The tail of two cities: whose ass is on the (border) line?

Lawrenceburg is an erstwhile port city, seated on the bank of the Ohio River, at the caudal end of Indiana. If you were to look at a map of Indiana, where the straight line dips as if it were a spine that suddenly went from standing to sitting, right there, in the crux, you would find Lawrenceberg, at the tip of the sit-upon. Thus, this 5.21 square mile city can be lovingly referred to by the Hoosiers as their coccyx.


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enna (Kane) and Katrina (Ms Machado) on the set of Badfellaz, Hidden Valley Lake.Photos courtesy of William Lee

Now here is a bit of Jeopardy: The Indiana/ Ohio borderline occurs at that junction, and immediately south of this intersection, Kentucky begins. In other words, three cities converge at the intrusion/ protrusion of the ”spinal line.” So the question I have is: whose ass is on that line? I think it may be accurate to say it’s an Indiana/ Kentucky dispute, which puts Lawrenceburg back on the map, so to speak.

Well, I’m guessing that not too many of you knew that little snippet of information, so there it is, you can crack that open (no pun intended) at the dinner table, with pomp and ceremony, when the in-laws come over for a tete-a-tete. From my up-close-and -personal experience then, I will proclaim that Indiana’s derrierre ain’t half bad. I had the pleasure of experiencing this firsthand, as this was one of the locations of the film we shot just two weeks ago, with producer/director, William Lee, and the bad-ass cast and crew of the eponymous BadFellaz (and how appropriate it was that we found our way to the city’s keister to shoot a kick-ass film!)

Perched atop a hilltop that rose majestically from the lake, austerely pulling back from all things pedestrian, Hidden Valley Lake the apex of Lawrenceburg, offers a breath-taking view of the lake and valley, created and built by land developer James Jacob Rupel.

According to Wikipedia, of the 5.21 sq miles that comprise Lawrenceburg, .27 of it is water, and I can safely say that we probably shot all of that in the scenes we did that day, as from our vantage point on this belevedere, I could see all .27 miles of the Lawrenceburg portion of water. Just the thought of that makes me claustrophobic in an exhilirating sort of way. Small spaces has a way of making me feel all choked up inside.

I used to live in Barbados (yes, Rihanna’s birthplace) which is 21 miles by 16 miles, and getting around the island on a moped was like a walk in the park, I cannot imagine what I would do if I were to reside in Lawrenceburg’s 5.21 miles; I would probably use it as a work-out routine. I guess they could never host a 5K marathon there, right? Well, I guess they could….with a little over-run for watering down, and the cool-down phase.

To get the full impact of this allusion, you would have to be in the plane as it takes off and lands on the micro landing strip in Bridgetown, Barbados – the pilots need to be skilled, and the passengers need sound hearts. Okay, I’ve sufficiently digressed, and I did come here to praise Cesare, not to bury ‘im, so now I’ll get on with the lauding of Lawerenceburg.

Spectacular views and an unforgetable experience on the set of Badfellaz, under the direction of William Lee. As I went through the day shooting scene after kick-ass scene, I was reminded of Clint Eastwood’s directorial style. Well, not to act as though I’ve personally experienced it…..I sometimes live vicariously. Morgan Freeman describes Clint Eastwood as the kind of director who does not waste time with too many takes, or rehearsals, his way is to hire actors who know what they are doing, then stage the scene, roll the cameras, and trust them to use their instincts and skills to breathe life into the script. Then later he would suss it all out in the editing room.

Am I saying here that Mr Lee is a potential Clint Eastwood? I couldn’t say, but I am saying that there are a great many similarities – for starters, there is the matter of genre commonality – blazing guns, and burning….well, there were no saddles, but bullets, action, and explosions. Then there is the distinct no-nonsense, do or die shoot-out scenes, and the snappy quips of the dark, psychotic antagonists, and the steady stream of vengefulness from the maverick protagonist…….yes, those are common characteristics to both directors’ style of writing and staging.

But I’m no Morgan Freeman, and although I’ve resided just a heartbeat from Carmel California), I have never been directed by  the retired, nonpartisan, gun-slinging, Carmel mayor (Clint Eastwood), so I will reserve my opinion. Now I will say that our day began in regular high noon fashion, and was wrapped well before it got to midnight in the garden of good and evil.

And I will add that the day was fantastic – from the kind hosting of the AD, Sherrie, and the administrative efficiency of second AD, Harlow, to the alacrity of stage assistant, Alicia, and the on pointe acting of all performers involved on set. At the end of a long day on set, riddled with this mobster, double-crossing activity, fellow actor, Justin and I decided to walk over to Willie’s for a bite to eat, before making the 1.5 hour drive home. To end the day at Willie’s Sports Cafe, may not have been the best choice, but we were famished and it was perhaps the best that Hidden Valley Lake had to offer.

I will begin by saying that the service was impeccable. Our waitress, Regan was attentive to the point of being borderline obsequious, and in retrospect I realsie that that may have been a premeditated concession for what she already knew; that which we were about to find out.

The food (I ordered fish and chips) was the worse that I have ever tasted in my entire life. The fish wore a fur coat that would have been the envy of Kim Kardashian. And as for the chips, I knew that there was trouble afoot when Regan asked me if I wanted chips ”as in home fries, or chips as in….chips!” Despite the panic I felt in that moment,  I nonetheless held on to the faith that in any self-respecting Mid-western food establishment, it would be kinda difficult to fuck up a potatoe; somehow they managed.

I am no Wolfgang Puck, but I’d say, cut it up appropriately, drop it in oil, and let it sit for a minute or two, then drain it. Not too difficult! To be fair, it was not God-awful horrid, just dry and tasteless, but the fish, well that’s another story. It tasted like it had died aeons ago, lost it’s way to fish heaven, and was still trying to do a seance… had lost something, or maybe everything. It needed help, badly!

It would be the first time in my life that I would eat ketchup as a meal……or condiment. I’m not sure. I don’t even eat ketchup, so I sure as hell don’t know whether it was a flavour enhancer, or if it was a part of the meal, but to be sure,  I needed it. I was starving, and had no idea what I was eating, the ketchup gave the food meaning, and an identity. I could then say to myself that I was eating red fish, or fish and ketchup, whereas previously I had no idea how to tell this to myself so as to get through the meal.

I conceded that I essentially paid $10.95, for coffee and ketchup dinner. I know you’re probably wondering if I left a fifty-cent tip, but you’d be pleased to know that I didn’t. My tip did not in any way reflect the discrepancy, or the injustice I felt (towards both me and the fish); the service was undoubtedly exemplary. And after all, that is the main purpose of a tip – to improve promptness (TIP), amongst other things, so there was no reason to slack on the tip.

We left very soon after satiating my hunger. No I did not finish the fish, nor did I ask to carry out the remains. I felt it pointless to drag it on. As we turned to leave the restaurant, I looked around and remarked on how lovely the restaurant was; something we missed upon entering, as we were both blinded by our hunger.

Aptly situated on the edge of the lake, with staggered levels on the inside, and glass-curtained walls, Willie’s hovers over the lake, like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but without the colonade; a wide expanse of a place with ample seating that provides a panorama. I will submit that if I were to add up the view, the ambiance, the service, and the ketchup dinner, it was really a very good value for the $10.95 I paid. Would I recommend it? Absolutely, but with a caveat to eat first, unless you like your meals decked in all the fineries of haute couture.