COLUMN: Doing the hustle, Nelson-style

Saturday night’s retro glam was just typical Nelson folks embracing another opportunity to dress up — and dress up they did.

I think it was the six-inch white platform shoes worn by the (now) seven-foot dude with the feather boa and the shades.

Or maybe it was the chick in the gold lamé jumpsuit. Or just all that hair, on heads everywhere and sometimes on chests replete with gold chains, that told me I’m not in Kansas — uh, Nelson — anymore.

But I was.

Saturday night’s retro glam was just typical Nelson folks embracing another opportunity to dress up — and dress up they did.

While DJs Craig Mullin and Naasko spun vinyl to a backdrop of psychedelia flanked by acrobats, hoola-hoopers and go-go-girls, Nelson movie-lovers really hung out, man.

But it’s not 1978, the year in which the evening’s film, American Hustle, is set.

It’s 2014, the first anniversary of the Civic Theatre’s cinematic resurrection, and that groovy haze in the air came from the smoke machine on stage.

I love how the folks of Nelson rise to the occasion; to dress up, celebrate, and in the process, raise money.

The happy by-product of all of this fun and philanthropy is the community we build in the process. As ever, it makes me proud.

Under all that hair and flash I saw doctors and lawyers, local and provincial politicians, and movers and shakers.

I saw volunteers with trays of appies, and helping at the door and at the bar — volunteers who have been taking tickets and proferring trays since Day One.

The staff, committee members, and board of directors — the ones I could recognize in those tight pants and shades — were beaming. It just doesn’t get old, this coming together for a cause.

Project fundraising manager Roger Ley and his co-host actress Lisel Forst did their stage schtick before screening American Hustle, offering Oscars for costumes (in an interesting clash of eras, one of the Oscars presented to those groovy chicks and dudes was created with Selkirk College’s new 3D printer) and reminding us what all this glam was really in aid of.

Not everything retro is cool.

In the Civic’s journey to three screens, the concession — which has possibly not changed since the ‘70s — is next on the list.

For a $50,000 grant, $355,000 must be raised, and we have just $30,000 to go.

The Nelson Hustle week of pre-Oscar movies, the Gala event, live streaming Oscars, and the ongoing seat sponsorship program is getting us there, while community-minded businesses such as Enso Hair Design, Bia Boro, and the Hume Hotel came forward Saturday night with substantial corporate donations.

Since the Civic screened the James Bond movie Skyfall a year ago — and Nelson folks, as usual, dressed the part — you could say that the Civic Theatre has really hustled.

And you could say that the community truly loves their movies, and their theatre.

Our conservative gross revenue projection for the first year was $150,000, our reality this past year was $237,000.

We screened 102 movies and sold a whopping 2,060 kilograms  of popcorn.

We increased our speaker count from one to 25 and our sound and picture quality exponentially.

Our membership count today is close to 2,400, and a remarkable 297 of you came to our first Annual General Meeting.

We’ve created 10 part-time and two full time-jobs.

We did it with all of you — and we did it in style. There is no hustle, here. This is simply Nelson — not Kansas, Dorothy — doing what Nelson does best.

 

­— Anne DeGrace is the past president of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society, which is working to develop a multi-venue community space for movies, live performance, and more. Want to join the NCTS community? Find out about all things Civic at www.civictheatre.ca.

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