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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Florence, Colorado: Having Fun With Robert Redford

Can I be honest? Many of the townsfolk in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado--are having way too much fun with the cast and crew of the movie, Our Souls At Night.

A few days ago, Robert Redford and Jane Fonda were filming most of the day (and into the night) on Main Street, by and in the Fremont Lanes bowling alley.

I got an insight into actually how hard the crew and cast work. The days and nights are long.

And that day I talked to so many Robert Redford fans, I lost track of them all.

Many of the fans used the antiques mall I work at to stage their "observations" of the stars.

And I got this weird feeling how it must feel to be a star. How it must feel to have literally millions of people around the world wondering how old you looked. How you walked. Talked. Acted. Moved. Felt.

Everyone wanting a little piece of you. And commenting to total strangers (like me) on the stars' movements.

Most of it was in good fun. But after a day of talking to and watching Robert Redford fans, I was chuckling. The next day at work, I was mentioning to a customer that my humble observations indicated that women were way more forthcoming in their admiration and "comments" about Redford.

Basically if a bunch of men came and asked me how old Fonda looked, or yelled across the street to her--men would be frowned upon.

Nobody asked me if Jane Fonda's years of fitness seemed to be paying off. Yes, it did to my eyes.

One male customer overheard me cheerfully observing that women were a bit naughty and over-the-top in their admiration and talk about Redford.

He came to counter and told me," If men were doing the same thing you said the Redford fans were doing, we'd be arrested," he noted cheerfully. I agreed with him, even though it was all in good fun.

I  saw firsthand the long hours these stars worked. And I began to wonder what it was like for them.

I didn't have to wonder long.

And I didn't have to wonder long how the stars would react if a Florence resident asked if they could have a picture.

I know the lady in the picture. She's a sweet lady who happens to live in a house in downtown Florence, but a bit aways from the filming. Her husband heard things going on in the alley and noticed Mr. Redford in the alley.

I've often wondered what it would be like to  find Robert Redford in your alley. Okay, I've never wondered that. But it amuses me.

The lady's husband attempted to get pictures, but Mr. Redford was out of camera range. So the husband asked if he could get a picture.

It turns out Mr. Redford was apparently using the alley to bypass the major thoroughfares in Florence, so as to not be noticed.

But it turns out Mr. Redford and a crew member were a class act and took time to take a picture. The lady's camera jammed and a crew member took the picture for them.

Just another day in Florence when Robert Redford shows up in your alley. What fun!

Florence's Main Street will be closed Monday, the 10th from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for more filming. So once again the town will get to see the stars and crew at work.

In just my chance observations of the crew and stars from afar, the filming of the movie has brought a sense of fun and excitement to Florence. Word on the street is,most Florence residents are loving this and hope Colorado is the site for many more movies.

Florence, like I am sure many other small Colorado towns, have built-in advantages for movie production crews. Florence, being the antiques capital of Colorado, has dozens of stores full of things at good prices for the movie sets and props. Some of the crew members, most of them from other states, were also doing browsing and shopping for their own homes.

Until I witnessed it up close, I never realized how Florence is the perfect town for a crew to come in and purchase so many things for the movie, all on foot and within a few block radius. And since Florence is a small town, most shop workers know what is in their own stores as well as neighboring stores and can help crew members find the item that will set the mood for a scene.

The day I saw Mr. Redford from afar many times, working hard, I texted a friend and said,"Another boring day at work, watching Robert Redford so many times that I've lost count."

My friend texted back telling me that I HAD to get his autograph and tell him that she's loved him from the 1970s.

I'm the type of person that would NEVER ask a star for their autograph. Or a picture. And I have no way of getting to the stars, unless I happened to find one of them in my alley. And if I did spot one of them in my alley, I'd probably chuckle and leave them alone.

But I will attempt to get an autograph (through another co-worker) for my friend. There are rumors flying all over town. One was the Redford and Fonda will be going into all Florence's places of business to meet and greet and sign autographs on Monday. Another rumor was the meet and greet will take place on Tuesday at a yet undisclosed location and time.

  I like to make people happy. And I have a feeling these stars, even though they are tired from filming, understand that and make time to make people happy. Heck, in my opinion they already have made many people happy, even if the rumors of formal meet and greets aren't true.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Florence, Colorado: All The Single (And Married) Ladies Love Robert Redford

In a previous blog post, I mentioned that interest in Jane Fonda seemed a bit higher in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado--than for Robert Redford.

Well, that changed today.

Filming for the Jane Fonda and Robert Redford movie, Our Souls At Night, was happening at Fremont Lanes today. I've never been inside the bowling alley, but I hear it's one of only a few six-lane historic venues left.

I happened to have a bird's eye view of the bowling alley most of the day. And then I spotted Robert Redford once. Then twice. I lost count at about six times.

Last week folks came in the antiques mall, where I work, and asked if I had seen Jane. No.

Ah, but today I was asked if I had seen Robert. Yes. From afar.

And the "lady" asking the question was nine years old. She was very wistful in asking, hinting and almost begging if she could see Robert. I told her I had no status, but perhaps if she asked one of the crew they might tell her when and how she could see him.

Then the truth came out. I asked,"Who is it who REALLY wants to see Robert?"

It was the girl's mother. Darn little charmer. She almost had me convinced.

The mother and her winsome daughter came back later and said the crew said there would be no contact or autographs until Oct. 11 when there would be a meet and greet. I wasn't able to find out what time or where, but I will update if and when I find out.

Another local antiques dealer and store worker was trolling the streets and got a picture of Robert, right before a car went by and almost ruined our pictures.

One time when Robert walked out of Fremont Lanes, a small group of middle-aged ladies screamed across the street,"Oh, Robert! Come over here!"

But mostly all the ladies, young and older, were quite dignified.

A few came in the antiques mall and wondered if Robert Redford was still handsome.

I can report that he is. I got just one distant picture, where you cannot tell. But a neighboring shop owner got a close-up picture of him that proves it. But that photo is stuck on my phone. I am not very adept with technical things, but will attempt to post it.

But here's my distant picture of the actor and storyteller whose popularity is at quite the fever pitch in Florence.

He's wearing a red plaid shirt and entering the bowling alley.

Another fan came by and said she wanted Robert to sign a horse book that she had of his.

And yes, I finally caught two glimpses of Jane Fonda around the bowling alley. She seemed very animated and engaged and it was a pleasure to even see these two professionals from afar working hard all day long while I attempted to keep their enthused fans happy.

Jane Fonda Robert Redford Movie Takes The Cake In Florence Colorado

As most know, the cast and crew of the Netflix film, Our Souls At Night, starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford has been in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado--filming.

And the town has transformed in more ways than one.

One of our burg's favorite shops, Antique Warehouse, at 110 E. Main St., which specializes in Western items and vintage lighting, was temporarily transformed into a bakery for the movie.

For days, I strolled by to admire a nice selection of "homemade" jams and jellies in the shop's window and the luscious fake cakes.

As far as I know, Antique Warehouse was open for business as usual, except during filming.

But today a woman came into the antiques mall I work at and asked where the store was that specialized in horse tack. I told her it was now a "bakery."

She thought she was going "crazy" and was laughing and relieved when I told her the store was still what it used to be, but looked a bit different due to movie magic.

Right on cue almost, I snapped this pictures of some crew members taking the cake. Well, taking the cakes down the street. Seems like the Antique Warehouse is back to normal. But my mouth was watering every time I skipped by, thinking of sugar highs and movie magic.

That sign you see in the cake picture? That's pointing to The Loralie Antique Mall at 109 W. Main St.
There's quite a bit of magic going on there, but that's for another blog post...

Local Florence,Colorado Celebrities To Be In Jane Fonda, Robert Redford Movie

I just got word that two of our local "celebrities" Barry and Barb Brierley will be in the Jane Fonda and Robert Redford movie, Our Souls At Night, currently being filmed in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado.
                                                      BARB and BARRY BRIERLEY

Barb just received confirmation, she and her husband will be extras in a funeral scene, being filmed next week at the Bell Tower Cultural Center.

Barb is the founder of Florence's annual Steampunk & Wine fundraiser festival, as well as co-owner of Spirit Riders Western Emporium at 111 W. Main St.

Barry is a well-known author and artist. His specialty is Native American and Western novels, backed by meticulous research. He also does the cover art for his books.

And yes, Barry is a Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid fan.

He's the author of Yesterday's Bandit, about Butch.

It's no coincidence that Barb and Barry are Robert Redford fans, since Redford starred in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Barry has even painted a mural of Butch and Sundance at a historical church (now an inn) they own--and they are hoping they can get Redford's autograph on the mural.

Whether they get that autograph, we won't know for awhile. But the Brierleys are excited to be in the movie.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Have I Seen Jane Fonda In Florence, Colorado?

I work in an antiques mall in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.

That work is quite a departure from some of my previous work as a small-town newspaper reporter; and later as a freelance writer and online merchant, working from the anonymity of my home.

But, alas, even though at my core I am shy, I have found the work gives me the opportunity to experience what makes me tick. You see, I am all about the story. The story of people's lives. What makes THEM tick. How they think. Feel. Live. Love.

And oddly enough, being in an antiques mall, gives me the privilege of hearing how people feel about politics, antiques, memories, family and life in general.

I've likened the experience to what it must have felt like, sitting around an old pickle barrel in a general store, playing checkers and catching up on real life.

The other day someone came into the store and yelled,"Have you seen Jane Fonda?"

No. I had not.

But in a way I HAVE seen her.

For those who don't know, much of the filming for the Netflix movie, based on the book, Our Souls At Night, is being shot in Florence.

For weeks, I saw the books, that one of the mall's vendors brought in for sale, fly off the shelves. Our Souls At Night, by Colorado native, the late Kent Haruf, sold so quickly, I got no chance to purchase a copy. There seemed to be more interest in the Jane Fonda-related books for sale. Not that people don't love Robert Redford though.

People came in the store and attempted to start lively discussions about Fonda's past, which as I've mentioned was slightly before my time, as I was young during the Vietnam-war era.

I basically ignored that controversy, while remaining empathetic to those with strong feelings.

Then I started getting glimpses of Jane Fonda, not in person, but by the people who are working on the movie. Or knew the author of Our Souls At Night, or who know the widow of the author.

Many of the antique shop workers and store owners, got to know many of the people working on the movie on a first name basis. And many of the movie people got to know the workers and owners by name and character. Long story, short: We were all having a great time helping them find antiques and collectibles and "props" for the movie. Some of the items were being purchased and some rented. And the movie pros seemed to be having a good time, because frankly, we have some pretty colorful characters and fun people in the antiques trade here in Florence.

The level of professionalism was high. And the level of gratitude on both ends, high.

I got to talking to one movie professional about how finding these "set"items was not just a job, but a sense of satisfaction.

Though it was not spoken in direct words, I understood that these people working around the stars are trying to tell a story. An important story. And even an inanimate object has to be chosen with care, thought and feeling.

I had no idea how much went into the behind-the-scenes work.

I started to learn the difference between the "set" people and "prop" people. I watched the carpenters and electricians and their body language. This is more than a job to them. They are telling a story. The word, satisfaction, kept coming up, not only from one movie pros lips, but even through body language of other movie pros I saw working from a distance.

Yesterday a movie pro came into the shop for items for the movie. By some "miracle" I was able to find the items within minutes, that were the right size and fit into the story. I won't say what the items were, but it was odd, because one of the items (unknown to me and the movie professional) until it reached checkout, was that the item was marked, HOLT.

Neither of us knew there was even a Holt pottery company. That won't show in the movie. But it was an odd sign--because Holt is the name of the fictional Colorado town, noted in the movie and book.

I commented to the movie pro, that I was impressed with all my dealings with the movie pros. Sweet and professional, were the words I used.

I was told that it started at the top and who the stars hired and wanted to surround themselves with. Basically the stars were sweet and caring people with loyalty and integrity.

We got to talking about some of the projects the movie pro had worked on over the years. Many of them ones I had seen and enjoyed over the decades.

It was a slightly emotional conversation, because I was mentioning items and story lines in one current production that had touched me--made me laugh or cry or experience strong emotions.

And the movie pro, well that was the whole point, with the work and the satisfaction behind the work. Behind-the-scenes, each item is chosen with such care and excruciating detail to evoke emotions and get feedback.

And it all starts at the top.

We had a great conversation--me being allowed to see what makes stories and people tick, for just a brief moment. I'll never look at movies, TV or even the stars like Jane Fonda and Robert Redford the same.

In this conversation, which was genuine, heartfelt and spontaneous on both sides--I was asked to NOT get online and say anything about the star, even though it was ALL wonderful and almost brought me to tears.

The movie pro did NOT know I live for seeing what makes people tick and the STORY. I told the person, I did have a blog, but would not reveal anything with personal details. The person had NO clue I had a blog. the person just saw another person who got intrigued, not by the stars, but by the story and satisfaction of contributing to the story of all of our lives.

So, I have included NO personal details of our conversation or anything specific about the people at the top.

So, no I have NOT seen Jane Fonda. But in a way, I have seen her, because I've seen the people around her that don't consider their jobs, just jobs, but something more to do with the soul, the human experience and telling the story.

Today I was driving downtown Florence (on my way to the book club) and saw filming was going on. Many people were on the streets, apparently hoping to get a glimpse of the stars. I was on my way to a book club meeting, where the attendees, of course, noticed the slight traffic snarl and onlookers.

Oddly enough, most of the "bookies" were more interested in the STORY of, Our Souls At Night, and not so much the fanfare, even though we couldn't help but be intrigued.

On my way back from the meeting, I had a chance to pull over and possibly catch a glimpse of the filming and stars. I chose to come home instead.

I've already had a glimpse into the soul of the story and how seriously everyone takes telling that story. I've gotten a glimpse, that most "stars" become stars because of their commitments to the story and making sure they are surrounded by people with the same commitment. Through several conversations over several weeks time with movie pros, the picture (pun intended) became clear. People like Jane Fonda and Robert Redford don't have relevant careers that last decades and make an indelible mark on audiences without a commitment to the story that boggles the mind without finding people that share the same vision.

Yes, in a way, Florence, had become a bit of a microcosm to observe the movie pros, with almost a whole town watching and interacting. And it's all been good. And it's all been a learning experience. And it's been a look into the literal soul of telling the story.

 And that is good enough for me. Because I do believe I got a glimpse of the stars and experienced more than if I would have just "seen" them.

Is Florence One Of The Most Interesting Towns In Colorado?


Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado has been so interesting lately that I've had nary an extra second to post anything.

That will change soon. And I'll have some insights into many of the exciting things going on in our small burg.

Stay tuned...