March 6th, 2013 | ABEL RAISES CAIN | Richmond, VA
We really had to hustle to leave at 5:30 a.m. this morning in order to make it to Richmond, VA in time for our screening that night. I’m realizing that it’s very dangerous for me to make comparisons between the Abels and the Griswolds from ‘Vacation.’ The moment we pulled out of the driveway at the Serendipity B&B, half of our suitcases toppled out onto the road from the back of the van. In the movie, it was hilarious. In real life, it was scary. It was still dark out when we left. Luckily, Jeff was able to hop out and collect all of our belongings strewn about the road before getting run over by another car!
It’s a fairly ambitious drive to do in one day, even without the threat of a storm. Nine hours from the top of NY State to the center of Virginia, we were set to travel right through the wrath of Saturn, the newest most vicious snow storm of the century. Reports were indicating that over a foot would fall on some states, including southern Pennsylvania and northern Virginia. Jeff hasn’t done much snow driving, seeing as how he was born and raised in Florida, so this was his first hard lesson. I was nervous for him navigating the slippery weather. He had three backseat drivers all shouting out what to do at once. While there were a few hair-raising patches, he did a stellar job and we made it to Richmond with a little more than an hour to spare.
I kept in touch with Shannon Hooker, Assistant Director of Modlin Center for the Arts, as we journeyed south. She was concerned that Saturn would negatively impact our audience turnout. It was disheartening, because we received a really positive review in RVANews <http://rvanews.com/entertainment/abel-raises-cain-parents-totally-do-understand/85434> and I was confident that the place would be hopping that evening. We wondered together whether or not we should proceed with the screening. University of Richmond had canceled all of their evening classes. The Firehouse Theatre itself had shut down that day because of the storm! But we decided collectively to carry on with the show.
When we arrived at the theatre, we were warmly greeted by another one of our OSIP co-hosts, James Parrish. He heads the James River Film Society and his mission is bringing independent film to the community of Richmond. James is a kindred spirit to Jacob Dodd in Oswego, NY. Both extreme and dedicated film lovers, it wasn’t a surprise that they are, in fact, friends. James brought a giant digital projector setup with screen and all to the Firehouse Theatre. It was quite impressive.
Shannon wore a cheery demeanor, making sure that all went smoothly despite the unfortunate weather situation. It turned into a nasty rainy, windy night. I must say that listening to everyone panicking over the storm reminded me of living in Los Angeles. If there was even just the slightest bit of rainfall, the entire city would shut down and traffic would come to a grinding halt. Richmond NEVER gets snowfall like this…ever, I was told. So it was a big deal. The funny thing was that, by the time we got there that night, most, if not all, of the snow had melted!
We were so grateful that some people braved the storm. A small dedicated group of folks with an immense sense of humor, the audience seemed to really appreciate my father’s antics. It was by far my favorite Q&A ever. On stage was a living room set that reminded me of ‘All in the Family.’ My dad sat in Archie’s chair and my mom and I shared the adjacent couch. It was intimate and fun, like having our own talk show!
I wish that we had time to explore Richmond, but we are in town for only one night. The great thing about Oswego was that we had time to get to know our host and relax a bit. We had to rush to our second destination. Factoring in the storm, it was even more of a whirlwind trip! Let’s just say that when the sun was shining the next morning and we could hear birds chirping, it came as quite a relief. I’m a hearty New Englander, but even I look forward to spring!
Post by OSIP Touring Filmmaker, Jenny Abel