fifteenth new thing...

hollar! welcome back! for this foray into the 52 new things, i did something else that appeals to my love of (almost) all things entertainment. and this bloggity, blog, blog is totally owed to my dad. while we were suppose to share this experience together, he still made it possible for my friend laura and i to go even after he had to cancel last minute. so, thanks a bushel and a peck, dad. you're the best. for the fifteenth of my 52 new things, i was lucky enough to attend the world premiere of a movie.

the lena baker story explores the true story of lena baker, the first woman to ever be executed by electrocution in the state of georgia. based on a book written by the head of the english department and librarian at the college my father works for, the movie introduced me to a tale i had never heard before. and the environment in which it was presented caused the film to resonate even more with me.

set in the rolling cotton fields of southwest georgia (near where i was born, incidentally), the film stars tichinia arnold, of little shop of horrors (in which her characters name was...crystal!) and martin fame. the lead role was like nothing i had ever seen her portray before and because of that it took me more than 30 minutes for me to turn to laura with this faint glimmer of realization on my face and whisper: "holy shit. that's pam!" it was a moving story and i was invested to the very end, even though we all new how it would end (and, also in spite of the incessant praying i was doing between 8PM and 9PM, waiting to hear carly's fate from my sister. thanks for taking one for the team micahel johns!)

what was especially touching about this film was the family sitting in front of us. as it was opening night, the majority of the cast was in attendance (that's tichinia in those rocking boots! that's totally denzel washington's boss from the bone collector!) with their families. in front of laura and i was an entire fourth of a row of kids, no older than 13 (and most younger than that).

as the electrocution scene began to play, the little girl (who was probably 10) just to the left of me in the next row began to cry. an upsetting, ugly cry. her mother came over and started to comfort her as the rest of the theatre erupted in sobs (laura and i included). first, i was upset that her parents thought it was a good idea to bring her. as the lights came up, the director and cast received a standing ovation. the director called members of the cast down to the front of the theatre to participate in the Q&A.

when he asked for the ingenue who played lena as a little girl, the very same ten year-old who had been so upset only 20 minutes before, stood and walked down to stand next to her older self. apparently that was the first time she had seen the scene where lena is put to death. and she was lena. no wonder she was so upset. but she pulled it together, better than i could and answered a couple questions. and a star was born.

ps: the lena baker story was picked up for distribution the night of the premiere and was suppose to be shown at cannes. hopefully it will garner a wider release. the story of the injustice this woman faced deserves to be told.

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