I, Liza Birkenmeier (astro-physicist and juggler), am about to create a documentary in St. Louis, MO. Is it about coffee and cigarettes or trans identity or lesbianism or dancing or Kei$ha or bicycling or recycling or walking or drugs or money or revenge and love?
I don’t really have any ideas on what this is going to be ABOUT.
I don’t really have any ideas on what this is going to be CALLED.
(I really need you to tell me. Thanks so much!)
The place is key. MOKABE’S COFFEE SHOP on Arsenal and Grand.
Why is this place like any corner in this country and UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD? I really don’t know.
LET’S TALK ABOUT COFFEE.
I’m at a coffee shop right now in Delray Beach, Florida. It’s called the SPOT.
I’m sitting in the shade of a palm tree on the corner—the doors open, the egrets lurking.
THE CORNER is Atlantic and SE1 Ave. People are about—tourists, locals, babies, soccer parents, super-tan beachy people, surfer-ish people, older shoppers parking their Porsches…
I don’t feel like family at THE SPOT.
This is not MY spot.
In fact, in most places in South Florida, I’ve been getting sort of “sideways” glances from strangers.
(Okaaaaaay, people are NICE—they really are happy! Their vitamin D levels are probably close to toxic and no one seems to have a job. And the people who do have jobs seem freak-joyous in working at them. For example, usually I don’t like to be called “honey,” but here, everyone calls everyone “honey” at the front desk at the gym or the gas station or the Cuban restaurant. And suddenly I like it. “Honey, gorgeous, sweetie, pretty…” Because they mean it! I feel like their honey! And maybe I’m just lonely! But I like it!)
BUT here’s the thing, with the sideways looks. My basketball shorts and leotard on Clematis Street near the fancy port-side Italian restaurants aren’t really…in place. I tend to go to the ocean alone, jump in the waves by myself, and smile at birds. And so then—people look at me.
SO, like, what.
THIS PARTICULAR corner—the corner of the up-and-coming yet-to-be-determined film with a yet-to-be-determined title will be at a place that IS my place. Not my place like it belongs to me, not my place like I know all about it. But a home kind of thing. A place that I go. A place where if someone looks at me with a West Palm Beach Florida-type judgment glare, I know that THEY’RE probably the one who’s…not in the right place.
THIS IS WHAT I NEED…
(Oh, thanks, I really appreciate it.)
I need people to tell me about their Experiences With This Place.
I need people to tell me about their lives in General.
I’m doing a cross-section of humanity here—and am wildly curious about what brings you to MoKaBe’s, why it might (or might not be) your place, and why it is different from anywhere else. I want to know about where you live, what you do, what excites you, what happiness may mean or look like. This is just a sort of GLANCE, or…I don’t know, NOD. I just want to put a slight microscope to the world here. (There).
I want to get an insider look at the lives-times-dreams-bullshit-whatever of the people around Arsenal and Grand.
OHMYGOD such a party.
THIS IS A MOVIE ABOUT YOU.
YOU WILL BE A MOVIE STAR.
Or at least—a star of an experimental documentary that my DRAMA school is allowing me to shoot on my own. Why are they letting me do this? Ohhh, that’s a question for another time.