I’ve spotted them again downtown. The equipment trucks, generators, costume trailers and porta potties, all the telltale signs that movie and TV productions are in the hood. Many new to the area might not recognize the signs but I was very excited to see them back just down the street on a sunny morning earlier this week.
I asked to take a picture of one of the trucks the “grips” use and the person I spoke with said that I had picked a great truck to photo. The guy who owned it has used that specific truck, the blue one, since he worked on the Goonies almost 35 years ago. I told him I was just excited to see them back.
Wilmington was once a thriving hub of entertainment activity with many people we knew working in the industry. We had a film studio with one of the largest sound stages and one of, if not the largest, special effects water tanks in the world. We would sometime go and watch for a while when they were filming. They filmed an episode of Sleepy Hollow right across the street at St. Mary’s where the kids went to grade school. Walked by Ms. Gold’s house where they filmed the Longest Ride and watched a scene play out with Lucie Hale, which thrilled my daughter, just across Third Street. Unfortunately do to some, in my opinion, short sighted policies by North Carolina and aggressive film promotion by other states like Georgia the film business dried up and for years and had all but disappeared.
It was exciting to see it scenes happen, sometimes catch a glimpse of the stars, and get to see the old home town on TV and even the big screen. I have even met tourist, whose sole purpose was to see the places depicted in their favorite shows, flying into Wilmington with fan maps and descriptions in hand. People still come for yearly conventions celebrating One Tree Hill. Fans of that show still sign the 6th street Bridge which was part of the opening credits for the show.
And you never knew who you would come across. Dennis Hopper loved Wilmington and bought a building downtown. Linda Lavin, best known for the TV show Alice moved a few blocks away and was active in the local theatre scene. I saw James Earl Jones chomping on a cigar at a street festival, sat behind Val Kilmer at breakfast, and sang Christmas carols for Orlando Jones who happened to be staying in my neighborhood. I know one of my favorite people of fame, and they know who they are, lives in the hood and is a fabulous part of the community.
Wilmington has missed the film industry, the jobs and money especially, but also the promotion of our beautiful area and the civic pride and attachment of being a part of those cultural touchstones. Our friend and neighbor Senator Peterson, along with others, has introduced a bill, SB57, to help address and improve the incentives for film production and I hope you will support him. It would be a shame to watch those trucks roll off again perhaps never to return…FIN
After my last blog post ideas have been flying fast and furious through my synapses so more material is coming. Also although my thoughts have been food centric and my business is real estate so perhaps not totally apropos but then kitchens are the focal point for most buyers and that is where we make food so there you have it.
Actually, my thoughts turn towards the complexities of life. I believe that nothing is simple and often state that fact especially when people use simple platitudes to explain situations. Almost everything, today it seems, consists of layers of nettlesome complexity. I really think life was likely always more complex than people perceived but now simplicity seems to have been devoured by complications.
Metaphorically I again turn to food. I was making lasagna for my friend’s family this week after they suffered a recent loss. It used to be lasagna was lasagna and if I were to make more you just needed more ingredients meat sauce, cheese, noodles, etc. Today though it’s not nearly so simple. My son has a glutton allergy so he wants red meat sauce, but with glutton free noodles. My daughter is a vegetarian (forbid she becomes vegan because that may be a bridge too far) so red veggie sauce, regular noodles. My wife Kelly for some reason has become somewhat allergic to nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, etc.) so crème vegetable sauce and regular noodles. All these iterations in addition to the original intent which was to make traditional lasagna with meat sauce just so everyone would have something they could and would eat.
Do I miss the days when I could simply make only one type of lasagna; absolutely. But while it took a bit more effort to manage the order and steps along with two extra pots I was able to make things that pleased the people I care about by realizing and somewhat embracing the complexity. Really all of them were delicious in their own way and really isn’t variety the spice of life? Additionally, the modern world isn’t always just more and more stuff to deal with. The modern world has given me oven ready noodles which are a godsend for making lasagna in my humble opinion.
So yes the world is more complex and that complexity can be vexing. Ignoring complexity won’t solve the problem. Perhaps the key is to accept that things are more complex and try to see and adapt to that reality. And just maybe wrapped up in all the other stuff are good things like variety and oven ready noodles.