Not only is he abrilliant cartoonist, (he creates You Can with Beakman & Jax ) he's also become a fantabulous Executive Producer of our project.  To date, he's been responsible for helping us add $7,500 to our coffers.  And he (and his partner Michael Hemes) continue to joyously sing our name, make contacts for us, and generally spread the word and increase the dollars we have for our project.  We are so grateful for all of his help! 
Jok Church
Cartoonist and BJ Executive Producer Jok Church

How did you meet James Broughton?

My late partner and I had a big picnic every year by the San Francisco Bay.  We always said, "Bring a chair and something to share." One year a friend, Sister Missionary Position, brought James and Joel to share.  I didn't know James was a celebrity but I knew he was the man who kind of sparkled at the end of the table.  We seemed to both be about living your life as a work of art. 


What inspired you to become a part of the Big Joy Project?

Well, I feel that James' life and works are worth sharing.  There are two types of ways of sharing: one is logos, which is words, or people language, the others which is mythos, or things that cannot be expressed in words--what is sometimes called God language.  Poetry works to be a bridge between the two.  And I love that this project tries to find ways to disseminate that work in as many ways that you can think of.  When the words of a poem make you think of things that aren't mentioned, that's the power of poetry, it brings it to mythos.  James did a really good job of that.


You are a successful artist, have you been personally inspired as an artist by James' work at all?  If so, how?  

James and I have always been resonate. When I met James I already lived my life on purpose because I was raised to think that I would only see 20 years old.  I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 10, and in those days insulin was a new thing and life expectancy for diabetics was short.  Because I thought of time as being a precious commodity that I didn't have, I did what I thought was best for me.  I don't know if it was stupidity or bravery or courage, but it eliminated the things that were just okay.  James was also about 'life needs to be more than merely okay.' 


Wise men tell us to be ourselves only do it on purpose... that's "follow your own weird"... many people have said it... that's a huge piece of wisdom.  Because I didn't think I had much time, I did what would give me the most big joy in the time that I had.  That's not to say that it doesn't get scary, or that on the way to becoming a successful artist you don't do your share of waiting on tables, handyman and home repair! 


What do you like best about the BJ project?

I like the idea that you're experimenting with ways of putting poetry out and into the world in as many different ways as possible.


Can you share something inspiring that you've done in the last month?
I welded 2 pieces of steel together!  I've wanted to be able to weld since I was 14 and had a job sweeping up the machine shop where my mother was secretary.  I turned the machine on then and tried to weld, but it turns out it is an art, and I wasn't able to do it until this month.  I joined a tech shop, it's a machine shop you join, and they showed me how.  I can't believe it took me 50 years! 


What's the best example of the Big Joy spirit that you've seen lately?  

I think the rock and roll band the Scissors Sisters and its members.  One of the things about big joy is that it enlivens art.  I love the idea of people celebrating, rejoicing, and creating more art.  The Scissors Sisters are so on purpose. They are doing the work of teaching people how to be themselves.  


Do you want to know more about Jok's work?  Link to a great interview with him in theWashington Post.

Big Joy Wish List

Can you help?


Do you want to see more people "follow their own weird," enjoy life as "adventure not predicament," see "joy in the here as their chief engineer"?


Here's how you can help. 

Of course we always need money.  (Or at least we need about $200,000 more, details below.)  


But we'd also be grateful if you:

  • Donated airline miles
  • Told others about our film (especially those who might like to contribute)
  • Blogged and Tweeted aboutBroughton and our project. 
  • Passed on any leads to us of people or organizations who could help us fund our project.
  • Organized a house party/ Big Joy salon for us (we'll provide the content if you provide the people... these are great informal and fun fundraisers)  
  • Joined us on Facebook  
  • Extended your well wishes and prayers 

Facebook!  Facebook! 

A source of inspiration


We now have more than 1,300 subscribers to our Facebook Page.

Broughton Facebook
Click on photo for link to FB page.

Why are people joining us there? 


Because we regularly post interesting, inspiring quotes by James, fun updates, videos, or clips about our movie, links to cool goodies that we have, or examples of Big Joy that we see in the world.  If you haven't "liked" us yet, do so now.  We aim to be a fresh and inspirational channel in the wrinkles of Facebook.


Money and Success!

Sharing the joys of recent fundraising successes! Wow!

We are proud and grateful to announce that thus far we have raised $173,000 toward the Big Joy film!  What started out as a dream is now becoming a reality.  Little by little we are making our way there-- making our way to a world where the genius and inspiration of James Broughton and the message of "Follow your own weird," appear on the screen!  Of course that means we are still only 45% of the way there and we have about $200,000 to raise, but boy are we on our way!

We are ecstatic over the recent success of our Kickstarter campaign.  We are so grateful to the 128 people who stepped up to the plate last month to make it happen.  We were able to raise the $12,000 we needed to complete our interviews.  That gives us a total of more than 300 individual donors -- and we love each and every one of you!  Plus all of the people who support us on the sidelines.  We seriously couldn't do it with out you!

As is our job, we are spending it as fast as it comes in- moving forward on the making of the film.  We have finished 30 interviews, and are in the process of transcribing them and getting them into the movie.  We are 1/2 way through a rough cut assembly, and we are hoping to have a start on some animated poems before the summer is out.

We are glad to celebrate other recent fundraising successes:
  • $20,000 from California Council for Humanities
  • $12,000 on our Kickstarter Campaign
  • $15,000 at March San Francisco Art Institute event
  • $2,000 at a Vashon Island matinee of Broughton films
As we mentioned, we've still got a way to go.  So if you've got deep pockets and could spring us a few or thousands of dollars - we'd be grateful.  And if you know someone who would really resonate with our work and would love to help us make it happen, please pass that on too.

Be a part of this inspiring weird today by donating!   Go to our website and clickDONATE!  We promise we'll make good use of the dollars you dedicate to art!


By James Broughton 

In the arms of lover I

    lie in eternity

clutching the secret of holy excess


Joy in the here is

    my chief engineer

over and onto and once upon     Yes


Joy in the there is the

    nature of nature

touching the habit of daily caress


In the arms of lover I

    leap in eternity

over and onto and once again     Yes

Big Joy in San Fran!

Highlights from a night "In Bed with James Broughton"

James Graham dance
James Graham. Photo by Daniel Nicoletta. Click on the photo to see a slide show of event photos.

San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) burst with Big Joy in March as Jack Davis produced an evening "In Bed with James Broughton," a fundraiser for the Big Joy Project which raised about $15,000, with potential for more  to come.


Performance artist Keith Hennessy recited his lively silver-scrolled poem, "Howlin' for James,"  including lines from Walt Whitman, Alan Ginsberg, James Broughton, and Harvey Milk - backed by a colorfully dressed "Cocksucker chorus."


There was musicdance, an auction, and recitation of some of Broughton's juicier poems - plus a screening of The Bed, Broughton's popular 1968 film about all the archetypal things that happen on beds, filled with joyous nudity and surprising tableaus. 


Sister Merry Peter and Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence emceed the evening, and showed two clips from the upcoming Big Joy film.


"We haven't seen anything like this for some time," said the Art Institute's Kent Long, who knew James during part of the time he taught at the Art Institute from the 1960s until the early 80s. 


"People used to come from far and wide to hear Broughton lecture here," said Janis Lipzin, a filmmaker, colleague of Broughton at SFAI, and humanities advisor to the Big Joy Project. 


Jack Foley, the other humanities advisor to the project, read Broughton's two-voiced poem "This Wonder" with his wife Adelle, and reported enthusiastically on the evening in Alsop's Review.


True to Broughton, there was cake and champagne afterwards in the café overlooking San Francisco's Golden Gate.

Our Interviewees!

We've gotten to speak with some amazing people during the course of our filmmaking.  The following is a list of those we've had the privilege to talk to as well as links (where relevant to their work).

Neeli Cherkovski, poet/biographer; Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet & friend; Armistead Maupin, author & friend; George Kuchar, filmmaker; Sally Dixon, film expert; Malcolm Dorn, friend;Orion Broughton, James' son; Suzanna Hart, James' ex-wife; Anna Halprin, dancer/artist; Keith Hennessy, performance artist; Janis Lipzin, filmmaker, teacher; David Del Tredici, composer;Jim Cory, poet, editor, publisher Norma Miller, actress; Collin Brown, coach, healer; Edward Guthmann, friend & film critic; Michael Hathaway, poet/writer; Joel Singer, partner/collaborator;Mark Thompson, author; Malcolm Boyd, author; Jack Foley*, poet, editor; Al Baum*, philanthropist & friend; Kermit Sheets, partner/collaborator (interviewed on audiotape, 2004);Stavo Craft, artist & correspondent; Lynn Nowak, amanuensis & assistant; Edward Field, poet;Fred Romagnolo, actor; Kevin Killian, author, poet; Alex Gildzen, poet & archivist; Robert Peters, poet; Robert Haller, film historian; John Schofill, filmmaker, historian

The Big Joy Team!

Journalist, Executive Producer & co-director Stephen Silha founded the Big Joy Project. Award-winning filmmaker Eric Slade is directing Big Joy, the documentary film. Bill Weber is master editor.  Cinematographer/producer Ian Hinkle and artist/filmmaker Geoff Watland are helping with editing. Associate Producer Aimée Cartier writes, coaches, and keeps things organized.Peter+Trudy Johnson-Lenz provide creative pathfinding and intellectual support. Associate producer  Max St. Romain (aka Javier Sanchez) conceived and designed the website and Big Joy materials, and continues to advise on music and art.  Jok Church is an executive producer.  CellistJami Sieber is working with us on music!  And you are appreciating and spreading the joy.
To support the power of art and poetry to change lives - please send us your donation today!
TO DONATE: Send us a check to PO Box 2003 Vashon, WA 98070 
or go to and click "Donate." Or, if you want a tax deduction (for gifts of $50 or more): put Big Joy in the "Gifts Membership" Field at the Northwest Film Forum.
GET INSPIRED: Read Broughton quotes regularly posted on our Facebook page.  Find us on Facebook
TRAILER: Watch the trailer now!
BLOG WITH US: Living Big Joy Blog or James Broughton and Me
YOU TUBE: Check out our cool videos.
BIG JOY INTENTION:  The Big Joy Project creates more joy in the world by inspiring people to "follow their own weird," using the life, joy, and work of James Broughton- filmmaker, poet, writer, wildman-as inspiration.
QUESTIONS: call (206) 567-4363 or email 
Praise and Thanks!