Rapp Notes: St. Patrick’s in Sperryville, and two films Rapp it up

Erin go . . . Sperryville

The Rappahannock Lions Club’s second annual Rappahannock County St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration will be held in Sperryville this year.

The parade goes off at 11 a.m. March 13, followed at noon by a traditional Irish lunch and entertainment at The Link. The lunch will have an Irish folk band (King Golden Banshee from Sperryville, same band the Lions had last year at the Lions’ first celebration in Little Washington) and catering by David Huff and crew from the Country Cafe in Washington.

The Lions Club was apparently perfectly happy holding its first St. Paddy’s Day event in Washington last year. It’s partly because the lunch, a Lions Club fund-raiser held at the Washington Fire Hall, sold out, that it was thought Sperryville’s Link, which seats about twice as many, might be a sensible next step. And:

“Since it’s a Rappahannock County event, we may hold it somewhere else in the county in a future year, and give another community a chance to host it,” Lions spokesman James Gannon emailed this week. “It’s a moveable feast. Washington did a great job last year, and we expect Sperryville to do the same, but the idea is to host a celebration to be enjoyed by all the people of the county.”
— Roger Piantadosi

Rapp Film, Part I: a note from John Hallberg

Bill Tieckelmann of Washington, left, works with a crew member in the “dentist scene.”

Sperryville impresario John Hallberg sent in this note about the local premiere of his “The Man They Couldn’t Hang” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29 at Rappahannock High School:

“Calling ‘The Man They Couldn’t Hang’ a local film and ‘Rappahannock’s own’ in no way takes away from the fact that there are other fine filmmakers here,” he writes. “What it refers to is the fact that no other film has used Rappahannock actors and local sets as much as this one. I also acknowledge myself as the neophyte among filmmakers here. That said, ‘The Man’ is set to make its long-awaited debut at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, at RCHS. I say ‘long-awaited’ locally because of the county-wide involvement but it’s also a story that is long-awaited world-wide.

“The case made world headlines in the fall of 1884 when such a gruesome deed (murder) was done upon a quite wealthy, gentrified lady. John Lee, then 20, was rushed to judgment and convicted, his ‘hanging’ to be performed 125 years ago on Feb. 23, 1885. John’s pleas of innocence go largely unheeded, first by police, then judge and jury.

“Could someone know more about the case and be holding their tongue? Was John Lee actually guilty? These are some of the questions that it seems never had an answer come to them. I won’t ruin the story or our version of it further….

“The film takes place in the west country of England, and our beautiful Rappahannock county is a great simulation. I did use some regional actors (Brandon Wilson from Warrenton) but the fine county actors that I cast are another stamp of local quality. The redoubtable Howard Coon gives a fine performance in a key role, plus Maureen Day, Bill Tieckelmann, Morgan Cloud – the list goes on and on!”

— R.P.

Rapp Film, Part II: the Cockburns and ‘Casino’

A “must see” for anyone interested in why and how the nation’s current economic crisis originated, “American Casino,” Leslie and Andrew Cockburn’s 2009 documentary, informs us about what happened, how it went very wrong and offers a first-hand look at the sub-prime mortgage game that caused it all.

Tickets are available for the acclaimed film (followed by a reception at The Meadows with the filmmakers) to be screened at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, at the Theatre in Little Washington for a $30 donation to the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC). Call the PEC’s Karen Lamond at 540-341-0175. Proceeds will help support PEC’s work in Rappahannock County.

The film offers an important major lesson – one we all need to understand in order to avoid future financial meltdowns – about American financial practices gone astray as it tracks Wall Street’s manipulative actions and the resultant devastating impact on average citizens, faced with bankruptcy and loss of their homes, via actual case studies.

Winner of the Tribeca (NY) film award in 2009, the respected annual program touted the documentary: “Politicians and the media alike like to talk about the relationship between Wall Street and Main Street, but investigative journalist Leslie Cockburn’s debut feature gets to the guts of the matter, visiting defectors from Bear Stearns and Standard & Poor’s and other high-level players in the sub-prime mortgage gamble and, on the flip side, visiting the working-class Americans who were unwitting chips on the table.”

Leslie Cockburn, a Rappahannock County resident and PEC board member who began working on the documentary in early 2008 at the height of the financial shenanigans, said it was a “rare privilege” for her as a filmmaker to “shoot a film that, while in production, becomes the greatest story of our time….

“We were able to follow our characters through Wall Street’s collapse, foreclosure, bankruptcy, homelessness. We watched whole neighborhoods ravaged by the sub-prime meltdown. I have spent much of my career filming in war zones and post-apocalyptic societies . . . [but] never expected such a disaster at home. To be there, with a camera, while it was happening, telling the story, was certainly the highlight of my career,” she said.

–- Kathy Christie

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