Where to start…

Walking from the hotel to Tower City (where the CIFF is held).

What an amazing weekend it has been.  There are so many things to tell you about that I think it will take at least a week.  I feel so saturated with life and art and the city of Cleveland that I don’t know where to begin.

So let’s start with the Cleveland International Film Festival which is what took me north in the first place.  M and I have gone up several years in a row just to see one movie which translates to an almost hour drive for one film.  We’d stand in line for standby tickets and hope for the best while talking about how we ought to check out becoming members or pass holders or something, book a hotel room for at least a day or two, and enjoy a little more of the film festival experience by seeing more than one film.  Without winning the lottery or giving up on other things we enjoy in life, purchasing passes that would enable us to sit in on as many films as we’d like is impossible unless I learn how to write movie reviews well enough that people will pay me to show up.  If you’ve read any of my book or film reviews, you’ll know this isn’t likely.  However, I would be more than willing to become a Sell Out like Dana and continue to endorse, link to, and otherwise promote and advertise the Cleveland International Film Festival on my blog, on my t-shirts (I did buy one of their super cute t-shirts this year), and on my car.

Arriving before the opening and having the thrill of seeing the empty board waiting to be filled with films

As someone who loves the spirit of the Cleveland International Film Festival, but is still new enough not to be jaded by anything at all, I’m sure I’d make a good blogger and endorser about all things CIFF.   Email me CIFF, or just leave a comment and I’ll contact you.  I saw some of those guys standing in line with their IPads, looking snarky and critical.  I would offer you nothing but love and peace, and the wide-eyed wonder and gratitude of experiencing films from around the world, such as Nana, which surprised and enchanted me.  It was a little dark and the beginning was a shock, but it was also delightful.

East 4th Street

The weather on Thursday was gorgeous.  It was shorts and t-shirt warm.  Not your typical CIFF weather.  Last year it was snowing and cold and everyone was bundled up.  Fortunately, we didn’t have to spend the entire day indoors.  Thursday was all about purchasing tickets for our three first pick films, with a good list of alternatives in case they were sold out (none were).  Once we had our tickets in hand, we were free to walk around and enjoy the rest of the day.

I should note that we stayed at the Radisson Hotel (in the Gateway District) where we not only got a great deal on the room (film festival rate), but four vouchers for film fest tickets.  All in all, it was a great arrangement in many ways, including location.  Tower City Center, where the Cleveland International Film Festival is held, was a short walk (about a half mile) away.

Spring in the city

We walked around for a while, had dinner, and that was pretty much it for Thursday.  Our film day started at noon on Friday, with Nana, so we spent the morning taking a long walk around the city, making our way over to the lake (that would be Lake Erie), and then to Tower City Center.  After watching Nana and casting our vote, we met up with some friends who live in the Cleveland area, and had a long, lovely, al fresco lunch at a restaurant on East Fourth where we met the guys who made General Education, a film showing later this week.

Tower City in reflection

The next film we saw was The Cat Vanishes.  It sounded interesting and was getting some pretty good reviews.  It wasn’t a bad film, but I was a little bored at times.  The most amusing part of the film was the message at the beginning asking us to please turn off our cell phones, and not give away the ending of the film to those who haven’t seen it.  I did, of course, turn off my phone (always do in theaters and other places where it’s annoying to hear a cell phone ring or listen to someone else’s phone conversation), and there will be no spoilers here.  You’ll have to go see the movie if you want to know how it ends.

Tower City Center

Our last film for the day turned out to be the best of the three we had picked.  Sense of Humor.  Thank you, Canada.  It was entertaining, funny, and had a good twist at the end.

Public Square

We  took a walk in the rain after seeing Sense of Humor, the nice weather having come to an end, and then went to dinner around 10pm.  And so endeth my film festival adventures.  That’s the short version, of course.  Nobody wants to hear every little detail, I’m sure.  I took lots of photos around Cleveland and will bring those to the blog eventually.

On Saturday we took a side trip to Lake View Cemetery where spring has not only sprung, it has gone wild and crazy.  There are so many things blooming right now, flowers that usually do not bloom at the same time, that it feels like a once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness it.

Lake View Cemetery

Cherry trees, tulip magnolias, redbuds, daffodils, hyacinths, forsythia, azaleas, and more are all in bloom right now.  There were even a few tulips blooming here and there.  Daffodil Hill, a collection of 100,000 bulbs planted in the 1940s, is amazing and in bloom.  I’ll post photos from that visit soon, too.  If you’re near Lake View, hurry over for a visit sometime in the next week or so.  Some of the flowering trees are already losing their blossoms and beginning to leaf so I don’t think they’ll be around more than another weekend or so.

Tulip magnolia petals

That’s about it from the Bogs for today.  Thanks for stopping by.  I hope your Sunday has been a good one.  We’ve been taking care of indoor chores today.  It’s raining and gray outside now, with the temperature cooling off a bit (high around 60).  Tomorrow our high will be in the 40s.  We have a Freeze Watch in effect from 10pm tomorrow until 10am Tuesday.  I hope it’s not too hard on the flowers and trees and other plants that have been experiencing accelerated growth during the unusual warm spell.


43 Comments on “Where to start…”

  1. I feel a hint of excitement and pleasure in your voice. What a fantastic weekend! Good weather, good food, and good flicks!

    • Robin says:

      It was wonderful, Teresita, and I think there may be more than a hint of excitement and pleasure in my voice. It was good to go out and have pure fun. 🙂

  2. anhinga says:

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend, and with beautiful weather. Your photos are so crisp and sharp. Love them!

  3. CMSmith says:

    Your last picture looks like the yard outside my parents’ door.

    It sounds like you had a great trip.

    • Robin says:

      It was fab, Christine. 🙂

      We must have been commenting on each others blogs about the same time. I saw the photo of the bench with the tulip magnolia petals. Poignant image.

  4. Kel says:

    a weekend of city culture and creativity – what bliss
    i wonder if there were any Aussie films in the list
    your mention of being a ‘reviewer’ made me smile
    last time i was in the city we were fighting for a spot with the gen public to get a decent view and i recalled fondly the days when i had a press pass and could attempt to get into the ‘special seats’, of course it came with the respsonsibility of churning out work afterwards

    • Robin says:

      Bliss! That’s the right word for it, Kel. I bet there were Aussie films on the list, but I don’t recall seeing any when I went through the schedule for Friday, the day we were there.

      I’m not sure I’d mind doing that sort of work. 🙂

  5. What a fun time.. that film festival sounds like it is just an outstanding event! I’m curious now, about the film Nana..

  6. Feeling saturated with life and art is NEVER a bad thing 🙂

    I’m glad you had a great time! Looking forward to more Cleveland pictures!

  7. Coming East says:

    What a great trip! I had no idea Cleveland was so “with it.” those are the kinds of getaways I enjoy, Robin. Glad you had such a good time.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Susan. 🙂

      Cleveland has been making a comeback, and has a lot of potential. I hope it keeps moving in that direction. This is the 36th year for the film festival so it’s been around for a little while.

  8. Sounds amazing, Robin! I’m really glad you had a good time. You also lucked out with (mostly) beautiful weather!

  9. Sallyann says:

    It sounds like you had a really good time, the pictures are wonderful, looking forwards to some more. 🙂

  10. Well no wonder I’m sneezing with all that blooming going on on your blog! Very beautiful 🙂
    Sounds like you had a really great week-end in Cleveland!

    • Robin says:

      lol, Michaela! I’m so glad I don’t have allergies. The pollen counts have been VERY high here with everything blooming at once.

  11. aFrankAngle says:

    The tone of your words also tells that you had a great time at the festival. And to be in a city center on a nice day is always a plus. Throw in 3 movies + staying at a hotel + dinner/lunch out + walking around the city + good weather = a fine time … and I like the pic of East 4th Street.

  12. Wonderful city shots, Robin – I enjoyed seeing your photographic prowess in a new setting! Sounds like a wonderful weekend.

  13. ceceliafutch says:

    Wonderful post! I so glad you had such a magical time of it here in the city. I’m not sure we will make it into the festival this year (lots of reasons) but it is on our bucket list for future years. The photos were great, as was your narrative. Thanks for sharing your excitement. It is contagious… 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Cecelia. Cleveland is such a great city (underrated, in my opinion), and the film festival is so much fun, charged with lots of good energy and excitement. 🙂

  14. Sounds like a wonderful time – and your photos are wonderful! This looks like a place I could hang out in and have fun – especially East 4th St., looks like the kind of place where you could order a cup of coffee, sit outside, relax, and completely unwind!

  15. Jeff Ircink says:

    see the short, PASS THE SALT, PLEASE, starring Fionnula Flanagan and Seymour Cassel. here’s the screening info: http://www.clevelandfilm.org/festival/films/2012/pass-the-salt-please

    21 festivals. 4 awards. funny short. the short films are the bastard child of most film festivals. they get very little press. what? we don’t need press like the feature films. fubar.

    😉 jeff ircink

  16. OK. too many favorites. Love that east 4th street scene and the Tower City reflection

  17. Sounds like an amazing experience, Robin. Love the photos, my friend!

  18. Dana says:

    Cleveland looks a lot like the Yaletown district in Vancouver, at least from the architecture shots in this post. That alone makes it worth adding Cleveland to my “Places To Visit… Eventually” List. 🙂

    I’m happy to hear about your adventures (and especially about Canada wooing you with its feature film). Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

    PS: I’m curious– was the Canadian film spelled “Sense of Humor” or “Sense of Humour” for the CIFF?

    • Robin says:

      American spelling, Dana. The title is actually Le sens de l’humour. It’s from Quebec and is in French (or Québécois French) with subtitles. We had to read through all three movies as none were in English (American, Aussie, British, or Canadian).

      Cleveland is a fun city. Definitely worth a visit. 🙂

  19. Joanne says:

    I would love to visit Cleveland myself after seeing these photos Robin. It looks like a lovely city and it sounds as though you and M had a fantastic time too!

    Now I’m anxiously awaiting photos of the daffodils. What was it you said…100,000 bulbs planted in 1940? Oh-My-Goodness! Can’t wait! 😀

  20. eof737 says:

    Such great photography…:-)

  21. I am so happy that I am coming back to catch up with all of your posts! This one was so much fun with the walk through the city, the spectacular building shots and Yippee! You got some good perks! I am glad you had such a good time!

  22. […] past.  (You can read about our last visit to the film festival on my old blog, Life in the Bogs, here.)  The purpose of the trip and our film festival attendance had its roots in getting together with […]

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