NEW DIANE KEATON MOVIE FILMED HERE AT SUN CITY PEACHTREE!

During late July and early August of last summer, our little Sun City community had a lot of excitement!  Georgia has become one of the top filming locations in the country, and the latest Diane Keaton movie landed on location right here.  “POMS,” written by Shane Atkinson and directed by Zara Hayes opens in theaters on May 10.

In the early days of the movie’s inception, this was the official description: “45 minutes outside of Phoenix lies a retirement community. A place where palm trees line the streets, the skies are always clear and the “taxi” (ambulance) drives by two or three times a day – a final destination for retirees. This is the story of America’s first cheer-leading squad for women aged 60.

Phoenix and palm trees were eventually dropped for Georgia, and Sun City Peachtree became “Sun Springs,” the community where Diane Keaton comes to “die.”  She is joined in the film by Jacki Weaver, Rhea Perlman, Celia Weston, Pam Grier, Alisha Boe, Bruce McGill, and more.

Cast

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A Georgia-based casting company was used to hire all the extras, and us residents had first crack at applying for the roles.  If you see the movie, almost all of the extras in the retirement community scenes are either our friends, neighbors, or fellow Sun City residents in a community that was less than 2,000 residents at the time.

In addition, the house scenes were all filmed in the homes of residents who applied to have their houses used in the movie.

I was originally cast to be a water aerobics instructor; however, after jumping through a bunch of hoops, the scene got canceled.  As a matter of fact, an entire day of filming (and numerous committed extras) got cut.  Putting two and two together, I quickly surmised as to why that happened: budget.  Just a guess.

That was just one of many scheduling changes that took place each day.  Suffice it to say the entire three weeks of filming here could be summed up in one word:  chaos.

Having said that, there were a lot of fun moments here as well.  Bruce was cast as a “gym goer” and was filmed for a scene out front of our recreation center where Bruce McGill and Celia Weston pass by in a golf cart.

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Bruce (middle) with Bunny and Victor

In the gym scene, Bruce walks by in the background for a scene that included our actress friend who lives around the corner from us.  Karen Beyer has a speaking role in the movie, and she appears briefly in the trailer.

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Karen Beyer is in the pink blouse.

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Rhea Perlman is lifting weights in this scene.  Bruce was an extra in the background of the gym scenes.

 Although it was a long and boring day for Bruce, I enjoyed hanging out and watching the filming.

The only scene I may appear in is when the crew filmed a resident tai chi class.  Evidently, the footage the crew shot of “real” residents will be used for a “Day in the Life of Sun Springs” montage that Diane Keaton’s character watches at the sales center, when she is considering moving to “Sun Springs.”

One thing for sure:  Diane Keaton was really nice to the residents here!  When she wasn’t filming, she posed for pictures with anybody who asked.  Right before I was photographed with Diane, a lady on the way to the pool with her grand kids asked Diane she could take her picture.  Diane responded, “Only if you are all in it with me!”  Diane asked her assistant to take the picture for them and then did the same for me.  In this shot, Diane turned to me and said, “Oh f*@#!  He took the picture when I wasn’t ready!”  That’s why I’m cracking up!

At the funeral scene (see the trailer; it’s a hoot!), I had the opportunity to chat a little with Diane Keaton, and she was quite friendly.  It was very hot that day, though, so she spent most of her time between shoots in her air conditioned limo.

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Diane Keaton is under the umbrella.  The sun was very hot that day!

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Rhea Perlman is in all black.  Her husband dies in the movie, and this is his funeral.

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Jacki Weaver (facing me) and Diane Keaton in the funeral scene.

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An amazing amount of equipment was needed to film the funeral scene!

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This was some of the equipment used for the pool scenes.

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Filming scenes at the tennis and pickleball courts.

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I wasn’t allowed to get any closer than where I shot the picture above, so this was the best shot I could get of Diane Keaton.

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Bruce and I got to know Caesar, the caterer, during the filming.  Caesar is the regular caterer for the TV series, “NCIS New Orleans,” where he is now based. Caesar invited us to have dinner twice, including after filming wrapped.  That night, he served crab legs and filet mignon!  He also sent us home with extra food that he didn’t want to see thrown out.  Lucky us!

The “grunts” of the film crew were also friendly.  We could see as the filming progressed over the three weeks, however, that they were stressed, exhausted, and ready for the film to wrap!

Our HOA ended up with $35,000 for allowing the crew to film onsite, and the experience gave us all a lot to talk about!  We are looking forward to a big screening party here when the movie is released.  Whether the movie is a hit or bombs out, it sure will be fun watching all our friends on the screen!

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Check out this article on the movie.  Here is another article from PeopleThis article shows a screen shot from the trailer that includes Karen Beyer.

 

 

 

 

GOING FULL CIRCLE

We had good intentions when we collected all of those shells, but Bruce and I never followed through with crafting a shell-covered mirror frame for our powder room– in San Antonio. It was seven years ago when we moved from that house, left Texas behind, and made our way to Georgia. Our shell collection came with us and ended up in the attic, never to be seen again until I got motivated to sell some of our collectibles on ebay and donate the rest.

There it was, the bucket of shells collected from South Padre Island, and who knows where else. I don’t remember, but I think we even added to the bucket when we brought home shells from Sanibel Island. Why? I have no idea, because those good intentions were a distant memory by then.

Perhaps it’s all about the hunt. Hunting for shells is much like doing macro photography. It forces you to slow down and carefully study your subject. In doing so, you appreciate the beauty around you so much more. Besides, it’s fun! You never know what you’re going to find, and when you will find the one; that beautiful specimen might end up proudly displayed on a shelf to admire.

I imagine the thrill of the (shell) hunt to be much like “garage sale-ing.” Is it really about that perfect find? It could be the process that is so enjoyable to garage sale enthusiasts: Waking up at the crack of dawn, pouring over the classifieds while sipping a cup of coffee, circling the locations of garage sales to shop, mapping out a route, and then hopping in the car with great anticipation of bargaining for a great deal.

After contemplating our motivations, Bruce and I came to the same conclusion: Collecting shells was much like travel; it was about the journey, not the destination. We enjoyed the process, but not necessarily the collection itself. Aside from a few beauties I’ve displayed to enjoy , there was no longer a valid reason to keep the rest. The shell mirror frame was forgotten long ago, and our good intentions were gone.

It was time for our shell collection to go full circle. They had come from the sea, so we returned them to where they belonged. Who knows where they will end up next? Perhaps another couple combing the beach for shells will gather them with good intentions, and they will go full circle once again.

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GOOD MORNING, BAMBI(S)!

As I jumped out of bed and streaked across the back of our house to answer the phone this morning, I neglected to notice the peeping Tom’s outside our bare windows.  It wasn’t until I hung up the phone that I looked out and saw I was being stared at by two gorgeous fawns casually relaxing under the trees in our backyard!  Bambi 1 and Bambi 2 weren’t spooked by the commotion I made, nor were they in any hurry to leave when I returned  with my camera.

These two little Sun City Peachtree cuties have been spotted by several of my neighbors in the past, and we were thrilled to get to see them hanging out at our house this time.

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CONGRATULATIONS!

This post is dedicated to my happily married friends,Ted and Al, who live in my native state of California:

In my 53 years on this earth, I have never been as proud as I am today to be an American.  Congratulations to the five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court who made the right decision on gay marriage.  This day will go down in U.S. history as a great day for not only gay rights, but HUMAN rights.

Here’s to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL Americans!

CHEERS!

Elaine-iaK’s Travels: 2014 blog stats

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

(Looking at the stats, it appears as if my blog traveled further than I did!)

Thanks to all of you for reading my blog this year and for posting such nice and supportive comments!  Jean, you were the top comment poster, so you have earned the title “Queen Jean” once again!

Happy New Year!

Cheers!

Elaine-iaK

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

SUN CITY PEACHTREE GETS “HAPPY”

By now, you have probably heard the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and I’m guessing you couldn’t get it out of your head after you heard it. Well, imagine how Sun City Peachtree’s Lifestyle Director, Stan Heaton felt after wrapping up editing of this video: http://youtu.be/i77miEDbRxs . I appear (very briefly) at the 2:07-2:08 mark.

The video is fun, so check it out!

FULL CIRCLE WITH A HAPPY ENDING

In 1995, I read written by Karla Peterson in the San Diego Union-Tribune that inspired me over all these years. This past spring I wrote an article about it for Kitchen Drawer and included it in my blog on May 15.

On the same day, I also wrote this letter to Karla Peterson:

“Dear Ms. Peterson,

Something you wrote back in 1995 has continued to inspire me ever since.

I hope you will take just a few minutes to read an article I wrote for a local magazine in Georgia. (I no longer live in San Diego; however, I lived there for 24 years and also graduated from San Diego State University.)

In the article, I mention you:

https://elaineiakstravels.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/believing-in-your-dreams/

Thank you for your terrific writing. When I lived in San Diego, I always read your articles.

Cheers!

Elaine Krugman

As the weeks went by, I forgot about writing to Karla– until this morning when I received this wonderful response:
“Hello Elaine:

I can’t begin to thank you enough for your wonderful note. I am so sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I was so touched, I kept waiting for the perfect moment that would give me the time to write you the perfect response. That moment never came, so I am taking the plunge now (at 6 a.m. With my cat in my lap) to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story with me after all these years.

It is clear from the piece you wrote that the credit for your recovery belongs to you! I was very moved by your strength and determination. Whatever small part my words might have played, you are still the one who took them and ran with them. That is all you.

So thank you for reaching out and for making me feel so special. And congratulations on making such a wonderful life for yourself! That is no small thing.

All the best,

Karla”

After 19 years, “Believing In Your Dreams…” has gone full circle with a happy ending!

…BUT, NOT A PROFESSIONAL SONGWRITER!

The new issue of Kitchen Drawer is out and available here: http://issuu.com/kitchendrawer/docs/6_4_final
In this issue, I write about Susie and Zack Whatley (Page 50) and Laura DuBose (Page 59).

Would you like to receive Kitchen Drawer digitally on a regular basis? Make sure to subscribe at http://www.kitchendrawer.net/pages/subscribe .

Meanwhile, I thought I would make an attempt at re-writing my swimming anthem, “Aqualung,” by Jethro Tull. You will soon come to the conclusion that I am NO songwriter (nor do I ever hope to be)! This is just something I had to do for this song, though, in honor of my husband, Bruce who dutifully hums “Aqualung” before I race. You see, he calls me “Aquadog.” As a competitive swimmer, the nickname stuck and the song gets me psyched up!

So, que up “Aqualung” on YouTube and sing these words to the tune, instead:

Standing on the starting block–
psyched up for the race with good intent.
Crouching down the whistle blows–
exploding from the blocks off I go!
Hey Aquadog

Racing hard with all my might–
my flying arms are quite a sight!
Hey Aquadog

Feeling lactate in my blood–
I hope I don’t finish this race with a thud!
Whoa, Aquadog

Oh, I’m feeling old–
my arms slowing and struggling.
Getting through
the only way I know.
Arms hurting bad,
as I try to finish this race–
I dig down deep
my heart wants to succeed.

Feeling alone–
other racers are up ahead
if I’m to finish strong
it’s going to be all up to me.

Aquadog I am–
I will fight, not give up easy.
I may be slow, but
I’ll achieve, you’ll see.

I still remember
how fast I used to be–
when I swam faster butterfly,
back and breast, and even free.

“The older I get the faster I was”
that is my motto now,
but nothing is going to stop me,
my passion is swimming.

Oh, I’m feeling old–
my arms slowing and struggling.
Getting through
the only way I know.
Arms hurting bad,
as I try to finish this race–
I dig down deep
my heart wants to succeed.

Feeling alone–
other racers are up ahead
if I’m to finish strong
it’s going to be all up to me.

Aquadog I am–
I will fight, not give up easy.
I may be slow, but
I’ll achieve, you’ll see.

Aquadog I am–
I will fight, not give up easy.
I may be slow, but
I’ll achieve, you’ll see.

Standing on the starting block–
psyched up for the race with good intent.
Crouching down the whistle blows–
exploding from the blocks off I go.
Hey Aquadog

Racing hard with all my might
My flying arms are quite a sight!
Hey Aquadog

Feeling lactate in my blood–
I hope I don’t finish this race with a thud!
Whoa, Aquadog

Whoa, Aquadog!