Last night as Gary turned the car onto NW 21st, I could see right in front of me the Cinema 21 marquee bolding announcing: "Aaron Katz in Person - Cold Weather". Underneath a line of frozen movie buffs (temperatures appropriately in the mid 20s) snaked down the sidewalk in both directions. It took my breath away. Many years ago when I lived in a tiny apartment a half block from this same theater, I would never have pictured my son's name on that familiar marquee.
The 500 seat theater was almost packed to capacity with all ages and descriptions of eager supporters by the time my boy was introduced. I was shaking in nervous anticipation wondering how this crowd would respond. A few minutes into the film when it was clear that the audience was engaged, I was able to relax and smile not only because of the humorous predicaments of the movie characters, but also from pure pleasure and pride.
Enthusiastic applause greeted Aaron as he came to the front to answer questions following the film. Afterwards a sea of familiar faces greeted me while I made my way forward to congratulate the young director - Aaron's teachers from pre-school through high school, former neighbors & baby sitters, old family friends, coworkers, and new acquaintances. Everyone's praise seemed genuine and I could see that each one took pride in their personal connection. These are the people who have supported Aaron and helped make him who he is.
This morning as I look at the photo of the marquee, I still can't quite believe my eyes. Even though it all seems dream-like, I have to agree with the local critic who said in his review yesterday that some people such as Aaron are born to make movies.