#62: The Moon and Stars

September 19th, 2012

“Aren’t you going to help?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said, flinging myself through the air.

I’m sure I just sort of stumbled and flopped down, but it felt for a moment like I crested. Before piling into the air-fat movie screen, of course.

My friend and I cackled like mad scientists as we rolled around, pushing the air out the deflating balloon in the grass. I stopped for a moment on my back and looked up at the slate clouds and indigo sky. I laughed at the bone-colored moon.

What the hell am I talking about?

Every Wednesday from spring until fall/winter or whenever the weather gives out, bikes or shoe soles start to pull up to Logan Square — the square itself, not the neighborhood. They pull up to the little brick Comfort Station. The volunteers who inhabit those bikes or shoes set up a projector and popcorn machine, inflate a movie screen and get ready.

Soon, people start showing up. Some pedal up. Others walk. No one I’ve seen drives.

They spread out blankets. Some bring picnic spreads or beer. Shh.

The night darkens. The bone-colored moon comes out. So does a man with a microphone. Under that moon, he announces that night’s feature.

Under that moon, we watch stars.

Buster Keaton has to get married by 7 p.m. or else he loses an inheritance. Fernando Luj├ín has to deal with his ex-wife’s will. Mickey Rourke wrestles, Nanako Matsushima helps Sadako from the well and Mike Myers parties on, but I didn’t go to those.

We sit and watch. Laugh when it’s appropriate and sit in held-breath silence when it’s appropriate to do that. Some gossip and whisper. Some sit in awe. A little girl danced through both Buster Keaton films the series showed — both the “Seven Chances” they planned and the “Sherlock Jr.” a lovely young film buff pedaled home to get.

It’s free-form and beautiful.

It’s “Seven Samurai” tonight. It starts at 7 instead of 8 because it’s so damn long.

You should go.

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