"Human society fascinates me & awes me & fills me with grief & joy; I just can't find my place to plug into it." - C. Converse, 8/10/74
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Connie Converse was a misunderstood and multi-talented woman who dropped out of college in 1944 to pursue a music career in Greenwich Village. After years of hard work and no commercial success, in 1974 – at the age of 50 – she packed up her Volkswagen bug and drove off, leaving only notes of goodbye to her family and friends. All she left behind is a meticulously organized filing cabinet full of her letters, writings, drawings, and reel-to-reel tapes of hauntingly beautiful music.
This documentary not only asks the question “Who is Connie Converse?” but also, “Where did she go?” To those who knew her, Connie Converse was a daughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, a friend, a scholar, a poet, an artist, a political activist, a composer, and a musician. She was indeed all of those things, but as one can tell from her personal writings, Connie was much more. She was a human in a lifelong battle with herself.
Connie's music, writings, and art deserve to be studied. Her story needs to be heard.
WHERE WILL THE FUNDS GO?:
The funds raised from this campaign will go to production and travel costs to interview other members of Connie's family. I will be traveling with 1-2 other crew members next summer. We are keeping the production very low-key so that it fits with the DIY-ness of Connie, a woman who recorded her music by herself on a reel-to-reel in her apartment.
Any left-over funds will go to equipment and the correction of footage from my first trip to Michigan, where I interviewed her brother, Phil, and sister-in-law, Jean.
My name is Andrea Kannes and I’m a 23 year old graduate student pursuing a degree in Media Studies at The New School in New York, NY. Throughout my program I will be actively working on the Connie Converse documentary as my thesis. I plan to frame the film in historical, theoretical, and personal contexts.
I have realized that to truly delve into this project on all levels, it’s important to fully figure out and even “admit” in certain cases my interest in Connie Converse. Obviously the songs captivated me right away. From the very first listen I found myself putting each one on repeat individually over the course of many nights. I started out on YouTube, clicking refresh from the time I got home from work until I went to bed. Then I purchased “How Sad, How Lovely” and listened to it everywhere I went. I was alarmed by how visceral my reaction was to her voice, her melodies, her communication of intense loneliness and quiet wit. Almost immediately I felt a strange connection to whatever you call that thing that is released every time a piece of music is played. It was more than just the vibrations of my eardrum. It was some kind of cosmic channeling of ideas and feelings and I felt like I knew exactly how she felt with each word hitting the air. So I needed to find out more. Who is/was this lady, and why do I feel like we are soul sisters across all the time and space between us? Through an excavation of her life I hope to find this out…and produce a film along the way.
THE FILING CABINET:
Eventually www.connieconversedoc.com will be a robust and full functioning site, which is something to which a lot of us on Team Connie are looking forward. It will be a place where you can more deeply explore some of the works that may be mentioned in the future film, and perhaps some materials that will be exclusive to the website. In fact, a companion goal to producing the film is to completely digitize the filing cabinet she left behind in her brother’s garage. Connie Converse’s writings, music, and drawings deserve careful study by more than just the handful of lucky people who were able to travel to Michigan and peruse the documents held together by 50 year old staples with their bare hands.
WHAT IS TEAM CONNIE?:
TEAM CONNIE refers to the rapidly growing community of Connie Converse fans along with advocates of her work who are working on other Connie-centric projects.
See Phil Converse reading an excerpt from Connie's goodbye letter, "To Anyone Who Ever Asks":
Thank you for everything!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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