A Night at the Lodge
Early March always brings the arrival of San Luis International Film Festival. Five days of independent film makers displaying their digital craft amongst the big and small screens of the county. From documentaries, to shorts, student films and narratives the array of subjects, cinematography and creative ambitions converge to make this one of the best film events in the country.
And talk about events, this is a massive one. Coordinating not only all the applications and submittals by film makers to have their film in the running but also securing theater venues across the county from the famously historic Fremont and Palm in San Luis Obispo to north counties fairly new Galaxy Theater.
After parties and red carpet events come in addition to this and I was lucky enough to be an attendee at one of the more unique events I have been to.
Every year the King Vidor award is given to an outstanding contributor to the film industry. In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of this award, Jeff Bridges, also well known as “The Dude” to some, was the honored recipient. Now this is a big deal for San Luis Obispo and the bigger deal is the private after party, with the possibility of an appearance by “The Dude” himself.
The Masonic Lodge in downtown San Luis Obispo was waiting to greet guests who held specific passes to allow entry. Many chatted outside prior about how they had lived in San Luis Obispo for years, and how this tiny but undeniably beautiful entrance off of Marsh Street never caught their eye. No one quite knew what they were in for until they climbed the stairs of what seemed more like a beautiful home than anything else.
Though I am no expert, and the history is vast, from my understanding The Masonic Lodge is the meeting place of the fraternal organization of freemasons.What I do know, is that this was an overwhelmingly beautiful venue! Wineries poured samples of their wine along walls covered in splendid and colorful murals of compasses, levels, trowels and other varied symbols of stonemasons. Gorgeous wood floors led to another room very reminiscent of a man’s smoking chambers of the Victorian era.. Plush burgundy overstuffed chairs, a marble fireplace and piano all lent to the appeal while guest noshed upon bites of area restaurant delicacies.
No food or drink allowed here, the sign read as guest discarded their half empty wine glasses and ventured across a black and white with inlayed gold star marble entry in to what seemed like voting chambers. Chairs lined the sides of an open room, adorned with fabulously ornate ceiling hangings, and what resembled a beautiful wood pulpit was centered on each of the four walls.
Wow! Now this was different. Guests hummed in conversation, in awe of what a secretive find they had all stumbled upon. No preconceived notion of what this was going to bring, that was for sure. It didn’t even matter that Jeff Bridges never made too much of an appearance, at least while I was there. It was just enough to see him sneaking in to the night as I left, surrounded by three security guards. The night at the lodge was a tucked away treat. You never know what is hiding, unbeknownst to us, on our small town dark streets.