I’m here at the San Francisco airport for the sixth time in about six weeks for the last leg of our first mini-tour of The Oak Park Story. Since our premiere on Mar. 14 I’ve been to Los Angeles four times as well as Chicago and Austin (although the film didn’t screen there), traveling pretty much every weekend. So I’ve become very familiar with SFO and the Southwest Airlines terminal. I think I’ve been here at Gate 25 at least three times. Russell also made a driving trip to Santa Barbara last weekend after flying in from Chicago—he’s also going to Seattle on May 12 and I’m going to UC Santa Cruz May 10.
So it’s been a whirlwind tour, especially since both Russell and I are sandwiching it in between teaching full time at San Francisco State. When I get back from LA early Tuesday morning I’m going straight to school to teach until 7p that night. Since we’ve been visiting a lot of colleges we can only travel during the school year, hence our maniacal schedule.
Aside from having to navigate the Los Angeles freeway system with only an iPhone GPS to guide us, it’s been a pretty fun time. We’ve been to schools ranging from cute little Occidental College, population 1,800 (and President Obama’s alma mater), to huge schools like Northwestern and USC, where all the students ride beautiful vintage-style bikes around the massive campus. At Cal State Long Beach the Chi Delta Theta sorority featured The Oak Park Story as the headliner of their film festival and raffled off Oak Park posters autographed by us, which was our first and possibly last, modest taste of celebrity. At the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago we had the best Indian soul food I’ve ever tasted, with saag paneer, chicken masala, cornbread, fried chicken and collard greens.
So I’m headed down to LA one more time, to talk at Fullerton College (thanks, Larry!) and then to show the movie at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. I’ve got my mealtimes booked with visits with old friends and I’m seeing a few other shows at the festival so it should be fun. It’s awesome to have the chance to screen the film after working on it for so long and the response has been positive and enthusiastic. But I’ll be glad to hang up my spurs and to stay put for a while this summer. Unless, of course, one of the festivals in New York or Denver or Hawaii decides to give us a show, in which case I’ll be visiting Gate 25 again.