2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films

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With the 94th Academy Awards airing on Sunday, March 27, we are deep in award season. I try to watch as many of the nominated films as possible, before Oscar night. For the third year in a row, my local indie theater, Bookhouse Cinema, offered showings of all of the Oscar nominated short films…live action, animated and documentary.

I enjoyed a day at Bookhouse, watching the shorts and savoring vegan food.

If you haven’t seen this year’s nominated shorts, no worries! I have you covered with a brief summary of each short. No spoilers. I also give my predictions on which shorts take home the Oscar.

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films title meme

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – Live Action

The following five live action films received nominations:

Ala Kachuu – Take and Run

Country of origin: Switzerland

Writer and director: Maria Brendle

A young Zyrgyz woman named Sezim is kidnapped and forced to marry a man she’s never met. Sezim struggles with her desire to study at the university and pursue her own dreams and the loss of freedom dictated by the Kyrgyz culture she’s grown up in.

My thought: It’s shocking and eye opening that this practice still occurs for thousands of young women every year.

On My Mind

Country of origin: Denmark

Writer and director: Martin Strange-Hansen

In this gently humorous short, Henrik arrives at a bar shortly after it opens, with a strange yet urgent request. He must sing the song “Always On My Mind” while the sympathetic barkeeper films the performance. Although he’s reluctant to say why, it’s a matter of life, death and karaoke.

My thought: This short is sad, funny and sweet with a hint of the supernatural. I loved it a lot.

Please Hold

Country of origin: USA

Writers KD Davila and Omer Levin Menekse, diretor KD Davila

A young man’s life is inexplicably turned upside down when he’s arrested and jailed by an automated justice system. He knows he’s innocent…if he can just find an actual human to talk to.

My thought: This one made me think about our current justice system and where it’s heading.

The Dress

Country of origin: Poland

Writer and director: Tadeusz Lysiak

A lonely woman working in a dead end job in rural Poland feels hope when a truck driver shows interest in her. Before they meet up for drinks in four days, she must find the perfect dress to wear…and work through many conflicting emotions.

My thought: Ahhh…this short tugs at the heart, in painful ways.

The Long Goodbye

Country of origin: UK

Writers Riz Ahmed and Aneil Karia, director Aneil Karia

A typical day for a close knit British Pakastani family goes horribly wrong when the chaos playing out on their television screen arrives at their own front door.

My thought: Wow. While it’s the shortest live action film, it packs the most powerful punch. I’m still thinking about this one.

Predicted Oscar winner: The Long Goodbye

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films - the long goodbye
2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – The Long Goodbye

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – Documentary

Not usually my favorite short category, this year’s documentaries all impressed me. I enjoyed watching each one and had a hard time picking a projected winner.

Audible

Country of origin: USA

Director: Matthew Ogens

Maryland School for the Deaf football player Amaree and his teammates attempt to preserve their years long winning streak while coming to terms with the tragic loss of a classmate and friend.

My thought: I loved this look at how Amaree and his teammates learn to thrive in the hearing world while creating their own unique ways of perceiving it.

Lead Me Home

Country of origin: USA

Directors: Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk

This documentary follows several people living on the streets of three West Coast cities. We not only learn their stories but see the challenges they face in changing their homeless situations.

My thought: I am still thinking about this documentary. My city is currently working to do something to help the homeless in my area and this doc shone a stark light on the growing epidemic.

The Queen of Basketball

Country of origin: USA

Director: Ben Proudfoot

Lucy Harris is one of the greatest living basketball players. She led her college team to three national trophies, scored the first basket in women’s basketball at the 1976 Olympics and received an invitation to play in the NBA.

My thought: This is a fun, heart warming documentary about an amazing woman who followed her dream.

Three Songs for Benazir

Country of origin: Afghanistan

Directors: Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei

Shaista is a young man newly married to Benazir. The couple lives in a camp for displaced people in Kabul. Shaista struggles with wanting to be the first in his tribe to join the Afghan National Army and wanting to care for his growing family.

My thought: I appreciate this inside look at what life is like living in a displacement camp. People struggle with pursuing dreams and building security while simply trying to survive.

When We Were Bullies

Countries of origin: Germany and USA

Director: Jay Rosenblatt

A series of amazing synchronicities leads a documentary maker to track down his fifth grade class and teacher back in Brooklyn to examine a memory of a bullying incident the whole class took part in against one boy.

My thought: It’s so interesting to see what people remember about the bullying incident that they all took part in and how they react 60 years later. Plus I loved how Jay followed sychronicities to unravel the past.

Predicted Oscar Winner: I’m torn between Lead Me Home and When We Were Bullies…with the latter edging ahead for the win.

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films when we were bullies
2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – When We Were Bullies

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – Animated

Although animated, these shorts are not intended for children. In fact, three of the animated shorts came with warnings about nudity, violence and/or disturbing images. Like the live action and documentary shorts, these films look boldly at humanity in all of its conditions.

Affairs of the Art

Countries of origin: UK and Canada

Writer Les Mills, director Joanna Quinn

This quirky animation features Beryl, a female factory worker past her prime with strong artistic inclinations…and her lovable, eccentric family. Their obsessions range¬† from drawing to conspiracies to taxidermy.

My though: This humorous look at the eccentricities of artists is indeed quirky and beyond the edges! I laughed…and also cringed.

Bestia – Beast

Country of origin: Chile

Writers Hugo Cavarrubias and Martin Erazo, director Hugo Covarrubias

Ingrid works for the Chilean Intelligence Directorate in 1975. Her bizarre life, intertwined with relationships with her dog, her own body and her fears reveals a fractured mind and the atrocities that damaged a country.

My thought: This dark film is difficult to understand completely, without doing some additional research after viewing.

Boxballet

Country of origin: Russia

Writers Anton Dyakov and Andrey Vasilyev, director Anton Dyakov

Talented ballerina Olya encounters tough, rough boxer Evgeny, An incredible relationship begins between these two opposite personalities that goes beyond philosophies and perspectives.

My thought: There’s sweetness in this unexpected pairing.

Robin Robin

Country of origin: UK

Writers Daniel Ojari, Michael Please and Sam Morrison, directors Daniel Ojari and Michael Please

When an egg falls from its nest during a storm, a family of mice raise the baby robin that hatches as one of their own. This sweet tale follows Robin’s journey as she discovers who she really is and what she can do.

My thought: This is the only animation in the group that children could watch. It’s a heart warming tale of self discovery and family.

The Windshield Wiper

Country of origin: Spain

Writer and director, Alberto Mielgo

This film offers a beautiful collection of scenes featuring the complexities of love, after a man sitting in a caf√© asks the greatest of questions, “What is love?” As the vignettes and situations show, it’s not an easy question to answer.

My thought: This animation made me smile. Not all of the situations portrayed are ideal and yet they showcase the many facets of love in today’s society.

Predicted Oscar winner: Although Robin, Robin is a sweet, feel good film, I’m going with The Windshield Wiper for the win.

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films the windshield wiper
2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films – The Windshield Wiper

See Which Short Film Wins at the Oscars

I so appreciate that Bookhouse Cinema brings in all of the shorts for viewing. I love these unique perspectives of life and humanity, as seen through the creativity of talented writers, directors, artists and film makers.

In between film sets, I enjoyed a vegan lunch, a vegan afternoon tea and a light, vegan dinner at Bookhouse’s pub. What a fun day for me, a film buff who looks for the deeper messages within those stories on the big screen.

I’ll update this post with the winners, after the Academy Awards airs. Watch for my upcoming Best Picture Nominations as well, with brief summaries of each film.

Have you seen any of the Oscar nominated short films?

2022 Oscar Nominated Short Films bookhouse cinema
Bookhouse Cinema and Pub

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Hearts Beat Loud at Bookhouse Cinema

I had the pleasure of viewing an indie film yesterday, at Joplin’s indie theater, Bookhouse Cinema. This is a movie review of the sweet film…and, creating a play on words, this is also an expression of gratitude for the fun and unique venue.

Hearts Beat Loud at Bookhouse Cinema

Hearts Beat Loud stars Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Toni Collette, Ted Danson, Sasha Lane and Blythe Danner. This drama was directed by Brett Haley, who co-wrote the screenplay with Marc Basch. The film carries a PG-13 rating, for brief language and drug references, and has a run time of 1 hour and 37 minutes.

Samantha (Clemons) is spending her final summer at home in Brooklyn, with her dad Frank (Offerman), before attending UCLA in the fall. She has big dreams and goals that will help her achieve her dream of becoming a doctor. Taking preparatory premed classes over the summer leaves her little time for fun or for socializing with her new friend Rose (Lane) or for hanging out with her dad.

Frank, a former small time musician, owns and operates a vintage record shop in the trendy Red Hook section of Brooklyn. But after 17 years business is almost nonexistent. Frank feels restless and ready for a change, and as a single dad, he is eager to spend time with his only child before she flies across the country.

Hearts Beat Loud at Bookhouse Cinema

During a weekly jam session with his daughter, who is a reluctant participant, Frank discovers that Sam has written a song. Titled Hearts Beat Loud, the beautifully haunting song conveys an innocent yet genuine longing for love and connection in a relationship. Together the dad/daughter duo record the song and Frank downloads it on Spotify, with surprising results.

During a summer filled with making memories and tough decisions, facing changes and holding on to relationships, Frank and Sam experience a few minutes together in the limelight, in the unique position of having a band together.

Hearts Beat Loud at Bookhouse Cinema

This fresh indie film also featured Toni Collette as Frank’s landlord/romantic interest, Ted Danson as a laid back bar owner who discovers living life on the edge, and Blythe Danner as Frank’s aging mom who has sticky fingers when she shops. The whole cast worked incredible well together, creating believable relationships and touching interactions.

The highlight of the film was the father/daughter connection between Frank and Sam. That delicate balance between loving a child and encouraging her to go for her dreams, and wanting to keep her a child and at home forever was played out with poignancy and humor. Greg and I watched the movie with our own daughter, with whom we’ve experienced that time of letting go, and our grandson who will be returning to the university next month for his sophomore year. Elissa, like all parents, has been in the role of the one who set off to create her own life, and the parent who has raised her child to pursue his own dreams. It was all bittersweet.

Hearts Beat Loud at Bookhouse Cinema

This story on the big screen unfolded before us in the perfect setting and atmosphere. I’ve attended Bookhouse Cinema for several indie films and documentaries and I adore this theater! The staff is friendly and helpful and the owners hard working and engaging. I love the comfortable theater room. And the adjoining pub offers a place to gather before or after the show. They serve high quality foods with vegan options, snacks, and an assortment of alcoholic and non alcohol drinks.

Hearts Beat Loud at Bookhouse Cinema

I love too that Bookhouse offers help yourself lemon/lime water or cucumber water, free of charge. Drinks and food can be eaten in the pub or carried into the theater to enjoy during the movie. Check out Bookhouse Cinema HERE to see upcoming movies and documentaries, and see their schedule for other in-house events. And then check them out in person. They are located at 715 E Broadway in Joplin.

It’s wonderful to have such a unique theater in my city, operated by people who care deeply about offering quality films and a quality experience to their patrons. Hearts really do Beat Loud at Bookhouse Cinema.

Hearts Beat Loud at Bookhouse Cinema

Documentary Review: RBG

When my daughter Elissa invited me to go see the documentary RBG, about the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I was happy to go. It was an opportunity to spend time with my eldest child, in the fun and unique atmosphere of Bookhouse Cinema. And it was an opportunity to learn more about the woman behind the justice robes and collars, the occasional headline, and the artsy Notorious RBG posters.

Documentary Review RBG

RBG highlights the life and work of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The biographical documentary, directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West, carries a PG rating and has a run time of 1 hour and 38 minutes.

This well done docudrama follows the life of Ruth from her childhood in Brooklyn, New York, through her years as a law student and attorney, when it was a struggle to be taken seriously because of her gender, to the current role she plays, on the Supreme Court and as an unexpected cultural icon.

Documentary Review RBG

Young Ruth was taught by her mother to be a lady, which to her meant, be your own person and be independent. This petite, reserved woman, who avoids small talk but speaks up powerfully when she has something to say, has certainly embraced her mother’s idea of a lady.

The film looks at her accomplishments, which are extraordinary and many, however the focus is on the woman. Using personal interviews with Ruth, interspersed with historical photos, videos, and audios, and candid chats with her children, granddaughter, friends, and colleagues, Cohen and West weave together a moving tribute to a life well lived.

Documentary Review RBG

Ruth married Martin Ginsburg and had her daughter Jane before enrolling in Harvard Law School, one of nine women among 500 classmates. When Martin took a job in New York City, Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School and became the first woman to be on two major law reviews: the Harvard Law Review and Columbia Law Review. In 1959, she earned her Bachelor of Law at Columbia and tied for first in her class.

When she had difficulty finding employment, she entered academia, one of fewer than 20 female law professors in the US at that time. Early in her adult life Ruth became a voice for women and a staunch supporter of equality for women, especially in the workplace. She co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 1972 and, in 1973, she became the ACLU’s general counsel. The Women’s Rights Project and related ACLU projects participated in over three hundred gender discrimination cases by 1974. As the director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, she argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court between 1973 and 1976, winning five.

Documentary Review RBG

She attained a reputation as a skilled oral advocate. Ruth chose her plaintiffs carefully, representing both females and males, to show that gender discrimination was harmful to women and to men. Her work led directly to the end of gender discrimination in many areas of the law.

Ruth was nominated by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Her service terminated on August 9, 1993, due to her elevation to the United States Supreme Court. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was only the second female appointee, after Sandra Day O’Connor.

Documentary Review RBG

One can go to Google to discover more fascinating facts about this feisty 85 year old woman. What I loved most about the documentary was getting a glimpse of Ruth’s compassionate heart and soul.

She and Martin had two children, and enjoyed a long and marvelous marriage, until his death in 2010. They complemented each other perfectly, two strong individuals who respected and appreciated and loved each other.

Ruth’s best friend was Justice Antonin Scalia. Even though they agreed to disagree on interpretations of the law, and had very different viewpoints, they shared a long and happy friendship. How inspiring, to see them attend opera performances together, travel the world as companions, and speak highly of each other. When friends of hers complained about the seating arrangement on an elephant in India (Ruth was seated behind Scalia), she pointed out, with great amusement, that it was a simple matter of weight distribution.

Documentary Review RBG

This woman makes a difference in the world, and in the lives of others, one decision, one dissent, one ruling at a time. She accepts her ascent into pop culture with a casual shrug and a smile. She laughs over Saturday Night Live portrayals of her. She spends time at her beloved opera, without her best buddy, since Antonin passed away in 2016. She receives collars from around the world, to wear over her robes. She is quietly fierce as she seeks justice.

I left the sold out showing of the documentary deeply appreciating RBG. She inspires me to see the world in a bigger way and to meet people who think differently than I do with openness and compassion. And she inspires me to make a difference in my world, in my own unique way, and to help as many people as I can along the way.

Documentary Review RBG

Movie Review: The Death of Stalin

I was excited this morning, when I spied a post from Joplin’s new indie theater, Bookhouse Cinema. The political satire film, The Death of Stalin, was playing this weekend! This is a movie I’ve been aware of for several months. The reviews have been excellent however, I figured I’d have to catch it later on Netflix.

Not so! Bookhouse listed movie times. I was in the full theater for the 4:15 showing this afternoon.

Movie Review The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin stars Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Simon Russell Beale, Adrian McLoughlin, Michael Palin, Jason Isaacs, Paul Whitehouse, Andrea Riseborough, Rupert Friend and Paul Chahidi. This dark comedy, directed by Armando Iannucci, is rated R for adult themes, language and violence, and has a run time of 1 hour and 47 minutes. The movie is adapted from the comic book by the same name, written by Thierry Robin and Fabien Nury. Iannucci co-wrote the screenplay.

The movie begins in March 1953. As he listens to a recording of a concert, and reads a note from an unhappy citizen, Josef Stalin (McLoughlin), doubles over in pain and falls to the floor. When he is found, barely clinging to life, the senior members of his Council of Ministers hastily gather to make important, far reaching decisions. As they jockey for power and position, Stalin dies…and chaos ensues.

Movie Review The Death of Stalin

The Council Members include Nikita Khrushchev (Buscemi), Deputy Malenkov (Tambor) who will assume leadership, Anastas Mikoyan (Whitehouse), Vyacheslav Molotov (Palin), Nicolai Bulganin (Chahidi), and Lavrenti Beria (Beale), head of the secret police.

Even though Malenkov steps into authority, he is beset by indecision and swings between emotional highs and lows. This polarizes the rest of the Council Members. Beria, a ruthless man who is responsible for the death of millions, has his own agenda, designed to seize control. The others attempt to safeguard their own lives while wavering between Malenkov and Beria.

Movie Review The Death of Stalin

Stalin’s children arrive to further add to the confusion. Daughter Svetlana (Riseborough) mourns her father and tries to keep her alcoholic brother Vasily (Friend) in check. And Field Marshall Zhukov (Isaacs) brings the stoic discipline of the military into the mix as the uncertainty within the council spills over to the country.

After Stalin’s funeral, the tension between the quarreling would-be leaders comes to a head, forcing decisions to be made that will affect a nation.

Movie Review The Death of Stalin

This was an amazing indie film. What can’t be discerned from my bare bones description above, is that this film is a comedy…a dark one, but full of humor nonetheless. The casting is brilliant, with great energy between the actors. The director made the decision early on to allow the actors to speak in their own accents, rather than attempt Russian ones. The result is Russian historical characters speaking in a mix of English and American accents…and it works.

The portrayals of these players struggling for power after Stalin’s death is over the top, which creates much of the humor, and yet they accurately convey historical events. I always fact check after watching a movie based on real people and real events. The Death of Stalin gets the important details in, although they compress the timeline somewhat.

Movie Review The Death of Stalin

I was amazed to discover that some of the craziest scenes were true! The concert that had to be repeated, after locking the audience into the room, happened…a bit differently than portrayed but Stalin did request a recording of the performance. After failing to set up the recording equipment, the radio manager made the musicians repeat the concert so that Stalin got his record.

Many people in Stalin’s Russia did crazy things, because they were afraid. The dark part of this comedy is realizing that the fear the people lived in was real. Being in the wrong place, witnessing the wrong thing, displeasing those in authority resulted in immediate execution, or worse, a slow torturous death at the hands of Beria and his men.

As a satire, this film works incredibly well. The humor is needed, or this would be a heavy movie to watch. I appreciated being able to break the tension through laughter. And I appreciated as well the glimpse into another country’s history. It’s good to be reminded occasionally of what has transpired in the past so that history does not repeat itself because we are unaware.

I look forward to seeing what Armando Iannucci presents next.

Movie Review The Death of Stalin

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

I was excited to learn that Joplin’s newest theater opened last weekend. Bookhouse Cinema, located at 715 E. Broadway, is an independent theater, showing indie films, documentaries, classics and other non mainstream movies. I have hoped for a long time for just such a theater in Joplin. Late this afternoon I had the privilege of visiting Bookhouse Cinema for the first time.

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

Greg accompanied me on this adventure. We selected a 5:15 showing of the film Oh Lucy! and arrived early enough to look around before the movie started.

The beautiful theater room is located in the center of the building. On one side is the lobby where tickets are sold. On the other side is a charming pub where appetizers, meals, drinks and snacks can be purchased.

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

The pub was very homey and welcoming with lots of light streaming in through large windows. Bookhouse offers an amazing selection of foods and drinks that can be enjoyed in the pub or carried into the theater. I was delighted to see plant based options available including homemade hummus and beet chips.

Greg and I shared a hummus platter with veggies and specialty crackers. It was fun to carry our platter and tall glasses of lemon/lime water into the theater. The room was very comfortable as were the theater seats.

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

Retro concessions commercials played on the big screen. And I loved when a countdown started. As the number 5 appeared on the screen, a voice announced “Five minutes before showtime!” That immediately took me back to my childhood and watching Saturday matinees in Tulsa.

As the previews began, the double doors on either side of the room were closed, effectively blocking out light and noise as the room darkened. It was showtime!

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

Oh Lucy! is a Japanese/American film starring Shinobu Terajima and Josh Hartnett. It was directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi, who wrote the story and created a short film by the same name before producing the feature film. This comedy drama has a run time of 1 hour and 36 minutes.

Setsuko (Terajimo) is stuck in a mundane life, going to work day after day, watching television in her tiny cluttered apartment at night. She is incredibly bored and feels she has missed out on having a husband and a family. Her life changes when she meets John (Hartnett), an American in Tokyo teaching English. His teaching style is friendly and unorthodox. He assigns Setsuko the name Lucy and gives her a blond wig to wear.

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

When she is being Lucy, Setsuko feels herself opening up and enjoying new experiences such as hugs. She is shocked, however, when she eagerly shows up for a class, only to discover that John has quit teaching and returned to the United States.

Reluctant to settle back into a routine she hates, Setsuko flies to LA, with her sister, to find John and declare the feelings she realizes she has for him. Oh Lucy! is a heart touching film about a woman’s search for herself that begins as an outward journey and then turns inward.

I so enjoyed Bookhouse Cinema. Films are offered Wednesday through Sunday, with three showtimes every day except Saturday, when there are four. Two to three different films are featured each day. The schedule and list of movies can be found on the Bookhouse Cinema Facebook page. Tickets are $8 and appetizers and meals range from $4 – $10.

If you enjoy indie films and amazing documentaries, charming decor and quality, freshly prepared food, visit Bookhouse Cinema. Welcome them to Joplin, and stop by often, to support this wonderful theater.

First Visit to Bookhouse Cinema

Bookhouse Cinema

This afternoon, during a break in real estate continuing education classes, I checked my phone for messages. Greg had sent me a text with an accompanying photo.

Bookhouse Cinema

Our breaks between sessions are brief, and I didn’t have time to follow up on this news, but I was so excited! I have long wished for just such a theater to open in Joplin, one that features indie films, foreign language movies and cutting edge productions that never make it to a traditional theater.

I recently discovered a great little indie theater in Springfield, Missouri. I enjoyed watching the artsy film, Love, Vincent there. However, Springfield is an hour away. To attend a viewing there requires planning and a chunk of free time. The opening of an indie theater here in my city of Joplin was incredible news to me.

Bookhouse Cinema

After classes concluded today, satisfying the state’s requirement for 12 hours of continuing ed, I pulled up info about this new theater. Bookhouse Cinema, located at 715 E. Broadway, in Joplin, is the realization of a dream. Owners Holly and Bradley Crane fell in love, in part, because of their shared love of movies. Ten years into their marriage, and many movies later, Holly and Bradley went from thinking it would be cool to have an indie film theater in Joplin, to birthing their idea into reality when they found the perfect building for such a project.

The newly outfitted cinema features reclining theater seats in a room that holds 40+ people, a digital projection system and a high quality sound system. The single screen comes from the former Cinema 6, a second-run theater in Joplin that closed in 2008.

Bookhouse Cinema Photo, from Bookhouse Cinema Facebook page, taken by Roger Nomer, Joplin Globe.

There is a lounge area, with a bar and tables and chairs, where people can meet before and after watching a movie. Snacks will be offered in this area. The Cranes intend to have the cinema open by next month and they look forward to offering Joplin theater goers a unique movie experience.

When this cinema opens, I will be one of those who attends frequently. I am full of anticipation. And I appreciate the opportunity to see fresh new films that typically would not play in Joplin.

I absolutely love that something I have hoped for, in this area, is almost a reality. Now, what about a cute little tea house in Joplin, that features a variety of hot teas and finger foods, including plant based options? I believe anything is possible!

Bookhouse Cinema Photo, from Bookhouse Cinema Facebook page, taken by Roger Nomer, Joplin Globe.