Finding the Big City in Small Town Beloit -
The way I see it, the benefits of living in a big city are the variety of activities at all hours of every day. I find comfort in knowing that my whims can be fed. I am a big city girl. But, I recently moved from the “small big city” of Milwaukee to the “Capra-esque” downtown of Beloit to work for the “little mouse that roared” Beloit International Film Festival. I was worried I would get restless. I was worried I couldn’t carry out late night cravings for Thai cuisine. I worried I would get to know my new apartment a little too well.
But, man, Beloit has a soul food restaurant (Rose’s). Beloit has trivia every Thursday night (Bushel & Peck’s Local Market). Beloit has amazing Friday fish fries, Wednesday night independent film screenings, supper clubs, music and dance festivals and one of the nation’s most beautiful college campuses.
The small town of Beloit has a film festival! I am not worried about getting restless anymore.
Everything but the traffic
In September my Beloit-raised friend and I took a road trip out to the East Coast to check out film festivals. We hit Raleigh, North Carolina to meet up with an old family friend. We visited downtown Wilmington (mostly to fulfill “Dawson’s Creek” fangirl dreams). We walked around downtown Petersburg, VA (where Spielberg’s “Lincoln” was filmed). We survived downtown Washington, D.C.
What struck me was that downtown Beloit offers the same to its visitors and residents as these major East Coast cities offer. Like them, we have our Irish Pub, our sports bars, our local market, our cafés, our bistro, and the list goes on. Our small town has all of what the big cities have without the gridlock traffic. I think I made a good choice in moving here, delighted in the saturation of the city’s culture.
I write and produce films. Many filmmakers infuse the flavor of their surroundings into their films. Consider Woody Allen’s New York City films (“Annie,” “Manhattan”). I am certain the Coen Brothers’ lives in Minnesota helped flesh “Fargo” out. I am delighted to include the iron working history of Beloit in my future films. The sound of the river. The dandelions on the Grand at State corner building. The Beloit College gazebo.
I think I am going to like it here.