Actors & Authors

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A couple weeks ago, my company provided me with the awesome opportunity to attend a private screening of the film Time Out of Mind (photo to the right is a still from the movie), along with a panel discussing the film and its central theme, homelessness. One of the four panelists was actually the movie’s star: Richard Gere. I brought my mom along, since she’s obsessed with him.

“He’s like my Zac Efron,” my mom explains as she’s madly scanning the inside of the Ritz East for her celeb crush (also yes I love Zef and have since High School Musical). We somehow got seats right in the front of the room and, sidenote, we were done our free popcorn before the panelists even entered the theater.

Jacqueline London from NBC10 was the moderator and introduced the panelists: Richard Gere, Dennis Culhane, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Penn, writer/director of the film Oren Moverman, and Sister Mary Scullion, Co-Founder of Project HOME.

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(L to R) Gere, Moverman, Sister Scullion at the Ritz East in Philadelphia

The panel discussion prior to the film was enlightening and informative. I was intrigued by Culhane, who spent 8 weeks anonymously in the homeless shelter system for his thesis. Gere is also an advocate of ending homelessness, and explained how this film changed the way he perceives those who live on the streets.

“Not one person looked me in the eye during filming,” Gere bluntly stated. This was very alarming for him, a well-known celebrity who is always being recognized and approached by media and the public. He said this realization brought a new compassion and empathy out in him to the homeless population.

Throughout the film Gere hardly looks like himself in the role. Pale, dark circles under his eyes, sad, angry, unhealthy. It was a really beautiful film. Hard to watch at some points, but uplifting overall.

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Fast forward to the beginning of October, my mom and I attended a Free Library author event with Jojo Moyes, author of bestseller Me Before You – a book my mom and I both loved. Moyes’ newest book, After You, has just recently come out and is a sequel.

Jojo Moyes speaking to attendees & signing copies of After You, following her talk.
Jojo Moyes speaking to attendees & signing copies of After You, following her talk

Moyes was so down to earth and funny. I was captivated with how much she loves the characters she creates in her novels. Particularly Louisa, Me Before You’s protagonist. Louisa’s story is continued in After You, which I have started reading and am really enjoying.

I’ve praised the Philly Free Library before, and have to reiterate: I can’t believe how amazing their events are. And this was free! For writers, readers, those excited about literature in any way, the Library is full of opportunities to engage and interact with those who share similar passions.

Can’t wait to see what the rest of this fall in Philadelphia brings!

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