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If we were having coffee: The Cleveland Film Festival

View from our hotel room when we arrived in Cleveland on the afternoon of the 31st of March 2017.

I don’t like the idea of “understanding” a film. I don’t believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of any work of art. Either a film has something to say to you or it hasn’t. If you are moved by it, you don’t need it explained to you. If not, no explanation can make you moved by it.

~ Federico Fellini

Early the next morning (Saturday, April 1).

If we were having coffee, I would be delighted to see you again.  Gosh, it seems like it’s been a long time.  Do I say that every time?  I think I might.  Well, never mind that.  Come on in!!  Isn’t it gorgeous outside today?  Let’s grab our beverages and go sit in the three-season room for now.  It should warm up enough in a little while that we can go out on the deck if you like, but it’s a bit chilly out there now since it’s in the shade.

We have the usual assortment of drinks and snacks although I can add a few sweets to the mix.  There are some chocolate covered blueberries and pretzels if you’re craving sugar instead of hummus and veggies.  Does anyone ever crave hummus and veggies?  I do, sometimes, but it’s not the same kind of craving I get for chocolate or sugar.  Oh!  I almost forgot.  We also have an assortment of cheeses.  M and I stopped at the Whole Foods on the mainland on our way home and some of the cheeses looked too good resist.  I know a lot of folks think Whole Foods is expensive, but I find that’s not true when it comes to certain items (olive oil comes to mind) and they do have good selections in the produce department (much better than anything we can find over here on the Eastern Shore at any time of year).  Whole Foods is also my go-to place for things like miso, tempeh, and other “exotic” food items that can’t be found in the stores around here.

Saturday afternoon view.  The fog had lifted, but the clouds were still hanging around.

How are you?  What have you been up to lately?  Have you gone on any adventures?  Seen any new sights?  Have you spent time with family and/or friends?  Have you read any good books or seen any good films?

I finished reading A Thousand Acres: A Novel by Jane Smiley which I thought was a really good read.  It was the kind of book I found difficult to put down once it got going.  I am currently reading Americanah.  It was one of several books on a list of recommended fiction for those in the resistance.  I thought I’d bookmarked the list to share with you, but I can’t find it.  Americanah, written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi, won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award, if such things matter to you (they don’t to me).  I’ve only just started it, but find it an interesting and good reading so far.

Walking over to Tower City where the Cleveland International Film Festival is held. This view is from Public Square which didn’t look like this the last time I saw it.  It was renovated for the Republican National Convention held there last year.

As for films, well.  I’ve seen a few since our last chat.  As you know, I went to a film festival.  I’m not sure I mentioned which film fest.  It was the Cleveland International Film Festival which M and I have attended at least twice in the past.  (You can read about our last visit to the film festival on my old blog, Life in the Bogs, here.)  The purpose of the trip and our film festival attendance had its roots in getting together with friends, two other couples who have made their way out to the Eastern Shore to visit with us.  One couple also lives in Maryland (on the mainland, in the D.C. area) and the other is in the Cleveland area.  We originally met in northeast Ohio back in the beginning of the 2000’s so it was a homecoming of sorts (although none of us are originally from that area).

More from Public Square.

Four of us stayed at the Westin Cleveland, a little over a half mile from Tower City where the film festival is held.  We got a really good deal with a film festival package that included the room, parking, breakfast, and four vouchers per day for films.  Before I get to the films, I have to say that I really do like Cleveland.  The city has changed a lot since M and I moved up that way back in 2000, and the people are always friendly.  M and I were just starting to get to know the city before we moved east.  There is plenty to see and do, and we didn’t manage to fit in half of what we would have liked.  We took our time when it came to visiting Cleveland, thinking we would be spending the rest of our lives in The Bogs.  Then things changed, and here we are, in a place I wouldn’t have expected us to land.

I think this is the Cleveland War Memorial Peace statue.

My only complaint about the trip was a prank someone played early in the morning on April Fool’s Day.  We were sleeping soundly when alarms started blaring and lights began flashing and a voice started booming at us to exit via the nearest stairway because an emergency had been reported.  Ack!!  I dang near had a heart attack being awakened so rudely near 4:30 AM.  We were on the 20th floor and yes, we did exit.  With our PJ’s on under our coats.  I don’t know how many stairs we ran down, but it was a lot.  My legs were sore for 2-3 days after that because we don’t have stairs or hills here in the flatland of the Eastern Shore.  It was a LONG way down.  As we were winding our way down to the street exit, I couldn’t help but think about 9/11 and fires in tall buildings.  Judging by the discussions we had with others, I wasn’t the only one having such thoughts.  At any rate, all that excitement turned out to be someone’s idea of a joke.  Guess they thought it would be funny to pull the fire alarm.  I doubt the firemen who showed up thought it was funny.  I can say for sure that none of us who evacuated thought it was funny, either.  Good exercise, true.  Funny, no.

Tower City in the background.

We arrived in Cleveland on Friday (March 31) afternoon, checked into our hotel, and then arranged to meet up with our friends for the first film we planned to see which was Zip & Zap and the Captain’s Island (the link takes you to a short trailer on YouTube) from Spain (with subtitles).  I enjoyed it, and thought it was enchanting, but you know me.  I love a good fairy tale.

Sunrise on Sunday (April 2).

We didn’t have much time between films.  In order to get in to see the films, even when you have tickets, you must stand in line.  Pass holders and members get priority when it comes to seating, then ticket holders who get their seats on a first in line, first seat available basis.  If the seats aren’t filled, those in the standby line get in.  We used our vouchers to get our tickets prior to attending the festival and just had to pick them up at Will Call when we first arrived.  Anyhow.  The second film we saw was Like Crazy, from Italy.  It’s a tale of two women who meet in a mental institution, escape on an adventure, and eventually become friends.  I thought it was hilarious in spots, sad in others, and overall, it was entertaining.

Tower City (from our hotel on Sunday morning).

Like Crazy ended sometime after 9 PM and we went to dinner after that, Ubering our way over to the Bourbon Street Barrel Room in the Tremont neighhborhood.  It was my first experience with Uber and honestly, it wasn’t much different than taking a taxi, something we did when we first arrived and we were running late.  The cost was about the same.  Actually, I think the taxi was cheaper.

The food, drink, and service at the Bourbon Street Barrel Room were all excellent.  Getting caught up with friends and chatting about the films we saw was priceless.

One more view from the room on Sunday morning just to show you how changeable Cleveland’s weather can be.

If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would tell you that I will have to finish my tale of this adventure tomorrow.  It is so lovely outside, and I need to do some work in the garden and mow.  You are welcome to come with me and have a seat on the bench by the pond and the garden or, if you want to get your hands dirty, help me with the weeding and mowing.  I have seeds to start, too, if you’d rather work in the greenhouse.

Maple and Oak in spring.  (Taken here on the Wabi-Sabi Ranch just after I returned home.)

Thank you so much for joining me for another coffee chat.  Let’s go to the Point later to watch the sunset.  It’s scheduled for 7:34 PM.  You’ll need a jacket.  The afternoon has been warm, but the evenings are still pretty chilly.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Spring maple (edited).

This post is in response to #WeekendCoffeeShare which now has a new home.  Thank you to Nerd In The Brain for taking on the job of hosting it, and to Diana for starting it. Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us.  I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.

P.S.  Souper Sunday will return next week.  I did make a soup, but wanted to get this coffee chat in before the weekend ran out.


Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

23 thoughts on “If we were having coffee: The Cleveland Film Festival

  1. Glad you had fun with your friends. The April Fool’s joke was NOT funny. I hope they catch and prosecute the culprit for breaking the law. I expect they were caught on security camera somewhere?
    Have a great week, gardening and seed planting. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 I hope they had a camera and that they caught them. I assumed they must have seen something to know that it was an April Fool’s prank. Or maybe the desk clerk was guessing. Whatever the case, someone ought to pay for the fire department’s visit. There were two trucks and the fire chief’s vehicle there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll happily join you for some hummus and veggie dip – I’ve given up on sugar and suchlike, though I’m drawn back to wheat in the form of pitta breads sadly….. and I’ll pull some weeds and fork the soil a little as required. I like to keep my hands busy while we chat. Both those films sound good to my ears – though I’ve become less keen on subtitled these days – its a vision thing. Film Festivals don’t figure in my budget any more so I am always happy to read of others forays into that world. I’ll look forward to catching up on more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Other than the fire alarm prank, it sounds like you had a great time! There are film festivals in Philadelphia, and I always think we’ll get tickets, but we haven’t (yet). It’s also fun that it was a mini-vacation with friends.
    Beautiful photos, as always. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 Judging by the plays and films you do go see, perhaps you don’t need a film festival. There is something special about it, though. Sometimes the director or producer or star of the film is there to talk about it, and that’s always fun and interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it interesting what some folks think is funny – I definitely do not agree that the prank you described was funny. It has been a very very long time since I was in Cleveland, and I’m quite certain I would recognize nothing now. Especially since I was there for a church convention and saw little of the city. As to films, I agree with Fellini – I either enjoy a film or I don’t, and I’m not one to look for hidden meanings. I’m quite content with superficial entertainment. Thank you for the refreshments, and the visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Carol, and thank you. 🙂 I agree with Fellini, too. I have a hard time when it comes to reviewing things like movies and books for just that reason. I enjoy it or I don’t, and I can rarely explain why. As for the prank, I agree with you. It was not funny in the least. I hope they caught whoever did it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Isn’t it against the law to shout, “fire!” in a crowded theater when there isn’t one? I seem to remember learning this when my parents were teaching me that freedom of speech has certain limits. Seems to me like it would cover, in principal, pulling a fire alarm when there isn’t a fire. I do hope they caught and arrested the prankster.

    Sounds like you had a good time seeing movies with your friends, though…

    I also shop at Whole Foods when I get a chance, for much the same reasons as you. The closest ones are an hour away in three different directions. Sometimes we stop after a trip on our way home from the airport.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the way of it for us too, Barbara. There is no Whole Foods over here on the island so we have to wait until we’re traveling somewhere to get to one. Our nearest is two hours away, over in Annapolis.
      I hope they caught the prankster too. It was quite a rude awakening for a lot of people, and the firemen couldn’t have been happy about it.


Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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