"I can only imagine how uncomfortably austere their health and sexual education was growing up and I highly doubt it involved detailed personal narratives and unicorn puppets."

Crowd Review: Crankyfest Launch Party at 444 Bathurst Suite 2, Thursday January 17th, 2013

Okay, usually these Crowd Reviews focus solely on the atmosphere and audience of the events I attend, but the Crankytown project really deserves some specific attention. The Crankytown ladies, Canadian actors Liane Balaban and Vanessa Matsui and costume designer Jenna Wright, are all about educating girls/women/everyone about menstruation and menopause. Their work is hilarious and informative… they take the mystery weirdness out of period time and make it accessible and fun. We’ve written about the project here and here. This past Thursday Crankytown launched a new project called Crankyfest, an online video contest about periods. Liane explains:

“It’s an exciting time for women in the world right now – and Crankyfest is part of the wave of men and women saying ‘enough.’ Enough objectification. Enough violence. Enough of this limited portrayal of the female experience in mass media. Women are people, and they have stories. And there happen to be a ton of incredible ones about periods.”

There are also a ton of incredible people involved with Crankyfest (the international jury is comprised of industry experts Meaghan Rath (Being Human), Jane Grenier (Conde Nast/Teen Vogue) and Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight) just to name a few). The whole Crankytown project is put together by inspiring, creative people: at the party I was introduced to videographers, actors, graphic designers, producers, Elle writers, people’s moms, comedians and a bunch of homemade cupcakes. (Hi, how are you? Numnumnum.) They were all People Who Do Things (PWDT). PWDT are always able to answer the introductory: “So, what do you do?” question in a cool, succinct manner. The things they do are always cool. Are the things cool because they do them or are they cool because of the things they do? What is cool? Hi. I am clearly not a PWDT and cannot answer the “What do you do?” question without mumbling, scare quoting and rolling my own eyes at my own self. Oh well. PWDT are usually pretty nice about it. They understand, they say. They were there once, too, they say. Were they? They seem a little too cool to have ever been talking with their mouths full of icing about the things they’re kind of doing, maybe. There was a lot of crowd mingling at this party and a lot of “What do you do?”s. And shockingly for me, the conversations weren’t awkward or forced. People just came up to each other and started great chats. Straight up PWDT stranger talk. PWDT are so cool and confident, hey?

Being confident and comfortable is an essential part of Crankytown’s philosophy. They address issues head on and don’t fuss about revealing “too much information” because that isn’t a real thing. I want all the information and I can’t wait see the stories they captured in the night’s Confessional Booth (guests were invited to share their first period stories on camera). Considering the wide array of people there I’m sure they got some great stories. Especially poignant was the couch full of older woman, family and friends of the project’s creators. I can only imagine how uncomfortably austere their health and sexual education was growing up and I highly doubt it involved detailed personal narratives and unicorn puppets. I was also really impressed to see how many men were in attendance and loved seeing the videos featuring male voices narrating their first period stories at the party. Talking to Vanessa about this afterward she noted that though Crankytown’s target audience is pre-teen/teenaged girls its message is relevant to the general public. Everyone has a period story: brothers, sisters, partners, moms, dads, anyone who has ever lived probably?

I bet you’ve got one too. Submissions for Crankyfest are due March 1st and more details can be found on their website… share your story!

Review: 5/5 People Who Do Things

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