On Tour: Erie, PA

10 Feb

February 9th, 2014  | The Exquisite Corpse Project |  Erie, PA

At the rental car dealership in Erie, Pennsylvania, I was delighted to be handed the keys to a silver Chevy Impala – the same car that Ryan Gosling’s character expertly wields in the opening scenes of Drive. Unfortunately, the make and model of our cars would end up being the only commonalities between Gosling and I, as I don’t think I ever exceeded 15 mph on the snow-covered roads of Erie.

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Four years ago, just two weeks after completing production on my first feature film, The Exquisite Corpse Project, my wife Joanna and I left the snowy Northeast and moved to an island in the Caribbean. It was a decision motivated by our shared spirit of adventure, our love of the ocean, and my need to avoid another winter of seasonal affective disorder (a made-up-sounding condition that I wholeheartedly believe to be real). We’ve lived there happily ever since. We still experience some semblance of winter in the Caribbean, however the seasonal low is still in the high 60’s, so even then long pants are often excessive.

Packing tip for those traveling from the Caribbean: long pants are not excessive in Erie, Pennsylvania, where there have been over 115 inches of snow in the past three months. I asked the concierge at the hotel if it ever stops snowing, and she said, “Oh, sure! For about fifteen minutes in the middle of June. Then it starts up again.” I did not pack appropriately.

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My frostbitten toes aside, Erie is beautiful. Dozens of sheds clutter the surface of the lake, where fishermen sit huddled together over holes in the ice and wait for a tug on their line. Everywhere I go, people are talking about how great the snowboarding had been that weekend, and where they were going to snowboard next. When I told someone that I’d never been snowboarding, he said, “When you live in this kind of climate, you have to find things to love about the winter.” I really liked that. He then asked me where I live, and I told him that I live in the Caribbean. He chuckled and said, “Do you know what people around here call people who live in the Caribbean?” He smiled. “Cowards!”

He might be right.

Post by OSIP touring filmmaker, Ben Popik.
To listen to a podcast interview with the filmmaker, click here.

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