Hidden Mill #5 (and cheap movies)

Last Friday night I watched “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” which is the worst movie ever, according to the Luna Theater website. I spent the day revising and polishing essays and sending them out and working on teaching stuff. So I gave myself a treat: I went to the Luna Theater, down at Mill #5 and watched a $5 movie. It was great. The theater was full, and my neighbors were friendly. Everyone apparently knows what a joke the director is, so I could hear inside-joke whispers and laughter from the front, even at times when I didn’t expect it.


The amount of footage that the director gave to the flying saucers (which looked a lot like warped metal pot lids) was incredible; especially when compared with the amount of time spent with people who found their friends dead. Find a friend dead: a few moments of silence. And then, “Is he dead?” And someone checks. “Yes sir, he’s dead all right.” “Do you expect it’s got something to do with those flying saucers?” “I don’t know sir, I’m just a cop.”

The dialogue and narration were akin to an elementary school play: the stop and go dialogue; the absence of emotion; and most of all, the useless chatter. I’d argue that most school plays of any grade were better developed than this move. But that’s what made it so great!

For $11 I got the movie, a small popcorn, and a hot cocoa with whipped cream from Coffee and Cotton down the hall. Tell me where else you can find a deal like that and I will be there.

The Luna Theater is this tiny place in downtown Lowell, taking up just one of a number of little storefronts in Mill #5. All the stuff is on the 4th floor. The whole place feels like that scene in Harry Potter where he’s discovering Diagonal Alley: the warped wooden floorboards down the hallway, tiny storefronts on either side—record stores and yoga studios, Coffee and Cotton, and even a little marketplace and a store selling herbs and magical ointments! The place is hidden, unadvertised, and it’s a gem, crowded with both unsocialable and socialable geeks and readers and aimless college students.

It’s like that perfect reading nook that you find at the library; a comfortable little space to sit and observe, and maybe occasionally take part in. I can think of no more interesting place to be a writer than a place like that.

I wonder what other people find to be some of their most creative places. Do you visit the ocean? Have a secret trail? Do you camp out in the graveyard or junkyards? I’m interested to know. This is open to all creatives of course, not only writers.

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