Archive for April, 2010

Best Kept Secret IV–Pancake Breakfast

April 27, 2010

Mrs. LanceAround and # 1 Daughter Making Fresh Pancakes

Last year I was excited to discover Wekiwa Spring.

This year I’m ecstatic.  

I’m ecstatic because I just discovered De Leon Springs State Park featuring a spring, a visitor’s center, an eco/history boat tour and a restaurant where you can griddle up pancakes right on your table! 

This State Park is located near Deland, FL, just north of Orlando and not too far from Wekiwa Springs.  It’s about an hour drive from the attractions.  Like Wekiwa, Ponce de Leon is a huge spring that creates a large swimming hole which has been surrounded with a concrete rim and walkway.  It also maintains a temperature of 72 degrees year round (although at some places on the website it says 68 degrees.)

Grammy LanceAround Loved the View

Unlike Wekiwa, De Leon spring features a roped off area shallow enough for youngsters, a ground level platform off which you can jump into the spring, a beautiful waterfall, a visitor’s center, an eco/history boat tour and (best of all) a restaurant right beside the spring where you can cook your own pancakes on the griddle in the middle of your table.

Grammy came down from Pennsylvania for another visit this week, so Mrs. LanceAround, Number One Son, Number One Daughter and I took her to De Leon Springs State Park.  (Number Two Son is still at college.)  We had a wonderful day.  (Even though we missed not having Number Two Son with us.)

We went to the park on Sunday.  Since we were planning to eat brunch at the park, we had not eaten breakfast.  As we drove through the park entrance, we were dismayed to see a sign that said the wait at the restaurant was one and a half hours!  However, when we got to the restaurant the hostess told us the wait was only an hour.  Less than 30 minutes later, our name was called.  Perfect timing.

Step Back Into a Florida Past

The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant is a delight–And an absolute “must see” on your Florida vacation.

While some local folks like to claim the mill was built as early as 1570, most historians date it to the early 1800’s.  it was destroyed and rebuilt at least twice.  In 1961, the old building was scheduled for demolition to be destroyed once again but Peter and Marjorie Schwarze had other ideas.  They restored the mill and created this unique restaurant.

The all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast is only $4.75 per person.  For $1.50 more, you can get a small bowl of pecans, cinamon apples, bananas, blueberries, peanut butter, applesauce or (my personal favorite) chocolate chips.  Two beautiful, handmade pitchers are brought to the table containing stone ground pancake batter–One made with five grain flour the other with unbleached flour.  The griddle in the center of the table is turned on, oil spray is applied and then you pour out the batter and add whatever extras you selected.

Number One Son enjoyed making pancakes shaped to resemble Mickey Mouse.  Number One Daughter enjoyed eating them!

In addition to pancakes, you can also order eggs, bacon, homemade bread and even vegetarian sausage which you also cook on the griddle at your table.  When I ordered eggs, I was expecting that I would get a bowl with the contents of a cracked egg.  I was surprised to receive two eggs which I had to crack and pour onto the griddle myself.  It was fun (once I got the shell out.)  The menu also includes assorted sandwiches and side items.

Ellen Was a Hoot!

Ellen, our waitress, has worked at the Mill for 18 years.  She was friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful.  At one point, the griddle at our table stopped working and she immediately provided a new thermostat and got it functional.  She even posed for some pictures for this blog.

The park has a visitor’s center right beside the spring with lots of great information.

Also available at the park is an eco/history boat tour.  From the mill, you walk across a bridge with the spring to your right and a small waterfall to your left where the spring empties into the Spring Garden Run.  You then come to the boat dock where the Fountain of Youth eco/history boat tour begins.  It lasts 50 minutes and costs only $12.  We arrived at the park too late to take advantage of this tour but it looked like a wonderful experience.

We will find out because this is one place we plan to return to–Often!

Ponce de Leon may have never discovered the fountain of youth, but we all felt younger and rejuvenated after our visit to De Leon Springs State Park.

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Lake Louisa State Park

April 24, 2010

The Picturesque Lake Louisa

Just 15 minutes from Disney World, Lake Louisa State Park is an ideal place to experience the REAL Florida.

4,500 acres of pristine Florida wilderness, including 11 natural communities, 6 lakes, 2 streams and 105 acres of lake shoreline are set in the corner of the Green Swamp, Central Florida’s vast wetland.  Here you can hike, bike, boat, swim, bring your horse for a trail ride, camp, RV or rent a cabin.

Kayak and Canoe Rentals

Its close proximity to Disney makes it an ideal location for a diverse vacation experience.  Well marked equestrian, hiking and biking paths along with fishing piers, BBQ pits, picnic tables and comfort stations give plenty of options.  Kayak and canoe rentals are also available

Cabins Overlook Lake Dixie

Campers can choose from primitive campgrounds, full-facility campgrounds, RV sites and cabins.  The spacious cabins include two bedrooms, utilities, large porches, linens and all overlook beautiful Lake Dixie.  The cost is a modest $120 per night and they sleep up to six.

P-51 Pilot Memorial

The park ranger is happy to provide you with birding pamphlets and trail maps.  Who knows what you’ll discover.  In 2001 the low water level on the lake revealed the remnants of a P-51 Mustang that crashed on a training mission in November 1944.  A monument with a piece of the propeller is on display by the lake.  Two prehistoric dugout canoes were also found that year.

Lake Louisa State Park is located south of Clermont, FL on Hwy. 27 just a few miles north of Hwy. 192.  Phone number is 352.394.3969.

For the outdoor and athletic enthusiast and lucky readers of my blog  looking for “More Than a Mouse”™ it’s time to discover Lake Louisa.

FFF Best in Show Award Goes To…

April 21, 2010

"Lost Sparrow" Winner of the LanceAroundOrlando Award 2010 FFF

How do you judge?  

When you are dealing with such incredible diversity in films, how can you possible say which film is better than another film?  There are short films, some 30 seconds long, alongside 2.5 hour epics.  There are documentaries and narratives.  There are classic movies and experimental movies.  

How do you judge?  

Then there is the concept that judging is not necessary.  After all, each filmmaker is passionate about their work.  They share their creative and artistic vision with us.  They bring their own, unique voice to each and every film.  Why judge that?  Why not just sit back and appreciate the effort; enjoy the film.  For the most part, that is the attitude of LanceAroundOrlando.  It’s why we don’t fill out the audience awards ballets.  Heck, we love them all–even the ones we don’t like.  Every film has something to say; something to teach.  Even if the lesson is only:  “Don’t ever do THAT when you’re making a movie!”  

But we have to be realistic.  There are only so many hours in a day.  Not everyone can attend every film.  Some unfortunate movie goers may only have time to watch one or two films during the entire festival.  They need a barometer; a way to make a decision of which film to go see.  

For the most part, I try to give my readers an objective, balanced voice about the films.  “Here is what I see,” is what I like to say.  Sometimes a film is so good, I depart from that and tell you it must be seen.  Sometimes a film is so bad I advise you to skip it.  (Yet even those films were chosen by someone who thought they were good enough to be in the festival!)  Mostly I just give you one person’s perspective and a little information to help you make the chose of which film would be best, given your particular tastes.  Here is a brief outline of the criteria I use when making an evaluation, from least to most important:  

Technical Considerations–Is the film lit so you can see the characters?  Can you hear the sound okay?  Are the sets, costumes, makeup and props adequate to develop the story.  Sometimes this aspect can be a thankless job as many movie goers only notice the technical considerations when they go wrong.  It’s easy to realize that you can’t see someone when the lighting is bad, but not so easy to appreciate the work that goes into providing the perfect light to really enhance the atmosphere or mood of a given scene.  Also, I give a lot more leeway to a documentary, when it comes to technical considerations, as it is much harder to control them in spontaneous filming as opposed to in a studio environment.  

Directorial Choices–How was the scene crafted?  Did the director use close ups?  Establishing shots?  From what angle did the director choose to shot the scene?  And why?  Are all the actors in character?  Are the performances all consistent?  Should the director have done another shoot of that scene?  

Editing–A good editor can fix a multiple of technical and directorial errors.  One of my primary considerations when it comes to editing is the pace of the movie.  Is the tempo consistent?  Does the movie drag or move through scenes too quickly?  Does the editor spend just the right amount of time on each scene?  A well edited movie can create the same internal rhythm as listening to a well constructed poem.  If you find yourself unconsciously tapping your foot in perfect rhythm to the “beats” of the movie, you are watching a perfectly edited film.  Lastly, it does not matter how long a film is, as long as it is the right length for the story that needs to be conveyed.  One of the most remarkable films I saw at this year’s festival was exactly 5 seconds long–and 4.5 of those seconds were the credits!  

Acting–Does the actor understand the depth of the character.  Can you see the subtext in their faces.  My favorite way to evaluate acting in a movie is not by how they deliver their big, dramatic lines, rather by how they deal with silence.  Even better, watch the actor in the background who is not engaged in the dialogue of the moment.  How are they reacting?  What does their face show?  A brilliant actor is one whom you want to watch, even if they are in the back of the scene, merely reacting to what is happening in front of them.  

Story–First and foremost, film is a medium for telling a story.  While the writer is the genesis for the story, it goes well beyond the script.  Everything else–all the technical aspects, directorial choices, editing and acting–are designed to support, enhance and present the story.  Does everyone in the film understand the story?  Does each and every choice support the story and move it forward?  Are there any scenes that don’t?  If so, they should have been cut.  Are there any gaps in the story?  If so, they need to be filled in.  Often, a documentarian will use voice over narration to help bridge the gap in a story.  Sometimes a narrative film will choose an informational subtitle.  When crafting a film, every decision has to further the story in some way.  But keep in mind, there are some films where the “story” is unconventional.  For example, in some films the “story” consists entirely of visual images or, perhaps, scenes designed simply to create emotional impact.  These films may not rely on the typical, narrative storytelling technique.  But make no mistake, even these films tell a story–and you have to ask yourself how well they do at conveying this story.  

The Intangibles–Lastly, the mark of a great film comes down to difficult to define, yet recognizable intangibles.  How does the film move you?  Did the filmmaker expose something real and personal?  Are you touched by what you saw?  Does it educate you?  Does it show you truth?  Does it give you a different perspective?  Does it help you understand?  Here’s a heavy one–are you, somehow, a different person for having seen this film?  Great theatrical events throughout history have impacted entire nations.  Films can truly inspire and motivate us.  Those that do deserve to be talked about.  

Based on all these criteria, there was one film at this film festival that, in my humble opinion, stood above all the rest.  It is this year’s choice for the LanceAroundOrlando Best Film at the 2010 Florida Film Festival.  And the honor goes to…  

Chris Billing for his remarkable, personal documentary, “Lost Sparrow.”  

congratulations, Chris, on a fantastic film.  And, thank you, for creating a movie that touched me and helped me to see a very painful subject with a fresh perspective.  

There were many great films at this year’s Festival.  But if you only have time to seek out one of them, don’t miss “Lost Sparrow.”  You can order the DVD from their website.  

If you have seen this film, please leave a comment and share your thoughts with us.  If there was another film you liked better, please join the conversation and tell us which film and why. 

My last post was an in depth interview with Chris Billing.  Be sure to read it! 

FFF Interview with Chris Billing

April 20, 2010

Chris Billing Speaks Candidly Both On and Off the Record

Like everyone else who had just seen the feature documentary “Lost Sparrow” I sit, glued to my seat. It’s a powerful, well made film. It was also a very personal film for the filmmaker. 

I want to speak with this remarkable filmmaker. But he’s not at the screening. 

Flash Forward five days. I’m at the Eden bar, speaking with the FFF photographer when I mention that “Lost Sparrow” is my favorite film in the entire festival and how much I wanted to meet the filmmaker. In a moment that can only happen at the FFF, the photographer suddenly remarks, “Hey I just saw Chris–there he is over there.” Then, louder, “Hey Chris, come over here, someone wants to meet you.” 

Thus begins a very personal conversation with Chris Billing. 

Chris is at a disadvantage. This film told us many personal things about him and his family. [I will not reveal all the personal things uncovered in the movie, as that would be a spoiler for those who have not seen the film.  I highly recommend you watch this movie.  I’ll tell you how you can see it at the end of this post.]  I decide to begin the interview by leveling the playing field. In an unusual choice for a blog reporter, I start the interview by sharing with him a personal story from my past that parallels a story line from his film. 

It is evident from the onset that Chris is very open, honest and sincere. Having developed a little rapport, I begin the interview: 

LA: Tell me about your approach to this film. 

CB: One thing I made a point of doing is I didn’t try to give easy answers to questions that didn’t have easy answers.  I tried to answer the question of what happened to my two brothers.  We may never know.  The other question is what did my mother know or not know? 

LA: Tell me about the point in your life when you decided it was time to make this film. 

CB: I was a journalist in China.  When I came back, it had always been within my mind to explore this question of what happened to my two brothers.  I was at a family Thanksgiving, talking to my sister Janelle. She revealed that she had been the last one to see the boys before they ran away from home.  They had known the things that went on inside the house.  I knew that this was a film that could have more meaning, for society. 

LA: Do you regret making the film? 

CB: I often said if I had known going into it what the process required to make the film was, I would not have done it.  Looking back, I’m very proud of the film and I’m glad I did it.  It’s a very important film. 

LA: Did you know about the darker secrets that become uncovered in the documentary prior to making the documentary? 

CB: I knew since my college years that something had happened between [one of] my [siblings] and my father.  I thought there was [some dark secret].  I didn’t see the connection between [that and] the deaths of my brothers.  My sister Janelle revealed that.  It was the last bit of detail that made me decide to film. 

LA: Was there a lot that had to be left out of the film? 

CB: As far as what’s not in the film.  I did ask the Crow Reservation what might have happened if the boys had remained.  Another question, if my mother had received the letter asking for the two girls to go back to the reservation, would she have sent them back.  She said she certainly would have considered it. 

[Chris pauses for a moment, contemplating. He appears to have made a decision, then he continues.] 

I did have a second meeting with my father.  After I interviewed Lana.  I was not expecting to have a follow up interview.  This was not as a filmmaker or journalist, this is as the son.  That was more for my own understanding. 

LA: What did he say? 

CB: I’m not sure I have a right to disclose that… 

At this point, I snap close the lid on the laptop I am using to take notes for this interview. I look Chris in the eye and say, “tell me.” This is not coming from a journalist who wants to write a sensationally, gossipy story. This is coming from one human being to another–both of whom are trying to find answers to difficult questions. 

Chris continues. He shares more personal information about his family while I share some about mine. We speak of religion, Native American culture, personal relationships, marriage, family secrets and more. The more we talk, the more thankful I am that there are people in this world like Chris Billing. 

Since I did not know I would be interviewing Chris, I did not prepare. After meeting him, I spent some time doing research. According to the internet, Chris went to a christian college in SE Pennsylvania, then Harvard Divinity School. I’m not surprised that he got into Harvard, he is obviously brilliant. 

He also speaks Mandarin Chinese and Modern Hebrew. He spent two years in Israel. Someone in China asked him to come to that country to teach Hebrew. Apparently, they were seeking a non-Jewish person who knew Hebrew because they did not want the potential political turmoil of having someone Jewish. 

While in China, Chris worked for NBC and CBS, eventually becoming a bureau chief in Beijing. His skill at telling a story is evident in this documentary. This is his second feature film. In 2005 he created the documentary “Up to the Mountain, Down to the Village” about three Chinese young adults who were sent to “learn from the peasants.” 

He’s glad that “Lost Sparrow” was not his first film. He learned a lot from making the other documentaries and that helped him make a better movie for this very personal film. 

Chris reveals to me a little about the business of making a movie.  He tells me how much the documentary has sold for.  It’s a paltry sum for a master craftsman who spent two years of his life and a significant amount of money creating this masterpiece.  I am sad to think of the number of people who will never even know this film exists. 

“We’ve been bought by PBS, it’s going to air in November on their Independent Lens series,” Chris is quick to point out.  He also says that he is getting a lot of invitations from colleges to go on a lecture tour.

To see this movie, all you have to do is go to www.LostSparrowMovie.com and order it.  The price, with shipping,  is only $23.95.  Please note, Chris did not ask and does not know that I am promoting his website like this.  I believe that movies this important need to be seen and talked about.

FFF 2010 Retrospective

April 19, 2010

Seymour Cassel Reviews the Photo of Him and # 1 Daughter on His Camera

We have just seen our last movie from this year’s FFF.  Mrs. LanceAround, Number One Daughter and I are sitting outdoors at the Eden Bar enjoying dinner and watching movie lovers and filmmakers file in and out of the theatre.  The patter of a gentle rain and a cool breeze bringing the wholesome scent of Florida-in-the-spring create the perfect atmosphere for some final thoughts on this year’s festival.  

Peter Meech, filmmaker of one of our favorite shorts, “Winner: Best Short Film,” stops by our table.  He graciously compliments the blog saying, “you’re a brave, unflinching reviewer. You’re not afraid to run into filmmakers and take the heat or the praise. That’s the way a reviewer has to be. That’s the difference between a film reviewer and a PR flack.” I ask if that is spelled F-L-A-X and he pulls out his handy iphone to confirm that it is F-L-A-C-K. “You’re not going to mention that I had to look this up, are you?” I don’t respond.  This is the second time I’ve run into Peter.  He’s obviously a great guy with a wonderful sense of humor.  He promises he’ll leave a comment on this blog–no doubt after he discovers that I mentioned he had to look up how to spell flack on his iphone!  No worries, Peter, just remember that I revealed I was so stupid I didn’t even recognize the word!  

“I’m very happy, life is good, best weather ever, fabulous films, great performances, wonderful people,” remarks Sigrid Tiedtke, as she walks past our table.  For those who don’t know, Sid’s sister-in-law, Tina Tiedtke, imagined and built the Enzian exactly the way she wanted a theatre to be. Sid continues, “She built this place. We’ve got great attendance and great enthusiasm. I think God loves us.” Sid also points out the fountain and proudly proclaims, she built it–according to Tina’s specifications.  

“Once again, it was a total success,” says Chris Ramsey, who was on the docs selection committee. “The docs were as strong as they’ve ever been. Audience turnout has been [Chris then uses a word that sounded like ‘fabulous’ but was something other than that but means the same thing–see comment below].” One filmmaker, who has been to 30 festivals this year, told Chris this festival was the best.  He’s understandably and justifiably very proud of the work that was done on this year’s festival.  

I ask the woman with Chris about her thoughts on this year’s festival.  “I have nothing to say. I was with Chris and he is just boring. What do you expect from a documentary freak?”, responds Kate Webb. Well, not really. I just made most of that up because she said she had nothing to say.  But as I read it to her, she was quick to agree with it.  She and Chris have a good laugh at my silly antics.  

Henry Maldonado, president of the FFF, is back from the Regal. I ask him if he has any last words on this year’s FFF. “Let’s do it again, real soon,” he says. “How about next year?,” I ask, “well, in between, every single day, the Enzian is open for business. And how appropriate that we end with ‘Psycho'” he says with a twinkle in his eye. I never met a man who loves film more than Henry.  And he has been so helpful to me on this, my first major press assignment.  

Sigrid brings over 74 year old Seymour Cassel, veteran actor of movies and television.  In 1969 Seymour was nominated for an Oscar for his work in “Faces.”  

I ask Seymour his impression of the FFF.  “They have a good selection of film and passionate people who work on the staff. They love watching movies. You don’t get to see those films everywhere. This festival brings you new films and old films.  And many times the old films have more to say then the new ones.” What’s your favorite movie of all time? “I don’t have just one.”  “How about telling me several of them?”  He mentions “Never on Sunday,” “Shane”(“The kid was great!”) and several others that I can’t hear because of all the noise from nearby patrons. 

He speaks with us about Hollywood now and the Hollywood of old. His SAG number is 9336–he’s a member of the old guard.  He talks about being nominated for an Academy Award. (The guy who won was not in a supporting role, he laments.) He speaks of Charlton Heston and John Cassavetes. He claims to have broken in a lot of young Hollywood newcomers in his day.  

I realize I’m speaking with a Hollywood legend. This is what the FFF is all about. Where else can you relax under a beautiful oak tree while having a leisurely chat with someone who has done it all in Hollywood.  

Seymour takes a few photos with Number One Daughter.  I hand him the LanceAroundOrlando business card and he promises to read the blog.  We shake hands and Mrs. LanceAround, Number One Daughter and I get in the car for the quiet ride home.  The festival is over and we are sad. 

It was a great festival this year. 

Tomorrow there will be two final posts on this year’s FFF.  The first will be an interview with Chris Billing of “Lost Sparrow.”  The second will be the announcement of my award for the best movie of this year’s FFF along with the criteria I use when evaluating movies.  You won’t want to miss these posts.

FFF The Last Day

April 19, 2010

Sonia, From Columbia, During the Q & A

Sadly, today begins our last day at the FFF. Number One Daughter and Mrs. LanceAround join me for one last film.

We drive up to the Regal Theatre and interview some movie goers queued up to see “The Wind Journeys”–an international narrative feature from Columbia.

I spot a young lady in line and ask her what brought her here, she replies simply, “School.” “School?”, I inquire. “Winter Springs High School,” she continues, “We have to write a report about the movies.” She said they can choose whatever movie they want, then report what it’s about, if they liked it and the experience in the movie theatre. She identifies herself as Michelle Figueroa.

I spot another theatre goer in line and ask if she would like to be interviewed for the blog. She says, “no.” She obviously does not want to be interviewed. I ask again, and she emphatically says, “No thank you.” I type this and read it aloud to her while she sips her coffee. Then she laughs. When I ask to whom I should attribute this emphatic quote of “no,” she points to the man beside her. “who is very fortunate to be my date today,” she says, forgetting that she did not want to consent to be interviewed. I Never did get her name.

Brad Johnson says, “This is my first year at the FFF,”. He’s seen six movies. His favorite was the “International animated shorts.” “I liked the diversity and style,” he points out.

We enter the theatre and prepare to watch “The Wind Journeys”. The movie is from Columbia. It’s a modernistic (1968) retelling of an 1800’s legendary fable which chronicles the story of an accordion player and his journey to return his instrument to his master as a would-be protégé tags along. The movie is beautifully filmed and well acted. The scenic landscapes through which they cross, along with the sounds of the wind provide a canvas upon which their journey is painted.

Unlike most films in this country, this movie moves at a pace that is consistent with the Columbian landscape. Each scene is crafted in slow, melodic tones that mirror the rhythmic sounds of the accordion. As the accordion player doggedly makes his way to his destination, he encounters villages and tribal communities that offer various obstacles and opportunities.

It seems clear that there are many cultural references and heritage sites indigenous to the Columbian audience that are beyond my understanding. This is confirmed by the line producer during the Q & A after the movie.  Sonia Barrera is here with her translator.

Number One Daughter asks, “why an accordion”. Sonia says this movie is the legend of a real life ‘jugler’ who is a person that travels from town to town to play the accordion. It is the most important instrument of that region of Columbia. The movie was shot in over 100 locations in Columbia over two months. In this region, to be a musician is very, very important.

She goes on to explain that Columbian movies are very different from American movies. They do not rely, so much, on special effects and exotic sets. Instead, they focus on the story and the characters; often moving at a slower pace.

I’m glad I saw this movie, even though I am so exhausted from my week of blogging that the slow pace occasionally lulled me into near sleep. (Mrs. LanceAround seems to think my snoring indicated that it was ‘actual’ sleep.) I was especially glad that Sonia was present to help me better understand the cultural references.

The theatre empties and I sadly realize this was the last film that I’m going to see at this year’s festival. Mrs. LanceAround, Number One Daughter and I prepare to drive to the Enzian for one last meal and the opportunity for a last interview or two and a retrospective of this year’s FFF.

We run into Henry Maldonado, president of the FFF, in the lobby of the Regal as we head towards the exit. We take a few moments to exchange our favorite movie moments from this year’s festival. He asks me to give him an email, once things settle down, so we can “do lunch.”

Wow, “do lunch” LanceAround is finally going Hollywood.

I put on my sunglasses, hop into my electric car and drive off, into the sunset.

(Disclaimer–I don’t own any sunglasses, I can’t afford an electric car and the sun had already set. That was just a fun fantasy–But Henry really did ask me to email him so we can do lunch.)

FFF Day 9 A Surprise Film and a Party

April 19, 2010

# 1 Daughter in her Mask for the Revel 19 Bash

Today it’s Number One Son and Number One Daughter who accompany me to the FFF.  First stop–a mystery film at The Enzian.  

Inside the theatre, we run into Lev who is here to watch the surprise movie.  Lev is the creator, and sole artist, for the “Tales of Mere Existence” short films that have become a You Tube phenomenon.  I introduce Lev to Number One Son, who is a big fan.  They enjoy a few moments of creative banter before the lights dim for the unknown film about to start…  

“Exit Through the Gift Shop”  Chris Blanc, General Manager of the Enzian and the FFF, was at Sundance and discovered a remarkable documentary about street artist-modern art guru-and generally insane Thierry Guetta.  

The power of the FFF artistic judgement is evident as the theatre is packed, even though this was a “surprise film” and no one in the audience knew what film was going to be shown.  

The movie chronicles Thierry’s rise from a compulsive videographer, to a street art stalker and finally to a street artist himself (aka graffiti artist) who gains worldwide fame (and notoriety) with a huge art show in the abandoned CBS building in Southern California. Along the way, we encounter a number of notable street artists, including the elusive Banksy.  I have never heard of Banksy, but he is clearly a main player in this medium. He appears under a shadowed hood with distorted voice. Although he is only in the film for few minutes, he is highly advertised in the promos in an apparent attempt to create more buzz for the movie.  

Like watching a play, within a play within a play, seeing a documentary about street art, partially filmed by a compulsive videographer who then suddenly becomes the subject of the movie, is a fascinating dive into this world. Not only is it populated with exotic, often subversive, character, it can be quite lucrative. Some of Banksy’s artwork has sold for the high six figures.  

After the film, I try to track down Lev.  As one of the most original, creative short filmmakers, I think he would be the perfect person to give me a review of the film.  Instead, I run into Chris Billing, the filmmaker of my favorite FFF film of this year, “Lost Sparrow.”  I speak with Chris for about an hour and I will report on that in two separate blogs.  

When I finish speaking with Chris, We race into the Enzian for “Racing Dreams.”  This feature documentary won the audience award at the FFF this year.  The film chronicles three teenagers who participate in national kart races.  

It’s a fascinating look at a world that I never knew existed.  These races seem identical to their grown-up NASCAR counterparts, complete with corrals of campers, pit crews and the need for lots of money and sponsorship.  To make it in this sport, you have to attend around 40 races a year and it costs upwards of $5,000 per race.  It’s ironic to see these families living in small, often mobile, homes while pouring all their time, energy and resources into their children’s (or sometimes their) dreams of winning the national kart circuit.  

Although very interesting and competently made, this film was not in the same league as “Lost Sparrow.”  I wonder if the feel good, high energy of racing is why this film took the audience award while the shocking and painful subject of “Lost Sparrow” made it difficult for viewers to vote for it.  

But there is no time to dwell on that.  We have to find some masks and/or silly hats in preparation for tonight’s closing party–Revel 19, held at the backlot of Full Sail University.  

Number One Son, Number One Daughter and I head to Pier One where they have a nice collection of Mardi Gras masks.  The two of them buy very exquisite, hand painted Italian masks.  

I tell them the story of when I was 16 and went to a large youth rally that had a silly hat contest.  Upon arrival, I realized I had forgotten my hat.  There was nothing in my car but my first aid kit.  Inside was a roll of gauze tape.  I wrap the tape around my head and present it as my “hat”.  I wound up winning third place in the contest!  

I decide to reenact this childhood triumph.  We drop by Walgreens to pick up some gauze and red fingernail polish.  While we are there, Number One Son finds a small birdcage with a red sparrow that tweets and turns inside the cage.  It’s only $4.99 and he decides it will be the perfect complement to his mask.  He will wear it on the top of his head.  I think he’s crazy, but then again, I’m the one wrapping gauze around my head.  

We get to backlot at Full Sail–a university that specializes in filmmaking and other creative arts.  It’s the perfect venue for the party.  

Number One Daughter helps me wrap my head in gauze, then applies the red nail polish to resemble a wound.  When someone remarks about the hat, I just say in a very tired voice, “Man, I feel shot!”  

After enjoying the incredible food that is a staple at any Enzian party, it is not long before someone taps me on the shoulder to announce that I have been selected as one of the ten finalists for the silly hat contest.  I smile to myself, making a note to give Number One Son a lesson in how to win an  award for a silly hat contest!  

I make my way to the judges area, only to discover that Number One Son is already there.  Apparently, he is also one of the ten finalists.  Well, when I win I will explain to Number One Son why my hat was the more creative choice.  The judges on the stage gradually eliminate the contestants one at a time.  Now there are only four contestants left–and I am one of them.  

Three Silly Hat Finalists

Wait a minute, Number One Son has also not been eliminated!  The judges conferences get longer–they’re having a hard time deciding.  Finally, a decision is made.  I am dismissed as the fourth place winner.  I get dinner and a movie for two at the Enzian.  

The next silly hat is eliminated and Number One Son has made it to the final two.  The bird in the cage atop his head is chirping and twirling away.  After much debate, Number One Son takes home the second place award–dinner, a movie and $75 at the Enzian bar!  

The crowd is laughing and clapping and having a great time.  

In the meantime, I seek out Number One Son.  I want him to give me some tips on how win a silly hat contest!  

# 1 Son Wins an Unexpected Prize

FFF Day 8 Lev Yilmaz and Bill Plympton Get Stranded

April 17, 2010

#1 Daughter and BFF Bryana giggle like groupies with Lev

5:00pm International Shorts
We arrive at Regal Cinema a few minutes before the International Shorts. Number One Daughter has brought Best Friend Bryana to enjoy the movies tonight. I can only hope that the films are not too inappropriate. Mrs. LanceAround is also with us. It should be a fun evening.

We take a few minutes to check in with some of the movie goers inside the theatre.

“I like shorts. I enjoy them. Sometimes they’re really good, but if they’re bad, they’re going to end soon. You’re not committing to them for two hours,” says Beth from Palm Coast. “Another reason I’m here, is that there’s no art theatre where I’m from.”

“I’m enjoying the films. I just saw “Mid August Lunch” and “Bomber,” says Shelia Mollica, “I thought they were both excellent. They weren’t anything like the trite films that Hollywood puts out with their mass marketing. Those appeal to people who aren’t looking for any complexity, diverse situations, uniqueness or creativity.”

The lights dim and the films begin.

“Modern Life is Rubbish” is an intelligent, well written and well acted dialogue of a break up because of irreconcilable music differences, among other things.

“The Armoire” is a weird, psychological thriller with non-sensical plot twists. Amusing to watch but the pacing was clumsy and the ending confusing.

“Notes on the Other” is a thought provoking story of Ernest Hemingway, his doubles and his obsession with the running of the bulls.

“Can We Talk?” Breaking up is hard enough, but what do you do when the instigator suddenly decides there is an urge for more sex. Clever dialogue and great acting make this whimsical short very funny.

“Glottal Opera” When you hear a beautiful song, do you ever wonder how the lovely melody is physically created? Watch this short and you’ll know–probably more than you want to know.

“Runners” is a seedy tale of the underside of drug runners in Australia. Gritty and short.

“How I Met Your Father” shows sex and sexual dysfunction in graphic details. How did these two ever stay together? Mrs. LanceAround escorts Number One Daughter and Best Friend Bryana out of the theatre during this one.

“Seeds of the Fall” Crazy accidents and a lopsided house lead to a need for quadriplegic husband to seek a deal for a surrogate. But will his wife allow it?

After the shorts, we interviewed movie goers as they left the theatre.

“I usually like the international shorts better than that. Usually, this is one of my favorite groups of shorts, These weren’t my favorite. One was particularly offensive,” said an anonymous filmgoer. She is about to leave, but feels a need to return to let us know that she has loved every other movie that she has seen and this was the only bad one this year.

“We enjoyed it,” said an older couple.

“The Armoire” and “Can we Talk” were hilarious, says Diane.

“It was very random, very interesting interpretation,” remarks Jonathan Jastremsky.

7:00pm Animated Shorts
It’s not long before the theatre fills up for the animated shorts. It’s a nice size crowd and the lights soon dim.

“Cartoon Show” is Hollywood carfunkle, cartoon style. Know what “carfunkle” means? Neither do I.

“Pigeon Impossible” has a pigeon loose in a 007 briefcase. The world may not survive. But will the pigeon?

“Divers” shows a diver jumping off he board and into an aerial acrobatic show of Berkeley proportions.

2 time Academy Award Nominee Bill Plympton

“The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger” Apparently advertising works on calves as well as it does on kids.

“#circlepic is a psychedelic flash of many round things and claims to be the first collaborative twitter film.

“The Incident at Tower 37” has a large tank of water that poses a real threat. Hmm, sounds fishy to me.

“The Mouse that Soared” is the tender tale of a young orphan rescued and raised by parents of a different, uh, species; your typical mouse/bird story.

“Lightheaded” has wax figures from the top of a candle searching for the means of escape and, perhaps, existence.

“The Machine” seems to ask the question that if man invented the machine, who invented man? And could it have been a machine?

“Tales of Mere Existence: ‘God’ and ‘My Darling?’” You do not want to miss these! (’nuff said)

“The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9” Scary monster, can you come out and play? Of Mice and Men on a different planet.

“Gretel & Hanzel” Sorry, I didn’t get this one at all. Too bad it came from Number Two Son’s college–I’ve seen much better from there.

“Believe Me” is pretentious and boring. Don’t waste your time on this one.

“Down to the Bone” this one is inside out and that’s what makes it so fun.

“N.A.S.A A Volta” won the Grand Prix at Holland Animation Film and was selected for Sundance. Once you see it, you’ll just ask, “why?” As horrible as “Believe Me” but, mercifully, much shorter.

“Alma” shows a doll house going rogue.

This year’s animated shorts had 16 films that ranged from excellent to god awful. With the exception of “Believe Me” most were very short and had lots of moments to enjoy. There were even a few good laughs. As has been the case in the past, “Tales of Mere Existence” topped them all. Ironic because it is the least technological of all of them. It just goes to show, an intelligent story tops special effects every time.

Bill and Lev Get Stranded
Afterwards, several of the filmmakers did a Q & A

Animated Filmmakers

“Tales of Mere Existence” filmaker, Lev Yilmaz, says, “I’ve been doing this for quite a few years. I put out maybe one episode a month. It’s about whatever’s on my mind. It’s very popular on You Tube.”

Bill Plympton, a FFF favorite and the creator of the artwork that adorns the walls at the Eden Bar did “The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger.” He told the audience, “I got the idea from watching cows eating grass to fatten themselves up. I didn’t use sound effects, I gave each animal a different instrument, just like ‘Peter and the Wolf‘.” He uses a sharpie and is offering a free cow drawing to everyone who is in the audience tonight. “The most powerful message in the world is a mom’s love for her baby,” he continues, “and that’s what this film is all about. The film took three months to make.”

Christopher Burns, creator of “Cartoon Show,” says, “We use Flash MX, we just do frame by frame and edit with FinalCut.”

Byran Brinkman of “#Circlepic” tells us, “Everything was submitted to me on twitter. People took pictures of circles and submitted it to me. It took a few days to get all the images. It took a week or two to put it all together.”

At the end of the Q & A, Bill Pympton and Lev Yilmaz have a table set up outside the theatre and they are selling DVDs. A long line forms.

Lev tells me about the life of a shorts animator. He says he needs to have two sides–the creative, writing side and the business, analytical side. “Isn’t that what managers are for?,” I ask. He says management doesn’t work for him. They take a 10% commission, so they will only focus on the biggest money makers–not the art. When he first started posting on You Tube, he resisted doing the ads. He didn’t want anything to take away from his art. Now he’s up to 15 million hits. He has started using ads which “bring in a little money.”

I ask him if he did stage acting, because he has a very projecting voice. He relates to me the story of how he once filmed himself doing a presentation, played it back, and was appalled at all the “ums” and “uhs.” He had four hours before his presentation and he didn’t know what to do. So he made a conscious decision to mimic the Adam West as “Batman” style of forceful, machine gun-like delivery and that’s been with him ever since.

We purchase a book and two DVD’s from Lev to give to Number One Son, who couldn’t make it to the shorts tonight. Then, Bill Plympton comes over and says he can’t find their ride back to the hotel. I offer to give them a ride and they are grateful. Number One Daughter and Best Friend Bryana want to tag along, so we all hop in the LanceAroundMobile.

Number One Daughter is giggling and acting like a groupie. Lev wants to repay us for the ride to the hotel, so Number One Daughter asks him to do a sketch for Number One Son. We are driving over a brick road, which makes sketching challenging. Daughter finds a photo of Number One Son on my cell phone and Lev does a brief sketch of himself saying hi to Number One Son. Number One Daughter is ecstatic.

12:00am The Worst Movie at the FFF

Rambunctious Crowd at "Troll 2"

The worst movie ever filmed is playing at the downtown Cinema Plaza Café. We meet Number One Son who has driven up for this fiasco.

I don’t mean that this is the worst FFF movie. I mean that this is the number one worst movie of all time. That’s right, made in the 80’s, this movie ranks lower on Rotten Tomatoes than “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” It was the subject of one of this year’s hit documentary, “Best Worst Movie.”

We arrive at the Plaza Theatre and are disappointed to discover that the theatre is not very full. Some of the FFF staff are there and we lament the poor turnout. Everyone expected this to be bigger. I was afraid the show would be sold out.

The movie is “Troll 2.” How bad is it? Well, for starters, it is not a sequel. There has never been a movie, “Troll” and the movie does not have a single troll in it. The most famous line in the entire movie is, “You don’t piss on hospitality, I won’t stand for it!” Yeah, it is that bad.

"Troll 2" Movie Goer

The moviegoers who are there are a rambunctious bunch who put as much fun into it as possible. They attempt to establish a “Rocky Horror” atmosphere as well as an MST3K responsiveness. Mostly, however, they just keep shouting “Joshua” (the name of the lead kid character), singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and asking the lead female to dance.

It lives up to its hype as a really bad movie. Ed Wood would have been proud to have been a part of it. It plays again at 11:30pm on Saturday at the Regal Theater, so check it out. Some of the audience even dressed up in leaves and tree parts. That’s because…Oh, don’t bother…it really is that bad.

It’s hard to believe there’s only two days left in the FFF. Be sure to catch a film, or two or even three. It’ll be another year before there’s this much independent films in Central Florida.

FFF “Dumbstruck”

April 16, 2010

Firedog Speaks with Marlene and Gary

Two Final Films for Day 7
Number One Daughter and I close out our special evening with a short and a feature documentary. 

“The Poodle Trainer”–Reviewed by Number One Daughter. 

This is a short documentary about a woman and her poodles.  Working in the circus, she uses her highly trained poodles in her act.  Although it’s clear she cares greatly about her eight (or so) dogs, it’s hard to watch as she stuffs their heads in small lion masks and clip-on-tails.  Being a vegetarian, it seemed to hit a little harder.  Even so, this woman really loved her dogs and those poodles loved her back.  All in all, definitely an okay film. 

“Dumbstruck”–Reviewed by LanceAround

This feature documentary is an extraordinary film and a lot of fun.  It follows the exploits of five ventriloquists as they hone their craft between the annual Vent Haven Convention that takes place in July at a hotel in Fort Mitchell, KY. 

It gives a fascinating look at a very special group of people.  Ironically, many of these performers are very shy.  Their figure provides an alter ego that allows them to express things they might never dare to express in real life.  Like many artists, they have a passion for their craft and a determination to perform, no matter what. 

The group ranges from an awkward, tall woman who is being evicted from her home to a successful performer who has hit the mother lode with a 100 million dollar Las Vegas contract.  There are tales of family dysfunction, divorce and heartache mingled with moments of performance joy and success. 

The film was quite entertaining and held my attention, despite being our 10th film in a long night.  As much as I enjoyed it, I did think it could be made better with even tighter editing and some additional cuts.  The filmmakers shot over 300 hours, so it is clear they had already cut much out of this wonderful movie. 

Marlene, Gary and Sven

After the film, the two producers and the editor came onstage for some Q & A.  I ask Marlene, one of the producers and a ventriloquist herself,  if her “partner” was with her and could she give us a brief demo.  The audience applauds, encouraging her.  She brings out “Firedog” who tells the story of how shy Marlene is and that she is a schoolteacher.  It was fun to watch. 

Surprising Revelations After the Q & A
After the Q & A, I track down the three presenters and am regaled with an unexpected tale as entertaining as the movie. 

Marlene Cohen had been married to Gary Cohen for over twenty years.  One evening, at a dance, she begins to speak to him without moving her mouth.  He discovers that she is a closet ventriloquist.  “Doesn’t everyone do that?” she innocently asks her spouse.  “No, they don’t,” is Gary’s reply. 

When their daughter marries Mark Goffman, she does not have her figure [she had explained to me that the proper term for a ventriloquist’s “dummy” is “figure.”]  Using her gloves, she creates a mini ventriloquist act.  Turns out that her new son-in-law is a writer and filmmaker.  He has worked with Sven Pape, an editor, on James Cameron’s 2003 documentary “Ghosts of the Abyss.” 

Gary is fully supportive of his wife’s now un-hidden talent.  He buys her figures and goes with her to the annual ventriloquist convention.  It is decided that son-in-law Mark will do a documentary about this unique population–What a stroke of luck for the rest of us!

By now, Amber is clearly having a wonderful evening.  It is almost 1am and we still have the hour long drive home.  She will be tired in school tomorrow.  But maybe she’ll proudly show this post to all her friends!

FFF Day 7 Disney and Number One Daughter

April 16, 2010

Number One Daughter is in for a Rough Night

2:30pm The Bad News
I had to skip the FFF on Day 6 to attend a benefit for a dear six year friend from the Montessori School who was diagnosed with a brain tumor six months ago. Please include him in your thoughts. I will tell you about him in a later post.

Today is Day 7 and I pick up Number One Daughter a half hour early from the Montessori School so she can assist me, once again, at the FFF. She is furious. There is nothing worse than being dragged to the FFF and forced to be a pack mule with the computer, cameras, clipboard and business cards. There is no way she is going to have fun tonight.

4:00pm Up First–Shorts
“Shorts Program 3: Smolder”

“Ana’s Playground” is a chilling portrayal of children playing in war torn city surrounded by gunfire. Annoying use of handheld and sophomoric ending makes this short unbearable. Poor Number One Daughter.

“The One Last Time”–am I just in a bad mood or are the films today just pointless? Bank heist by “Wizard of Oz” characters thwarted by “superhero robbers.“ The ending was ridiculous. Number One Daughter says she liked it until the shooting started. Oops, did I just spoil the ending? No worries, you’ll want to skip this one.

“Daughters” is a tale of arranged marriages and population restrictions laws creating disharmony in a rural Chinese family. Depressing and beautifully filmed. The first good film of this shorts selection.

“Cigarette Candy” Depressing, well made film that brings home the realities of war. Emotional and disturbing. This one’s real. Things are picking up.

“Waiting Room” is a black & white dark thriller. The attempts to capture a mood made it a little difficult to follow the action. It was a 5 minute movie stuck in a nine minute film. Things go back down.

“Love Bug” is a wonderful, charming and sweet short that captures the bumblings of one’s first true love. Number One Daughter says it’s a cute little short that has you awaiting an answer,” as she smiles for the first time.

“Tired of Being Funny” is a very well acted, heart wrenching portrayal of dealing with the emotional impact of Alzheimer’s and family memories. Would have been powerful as a 10 minute short, was really starting to drag in a 30 minute film.

As the shorts program comes to a close, there’s a brief Q & A with the filmmakers from “Waiting Room.” This is Katharine O’brien’s second film while studying at Columbia University. She was influenced by “Dark Crystal” and “Twilight Zone” episodes. “I’ve always been interested in aging,” she announces. [At this point, I had posted a photo of Katharine and Ellyn during the Q&A. However in June 2015 Katharine emailed and asked me to remove the photo. Since it was not a particularly flattering photo, I was happy to comply with her request.]

Ellyn Stern, the lead from the movie, spoke of the difficulties of being an aging woman in film.

5:45 Anticipating “Waking Sleeping Beauty“
As we leave the theatre, we are warned by the House Manager that the next movie is almost sold out and we might not be allowed in the theatre. There is a long line around the corner so we decide to interview people. The upcoming film is a documentary that chronicles the rebirth of Disney animation from the lows of the 1980’s when the entire department was kicked out of the animation building in the Disney Studio to the phenomenal success that is “The Lion King.” In this Disney infested community of Central Florida, I suspected this film would be big.

“I’m a film fan and I’m a Disney fan. I write for ‘Celebration Magazine’,” states Glenn Whelan, referring to a magazine for the Disney created town of Celebration, FL.

“I am new to film and I don’t want to be interviewed,” responds Hayley S. who is in the 7th grade. “I’m the one who’s taking mom to see this movie,” she goes on. I get permission to quote her while mom’s the one who made sure she didn’t give her last name. If you read this, Hayley, please write me a comment to let me know how it feels to have your name on a blog. And be sure to NOT put your last name on your comment! (Better check with mom before you hit “send.”)

Ryan Elliott was pretty far back in the queue. “I’m a big Disney fan. I’ve been wanting to see this movie for quite awhile. I heard about it through Apple trailer. I’m a big fan of 2D animation and Disney renaissance–the period of time where Disney hit a rough stage and made it though.” He’s from Lakeland, FL and drove an hour and half just for this film. He brought his dad and a friend named Byron to watch the movie with him.

Jennifer Dorsman, the girl with creatively purple hair (who wanted me to identify her as the girl with the beautiful smile instead of the hair–but you can see the hair all the way from the front of the line!) says, “One of the sponsors [of the FFF] is Deeb Studios who did the ‘vegetable film,’ the 30 second FFF promo that plays before each film. I am an associate.” She goes on to say she has only seen “Cleanflix” and “Watermelon Man.” “I really enjoyed them, they sparked quite a conversation–it was almost an argument–with Kupfer” (This is the guy who did the music for the 30 second promo and is standing next to her but seems confused that he would argue with the purple headed woman who says she has a beautiful smile.)

Nancy Heaton was almost at the end of the line. (She corrects me and insists she‘s closer to the middle–wishful thinking, Nancy!) “It [the movie] seems interesting. I have a lot of friends that work at Disney. It’s a curious thing to see what’s going on. What happened. It’s interesting.”

Tony, Audrey, Jennifer and Hugo are together. All of them, except Audrey, have worked for Disney Animation. Although they worked in Florida, this film is from California. Audrey sold comic books–Yes, some of them to the other three. They seem a little giddy with excitement about seeing this film.

“This is one of the busiest films so far,” confirms the House Manager.

By now there’s a large group of volunteers hovering around the theatre hoping to gain admittance. The rule at the FFF is that Press and Volunteers can only enter a movie once all platinum pass holders and paying patrons have gone in. Often, there is plenty of room for them. But there is a nervous energy as people are anticipating they might not get in. At 6:02pm there were only 11 tickets left and a standby line was beginning to form. The movie starts at 6:30pm. The theatre is packed. At the last minute, the House Manager gives us permission to enter and Number One Daughter and I find seats in the very first row of the theatre. I can feel the enthusiasm beginning to rise in Number One Daughter. Is it possible she’s starting to have a good time? With her father (uh, oops) with her LanceAroundOrlando co-worker?

The mood is electric.

Reactions to “Waking Sleeping Beauty”
86 minutes later, I sit and contemplate what I just saw.

I cannot be objective about this film. I suspect that if I did not live in Central Florida with the knowledge and closeness of Disney, I would have found this film only mildly amusing and a little boring. However, like most of the audience, I was aware of the story and enthralled by the background information. I laughed, clapped and even teared along with the rest of them.

Number One Daughter was having a great time. “A captivating movie of the drama behind the cute animated movies of Disney,” she says. “You cannot watch this movie without crying first, and having the need to watch a Disney movie afterwards. If you do not, then you are a heartless person–because this move speaks directly to it,” she continues. Inside my heart, I am ecstatic that she is having such a good time. (I love you, Amber!)

We check in with some of the patrons who saw this film.

“That’s the only film that made me cry during this entire festival. As a 30 year Disney Cast Member it touched me on a level I didn’t know I had,” says Jeff Johnson who is obviously very moved. “It was exceptional and objective documentary filmmaking.” He pauses for a moment, then requests I do not quote him further. He allows me to summarize by saying he was touched by the truth in the film.

“It was very, very good,” chimed an anonymous movie goer, as he strode past.

“I loved it. I was actually an animator at the Burbank Studio,” says Broose Johnson. I ask him how accurate it was. “Very, very accurate. I know Don Hahn and Peter Schneider personally. They were very interested in telling the real story–the good and the bad. I was rank and file at that time. I recall watching some behind the scenes stuff in ‘The Lion King’ and I remember thinking, ‘wow, Jeffery’s really promoting himself in a way we hadn’t seen before’,” he muses. I ask him if he was in the movie. “Yes, there was one very fast shot of me making a face in the mirror. Very quickly.”

8:15pm Number One Daughter Begins to Chatter
By now, it’s clear that Number One Daughter has turned completely around. We drive the 1.5 miles from the Regal Cinema to the Enzian in preparation for the 9:45pm showing of “Dumbstruck.” She is chatting away about how much she enjoyed “Waking Sleeping Beauty.”

As we sit at the Eden Bar and I finish this post, she quietly draws animated characters–ones that may show up in a documentary 40 years from now about the second renaissance of Disney animation.

I quietly smile to myself, lean over and give her a kiss on the forehead.