Got Culture?

Bill CoadyBy Bill Coady

One of the “problems” with living in a smaller city is that there is “nothing to do.”  Or at least that is what a lot of people seem to say.  Personally, I don’t think we have that problem here in Wausau, or frankly anywhere in Wisconsin, stuff seems to be happening all the time.  But still I hear the “nothing to do” lament from time to time.

The flip side to the “nothing to do” lament is that it sometimes seems that when there is “something to do” the number of people who participate sometimes seems small.  Now, I only lived in big cities (St Louis and Phoenix) for a few years of my life, so I don’t really know how many people actually take advantage of the cultural and other activities in those places.  I am going to guess though, that as a percentage of the total population, it is about the same as here in Wausau.  A hundred people might show up at a poetry reading in Chicago as compared to a handful here, but the percentage of the total population is probably about the same, maybe even higher here.

So, it strikes me that we have to make a little extra effort to get out to support the arts here in Wausau so that we can make sure the good stuff keeps coming and that new ideas keep bubbling up.

A new idea that has bubbled up is the first ever Wausau Film Festival to be held this Saturday, April 21 at Kelly’s Martini Bar downtown.   It sounds like a very wonderful opportuity.  For $5 you get to see 10 Award winning short films which range in length from 5 to 25 minutes.  Often times short films are much more powerful than their full length cousins — and certainly independent films such as these are much more relevant than the Hollywodd product the normally fills theaters.  Mike Kaspar, the owner of Kelly’s feels that “Wausau is ready” for this kind of event, and I hope that he is right.  Kelly’s is a nice inviting place to hang out and I hope that all the showings of the film fest are completely packed.  Fill up Kelly’s this Saturday and next thing you know there will be a regional film festival at the Grand.  It can happen, that is how things really start.  Showings of the film festival are at 1 pm, 3 pm, 5pm, 7pm and 9pm on Saturday.  Surely one of those can fit your schedule.

If you have never been to Kelly’s (or even if you have before) and want a little warm up to familiarize yourself with the place, you could head on down tonight.  John Greiner and his big band will be playing tonight from 7 pm to 10 pm — perfect for a school night. 🙂  I think Greiner and his bandmates are fantastic, they play with a lot of soul and passion, which really comes across in an intimate venue like Kelly’s.

There are lots of other cultural events coming up, but I will get to them in later posts, I’ll just let the film festival shine on its own for today.  Attending a film festival at a martini bar — what could be more big city than that?  And it is an easy way to support the arts and keep those events coming to us.  Hope to see you there!

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