Friday, July 25, 2008

Fun at the Movies

Summer in Portland is filled with fun and free activities for everyone. In Pioneer Courthouse Square alone, there have been a lot of events already as part of the "Summer at the Square" celebration. Every Tuesdays and Thursdays, they've been having their "Noon Tunes" mini-concerts featuring regional bands I've never heard of. Then they held a sand sculpting contest last weekend. I went there when Starbucks was sampling their new seasonal drink- Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino with Chocolate Whipped Cream- and when a soda company was giving out free root beer floats. I'm not a big soda drinker anymore but I decided they were nice little treats.

And I just got home from a fun night at the Square with their first "Flicks on the Bricks" outdoor movie series. This is I believe the third year in which for four consecutive Fridays they've been screening movies for the public for free. I wasn't going to go at all because the films weren't new by any means or even classics by the list they provided- "The Birdcage", "Ghost Buster" and "National Lampoon's Vacation". The kick-off film, though, was "The Goonies". I've heard of it but never watched it and falls into the type of movie I might have watched if there was nothing else on TV at the time- back when I still had a TV. Then I heard there was going to be free popcorn so that kind of changed my mind. I figured I'd at least stop by to check it out because it would at least have been something to do. And for me, especially now, life is all about experiences and adventures- or "non-adventures", in my case.

The movie was scheduled to start at dusk but I thought with the sun setting so late in the summer days that they were actually going to start sooner than that. So I got there at 6pm and as always I was way too early again. But I grabbed a spot by the waterfalls and watched as they inflated this big almost-movie-theater-sized screen. Aside from the regular food carts around the Square, there was also a yogurt stand- Active Culture Frozen Yogurt- who were sponsors of the event.

People were already there or coming in and sitting on the steps or on the chairs and cushions they brought along with their blankets, pillows, snacks and other things to make themselves all comfortable. A family even brought along an inflatable mattress. I thought there was a sizable number there already since I didn't realize just how popular "Flicks on the Bricks" was but the Square got packed. There was hardly any room to move. Truly, Pioneer Courthouse Square transformed into Portland's "living room" as it is described by some people.

The movie didn't start well after 9pm- when the sun wasn't able to cast a glare on the giant screen. For 3 hours, I occupied myself by people watching, writing on my journal, and reading a book- and, eating popcorn, of course. The free bags were courtesy of Cricket, another sponsor, and they had enough for 2,000 people. I ate 6 bags waiting for the movie to start- and another 8 while watching. Naturally, that meant I broke my rule of not eating after 8pm but once again I didn't mind because it just completed the experience. Popcorn and a movie- they just go together like peanut butter and jelly.

"The Goonies" was a fun enough movie and everyone else seemed familiar with it already and had a fondness or affinity towards it. They were clapping and hollering and just enjoying themselves and the feeling was infectious. I'm really glad I came.

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