Friday, March 28, 2014

Two Years Later: A Follow Up - Hollywood in the Harbor

Charles Chu and Ryan O'Nan with Todd and Kiaralinda at Gasparilla Film Festival
In August of 2012 a film company entered the neighborhood like a traveling carnival, while Republicans congregated in downtown Tampa and tropical storm Isaac decided to take a dump on the bay area. Almost two years later, we sat in a theater at Ybor Muvico, about to crawl out of our skins waiting for the movie to begin.

Two years ago, Alan Cumming strolled past my bedroom window in a kimono as a red golf cart with a pink Elizabeth emblazoned on the side with duct tape sped by. Handsome young men schlepped all kinds of stuff up and down the street. And here we were, on March 23, 2014, watching the same golf cart on the big screen. It was pretty surreal, although I really hate to use that word because it was more than that. It was Felini-esque. It was parallel universe. People who live in L.A. wouldn’t understand how cool it feels, to us, to see the house we drink wine and plan events in, in a movie with Alan Cumming, Annie Potts, and a host of other fine actors. After all, all of Hollywood is a movie, even when it’s not. It’s old hat to that town. Not that the house hasn’t been in the media before. It has been on TV a few times. Cool … but still.

So there was Alan Cumming, Annie Potts, (I ran and got stinky ice for her two years ago,) Ryan O’Nan, and Charles Chu sitting on the wicker couches inside of Casa Loco,the name lovingly given to Kiaralinda and Todd’s guest house. There were the ash trays that encrusted the studio outside! There was Annie Potts watering flowers in the Y2K bug that counted down the millennium on 12/31/1999! There was Alan Cumming dancing on the balcony, over the wooden mermaid, in a sheer red negligee!

Do I sound star-struck? You bet your ass I am. O’Nan and Chu, to me, are a younger version of Affleck and Damon. I suspect they’ll co-write many more creative projects together. At least I hope so. I won’t go on and on about the talent behind Chu and Blossom, or the mixed reviews. You can Google that shit if you’re curious. But wait! Let me just add that there is a big dead tree, (filmed in Largo,) with glorious, glowing, locusts raining down. It blew everyone away. The visual was created by the same guy that does special effects for Game of Thrones. I am totally not kidding. The crew also had to ice the balls of the dogs in the meat scene. It was the dog days of August, after all. I love the inside poop on the behind-the-scenes stuff. Curious yet? Chu and Blossom is not just another buddy-bonding story. It’s a story about Everyman’s Small Town and the fringe characters who struggle to maintain their unique identities among a more mainstream populace. These guys would actually fit in quite nicely in the Safety Harbors and Dunedins of America. But the fictional town, in which the characters come to know and accept themselves,(and each other,)is not of the “quirky” variety. C.and B. was the closing movie at the Gasparilla Film Festival. It’s going on to the Florida Film Festival and the Sarasota Film Festival. I encourage you to try to catch it. You may see your street, and maybe a bit of yourselves, in this picture. Movie making is not instant gratification. But when it’s done right, it’s sure worth the wait.

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