It was a lovely evening on the square tonight. I was headed down for the free screening of “Balaam Gimble’s Gumption” and I snapped a few shots on the square on my way. The light was too poor for most of the shots I tried to take but The Pub has their sign up now and that shot came out okay.
The new florist’s windows are looking absolutely fabulous and will look great when they’re done and I have the proper lighting to take a decent photo.
There seemed to be a lot of people on the square. The parking lot next to Mitchell Park was full and there were only a few spaces left in the lot by Cafe Malaga and Cadillac Pizza Pub. Speaking of Cadillac Pizza Pub, as I passed by on my way to MPAC, they were playing a Christian rock (possibly rockabilly) song that I’m guessing was called “Try Jesus”. Sounded like a good song. I was a little surprised by it but thought it was pretty cool. I made a mental note to check later to see if it was just a one-time thing or if they might be going to Christian rock (they’ve traditionally been more of a Stevie Ray Vaughn vibe).
There were quite a few people showing up for the screening so I took the chance to peek around the building some. They’ve got a few gallery rooms with historic photos of the square blown up to poster size.
It was very nice and I will have to go back in sometime just to linger over the photos. There are lots of photographic opportunities. I especially liked the box office door but it’s not a good shot when it’s open (and not effective when it’s closed). I felt compelled to take this one. I don’t know why.
The picture is a little blurred but, honestly, that really is a pretty apt reflection of how I feel looking at things like this. It makes me cringe. I feel sad and embarrassed. I wonder how other people feel. I wonder how long we have to preserve such a terrible part of our history. While I understand the importance of history, I fail to see the good in the preservation of this part. Maybe that is the whole point. I wonder how people will feel about it hundreds of years from now.
I got my raffle ticket and took a seat in the Courtroom Theatre for the screening. ( I didn’t win anything with my raffle ticket but several people got signed books and screenplays). Landon Winery had provided wine for before the show and someone (I didn’t catch who) make up specially labeled water bottles in honor of the film, “Balaam’s Water”. After seeing the film, it was a cute idea.
I’ve never been to a film screening before so this was all new to me. The gist of it this: The people who would like to make a full length film put together a 15 minute “teaser” to give the audience a feel for what the movie would be like. The purpose of the screening is to try to find people willing to invest as shareholders of a corporation formed for the sole intent of producing a full length movie. After the screening, the production company gives a presentation of how well they have thought through the process and what the strengths of the screenplay are.
This particular film, “Balaam Gimble’s Gumption”, is cute. The production company, Blue Logic, said that the story was under serious consideration by Disney but they felt that it fell through the cracks when they had a management change. That gives you an idea how long the story has been around. (That would have probably been the big hullabaloo with Eisner in 2004 or 2005). The teaser did have that distinctively Disney-story kind of feel (like “Holes”). I could most definitely see this as a Disney movie.
Just a short recap of the teaser and forgive me on the names. They just won’t stick in my head. I have no reference for the name Balaam and Gimble sounds so much like Gumbel that I keep calling it “Bryant Gumbel’s Gamble”. Balaam Gimble lives in Willoughby, a small Texas town concerned about losing its citizenry and looking for a gimmick to “put the town on the map” and create an economy. We see Balaam hanging a bird feeder, putting up a “No Hunting” sign and just being an all around amiable fellow who seems to like a quiet and restful life. His “nemesis”, for lack of a better word, is an avid hunter who I think is called J.D. J.D. is not a likeable fellow. When Balaam and a friend of his investigate a cave on his property, they find a sulphur spring. Balaam’s friend fails to entice him to try to cash in on the cave as a healing spa for the nouveau-riche, but mentions it at a town hall meeting and convinces the town that he has found the gimmick that they are looking for. All they have to do is get Balaam to go along.
Honestly, after looking at the excerpt on the author’s page (http://mikenichols.org/excerpt.html), I don’t think that the teaser did full justice to the book. I know that there is a lot of condensing to get a book turned into a movie. I fully understand that. And I can be a bit of a book snob. While the teaser had some humorous moments, it looks to me that the author is more of a “tongue-in-cheek” man – which is where my sense of humor generally lies. Much more subtle humor. The humor in the teaser was a bit exaggerated, like a pause after a joke or a close up on a facial expression to point out that a character is not the brightest.
I enjoyed the screening. Don’t get me wrong. I would go see this in Angelika if it makes it there (and I can convince my husband that it isn’t an “art” film). I will definitely be checking out the book. If it is as good as I think it is, I’ll probably be sending some copies out to family as well.
After the screening and the presentation, the president of Blue Logic also went over several other projects that they have in the works. Blue Logic appears to do more animation than anything else and has some experience on some bigger animation productions like “Ant Bully”. One project that they seem very excited about is Scout 6, based on a “graphic novel”. (Don’t get me started). It’s not my bag but my twenty-five year old anime-loving step-son would love it. Actually, based on the trailer on the official website, www.scoutsix.com, I looks like it may be live action based on a graphic novel. I can’t really tell. I still think he’d like it. It looks violent.
The “after parties” were held at Churchill’s Pub and Landon Winery. As we left the building, I heard someone surprised that Spoons was open in the evening, but I think that they have regular live entertainment in the evenings throughouth the weekends (beginning on Thursdays). Cadillac Pizza Pub had a live band playing a little R&B as I went back to the car.
It was a beautiful night tonight. And a good one to be on the square.