In less than a week, I'll be sitting somewhere deep in the back of an old, historic theater. Orange and blue hues of light will peek out from the sides, and I'll be hit with waves of nostalgia. You see, this isn't just any theater. It's my theater. My childhood theater. Back then, I used to run around town wearing costumes and filming scenes with an old boxy camcorder.
I suppose in many ways, nothing has changed. And yet everything has.
Back somewhere in the mid-1990's, I sought refugee in this theater and others like it. And for whatever inexplicable reason, I felt a connection to the stories being told on-screen. Connections to my own identity that never quite could be shaken and remain even now. I grew up and started to learn about the world in that theater. Miramax movies, tentpole blockbusters, and everything in between shaped my mind and ideals about the future and what lie ahead of my own character journey. I'll be returning to watch yet another movie... only this time it's my own movie.
I haven't the slightest clue what's going to happen.
Don't get me wrong, I know what's supposed to happen. I know the program, the film, the beats, and even what's likely to be discussed in the LIVE PODCAST Q & A afterward... but much like practicing can only prepare you so much for the big game, until the clock rings 6:30 and proceedings get underway, I just won't know.
The whole thing is so saturated with Chicago that we might as well serve Vienna Beef hot-dogs right out of a cart on the side of the street. Mustard, relish, and a free DVD of Son of Ghostman.
I made this film when others wouldn't make it for me, a Chicago do-it-yourself trait if there ever was one. Its screenwriting roots come from a Chicago hero to me, John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller) and also features a goofy horror host inspired by Chicago legend Svengoolie. And if that wasn't enough, in some weird way, Chicago wrestler CM Punk helped spark my attitude towards making it.
Which is all to say, there'll never be another night like this, not in my career. Sure, there certainly could be more exciting screenings and events, but not like this. This is the hometown screening and event that the high school version of me dreamed of.
And so when I stride on-stage Friday night, look out at the crowd that I hope is bursting at the aisles, and try to give them some semblance of live entertainment, the full weight of the journey will likely hit me. After 15+ years of pushing non-stop to get my stories out, maybe I can finally take a moment to relax.
Not likely, but I'll at least be happy.
Hope to see you there Chicago, it's a big one...
Read in Kurt's words why SVENGOOLIE MATTERED.
Bart Scott of Ears of Steel will be hosting the event.
Read up about the Raue Center for the Performing Arts, an amazing theater.