On Tour: Germantown, MD

10 Feb

February 7, 2015  | REBELS WITH A CAUSE | Germantown, MD

Screening 1 Temperature: 88° day, 86° night
Screening 2 Temperature: 43° day (feels like 33°), 20° night
Screening 3 Temperature: 48° day, 30° night

The people who attended made this Rebels screening special. My nephew Doug Christman drove an hour to be there. We rarely see each other because I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and he lives in Virginia.

2-7_Kelly Nephew

Doug Christman and his aunt, Nancy Kelly before the screening

Brian Ditzler, a member of the Sierra Club board, did the Q&A with me. And some of tomorrow’s “rebels,” members of the local high school Ecology Club, came with their teacher. I have no idea how they heard about it, but I am always thrilled when teenagers come to Rebels screenings.

2-7_Nancy with Audience

During the post-screening discussion, I called the rest of the audience’s attention to them. They were sitting together in a row near the back and all five of them shrunk into their seats. I felt a little bit bad about embarrassing them, but not that bad…I watched for a chance to draw them out. Finally, I asked what specific things the Ecology Club did and with the teacher’s encouragement, one young woman bravely stood up and talked till she got stage fright and sank back into her seat. A man in the audience told us he lived in Marin when the fight over those lands took place. He described how the Marin County water district made builders prove they had enough water to support the houses they planned, and said he wished where he lives now, Montgomery County, MD, had an analogous situation. Almost all the 35-40 people in the audience had visited Point Reyes National Seashore and said they wondered at the time how all that open space existed so close to San Francisco.


Maryland Sierra Club board member Brian Ditzler doing the Q&A with Nancy Kelly.



As the audience was leaving, I got to talk with the members of the Ecology Club and their teacher, and to tell the young woman who spoke not to worry about her stage fright, that she did great. I was fascinated by all the ways the teacher tried to impress upon his students that I was an important person. “She’s like Ken Burns!” Blank faces. A couple other examples, more blank faces. Finally, “She’s like Katy Perry!” “Oooooh!” That’s when my face was blank. They told me Katy Perry sang during half time at the Super Bowl…


Conversations with people when I’ve been out and about in Maryland and D.C.

The man who inspected bags at the entrance to the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum of Contemporary Art in DC, recommended the café in the American Indian Museum just down the street. “Now, I’m not saying don’t have the buffalo stew, but its spiciness kind of sneaks up on you—I had it once, and two hours later, I was screaming for water!”


National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution (its cafe serves the spicy buffalo stew)


The young woman working at the deserted pool in the hotel basement told me she’d come to the U.S. from Ukraine to study. Learning that I live near San Francisco, she said, “San Francisco is my dream city! I will attend the University of California at San Diego, so that’s pretty close.” Then, “Would you like a Ukrainian cookie?” She offered me an entire tray of them, sent by her mother. Over her protestations to take more, I took 3. They were small, hollow pastry tubes filled with fresh-tasting cream custard—very, very good.

A waiter from Bangladesh told me he won the U.S. immigration lottery 20 years ago and after 5 years, brought his parents here, then returned to Bangladesh, got married, and brought his wife here. Now they have 3 boys under the age of 11. “I bet it’s not too quiet at your house.” I said. “We’ve got it under control,” he smiled, and I understood that things were most certainly quiet there.

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


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