Monday, December 11, 2017

UPDATE: 23,400 HAVE SEEN BIG SONIA @Glenwood Arts --Last day is Thurs April19! (Ranchmart)

Big Sonia is an upbeat inspiring documentary about Kansas City's most beloved Holcaust survivor.  It's breaking all records over the last 35 years of movie attendance at the Glenwood Arts theatre.  In just the first ten days, 6153 Kansas Citians have seen it!

"And that's just showing on one screen," says theatre co-owner Brian Mossman, "whereas other blockbusters were shown on multiple screens throughout the day."  He also noted that this film is the only documentary to generate such rave reviews and traffic.  "All our other blockbuster films were narratives."

It's not even Chanukkah (Dec. 13) or Christmas (Dec 25)--or Kwanzaa (Dec 26)--but people of all faiths and the plain spiritual and the plain tuckered out from a long year and people in recovery and people who used to be imprisoned are ALL finding happiness and a mood boost from seeing this film.  Many bring a loved one.

Sonia Warshawski, the star of Big Sonia,
is hugged by Brian Mossman,
co-owner of the Glenwood Arts Theatre, 95th & MISSION (Ranchmart South).  For showtimes:

Sonia Warshawski's new leopard print sofa, from her new location at John's Tailoring, 95th & Nall, was borrowed for the photo shoots and autograph sessions the first weekend--but the sofa and one of her leopard print stroller jackets remain in the lobby of the Glenwood Arts.

And it's the strangest thing--folks are so moved and inspired and motivated by Big Sonia that even tho her public appearances have passed, audience members leaving the theatre linger to just sit, alone, on her sofa.  Like it's a shrine to goodness and surviving whatever sadness THEY are in the process of enduring.

Mossman, not exactly a fashion icon, (he and his business partner, twin Ben Mossman, grew up in Spirit Lake, Iowa, sons of a highway patrol officer) asked me, "Is it true what she says?  That animal prints never go out of fashion???"

I reassured him: "Absolutely, for women with confidence and flair.  And that is just one more reason I am still wearing leopard prints or zebra or cheetah prints every single day the rest of the month--to remind me of Big Sonia and to be grateful for every blessing of every day."

For more details, read the previous post here on, including 12 things you don't know, since you missed the Q&A.  Also, read much more on the web site:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Update: Over 4000 people saw Big Sonia at Glenwood Arts in week1! Biggest audience in 35 year history. Go see Big Sonia @ Glenwood Arts. This Holocaust survivor's story is 'bog-mindling'. 12 things you missed in the documentary...

Big Sonia is the hit documentary film about KC's own Holocaust survivor--Sonia Warshawski--showing exclusively at Glenwood Arts, (Ranchmart South), 95th & Mission.  And YES, since it broke all ticket records this weekend, the film's run will be extended.  Currently at the Glenwood Arts, but due to its enduring popularity with Johnson County seniors, it may move eventually to sister theatre in downtown OP, The Rio.  Just check for show times.

I attended the Q&A Sat. night with the film's producers: Sonia's grandaughter, Leah Warshawski and her husband, Todd Soliday--plus Sonia's two daughters.  Meanwhile, Sonia sat for most of five hours in the theatre lobby on her signature leopard skin sofa greeting wellwishers and posing for selfies.  It was a joyous celebration.  Over 2200 tickets were sold IN ADVANCE of opening weekend.

If you missed the Q&A, here are 12 things you don't know from the actual film.
1.  Her son's career is a very successful poet and author (lives in Napa), who wrote a book about crowd funding for indie movies.  So even tho Sonia was "hard on her son, compared to her daughters", I love the idea that but for him, this documentary might not have been made!

2.  It was his daughter, Leah Warshawski, (Sonia's granddaughter) and her husband, Todd Soliday, who lavished 6 1/2 years making this heartwarming and inspiring documentary.
The orange scarf that Sonia Warshawski grabbed from her mother's outstretched hands, at Bergen Belsen
in the last tearful moment,
as the Nazis marched Sonia's mother to the crematorium. 
Sonia still sleeps with it every night
in a special bag
concealed in her pillow case.
photo: Gloria Baker Feinstein.

3.  Three drones died in the making of the aerial shots of Sonia driving her big beige Oldsmobile to Metcalf South.  Including a flock of geese that took out one drone.  (The geese professed to be Canadian.  But I think they were Nazi geese...)

4.  It took 2 1/2 years just to get the aerial footage of Sonia driving.  Per Todd, sometimes the drone was out of range to capture Sonia's driving (she does get alot of speeding tickets!  Cops spot her leopard-wrapped steering wheel as she races down 95th St...).  And several times, Sonia assumed they got the aerial footage on the first try, so she just drove home!  Rather than pulling over and waiting to be told, "Take 2, grandma!"

5.  The mystery of Big Sonia's vanity tag?  428 ONE.  It stands for Fortunate One--a play on words concocted by her clever son, the writer.  It was years into filming before the team realized they should have masked Sonia's real plate number.  (due to asshat Holocaust deniers--who might stalk her or menace her.)  So in 34 places in the film, the crew had to go in and correct the license tag.  OY!!!!

6.  The film claims John's Tailoring and Alterations (the shop owned by Sonia and her late husband, John, a fellow survivor) was "the last tenant in the vacant Metcalf South mall".  At the Q&A, Brian Mossman chided Todd Soliday, saying, "Hey, I was here, too--upstairs!" referencing the fact that the Glenwood Arts theatres were also there.  Todd replied, "I learned long ago as a filmmaker, never to let the facts get in the way of a great story."  And, truth be told, Sonia's shop, John's Tailoring and Alterations WAS the last RETAIL tenant in the now-bulldozed mall.  While the Glenwood Arts movie theatres upstairs were a theatre complex, not a retailer.  So, no harm, no foul.
Big Sonia in John's Tailoring and Alterations shop
in the now defunct Metcalf South mall,
with her optimistic $1.50 Whatever pillow! 
Late husband John's photo is above her right shoulder.
 photo: Gloria BakerFeinstein

7. Spoiler Alert!
 Both the Glenwood Arts and Johns Tailoring relocated successfully.  But only Big Sonia got "such a deal" from her former landlords, the families of two Russian Jewish immigrants and real estate tycoons, the late Sherman Dreiseszun and his nephew, the late Frank Morgan.  And yes, that was due to the intervention of Vernon May, the mall's loyal security officer.  This was all confirmed by Peter Newman, The Tax Man.  He too is a Holocaust survivor.  He and gorgeous wife, Bev, attended the Q&A.  Newman has been Sonia's tax preparer for many decades.

8.  John's Tailoring & Alterations was moved nearby, to 95th and Nall.
5600 W. 95th St. #102
Overland Park KS 66207
Open 10a to 5pm.
A small spot at a 'very attractive rental rate', in the same building as Morgan's D&M investments, NW corner of 95th & Nall, the tall beige brick with white vertical stripes.

9.  In the last scene, we see the new leopard sofa being moved into Sonia's new shop.  And the filmmakers and Brian Mossman very ingeniously borrowed that same sofa for the Meet and Greet in the Glenwood Arts lobby last weekend.

10.  If you spotted the leopard print luggage tags on the young student's luggage, as she visits middle schools and shares Sonia's indomitable story--guess what.  The filmmakers thought of everything: they retailed those luggage tags--to help pay for the filming costs.  You may buy one on the web site:

11.  As the film rolls out for distribution around the country, the team is even willing to host showings in non-theatres.  Sonia attends and asks questions and inspires others.

12.  She has hired staff to assist her at the tailor shop, so she can ALSO do visits to Lansing Prison with SueEllyn Fried--and as many teenage groups or 12 step groups as she can manage.

There is so much more info available on website.

This film is a must see.  I'm wearing leopard print the rest of the year in Sonia's honor.

My favorite Big Sonia quote, if you're having a bad day:
"My Mom told me, If you are feeling down--look further down.  Then you'll be on top!"

And yes, another Sonia-ism is her darling dyslexic phrase of astonishment at all the good in the world:
"It's bog-mindling!"

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Two more days for KIFF:Ks Intl Film Fest at Glenwood Arts (95th/Mission) including Fade to Black. It's not about KCI. It's about Death With Dignity!

As a jury award winner for best Documentary, "Fade To Black" will show again at 5:15 on Wednesday Nov 6th.  Congratulations to everyone that worked on this project.
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Chance to See the Jury Award Winners

Come join KIFF at the Glenwood and see some Jury Award winning films.

Congratulations to our Jury Award winning filmmakers! We are honored to have you as a part of this year's festival.
Documentary Jury Award Winner
Fade To Black

Wednesday 5:15 PM
Nov 8

Peter Short, the charismatic CEO of a major Australian company, learns that he has only months to live after he is diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer. Not wanting to face a painful death, Peter decides to source the lethal drug Nembutal, giving him the option to end his own life peacefully. With the help of a rogue doctor who supplies the drug to suffering patients, Peter sets out to have voluntary euthanasia legalised in Australia.  Director: Jeremy Ervine  Rating: N/A  Running Time01:24:00  Country: Australia
I Am Still Here
Wednesday 7:20 PM
Nov 8

I Am Still Here is an award-winning story of 10-year old Layla, who was stolen from her family and thrown into America’s child sex industry. Stories of courage drawn from interviews with trafficking survivors are the foundation for the fictionalized account of Layla’s journey as she confronts the monsters of her past and embraces the hope of her future.  Director: Mischa Marcus  Rating: R  RunningTime01:44:00  Country: USA
International Shorts #2
Wednesday 5:20 PM
Nov 8

A State of Emergency(Germany/France) (12:20 min), April Fool's Day (Greece) (17:10 min), Jonah(Austria) (13:00 min), Mismatched Eyes (United Kingdom) (10:30 min), Nomfundo (South Africa) (15:00 min), The Shortest Are Always The Best (France) (16:10 min), To Die Yes But To The Sound Of Violins (USA) (14:00 min
That Never Happened: Canada's First National Internment Operations *
Wednesday 7:25 PM
Nov 8
Talent to attend

THAT NEVER HAPPENED reveals the story of Canada’s first national internment operations between 1914 – 1920, when over 88,000 people were forced to register and more than 8,500 were wrongfully imprisoned in concentration camps across Canada, not for anything they had done but because of where they came from. In 1954, the public records were destroyed and in the 1980s a few brave men and women began working to reclaim this chapter in history and ensure future generations would know about it.  Director: Ryan Boyko  Rating: N/A  RunningTime01:15:00  Country: Canada
Hoda's Story
Wednesday 5:30 PM
Nov 8

Twelve years in the life of a girl in Gaza who was blinded by a bullet. On 1 March 2003, 12-year old Hoda Darwish is hit in the head by a bullet while sitting at her desk in an elementary school in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. Hoda miraculously survives, but she wakes up from her coma asking when the daylight comes. The bullet blinded her. She struggles to come to terms with her altered life, doubting her will to live, amidst the endless violence in the Gaza Strip. Her family repeatedly brings her to Egypt in the hope that a medical operation would give back her eyesight. Her hope to be cured deprives her of the willpower to learn the techniques needed by visually impaired persons. After the 2009 war, Hoda is visited by Mervat, the girl who sat next to her when the bullet came. Mervat is in university now. The encounter is a life changing moment for Hoda. She admits she has wasted years, clinging to the hope of seeing again. In the years after, Hoda surprises everyone by improving her life in a remarkable way.  Director: Johan Eriksson  Rating: N/A  Running Time00:57:39  Country: State of Palestine
Fruition-The Life And Dreams Of Nicolas Mueller
Wednesday 7:30 PM
Nov 8

Nicolas Mueller is one of the most revered and iconic snowboarders of all time. We live in a world which typically demands us to obey things we might not believe in. Nicolas shows how he tackled these obstacles in order to find his true path, a conscientious path towards self realization. This film offers an opportunity to get to know the king of style like never before. Almost entirely in his own words, Nicolas takes you through the important events in his life which lead him to where he is today. One of Nicolas’s central goals is to demonstrate the importance of following ones intuition. To learn how to rely on this relationship with yourself and to enjoy the journey it takes you on.  Director: Martin Luchsinger, Sean Fee  Rating: PG  Running Time01:05:00  Country: Switzerland

Monday, November 6, 2017

Why vote NO? Ballot language says "demolish (both) existing terminals". Would you buy a car or cell phone with a contract that says, first we crush your trade-in--and lookee! here's a picture of what we MAY give you to drive in two years.

The new KCI plan is clearly a scam. 
Sly's Used Cars! JUST SIGN HERE:  First we CRUSH your trade-in, SO THERE'S NO GOIN' BACK. 
We'll deliver you a brand new car...soon.  Fingers crossed!
If we can trust the airlines,
the ones that drag unruly passengers off. 

Lookie here, see the picture I had a buddy draw on a cocktail napkin  and then have a kid make a watercolor last month? 
We call this NEW KCI design the Cordish...
I hope you'll like it.  Cuz your old car's gone.
Did T-Mobile demand you crush your old cell phone before handing you a new Samsung?
Hell no.  You're not that stupid. 
And did you believe Apple when some fat clown salesman
in a BBQ-stained bow tie
told you that a new iPhone X  would be free????
You would not buy a car--
or a big screen TV
or a cell phone
based on such a sketchy "contract"--no plans, no budget, just a promise based on a 30 DAY OLD watercolor sketch without furniture or people!

Read the ballot language: it authorizes the "demolish existing terminals"--think about that.  A future blank check approval that legal eagles secretly embedded, to also include, down the road, without need for a future election: Wheeler downtown.  Who knows what the city might do with that?  Give it away to Richard Branson or Elon Musk or Jeff Bazos@Amazon??

Shall the City of Kansas City be authorized to construct a new passenger terminal at Kansas City International Airport and demolish existing terminals as necessary, with all costs paid solely from the revenues derived by the City from the operation of its airports and related facilities, and without the issuance of general airport revenue bonds unless such general airport revenue bonds have received prior voter approval?

What's the rush?  The city is afraid you'll come to your senses, that's what.

Just vote NO.  They will be force to come back with a better plan.  Don't fall for "Lame Duck Dying for a Legacy Plaque" Sly James' idle threat, "If you don't do what I want, right now, we won't repair, we won't remodel, we'll just do nothing for 50 years."  My Dad tried those tactics in the 50's.  If I didn't detail his 1953 Studebaker before supper, he was gonna lock me in my room for 50 years. 

Finally, last week the City made a deal with Burns&Mac, the so-called losers in the bidding war.  All they had to do was make a token $20,000 contribution to the $1.6 million campaign fund, and the city will, in turn, award them a $50 MILLION contract to be the city's "Owner's Representative."

Corruption.  The City has an Aviation Department.  THEY are the Owner's Representative.  If they need to hire some engineers to supervise, they can hire them away from Burns & Mac--and I can assure you, it won't cost $50 MILLION!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

You, me and Burning Man? 5:15p today at Ks Intl Film Fest, Glenwood Arts/(lower level of Ranchmart 95th & Mission

Start the Week With Independent Films

Here's the lineup for Monday.  I'm VERY excited to watch Burning Man:into the Realm.  Airs one time only, 5:15pm.  Including a Q&A with the filmmaker.  In fact I volunteered to hand out ballots for the Audience Favorite Award--tho I am not paying $1.6 million, like Sly James is, to try to rig that election.  
News travels fast as Sunday's announcements were made at KIFF, the Kansas International Film Festival at the Glenwood Arts/(Ranchmart/lower level).
Jury Awards were given to D-Love (Narrative) and Fade To Black (Documentary).  These two films will be shown again, D-Love (5:10 Tuesday Nov 7), Fade To Black (5:15Wednesday Nov 8), so come take a load off with other KIFFsters and enjoy some more independent and international films. 
 Fade to Black is very informative and compelling, about Australians fighting for the right to use one dose of prescribed and dispensed Nembutal for a death with dignity, at home--at a time of their choosing, rather than be required to die in a hospital with palliative morphine injections.  

I will not be able to attend Burning Man,
 including the nude parade, but I
sure look forward to seeing this documentary,
Monday, one time only 5:15!!
Here's the lineup for Monday.  I'm VERY excited to watch Burning Man:into the Realm.  Airs one time only, 5:15pm.  Including a Q&A with the filmmaker.  In fact I volunteered to hand out ballots for the Audience Favorite Award--tho I am not paying $1.6 million, like Sly James is, to try to rig that election.  
Burning Man: Into The Realm *
Monday 5:15 PM
Nov 6
Talent to attend

Burning Man: Into the Realm is a documentary on the Burning Man festival, showcasing first-hand accounts that unite the participants in principles of self-expression, self-reliance and community effort. Burning Man draws people from all walks of life that shed their normal daily routines to participate in a week-long celebration of living out their dreams. Burning Man: Into the Realm takes us on a journey revealing what makes the event so popular.  Director: Oz Yilmaz  Rating: PG  Running Time: 01:22:00  Country: Canada
In Exile: A Family Film *
Monday 7:15 PM
Nov 6
Talent to attend

Synopsis: Directed by Fabien Gaillard. Tom is an American living in Shanghai. Ever since his wife Ling died, Tom has lead a solitary life and fallen prey to depression. He roams the thrilling city, unable to put his life back together. One day, he finds hope upon meeting Bobo, a young woman who happens to resemble his former wife; but that’s their only thing in common. Bobo works as a hostess in a club and doesn’t seem interested in him, but he’ll try anything to win her over. China, Narrative, 92 minutes.
Little Stones
Monday 5:20 PM
Nov 6
Little Stones unites the personal narratives of four women around the world using art to create positive change in their communities. From a graffiti artist speaking out against domestic violence in the favelas of Brazil to a dancer rehabilitating sex-trafficking survivors in India, each of these women is contributing a stone to the mosaic of the women’s movement through their art.  Directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Sophia.  Rating: Unrated  Running Time01:27:00  Country: USA

Twist Of Fate Shorts
Monday 7:30 PM
Nov 6

Balloon (Russia) (4:05min), Mountain Fever(Germany) (7:50 min), Percent (Russian Federation) (18:11min), Perception(USA) (18:47 min), This Modern Man is Beat (USA) (17:12), Unattended Item(United Kingdom) (13:00 min)
Something For Everyone Shorts *
Monday 5:25 PM
Nov 6
Talent to attend

Asleep (Canada) (11:26 min), Big Joe's Big Slice (USA) (10:33 min), Change(USA) (13:29 min), Death in a Day (China) (14:05 min), El Audifono-The Earpiece (Spain) (14:58 min), Roasrio(Mexico) (10:08 min), The Body of Old (France) (19:59 min)
Boys For Sale
Monday 7:35 PM
Nov 6

 In the Tokyo district of Shinjuku 2 chome there are bars that specialize in “Urisen”, young guys who have sex with men. Featuring candid interviews and interspersed with animation detailing the awkward, sweet, and sometimes horrific situations these young sex workers experience, the boys for sale boldly tell their stories of life in the Tokyo underground. “Boys for Sale” is an illuminating look into a rarely seen world that tantalizingly shows the humanity of sex work.  Director: Itako  Rating: R  RunningTime01:16:00  Country: Japan