Besides running, one of my favorite pastimes is people watching. I like to think I’m pretty good at it too. I don’t have no weird leer or bug-eyed, mouth agape stare or anything. I’ve only made a few families uncomfortable enough to hold their kids tight and walk away and arrests? None. Detained for questioning? A few times but that goes with the territory.
State Theatre - one of my former employers in the Nitmos early days
We’ll be back in my ancestral homeland again this weekend for the 7th annual film festival put on by everyone’s favorite left wing boogeyman, Michael Moore. Now, before the Fox News crowd starts in with the “socialist” accusations in the comments and the MSNBC crowd seeks travel directions, let me be clear that I don’t attend the event as any sort of political statement. I like to people watch. I like independent films (yeah, that’s right, sue me). I have a place to stay since both our parents (and, more importantly the kids’
babysitter grandparents) live there. We do some boating. We do some beering. We do some watching. The area is loaded with great little bars and a thriving downtown scene so, really, why not go right?
Inside the recently restored State Theatre
Plus, there are some fantastic rails-to-trails running paths.
The great thing about this event is watching this conservative small(ish) town come to grips with Michael Moore and his Big Hollywood Socialist Friends every year. This is the type of town that’ll vote around 75% for any Republican on a national ticket. If a Democratic politician sneezes, they assume it’s because he/she has a strange disease from all of the goat fornicating that person must do. Why Moore decided to make this area his home is anyone’s guess.* We’ve run into him a few times over the years at – surprise, surprise – the local theaters and he seemed to blend in with the masses even knowing most of them would love to slash his car tires while he enjoyed Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.
But, for this film festival week (and its cousin, a winter comedy festival also put on by Moore in the same area), the truce flags are up. Moore’s festival brings in beaucoup bucks to the area’s conservative businessman. I’m sure it pains them to take this money - on principle - but take it they do. Likewise, a largely left-leaning crowd packs the theaters only to be met with sponsors and advertisements for those same conservative businesses. It’s fun to watch these natural enemies deal with each other. Moore needs the local conservative businessman to make this work and the businessman relish the money bonanza the Great White Liberal's festival brings in. I’m sure many hands are shook beneath gritted teeth.
And Mrs. Nitmos and I sit back at a local pub with a frosty one and take it all in. While the other tables mutter about debt ceilings, I’m sure I’ll be bending Mrs. Nitmos’ ear with more talks about my personal speed ceiling and what needs to be done to raise that.
And then we go running. Or boating. Or filming. Or whatever. Truly this is usually the most relaxing week of the year. Last year, I documented our efforts at the costume film festival 5k. I finished 2nd overall which is the highest I’ve ever finished overall in a race. So, of course, they cancelled the race for this year. Damn, had I won it, I probably would have been audited. The Man doesn’t want me to win a race.
I’ll let you know if I spot any celebrities. The best the festival has done is bring in Madonna one year but I suspect that was only because her father owns a vineyard on the peninsula (you know, free room and board makes it an affordable trip for her. She wasn’t in town to screen Shanghai Surprise.) Usually there’s a few B and C level directors and producers hanging about and the odd C level celebrity. What’s Breckin Meyer doing these days? Hope he's available for photo ops....or to valet my car.
*Well, okay, it’s also a beautiful area filled with friendly people.