Archive for November, 2012

Help The Rumpus Make a Movie and Have a Good Time

There are very few literary sites that I make the time to visit regularly. I wish there were more hours in a day so that I could spend them reading all the wonderful things I know are out there, but there aren’t. So I have to whittle down my list of go-to sites to only about a handful. One of them is The Rumpus.

The Rumpus consistently publishes great fiction and nonfiction, and they have fun projects like their Letters in the Mail program, which I’ve really enjoyed seeing people respond to. It seems that abandoning technology for good old-fashioned letter writing is something that has been missed. And now The Rumpus is becoming even more appealing to me because they’ve decided to create a movie—the thing I love the most.

The movie is Happy Baby, an adaptation of Rumpus editor-in-chief Stephen Elliott‘s 2004 novel, which tells the story of a California man who returns to Chicago, where he was brought up in the Foster system, to reconnect with an old girlfriend. It’s a really beautiful book, and while sometimes I’m skeptical of films made from books, I think this one could turn out well. Elliott recently made his directorial debut with About Cherry, a small film about the usual coming-of-age story, but told in new and compelling way. I thought it was a very strong first effort, so I’m really excited at the possibilities of this new film.

Happy Baby, like Bret Easton Ellis’s The Canyons, is being funded through Kickstarter, which means The Rumpus needs a lot of help to get the word out. They’re offering some pretty great packages if you donate: $10 lets you help cast the film through a voting process; $20 gets you a copy of the script and free access to fundraising events, and the perks go up from there, including things like tickets to the film at any festival where it screens, and even set visits. But while Kickstarter is a great way to raise money for a project, there’s still something to be said for going out and throwing a party. And just like the way they went back to writing letters, now they’re going to entertain you in person. First up, New York.


On November 29th, The Rumpus will host an evening of readings and conversations at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. The evening will include stand-up comedy from Eugene Mirman, a live performance of Writers Braver than Me, with Monkeybicycle favorites Sari Botton and Melissa Febos, readings by Rick Moody, Jami Attenberg and Starlee Kine, as well as much more—including a surprise guest. Tickets are $20 and with that you not only get a great night of entertainment, you also get to help make a movie. That’s a pretty good deal.

If you’re not in the New York area, definitely check out the Kickstarter page and kick in a few bucks. It’ll be worth it.