A Buzz That Lasts

Allissa Chan (A19) directed A Buzz That Lasts as her senior direct-study project. The film offers a glimpse into the lives of two individuals who discovered a haven for members of the LGBTQ+ community in Salem, Massachusetts. Faye Simmons and Nolan Surette are employees at the Ugly Mug Diner, a popular restaurant downtown that prides itself in its quirky decor and inclusive atmosphere. The documentary was shot throughout the month of October 2018, a time in which Salem transforms into a uniquely animated Halloweentown—a tradition that is considered problematic not only in concept, but also in practice. Faye and Nolan describe how their respective experiences of Salem change every year when the rest of the world flocks in to fetishize the city’s dark history. Khary Jones was her advisor on this project.

Allissa's project narrative: This is my Senior directed-study film from Tufts University. I have many people to thank for helping me complete this project, namely Khary Jones for his consistent guidance, Sarah Wiles for her unwavering support, and Jonathan Heutmaker for his ability to find a stunning shot in any overwhelming situation. I also want to thank all of the staff members at the Ugly Mug Diner for their unparalleled patience and cooperation throughout various shoots conducted in their space while they worked around me. Salem is a wonderfully unique city filled with individuals with distinct personalities and stories to share. If you ever have the pleasure of dining at the Ugly Mug Diner, make sure you order the P.E.L.T.