This weekend is host to two very Grinnellian traditions. On Saturday morning, Mac field will be bustling with the relays team members. The festivities will then move to Harris Cinemas at 9 p.m. for the Titular Head film festival.
Relays were initiated in 1973 and have been an on-and-off event for the past 40 years. Due to a rise in the drinking age and the college’s 150th birthday celebration, Relays took a couple hibernation periods. The most recent hiatus ended in 2002, and the games have been active ever since.
“Teams of six to eight people form teams. It’s a celebration of different relay games outside and it tries to connect the faculty and students in a more social environment. A lot of the SEPCs form teams, which means a lot of professors,” said event organizer Matt Rosenbaum ’12.
There will be a slight change in the format this year. Whereas in the past, many of the games involved drinking beer, this year there will be a beer garden for those who hold valid identification that they are of legal age to drink. It will be a barricaded area with kegs and drinking outside of the beer garden will not be allowed.
“It’s going to be a little different this year because in years past it’s been more drinking oriented with most of the games involving chugging beers. In an effort to ‘reduce harm’ we have to be more cognizant of public drinking,” explained Rosenbaum.
The relay games will instead involve chugging water and chugging milk.
After Relays, Titular Head will take place at 9pm in the Harris Gymnasium. Although the film festival began as an extension of Relays, in the past few years the event has taken on a life of its own. This year, there were over 50 submissions of student-produced films. Each film is limited to five minutes in length and the event should last about three hours. Margaret Allen ’12 and Ben Tape ’12, members of the Grinnell Ritalin Test Squad comedy improvisation group, will be hosting this year’s festival.
Kevin Jennison ’12, Ben Spears ’12, and Devin Turner ’12, the directors of several films including “I’m at Grinnell” and “Big Cookie” turn their talents to running the popular event.
“[Titular Head] is kind of notorious for showing a range of quality of videos. From stuff that you never really want to watch ever again to something that is really fun,” explained Jennison. “It’s often really self-referential and very confined to the Grinnell community.”
Attendees should be given fair warning; the videos can be quite graphic.
“It also has sort of a reputation for being explicit at times. Some of the videos that students make can be artful, humorous, and just outright provocative,” Turner said.
Nearly all videos submitted are being shown this year. There is no censorship and no video is removed from the festival for being too profane. Organizers have tried to include as much content as possible without letting the show go on for too long. A panel of 10 students judges the films and a winner is chosen every year. This year, the organizers are excited about the superiority of the submitted films.
“I think we can pretty confidently say that the quality of films this year is actually pretty solid. We’re really, really pleased with the films that people submitted,” said Spears.
The organizing trio has been active in Titular Head since first year, when they submitted their first video. This year, they submitted two videos.
“[The festival] embodies Grinnell’s quirkiness and sexual liberation and pride for the school and love for the little things that we have in common,” Jennison said.
Organizers also expressed gratitude for the support that ACE and SGA have given the festival.
“ACE and SGA have been helping us out a lot through every step of the way,” said Turner.
To make ACE security’s job easier, the organizers urge attendees not to throw things onto the stage, especially chairs.
“We’re super excited and I hope everybody else is too and it’s going to be a fun time,” said Jennison.