Kate's hometown Dubuque, Iowa - Thursday, April 21, 2011
Report by Joni - many thanks!
When I first heard that Kate Mulgrew was going to be in Dubuque for a screening of "The Best and The Brightest", I could hardly believe my luck.  Usually I have to go to New York, or LA to see her in person.  Dubuque is about a two hour drive from my house, so this was excellent news for me. 

Unfortunately, my luck did not hold when asking for time off from work.  I was only able to get a few hours off on Thursday, but was able to make it to Dubuque to meet up with friends at The Bank Bar and Grill where the festivities began. 

The place was packed, and the people were wearing everything from casual attire to very dressy Gala attire.  The food and drinks were great, but the main attraction was obviously Kate.  She came limping in on a walking splint and sat at one of the front tables.  Like a reigning monarch, everyone came to pay her homage. 

It was obvious that she was in her home town.  She greeted many people by name and introduced everyone to her family members.  She seemed very excited to be there and anxious for the screening.  She was happy to see us out-of-towners as well and gave hugs all around.  She related a funny story about the director, Josh Shelov, being invited to stay at her brother's house, then finding out he was allergic to Sam's cats. 

The time grew nearer for the Gala Cocktail Party and Screening, so everyone slowly made their way down the street to the Julien Hotel.  It’s a lovely old hotel that has been totally refurbished.  It was the perfect setting for a Gala Event.  There were greeters on the main floor handing out tickets and directions.  Once you had your ticket you were encouraged to go up the wide staircase to the second floor.  There were bartenders on each side of the balcony to serve cocktails.  In the ballroom, there were round tables set up for those who had reserved them, and general seating in the back. 

We wandered around on the balcony, watching people arrive for the screening and chatting with each other.  When Kate arrived, she was shown to a small alcove off to the side of registration where an interview was conducted.  We were able to snap a few pictures, then made our way to the ballroom.

We found seats near the back of the room.  It was interesting to see the movie and the crowd reaction to it.  There was a full house, and a general hubbub of excitement.  Kate and Josh were introduced and said a few words before the film started.

The lights went down and the adventure began.  I wasn’t sure how the people of Dubuque would react to the film.  As Midwesterners, we usually get stereotyped as conservative, and with a lack of base humor.  My fellow attendees made me proud to be from Iowa.  There was raucous laughter, snorts and groans from all of us as we watched the film.  Though the film was about the East Coast private school system, it certainly hit our funny bone.  My favorite description of the film was that it was “Sophisticatedly silly”.  My friends and I are still quoting some of the lines.

The question and answer session after the film was filled with interesting information.  Kate and Josh fielded questions about how the film was made, how the casting was done, and where the process goes from here.  When they were finished with all of the questions, Kate and Josh took a few minutes to greet people and sign autographs.  We stopped one last time to say goodnight and tell them how much we enjoyed the movie. 

This movie is not for those who are easily offended.  I would recommend that anyone with a wicked sense of humor and a willingness to laugh at human folly give it a chance.

Thank you to the Julien International Film Festival Dubuque, the Hotel Julien Dubuque and the Bank Bar & Grille
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