Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

A train ride and a movie

Last night I went to Santa Margarita Ranch to take a short train ride, have some wine and appetizers, and watch a movie. It was the opening of the San Luis Obispo Film Festival. The first time the opening has taken place outside of San Luis Obispo city itself, it was held on a beautiful piece of property with a great deal of history in the little town of Santa Margarita.

When I arrived the train was just coming in. It's the one on the left in this photograph, smaller than the one on the right.

As it came closer we could see it better.

Some of the crowd waiting:

We finally got to board. It is like a child's train. The name does say Disney. Someone mentioned that the seats are about half- or three-quarters normal size. I wondered if it was a standard size for its day, in some places.

We saw much of the ranch, which is so beautiful that I wondered how I might get back there (it's private) to take pictures. It also contains some historical artifacts, including the hangar used in Casablanca, which is waiting to be erected:

When we got back to the barn it was darkening.

The barn is a renovation of a very old barn. It's easy to see that the siding is new, the roof is new. But when you get inside you see what is old.

We had wine and appetizers here. Decent wine from a local winery, Ancient Peaks.

Everything was included in the $20 price. A lot of donations, really, because you'd be lucky to get the appetizer catering for that amount. And the proceeds are to be split between the film festival and the railroad history people.

The barn includes a working model train track.

Seats were set out for the film. Where you see those crosses along the wall is where the lower slopes of the roof attach. These slots are open to the outside. Thus the heaters.

In some of the arched recesses were lanterns.

I hesitated about going to this event simply because I would be going alone. It's the kind of thing you do with others. I did enjoy it but spent quite a bit of awkward time between the train ride and the movie, thinking maybe I should just leave. If there were other loners there I did not see them.

The movie was the 1973 Emperor of the North. It was introduced by one of its stars, Keith Carradine, who told us a bit about the film and the stars. The title refers to the train-riding hoboes of the 1930s. A top hobo was referred to as "Emperor of the North Pole" because such a post would be meaningless. It is about the attempt by one hobo, A-no.1 (Lee Marvin), to best Shack (Ernest Borgnine) by riding his train. Shack is legendary for his meanness. His own men say he'd rather kill a man than let him ride his train for free. A cocky kid who goes by the name cigaret (Carradine) tries to prove he's as good as A-no. 1 but seems to have more mouth than brains.

Near the end (I have to reveal it), A-no. 1 says to cigaret, "You got no class, kid, no class". That pretty much sums it up, the difference between them.

I sat near the left wall, near a heater. Even so the night got colder and colder. I turned up the collar of my fleece jacket, the one I got from Best Friends when I was there last summer, and I pulled my hands inside the sleeves. A couple of times I thought about leaving. A lot of other people did leave, and by the end we were down by half or more.

At the end I headed for the portapotties and miraculously found one open. I had never seen such fancy portapotties before. The toilet flushed, there was a counter with a trash hole and a sink, there was liquid soap and lotion and a wreath hanging on the wall. Who knew? Certainly I didn't.

After I got to bed I couldn't get warm. I felt like I held the cold inside myself from Santa Margarita. I finally added a blanket and eventually found warmth.
Tags: film festival, movies, santa margarita

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