The Beaver Trilogy Part IV

Hi,

My apologies for the tardiness of this post.  Yes, I realize no one was waiting for me to write this.

I saw a really wonderful film called The Beaver Trilogy Part IV at the Midwest Independent Film Festival.  Let me back up.

It was probably 10 years ago or so when I saw the movie The Beaver Trilogy.  I have no recollection how I learned about it or the local screening I attended.  Maybe it was a Critic’s Choice in the Chicago Reader at the time?  It was a free screening, and wasn’t at a movie theater.  I saw the movie at Columbia College, in downtown Chicago.

I had no expectations.  It is a strange movie.  It contains three short movies tied together, hence the “trilogy” of the title.  The first part is a documentary about “Groovin’ Gary”.  The next two movies are fictionalized retellings of the first, along with scenes that would be considered “behind-the-scenes” of the first part.

It’s on YouTube.  Pleeeeeease watch it.  It’s wonderful.

 

Okay, have you watched it?  Pretty amazing, huh?

I know there is a “wow” factor for the 2nd and 3rd parts of the movie, in that the respective leads in each movie would go on to become famous for other roles.  Sure, that’s cool.  But what struck me so much was what I felt when I watched it.  I felt so much empathy for Groovin’ Gary.  He was goofy, but genuine, ambitious, naive, sincere.

You don’t get the full story of Groovin’ Gary, at least not directly from him.  The 2nd and 3rd parts of the trilogy have an event which takes place that may or may not be fiction.  Did it happen?  One strong impression that I got from this movie was that the filmmaker was a little haunted by his brief encounter with Gary.  There was self-criticism and empathy from him in equal measure.

I only watched The Beaver Trilogy one time, but it stayed with me, for years.

Okay, so I used to volunteer a lot at the Midwest Film Festival.  It’s on the first Tuesday of every month, showing films having some kind of midwestern connection.  I thought I’d volunteer for the April screening.  HOWEVER, I learned that something called “The Beaver Trilogy Part IV” would be playing.  Whoa!  I learned later it had played Sundance the year prior, but this was the first time I was aware of it.  I HAD TO SEE IT.  Maybe I’d get some of the questions I had answered!

I learned when I got to the theater that the director of the original Trilogy, Trent Harris, had not directed Part IV.  I was a little bummed, but hopeful.  What unfolded in Part IV was both a heartfelt tribute to the original Beaver Trilogy, to the original Groovin’ Gary (real name Richard Griffiths), and to Trilogy’s filmmaker Trent Harris himself. It was a great, affectionate, warm movie.  I loved it.  I had my questions answered, and I was so glad I got to see it.

The film’s director, Brad Besser, actually flew in for the screening. I was able to talk to him afterwards.  He was gracious and friendly, and it was obvious this was a movie he made with all his heart.  Also, I learned from him, it was likely he who was partially responsible for the original Beaver Trilogy movie being screened at Columbia College — he was a student of Columbia at the time, and pushed hard for a screening of the film.  He wanted other people to see it.

So thanks, Mr. Besser, for showing me the first Trilogy, and double-triple-quadruple thanks for making Part IV.  THANK YOU.

I don’t know if I can throw any traffic Mr. Besser’s way, but please,  order the movie and watch it. It’s on VOD, it’s on iTunes.  Besser, Trent Harris, and most of all, Groovin’ Gary, deserve it.

Trailer for Part IV:  There is a link to buy the movie on  YouTube.  You can also search for the film on iTunes and purchase it there.

 

 

Flash Fiction: Heather

Original Image

 “Was it me?”, she thought.

She usually didn’t take this way to the train. Ray would know how she got to the train, right? She would take the most direct route. There would be no reason to go down Polk Street, unless she wanted a cup of coffee. She took her coffee to work almost every day. Ray knew this. Or did he? He didn’t drink coffee. He liked the way it smelled when she brewed a pot in the morning, but that was the extent of his fascination with it.

 The sign could have been printed anywhere, by anyone. Sometimes when Ray would email her, he would say “haveta” and “gotta”. It was some kind of slang affectation. He thought it was cute, she assumed.

 What would he even be getting at? They hadn’t fought in a while. He had wanted to go fishing last weekend with his friends, but when she reminded him of the trip to see her mom, he seemed fine. Well, he seemed a little huffy. Was that it? He *knew* about the trip to her mom’s weeks in advance. So she’s being unreasonable? It’s *her* problem?

 And why couldn’t he just talk to her? What is hard about that? Now she has to read a note on Polk Street? Is that something a mature person does?

 “When I get home,” she thought, “I’m going to give him a piece of my mind.”

Pissing On The Grave Of An Old Friend

In 1999, I was a happy, new presence on the web, editing HTML files and uploading them to splotchy.com.  I talked about records I bought, milkshakes I drank, motel signage I fancied. It was the 90’s!

Then, after a long hiatus from having a presence on the Internet, I came back.  I started blogging in 2007.  I made blogger friends.  Some bloggers I met in person, some I only knew online.

I blogged pretty seriously (is seriously the right word?) for several years.  Gradually, many bloggers stopped blogging.  Some went to Facebook.  I know at least one died, though she wasn’t someone I knew well.  Friends of mine were friends with her.  Her old Twitter account still gets recommended to me from time to time, and it’s a mixed feeling of poignancy and uneasiness I get every time it happens.

One of my blogger friends deleted his blog back in 2009.  He said it was because of the new job he was getting. I still have his blog in Google Reader.  Google Reader will cache posts for a time.  I’m not sure how long it does, but his blog still sits there, even if it no longer exists in the blogosphere.

I noticed that there were 50+ posts in my RSS feed for his blog today.  Someone has apparently taken his blog address and is using it for spam.

Crap is what people will see if they visit his quirkily-named URL.  They won’t have any record of what was there.  But I still remember.

Wrong/Right Variations

if being right is right, i don’t wanna be right
if being right is wrong, i don’t wanna be right
if being right is right, i don’t wanna be wrong
if being right is wrong, i don’t wanna be wrong
if being wrong is right, i don’t wanna be right
if being wrong is wrong, i don’t wanna be right
if being wrong is right, i don’t wanna be wrong
if being wrong is wrong, i don’t wanna be wrong

Cloud From Train

Here I go again with an animated GIF. I could have just as easily (well, MORE easily, even) done a movie from my train of this nice-looking cloud, but I didn’t.

I took a series of pictures, then animated them.

I think it turned out kinda nice.

Moving People, Stationary Train

I was bored on the platform today while waiting for the train that would take me home, surreptitiously photographing people as they walked past me.

Another train was in the background, sitting still.  If you look closely, you can see the lights go on and off in the train.  For whatever reason, before (or sometimes, while) a Metra train pulls out of Union Station, there’s some sort of power cycling that happens.  The lights turn off for seconds/minutes.

Anyways, I made an animated GIF of a few minutes of my boredom.  Hope you like it.