As we approach the final days of our fundraising campaign for our Neon Sign Documentary, it feels like it’s all coming together. The more footage we get, the more interviews we do and the more friends we make along the way not only help us hone in on what the point of this documentary is, but how meaningful of an experience it has already been and we are just at the beginning stages.
First off I am so honored to work on this project with my best friend and brother from another Chilean mother Miguel. Today is his birthday! We have been through a lot in the past 6 years we have known each other, and I am so lucky to have him in my life and be able to collaborate on such a fun documentary. I think this is just the beginning for us.
This week we were crazy filming. We went ALL the way to NYC to film Thomas E. Rinaldi, author of the book New York Neon. He was a wealth of knowledge on the history of Neon in NYC and really helped us see the signs themselves in a totally different – well light. It may seem obvious but the sensory experience of the light itself is something he really delved into. One of my many questions to all our interviewees was, “how does a neon sign make you feel?” and Thomas was the first person to really articulate the attraction of the light to our eyes and maybe even the trance-like effects they have and that buzzing in our ears we associate with neon. After our interview he took us to Don Quixote on 23rd St, the oldest Spanish Restaurant in NYC, which of course has a sweet Neon sign out front. We drank a pitcher of Champagne Sangria and from there the conversation got pretty raucous!
Yesterday we headed over to Circo’s to talk with the brother’s Sal and Anthony who run the over 50 year old pastry shop in Bushwick, still under the “supervision” of their father. Coinceidentally my father worked at Circo’s as a teenager after he landed in NY Harbor (he came over on a boat) from Sicily! And Sal and Anthony, also Sicilian descendent, grew up in the same neighborhood of Queens as myself and I played their sister in basketball. Talking to them about the over 100 year old sign that they had Artistic Neon restore, made me realize the important father/son business relationship, that they have with their Dad, that Robbie has with his father, and that I have with my Dad, who taught me everything I know about photography!
We also filmed Sal filling cannolis and obviously ate a few. I just can’t escape cannolis!