As I drive through Lansing, zipping past houses and businesses, I realize it’s completely impossible to stop and focus on any specifics of the city. Part of my goal for City Saunter was to get out of the car, out of the parks, off the river trail and really change my point of view while in the city. When I walk I am able to see much better the true make-up of Lansing. I pass by thousands of store fronts and porches and see how they focus their attention on their environment. Yet there is still another element of familiarity missing by just walking by. Recently I intensified my focus and journeyed into two establishments on my walk. The first was Decker’s Coffee and the second was Kelly’s Downtown. The reason for venturing deeper into two of Lansing’s popular watering holes was an invite from Michael McCallum of Rebel Pictures. Now Michael has the kind of charisma that when he asks if you want to meet up to talk about an activity he’s involved with your answer is when and where. Michael is our local film producer, successfully using the Lansing area to create award winning films. When I last caught up with him he was on location at Arties Filling Station shooting his feature length film Buffalo, now in post production. On today’s outing not only did I enjoy a smooth coffee from Decker’s but I also was given the opportunity to screen two of Michael’s short films; “Momento Mori” and “Small Town Fireworks”.
Michael and I strolled from our slightly chilly patio seat at Decker’s to seek out a quiet location (and an electrical outlet) to begin the viewing. Kelly’s Downtown was the perfect spot, not just for the use of power but also because Kelly’s was one of the locations Mike used to shoot “Small Town Fireworks”. Inside Kelly’s I met Jeff Kelley, the owner. Despite not wanting his photo taken by me he was willing to portray a believable bartender in one of Michael’s short films. This is one of Michael’s secret weapons; pulling talented friends and family from the community to bring believability into his scripts. As the first movie started it was hard not to smile at the noticeable Lansing landmarks; the Silver Bells street ornament, Michigan Ave., The River Trail, even Decker’s Coffee. It makes me feel like I somehow have a bit of ownership in these creations. The actor, Cody Masalkoski who stars in “Memento Mori”, is someone I have run into around town quite a few times. Sitting at the bar with a drink in his hand, is Michael looking very much like the actor whose portrayal of “Allen” in “Small Town Fireworks” made me laugh, feel compassion for and finally, at the end, well I guess you should find out for yourself.
On Sunday, yes Sunday, 7:00 p.m. June 24, 2012 at our very own Kelley’s Downtown, Michael McCallum will be hosting a Short Film Premiere party featuring both “Small Town Fireworks” and “Memento Mori”. It’s a great opportunity to check out these locally produced films. To top it off Sam Corbin, who portrays a memorable musician in one of the films, will be providing live music for all those who attend. This is a great chance to support quite a few local talents as the proceeds will help get these films into numerous film festivals.
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