Wow, what a tour!
Just got home from the Southern Circuit and am still reeling from such an amazing trip, showing Bag It throughout the South.
When I last wrote I had just left Manteo, NC, and was headed to Miramar, FL, and then on. Miramar’s screening was the second time I had been there with Bag It and the turn out was even better than the first. I think the hosts Jessica and Joyce had been working hard getting the word out and it paid off big time. We also had a very fun Q and A where I met, and had pictures taken with a bunch of folks, one high school student who had written an essay for school on the subject of plastic, a young man with a theater company, people who wanted to get involved in a local bag ban, and more.
The Miramar cultural center is a quite beautiful, new facility that hosts arts performances of all sorts in the city center. I also got to finally meet Theresa Hollingsworth from South Arts, who puts the whole tour together. Big high five to you Theresa for bringing us around the region with our films. Thanks!!!
Next I headed to Jacksonville for a show at the Aurora Stage Theater. Aurora Stage has been in existence for around eight years and is actually a theater inside and old JC Penny, inside a mostly empty shopping mall. The idea came from a man named Daryll Ruben Hall as a way to revitalize an area that had been hit hard by economics and crime. The place hosts not only sold out theatrical productions but also arts camps for kids and a community center of sorts. I was treated to some very fine BBQ afterwards by my host, which was delicious. Just a side note about this tour, be prepared to eat well!
Off to Winder, GA where we screened in what was once an old industrial building and is now a theater/tv studio for the city of Winder, which can be used by schools and groups throughout the region. I see a theme in these place of taking what was old and abandoned and using the arts as a way to revitalize.
After Winder I was back in the Tar Heel State for a show at Western Carolina U. with a huge college crowd, some of whom were there for extra credit, but still!!!! Rachel, my host, did a great job of getting the word out and packing the place on a school night. Once again a great Q and A followed Bag It with questions about the film and also quite a few about how people could affect change in their community and on a larger scale. One young man told me the film had changed his life and he was determined to go to law school so he could work at the higher levels of power to really get at the root of issues with environmental law. Wow!
Savannah was one stop I was looking forward to as it’s a place with lots of beauty and history to take in. Bag It was screened in the historic Lucas Theater which was just unveiling its new LED, energy efficient marquee. We had a champagne toast and were told that the lights, over the course of their expected 20 year life-span, would save an estimated $80,000. I think it was worth it. And they look great!
I took in the sights, learned that the civil war was a bit more complicated than my Yankee upbringing had lead me to believe, and headed to my last stop, Alexandria, LA.
It was here that I was hosted by the delightful David and Nicole Holcombe, who have hosted every filmmaker since the beginning of the Southern Circuit. The Holcombes live in a wonderful art-filled home and wined, dined and conversed with me in grand style. Our
screening took place in downtown Alexandria before which I took a stroll with David around town and got to see the Bently Hotel, which was the headquarters for all the generals planning D Day back in WWII.
After the screening I was treated to a very nice reception where I got to meet and talk plastic with most of the film attendees.
The next day the Holcombes put me on a plane and I was on my way back home to Portland.
The trip was a whirlwind and such an amazing chance to get to see places, talk to people and share the message of Bag It with yet more people who can help be catalysts for change in our world that desperately needs it.
Thank you Theresa, Alison, and all responsible for my great time on the Southern Circuit!